Period Five – English 9 College Prep



Independent Reading for

September 2008


Select any book of around 200 pages that you have an interest in reading.  The book may be fiction or non-fiction, on any topic you desire.  It may be a novel or it may be a on a topic that interests because of your career or personal aspirations.  You might ask a parent, friend or older sibling for a recommendation.  Of course, the book should be appropriate for school as well as your age and interest. If you are in honors or interested in moving to the honors level next year, it is recommended that you challenge yourself with so-called great books, the  books that you should have read by the time you reach AP English testing.


Then read actively, perhaps using the list of prompts.  Keep notes during your active reading process.  Do not merely retell plot – repetition is a lower order thinking skill.  Instead, make connections to other books, movies or stories.  Describe how the book reminds you of a personal experience or the experience of someone you know.  Relate the book to other reading or things you have learned.  Display awareness of what is happening in your head while you read; your mental activity is the sign of the work of decoding (reading) the text and developing meaning.


Your journals will be reviewed and the notes you accumulate through active reading will be the basis of your grade for this activity.


Reading must be completed by the week of October 1st; journals will be collected and reviewed that week.


Prompts for Active Reading Responses


Every time you read, use your journals or notebooks

(or post-its) to actively explore the literature. 


First write the date, title of book (or shorthand for it), and pages just read. (or stick a post-it sufficiently large for writing and add just the date – add the title and page now or later when transferring to notebooks)

Then write a response, perhaps using one of the following prompts:


Ø      What is confusing or not understood about the reading just completed?

Ø      What is surprising or shocking about the reading?

Ø      Write directly to the author or a character and express any feelings about the course of events in the book.

Ø      “this reminds me of...”

·         something in my personal life

·         something in my family

·         something in the news/ current events

·         something previously read or studied

Ø      What words need to be defined? Find definitions.

Ø      What words/ sentences/ passages impress you so much you would like to remember them? Write those words down. What makes the words important to you?

Ø      Write the subtext or inner thoughts for a character in a particular scene.

Ø      Try to understand the setting or a scene better – draw a picture in your journal (that’s tough to do on a post-it…)

Ø       Write a eulogy for a character that has died.

Ø      What portion made you laugh out loud?

 -- made you cry?  -- or angry? etc.

Ø      Look for motifs and repetition. What emerging symbols, events, characters are utilized to convey the meaning or theme of the literature?

Ø      “This character reminds me of…”

·         a friend, a family member, etc.

·         a character from another book, movie, etc.

NOTE: Do not merely retell the plot or story line.

(Retelling is a lower level thinking skill; use more of your mental ability!)





ASAP – identify a book for your initial independent reading.  See the guidelines above.  Journals that reflect your active reading will be collected during the first week of October.


For Friday, 9/12/08 Submit final draft of character sketch of classmate.


For Monday, 9/15/08 Complete exercises in UNIT ONE of Vocabulary Workshop, pages 24-25.  Do not complete the last two sets of exercises.

                        ADMONISH --->  UNBRIDLED


ALSO FOR MONDAY- look through photo albums or collections to find a picture which may prompt a memory of a time that may be suitable as your topic for the personal narrative you will be creating as an initial writing piece in our writer’s workshop.


CONTINUE AND FINISH the relationship web which we started to create in our journals during Friday’s class.


On Monday evening, 9/15: continue expanding through free writing what you discovered during the process of listing

meaningful events from your life:

10 best things that ever happened in my life;

10 worst things that ever happened in my life;

10 things I am most proud of accomplishing or achieving;

10 greatest learning experiences of my life (in life or in school).

Free write using more details from two or three of the life events captured in the lists created today.  The free writing will help you to determine how much material you may have for writing your personal narrative.  Remember: details often drive our enjoyment of literature. Our personal narratives should be full of details to make our experiences specific and engaging.


For Thursday, 9/18/08: Initial draft of Personal Narrative due.


For Friday, 9/19/08: quiz on the words from Unit One of Vocabulary Workshop.  Matching, sentence completion, antonyms and synonyms.


For Thursday, 10/2 Personal Narratives complete – “Read Around” finished work in class.


For Monday, 10/6 Complete exercises on pp31-32 ONLY in Unit II of Vocabulary Workshop. In-class review.


For Monday, 10/6 Submit journals for review of classwork and response logs on your independent reading book.


For Monday, 10/13 Vocabulary quiz on Unit II of Vocabulary Workshop



Share the title with me as soon as possible!


For Monday 10/20


Describe at least one lesson imparted through Homer’s The Iliad based upon your reading. Explain the lesson or moral truth the poet offered to Greek youths in ancient times.  Furthermore, explain how this lesson may be applicable to lives of people today.  Homer’s stories are still being told today (witness the film “Troy” created in 2004), so what are the moral truths we may take away from his tales in the contemporary world? WRITE ABOUT ONE PAGE.


