What's new and what's due, including homework and handouts

( If you are looking for my College Crew class -- 11th Graders ONLY -- go to https://classroom.google.com/c/MjE5NTYzNTI1  ) 

    No work is accepted by email!   Printing is free in lab 105, which is open before school and during lunch. Please do not ask teachers to do your printing for you -- they have enough to do.

Need extra help? 
Please come to my Writing Intensive Workshops on Thursdays, 
the second half of ER, and I can give you more individual help.
Here are two links you may need:    Perfecting the Paragraph 1, 2, 3  and  Weave a quote into your own sentence.docx 
Questions?  Email me at dana.johnson@atcschool.org, or text me on your Remind.com account.
Smile and breathe, everyone!   High school is hard, but you are learning skills you will use your whole lives.  Feel good about being fearless learners.  (-8   

Immigration Day -- some of you asked for the link to the Frontline video about Syrian refugees.  We watched the 7 minute trailer, and there is also a 2 hour documentary:

  Look at this Column for 7th Grade English:
(Longer-term homework makes it here; short-term is on the board and in your planner.)

Your Homework is to
                Prepare for the Final Exam (May 22 or 23, 90 minutes):

1.  Memorize Puck's speech.  Use the handout to help you memorize it!  We will have a quiz on the first 8 lines some time soon.  This sounds hard, but actually is really fun, and nearly all of my students can recite it by the end, even in future years!

2.  Learn your lines for your mini performance of a scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  You do not have to memorize your lines, but you need to be so familiar with them that you can just glance down at the book for the line, then look up to deliver the line -- just like you did with your slam poems!  You have chosen a group to work with of up to five students.  NDI students have been placed in groups with each other.  

3.  Know the names of the characters, understand the story, and recognize (from written quotes) who said what to whom.  Examples:  

Who said, "The course of true love never did run smooth"?  To whom?  Why? What does it mean?

Who said, "Lord, what fools these mortals be"?  

Who does Hermia really love?  Who is king of the fairies?

4. Read the SUMMARY of A Midsummer Night's Dream on the handout.
       OR Click here:  ShakespeareAMidsummerNightsDreamSummary  
Shakespeare plays have several plots, so it is important to understand who's who.  

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy about the silliness of romantic love, complete with fairies, magic, and a complicated love triangle.  I make Shakespeare fun! 

Shouting Shakespeare
Shouting Shakespeare Relay Races
Shakespearean Compliments - Memorize and practice!
Shakespearean Insults -- Memorize and practice!
                        Thou knave. Thou beetled-headed, beef-witted barnacle. 
               Thou puny, fly-bitten, measle!   
The play (movie) with SUBTITLES -- these are Shakespeare's words 
Shakespeare was meant to be seen, not read, but the subtitles help us to understand the words.  
5.  Recognize and understand 20 famous quotes in this play.   See the handout.EXAM REVIEW including Midsummer Night in 20 quotes; Puck speech, and Shakespearean language.doc 

6.  . EXTRA CREDIT:  If you have some artistic talent, illustrate one Shakespearean insult 
or compliment using the list:
Or, if you can't open that powerpoint, use this:  
Your insult should be 3 words for regular English and 5 words for honors English, and looks like this:
"Thou art a beef-witted, beslubbering barnacle!"  (3)
"Thou art a puny, saucy, weedy, swag-bellied knave!" (5)
You can also MEMORIZE any of these insults for EXTRA CREDIT on the memorization part of the exam.  
This is a fun way to study!
5.  If you miss class during Shakespeare, read the section you missed here, or see the movie, below.  This site gives a modern-day translation on one side, and Shakespeare's words on the other:  

This is the movie that we use in class, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline.
See below for how to rent or purchase!

Make sure you choose the English subtitles -- those are Shakespeare's words!
We study them as we watch the play. 
Shakespeare was meant to be SEEN as a play, not read as a book, and the subtitles let us have the best of both worlds.
You can watch it instantly for $3 (you have 24 hours), or buy it for $7 on youtube.  Search for "purchase A Midsummer Night's Dream."

THE PAST -- in case you want to know what we've been doing, or you missed something:

1. See and POST recent assignments on Google Classroom -- much of our work is explained there and turned in there.  (Parents, your student will show you these, but if you prefer your own link, you can email me.)

2. April 21st.  To practice slamming your poem, try this first.  Here is a list of nursery rhymes and their words.  In groups of 3, pick one and SLAM it today for fun!  You will need to change the usual childish attitude to one of a storyteller with strength and purpose.  
(This is a great site, lots of old rhymes and songs in alphabetical order.)

Here are some notes from me on PARCC.  PARCC Testing will be 3 days in mid April, planned for the week of the 17th.  
Here is what you need in order to practice your test-taking skills.  
Why should you care, and why do we?   Not only is PARCC required for graduation in 11th grade, but being able to do your best on a standardized test will help you with the SAT, the ACT, and your AP exams, and all of these will help you get into college and receive money from that college.  
Is the PARCC a good test?  Yes!  And learning to do well on it will actually improve the way you read and understand.  
I will show you how during class.  But, if you need more practice, especially on multiple choice tests, here are the links you need.  

Examples of past tests for all grades and subjects can be found at the Partnership Resource Center, but here are the specifics:

    7th grade test examples list (copy and paste to browser bar):  https://prc.parcconline.org/assessments/parcc-released-items?title=&field_subject_tid=&field_grade_level_unlimited_tid=13&field_released_item_type_tid=&field_release_year_value=2016

Students can try interactive computer-based skills using the PARCC Practice Tests (below) and Tutorials (below).

These are each 13 questions:

7th grade ELA/Literacy Unit #1:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL07PTOE01010100&password=PCPRACTICE

7th grade ELA Literacy Unit #2:   https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL07PTOE01010200&password=PCPRACTICE

7th grade ELA Literacy Unit #3:   https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL07PTOE01010300&password=PCPRACTICE

7th grade TUTORIAL -- how to navigate through the PARCC and play with, I mean use, all the different tools:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=PCPTELA_6-8_ST&password=PCPRACTICE

     9th grade test examples list (copy and paste to browser bar) https://prc.parcconline.org/assessments/parcc-released-items?title=&field_subject_tid=&field_grade_level_unlimited_tid=15&field_released_item_type_tid=&field_release_year_value=2016

Literary Analysis Task on The Odyssey, comparing poem and text:  https://prc.parcconline.org/system/files/grade09_LAT_itemset_01.16.pdf

Research Simulation Task (3 passages) and Essay (you can do an outline for now) on Sound:  https://prc.parcconline.org/system/files/grade09_RST_itemset_02.16.pdf

These are each 13 questions:

9th grade ELA/Literacy Unit #1:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL09PTCE01010100&password=PCPRACTICE

9th grade ELA Literacy Unit #2:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL09PTOE01010200&password=PCPRACTICE

9th grade ELA Literacy Unit #3:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=17EL09PTOE01010300&password=PCPRACTICE

9th grade TUTORIAL -- how to navigate through the PARCC and play with, I mean use, all the different tools:  https://parcctrng.testnav.com/client/index.html#login?username=PCPTELA_HS_ST&password=PCPRACTICE

How will your writing be scored?  What are they looking for?  

