3rd Period Pre-AP: Important AR News for Second Semester

For either your February 17th or April 7th AR book, you must read one of the following:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Amongst Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  (or Persuasion, or Mansfield Park)

EVERYONE will also need to read one of these books for your final AR selection of the year (due May 19th). This means that between now and the end of the year, you need to read any TWO of the books on this list.

This list is compiled of books that have a high level of frequency on the AP Lit test, have appeared on the College Board’s list of books for college-bound students, are present on the reading lists of nearby public and private schools, and that I personally/professionally believe are developmentally appropriate and valuable in helping my students gain insight into the world we occupy.

That said, please be forewarned that some of the books contain small amounts of language that occasionally a parent finds objectionable (however, the anxiety usually subsides once the overall literary merit of the work is considered). I encourage you to keep an open dialogue with your parents about what you are reading, and to feel free to approach me with any problems or questions that arise as a result.

“Words can be like x-rays if you use them right. You read and you’re pierced.”

Brave New World by Aldus Huxley

Pre-AP Exam Essay Question

As indicated in class, there will be an objective portion of your midterm exam AND a written portion. Each will take approximately half of the exam period.

I have provided you with the essay prompt in advance so that you can prepare your ideas, but the essay itself must be generated DURING THE EXAM PERIOD. Please do not bring a completed essay to class with you; you will not be permitted to use it.

The prompt and evaluation criteria are:

In the space provided, please compose an essay that explores the similarities and differences between any TWO of the following characters: Clarisse McClellan, Antigone, Scout Finch, Peyton Bragg.

Your essay should consist of 4-6 paragraphs, including an introduction and conclusion. Be sure to use specific examples from both pieces of literature to substantiate your claims.

Your writing will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Content – Ideas should be logical, insightful, and sufficiently supported.

Organization – Your essay should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Each major argument should be developed in its own paragraph. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth and effective.

Sentence Fluency – The structure of your sentences should enhance, not encumber, your message.

Conventions — Your punctuation, capitalization, usage, etc. should adhere to generally accepted rules and not interfere with the reader’s understanding.

Word choice – Diction should be varied, accurate, and fresh.

Voice – Each of the above criteria contribute to creating voice. Does the reader get the impression that the essay was produced by a machine, or by a human? Are cliches abused? Are arguments predictable? Is sentence structure stale? These are elements that the mature writer should avoid.

Time for a field trip to Oxford!

Well, a virtual one at least.

Visiting the Bodleian Library at Oxford is one of my favorite memories of this past summer spent in the UK, so I often peek at their website for some wistful reminiscing.

And last week, a link to this special exhibition popped up. Perfect timing! Seniors who are currently studying Frankenstein with me can explore the myriad resources, including images of Mary Shelley’s handwritten manuscript of the novel (note all of the edits and revisions — no one writes it entirely right the first time!). You may also be interested in viewing and/or listening to the letters exchanged between family members, the journal entries reflecting on events we’ve discussed in class, and for the morbidly curious, perhaps even the several documents related to Harriet Shelley’s suicide.


(And for the record, yes, I hope to someday take a group of students abroad over the summer.)

New Movie Plans for The Maze Runner

Many students loved reading the book The Maze Runner by James Dashner last year when Mrs. Janosek picked it as a book club feature. As of this week, it’s officially slated to be made into a movie — let’s hope it turns out good!


Seniors: Midterm Exam Vocabulary Exercise

Remember to complete these questions before class tomorrow!

1.)Which EIGHT of the vocabulary words are individual PEOPLE? (Bonus: there are also 3 that are groups of people).

2.)Which of the verbs are KIND actions? (10)

3.)Which of the verbs are things you would do if you were ANGRY? (10)

4.)Which words relate to STARTING or STOPPING something? (9)

5.)Which vocabulary words have to do with MONEY? (6 possibilities, perhaps 7)

Senior Midterm Content Outline

Exam week will creep up on us quickly. Start studying NOW if you haven’t already!

English IV Midterm Study Hints

Frankenstein Ch. 12-15

Seniors, your reading assignments for this week are as follows:

1.) Read ch. 13 & 14 for Thursday, and

2.) Read ch. 15 & 16 for Friday.

Here is an outline of the material in the PowerPoint we started in class today and will finish tomorrow. You may wish to print it out and bring it to class with you.

Frank 12-15 ppt outline

Study Hints for Pre-AP Midterm

If you were absent or need another copy, here are your study hints and vocabulary words for your English midterm: 2010-11 Pre-AP Midterm SG.

Vocabulary for English IV Midterm

Seniors, your words can be downloaded HERE

You will notice that all but two of the words I chose as fair game for the midterm are nouns and verbs. Why? As always, there’s a reason behind the decision. We study vocabulary for several purposes, most of which can be sorted into one of two categories: (1) To help you understand what you read, and (2) To help you be a better writer/speaker. In this particular case, I’ve put the emphasis on nouns and verbs as a way to work on the second category. One of the best ways to strengthen your writing is to use SPECIFIC nouns and verbs rather than long strings of adjectives and adverbs. I’m hoping that directing you to revisit these particular vocabulary words will encourage you to remember and use them in the future (as always, heaven help you if you use the words “thing” or “stuff” in a writing assignment! 🙂 )