Thursday, September 22

We had a really outstanding first afternoon film of the year! Thank you so much to the students who came to watch Troy with us yesterday – I hope you had fun (and learned something!).

In class, we had a discussion about the first book of the Odyssey. After that, we finished vocabulary, and then we did a lesson on nouns and article. To access the lesson and materials on nouns and articles, go to the “Grammar” tab of the website and look under “Parts of Speech.”

Here’s what you need to be doing this weekend:

  • studying for your quiz over Odyssey Vocabulary List 1 and nouns and articles on Monday.
  • getting your parent to look at the syllabus and complete the survey (posted below this post).
  • submitting your summer reading assignments through

If you are able to get your classroom community item (tissues or wet wipes, for keeping our classroom clean and hospitable), please bring it some time next week.


Wednesday, September 20

We began today with a reminder that we’ll be watching an edited version of Troy tomorrow, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, if you would like to join us.

Next, we watched a short film from TED-Ed on the background of the Odyssey:

Students set up accounts (see the earlier post for instructions) to submit their summer reading essays. If you need technical support, come see me during the second half of lunch tomorrow (I have a meeting during the first half).

We began discussing our first vocabulary list – we’ll have a quiz over those terms on Monday. (See the Vocabulary tab of this website for more information.)

Homework was to read Book 1 of the Odyssey (1 – Book 1) and complete this reading guide (Book 1 Reading Guide). This is due tomorrow. You do not need to write in complete sentences. Do not worry if you are not sure of your answers for some questions. Please note that your answers need to be entirely your own work.

And finally, to my Jewish students and parents, Happy New Year! We’ll miss you tomorrow – please let me know if you need help catching up.


Tuesday, September 19

Thank you for an excellent second day of school! Today I passed out the syllabus (you can see an electronic copy of it under the “Syllabus” tab at the top of the website). I’m going to eventually ask you and your parent to fill out an electronic form acknowledging that you have read it (I’m having trouble getting the form to work on non-HISD computers right now).

With the rest of our class time, we went over the prequel to the Odyssey, the Trojan War. We used this slideshow as the basis for our discussion:

The Odyssey Schema Guide

I also told you that we will have a special showing of an edited version of the movie Troy this Thursday, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. You can earn 10 points of extra credit on Monday’s vocabulary quiz by attending, and I think this is a great way to become more familiar with the mythology you will need to know for the Odyssey.

Please also remember that your Hero’s Journey diagrams are due tomorrow!

Create a profile.

You will use to submit your summer reading essays (and other assignments throughout the year). Please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Create an Account” if you have never used the system before. If you already have an account, click “Log In.”
  3. You will be prompted to join a class. Enter the Class ID for the period in which you are taking English:
  • Pre-AP ELA 1 – Period 3 – 16302712
  • Pre-AP ELA 1 – Period 4 – 16302722
  • Pre-AP ELA 1 – Period 6 – 16302742
  • Pre-AP ELA 1 – Period 7 – 16302751

4. The password/key to join the class is “chapman.”

You should see assignments for both of your summer reading essays. Review the rubrics before you submit to make sure that you are happy with your work. Turn in your essay by Monday, September 25.

If you are having technical difficulties, come see me during lunch on Thursday.

Monday, September 18

Happy first day of school! It feels great to get to start.

A quick recap of what we did today:

Please work on your Hero’s Journey Diagram tonight (remember, late work is not accepted) and remember to bring your laptop tomorrow

Tuesday, May 16

T-minus seven days!

In class today, we:

  1. talked about our last extra credit film, Shakespeare in Love, and discussed how you will need a permission slip if you would like to join us for this.
  2. went over the requirements for all levels of English 2 (10th grade English) summer reading (Incoming 10th Grade Required Summer Reading 2017) – I told you that if you are unable to get copies of those books, to please speak with me privately.
  3. discussed the multigenre review project, which you will be working on for the rest of our class time (Final Review Multi-Genre Project).
  4. analyzed a sonnet, which I highly recommended that you review before the final.
  5. acted out the death scene from Romeo and Juliet, which I also highly recommend you review before the final.

Monday, May 15

Happy Monday! Today in class, students wrote their final exam essays. There were a couple of students who were absent – it that’s you, please come write your essay tomorrow (Tuesday) during lunch.

Speaking of the final exam, I’d like to give you a run-down of what will be on it. The test will be entirely multiple choice and matching and will be a total of 100 questions, including:

  • 10 close reading questions over an excerpt from Dracula
  • 10 close reading questions over a Shakespearean sonnet
  • 10 close reading questions over an article about Ebola
  • 10 close reading questions over a biographical article
  • 6 close reading questions over a scene from Romeo and Juliet
  • 4 close reading questions over an excerpt from a book by Jeanette Walls (not The Glass Castle, but similar in style)
  • 30 questions over grammar
  • 20 questions over vocabulary from the spring semester

Some of the close reading questions will be over texts we have read in class; some will be over texts that are similar in style and genre to what we covered in class but which you have not read before.

I am going to particularly recommend that you prepare yourself by being able to do the following things:

  • understand how the following terms apply to a piece of literature: epistolary, character foil, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, quatrain, couplet, alliteration, ethos, logos, pathos, allusion, verbal irony, dramatic irony, situational irony, author’s purpose, gender bias
  • identify all of the parts of speech as used in a paragraph
  • determine whether a clause is independent or dependent
  • identify whether a sentence is simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex
  • identify whether a sentence is declarative, imperative, interrogative, or exclamatory
  • use commas to separate series of adjectives
  • identify appositive, gerundive, infinitive, and participial phrases
  • identify direct and indirect objects
  • identify predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives
  • complete a sentence by selecting the appropriate vocabulary word


I also gave you a list of all of the words that could appear on the vocabulary section (Pre-AP ELA 1 2017 Spring Vocab Final Study Words). I recommend that you prepare so that you would be able to use any of those words in a sentence.

Friday, May 12

Happy Friday!

We practiced more multiple choice questions with Romeo and Juliet today. After that, we analyzed a couple of sonnets – I asked you to work on annotating Sonnet 73 in the same method that we learned in class.

I also gave you the prompt for our final exam essay (Persuasive Essay Prompt Love Hate), which you will write in class on Monday. You may prepare by outlining, brainstorming, or pre-writing, but you may not bring a completed essay to class. Please remember that this essay will make up half of your final exam score!