Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chief Red Jacket -Lecture to a Missionary

My students are fond of the phrase "you got told" as a way of expressing that someone was just put in their place or taught a lesson.  The speech we are going to look at today is the best historical example of that I have ever seen. You are about to see how Chief Red Jacket used logic, well reasoned argument and a very respectful tone to tell a group of white missionaries to buzz off.

Chief Red Jacket's Lecture to a Missionary (1805)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Martin Luther King -A Stride Toward Freedom

 We have seen how Thoreau's ideas on civil disobedience influenced Gandhi. Today we will see how those ideas were used during the American civil rights movement.
"Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationships. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was."  -MLK

We will read an excerpt from Stride Toward Freedom by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You will work with a partner to read the text and answer the questions on this form about what you read.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Modern Examples of Civil Disobedience

These four articles all deal with recent examples of Civil Disobedience.  In a way they have all been successful because they brought enough attention to their cause to make the news, but some are more likely to create real change than others.

Read through the articles. Think about what you know now about Civil Disobedience. Evaluate which of these cases is the most likely to result in real changes.

Write an entry in your English Journal to explain which case of Civil Disobedience is the most likely to result in change and why you think that.

UC Fee Hikes
Cindy Sheehan
Nuns Arrested
Blue Shield

Note: This post seems to be one of the most popular on my classroom blog. Teachers may want to follow me on twitter @jenroberts1 or check out another blog I write about teaching.

Following the thought train

So yesterday Blogger was having technical issues and would not show me a login screen.  This is the post I would have put up for you yesterday if I had been able to. Through the magic of tiny URL we were still able to read and discuss the text.

Keep in mind some of the questions that came up in our conversation.
  1. Does Civil Disobedience always work? 
  2. Why does it work? 
  3. When does it work? 
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Civil Disobedience? 
  5. How does what Gandhi says in his first paragraph compare to what Obama says about Afghanistan? 

Good Morning, (Monday)
   If you've been with us you should know by now what Emerson said in Self Reliance, and what Thoreau said in Civil Disobedience. Today we will see their thinking magnified by Mohandas K. Gandhi.

 You know that America was once one of many British colonies. India was also a British colony. In the 1930's Gandhi used his ideas about civil disobedience, his word was satyagraha, to help free India from British rule.

Today we will read a short excerpt from his speech on Civil Disobedience if you would like to read the full text you can find it here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoreau Part Two

Good morning,

On Friday you read parts of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau.  You worked with your group to answer questions and you submitted your answers to me with the form.  Your answers went into my spread sheet.
Today I would like you to take a look at all the answers that went into the spread sheet. Read carefully.  Spread Sheet of Thoreau Answers

English Journal
1. Choose one answer you think is good. (Not one you wrote.) Copy and paste it into your EJ and EXPLAIN why you think it is a good answer. Try using different colors to make it clear which is the quoted answer and which is your explanation.
2. Then pick an answer you think was not sufficient or missed the point. EXPLAIN why it is wrong. Write what it should say.

Look at these articles about Civil Disobedience. In your EJ explain the connection between these issues and what Thoreau said.

UC Fee Hikes
Cindy Sheehan
Nuns Arrested
Blue Shield

Friday, December 4, 2009

What was Thoreau thinking?

Good morning,

Remember we may have visitors today and we may not.
  1. To start please vote in the poll at the right, (the one about how much you liked the ideas in Self Reliance)
  2. Then write an entry in your English journal to explain why you voted the way you did.
Emerson had a friend named Henry David Thoreau.  Thoreau was also a writer.  His ideas changed our country and our world. (I know that's a big claim, but we will see how.)

Today you will read an excerpt from his essay "Civil Disobedience" with 2-3 other people. Together you will need to figure out the answers to some tough questions about what it says.  You'll submit your responses to me in writing using THIS FORM. You'll need one person to submit the form with all your names. You can use docs or e-mail to share your answers with the person in your group responsible for the form.

These are the questions you will find on the form:
  1. What does Thoreau think about majority rule?
  2. What does Thoreau think about the military?
  3. How does he say we should deal with unjust laws?
  4. Why does Thoreau refuse to pay his taxes?
  5. What does he think of jail? 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Emerson Round Two

Good morning,

Lets go through Self Reliance again. Our excerpt is not long but it is dense in ideas and vocabulary. Remember our goal is to be able to explain what Emerson is saying.

Now copy and paste this section into your English journal. Explain Emerson's point in this section. Then give your opinion about his point. (Remember, explanation first and opinion second.)
"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude..."

Important! Tomorrow! Thursday 12/3  We (ok, I mean YOU) take our second in class essay assessment. It is a part of your grade.  You will have to read, understand and explain what someone else wrote and then give your opinion.  Take a look at the RUBRIC I have to use to score those.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Good morning,
Have you thought about that question I gave you yesterday, "How do you decide what is right and what is wrong?"
There is a poll on the right. Please vote so we can see what influences us as a group.

Today we read excerpts from "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The entire text of this essay is quite long, but I am providing a link in case you want to see more.  (Your textbook has these same excerpts.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Grading Essays and Exploring Right and Wrong

Good morning,
I hope you all had a wonderful week off.  Today we have two things to accomplish. The first is to self grade your Crucible Essay on a rubric I will give you. The second is a longer entry in your English Journal.

1. Open your Crucible essay in google docs. Re-read what you have and look carefully at the rubric I just gave you. Circle or highlight the squares on the rubric that you think most accurately describe your paper. I will collect your rubric in a few minutes.

2. English journal entry. Write an extended entry in your English journal about the question below. The point is to really explore who you are about this. Give examples from your life too.
How do you decide what is right and what is wrong?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drafting Day

We are going to look at some of your EJ entries from yesterday.  Click the link above to get there. and then I'm giving you time to work on your essay.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Revisiting Act IV

In Act IV of The Crucible Reverend Hale says the quote below to Elizabeth Proctor. Copy and paste the quote into your English Journal and then explain it in your own words.
"Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it. I beg you, woman, prevail upon your husband to confess. Let him give his lie. Quail not before God's judgment in this, for it may well be that God damns a liar less than he that thows away his life for pride. Will you plead with him? I cannot think he will listen to another."
Crucible Essay Options Please review the options you have for your essay on The Crucible.  Note that a rough draft is due Wednesday and a final draft is due Friday. We will spend most of our class time this week working on this essay, but you should also plan to spend additional time on it outside of class.  The library is open after school daily if you need a computer to work on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Update

We've finished reading The Crucible.  If you missed reading any part of it I recomend catching up over the weekend. Next week we work on some essay choices.

I understand many of you need to master states and capitals for your history classes.  This is a game that really helps with that.  Select the way you want to play on the left and  then press play on the right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Update

We finished Act III in period 3 and are almost finished in period 4.  Act III quiz on Monday.  Remember the whole play is in your textbook if you need to read or re-read any sections.  And yes, I did say reading the spark notes online wouldn't hurt you either.

Next week we watch the end of the film and read Act IV, but not necessarily in that order. And you have Wednesday off!

If you are in 4th period please remember to bring back your Federal Survey card and sorry for the phone spam about that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Author in Context

Good morning,

Part of one of our standards says "Relate literary works and authors to the major themes and issues of their eras."  Today we do a quick check of that.  

In your English Journal please write an entry that explains the connection between McCarthyism, Arthur Miller and The Crucible.