Writing samples and their scores and commentary from 7th grade test:  https://prc.parcconline.org/system/files/G7_ELA_ReleasedItems_Conventions-SampleStudentResponses_Final.pdf

Writing samples and their scores and commentary from 9th grade test:  https://prc.parcconline.org/system/files/G9_ELA_ReleasedItems_Conventions-SampleStudentResponses_Final.pdf

Here are the Twelve Independent Reading Assignments, due every two days or so, over the next month.  Parents, please sign the upper right-hand corner of your student's copy (which should be in the literature section of their binder.)
Click here if you have lost your handout:
Assignments are posted on Google Classroom.  Show your parents your assignments if they are interested!

PRINT Set 1 and Set 2 when those are due, as well as posting them.  This is necessary for grading purposes.  

2.  Creative Stories!
This is a longterm project.
Due March 31st, posted on Google Classroom.  The final story will be at least 10 pages long.  Students have already spent many class periods writing. 

Every so often, students have time to work on their stories, and they are given a task to accomplish. Required so far:
1) half of a page of imagery (description) in one chunk.
    Label this.  You decide what to describe in great detail.
2) one whole page of dialogue in one chunk.  When showing dialogue, each new speaker is a new paragraph. 
3) at least one element of suspense
4) at least six pages written so far.
5) every assigned task above needs to be
            -- IN BOLD
            -- LABELED IN BRACKETS, like this:
Thank you so much to Mrs. Hagele, 
author of young teen fiction, 
for teaching a class on 
descriptive writing (imagery)!   

Image may contain: text

Overdue -- Book choice for your independent reading project -- due Wed, Feb 1st, with a parent signature on the book suggestion list form. 
Click here:

(Overdue) Book in hand!  Two weeks after the book choice, students need to arrive with their chosen book in hand.  We do activities with the book that day.  -- Feb 15th   

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1.  Chomp!  
Chomp is a recent fun story by Carl Hiassen, Newbury Honor award-winner, who is also the author of Hoot. Wahoo Cray takes his family’s financial woes into his own hands and accepts a job with Expedition Survival, a reality TV show... The Crays set off on a harrowing trip in the Everglades that turns into a true test of survival—man against man, man against nature, and man against self.  (Man = Human/Woman/Man/Girl/Boy.) Students love this book, which is funny, serious, realistic, unusual, and an action thriller.
Image result for everglades

Chomp sometimes takes place in the Everglades.

-- done with Chomp!
EXAM -- The Midterm Exam Part I has already been handed out, and students have spent an hour on it. 
Here is a copy of the directions if you were absent: 

You can earn 100% on this --  just follow every direction, 
and make it your masterpiece. 

1.  Introduction to Nonfiction with "Mongoose on the Loose"

Students have done excellent work so far writing upper-level test questions for this article, which is great practice for the PARCC and other standardized tests they will eventually take for college admission.  This is also a great way to raise your reading level.  

If you did not bring home your article, here is a link:

Students posted their own test questions on Google Classroom, and then too each other's quizzes.  
They later identified main idea and evidence.  

(Done or Overdue)  
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
by James Patterson 

A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting science fiction thriller.  
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can 
morph into a living nightmare at any time...

1.  We are done reading! 
Write a perfect paragraph using this topic sentence: 
Maximum Ride would make a good action movie.  

Follow all of your directions on the perfect paragraph handout as usual.

WEAVE your quotes, following the directions on your second handout, also here:   Weave a quote into your own sentence.docx 

Here is a link to the book free online:
(Copy and paste to your browser.)

Post this paragraph to Google Classroom.  All students have an account and have previously posted to the site.  
                                                        ---- Due Friday, November 18th 

(We worked on this in class Thursday and Friday.  The paragraph is 7 sentences long.)

2. (Done or overdue)  Vocabulary Test
Spelling, Meaning, Part of Speech
Like your last vocab quiz, be able to identify noun, verb, adjective (describes a noun), or adverb (describes a verb). This is not done by memorizing, but by thinking, about how the word is used in a sentence.  We have spent time on this in class several tims, but if you need more help on this subject, google it.  The world is dying to educate you, and practice makes perfect. 
The handout of vocab words is in the vocab section of your binder.  The words are from Maximum Ride
Students wrote stories using the words, and posted their stories on Google Classroom, on Friday, Nov 10th.

Inline image 1

No homework for 7th grade over Thanksgiving break, 
unless you need to do make-up work, 
such as summaries for missed quizzes, or unless 
you just feel like working on your new story.
All late work due Monday!

. (late, Nov 7th last day to turn in) 
"I Am From" poem 

Periods 4 and 5 are posting their poem on Google Classroom.  
Period 4's code for Google Classroom is dm149r.
Period 5's code for Google Classroom is zr3vx5.  
Period 3 can type or handwrite, but handwriting must be legible, or the poem is late. 

We have spent several days on this in class, including Tuesday, Nov 1st, so this was classwork, not homework.

5 stanzas of 4 lines each (minimum)
Each stanza begins with "I am from."
Each stanza contains vivid imagery.
One metaphor and one simile somewhere in your poem.

Students have been reading the beginnings of their poems aloud -- fun!

If you are really struggling, here is a link -- just suggestions -- I actually think you'll do better on your own:

"I Am From" Poem Template - Scholastic   or   


3.  (Overdue, last day to turn in is Oct 31st)  
Write a new "perfect paragraph," this time weaving the quotes into your own sentences.  

Answer the question, "How would you describe Max's personality?"   
Topic Sentence states two personality traits.  
       Example:  Max is selfish and untrustworthy.    (I know. Just kidding.)

Then, follow the 1, 2, 3 format.  
You need two supports as usual. 
7 sentences total.

THEN, in class, we have gone over the handout called "How to Weave Quotes into your own Sentences."     Weave a quote into your own sentence.docx 

Go back to your quotes and reword them so that the quote is woven in.  
Leave out the words: says, said, I, me, we, you, etc.  
Use brackets around words that you had to change, such as "I" to "She."  "though [she] knew that...." 

(Problems with writing? Come to my Writing Workshops on Thursdays, the second half of ER, and I can give you more individual help.)

Follow ALL directions, seventh graders!  
                                       Due Wednesday, October 26th

4.  Not homework, but some of you wanted to hear or read more of Bram Stoker's Dracula.  
We read from Chapter 1 only.  The rest of the story can be read to you here:


where an avid reader has taken it upon himself to read the entire book, one video at a time.

        -- due if you did not earn an A the first time --
(  LATE --  BUT can be turned in through Monday, Oct 17)

Based on what was incorrect on your original paragraph, revise, type, print, and turn in.  Students had two classes to do this, including a whole hour with the laptops.  Then it became homework.  It was due Friday, October 7th, but if you need to turn it in late, you have until Monday after ER tutorials.

Here are the original directions.  Make sure to follow each one.

 Write a "perfect paragraph 123" using this topic sentence:

Freak's dictionary tells the story of Freak the Mighty.
Use the directions in your binder: Perfecting the Paragraph 1, 2, 3
You need two supports, each about a different word. 

Here is some wording you can use:

1.  For example, Freak defines  __________ as "___________________________."  
This is important to the story because ___________________________________________. 
(This paragraph requires an extra sentence in #1 in order to give word plus definition in quotation marks.)

