Senior Vocab List #12 (words from 1984)

1.)     debauchery — (n.) indulgent or immoral behavior

2.)     bourgeoisie — (n. pl.) middle-class people who exploit those beneath them for materialistic purposes

3.)     superfluous — (adj.) unnecessary; more than is needed

4.)     spurious — (adj.) not genuine

5.)     tenets — (n. pl.) important beliefs

6.)     copious — (adj.) abundant

7.)     malleable — (adj.) bendable or moldable; easily influenced

8.)     sententious — (adj.) full of aphorism; overly moralizing

9.)     abstruse — (adj.) obscure

10.)   prosaic — (adj.) — straightforward, lacking imagination, resembling prose

11.)   cumbersome — (adj.) heavy or bulky; complicated or problematic

12.)   repudiate — (adj.) to disown, deny, or reject, esp. on the basis of being invalid

Back from NCTE

Thank you for putting up with me being gone for half of last week.

I can assure you the conference I attended in Chicago was well worth it — I spent four days with hundreds of other English teachers and YA librarians from around the country. I participated in workshops and round table activities, attended presentations by leaders in the English teaching field, reunited with my summer in London 2010 colleagues, and got TONS of publisher swag. I’m returning to school next week refreshed with many new ideas for teaching writing & reading, not to mention laden with dozens of new books for the classroom (many of which won’t be officially published until this spring or summer — lucky you!).

Oh. I suppose I should also tell you I schmoozed with  John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sharon DraperCarolyn Mackler, Tim O’Brien, M.T. Anderson, Walter Dean Myers, Gareth Hinds, Jacqueline Woodson, and several other authors. I am still swooning. Your friends Jay Asher was there and I got two copies of his new book that isn’t getting released until tomorrow.  Chris Crutcher was also at the conference, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. I was hoping to meet Maureen Johnson, but she had to cancel at the last minute. Oh well.

See you all tomorrow for our two last days before Thanksgiving break!


Senior vocab…

Since I was out of the building three days out of last week, here is a review of the five most immediately important (they appear in your current article of the week):

altruistic (adj.) — unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others

parable (n.) – a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

contravene (v.) – to come or be in conflict with; go or act against; deny or oppose (esp. a rule or law)

solidarity (n.) – union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples, etc.:

impunity (n.)  – exemption from punishment or other negative consequences



Oops, I told an accidental mistruth in the title of my last post. I will actually see you again before Thanksgiving — on Monday & Tuesday of next week, to be exact.

Tomorrow’s my last day with you until after Thanksgiving. Be prepared!

We had so many interruptions today I’m just going to have to list what to expect tomorrow for each class period:

1st period:   No class today.  Be ready for your vocabulary quiz tomorrow!

2nd period: At least I got to check your Wife of Bath homework today… we’ll go over it tomorrow. I’ll also be explaining & assigning your group projects.

3rd period: Quick group activity tomorrow (be sure you have your handwriting/cursive articles with you); also; we’ll go over your new vocabulary unit.

7th period: BIG review day tomorrow. Come ready to take notes and ask questions!

9th period: I’ll be checking your Wife of Bath homework from Friday (questions A-J on p. 164-173 and 1-4 on p. 174 in your textbook). We’ll also review some reading strategies before you’re assigned your group project tales.



Dear ninth period seniors,

A few of you have asked me today if I am still going to post this week’s vocabulary words — the ones you have a quiz over in a few short hours. This reminds me of a conversation we had in class when I first presented the words to you last week.


I pointed out that refusing to rake notes or participate in class because you plan to “just get it online later” is not a practice I want to enable. It shows a poor work ethic and lack of respect for the teacher, but when you choose to do this you’re cheating yourself.

Simply printing out the words the day before (or of) the quiz, memorizing them quickly, and forgetting them right after the quiz is NOT learning. It may help you get a passing quiz grade, but it will not make you a more interesting, well-rounded, fluent human being. Writing the words by hand, hearing them spoken, listening to contextual and anecdotal explanations, and having the opportunity to ask questions about them are all important activities that cultivate layers of understanding in your brain. Words are tools you can use to solve a great many problems later in life. If you voluntarily neglect to stock your toolbox now, you’re going to have problems being an effective communicator in the future.

(I’ll pause for a moment to let you reflect.)






(Still thinking? Great!)



(Yes, your words ARE posted, but there’s a little more for you to read first…)




While I have your attention, I’d like to address one more thing about the proper use of content uploaded to this blog. When I post course materials specifically for you to print out at home and bring to class, I intend for you to print them AT HOME.

Why is that so important, you ask?

One of my reasons for uploading study guides and other assignments is to conserve the district’s paper and toner (read: your families’ and neighbors’ tax dollars). When you print in the LMC, Mac Lab, or elsewhere in this building, you are nullifying my efforts and frustrating a large number of people who are collectively trying to save resources. I realize that a handful of you do not have printers available at home, but it’s a SMALL handful that is grossly disproportionate to the number of students printing here on an almost daily basis. Please consider the impact of your actions and plan ahead.


