This and that

Ah, winter break — family time, catching up on pleasure reading, walking in the snow, sleeping in until 8 AM, drinking way too much coffee…

It’s been a week since I’ve seen any of you, so the number of things I want to share is mounting. Hence this post, filled with a smorgasbord of updates and observations.

First, I should remind sophomores that I was a big meanie and scheduled vocabulary quizzes for our first day back (that’s one day from today). You know what to do with that information.

And seniors, I hope you’ve read and responded to your article of the super-mega-extended week by now.


While it won’t be as spectacular as when I returned from the NCTE convention in November, there will be another deluge of new books on my classroom shelves next week… Santa was good to us. We also have a WORKING electric pencil sharpener and BATTERIES for the light saber.

I’ve read (to be honest, I should say finished — I was halfway through three of these before break started) a few very attention-grabbing books so far over break: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, London Under by Peter Ackroyd, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. I recommend them all.

And finally, a great quote from a cartoon I read today:

“People aren’t ‘disappeared’ in America! Only in lawless dictatorships can intransitive verbs be used to make passive verb forms.”

(source: “Tom the Dancing Bug” by Ruben Bolling, posted 12/20/11 on the blog

Enjoy your second half of break. I look forward to seeing you when we return on January 5th!

Pre-AP Midterm Study Guide

I didn’t pass it out in class today, so here it is for your exam-prep enjoyment over break (thanks for your patience): Pre-AP MIDTERM SG 2011-12 .

Weekend Homework, 12/16 – 12/18

English II (7th period) students: Don’t  forget about Monday’s vocabulary quiz! Also, the prewriting assignment  for your persuasive letter is due on Monday. Here it is:   E2 persuasive letter

Seniors (study this for Tuesday’s test): Study for Tuesday’s test. E4 MA Test Review

Senior Vocab List #14

1.) asunder (adv.) — into parts and pieces

2.) indissolubly (adv.) — unable to be destroyed; permanently

3.) emphatic (adj.) — showing or giving enthusiastic emphasis

4.) communal (adj.) — shared by all members of a community; for common use

5.) zenith (n.) — the highest point reached by a celestial body or other object

6.) blasphemy (n.)  — the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk

7.) abject (adj.) — extremely bad, unpleasant, or degrading

8.)  solecism (n.) — a grammatical mistake in speech or writing; a breach of good manners; a piece of incorrect behavior

9.) precipice (n.) — a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one

10.) patronize (v.) — the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk

11.) resonant (adj.) — (of sound) deep, clear, and continuing to sound or ring

12.) coquettish (adj.) — flirtatious

13.) undulation (n.) — a smooth, wavelike motion

14.) obliquely (adv.) — indirectly

15.) labyrinth (n.) — a maze

16.) sonorous (adj.) — imposingly deep or full (as in a sound)

17.) palpitating (v. or adj.) — shaking, trembling

18.) mirth (n.) — amusement, as expressed in laughter

19.) aquiline (adj.) — curved downward, like an eagle’s beak

 (yes, I took out one word from the original list)

Presentation Guide for Seniors

For those of you already working together this weekend, here are the guidelines that will be in Monday’s handout:

STEPS TWO & THREE: Collaboration/Presentation

Let’s begin with the end in mind. Here’s what I’ll consider while assessing your presentation:

  • Is it obvious that the group is fluent in their knowledge of the tale, its teller, and its context?
  • Does each group member make a significant contribution to the presentation?
  • Do the members of the group exhibit clarity and professionalism while speaking?
  • Does the presentation effectively sell the tale to the audience as both entertaining and educational?
  • Are all of the requirements fulfilled?

These criteria apply whether the presentation is live or on video.

Guidelines & Requirements:

1.)  You must address EACH of the following individually: the character’s portrait given by the Host the general prologue; the prologue to your pilgrim’s tale; and the tale itself.

  1. Include the information you gathered in step 1.
  2. Demonstrate how the three relate to each other would be a plus.
  3. Augmenting your summaries of the portrait and prologue with a visual aide or multimedia presentation would also be a plus (e.g. a Prezi or PowerPoint with images, appropriate music, etc.).

2.)  The portrait and the prologue may be summarized; however, the tale itself must be dramatized. This may be done as live action in front of the class OR filmed and shown during class.

* You may act it out, animate it, do a puppet show, use action figures, Legos, Barbie dolls… be creative! Just remember that your MAIN GOAL is to convey the tale to your audience – don’t do anything that will distract too much from that.

* You may set the tale in a different time period if you wish (á la your Romeo & Juliet project in 9th grade), but do not need to

* You MUST have at least one line from each main character remain exactly as it is in the text.

3.)  Presentations should be at least five minutes long, but no longer than 15 minutes.

4.)  Please work out all technical issues well before your day/time to present.

5.) If you are making a video, you must submit a copy of it BEFORE the presentation — 2nd period Reeve, Miller, Friar, and Summoner presenters, this means  before school starts that morning. Ninth period presenters of the same tales, this means by the end of 6th period on Monday. Please don’t wait until the last minute.


Due Date & Presentation Order:

  • Groups will present on Monday, December 12th and Tuesday, December 13th.
  • In order to preserve the narrative integrity of The Canterbury Tales, groups must go in the following order:

1.)  The Miller

2.)  The Reeve

3.)  The Friar

4.)  The Summoner

5.)  The Merchant

6.)  The Nun’s Priest

7.)  The Manciple


Following the last presentation, we’ll complete step four: Evaluation & Reflection.

And then…

…drum roll, please…

we will vote on which tale fulfills the Host’s request to the fullest extent.

No, you may not vote for your own tale.

Yes, I will monitor who votes for which tale.

No, I will not tell anyone who voted for which tale.

Yes, this is going to be awesome!











VCW clarification for Pre-AP

First period: still due Friday
Third period: due Monday (you will receive your instructions tomorrow… WordPress is back to not letting me upload media. Sigh.)