Monthly Archives: March 2015

March 23, 2015

Welcome back! I hope that everybody had a restful and productive Spring Break!

We’re T-minus one week from the STAAR test, so we’re really going to work hard over the next seven days. I reminded everyone that I have extra credit tutorials going on during lunch. The focus this week will be reading multiple choice. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this extra opportunity for preparation!

Today in class, we began by practicing a revising and editing multiple choice selection on Shakespeare. Next, we began writing an essay about friendship (due tomorrow). Here is that prompt: Friendship Essay Prompt To shake things up, I asked students to reverse the order of their two examples (so, personal example first, then real-world example) and reflect on what effect that had on their writing. Please come to class tomorrow with something smart to say!

March 13, 2015

Happy Spring Break!

In class today, students wrote essays about altruism. If you were absent, please make sure that I get yours on the Monday you get back.

Also, I had some suggestions for how you could spend your time over the next week in both fun and productive ways:

Things to Do Over Spring Break So That Your Brain Does Not Rot:

In exchange for me not assigning homework over Spring Break, I want you to think about taking responsibility for your brain by choosing from some of the items below:

  1. With your parents’ permission, watch the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola version of Dracula. (It’s rated R, so please make sure that you check.) It’s pretty faithful to the book, and it’s fun to see how it was adapted for the screen.
  2. Read a free choice book from the library, or swindle your parents into taking you to Barnes and Noble. (It’s my personal belief that every time you read a book, you make yourself a slightly better and smarter person.)
  3. Listen to a podcast. Some that I like are Radiolab, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Serial, and This American Life, but there are lots of others. They should all be available for free online.
  4. Read the news. Find out about what is going on in the world. (This would be particularly smart preparation for STAAR, as you could use these examples in your essay.)
  5. Watch a documentary. There are tons available online (particularly if you have Netflix), and it’s another good way to learn a lot about a subject so that you could incorporate that example into your expository essay. Some documentaries I like are Blackfish, Cosmos, Food Inc., The Order of Myths, The Rape of Europa, and Dear Zachary (warning – this one is very, very sad) – but choose one that you find interesting.
  6. Go for a walk. The best writers often use the time during a quiet stroll to mull over ideas for their projects.
  7. Write a letter – a real, pen-and-paper, stamped letter – to someone for whom you care (a friend, a relative, etc.). Most people love to get something handwritten in the mail, and you just might get a response back yourself.
  8. Visit a museum! Houston has a wealth of them – art, contemporary art, natural science, weather, health, printing, and even funeral history! Thursday is often a free day, where visitors don’t have to pay for admission (but double check for wherever you’re going).

Have a very nice break!

March 11, 2015

A painting of Lord Byron’s poem…



We looked at a poem from the famous Lord Byron (a name you will hear frequently throughout your future English classes) today – a section from “The Giaour” about vampires. Here is that poem, along with MC questions: The Giaour

Homework for tonight was to read chapters 23 and 24 and complete a short answer response comparing the novel to the poem: Dracula Chapter 23 SAR