2.  Lead in to a quote that supports #1.

3.  Connect back to topic sentence -- by going DEEPER into how this changed their lives or represents their lives --
thereby telling their story.

Now add a second support -- do this again but with another word from Freak's dictionary.

3.  Keep in Your Binder (Late, but do it anyway)
 Write a poem inspired by e.e. cummings' poem:










This reads: a leaf falls... loneliness.

Make your own poem about ANYTHING.  Create your own structure that helps express the poem.

(Done)  EXTRA CREDIT  -- Poem Art ! 
Must show 15 minutes worth of artistic effort.  Using the poem you wrote in class last week (ee cummings type, your own personal structure, any topic), use unlined paper and color, no regular pencil. (Did you follow those directions?  No regular pencil, no lined paper, and must be in color.)  I can give you paper and colors if needed.  Size of regular paper, 8.5 x 11.  The poem itself should be on the page in colored letters, and the page should be illustrated.  Use the whole page.  Have fun!  
                               Due by Tuesday, October 11th 
(Done, too late to turn in unless we do a redo later.)  Creative writing:  Write a story that involves a monster or mutant! 

*  at least 4 pages
*  Description:  at least 1/4 page of description twice in your story 
*  Dialogue (conversation) at least 3 times during your story
                     (too late to turn in).  

 If you missed our Socratic seminar:

You Wrote These Excellent Seminar Questions for Freak the Mighty:

Why do people avoid others who look different from them?  Why do people judge others based on differences? What is the point of discrimination if we’re all different?

How should we cope with death?  Our own?  Our loved ones?  What is the meaning of death?  What is life if death is the end?  What happens after you die?

Why do people lie?

Why are people reluctant to ask for help?

Why do people feel that they have to be like their parents?

Why are people self-conscious?  Why do people have low self-esteem?

Is friendship so important?  Why do we need others?

Why do people bully?

How do sadness and anger affect a father-son relationship?

Is there any meaning to life?  Is there a god? Do humans matter?   Is there a reason for death?

How does learning benefit a person in the real world?

Why do children have to listen to adults?

What do the stories of King Arthur give to the world?  Does it apply to our everyday lives?

Can someone’s self-esteem influence others?

What causes someone to kill their wife/husband?

Is it okay to keep a child from its parent?

How is a child affected when their parent is abusive, and how does that change the child’s mindset?

How to cope with disabilities?  Can disabilities be helpful?

How should we handle family that is dysfunctional?

How do your parents change the way you look at yourself?

Assignment if you missed seminar:
Choose two of the questions above. Write half of a page on each, answering as thoughtfully as you can.

TOO LATE -- cannot be turned in past NEXT Monday, Oct 3

 Analyzing the movie, The Mighty

Students will be answering the question:

What scenes did the director add that show the spirit of Freak the Mighty?

Choose three new scenes of any length.

Describe each scene in 2 sentences ONLY, and then add 3 sentences to -- 

Explain how and why this shows the spirit of Freak, of Max, or of the team, Freak the Mighty.  You can probably do this in 3 sentences as long as you are clear and you explain what part of Freak, Max, or the team of Freak the Mighty­­ is captured in this new scene.

A list of differences between­­­ the book and the movie is a ZERO because you have not ­followed directions.

Useful words:  director, scene, chivalry, chivalrous, King Arthur, Arthurian legend, love, friendship. 

Chivalry:  the spirit, ways, or customs of knighthood, such as behaving honorably and helping other people. 

En espanol: chivalry es la caballería, la caballerosidad o la cortesia.

Begin your paper with this thesis.  A thesis is a statement you are about to prove:

The director of The Mighty added scenes to the original story of Freak the Mighty in order to show the spirit of Freak, Max or their team, “Freak the Mighty.” (Copy that to start off your paper.)

Here is an example of one of your three paragraphs:

The director adds a scene in which Max turns into a Zombie.  When people see him, they run screaming in all directions, while Max eats random people one by one.  The director added this scene to show the spirit of Max.  Max is basically a mean, brutal, ruthless human being who doesn’t care about anyone but himself.  Eating other people for breakfast reflects his complete inability to feel sympathy for others.  When it comes to Max, chivalry is dead.

(Obviously, you would not say any of this about Max, because it does not describe him at all! Nor were there any zombies in this movie.  What is wrong with you?  Have you been staying up too late?  ;-)

This was classwork on Tuesday and Wednesday.  If not finished, this was -- 

                                                Due:   Friday, Sept 23rd

Ten Famous Knights : 

3.  We are done reading Freak the Mighty!
So please return your book on Monday, now that you have done the movie analysis and the perfect paragraph on Freak's dictionary.  

Nearly half of the seventh graders have A's as of September 12th 
(33 out of 73 seventh graders)
You, too, can earn an A!
Turn in all assignments, do your reading homework, and 
never leave a zero.

Students have been given a printout of their grades from PowerSchool, and a printout of their reading scores from Discovery standardized testing.  They should be carrying those home from school on Friday, September 9th.  Please have a look at those together.  Reading level 3 means "on grade level."  Reading levels 1 and 2 are below grade level.  The way to improve in reading is read!  I will give students all the tools they need to improve on reading -- they just need to supply the hard work.

REMIND.COM -- Parent AND student:   Please sign up for Remind.com to receive occasional reminders. You can receive messages by text, email, or app.  Here is the link for the 7th grade classes.  Please make sure to put first and last name so that I recognize you:  https://www.remind.com/join/k87c3     (copy and paste to browser).  If it asks you for a code, use k87c3.
This is a grade -- if you haven't done it, do it now for 100%.  It takes one minute.

(Done)  Vocabulary Quiz -- Spelling, Definition, Part of Speech
Part of speech is noun, verb, adjective, and adverb.  If you can't remember what these are, you didn't write them down in class, etc., google them now.  You are not meant to memorize which word is which part of speech, but to figure it out from how the word is used in a sentence.
The 10 words, plus 2 extra credit words, are on your handout, which is kept in the Vocab section of your binder.
Students looked up definitions in the dictionary, and then they worked in large groups to write stories using the words.  
If you still have questions, you can ask me or use Merriam Webster online dictionary, or of course a paper version.  
Study 10 minutes twice a day -- research shows this is much better than two hours the night before, because the words get to your longterm memory instead of just your short-term memory. 

Materials Needed for 7th and 9th Grade English

1 Three-Ring binder  --  You may share your English binder with other classes.

     No spirals please!  They make a mess and can’t be used for filing class notes.5 dividers just for English.  Please label these:

Literature, Nonfiction, Essays, Vocab, Mechanics (for grammar, punctuation, etc.).

The organized binder is a grade and will be checked throughout the year.

1 or 2 handheld pencil sharpeners with cover to be brought to class every day please

Use this to sharpen your pencils quietly at your own desk.

Looseleaf paper (4 inches of paper; keep 1 inch in binder and 3 in locker or home)

No spirals please!  They make a mess and can’t be used for filing class notes.

10 Pens, 20 Pencils, ALREADY SHARPENED  -- keep the extra ones in locker or home

Markers or colored pencils for occasional posters, can keep in locker or home

A regular English dictionary to be kept at home; only buy if you do not already have one. You will use this throughout high school.