I'll be looking at this one closely when I grade your EJ. You have 12 minutes from the time the bell rings. (You can finish on your own time if you need more.) Then we read more of Act III.

Extra credit option: Write another entry (label it Extra Credit) that explains how "The Devil and Tom Walker" shows that Washington Irving was opposed to slavery.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Best of The Crucible On-line

Good morning,

We are short handed another day while many of your classmates are now taking the Math CAHSEE.  Yesterday you saw the History Channel Documentary 'In Search of History: Salem Witch Trials". Today we are going to explore some of the online resources available about The Crucible.

For each site you visit I want you to answer the following questions in your English Journal.

1. What was the site you visited? (duh.)
2. Describe what you found there and explain what you think about what you found. (Hint write several sentences and show your thinking.  This is good for your grade.)

  1. Are you a witch?
  2. Learn More about McCarthyism 
  3. A list of links about the 17th century  
  4. Historical Inaccuracies in the play
  5. Play Salem Witch Craft Jeopardy 
 If you have been to all of these and written intelligently about all of them then you may consider a little scavenger hunt.  Find the following images and add them to your journal along with the URL where you found them.
  1. A picture of Aurthur Miller
  2. A picture of John Proctor or his house
  3. An image of a historical document related to the witch trials.
And / Or  Write a tweet about one of the sites I just sent you to.  Include the hash tag #crucible.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Beginning Act III...then stopping for CAHSEE

Today we read the beginning of Act III. If you were absent you can catch up in your textbook at home.

Tuesday! CAHSEE!  About 1/3 of my students have not passed the English CAHSEE and more for Math.  We will take a two day break from reading the play because so many people will be out with testing. 

In the meantime I have a History Channel Video about the Salem witch trials to show you and a variety of websites to share about Salem and McCarthyism.
Good luck to all of you taking the CAHSEE!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vocab for Act III

Please add these words to your English Journal. Define them and write a sentence for each.
  • abundant
  • befuddle
  • effrontery
  • immaculate
  • qualm
  • probity
  • callous
  • base
  • slovenly
  • unperturbed

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Abigail's Fate?

Good morning,
In a moment we will read more of Act II, but first in your EJ write an entry about the question below.
  • What do you think will happen to Abigail Williams at the end of the play? Explain why you think this will happen. (10 minutes)
If you didn't finish the vocabulary entry from yesterday find some time to work on that later today. The Library is open after school and you can come here and use a computer at Advisory (with a pass) or at lunch.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Crucible Act II

Good morning,
We are back. On Friday you started reading Act II with Ms. Smith and the Sub. Today we will continue with Act II, but first I have a fun little English Class assignment for you.

Below are some vocabulary words from Act II. Copy and paste them into your EJ (That's your English Journal) then look them up on and add the definitions to the words in your EJ. Now here's the fun part. Use each word correctly in a sentence that reflects the meaning of the word. You have 12 minutes. GO!
  1. pallor
  2. ameliorate
  3. indignant
  4. daft
  5. taint
  6. quail
  7. inept
  8. prodigious (my personal favorite)

Quick Recap

Time for a much belated blog update. (To be fair I tried to update last Thursday and blogger was being buggy.)

We started The Crucible. We were off-line last Tues and Wed as we read Act I. Friday I was home with my very sick son and you read the beginning of Act II with Ms. Smith and the sub.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Update

Well that was a fun week wasn't it. We had the PSAT on Wednesday and the disaster drill on Thursday, but hey, 3 out of 5 days of instruction should amount to something right?

Your essay on Archetypes should be done or you should be scrambling to get it done before I start grading them this weekend. Remember I start at the bottom of my docs list. Right now that's a lot of period three people because period four students worked on their documents today in class too. If you still need to finish yours do it soon.

I have entered a lot but not all assignments into zangle and you should be able to see an approximation of your grade on student connect. Grades are always subject to change and at the beginning of the year one assignment can change your grade a lot

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yep another essay...Get used to it.

Good morning,
Today the blog is the boss of you. Read these directions carefully.
  1. Find a partner, anyone you want, but choose wisely, there is a grade coming. (You may work alone if you really want to and I may choose your partner for you if I really want to.)
  2. Open Google Docs and create a new doc. Share it with your partner and Mrs. R. (one new doc for each partner ship)
  3. Name it (period#, initials, initials Comparing Archetypes)
  4. With your partner make a list of ways the Left Handed Twin (from "The World On The Turtle's Back") and Old Scratch (The devil in "The Devil and Tom Walker") are the SAME.
  5. Then make a list of the ways they are DIFFERENT.
Tip: It might help to insert a table with two columns. Put similarities in one column and differences in the other column.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Update

Good morning,
Good work on Archetypes this week. Next week we will do some analysis comparing the Devil character in "The Devil and Tom Walker" with the left handed twin in "The World on the Turtle's Back" If you haven't read both those texts you need to catch up. They are both in your textbook and on-line.

Today we need to do an assessment essay. I will give you a prompt and you will write a response. This is the type of writing that is similar to the writing on the SAT, and the EAP and the CAHSEE. Other American Lit classes are also writing this assessment this week or next week and the teachers will be sharing your essays with each other. Your score also counts as part of your grade in this class.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Devil and Tom Walker

Good morning,
Today we have 1-2 presentations to finish in each period. After that we will use our new knowledge of archetypes while reading a classic piece of American Lit.


When the presentations are finished we will start The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving. As we read think about how the devil in this story compares to the ideas about good and evil in The World on The Turtle's back. You need two tabs open. One for the story and one for your English Journal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Open House 2009!


Our class is a little different. Every student uses a computer and most of our work and reading is on-line.
Things you need to know about are:
  1. The Blog (You're already here.)
    1. The Start Here section
    2. Great Links
    3. Polls
    4. Wish List
    5. Gradebook Explained
  2. Google Docs You can get an account and have your student share their work with you too.
  3. The last three weeks

Archetype Presentations

Good morning,
Today groups will present their slides on archetypes. After each presentation you will click the link below to evaluate what you just saw. Your comments will be shared with the group with out your name so please keep that in mind as you write notes to them.


Don't Forget Open House Tonight!
(See poll at right)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Update

Boy it's been a busy eventful week in and out of the classroom. I had to spend a lot of time in meetings this week, so I'm sorry the blog hasn't always been up to date.

Yesterday we had a mini-lesson on archetypes and you started working with your group to create a presentation with examples of character and situational archetypes. The real challenge here is more about working in your group on a presentation in Google Docs, but at the same time you will firmly root in your brain the knowledge of various common archetypes and you will know what I mean the next time I ask you to analyze the archetypes in a story. Plus you'll never watch a movie the same way again because now you'll be seeing all the archetypes and the ways film makers play with them.

Looking Ahead:
I saw some very cool looking collaborations happening on your presentations, so I can't wait to see them. Then we have some literature rich in archetypes just waiting for us to explore.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yes, we are back on line...

Good morning,
Did you check your English Journal for a message from me? If you didn't then go log in to Google Docs and see what it says. Then come back to the blog.
While looking at Native American texts we learned a bit about archetypes (Rdg Std. 3.6). These are characters or situations that often turn up in literature. Today we begin looking more closely at several common archetypes and we will follow how they develop and change through American Literature.
Read the poem below by Emily Dickinson and then go back to your English Journal and write about the question below the poem. What does Dickinson think about the Devil? What do you think about him? Explain yourself and give examples from the text and your own life.
The Devil—had he fidelity
Would be the best friend—
Because he has ability—
But Devils cannot mend—
Perfidy is the virtue
That would but he resign
The Devil—without question
Were thoroughly divine
What does Dickinson think about the Devil? What do you think about
him? Explain yourself and give examples from the text and your own

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Afternoon Update

Bring your book tomorrow (Tuesday)!