ALSO- Be certain you have the definitions of the nine vocabulary words which are pulled from Homer’s text. (See page two of the Iliad reprint that you have.)


 For our next meeting (10/22):

GOOGLE one or more of the Greek gods’ names in the popular search engine website and see what you discover about the various gods.  Try to focus on modern references and uses of the names as products or elements of the cultural world.  What do you see as the possible connection between the ancient god and the modern usage  you have uncovered?  Write in your journal about this search.





Journals containing notes, classwork, homework and Reading Response Log to your outside independent reading selection will be collected according to the following schedule:


Period One:  Wednesday, 11/17

Period Two: Thursday, 11/18

Period Five:  Friday, 11/19

Period Eight: Monday, 11/24


Please submit the journals in a timely manner; they will be promptly returned.  If you have missed the journal or reading response log submission of a month ago, you must submit work earlier to be included in first  marking period grades.  Change the ZERO to a positive grade!


Odyssey Presentations:


Group presentations to teach assigned books of The Odyssey will take place the first two weeks of November.  You should have pre-read the books to be presented, in order of their appearance in Homer’s text.  The class presentations will offer you a review and explanation of the details of the text that may have been unclear in your initial reading.  Note vocabulary words as well as character names and possible themes/lessons imparted in the books.  The class presentations offer note-taking opportunities to further understand the epic poem and its continued implications to life today.


Rubric for the teaching presentations of THE ODYSSEY



Period  1   5   8





Rubric for the group project of teaching The Odyssey:









Telling the Story:

*Clear, audible

fairly clear

harder to hear

lacking clear



effective support

some support

support not




visual/ vocal fully



lacking support










Mostly complete


Missing too



nothing omitted



too much



*Enlivened telling


So what…

















tossed together






















to support and
























*Clearly present-

Missed some

Many missed



ed and explained







Less clearly





to today clearly





























Vocal Strength



Use of Materials































Group Members:




Choose a new book for the monthly independent reading challenge.  Remember to read actively, making responses to the reading while you progress through the book.  Journals will next be collected in the first week of January 2009.



12/1/08 Monday Test on The Odyssey. You may use your journals to write the test, but only your journals.  The questions are listed below.  Also listed here are the words from recent vocabulary challenges drawn from The Odyssey and the first two units of Vocabulary Workshop.  You will have to incorporate 8 (EIGHT) of the words into your open-ended responses on the test.


The questions:


Write a brief, open-ended response to any TWO of the following FIVE open-ended questions:


  1. Odysseus is assisted by the gods in his efforts to get home and reclaim his kingdom; the gods also hinder these efforts. Describe and explain with specific details from the text how the gods either assist or deter his journey.  Focus on and explain at least two incidents in which the gods assist him OR two incidents in which the gods hinder him.


  1. Choose two lessons that The Odyssey imparts to readers.  Be specific in your explanation of the events that create the lesson and how they may be important to people today.


  1. The screenplay of the film “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” is adapted from Homer’s The Odyssey. In a brief but specifically detailed response, explain how three different elements of The Odyssey are adapted in the modern film and what makes the use of the elements understandable and effective.  The elements may be in characterization, plot or theme.


  1. What kind of a leader is Odysseus? How would you judge his effectiveness as a leader? What good or bad qualities suggest his competence as a leader? Use specific details of his character and explain those attributes by citing at least three different scenes that suggest his strengths or weaknesses.


  1. The gods were considered to be helpful to the ancient Greek people in their daily lives. Pretend that you are an ancient Greek citizen planning one of the tasks listed below. What gods and/or goddesses would you call on to assist you in the task and why?  Explain clearly what two deities you would call on and exactly why that god or goddess would be helpful to you in your particular task.

The tasks you are engaging in are as follows:

            You are opening a new business.

            You are planning a party.

            You are about to go into battle in a war.


































































Words from VOCAB WORKSHOP units 1 & 2

















































Friday, December 19th: Quiz on the elements of Ancient Greek Theater, tragedy and the play Antigone (so far).

Know the background information from the introductory powerpoint. (much of that information is listed with the terms that follow.)

The quiz will be matching and multiple choice items and some brief open-ended questions.


After school review session will take place in 602 at 2:30 on THURSDAY, December 18th.





By the end of our studies of Greek tragedy and theater, students should be familiar with the following terms:

skene / skene house




deus ex machine




















satyr play










December 2008

Questions to guide the in-class reading of ANTIGONE:

Free-write on the following topic in your journals:


·        With what death rituals are you familiar based on your customs, religion or family practice?


