Monthly Archives: May 2014

May 21, 2014

We finished Romeo and Juliet! For those of you who were not in class today, we also took a look at John Green’s Romeo and Juliet Crash Course, Part 1:

Other important announcements:

Incoming 10th Grade Required Summer Reading 2014 – This is the summer reading for rising 10th graders. Most of you should be reading Catcher in the Rye – you’re going to love it!

Final Review – This is the review for the multiple choice portion of your final.

Redemption Assignment – Your redemption assignment (due Friday, if you would like to do it) is to write a sonnet. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s a handy guide and how to do it.

May 20, 2014

We started class today with student performances of raps and sonnets. We only have a few days left, so please make sure that you are ready to go on the day that you signed up!

With the rest of the class, we continued watching Romeo and Juliet. Be thinking about which scene your class would like to act out tomorrow.

May 16, 2014

Today in class, we took our sentence styles quiz and had our final Winter’s Bone discussion. I passed out the prompt for our final exam essay, which we will take on Monday. To review what we discussed in class:

  • You may use that prompt page (and only that prompt page) for pre-writing, brainstorming, outlining, research, etc.
  • You may not show up with an essay already written on the page. I will check your prompt page as you are writing, and will not allow you to use one if it appears to have an essay already on it.
  • You will have only the period to write your essay.
  • Your essay will count for 50% of your final exam grade.
  • You will have one STAAR-style sheet of paper for your essay.


And a student just emailed me and asked for some clarification about what the prompt is asking, so I thought I would share my response in case anyone else is struggling with this. When it says, “Write an essay explaining to what extent family loyalty is important,” it is asking you to explain how much a person should be loyal to their family. Is it absolutely, always, 100% important to be loyalty to your family, above anything else? Are their situations in which there are values that are more important than family loyalty? Is the idea of being loyal to people just because they happen to share a similar genetic identity to you foolish? You should have a lot to think about in terms of the literature we’ve been reading recently (although your examples don’t have to come from those works).

Things I’m going to be looking for while grading this:

  • A strong, clear, intellectually-sophisticated thesis
  • Interesting examples that prove that your thesis is true
  • Use of specific, high-impact words to give precision to your thoughts
  • Transitions that make your essay flow as a unified, coherent whole
  • Proper use of grammar, mechanics, spelling, and punctuation


Think back to all that we have done this year with regard to essay writing. It might be worth your time to review some of your old notes. Good luck! I want you all to do well on this – give me reasons to feel good about giving you a high score.

May 14, 2014

Today we took a reading quiz over an article about the spread of the drug methamphetamine in Appalachia. If you missed it because you were absent, please come in on Friday during lunch to make it up.

We spent the rest of the period reading, discussing, and watching the film version of Scenes 3 – 6 of Act II of Romeo and Juliet.

Important Announcements:

  • I gave you all a review of sentence structures (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex), which will be due on Friday. We’ll also have a short quiz over those sentences types on Friday.
  • I also gave you the last set of vocabulary words for the year, from the second half of R&J. We will not have a vocab quiz over these, but you do need to write sentences (five simple, five compound, five complex, and five compound-complex) to turn in on Monday. These words will be on the final!
  • The last WB discussion guide is due tomorrow. You’ll finally get to find out what happened to Jessup!


If you’d like to get a leg up on studying for the final, you can look at the vocabulary lists (on the website, in case you don’t have yours anymore – I also made one master list with all of the words).

May 13, 2014

Today in class, we discussed the fourth (and second-to-last) section of Winter’s Bone. We had some good conversation about Uncle Teardrop!

Then students performed the dance scene at the Capulet mansion from Romeo and Juliet, and we looked at how that same scene was performed in the film version.

No homework for tonight, but you can be working on your next WB reading guide if you would like!