We began the new unit yesterday, watching a short video about the time period of the 1920′s and 1930′s and the Harlem Renaissance.  Today, we read pages 910-911 about the Harlem Renaissance and then pages 912-913 about Zora Neale Hurston.  Monday we will start the story Dust Tracks on the Road.

We looked at some pictures of Harlem on Google Maps.  That was fun.

Below this is the Online Writing Lab’s sample of what the page should look like.


Problem formatting?  Hint: use a hanging indent.  In Word, it’s in the paragraph settings.

Below is the citation machine that allows you to just enter the information and it puts it the way that MLA wants.  So easy!


Getting near the end of the research paper.  I started this thing called a wiki for the class.  Basically, a wiki is a webpage that others can access and even edit.  If you want to be able to add to the class wiki, or have an idea how we could use it, let me know.   Here’s the address.


Right now I’m putting the rubric and the standard for the research paper on there.

It has, obviously, been very tough to be consistent.  But, try try again.

The students are supposed to be working on their research papers.  Some are and some aren’t.  It’s been a little frustrating.  I realize it’s a tough assignment, but it is grade level work.

I am happy to help anyone that needs it.  Students should also remember that I am tutoring in the library after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

We started a new unit yesterday.  Students took Cornell notes on pages 560 – 563 about Mark Twain’s life.  Then, they did a four part vocab activity with the Vocabulary Development words on page 563.  (The four parts are writing the word’s definition, the sentence from the story with the word, a synonym or antonym for the word, and a quick picture to help remember the word.)

After, students were to read “Life on the Mississippi” on page 564-568.

Today, at the beginning of class, students watched a video about Mark Twain.  Here are some excerpts:







Don’t forget the homework.  Review the day’s notes, read for 20 minutes, freewrite for 10 minutes, then have your parents sign off that you did it.


We are back into the swing of things.  Yesterday we looked back a little bit and looked forward.  Students made resolutions of things they would like to change for the better this semester.  I made a couple resolutions myself.  Number one is that students will take notes EVERY DAY in class.  Number two is that students will  have HOMEWORK EVERY DAY.

Today we reviewed (or introduced, if you never saw it before) Cornell Notes.  We had a PowerPoint presentation that I adapted for class.  You can watch it here, if it helps you.  Cornell Notes student presentation

For homework, every day, students will do the following:

1. Review their notes from the day and write a summary at the bottom of the last page of the day’s notes.

2. Read for 20 minutes literature of your choosing.  Keep a reading log of the author’s name and title of what you read.

3. Write for 10 minutes in a blog or journal.

4. Have parents sign off the reading log and the notes summary.

Turn these in every Friday.  Reading logs will be checked off on Fridays.

Yes it has.  We are winding down the year.  Nine school days remain in the semester.  We are in midst of working on Emily Dickinson’s poems.  I’m attaching a copy of my song adaptation of “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” that we played in class.  Now you can bump it at home or in the car.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death (vocal)\

So, there you go.  Enjoy.

Today in class we will be continuing the SIFTT exercise looking at Symbols, Imagery, Figurative Language, Tone and Theme in cooperative groups (Jigsaw activity).  Students will leave their Specialist groups and go back to their Home groups to share what they learned.  Students will be finishing their individual SIFTT pages, probably today.

We read “The Raven” and “The Devil and Tom Walker.” Also, we had grammar work from pages 335-344 exercises 8,9,10, 11 and 19, 20, 21.

Today, we begain “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.” page 972 of the literature book.

We are working on the story, “The Devil and Tom Walker.”  Our standard for this is Reading 3.3 which says a student will be able to:

Analyze the ways in which irony, mood, tone, the author’s style, and the “sound” of language achieve specific rhetorical or aesthetic purposes or both.

 So, students will be working on being able to do that.  Ideally, they would do a t-chart, at least, to prove they can analyze mood/tone/language use etc. but I will allow them to do the questions after the story, instead, if they are looking for a simpler assignment.  There will be a differentiation in the grade to reflect the diminished difficulty of the assignment.


Today in class, we went over the questions on page 393, if the students had questions.  Then, we read The Snowstorm, on page 395, and students were to answer questions 1-5 on page 396.

In Self-Reliance, we learn that Emerson believes people should decide for themselves who they are, what they do, and what is good.  He says that this is the ultimate expression of “manhood,” or, as I interpret it, maturity.  We are fully-realizing our own potential when we are putting our whole heart and talent into our work.  He also says we need to find our own way and not conform to the norms and rules of society so we can be our best selves.

We can see some of the Transcendentalist ideas very obviously in this piece.  First and foremost is the idea that we can intuitively understand great truths.  Emerson talks about how there is nothing as sacred as the integrity of your own mind.  That is, you don’t need scripture or dogma to tell you what is right because you can figure it out on your own by being true to yourself.

Emerson also talk about the importance of the individual over society/the institution.  He says that society is averse to self-reliance, that it most requests conformity.  You can’t be yourself if you are following rules made by others.  Society asks you to give up your self and play your part for the betterment of others.  But, as he points out earlier, this is a sure way to find dissatisfaction in your life.

Next Page »