·        How would you describe the events?


·        Why are they important to you and your family?


Read the Prologue between Antigone and Ismene. Answer the following questions based upon the reading. Find specific words from the text to support your response.


·        What has just happened as the scene opens?

·        What has Creon decreed?

·        What has Antigone decided to do about it?

·        What does Ismene say about Antigone’s plan?

·        What do you think of Antigone’s plan?

·        Do you think Antigone will carry out her plan?

·        How do the two sisters differ?

·        What do you think you would do if you were Antigone or Ismene?


Read the Parados. Answer the following questions based upon the reading. Find specific words from the text to support your response.


·        What is the chorus explaining in their chant as they enter?

·        Who are these people in the chorus? (This question we will continue to answer as we explore the role of the chorus in tragedy.)


Read Scene I. Answer the following questions based upon the reading. Find specific words from the text to support your response.


·        What is Creon’s rationale for his decree?

·        Do you agree with his ideas and reasons for the decree?

·        Keep in mind what Thebes has just endured…

·        What images does Creon evoke to convince his audience that he has made the correct decision regarding this decree?


Read Ode I

·        Chanted by the chorus, what is the subject of this ode? 

·        What evidence does the ode provide to support the greatness of this subject?

·        To what foe must this subject ultimately succumb?


How would you assess Creon and Antigone’s leadership so far?


Read Scene II in reading groups.

·        How does Antigone express or describe her ability to go against Creon’s law?  What gives her the strength to do so?

·        How does Creon argue against Antigone’s stand?  What words and phrases shape his argument?

·        Why doesn’t Antigone allow Ismene to share in the guilt she is taking on?

·        What argument provided by Ismene near the end of the scene encourages Creon to relent?

·        Does he relent? In what ways?


In your journals, free-write on the following words:








·        word associations,

·        thoughts provoked by the words,

·        definitions,

·        examples,

·        relationships between words, etc…



       ODE II 

·        What is the simple focus or subject of    ODE II?

·        What do you know or have you learned about this topic from our reading or from life experience?


Scene III – Creon and his son Haemon 

·        What argumentative strategies does Haemon use to change Creon’s mind concerning Antigone?

·        How can you identify with Haemon’s point of view and specific arguments? Do you think a child can offer instruction to a parent?  How?

·        What do you think Haemon means when he tells his father ‘…but her death will cause another death’?

·        How does Creon avoid him and the state being responsible for the execution of Antigone?     





·        What is the subject of this ode? 

·        Why is it fitting that it comes at this point in the play? 


Read Scene IV

·        How has the opinion of the chorus changed over the course of the play?

·        What opinion are they expressing at this point in the play? 

·        How would you describe Creon’s attitude in this scene?

·        How would you describe Antigone’s attitude in this scene?


Read Ode IV (p 229)

·        What is the focus of this ode?

(HINT: it refers back to Creon’s effort to distance himself and the state of Thebes from the execution of Antigone.)    


  Read Scene V (p. 230) 

·        Where have we heard of Teiresias before? Who is he?

·        How does Teiresias attempt to change Creon’s mind about condemning Antigone?  What evidence does he present in this scene? What has he “seen”? 

·        Of what wrongdoing does Creon accuse Teiresias?   

·        What does Teiresias say that finally causes Creon to relent and change his mind about his decree?


A PAEAN is also an ode but much more prayerful…

The subject of this is homage to the supremacy of the gods (or god). 


Exodus – the final scene of the tragedy

New characters appear – messenger and Eurydice, Creon’s wife. 

·        How do these characters heighten the effect of the tragic loss that Creon experiences at the close of this play?  

On page 243 where the stage direction reads: “The doors are  openend and the body of Eurydice is disclosed within.” is likely where the ekyklema would be employed to show the aftermath of a terrible event, not the graphic matter of the event itself. We don’t see Eurydice kill herself; we only hear about it from the messenger and see the aftermath when the doors are opened.


·        What do you think will happen when Creon goes back into his palace?  

Whose tragedy is this – Creon’s or Antigone’s?




Vocabulary words drawn from ANTIGONE:



anarchy / anarchist
































Quiz on Monday, January 19th.








Argument I – Creating a Literary Essay on Character



            You will choose a character from a literary piece that you have read during this class.  You will write an essay that focuses on:

·        Character traits

·        Character motivations

·        How the character changes  or

·        How an aspect of the character communicates the theme of the work.


First steps will be to brainstorm precise and vivid words and phrases from the text and based upon your reading that develop the character in the reader’s mind.  You will consider the character’s: 




                                             RELATIONSHIPS with other CHARACTERS.