(Un diccionario de inglés a inglés para la casa)


Commas are required in Spanish too - 
can you understand the examples?

How Can I Raise my Grades? 

 1. Do your work! 
2. Turn in all work on time. ATC has a very strict late policy.
3. Never skip an assignment!  A zero really drags your grade down.
4. Study for quizzes.  
5. Read your book when assigned.
6.  Establish a homework routine -- when, where, and for how long each day?  Draw out a chart of your homework times.  
7.  Check grades weekly with parents on PowerSchool.
8.  Get interested -- think about what connects you to what you are studying.  We all learn best if we have some passion or curiosity about the subject.  


Grammar presentations with attitude! 

Look at this Column for 9th Grade English:
(Longer-term homework makes it here; short-term is on the board and in your planner.)


Your Homework is to
                Prepare for the Final Exam (May 22 or 23, 90 minutes):

1.  Memorize the prologue to Romeo and Juliet.  You have this on a handout, but you can also google it.  

2. Know the names of the characters, understand the story, and recognize (from written quotes) who said what to whom. 

Use your 16 page version of Romeo and Juliet -- be very familiar with these lines.  These are the lines on your exam!  You don't have to memorize them, just recognize who said them and why. 

THE PAST -- in case you want to know what we've been doing:

See and POST recent assignments on Google Classroom -- much of our work is explained there and turned in there.  (Parents, your student will show you these, but if you prefer your own link, you can email me.)
                for 3 long posts with videos, inspiration, and techniques.

2. April 21st.  To practice slamming your poem, try this first.  Here is a list of nursery rhymes and their words.  In groups of 3, pick one and SLAM it today for fun!  You will need to change the usual childish attitude to one of a storyteller with strength and purpose.  
(This is a great site, lots of old rhymes and songs in alphabetical order.)

For your two scientific studies/experiments, here are examples from your classmates:
Examples from Sterling:
Slide One:
      In 1981 a group of scientists at the  Rodale Institute started the Farming Systems Trial, which is the longest comparison of organic to conventional farming in America. 
    *    The scientists observed that in the beginning organic fell behind in overall crop yield compared to conventional farming but after a few years it came back to surpass industrial farming. 
    *    The study found that in years with moderate drought organic farming produced on average 134 bushels of corn while conventional farming only made 102.

[Then give the source in MLA format.] 

Slide Two:
A study by Oxford University scientists, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found that in 94 other studies starting as far back as 1989, all of them said the same thing: organic farming can grow 33% more plants than conventional farming. 
    *    The study also found that organic farms have 50% more different kinds of biological species than conventional farms.

[Then give the source in MLA format.]  

Example from Beth:
A study by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention studied the relationship between underarm products with parabens and breast cancer. 
They surveyed 437 breast cancer patients and grouped them by how frequently they used underarm hygiene products with parabens. 
The study found that females that used the underarm products with parabens more frequently, developed breast cancer at a younger age. 
[Then give the source in MLA format.]  

Example from Angelica:
• 344 rats were exposed to formaldehyde. 
• Formaldehyde is a chemical that is released from wood floors. 
• They were exposed to formaldehyde at 0.3, 2, and 15 ppm 6 h/day, 5 days/week for 28 months 
• In the 15 ppm the 8 out of 32 rats were getting tumors after 14months. 
• In the lower exposed groups there were no tumors observed 
• In the high exposed group 20 out of 32 rats had died on the 24th month. 
• “In this study, a no effect level of formaldehyde vapor could not be obtained because toxicological signs were obvious with a low exposed group.
[Then give the source in MLA format.]  

By Monday, Feb 6th, choose your first scientific study.  Remember that using Google Scholar OR going to one of your sources' original sources will get you to the original data that you are looking for.  By Monday, Feb 13th, have both scientific studies written up on slides.  You can send me questions by email or Remind.com.
Friday, Feb 17th -- FINAL RESEARCH POWERPOINT posted at the final assignment there on Google Classroom.
Extensions cannot be later than the date given, Tuesday for most of you. 

2. Your own creative writing -- see this assignment on Google Classroom, where you are posting (privately) your story.

3.  Extra credit for hispanohablantes -- Si puedes leer uno de los articulos en espanol, escribeme una pagina en espanol sobre lo que dice.  Trata de usar el nuevo vocabulario en sus propias palabras.  Estos son los articulos y capitulos:   
Y mas en español aqui:
y aqui:

Put your bibliography entries in MLA format, and use this whole format on each slide as well:

Author's last name, first name.  "Article Title in Quotes."  
        Website Title Underlined.  Associated Institution.  
        Date published.  Date you accessed the article  <url >.

If information is not given, such as author or associated institution, just leave it out. 

You have signed up for a topic from this list:


  1. ADHD -- can it be caused by chemicals?

  2. Bees - what is making them sick?

  3. Hormone (Endocrine) disruptors

  4. Organophosphates (typically pesticides)

  5. Solvents

  6. Phthalates (plasticizers)

  7. 2,4 – D  (an herbicide)  

  8. formaldehyde

  9. lead - one of the original chemicals studied - and what happened when we changed to unleaded gasoline?

  10. parabens

  11. Farm Workers and Pesticides

  12. trichloroethylene (dry cleaning)

  13. triclosan (in everyday products)

  14. coal -- coal-powered electricity

  15. Safe ways to control pests

  16. Perfumes

  17. Cosmetics

  18. Chemicals found in our urine, blood, and mother’s milk

(the ones that should not be in there)

  1. Genetically Modified (GMO) Food

especially Pesticide-resistant plants & Patented seeds;

  1. Toxic Substances Control Act

  2. Fluoride (should it be in our water?)

  3. Genetic mutations and chemicals

  4. Frogs, ponds, and chemicals

  5. Fire retardants

  6. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a disability  

  7. Dryer sheets & fabric softeners

  8. Underarm deodorant and antiperspirants

  9. neurotoxicity

  10. fracking

  11. What else?  Check with me if you have a suggestion.

(Late, due by 1/23)  Write and post your Silent Spring chapter paper -- see Google Classroom for the assignment.   -- due end of class on Friday, but extended to Tuesday because of internet issues.  Must be posted before class begins so that we can share.  

New Unit:  Silent Spring: Chemicals and Human Health

How to read and understand nonfiction by identifying main idea and considering an author's evidence; how to research on the web, read actual scientific and medical studies, evaluate sources, make a bibliography, and present a powerpoint of your findings -- 
in other words, 
how to become an informed citizen 
when citizens need to be informed!   Go ATC! 

Silent Spring, a nonfiction ground-breaking book by Rachel Carson, 
published in 1962, is more relevant now than ever.
This information is vital for you as a member of your community.
From The Atlantic Magazine:  

"Best known for its alarming account of DDT's decimation of birdlife across the United States, Silent Spring is widely credited with sparking the public concern that lead to the chemical's ban in the US ten years later. "Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of birds, and the early mornings, once filled with the beauty of bird song, are strangely silent," Carson wrote, describing the toll pesticide use had taken on American birds. Without changes in practice, brought about in part by Silent Spring, the bald eagle (whose numbers had plummeted to about 400 breeding pairs in the continental US by 1963) might well have disappeared from the lower 48 states.