Today we learned about what a character flaw is and saw how Coyote was a flawed character for a number of reasons. We also learned what an allusion is and how to spot them in literature. An Allusion is when one work of literature mentions or borrows from another work of literature. Then we looked for the biblical allusions in The World on the Turtle's Back in the textbook. There are a number of different versions of this myth on the web. Many of them are inexplicably blocked by our district. The link above goes to a document that is the most similar to what we read in the textbook.

Tuesday we have a quiz on the Native American texts we've been reading.
And check out this cool list of common character flaws.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Afternoon

Update for those who missed class. We read The Coyote and The Buffalo on page 40 in your book, but first we brainstormed the Characteristics of Native American Tales and then looked for examples of those things as we read the story. You can use the links above to see our brainstormed list and read the story.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Afternoon

Good job bringing books today. Remember to bring them again Friday, Monday and Tuesday. If you were here then you know we read the Story by Mourning Dove called "Fox and Coyote and Whale". If you were absent then good for you, you checked the blog to see what you missed. Click on the title of the story to read it on-line.

You can still submit your Where I'm From paper using the link in the post below this one. Scroll down.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Turn in your paper...



  1. Open your English Journal (in google docs)
  2. Write a new entry at the top.
  3. Date it today
  4. Write about what you think about your Where I'm From paper. Are you proud of it? Did you work hard on it? What did you learn about yourself or about writing from this project? What else should I know about your paper or about you.
Bring your textbook tomorrow!

Finishing your Where I'm From paper...

Good morning,

Did you get to the blog? Are you reading it? Read all of it!

Today will be your last chance to work on your Where I'm From paper in class. The final version is due on Wednesday.

If you haven't done it already please add a heading to your paper just like any other paper you would turn in. Name, Date and Period in the upper left corner. Without that I might not know it is yours.

Give your paper a title. Put the title in the center and make it a little larger than the rest of your text. (Do not center your whole paper!)

Make sure your paper is multiple paragraphs. Indent new paragraphs. Run a spell check. I don't think I should have to tell you this stuff, but I've been looking at some papers and apparently I have to tell you this stuff.

When your paper is finished you need to publish it. When I see that it is published then I know you are done. Go to the Share tab and select "Publish as a Web Page". Then you will have a link you can send to anyone you want to read your paper. Don't send me the link I can already see your paper in Google Docs.

Read the Bulletin

Friday, September 18, 2009

Writing Groups - Day 2

Good morning,
Because you asked for it a bit more writing group time today. Don't forget to review the Writing Response Group Procedures.

Friday Afternoon

Great job today on your first writing group experience.
Thoughts to take away.
  • When you read your work aloud you find things (mistakes) you would probably never have noticed.
  • When your group talks about what's working and not working in your paper you get ideas about what to change to make the writing better.
  • Reading out loud is not as scary as you thought it would be.
  • Your group liked what you wrote.
Monday: Looks like more writing group time because you asked for it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More on Where I'm From

Good morning,
Have you been thinking about your "Where I'm From" paper? Have you been working on it from home?

Today I want to share with you some examples of "Where I'm From" essays by former students, but while you are waiting for me to take attendance etc. go read this version of Where I'm From -- That's a link. You need to click on it.

Tomorrow I will ask you to share your paper with a small group. Today you need to get ready to do that.
  • It is time to turn your notes into sentences.
  • It is time to add more details to your paragraphs.
  • It is time to begin to care about spelling and punctuation.

And one more thing, when you share your paper with your group you will read it out loud to them. Reading your work aloud will show you things in your writing that you never saw, give you ideas you would not have had, and reveal issues you would not have noticed. Some students are scared to read their work to their group. That anxiety is normal, but get over it.

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live."
-Dorthy Thompson

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Drafting Your Own Where I'm From

Good morning,
Yesterday we read Where I'm From by Willie Perdomo. Today you have a chance to begin drafting your own version. Re-read the text again. Consider the details Perdomo includes: people, sights, sounds, smells, food, relationships, positive and negative details.
Remember that wherever you are from, no matter how ordinary it seems to you, it will seem exotic and interesting to someone who has never been there. Look for the contrast, the drama, and the beauty of your neighborhood.
Now open Google Docs, start a new document, name it correctly (#initialsWhere I'm From), and share it with me and Ms. Smith. In the beginning your draft may be sentences, lists, or random ideas, but you must begin to write something. You will be sharing your draft with a group on Friday so get going.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Second Journal Entry Today!

Good Morning,
Yesterday you created your English Journal, shared it with Ms. Smith and myself and wrote a bit about yourself. Today you will make your second entry.

Use the tab on your bookmarks bar to go straight to Google Docs. (Do not go through your g-mail.)
Open your English Journal. (Do not start a new document.)
Write today's entry ABOVE the one you wrote yesterday.
Answer the question below. I know it seems a little strange, but it will make more sense after we do today's reading, so just go with it.

Journal question: (You can copy and paste this into your journal if that helps you.) What is food like at your home? What does it smell like? Who cooks it? What are your favorite foods? When do you eat them? Focus on food and especially foods you like. (I know this will probably make you hungry, sorry.)

Reading: "Where I'm From" by Willie Perdomo

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 2 Monday

Good morning,
Today is our first intervention day. If you have advisory on your schedule go there after 4th period. If you do not have advisory please report to the big gym by 11:20 to learn more about your extended lunch privileges.

Our goals for today:
  • Get back into Google Docs
  • Open the document you started on Friday
  • Make sure it is named correctly # initials assignment name, like this 3JR English Journal
  • Share your document with me and Ms. Smith (I will teach you how.)
  • Write a paragraph about yourself or your first week of school in your English Journal

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Welcome Back

Hello and welcome to the 2009-2010 school year. You have found your way to our class blog so you are undoubtedly a determined and motivated individual. If you are reading this then I predict you will do very well in this course and learn skills and content that will help you to be successful far beyond high school.

To the right you will find a section headed START HERE. Go there now to familiarize yourself with our course syllabus, sign up for a g-mail account (that is as close as you can get to your real name) and then complete the student data form for me.

A note about g-mail accounts. We will be using several Google tools this year. Though you can have a google account with another e-mail address, my experience has been that students who do that often experience problems with their accounts. I suggest you get a g-mail account.

And, because someday very soon you will be putting your e-mail address on college applications, job applications, rental applications, car loan applications etc., it would be best if you picked a user name as close as possible to your real name. This makes you look professional and it helps me to know who you are when you send me something too.

We are going to have a great year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Update Part II

Well, yeah, I messed with the colors. I thought the blog needed a new look for fall. Most of you have two weeks of summer left. I have only one...sigh. One of my favorite things about September is having my former students stop by and say hi, so please don't be shy. Stick your head in the door or come by at lunch. If you have an extra period and you are interested in being a student assistant I can usually use you. Or if you just need to use a computer I'll try to squeeze you in.

My physical therapist says my shoulder is all better and I can go back to yoga and ride my bike again. My boys and I have enjoyed Balboa park, Legoland and visits to my parents' place up north. Now I need to go write a letter to the rest of the English Department. See y'all on the 8th.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Update

I know most of you are on summer vacation. I've seen your tweets about being bored and so on. (Although I think those "I'm bored" messages seem to be coming mostly from people in summer school.)