You will devise a strong thesis statement about the character and how it functions in the literature. 

You will provide examples and evidence from the text to support your thesis.


You will be expressing:

                                 A personal position,

                                 Your understanding of the text, and

                                 Your ability to analyze a literary text.


To argue:

You will have three to five points to support your thesis and point-of-view.

You will support each point with ample details from the text.

You will have to decide the best order in which to present these ideas.

                                             You will need a thesis that is strong and debatable.       


What your paper should do…



·        Provide a thesis (fact and opinion) that requires support.

·        Provide specific support from the text.

·        End with a thoughtful observation about the effect of the author’s work on the reader.


·        Your thesis should be part of an introduction that engages the reader.

·        Use language that is clear and correct.

·        Provide evidence and interpret the evidence.  Do not assume that the reader will draw the conclusion you might expect.  Embed the evidence into your text with a statement that conveys meaning and the relationship of the evidence to the thesis.

·        Introduce evidence, explain it and connect it to the thesis.

·        End with a thoughtful conclusion.


·        Assume your audience has read this piece of literature.  You do not have to “re-tell” the text.

·        Provide new insights on the text.

·        Use the third person; eliminate use of “you” and “I”.

·        Use present tense, not past tense, to relate elements of the text.  “Odysseus returns to Ithaca when his sea-voyage ends, and begins another series of tasks to retake his throne.”

Word Choice:

·        Use natural-sounding language.

·        Use strong active voice verbs.

·        Avoid personal references such as: “I think” or “In my experience” or “In my opinion”.

·        Do not say “It says…” Instead use “In The Iliad Homer writes”


Sentence Fluency:

·        Construct sentences that have flow and rhythm

·        Avoid overuse of short sentences that will give a choppy sense to the work.

·        Avoid redundancy

·        Avoid weak openings

·        Avoid long quotes or textual support that fails to get to the point


Character is generally the link for the reader to understand and care about the point the author is making in the work.


                                 Static Character

                                 Dynamic Character


Examine the change that a character undergoes.

How the character acts, changes, survives, or succumbs to a fate, in his or her world often displays some message (theme) on how to survive in our world.


We examine character to understand our world.


Questions to consider about character:


-         Is the character believable?

-         Is the character someone you can understand and relate to on some level?

-         How does the character contribute to the story as a whole?

-         Is the character simple (stereotypical, one-sided, predictable) or complex (lifelike, surprising, consistent in action, believable)?

-         How does the author tell you about character?

i.e. Perhaps through direct description: of physical appearance, character actions, thoughts, and emotions? 

Perhaps through direct contrast with other (minor) characters? 

Perhaps through the words the character speaks? Perhaps through what other characters say about the character?

Does a narrator describe the character or does the writer allow the character to describe himself?

-         Does the person grow or change through the course of the text? (Dynamic or Static Character)


**Methods for Character Analysis


Physical -  What does the character look like?  How do the character’s physical attributes play a role in the story? How does the character change physically during the story? How do these changes affect the character’s experience?


Intellectual – How would  you describe this character’s intelligence? What does this character know?  How does this character’s intellect compare to others in the story? Is this character smart enough to thrive in the world in which he or she lives?  What does this character learn as the story develops?


Emotional – How doe this character feel most of the time?  How do his/her feelings change throughout the story?  How does this character feel about him/herself?  When faced with challenges in the story, what emotions come up for this character?


Social – How does this character get along with other characters in the story? Who does this character choose for friends and why does this character choose them?  Where does this character stand in the social order?  How does this character’s social standing affect events in the story?


Philosophical - What does this character believe about the way life is? Upon what are these beliefs based? How do these beliefs affect the choices this character makes? How do those beliefs change through the story? Do others in the story share these beliefs?







A Common Tale of Trivial Teens

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Is this overused? Perhaps. However, there is a truth: Too often we buy the book for its cover, ignoring the contents.  Good covers mask bad books while dull plain covers often grace the front of classics. T he Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is chalk full of this kind of perception. After reading the first act, one realizes that all characters in the play have been hit over the head with the “shallow stick”—some several times!  Romeo, Juliet, Benvolio, Mercutio, and Paris all fail to see the substance of the people with whom they interact.  They see only appearances.  The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet shows that beauty sometimes is only skin deep.