But Carson also described the accumulation of synthetic chemicals in people -- including newborns -- and these chemicals' interaction with the innermost workings of living cells. "For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death," Carson wrote. "These chemicals are now stored in the bodies of the vast majority of human beings, regardless of age. They occur in the mother's milk, and probably in the tissues of the unborn child," wrote Carson more than 40 years before an  Environmental Working Group study found 287 industrial chemicals in newborns' umbilical cord blood, and decades before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began finding such chemicals in the majority of Americans tested.

Now almost every day brings a new report detailing health hazards associated with synthetic chemicals. Exposure to some of these substances has been linked to increasingly widespread chronic health problems, among them diabetes, obesity, and reproductive and neurological disorders. We've learned that some chemicals' adverse effects can be prompted by exceptionally low levels of exposure that occur before birth and that these biochemical alterations can be so profound that a single exposure may affect several generations. That synthetic chemicals are found routinely in human blood samples and throughout our food and water supply has become a commonplace."

Why Silent Spring?   #20 in "The 100 Best Nonfiction Books," a review of its importance by The Guardian newspaper: 

What's the big deal about pesticides?  "They are Biocides, Not Pesticides," as explained in The Huffington Post:

Toxicologists make high salaries.  You are basically studying toxicology in this unit!  

Our new unit covers toxicology (the study of poisons or toxins), chemistry, biology, environmental science, health, medicine, your research, your use of technology, your public speaking and presentation ...       

Information you need to remember for this unit (a crash course in toxicology):  

Vocabulary:  toxin, neurotoxin, toxicology, neurotoxicology, pesticide, herbicide, biocide, DDT

The 4 routes of entry (in people) for toxins:  poisons can enter your system by inhalation, skin, ingestion (by mouth), or the bloodstream.  

Neuro means brain and nervous system.  Nerves are present in nearly the whole human body.  When humans are exposed to neurotoxins, they develop the symptoms that are associated with neurological diseases.  Neurological damage and/or neurological diseases include brain damage, nerve damage, paralysis, numbness and tingling in fingers and toes, seizures, ALS, multiple sclerosis.  

How does the body detoxify?  The liver and kidneys function as the detox system.  This is a good reason to keep your liver and kidneys in full functioning order.  They can easily get overwhelmed.  Sweat is another way we can detox.  Remember that alcohol and drugs are also toxins that poison the liver, kidneys, and brain.

What happens if the liver and kidneys can't cope with the toxin load?  Poisons temporarily circulate in the blood stream, but then get stored in the fat and the organs.  It is very difficult or impossible to get them out of the fat and organs.    

Can toxins stored in the body lead to disease?  Yes.  Cancers and neurological disorders (see above) are common results of toxic exposure.

Students will consider connections to their own lives or to people that they know. Last year, one student realized that her dog had recently had a seizure; the dog's bed was in the corner; the corner was where they sprayed pesticides to get rid of ants.  Pets are very susceptible to pesticides. 

We are reading aloud and discussing Silent Springby Rachel Carson.  After reading the first several chapters aloud, each student will read and report to the class about a different chapter.  

We need more copies of this book if you have one at home!  Because we only have a class set, students should use the online version for reading at home.  If this is not possible in your home, please let me know. 

Ms. Ferguson will also collaborate with us, and will teach about topics related to chemicals and human health, especially in honors biology classes.

En español -- información del US Embassy sobre Silent Spring:

DONE -- Silent Spring Homework #1 :
Find a current event that involves chemicals and human health; 
write out the source in MLA format;
summarize the article in one full page, giving main idea and evidence.  
Post on Google Classroom publicly and privately. 
Be prepared to explain and discuss. 
These are always interesting.  Discuss at home!
Did you follow allllll of those directions?  All of them?  
Follow them or your work will not be accepted and will be late.
Earn 100% on this, folks!

DONE -- Silent Spring Homework #2:  

HERE is the full text online.  
You will be reading and writing about one chapter at home, 
so use this link: 
(Copy and paste that link into your browser bar.)

After we read the first few chapters together, each student will be assigned one of the chapters of Silent Spring, and will report back to the class, explaining the new concepts and answering the questions from their written paper.
Type two full pages in MLA format, answering, 
What is the main idea of this chapter?  
What evidence does the author give for that main idea? 
Include evidence from the beginning, middle, and end of the chapter.
You must fully explain three (3) pieces of evidence.  

Chapter titles (these are not links, so use the link to the whole book above):
1. A Fable for Tomorrow
2. The Obligation to Endure
3. Elixirs of Death
4. Surface Waters and Underground Seas
5. Realms of the Soil
6. Earth’s Green Mantle
7. Needless Havoc
8. And No Birds Sing
9. Rivers of Death
10. Indiscriminately from the Skies
11. Beyond the Dreams of the Borgias
12. The Human Price
13. Through a Narrow Window
14. One in Every Hour
15. Nature Fights Back
16. The Rumblings of an Avalanche
17. The Other Road

En español:
Y mas en español aqui:
y aqui:

Optional info: Here are two videos by Bill Moyers' Journal, dedicated to Rachel Carson:  http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09212007/watch.html

(Late, due by 1/23)  Current Event -- Must involve chemicals and human health.  No earlier than 2012.  Post publicly on Google Classroom and privately.  Use formal English, good sentence structure, spelling, etc.  Write a one page summary giving Main Idea and Author's Evidence or important details in this case. 

Grades:  One third of you earned A's or B's for Semester One -- congratulations!  ALL of you can earn at least a B in English -- that means you!  If your grade was not what you wanted, decide how you will improve your organization, work ethic, or time management.  Never allow a zero; follow all directions so that your work is not marked incomplete; try your best to get work in on time; check the class website; come to the English Intensive on Thursday afternoons during the second half of ER if you need extra help; if you wish you had a student tutor during ER, please ask Ms. Casias, who sponsors the National Honor Society.  You are learning skills that you will use for life -- embrace them!  That alone will make a huge difference to your ability to learn and improve your skills.  

The Evolution of Black-White Relations in America

EXAM -- Here is a copy of your entire handout : 

The need to think deeply is part of a good exam and part of good writing. 

Both fiction and nonfiction American writings have helped America evolve as a nation.  America evolved (changed and improved, grew) morally.  Morality is knowing right from wrong, just from unjust, fair from unfair.  Your exam question:

How did Scout, Frederick Douglass, and John Howard Griffin evolve, 
or what wisdom did they gain, thus teaching America to evolve?9

 Use the wisdom or personal evolution of two of the above to answer this question in a four-paragraph essay, where each body paragraph addresses one book, and follows the “perfect paragraph 1, 2, 3” format.  Remember to weave your quotes so that you are showing that you have learned the skills taught this semester.

Do not include your own opinions in this essay.  Base your answers on the writings of the authors: as shown through Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Frederick Douglass’s “Letter to His Master,” and/or Griffin’s Black Like Me.  (Your opinion will come through anyway, but in your choice of what to write about, and your choice of wording.)

This is not a history question about events, but a question about the ideas, phil999osophies, and specifically morals that changed over time. 