My summer has been OK so far. Just OK because a few days after school got out I hurt my right side rotator cuff. (I've learned that's a very important part of my shoulder.) For about two weeks I could not move my right arm and it was very painful. I could not drive or even use a computer for most of that time. (Thats why those of you e-mailing about final grades didn't hear back from me sooner.) Now I am much better, still going to physical therapy, and able to do almost everything again.

I'm enjoying time with my kids and time without them while they are in camp like they are today. I hope you are all making the most of your summer (with or without summer school). Don't forget to turn in your registration packets and take your senior pictures. Anyone started on their senior portfolio yet? I miss you guys and if your reading this then you probably miss me too. Post a comment or send me an e-mail about what you're up to. See you in September.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Update

The vast majority of you did an excellent job getting your "Where I'm From" papers printed today. If you did not print yours today you have a zero holding a place for you in my gradebook. :) Fix that.

Many of you still have not read the article about virtual students in online classes or sent me your response. Please read this article about online classes and then enter your responses on this form.

I will be at a meeting Monday and you will have a sub. With the sub you will read a story by Anne Tyler called Teenage Wasteland. For those of you who won't be in class you lucked out because someone put the story on the web. For those of you in class you get to read it in the textbook.

Tuesday is textbook return day. Bring all of your textbooks to class. Clean them up too. If you forget to bring them you will need to return your books on your own time.

See you Tuesday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Finishing Where I'm From Papers

Good morning,
A little recap. Monday we read "Where I'm From" by Willie Perdomo and did some initial brainstorming towards our own versions. Tuesday I read you some examples from previous students' answers to that question and you spent most of the period drafting. Wednesday you met with your writing groups.

Today I want to give you a little more time to make final adjustments to your Where I'm From papers. Please remember that these will be printed out so you need to make it look good, heading, title, etc. Take off the chart you used for brainstorming and anything else you don't want to print.

When your paper is done (as I suspect many of you already are) there is something else for you to work on. Please read this article about online classes and then enter your responses on this form.

Also I moved the Blog Archive up so you can find it easier. Use it to study for your final.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where I'm From

Good morning,
In years past I have always read this with my students at the beginning of the year. This year we were busy with the rhetoric of the presidential election and writing our own letters to the next president. But last week I saw many of my former students use this piece as part of their senior portfolios and I want to afford you the same opportunity. It's not online, so I will give you the text in class. It's called, "Where I'm From" by Willie Perdomo.
A quick search shows me many other classes have also connected to this piece. You might be interested in these responses by 6th graders in Florida.

This week you will write your own Where I'm From piece.
  • You can change the title if you like.
  • Make sure to use details about sounds, smells and other people in your piece, i.e. sensory details.
  • Focus on the elements that make where you are from unique.
  • Include positive and negative details.
  • Aim for 500-600 words.
  • Be prepared to share your writing in class.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quiz Today

Good morning,
Today we took a short answer quiz about our recent readings. If you were here you took the quiz. If you were not here you need to take the quiz.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ernest Hemingway

Alright folks stay with me now. We are romping through the 20th century.
Today is Hemingway. You read another story by Hemingway a few months ago with a sub. It was "Hills Like White Elephants". Today we will skim and scan for some background about his life and then read another of his stories.

1. Get basic background knowledge on Hemingway. I recommend adding notes to your EJ.
2. We will read "The End of Something" together, again with notes in the EJ.

Note #1: Mrs. R will be at a meeting tomorrow. Yes, you have a sub. No, you will not use computers.
Note #2: There is a quiz Friday on The Harlem Renaissance and the reading from today and tomorrow.
Note #3: Mrs. R will not be here at lunch today. Yes, another meeting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zora Neale Hurston

Good morning,

The trouble with a lot of 20th century American Lit is that most of it is not in the public domain. That means someone still owns a copyright on it and that means it is usually not available on the internet for free.

Lucky for you the essay I was going to have you read from the textbook today is online. You will also need your English Journal open as well.

Today we will examine a work by another famous author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston and read her famous essay How It Feels to Be Colored Me.

For more information visit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Langston Hughes

Good morning,
Yesterday we looked at some overview materials about the Harlem Renaissance. Today we will dive more deeply into the poetry of Langston Hughes. You will need the links below to read along. You will also need your English journal open to write about the poems as we read them.

I, Too

Dream Deferred
The Weary Blues
Mother to Son
When the Negro Was in Vogue (essay)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your "to do" list.

Good morning,
Did you miss me? We have a lot to accomplish this week, so let's get started.
1. Open your English Journal and write 5-10 sentences about yesterday. Describe the sub, what you did, how you behaved, how your classmates behaved etc. Be specific.
2. If your "brick" isn't finished and on the wall lets figure out why and get it done.
3. I am trying to decide which resources to use for our study of the Harlem Renaissance. Go find out more about it and see what you can find. Send me an e-mail with the best links you find. You must explain what those links go to and why you think we should spend more time looking at them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poetry... not that bad...

Good morning,
Did you work on your brick? Do you know what happened at the White House last night? If not check this out. I tried to get you video of it because it sounded really cool, but of course any decent video site is blocked by the paternalistic forces in our district IT department. I can play you a radio segment about it. Prepare to listen. It's that thing you do with your ears.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More about walls...

Good morning,
Your presentations on Friday were great. I was very impressed with the poems you found and liked. I hope you recall the poems by Robert Frost that we read on Thursday while our internet was down. Working from our start with The Mending Wall we are going to look at other poems about walls and find more. First we will revisit The Mending Wall and then move on to First Visit to The Wall and even Another Brick in the Wall.

Questions to consider:
  1. What kind of wall is each of these texts talking about?
  2. What is the purpose of that wall?
  3. What does the poet think about the wall?
  4. What do you think about the wall?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Poetry Presentations

Ready or not you are presenting your found poems today.
After each presentation please follow the link below to grade the presentation you just saw.


When we are done with presentations I will give you a tiny URL you can use to grade your own group.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Comparing two poems...ugh...sort of...

Ok yesterday I taught some poetry and it wasn't that bad. I can do it for another day. One day at a time right? If I can do it you can do it. Today is going to be even better because I'm going to make you do all the work. (I love it when that happens.)

Your task: (With your group)
  1. Take another look at the two poems we looked at yesterday. Mushrooms and A slender fellow in the grass.
  2. Find something you think these two poems have in common. (They have more than one thing in common so you have choices here. Make a list before you choose.)
  3. Find three other poems that have the same feature. (Poems you don't hate would be good.)
  4. Create a presentation to share these three poems with the class. (Hint: GD...New...Presentation...Share it with group.) Decide who will read each part and what you want to say.
  5. Find a visual (picture) to go with each poem you present.

Wow, that was fun (for me). Now I have to go find that Google Form I use when you are grading each other's presentations. Get to work people.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Good Morning,
Poetry is a major portion of American Literature that we really haven't seen much of yet this year. I admit this reflects my personal bias. I did not like poetry in school and I have been reluctant to subject you to it. (That's the slam part, and there's more coming.) I'm not going to pretend I love poetry to try to get you excited about it. I do think though, that there are some poets you need to know about and some things you need to know about poetry. Conveniently, this fits the state standards, but more importantly it just makes you a more educated person.