The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet contains much good advice.  When lovesick Romeo comes to Benvolio seeking advice on what to do about Rosaline, the ever insightful Benvolio comes through with such enlightening ideas as “Be ruled by me; forget to think of her” (I,i,226). When Romeo says he cannot, Benvolio counters with the classic line, “By giving liberty to thine eyes. / Examine other beauties” (I,i,227-228). Benvolio, being the deep thinker he is, is telling Romeo, “We’re going clubbing tonight. I’m sure you’ll see hotter women there than that one you just saw.”  Mercution, not to be outdone, comes through in Romeo’s time of need by antagonizing Tybalt into a fight by saying “O calm, dishonorable, vile submission! / Alla stoccata carries it away. / draws / Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?” (III, i, 74-76). He fails to grasp the larger concept.


In Act I, Romeo complains he will die if Rosaline does not return his love. Yet, in the same act he quickly abandons his infatuation over Rosaline for the fairer and easier to get Juliet.  These events prove that Romeo was never profoundly in love with either girl might give up on Juliet if another better-looiing firl came along.  Friar Laurence sums up Romeo’s sudden change of heart by questioning whether Romeo ever liked Rosaline at all, and whether his “pain and suffering” were real. County Paris also falls for Juliet with no knowledge of her personality by asking her father for her hand and then worrying about love later.


Juliet almost preserves the little respect one may still have for her wit. She questions Romeo’s character when the nurse tells her Romeo has slain Tybalt. She finally seems to realize that Romeo is not unblemished. She says “O serpent heart, hid with a flow’ring face! / Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave? / Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical! / Cove-feathered raven! Wolfish-ravening lamb! / Despised substance of the divinest show / Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st” (III, ii, 73-78).  Finally, Juliet comes to the realization that Romeo is just a self-centered, impulsive, hormonal young man. Juliet realizes a truth that could save her from future problems (e.g., death). However, after her moment of distress is over, she abandons her epiphany and goes back to worshipping Romeo for his looks, scolding the nurse for speaking badly of Romeo.  “Blister’d be thy tongue / For such a wish! He was not born to shame: / Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit; / For ‘tis a throne where honour may be crowned / Sole monarch of the universal earth. / O, what a beast was I to chide at him!” (III, ii, 92-97)

Romeo and Juliet are not deeply in love. Mercutio and Tybalt are not brave warriors. Benvolio is not a wise philosopher.  The main characters in Romeo and Juliet are hormonal, infatuated teenager who cannot manage any for of deep thinking.  For them, beauty is only skin deep.  Sacrificing superficial people is a small price to pay for peace in a historic feud. So really, it is not tragic that the shallow characters get killed off.






The rubric for this writing is based  upon the basic expectations outlined above:  CONTENT, ORGANIZATION, VOICE, WORD CHOICE, and SENTENCE FLUENCY.  See above for details and particulars of what should be in your paper.




Reading Unit – Genocide                  Literature Circles


Enduring Understanding:

How do many readers facilitate reading, understanding and interpreting?


Essential Questions:

How do differences among citizens affect society?

What does it mean to be different?

What is the nature of hatred in our world today?

What does hate look like?

How does a free society combat hateful speech and belief in a country that embraces           

           freedom of  speech, freedom of belief and freedom of assembly?




We will begin our exploration of genocide by examining the concept of being different or an outsider in American society.  Our first active reading will be of short stories dealing with the alienation of immigration to a new country.


We will read actively, making note of our thoughts, connections, extensions, interpretations, etc., and then share our responses with classmates upon completion.


This models the process of Literature Circles which we will undertake when we read from a selection of books dealing with genocide in various contexts.


The Literature:


First They Killed My Father  Loung Ung


Forgotten Fire Adam Bagdasarian


So Far From the Bamboo Grove Yoko Kawashima Watkins

Year of Impossible Goodbyes Sook Nyul Choi


Night Elie Wiesel

Dawn Elie Wiesel


The Book Thief Markus Zusak


Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank


A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah





The Process:

The first step is to choose the novel you wish to read.  The internet will be our source for details about the books; by perusing Google or we will determine which of the books we wish to read.  After making a first and second choice, literature circles will be formed.


The Circles:

With your colleagues in literature circles, you will determine the pace of reading needed to complete the novel.  Our literature circle meeting dates will be: 

Tuesday, February 24th

Monday, March 2nd 

Thursday, March 12th

Your circle should plan to read approximately 1/3 of the total reading by each session the group meets.


Independent reading:

Each student is responsible for keeping up with the agreed upon reading timetable. While reading, each student should be compiling a reading response log.  Again, this is the sort of active reading we have been developing on all our texts this year. The notes and responses compiled become the fodder and raw material for literature circle discussion.



Other literature:

We will also supplement our study of genocide by viewing a film and reading other literature on the face of hate and genocide around us.  Each group will also have the opportunity to explore the areas of the world and the time in history that encompasses the genocide of the reading.