Write a 4- paragraph essay that deeply and thoughtfully discusses this answer.   Make sure that your #3 sentences give depth and insight into your examples.  Include an introduction and a conclusion as two of the four paragraphs. 


To show evolution (growth or change for the better), your body paragraphs must show change, a kind of “before and after” picture.  Therefore, each first example should explain and quote the earlier thoughts of the character, nation, or author, black or white, young or old.  Each second example should show the eventual, final wisdom that shows a moral evolution.  Simplified, the first example should be about the tadpole; the second example should be about the frog – the grandpa frog.  (You don’t have to go all the way back to their childhoods, but make a point of picking two different points in time in order to show “before” and “after.”   

Quotes can be from the author, narrator, main character, or anyone else in the text. For example, Scout is hearing opinions, admiring Atticus and others, agreeing with them, and absorbing them into her own belief system.  In other words, Harper Lee is teaching through many voices in her story, as any author can.                                                                         

To prepare for your midterm exam, read through the words of wisdom of Harper Lee that you and your class posted on Google Classroom, and then the paragraphs about ethos, pathos, and logos in Frederick Douglass’s “Letter to His Master.”  (Do not discuss ethos, pathos, and logos – instead, look at the wisdom cited there.)  Consider the words of wisdom that you just posted from John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me.  You will need a decent understanding of all three texts.

Review the structure of the perfect paragraph.   You are showing me that you have mastered this structure.  Have the directions out for that and for weaving in your quotes.

The introduction should answer who, what, why, where, when, just as you have learned in middle school.   Introduce your uninformed reader to the titles and authors of the books, what they were about, and when they were published.  End your introduction with the thesis statement, which is a bold statement of what you are about to prove.  In this case, as is typical, your thesis will be a restatement of the question.  Make it general – they evolved… etc., without giving any specifics or examples in the thesis statement.  

The conclusion should 1) restate the thesis in new and deeper wording.  2) It should then give one overall message from both of the texts that you choose, so think about what they have in common.  That statement should be thoughtful enough that it gives closure to your essay. 

You have one hour today, this weekend, and one hour on exam day. 

Use very formal English.  Any informal English will be marked down (will lose points). 

Use good sentence structure; no runons, fragments, or comma splices.  No apostrophe errors.  No spelling errors – you are typing, so use spell-check.  Use MLA format.  Double-space. 

You can see a rubric for the essay on the class website. [See below.]

Aside from structure, you are obviously being graded on your thinking process. Do your paragraphs follow the before-after format? Do they prove you thesis? More importantly, is your paper interesting, reflecting the books? Is it deep, profound, and thoughtful, reflecting the depth of the books you just read? If you read a profound work and write a shallow, half-hearted essay, you will appear to have not understood the work or its meaning, and your grade will reflect that. 
 Use the power of two of these works to make 
a logical but powerful statement of their significance to the evolution of America.

Type your essay into a Google document, and you will post that onto Google Classroom at the end of the exam period. 

My strong recommendation is that you arrive at the exam with the essay mostly written, just needing fine-tuning.  On the one hand, it is only four paragraphs, but on the other hand, it has to be very precise.  The body paragraphs are seven sentences each.  Don’t make them much more than that.  The conclusion is two sentences, but they have precise requirements stated above, so follow all directions.

Remember that when you write, you are putting your own self into another form.  So write for you, and the writing will be meaningful to you.  

Rubric for the exam essay:

Required structure, and including sound logic, ideas, and understanding, as well as punctuation:

Introduction   (See above)                                                                     10% 
Body paragraph #1 using assigned format                                             40%
Topic Sentence           
2. Leads in to a quote. Quote is woven in seamlessly.   (Review 2 handouts, one on Perfecting the Paragraph 123,
3.                                                                                        and one on How to Weave a Quote)
1.   Repeat above 
Body paragraph #2, same                                                                     40%
Topic Sentence 
Conclusion                                                                                              10% 

Any plagiarism at all – 0%. Period.  I want to hear your voice and the authors’ voices, no one else’s. 

Aside from structure, you are obviously being graded on your thinking process.  Do your paragraphs follow the before-after format?  Do they prove you thesis?  

More importantly, is your paper interesting, reflecting the books?  Is it deep, profound, and thoughtful, reflecting the depth of the books you just read?  If you read a profound work and write a shallow, half-hearted essay, you will appear to have not understood the work or its meaning, and your grade will reflect that.  Use the power of two of these works to make a logical but powerful statement of their significance to the evolution of America.   

  Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin 

Pages to read for quizzes:  1-84, 106-138, 153-164,= 127 pages total

Quiz Monday, Dec 5th on pages 1-26 (top of page)

Quiz Wednesday, Dec 7th -- 38-41 and 107-117 (excerpts)

Here is the book, free online:

http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~asantas/Texts/Racism/JHG-blm.PDF  -- if that is not the whole book, you can search google and youtube.  Better yet, use the copy you checked out.


Black Like Me, Vocab List of 25 words to use in your articles.docx 


Using 10 to 25 of your new vocab words, write either 

1) a newspaper article about John Howard Griffin and his project; 


2) a letter for Amnesty International, meant to get a prisoner of conscience released.

This is a good use of the exact same vocabulary -- human rights and civil rights.

Here are two examples:

Ferguson: Respect the Rights of Peaceful Protesters



Iran: Release an Outspoken Human Rights Defender:


                                Work on any of the three assignments.

Length of article or letter:  As long as your letter makes really good sense, uses at least 10 vocab words CORRECTLY, and is at least one full page, size 12 font, in paragraphs, SINGLE SPACED for this purpose, you can get 100%.  Use more words correctly for extra credit.  

If you write a letter for Amnesty, you can send it and help someone out.  

                            Due:  This Friday   

(Done)  Frederick Douglass's "Letter to His Master"

In class, you have read the letter silently, and then in groups.  To practice your skills in analyzing nonfiction, you

1)   determined the main idea and evidence of each section (2 sections assigned to each group).  Those were posted on Google Classroom on Friday, December 2nd.  

2)  in your groups, you will go back to those same sections assigned to you, and identify an example of ethos, pathos, and logos.  Ms. Trish Shain will go over the definitions of ethos, pathos, and logos with you, but here is a summary:

The Art of persuasion relies on these three:

Ethos = ethics or morals, the difference between right and wrong: you should do this because it is the right thing to do.

Logos = logic or reason: you should do this because it makes sense.

Pathos = passion or emotions: you should do this because it will rip your heart out not to.

Frederick Douglass uses all three.  What is he arguing for or against?  How does he convince his readers?

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee  

This reading is part of a unit called "America's Evolution: Black-White Relations Between Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement."  It could not be more relevant to today's issues, so listen to the news (but don't over do it!). 


1.  Read chapters well enough to pass a quiz on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

 If you do not do well, remember to slow down and read for understanding, using your Mockingbird Dictionary, link below.  You can LISTEN to the book on youtube (see link below).  You can read the book SPANISH (see link below), and if you can do that, I will be very impressed!   

Read well enough to know what you read.  Who are the characters and what happened to them?  Who said what?  Be able to figure out who said it, or be familiar enough with the reading that you remember important statements or reactions.  Remembering what you just read is an important skill in every subject.  