I promise to only show you poems and poets that I like, and since I am really picky about poetry this could be a short list. I also promise not to ask you to write any poetry unless you really want to. (Actually, I have a selfish reason for this too. Since I don't like poetry I don't want to read more than I have to.) I will ask you to write about the poems we read and the poems you find.

Together we will seek out our favorite poets, our favorite themes, and find ways to make it as interesting as possible. Are you with me? No, wait, don't answer that. Just go read this poem.

Monday Afternoon

Not enough people were done with their Gatsby papers on Friday, so we had one last work session on that and did not watch the end of the film. Today we did finish the film in 4th period and we have five minutes left in third period. Absences seemed a little high today. I wonder if people are staying home because they are really sick or because of fears of the H1N1 virus? Two other high schools in our district are closed for two weeks. I know many of my students are secretly (and not so secretly) hoping that will happen here too.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Thursday Right?

Ahh, testing has come to a close. Gatsby papers are due Friday 5/1. (That's tomorrow as I write this.) I was very impressed with the focus I saw in many writing groups today. People with finished work will watch the end of the movie tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gatsby Project Writing Groups

Good morning,
I hope your draft is ready to share. I only have five projects shared with me so far, but I know that many more of you have a draft and just haven't shared it yet. Please share your paper with me and the other members of your writing group ASAP. For those of you who are new to our class please review the chart up front that says "Writing Group Procedure". (I'm working on an online version of that to link to as well.) New people should also see me for your group assignment.

Today you need to:
  1. Get in your groups and share your papers in GD.
  2. Follow the writing group procedures chart for each paper. (If someone does not follow the procedure that should affect their grade today.)
  3. If someone does not have a draft they need to talk (yes talk) to the group about what they are planning to do in detail. Bug them.
  4. On a piece of paper (yes paper) write the names of all students present in your group today, the grade your group thinks they deserve for their draft (1-10) and the things your group thinks that student needs to work on before your next group meeting on Thursday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Afternoon

It was so nice to have our normal schedule back today. We continued watching the Gatsby movie, but some students opted to work on their draft of their Gatsby project while they could get help from me or Ms. S.
  • Don't forget your draft is due Monday in Google Docs.
  • Writing groups will meet Monday and probably also Thursday next week.
  • Next Friday 5/1 is the last day for any work to count for your 12 week progress report.
  • Gatsby project final drafts are also due 5/1, but I won't get them all graded in time for that progress report. I will have time though, to give 0's to people who don't get their final draft done.
  • If you really really really want your Gatsby project to be part of your 12 week grade please make sure I know that.

More testing (and crazy schedules) Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today was our first official day of CST testing. Long tests, strange schedules, no wonder we all feel a little off. The good news is all of my classes are now officially finished with The Great Gatsby. If you missed the last quiz for chapter 9 please use the link on the right to take that asap. If you haven't chosen a Gatsby Project Option you need to pick one and get started because your draft is due Monday. Many of you need those draft points to help your grade. Good luck with the rest of your tests.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Testing Week 1 and Gatsby Chapter 9

Good morning,
Welcome to a new week, a week of testing and crazy schedules. I won't even get to see you all every day. Our path looks like this: We will finish chapter 9, with associated quiz naturally. I will give you your project assignment options for The Great Gatsby. We will watch the movie. Yes, the 1974 version and you will work on your drafts for your Gatsby projects. Next week looks like a lot of writing group time mixed with revision time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chapter 8 (Finally!)

Good morning,

Today we will split our time between more standards prep and chapter 8 of Gatsby.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hills Like White Elephants

Good morning,
Today you lucky people get to read a short story by Ernest Hemingway called "Hills Like White Elephants". If you get it you will like it. The story is full of dialog and the trick is to discern what the people are talking about. Ms. G will help you. When you are done write what you think about the story in your English Journal.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday afternoon...

Welcome back everyone. If you were absent today we did a close examination of the standards to see what they say as well as what vocabulary words there stump you. I will be at a workshop on Tuesday 4/14. I was going to have you read chapter 8 of Gatsby, but many, many of you will also be out for a variety of field trips. So those who are here will read a short story I have carefully selected for you by Hemingway and those of you who miss it can read it on your own when I publish the link tomorrow morning. See you Wednesday.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Spring Break

Have a lovely week off everyone. I will be off the net and incommunicado from Monday through Saturday. I may have twitter withdrawal, but I think I can handle it. When we get back...Gatsby Essays! Yay!

Spring Break?... Almost...

Good morning,
Today we will finish chapter 7 and take the quiz. I'll give you the URL in class and then post it to the blog this afternoon. Because of break I don't want to start chapter 8 yet, so I'm going to show you a cool new feature in Google Docs and we will use that to further explore the relationships in the novel.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good morning,
Before we finish chapter 7 I'd like to open your English Journal. Review what you know from chapter 7 so far and write a quick prediction about what comes next. When we last left them Nick, Tom, Daisy, Gatsby and Jordan were in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Gatsby and Tom were just beginning to have a 'discussion' about Gatsby's relationship with Daisy and Daisy was trying to stop them.

I can't give you the rest of the questions for chapter 7 yet. They would give too much away.
Do a Ctrl-F for "At this point" to find our starting place.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday again...

Good morning,
Log in to your g-mail and read about CADIE. After that see this article.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A day without Mrs. R.

Good morning,
I am not here of course. Ms G. is your sub and I am at a workshop for American Lit teachers over at Mission Bay High. You still need to read Gatsby though. Ms. G is going to play the CD and you still get to take the quiz at the end of chapter 6 and start chapter 7. Ms. G will put up the tinyurl for the quiz when you finish chapter 6.

Chapter 7 is very interesting and some things happen there that I don't want you to know about yet, so I'm only giving you the first four questions for the chapter. You may not even get to all of those.

1. What is Gatsby's reaction to Daisy's child?
2. What did George Wilson do to Myrtle? Why?
3. Why do the five of them drive into the city on such a hot afternoon?
4. What does Gatsby think about Daisy's relationship with Tom?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Good morning,
Thanks to the Healthy Kids survey that 4th period had to take on Friday my American Lit classes are in different places. That drives me up the wall, so this week we are working to get everyone back to the same place.

Today period 3 starts Gatsby chapter 6. Period 4 needs to finish chapter 5 and take the quiz and then start chapter 6.

Chapter 6 questions:
1. What is Gatsby's real history? Where is he from and what is his name?
2. What did Dan Cody do for Gatsby?
3. What is Daisy's opinion of Gatsby's party? How does this affect him?
4. What does Gatsby want from Daisy?

PS I'll add the chapter 5 quiz to the list at right after period 4 takes it today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Friday

Good morning,
Third period today will read the rest of chapter 5 and take the quiz. Fourth period will be taking the CA Healthy Kids Survey. (We were 'randomly' selected.) That means 4th period won't even see this blog post because they won't get computers because the survey is on a scantron. Sorry 4th period. I can't believe scantron isn't even a real word according to this dictionary built into this editor. Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Don't bring Tom."

Good morning,
Yesterday we finished chapter 4 and took the quiz. (If you were absent make sure you take the quiz using the link to the right.) Today we begin chapter 5. Nick is going to help Gatsby see Daisy again and...well, I don't want to ruin it for you.

Chapter 5 starts here...