Thank you for reading this far. I apologize to those of you who already embrace the lessons learned above, but I simply could not in good conscience post last week after we had that conversation and a few people still didn’t do anything during class on vocabulary day. Please remember in the future that this blog is a supplement to, not replacement for, class participation.



1.)   eddy – (n. or v.) a circular movement of water or air; to form an eddy

2.)   balk – (v.) to hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking

3.)   vista – (n.) (1) a pleasing view, esp. one seen through a long, narrow opening : a vista of church spires. (2) a mental view of a succession of remembered or anticipated events : vistas of freedom seemed to open ahead of him.

4.)   corrugated (adj.) – shaped into alternating ridges & grooves

5.)   sordid (adj.) – dirty or squalid (in either a physical or mental sense)

6.)   archaic (adj.) – extremely old; no longer used due to age

7.)   furtive (adj.) – purposely hidden or secretive; covert

8.)   strident (adj.) – loud, harsh

9.)   interminable (adj.) – Unable to be destroyed; permanent

10.) nebulous (adj.) – hazy, cloudy; not clearly defined

11.) adherents (n. pl.) – followers of a belief system

12.) orthodox (adj.) – strict traditional beliefs considered to be

13.) formidable (adj.) – large, considerable; inspiring respect or fear due to size, strength, or powers

14.) urbane (adj.) – suave, smooth, worldly

15.) zealota person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

More F451 Extras for Pre-AP

In addition to Nick Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, you need to view this talk by the author of The Paradox of Choice (we did this in class on Tuesday 11/8) and complete this corresponding worksheet.

Finally, after reading the excerpt from Everything Bad is Good for You I handed out in class, you need to respond to the following two questions before class on Thursday:

1.) According to author Steven Johnson, what are the cognitive benefits of playing video games?

2.) How are his arguments in line with and/or in opposition to arguments made in Fahrenheit 451, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, and The Paradox of Choice?

Joy to the World, I Can Upload Media!

Thanks to Mr. Wherley’s patient detective work, I am now able to link to other websites and upload documents to this site. We’re back in business!

Here are your updates for today:

Pre-AP English: Don’t worry, the results of your Fahrenheit 451 objective test aren’t half as bad as I heard you predicting as you walked out of class today. I’m not done grading all of them yet, but will be soon and will post them as soon as possible.

Please study for Monday’s vocabulary quiz and get going on your response journal essay, which is due Tuesday.

English IV:  All you need to do this weekend is to write your thank-you letter to the person who interviewed you on Thursday. Remember to stamp & address the envelope, but do NOT seal it. I need to check what you wrote so I can give you credit for it.

English II: You don’t have homework this weekend! I do, however, recommend reading your IR book and looking over your Fahrenheit 451 notes/study guides. Your test over all of Fahrenheit 451 will be on Thursday.

Happy weekend! Be safe and healthy.

Pre-AP Study Hints

Here are some more specific study hints:

  • Review study guide questions for all three sections of the book.
  • Consider symbolic nature of the following character names: Granger, Faber, Guy Montag, and Clarisse
  • Mythological allusions: Hercules & Antaeus, Prometheus, Daedalus & Icarus
  • Consider the cultural context of the novel’s creation – early 1950’s America.
  • Understand the relation of the novel to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
  • Examine the physical descriptions of characters (especially Clarisse and Mildred)
  • Compare and contrast the character development of Mildred and Clarisse (how is the language used to describe them different?)
  • Shakespearean allusions  — The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice
  • Compare and contrast Beatty and Granger
  • Be aware of the following motifs and their significance: insects /birds/flying things, eyes/sight,  good and bad fire, juxtaposition of mechanical/natural elements, snakes/serpents, etc.
  • Biblical allusions: the Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, the Sermon on the Mount, Tower of Babel, Sodom & Gomorrah
  • How the “American Dream” is represented in this novel?
  • The use of literary devices by the author: simile. synaesthesia, metaphor, personification, etc.  (figurative language is very important — what is the “earthquake”? How does Montag suffer a “concussion?”)
  • Compare and contrast Clarisse and Faber
  • Symbols : hearth, sieve/sand, salamander, phoenix, the number 451, parlor “family”, seashells, mirrors, mechanical hound, etc.
  • Science fiction genre
  • Faber’s three things
  • How is the river (in Burning Bright) significant?
  • How is Mildred described?

Fahrenheit 451 Test Study Hints

  • Know who’s who: it’s never enough to remember “that guy” was married to “that lady.” Character list: Guy Montag, Mildred, Clarisse McClellan, Capt. Beatty, Faber, Granger, Mr. Black, The Mechanical Hound, Mrs. Phelps, Mrs. Bowles…
  • There will be several questions about imagery, figures of speech, and other literary devices. In each of them you will be provided with a quotation containing one or more literary device and asked to identify or interpret it/them.
  • Symbols: this novel is PACKED with symbolism. Consider the following:
    • the names of each of the three parts
    • characters’ names
    • the salamander
    • the phoenix
    • different kinds of light
    • different kinds of fire
  • Motifs – you’ll get extensive notes on these in class tomorrow.
  • Themes — you’ll get extensive notes on these in class tomorrow.
  • Allusions – revisit the Power Point notes you have.