Circle Products:

Each literature circle is responsible for creating a product that supports the group’s response to the novel.  Essentially it will be a response to genocide.  Do you have any solutions for a terror that has plagued mankind for many generations?  What is your response to this human reality?  Is further education, communication, awareness, action, etc., necessary?  What do you want to do as a culminating project for this exploration?


In a final presentation, each team must display a response to genocide that outlines a plan or introduces a “product” to prevent genocide from ever occurring again in the future history of our world.


Presentations will occur after the lit circles are completed but prepared while the lit circles are in progress.


Easy, right? 


Have fun.



PHS English 9                Responding to a Non-Fiction Opinion Text                 Mr. Brown


  • Select a non-fiction opinion article on a topic you care about. The library is full of magazines, newspapers and on-line sources that you may access during our time in the library or from an on-line computer.  The article should be about one to two pages in length (at most). Look for such key search words as: opinion, voice, commentary, op-ed, editorial
  • Show me the article you choose.  I may be able to identify whether the article is too complex for this task.  Most will be acceptable.
  • Read the article several times. 
  • Identify the author’s purpose, position and specific writing techniques used to persuade a reader.
  • Read actively, taking notes in your journal (or on the text itself), and record the cognitive connections you are making with the text. Include thoughts such as:
    • agreement/disagreement with one of the author’s points
    • connections between a point in the text and personal experience or belief
    • extension of a text idea to an area not considered in the text  but important (in your view)
    • elaboration of a point in the text based on your studies or background
    • description of personal learning the text provokes
    • application of a big idea in the text big ideas about our world
    • criticisms of a problem you see in the text
    • thoughts on issues behind the big idea in the text
    • respond to a technique the writer use in the text to persuade or sway
    • etc.
  • Share your piece with another classmate and discuss other points of view that arise

Your task is to:

Create a strong, well-organized extended paragraph that responds to ideas based on reading your chosen piece of non-fiction opinion text.


            The ‘A’ paragraph will include:

      • Focus on response to one point or idea in the subject opinion text
      • The title and author of the subject opinion text
      • Full and detailed elaboration on your response to the text
      • Use of effective vocabulary to communicate ideas
      • Fluent structure using correct and varied sentences, including effective use of transitional words and phrases
      • Logical progression and full explanation of ideas/points
      • Effective and economic citation of subject opinion text using the author’s specific words
      • Clear and fluid organization of writing with a beginning, middle and end, while still maintaining the focus of a single paragraph

*Remember: use plain, 12-point font, double-spaced!

NOTE:  While some of our search work will take place during class time, you should conduct your search for an opinion piece that appeals to you on your own time as homework.  We will have Tuesday, April14 in the computer lab upon our return from the spring break.  Completed work is due: Wednesday, April 15th (pds. one and five),

  Thursday, April 16th (pd eight).














Romeo and Juliet                                                                                            


“Oh Lord, I could have stayed here all the night

To hear good counsel. O, what learning is!”    

Nurse Romeo and Juliet III, iii, 169.



Letter of Advice to Someone in Need…



As we have seen in reading and viewing Romeo and Juliet several times, nearly every major character in the play makes critical decisions or actions that have serious effects on himself and the people around him.  Much advice is extended to characters in this play; some is sound, some is not too good.  Perhaps if some truly wise advice had been offered and considered at the right time, tragedy might have been averted.  You have the opportunity to offer that advice.



Write a letter to any major character from Romeo and Juliet whom you feel needs enlightenment and/or advice. Write your letter in plain Standard English prose (no, not in Elizabethan English…) and be very specific in all aspects of your message. 



Identify the character, explaining his/her situation in the play as you see it, and offer specific advice supported with examples from human life or experience so that the character will be convinced of the wisdom of your input.  The support may be from your own life, the experiences of someone in the news or from texts you know. 



Use standard letter format including date, greeting, closing, and signature. (You may choose to create addresses for you letter.)  Type this work, in plain 12-point font.


A brief paragraph should clearly explain your view of the character’s situation and problem as you see it using specific details from the text. (Sharing someone’s specific words can offer the individual opportunity for reflection. Feel free to quote the text!)


Another paragraph should address the solution, scheme or advice you are offering the character.  Remember that clear explanation (maybe expected results) and supporting evidence should also be part your text, perhaps as an additional paragraph. 


Due Dates:

Periods One and Eight: Monday, May 18, 2009

Period Five: Tuesday, May 19, 2009









What is a sonnet and how do we make meaning of them?


Explore Shakespeare’s Sonnets:


Using the websites outlined in the folder (in the lab S-drive) for our class’s exploration of the sonnet form, read several of his sonnets, either alone or with a partner.