Chapter 5 questions. Put them in your English Journal.
  1. Describe the meeting between Daisy and Gatsby.
  2. How long did it take Gatsby to make the money to buy the mansion?
  3. Why did Gatsby want Daisy to see his house and his clothes?
  4. What had the green light on the dock meant to Gatsby?
  5. What had Gatsby turned Daisy into in his own mind?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Finishing Chapter Four

Good morning,
Yesterday many of you told me that you really wanted to finish chapter 4 because you expected it would give you a much better understanding of the questions I asked you at the start of the book. Today we will see if that is true. Open chapter 4 and do a control-F for 'October'. Open your English Journal too.

When we finish we will take the quiz today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Revisiting The Questions

Good morning,
If you haven't done it already, get in your groups. When you get there take a look at the questions on the back wall. All of them relate to The Great Gatsby in some way. Now that we have read a few chapters of the book it is time to go back to those questions.

With your group I want you to try to figure out WHY each question relates to the book. Which characters are involved in that question? Make predictions about the plot from what you know about the questions. In other words, why did I ask you these questions and how do they relate to the book.
This is a discussion, but you will also be writing about the discussion in your English Journal.

Also, if you were absent Monday you need to make up the chapter 3 quiz over there on the right.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beginning Chapter 4

Good morning,
On Friday we finished, (or nearly finished) chapter 3. Today we will take the quiz quickly and move on to chapter 4, wherein we will learn much more about Mr. Gatsby. You will need to comprehension questions below to help you follow the story.

1. Who is Klipspringer?
2. What does Gatsby tell Nick about himself?
3. What "matter" did Gatsby have Jordan Baker discuss with Nick?
4. Who is Mr. Wolfshiem? What does Gatsby say he did?
5. What does Mr. Wolfshiem tell Nick about Gatsby?
6. What does Jordan tell Nick about Daisy, Gatsby, and Tom?

Link to Chapter 4

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let the party continue...

Good morning,
Today we go back to the party. The party in chapter 3 of Gatsby that is. There are some things to discuss in this chapter that I want you to be able to talk about. Move into your groups and open the chapter (see link in yesterday's post) and your English Journal. We will probably get to the chapter 3 quiz today. I'll give you a URL for that in class, but later it will be listed with the other Gatsby quizzes on the right.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gatsby Ch 3

Good morning,

Questions for chapter 3. Copy them into your English Journal and answer them as you read.
  1. Describe Gatsby's wealth. List some of the things that represent his wealth.
  2. What kinds of people come to Gatsby's parties?
  3. Why did Nick Carraway go to the party?
  4. How does Nick meet Gatsby?
  5. What are some of the stories about Gatsby?
  6. Is Gatsby a "phony"
  7. Describe Nick's relationship with Jordan?
Link to Chapter 3

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Good morning,
Today is CAHSEE Math and that means even more of you will be out testing. Someone pointed out to me that I have this list way down there on the right of 'Movies I would show you if I had time' and because of the CAHSEE we have a little time. So I was looking on Netflix to see if any of them were available as watch it now titles, a few are, but I also found a documentary about Jazz by Ken Burns. It will fit well with Gatsby. So, for those of you who are here, we get to watch that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Good morning,
With so many of our classmates out taking the CAHSEE we can't move forward with our reading. Instead we will work in class on a variety of things. Some of you are still missing work that would help your grade. A few of you need to make up the EAP test we took yesterday. You should check out If you decide to create an account for yourself you can follow my tweets by searching for jenroberts1.

Friday, March 13, 2009

EAP Test is coming...

Gatsby quiz links are now on the right side of the blog. If you miss one go there to take it.

Monday we have to take a writing test. It's called the EAP. It stands for Early Assessment Program. It is an essay test to assess your writing skills. It's important. It helps to determine if you are ready for college writing and to place you in the right English classes when you get to college.

I'd rather read Gatsby too, but we have to get this over with. And if you're reading this spread the word because the computers will be locked on Monday morning.

Have a great weekend.

Finishing chapter 2

Good morning,
Yesterday we read through most of chapter two. Today we will finish it and take the quiz. Since I don't want you to take the quiz before we finish the chapter I am not posting a link to it here. I will give you the URL in class when we are ready. Later I will post a link here for those of you taking the quiz from home. Make sure you have the questions from yesterday's post in your English Journal. You can look at your notes there while you take the quiz.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chapter 1 quiz and starting chapter 2

Good morning,
Yesterday we finished with chapter 1 and so we have a quiz to take today. Click here to take the chapter 1 quiz.

Following the quiz we will begin chapter 2. You will need to copy (control-c) and paste (control-v) these questions into your English Journal.

  1. What is the valley of ashes?
  2. What are the "eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg"?
  3. Who did Tom take Nick to meet?
  4. Who are George and Myrtle Wilson?
  5. What did Mrs. Wilson buy while she was out with Nick and Tom?
  6. Where did they go? What was at 158th Street?
  7. Who are Catherine and Mr. and Mrs. McKee?
  8. What does Mr. McKee tell Nick about Gatsby?
  9. What reason does Myrtle give for marrying George Wilson?
  10. What did Tom do to Myrtle when she mentioned Daisy's name?
Oops, I almost forgot to give you a link to chapter 2.
Check out this site of great photographs from the Jazz Age.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gatsby Chapter 1 Continued

Good morning,
Today we continue with Chapter 1. I have more questions for you. Copy and paste them into your English Journal. If you were absent yesterday go read the two posts below this one and catch up on reading the beginning of chapter 1 tonight.

7. What kind of person is Daisy?
8. What did Miss Baker tell Nick about Tom?
9. When asked about her daughter what does Daisy say?
10. How is Gatsby introduced in the novel?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama's Words

Did you hear what President Obama said today?

"Of course, no matter how innovative our schools or how effective our teachers, America cannot succeed unless our students take responsibility for their own education. That means showing up for school on time, paying attention in class, seeking out extra tutoring if it’s needed, and staying out of trouble. And to any student who’s watching, I say this: don’t even think about dropping out of school. As I said a couple of weeks ago, dropping out is quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country, and it is not an option – not anymore. Not when our high school dropout rate has tripled in the past thirty years. Not when high school dropouts earn about half as much as college graduates. And not when Latino students are dropping out faster than just about anyone else. It is time for all of us, no matter what our backgrounds, to come together and solve this epidemic."

The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1

PS. 2/28/10
      A word to my random visitors: If you found this post through a Google search I would love to know more about you.  If you are a teacher teaching The Great Gatsby please post a comment or follow me on Twitter. I have many other Great Gatsby resources and teaching suggestions I am willing to share.
     If you are a student looking for easy answers you won't find them here. Sorry.

Good morning,

Today we begin reading The Great Gatsby. You have explored key questions related to the novel, you have learned more about the 1920s and you have even found many symbols of wealth in our society. You are ready.

We will start with Chapter 1. This link goes directly to it, but the Critical Links list on the right also has a link to the whole book. When you are absent you need to use that to catch up on your reading.

Open your English Journal now and copy and paste the questions below into it. We will answer them as we read chapter one.

  1. How does the narrator describe Gatsby?
  2. From where does the narrator come and why?
  3. Describe the narrator's house.
  4. Describe the Buchannans' house.
  5. How does Nick know Tom and Daisy?
  6. Describe Tom. What is our impression of him in chapter 1?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gatsby Pre-Test

Good morning,

The blog is the boss of you, but Ms. G is in charge. She's a friend of mine so be nice to her. As I have been shouting from the rooftops all week you have an assessment today. It's really just a longer than normal quiz and it does require you to write several answers in paragraph form.

After you are done with your test please examine your options carefully and use your time well.