       (Write a 1-page summary to replace the zero if you were absent.)
(2 chapters is about 45 minutes to read aloud; allow an hour over the weekend)

          Finish Chapter                     By this date for a quiz:

25 & 26 (27 minutes on audio)                            Friday, Nov 18 (done)

27 & 28 (you have 9 days to read this! 55 minutes)  Monday, Nov 28th

If you have trouble getting 100% on the quizzes, use your Mockingbird dictionary, and ask yourself, "what just happened?" every two pages of the story.

Remember you can listen to the audio and/or read the text in Spanish, links below.      

We will read aloud Chapters 29-31 in class on Monday, Nov 28th, after the reading quiz.

Why do we have to read over the weekends?  We have to finish a novel. You have more free time on a weekend than during the week.  ATC students read novels!  Many other schools only give students short articles; be glad you chose a good school.  This is America's favorite novel.  

(Problems with writing? Come to my Writing Workshops on Thursdays, the second half of ER, and I can give you more individual help.)   

2. (Done or Overdue) Current Event Paper, due Wednesday, November 16th

    (Period 2 handed this in on Thursday due to Aspire testing.)              

Do this well; you've had just over a week to prepare it, including Friday's hour of class. 

Choose an article on a current event that addresses the theme(s) of this unit.  

This unit is entitled, "The Evolution of Black-White Relations in America."  

The theme of the unit is that prejudice is a natural state of humanity (adults, not children), but can be overcome with higher-level thinking: compassion, love, morality, tolerance, seeing through the division, understanding and then embracing the "other."

Your article can address racism or prejudice in America between any two groups, such as black/white, Muslim/Christian/Jew, Syria/USA, Democrat/Republican, Native American rights. 

It can be a simple incident of racism or prejudice, or it can be a discussion on how to solve American problems of prejudice, or an overview of the situation using statistics.

Prejudice = pre-judgement of people, usually due to race, religion, color, gender, nationality, educational level, political persuasion, etc. 

Choose an article within the last year, so November 2015 to the present. 

Suggested sites: ACLU.com, Slate.com, Pewresearch.org or pewsocialtrends.org, Nytimes.com, Usatoday.com, theatlantic.com, theguardian.com (for example, see race on USA campuses), Time Magazine, Santa Fe Reporter… what else?  You choose, as long as the source is reliable; try to avoid tabloids or sensationalism.  

For example, the controversy about the UNM seal ...  what is a micro-agression?  Why are Native Americans insulted by football team mascots?  

Cite your source using MLA format.

Author. “Article Title.”  Website Title.  

Associated Institution.  Date you read it. 

Date published.  <url>.

Write at least 2/3 page summarizing the article, giving specifics.  Give main idea and evidence here. 


Write at least 2/3 page of your own reflection or analysis.  Be thoughtful.  Discuss the issue, as you see it.   

Give citation in MLA format. 

Papers that do not meet the requirements above will not be accepted, and will be late. This statement is also on the board.  

                 ---    due Wednesday, November 16th

    (Period 2 can hand this in on Thursday due to Aspire testing.)  

3.Write a "Perfect Paragraph 123" on Thandie Newton's Ted Talk, "Embracing Otherness, Embracing Myself."   

Classwork for Period 6 (as Period 2 is testing for three days!)
Period 2 -- we will at least watch during class, so that you can use this source later in your writing; this is not currently assigned to Period 2. 

Here is a link to the transcript (the written word) and the film, if you missed it:

What is the main idea of her talk, and what is her evidence?  

Your topic sentence should state a main idea.  Each example (of two) should state a piece of evidence.  Then, in your #2 statements, you lead in to a quote that proves or supports that piece of evidence.  You know what to do for #3 (refer to the handout if not). 

The topic sentence is proven with 1,2,3, and again 1, 2, 3.   

Remember to weave in your quote, the skill you learned last month.

Seven sentences is all you need, so no need to write a tome!

Your midterm exam will require these paragraphs, so make sure you really get this. 

5.  Extra Credit:  Slam poetry!  Can be done with a group if you prefer.  Poem must be memorized.  Extra credit amount depends on work. 

See our slam poetry examples, and don't be put off just because they are amazing.  Everyone starts at the beginning!

"Immigration" by Santana Shorty, Santa Fe Indian School https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBzTYS0msjE  

"We Come From,"  

by Santa Fe Indian School Spoken Word Club


"Coffee" - by Get Lit Los Angeles (thanks, Alannah!)


Back to Mockingbird:  

Do you have reading issues?  

LISTEN TO THE NOVEL.  There is a free audiobook on youtube at this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCy1rGrIdh8

   It also has a great introduction.

   Another great audio version is read by Sissy Spacek, and is available on audible.com.

   If you decide to use the audiotape, I highly recommend following along in the book -- this will help to improve your vocabulary and reading, which after all, is what will help you the most.  Remember that every time you read carefully, you improve your reading, and that will improve your test scores -- and your life!  

A spanish translation of the novel is available here:


A dictionary for this novel has been loaned to you, 24 pages, for those of you who need more help with the vocabulary while reading the book.   Also, here it is online.  

Finally, each chapter takes about 20 to 25 minutes to read aloud (based on the times give by Audible.com).  Students listening to the book on youtube say it takes more like 15 minutes per chapter.  DO IT.  The main reason students are failing reading quizzes is that they simply aren't READING IT. 

Reading Quizzes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  These keep you on target so that procrastination does not lead to disaster.

Image ShutterstockBlack school children pose with their teacher outside a segregated one-room school in South Carolina, 1916. (Shutterstock)

Videos for Enrichment:  
A brief, humorous, five-minute discussion of racism to go with our unit on black-white relations between slavery and the Civil Rights Movement -- by young, hip, "Superwoman":    (Copy link to your browser.)
Race is an illegitimate concept: a discussion of race, biology, and our definition of self, by Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself:         (Copy link to your browser.)
http://www.ted.com/talks/thandie_newton_embracing_otherness_embracing_myself.html                Thandie Newton is the daughter of a Zimbabwean mother and a British father.  She is an actress and holds a degree in anthropology from Cambridge University. 

Next readings:  Frederick Douglass "Letter to His Master," Zora Neale Hurston, "Spunk," and Black Like Me, a nonfiction account. 

                     "Wait, why do I have a D on this paper?"  

Inline image 1Inline image 2
           Check that you have read and re-read all of the directions!   

 (Though it is too late to turn in poem #1, the Scout poem can be turned in through Monday, November 14th.)
 "I Am From" Poems -- Two!

One from the point of view of Scout
One from the point of view of YOU.

5 stanzas of 4 lines each (minimum)
Each stanza begins with "I am from."
Each stanza contains vivid imagery.
One metaphor and one simile somewhere in your poem.
and for Scout's poem, also add alliteration!

The definitions of these are already on your poetry vocab page, under literature or vocab in your binder.

If you are really struggling, here is a link -- just suggestions -- I actually think you'll do better on your own:

"I Am From" Poem Template - Scholastic   or   


We also read three examples in class, one by an eighth grader.  You can also see examples taped to the window of classroom 110.  

2.  (OVERDUE, Must be in by Oct 31st)  Weave the quotes! 