The url’s where we can find Shakespeare’s sonnets are:  's_sonnets                                                                                                                                                         



You may access them through the “http” address or through the “tinyurl” address


Examine the structure of the sonnets:

Note the structural qualities of the sonnets, specifically the quatrains, the couplets, the rhyme scheme and the meter or rhythm of each line of the sonnet.


Shakespeare’s sonnets generally take the following form and use this rhyme scheme:


sonnet parts:                                       rhyme scheme:                        content:


            First quatrain                                        B                                  Introduction

                                                                        A                                 of the topic

                                                                        B                                  or issue



Second quatrain                                    D                                 Further consideration

                                                                        C                                 of the topic; maybe

                                                                        D                                 a question…



                        Third quatrain                           F                                  Another perspective,

E                                  an answer to a q

F                                  question

                        Couplet                                    G                                 Concluding statement



Note the application of iambic pentameter in nearly every line of the sonnets.  Each line generally consists of TEN SYLLABLES made up of FIVE IAMBS, an iamb being a two-syllable foot in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second syllable unstressed.



Examine the content of the poem:

To whom is the poet speaking?  What is the subject of his poem? How do the four quatrains (four line verses) each consider the subject differently, ask questions, or suggest cause and consequence?  How does the ending couplet conclude the consideration of the topic or issue at hand?


Note the metaphors, similes and imagery used in the poem

to elaborate and expand on the topic as well as display the poet’s attitude on the issue.  You will want to use this expressive language in the sonnet you create.  Extra resonance and meaning is attached to the topic or issue through the use of this type of figurative language.  Don’t forget personification and other literary devices!





Poets write sonnets about matters and issues that are important to them.  So you should start by considering the subject matter for your sonnet by thinking about what is important in your life.  It may be a dream, controversial issue, treasured object, strong idea, special person, favorite activity, etc.


Next, brainstorm for words that you associate with this special subject.  Get specific. Have a concrete idea in your mind as you fill a page with words and phrases that come up as you think about the subject.  Think symbolically and metaphorically. When the page is full, try creating sentences and phrases that express your feelings.  If there are alternate views on the subject, you may want to use those to fill one of the response or “differing view” quatrains.


You may wish to move to a rhyming dictionary at this time to find appropriate rhymes for your poem.  Remember, Shakespearean sonnets have alternating rhyme and end in a rhymed couplet.


Use strong language and attempt metaphorical constructions.  The sonnet may be about aging but the image and metaphor employed may be a tree.  Apply figurative language.  Use specific words about your subject so that the reader has a clear idea and not merely a general notion of your passion.



Remember that each line needs not only TEN SYLLABLES, but also requires the iambs to be an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.  Often, the poet switches words in sentences to better facilitate the rhythm he seeks.  Try flipping words; sure, you may not normally speak with sentences structured like this, but in poetry we can do this.  For example, instead of saying:

                        (   ¢    È ) ( ¢    È )   (  ¢         È ) ( ¢    È ) ( ¢    È )        

Foot×ball   is    the    sport   I   love   to  play most.           This meter is the opposite of iamb


(   È          ¢ ) (  È   ¢ ) (  È       ¢ )  ( È      ¢ ) ( È       ¢ )

                        Rough    foot×ball  is   the   sport   that    I   most    love   This follows the rhythm of iambic



Some common words are ripe for shortening through the process known as elision.  When we elide, we remove a middle consonant or vowel from a word and thereby take out a syllable.  We have seen this throughout our reading of Romeo and Juliet.   Some common examples are:


even  can become e’en      ever becomes e’er      taken  becomes ta’en      deafening becomes deaf’ning


Remember too that you can add a syllable by making a past participle such as deceived (generally conceived as TWO SYLLABLES) into THREE SYLLABLES by placing an accent over the “-ed” making the new word’s pronunciation:

                                      ( È        ¢  )                    ( È     ¢ )  (  È   --)

 de×ceived    becomes  de× cei× ved 


Through the application of this convention, we can add syllables to lines of poetry




You have a large store of words in your pre-writing.  Perhaps you already have some key words that rhyme. Maybe there are words for which you need a rhyme.  Look in the online rhyming dictionaries that you can find at:




Several on-line sources are available to assist the sonnet writer.  The following url’s will take you to two of those sites.  You may use the standard link or the “tinyurl” option to access the site.                                       



What you actually have to do is PLAY with words, consider different sentence and word constructions, play with numbers, amass words for end rhyme options, read your work aloud and count out the syllables, hear which are accented and which unaccented.


This process takes work. We have three days in the workshop to complete this task.  Use your time wisely!




