Monthly Archives: August 2014

August 29, 2014

We made it through Week 1! I wanted to say thank you to all of my students for a really great first week – I have been bragging to all of the other teachers, as well as my friends and family outside of Bellaire, that I think I have an amazing batch of students.

I also wanted to say that I am really enjoying reading and responding to your introductory emails. You all are telling me some very cool stories about yourselves, and I feel like the information you are sharing is going to help me be a better teacher to you over the course of the year. If I haven’t had a chance to respond yet to your email, I’m very sorry for the delay – I have read about 2/3 of the emails I have received so far, and I should get to yours shortly (I have 197 students at this point, so it just takes a while to read and write back to everyone).

So, Friday:

We took our syllabus quiz and reviewed some of the most important rules and procedures. Then we finished the vocabulary PowerPoint (it was posted a few days ago, so you can download it if you missed some words). Those exercises are going to be due Tuesday at the start of class, before you take your vocabulary quiz. And I’ll post the list of words in the vocabulary section.

We talked about the Matrix Moment assignment (also due Tuesday), and it seemed like everyone was on the right track.

Then we began discussing the Hunger Games Characterization Project, in which you will build a Hunger Games-style tribute as a way of learning about direct and indirect characterization. Remember, that project is for a major grade, and it’s due on September 8. We’ll continue working on this next week. Here’s an electronic copy of that assignment. Characterization in the Hunger Games – Building a Tribute

Some of you came to my room after school to watch The Truman Show – that was a lot of fun! If you weren’t able to come, you can still watch it and take notes for 10 points of extra credit on your vocabulary quiz on Tuesday.

Have a fantastic Labor Day weekend, and I’ll see you on Tuesday. 🙂

August 28, 2014

We had quite a busy day today!

We started off by writing about labyrinths and why people find them so compelling. Labyrinth Warm-Up

Next, we talked about homework from last night – students had a lot of good thoughts on the similarities between The Hunger Games and the myth of Theseus and the labyrinth.

I told you that your signed syllabus acknowledgement page is due tomorrow (Friday), and that our warm-up for the day will be a quiz over the syllabus.

We continued talking about and practicing vocabulary, and then we talked about your “Matrix Moment” writing assignment. Writing a Matrix Moment I told you that that assignment would be your homework now through when you come to class on Tuesday. (We’ll talk a little more about this tomorrow too.)

I also mentioned that you have the opportunity to earn 10 points of extra credit on next week’s vocabulary quiz by watching The Truman Show and comparing it to The Hunger Games using this Venn diagram. The Truman Show and Hunger Games Comparison And tomorrow (Friday) I will be showing it in my room after school, starting at 3:30, if you would like to come watch it together!

One really important announcement that I have not stressed enough in class – if you have not yet paid your deposit for your laptop, please do that soon! I think you will be disappointed if you don’t get yours along with everyone else next week, and we are going to be doing some cool activities using it.

August 27, 2014

We’re more than halfway through the first week – yaaaaay!

*An important note – today we distributed order forms for pictures. Students will take their yearbook pictures during their English class time on Wednesday of next week. Students can give their orders to the yearbook staff then.

We began today with a warm-up looking at a New York Times article on some real-life possibilities of genetic engineering that we see in The Hunger Games. Here is that document in case you missed it or want to review: Hunger Games – Genetic Engineering Reading and Questions

Then we continued talking about our vocabulary words for the week. (See yesterday’s post.)

With the rest of class, we looked over the syllabus, which is posted under the “Syllabus” portion of the website. Please bring back your acknowledgement page by Friday.

Homework for tonight was to read a short story about Theseus and the labyrinth, and complete a reading guide. Here are electronic copies of those materials: Theseus Myth Reading Guide Theseus Myth


See you tomorrow!

August 26, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Today in class, we did a warm-up looking at some words that are in other languages, but not in English. If you were absent, please do this activity at home and bring it to me ASAP. Untranslatable Words Warm-Up

We continued our PowerPoint discussion of how vocabulary works. Please see yesterday’s post for an electronic copy.

We also started talking about our vocabulary words for the week. We used a PowerPoint, and for each word, students responded to a question. If you missed part of that, here is the PowerPoint. Superman and Me Vocabulary Please make sure to turn those responses in to me after we have finished discussing all 20 words.

Homework for tonight is to complete a Google etymology assignment. Here is an electronic copy of that assignment in case you were absent or misplaced your paper. Google Etymology Homework This is due at the start of class tomorrow. If you do not have access to the Internet at home, you can do this in the school library.

August 25, 2014

Welcome, welcome, welcome! (Where is this line from?)

I was very pleased to meet all of you today. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this year.

Here’s a recap of what we did today:

  • We went over some class announcements. Here those are again, in case you lost your paper:
    • Pre-AP English 1 (Ms. Chapman) First Day Notes

      Welcome to your English class! Here are a few important first-day notes that we will discuss.

      • I will give you a syllabus with a list of supplies later in the week. We will talk about all sorts of class policies and procedures at that time. We will also discuss summer reading. You were supposed to have read both The Hunger Games and one of the following: Life of Pi, The Joy Luck Club, or The Kite Runner. If you did not read these over the summer, you will need to catch up as quickly as possible.
      • If you know that you are not supposed to be in Pre-AP, please come tell me today and see your counselor as soon as possible.
      • My class website is – please go visit it tonight. I post a summary of what we did during the day, electronic copies of assignments, reminders about due dates, etc. My email address is
      • Make sure that you do your homework tonight!
  • We discussed your homework for tonight, which was to send me an email (at about yourself. Here is an electronic copy of that assignment: Email Introduction Homework Assignment
  • We began talking about how to think of vocabulary in this class. Here is that PowerPoint:Vocabularying

I will see you all tomorrow!