Welcome to 12th Grade English!

Miss. Finkelstein

Welcome to the English 7/8 Class Website!
This site has ALL the information you need to be successful in 12th grade English!

*Click on the "What's Happening" tab to find class assignments and weekly announcements.

*Click on the "Assignment List" tab to stay on track with classwork, projects, journals and essays.


1. Click Here! for College Essay Tips to help you get started

2. Click Here! for sample college essays


Click Here! for a sample of writing in MLA format

CLICK HERE! for an AUDIO VERSION of 1984 :)

Click here! for a COMPLETE online version of 1984!

CLICK HERE!!! for 1984 George Orwell Chapter Summaries:

If you have any questions EMAIL me at: efinkelstein@mhacademy.net

Course Syllabus-English 7 (12th Grade)

Essential Questions:         How can we define dystopia?

                                    Why are dystopia and utopia such common themes in literature?

                                    How does history create literature?

How does biographical information inform our understanding of an author’s literary choices?

How can we write an effective college application essay?

                                    How do we write a literary essay?

                                    How do authors use symbols?

                                    How can we see the concept of totalitarianism in 1984?

How can we make connections between totalitarianism and our own lives?


Course Rationale:

This semester we begin the journey of preparing for college. This will include working on college admissions essays, as well as in depth research and college level essay writing. Towards this goal we will begin the first stages of a senior research project, as well as work on critical reading and writing skills, in accordance with the Common Core Learning Standards and rigorous academic expectations. We begin this journey by starting our yearlong exploration of dystopias and how they are represented in a variety of literary and media genres. We will start with several short stories and poems that investigate dystopias and work our way towards reading George Orwell’s 1984. Along the way we will watch movies (The Planet of the Apes) and TV shows (The Twilight Zone) that also explore society in its various nightmarish forms, as well as listen to music such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and even sample contemporary art and music.


Skills that will Be Gained by taking this course!


1)     Evaluation of non-fiction and informational texts

2)     Analysis of literature for advanced literary elements

3)     Speaking and listening in a college environment

4)     Research writing for college

5)     Use of research to write persuasive arguments

6)     Understanding of dystopian literature and themes

7)     How to successful write a personal statement for college

8)     How to successful write an essay for a college application



Important Standards For this Class

Common Core Reading Standards for Informational Text 11-12

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
a. Develop factual, interpretive, and evaluative questions for further exploration of the topic(s


Common Core Standards for Literature 11-12

Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).


Common Core Writing Standards 11-12

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.       


Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening 11-12

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Course Materials:

  • A pen or pencil must be brought to class everyday. (blue or black only)
  • A binder with a section for English must be brought to class everyday.
  • Loose leaf to be refilled throughout the year. (college rule only)
  • A USB drive to store work
  • Headphones for use during independent work periods
  • One standard 2 pocket folder (to stay in binder)
  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.


Grading Policy:

This school year we will be using a Mastery Based Grading Scale. I will assess your individual progress on a 4 point rubric based on the different skills and standards we will cover each unit. This means you won’t be getting grades out of 100% anymore, but rather a 4, 3, 2 or 1.  We will discuss this more in individual conferences and in our first few weeks of class J.

4= Exceeding Standards

3=Meeting Standards

2= Approaching Standards

1= Not Yet Approaching Standards


Class Goals:

1.     Prepare to be successful college level readers and writers.

2.     Continue to develop our vocabulary in order to better express our thoughts and opinions when speaking and in writing. This includes class discussions, debates, and presentations.

3.     Improve our analysis of literature by examining historical context and biographical information and use this analysis to write college level essays.

4.     Using college level research to support claims in our arguments, both written and verbal.

5.     Continue to improve our grammar, spelling, and writing mechanics towards developing our own style.

Murray Hill Academy Classroom Procedures

1.     All students must have a binder and a pen/pencil on their desk at all times.

2.     Students must sign the late book.

3.     No eating in class.

4.     Students must ask and sign out the bathroom pass.

5.     All students must communicate appropriately in class: raise your hand, stay in your seat, no cursing, and keep your hands to yourself.    

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at Murray Hill Academy, at (212) 696-0195. You may also contact me through email at


There will come Soft Rain

Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire.

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly.

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.



After class discussion and literary element review, students will be asked to use the poem to answer the following questions –


1)    What is the “tone” of this poem? (the author’s attitude)?

2)    What specific text details reveal this tone? (provide at least two concrete text details)

3)    Find two examples of imagery in this poem and describe which of the 5 senses the images are appealing two and why.

4)    What do the birds in this poem symbolize? How do you know?

5)    Describe the setting of this poem and a text detail that proves your idea is accurate.


Extended Response – Half page to 1 page (DOK 3)

Using our discussion on theme as the backdrop, please analyze this poem for theme and convince the reader of your analysis by presenting text evidence and details. Be sure to include a brief counter-point


Challenge – please be sure to include a fully developed counterpoint, as well as text details from class discussion. (DOK 4)


Click here to read about Why George Orwell Wrote 1984

Guidelines for College Essay Writing: 

Introduction Guidelines:

1. Introduction should start with a hook. This can be a question, quote, personal anecdote, etc.

2. It should be very detailed and specific. Ex. Provide specific dates, etc.

3. Introduce your obstacle or significant event and make sure you stay on topic.

4. Limit your use of  personal pronoun "I".

5. Should be about 5- 8 sentences.

6. Make sure you are using proper punctuation after every thought.

Body Paragraph Guidelines:

qA topic sentence that expands your theme and makes a transition from the previous paragraph.
qDevelopment of ideas that support your essay’s theme.  ( Supporting details.) 5-8 sentences at minimum.

qAn ending sentence that wraps up the paragraph and helps transition to the next paragraph.

Body paragraph I: How this significant event changed you in a positive way?

¢Topic sentence
¢Evidence that supports your opinion

Body paragraph II: How has this experience demonstrate your work ethic, determination, personality, or any other specific quality?

¢Topic sentence
¢Evidence that supports your opinion

Conclusion Guidelines:
q1.  Your conclusion should restate your thesis.
q2.  Your conclusion should be concise
q3.  Refer to the main points in your body paragraphs
q4.  End with a “punch” – a strong, concluding sentence.