  1. Many of you still need work on your Nature Writing assignment.
  2. Some of you need to finish the write-up that goes with your collage.
  3. You could also get on Naviance and do some of the thing Mrs. Eurich has asked you to do there.
  4. Perhaps your English journal is lacking.
  5. Maybe you even have some work to do for another class.
  6. Is there a quiz you haven't taken this semester?
  7. This may even be the perfect time to start your own blog.
  8. If all else fails donate some rice.
Don't forget that because of the pep-rally schedule you will need to shut down at a different time than normal.
Monday we go to see counselors about classes for next year. Make sure you turn in your orange card or bring it on Monday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To prepare you to read The Great Gatsby there are some things you need to know more about. I've included the list below with some links to some of the resources I'd like you to look at. You should look at the links I've included but then you also need to search out additional information on your own. You need to know about all of these things before our quiz on Friday. I suggest you work as a group. Ask each person to become an expert on one or two areas and then have them teach the rest. But, do not rely on a group member to teach you everything. You should also at least look at all the links yourself.

Women of the 1920's
Women's fashion and (for some) behavior in the 1920's was very different than earlier times. Start with this letter from a 'flapper'

World War One.
Focus your WWI learning about the experiences of American soldiers in Europe. Start with this letter from Paris.

During prohibition the manufacture and sale of alcohol was banned in the United States. Which amendment to the constitution made this the law? What was the effect of prohibition on society?

1919 World Series.
Something stunning happened at a baseball game in 1919. What was it? Who was involved? What happened?

Music of the 20's.
The 20's are also sometimes known as "The Jazz Age". Why? What was happening to music? Who were the musicians involved? Was the music a reflection of other social changes or a motivator for social change?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the book we are about to read. Who was he? What was his life like? When and where did he write The Great Gatsby? take a look at his biography.

This site has some useful links for most of these topics and general background about the 1920's

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thinking Deeper

Good morning,

Today I would like you to think more deeply about ONE of the questions we explored yesterday. They are posted in the back of the room.
  1. Choose one question that you have something to say about.
  2. Open your English Journal.
  3. Write a three paragraph answer to the question you chose. (200+ words)
  4. Include examples, elaborate on your thinking.
  5. If the question you are answering has more than one 'side' write about why the other 'side' is wrong.
Also note the Homework Alert on the right. And you may want to read the post below that I wrote yesterday afternoon.

Link to School Board Page in case you want to take the budget survey.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Afternoon

Alright I'm playing catch up. As most of you know I had to be out on Friday because my son was very sick. Your nature writing papers were due Friday and you went to the Invisible Children assembly.

Today, Monday, you wrote about and discussed questions with your writing group. We will be seeing many of those questions again during our next reading, so keep them in mind.

You have some artistic homework to complete this week. This is an easy way to add some points to your grade so get it done. See Homework Alert at right.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Articulation Cards Due Friday

Good morning campers,
Today you will meet again with your writing group. I hope you found some time to make some progress on your draft.

Yesterday we went to the assembly about classes for next year. You need to get that orange card signed by a parent and also show it to your math teacher before you return it to me on FRIDAY. Remember to list your electives as 1, 2 and 3. X's won't tell the counselor which class you really want and if you only make one elective choice you may not get it. The counselors are saying there will be no elective changes in the fall so pick your choices carefully.

I learned some interesting things yesterday, (ok some of them I knew). Here are a few you need to remember.
  • You must have a 2.0 to graduate. Not a 2.0 your senior year, but a 2.0 for ALL of high school. That means if you got bad grades as a freshman or sophomore you need to get good grades now.
  • For the UC and CSU schools a D is the same as an F. You have to retake that class to change the grade if it is a class you need for a college requirement.
  • You need 45 hours of community service to graduate. Start working on that if you haven't already.
  • Take the SAT now if you need an SAT score for the college you want to go to. (I give you extra credit for taking the SAT. Show me your admission ticket or your scores.)
  • American Lit is a graduation requirement. You have to pass this class.
  • Scholarships are available for juniors now on Naviance. See Mrs. Eurich for more info on that.
  • AP classes are a great way to save time and money in college. Students who take AP classes in high school learn skills that help them do better in college.
  • Graduating is cool.
If you were absent on Tuesday I picked-up some extra copies of the paperwork you need. Make sure you ask me for it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Writing Groups

Good morning,
I hope you worked on your nature writing assignment over the weekend. Today you share it with your writing group. Make sure when you share that the box that allows collaborators to invite others is un-checked. If you haven't voted in the poll over there >>> do that now.

After you have read this blog post you may begin to move into your writing group.
If you were absent Friday make sure you take the quiz.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drafting Day

Good morning,
I want to give you more drafting time today because you used it well yesterday. First you need to take a quick quiz about the reading we did earlier in the week.
John Muir Quiz

Have you figured out your main idea yet for your nature writing? If you don't know yet what you want to focus your writing on I'll be by to check on you, but it is also your job to let me know you need more support.

Don't forget you need your rough draft for your writing group meeting on Monday. (There is a grade involved here so get it done.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nature Writing

Good morning,
Yesterday we finished our reading of John Muir's description of the storm. I added a pin to the map below (way below) to show you roughly where he was when he climbed that tree. You need to find at least one quote from his writing that shows he enjoyed the storm. Add that quote to your English Journal. (You should have done this yesterday, but I'm giving you another reminder.)
A Wind Storm in the Forest << Here is the link again so you don't have to go looking for it.

Today you get your next writing assignment. Read over the assignment carefully. Nature Writing Assignment
Then, in your English Journal again, write a quick paragraph to me about:
  1. what the assignment is,
  2. what you think you might write about
  3. and what you think you might need help with.

AFTER you have written to me in your EJ you can start a new document and begin free writing to find your main idea.

Remember: When you share documents always un-check the boxes that allow collaborators to invite others.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

John Muir

Good Morning,
Last week we enjoyed excerpts from Walden. Below are some of the things you wrote in your English Journals about that. Read through what others thought. Most of you had very thoughtful responses to Walden. Excellent job!
  • The way he describes things make them seem to be so pretty, when I read it it was almost like seeing it through his eyes.
  • We have the power to change and decide our destination in life, our fate.
  • He is saying to reduce things in life to make it easier. even if we go to places were we think its good there will be still bad things there.
  • I wish that the woods were close enough to us so that we could just walk there from the beach.
  • He moved into the woods to live life how it supposed to be. If he were still in the city or other places he wouldn't enjoy nature. He wanted to see if it was worth living like that.
  • He is talking about how we are not alone even though we feel like we are alone.
  • He's talking about how we all are living a life that's already been lived, like has anyone recently done something new?
Today we look at another famous nature writer, John Muir. He was America's earliest environmentalist. He founded the Sierra Club and his writings helped to save Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park. Muir spent many years traveling in the mountains of California. Today we will read an excerpt from his most famous book The Mountains of California. This passage is about a storm the Muir witnessed in 1874. Link to excerpt.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Walden Continued

Good morning,
Today we will finish our reading of Walden, but first we have a quiz. Click the link below and take the quiz then open your Walden text, your English Journal and your Vocab spreadsheet.

Byrd and Thoreau QuizLink

Thursday, February 12, 2009


No examination of American writings about nature would be complete without looking at Thoreau's most famous work Walden. Today we will read and listen to some excerpts. (Thank you to Francis for doing the cut and paste to put this selection together.) You will need your English Journal open as well as a tab for the text. Between sections of the text I will give you two minutes to quick write as much as you can about your impressions of what we just read.