The construction will be graded on both the SONNET FORM and your EXPRESSION within that form.  The following rubric will be used to assess the final products.








exact and unified


less or more


3quatrains - alternating rhyme

thoughts well connected

less  unified

not precise


1 couplet

clear finish!

rhymes but weak connection

no connection

No couplet

10 syllables per line iambic pentameter

length and meter strong!

10 syls but erratic meter

not consistent

















Clear Focus

well constructed ideas and images

partial clarity

muddy and vague


Use of metaphor/        figurative language

smooth and elegant




Strength and specificity of language

excellent and effective use of strong words

good language usage

mundane language

Incorrect usage






 ARGUMENT II – Essay on an issue of global reach in MLA format for style and documentation.




English 9                                                                                                         Mr. Brown

Argument II – Writing an Argument on a Global Issue



In this writing unit you will be creating an argument/persuasion piece of writing dealing with an issue of consequence to people in our community as well as far beyond our community – an issue of global importance. 


Your end product will be a well-organized, fully supported and documented, multi-paragraph essay that takes a stand on a global issue. 


Along the course of the writing you will create an outline and drafts.  In-class conferencing on drafts will be undertaken. In-class mini-lessons will explore writing issues. The essay will follow the frameworks of the Modern Language Association (MLA) style guide including in-text citation. It will state a clear claim and have a well-articulated thesis to guide the writing.  The work will utilize formal diction, avoiding contractions, cliché, and informal language. 



To speed the research process, resource materials will be provided for use in your arguments. The topics are limited to the following three: 


·        Corporal Punishment – in school or in the family

·        Diet restrictions in schools to fight childhood obesity

·        Changing the Minimum Drinking Age from 21 to 18.


Support for arguments will come largely from the sources provided.  You will cite the sources in-text and create a works cited page.  Should you use sources beyond those provided, those will require full citation as well.  If you utilize personal experience or knowledge that may be sensitive, names and specifics of the example or support should not be used.  



The steps in the process include

1)         Select your topic.

2)         Read the research materials actively (use journals – notes will be graded)

3)         Write a claim based upon the opinions your form in research as well as a working thesis.  (graded submission)

4)                  Create an outline (see reverse) to guide your writing. (also a graded submission)


The Outline:

The purpose of an outline is to organize your thoughts and ideas prior to writing your argument paper.  This is the time to place all the support you have in a logical format.  PUT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE LEARNED INTO YOUR OUTLINE! You can always edit work later.  It is better to have too much than too little>>>


            I           Introduction

A.     Background (what do we need to know about your topic before you           state your claim)

B.     Research Question/Topic

C.     Thesis statement

II          Body Paragraph

A.                 Focus of this paragraph

B.                 Strengths and/or weaknesses of position.

C.                 Specific Support

1.                  Quotes of experts, etc.

2.                  Paraphrase of resource materials

3.                  Common knowledge

4.                  Personal experience or knowledge

D.                 Embed support, e.g.: interpretation, development of idea, extension, etc.

E.                  Logic and execution of argument using transitional words and phrases e.g.: “this is important because…” “this means…” “as a result of this…” “consequently…)

III        Repeat step II for additional Body Paragraphs

IV        Conclusion

A.                 Sum up research, perhaps through the restatement of your thesis

B.                 What overall conclusions, extensions, consequences does this argument provide?

C.                 Draw your own overall conclusion





Models and Mini-lessons in class will further describe the product students will create.

You may also wish to consult the Purdue University OWL (on-line writing laboratory) for directions in using MLA and for model papers.






Possible points

Earned points

MLA Style Format

Parenthetical/In-text Citations

Works Cited Page

All Margins are 1 inch

Heading is accurate and complete

Header is accurate on every page

Font size is 12 Times New Roman

Title is centered and plain

Spacing is double throughout

Citations are formatted according to MLA guidelines.

Sources are SUPPORT but not the bulk of essay.

All sources are listed on Works Cited page, alphabetical order, MLA guideline format.

No sources on Works Cited page that is not in essay.







Introduction, claim and thesis

Introduction is brief but informative, including background information.

Serves as a map for the coming body of argument essay.

Thesis states the writer’s clearly defined position, asserts one main idea/claim and acts as a promise of bearing proof to the reader.






Body Paragraphs

Paragraphs develop focused use of supporting material in the argument of thesis and claim.

Includes original ideas, research from sources including quotes, paraphrased information, facts, and statistics, etc.






Ideas are clearly communicated by the writer using

·        acceptable logic,

·        transitional words and phrases, and

·        correct, fluid writing.





Restates thesis in a freshly.

Thoughtful overview based on elements of argument presented.





Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Sentence structure and Spelling are accurate.



Language Choice

Best possible words are used correctly.





Additional comments:  _____________________________________________________