If you are waiting for others to be ready to begin visit the map at the bottom of the blog and find the marker for Walden Pond. Zoom in and switch to sat view to see the place Thoreau was writing about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Catch up and get organized!

Good morning,
Today is a good day to get our act together. Many of you have several things you need to finish or polish and so I am giving you a prioritized list. Make sure you have done the things below.

1. If you were absent on Friday (5 people) you missed a quiz. Scroll down, find it and take it.
2. Yesterday we were looking for four quotes that showed how Byrd viewed nature. A number of you did not finish getting those into your English Journal. Finish that. (Nine of you were absent for this. read the blog from yesterday and get it done.)
3. Scroll to the bottom of this blog and take a look at the map I added with the locations of several things we've read or learned about. Try zooming in on them.
4. As you can see I still need locations for many of the things we've read. Use the time line in class and find me locations for several more texts. When you think you know send me an e-mail.
5. Tomorrow we will look at Thoreau again so you need to know more about him. Use the links on the Thoreau Links page to explore more. Add an entry to your English journal about something interesting you found out.
6. Now is also a great time to make sure your English journal looks great. Are all of your entries dated? Thoughtful? Anything in there you need to finish up?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

William Byrd

Good morning,
Welcome back to Tuesday. When we left last week we were reading through Of Plymouth Plantation to see what William Bradford thought about Massachusetts when the Pilgrims arrived on The Mayflower in November of 1620.

Today we will look at another colonial writer, William Byrd. He wrote about Virgina about 100 years later. His text is dense and might be challenging for you. I suggest that you either A. paste it into a new text template and annotate it as you go or B. paste it into a new blank google doc and annotate it as you go.

You are looking for quotes that show what Byrd thought about nature and the landscape he was writing about. Find at least four and paste them into your English Journal. Make sure you put them in quotation marks and EXPLAIN WHY EACH QUOTE SHOWS SOMETHING OF HIS VIEW OF THE NATURAL WORLD. Do not paste his entire text into your English Journal, just the four quotes and your explanation is all you should have there.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday 2/6

It's Friday. Lets take a quiz.

Then we will read more of the text we started yesterday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thursday 2/5

Good morning,
Because I have many new students this semester it is time to update my data records. All students, (yes, even if you have been her since September,) should click the link below and fill out the data form please.
Student Data Form

We have seen a bit about how Native Americans viewed their natural world. Now let us look at how one European, William Bradford, viewed North America when his group arrived in 1620. Today you will read an excerpt from his book Of Plymouth Plantation. You will use your text template (in Google docs) to annotate the text as we read.Link
And just to make sure we all have enough to do today... Lets start that spreadsheet for new vocabulary that I showed you about yesterday and add some of the words on the board. Don't forget to share it with me.

Nature Quotes

These are some things you wrote in your English journals about nature on Monday.

Nature listens to my problems.
Nature is good for the earth.
I've tried to pick so many roses so many. At the time no one told me that they had thorns.
Nature is filled with adventure!
Nature isn't always a positive thing.
I wonder what goes on in nature when no one is around to see what happens.
Flowers can be nature to.
I think nature is nice.
I personally, do not like nature, because also when I think of nature, I think of nasty bugs and my feet getting all muddy.
Everything in nature was the stepping stones to the creation to all that we have now.
The wind is just as mysterious as fire or water.

Native American Orgin Myth

Good morning,
Yesterday I asked you to reflect on what you think about nature. Today you will read an old Iroquois legend about the origin of the world. Pay attention to what this myth says about the Iroquois view of the natural world. When we finish the reading you will write your thoughts in your English journal.

The World On The Turtle's Back

Extra option: Search google images for pictures that connect to what you wrote yesterday and today and add them to your English journal.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Second Semester begins Here!

Good morning,
Go to your English journal and write 100 words about what you think about nature. What is nature? Do you like nature? What is nature good for? What do you wonder about nature? Those are just some sample questions to help you get thinking.

Then visit some of these short stories. Read three and write about one in your English Journal. They are all really good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leaked test questions...shhhh!!

Tuesday and Wednesday's questions are gone. Maybe you can find a friend who still has them. Here are a few for Thursday. And you all know how bad my memory is. It is possible that some of these questions are the same as questions I posted on Tuesday. I apologize if I'm repeating myself. Don't forget to bring a pencil and notebook paper on Friday.

1. He was always an ethical person.
a. miserly
b. thoughtful c. moral d. stubborn

2. What happens to Abigail at the end of The Crucible?
a. She marries John Peters
b. She leaves town suddenly
c. She gets pregnant
d. She goes to jail and then gets hung

3. Which description of Rodrick Usher best foreshadows his death?
a. "His air appalled me. . . ."
b. ". . . an eye large, liquid, and luminous. . . ."
c. "The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow. . . ."
d. "His countenance was . . . cadaverously wan. . . ."

4. In The Raven what is it that the bird keeps repeating? a. Lenore b. nothing more c. nevermore d. forevermore

5. Thoreau says that the only obligation he has to assume is to:
a. Support the government b. obey all laws
c. do what he thinks is right d. accept the majority rule

PS I'm grading your short stories and most of them are really good. I've been handing out A's like candy because they are just that good. I'm going to feature some of my absolute favorites in my next blog post.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reviewing for the Final

Good Morning! Welcome to finals week. Our final for American Lit will be Friday, but I want you to get started on studying if you haven't already.
Many of you have been asking me how you should study and I have repeatedly suggested you go back and review the blog from September until now. How many of you have done that? Good. Today I'm going to give you time to review a little more.
I've moved the blog archive up to the top of the right hand side so you can find it easy. See it right over there >>>>>>
Now open up your English Journal on another side of your cube and then you can switch back and forth.
Go back to September (use the 2008 link) and review the things we read and did.
In your EJ make notes about what we read in September. Then do the same for October, November, December and January.
Don't forget to check the blog Tuesday afternoon for leaked test questions. There will be new ones on Wednesday and Thursday too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Emerson and Thoreau

This week we have begun to follow the the tradition of thought that leads to change. Emerson and Thoreau were contemporaries and friends. Emerson's ideas in Self Reliance lead to Thoreau's thoughts in Civil Disobedience. The actual text of Self Reliance is much longer than the excerpt in our textbook. With the help of Francis, my fabulous assistant, I now have a webpage for you with an excerpt that matches what is in our textbook. For those of you who have not been with us this week I have added some questions at the end to help you think about it. For those of you attempting (admirably) to study for your final I have highlighted some of my favorite phrases. You can thank me later.
Excerpt from Self Reliance
Excerpt from Civil Disobedience

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday 1/16

Your final drafts of your short stories are due today. Are you ready to publish yours?

Please take this quiz!

Then publish your story and paste the link to it in a comment on this blog post. I will approve your comment and then others will be able to read your story.

If you wish to read your story to the class for extra credit please let me know.

Earlier this week I asked Francis to find some good articles about the inauguration. By the time I see you again on Tuesday we will have a new president. Visit these sites or some you find yourself and see what you can learn about that.
A cool countdown.
This is about security concerns.
These are some really wonderful poems people have written about the inauguration. One is by Alice Walker.
Talks about how much the inauguration will cost.
could use it as a cool side note. The Obama App
Obama picked pastor Rick Warren to deliver inauguration invocation.Link
Who will be there what will he do when its over and his his theme.