    1)  In class we read through the "How to Weave Quotes into Your Own Sentences" handout.    Weave a quote into your own sentence.docx 
     2)  Do exercises 1-4 on the handout -- we did this and went over them in class.
      3)  Now, using all of these examples, go back to your "perfect paragraph 123" on Scout's personality.  Change each quote to a woven quote -- no "says" or equivalents, nothing that is not 3rd person.  All of that is explained on the handout and was modeled in class.  

Poetry Unit (This was our introduction, but more later.)

After looking at poems by e.e. cummings and William Carlos Williams, writing a found poem based on an article by Ray Bradbury, and learning 15 poetry terms, students wrote poems inspired by "Oh Captain, My Captain" by Walt Whitman, and "Blood" (A True Arab)" by Naomi Shihab Nye. 

We watched Robin Williams talk about the first poem in a clip from Dead Poets Society.  Google it if you need the poem.  

Here is the second poem.  Copy the first line, but substitute any of the words except "A true...".  Examples:  A true New Mexican, A true Chavez, A true human (thank you, Feras), a true American, a true nature lover, a true cynic (thank you, Quin).... 


BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, a Palestinean-American poet

“A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,”   

my father would say. And he’d prove it,

cupping the buzzer instantly

while the host with the swatter stared.

In the spring our palms peeled like snakes.

True Arabs believed watermelon could heal fifty ways.   

I changed these to fit the occasion.

Years before, a girl knocked,

wanted to see the Arab.

I said we didn’t have one.

After that, my father told me who he was,   

“Shihab”—“shooting star”—

a good name, borrowed from the sky.

Once I said, “When we die, we give it back?”   

He said that’s what a true Arab would say.

Today the headlines clot in my blood.

A little Palestinian dangles a truck on the front page.   

Homeless fig, this tragedy with a terrible root   

is too big for us. What flag can we wave?

I wave the flag of stone and seed,

table mat stitched in blue.

I call my father, we talk around the news.   

It is too much for him,

neither of his two languages can reach it.

I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,   

to plead with the air:

Who calls anyone civilized?

Where can the crying heart graze?

What does a true Arab do now?

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Blood” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Source: Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995)

2. Post a Poem #1

On our Google Classroom site (you already used it for poetry terms) --

Post a poem that you like, and that you think some of your classmates will like.

It can be old, new, famous, unknown, or even better, one that you wrote.

If you choose slam poetry or "spoken word," post both the video and the words if you can find them (you can usually find the words by googling the poet's name, title, and as many of the words as you know in the search line).  You can also choose song lyrics.

Make sure to keep the lines the way the poet wrote them -- in other words, keep the formatting.

How do you find these poems?

You can find poems in books (we have anthologies) and online. 

You can search for a favorite poet or a favorite poem online.

Take some time to explore the vast amount of poetry on the web.  Have a look at any of these:






youtube for spoken word, slam poetry, or just someone reciting a poem...


powerpoetry.org (for teens)    

On Google Classroom, find the assignment called Post a Poem #1, and then

            Click on TURN IN.      

(Don't just post it to me or to yourself.  Click on TURN IN.)

Please paste the poem directly into the box that comes up, keeping the original formatting.

Have fun!

Found Poem:
 (DONE -- can no longer be turned in)

If you did not finish your "found poem," do that by Monday, Sept 19th. This poem is based on the article by Ray Bradbury, entitled "Take Me Home," published by The New Yorker.  Google it if you were absent and it will come right up.  Here are the directions.

Create a “found poem” using Bradbury’s article, “Take Me Home.”

First, read through the article and write down 20 words and phrases that you find interesting.

Then, look at just those words and phrases for awhile. 

What ideas come up for you?

Start jotting down ideas….

Have fun!

Your Poem Should Have:

12 lines minimum in your complete poem

Use 10 words or phrases from Bradbury’s article

Phrases should not be more than 4 words long

Use 3 words that you did not know before, such as “gossamer”

You can use the words with different word endings:  spirit, spirited, spiritual

The poem should be yours and make “sense” as much as a poem can; it doesn’t have to be logical, just understandable. 

You should be able to explain and discuss your poem. 

                              Classwork Friday; Due by Monday, Sept 19th

Fahrenheit 451 Unit Study | http://www.royallittlelambs.com/

Film Study Assignment:  
              (LATE, but last day to turn in is Monday, Sept 19)

Fahrenheit 451 movie by Francoise Truffaut, 1966.
Choose 2 additions made by the director that further an original theme (message) of Ray Bradbury's novel.  
These can include casting, new scenes, cinematography, etc. 
For each one, identify the theme that is being expanded.  
Themes that have been identified by your classmates:
      Censorship is dangerous.
        The individual should not be crushed by the government.
        Nature is important to happiness.
        Diversity is valuable.
        You can find others.
State the theme (message) that is being used by the director. 
Remember to state it as a sentence and not just a word, because a word is not a message. 
Then explain how the director's addition furthered that theme.  
One page is enough writing if you have achieved the above.

                                            DUE:  Wednesday, Sept 14th

3.  Half of a perfect paragraph on "The Veldt"

How does the author create tension or suspense?

Pick one of these or think of another way the author creates tension:

What the characters say

What the characters think

What the narrator says

Hiding what the characters are thinking


Making the reader care about a character who is endangered somehow

Making the danger feel real.

Conflict or argument raises tension

Pacing – slow down the story without giving information

Use the directions in your binder: Perfecting the Paragraph 1, 2, 3
This is four sentences only!
They have to do exactly what the directions state. 

1.  (Done) Summer assignments (see ATC website) -- overdue.
                See the links below. 

2.  (Done) TEST on Fahrenheit 451 on Monday, August 22nd.
     ALL students must take the test Monday, and therefore have been instructed in how to listen to the entire book over the weekend (if they didn't read it over the summer).  See the links below. 

3.  (done) Parent signatures and initials, and student initials on the
Helpful Hints handout.  (How to Ace Ms. Johnson's class and ATC!)

4.  REMIND.COM  --  Parent AND student: Please sign up for Remind.com to receive occasional reminders.  You can receive messages by text, email, or app.  Here is the link for the 9th grade classes; please make sure that your name is recognizable to me.     https://www.remind.com/join/2c3fg      (copy and paste to browser)
If it asks you for a code, use 2c3fg.
                                                        --   due Wednesday

5.  (Done) Ray Bradbury facts -- 15 facts that you and a partner gathered in class from the internet and from class sharing.  Make sure both names are on the paper so you both get credit.  Can be turned in by Monday, Aug 29 for late credit. 

7.  (Done) Paragraph on censorship (if late, last day to turn in late is Tuesday, September 6th. )
                            Final is due Wednesday, Aug 31st
                            Printed, typed, edited with handout.
                           You can type in class on Monday.

Choose one of the four examples of censorship.  

Topic Sentence:  State boldly what you want to prove in this paragraph.  

Briefly state the incident.  

Was censorship right or wrong, correct or incorrect, in this instance? Your paragraph is proving "right or wrong."

If you need 3 sentences to fully state the topic, that's fine.


Give two very specific reasons why you believe that it was just or unjust (fair or unfair).  

You will have to think for awhile to decide what your reasons are.  And then you’ll have to think some more to decide how to put your opinions into words.  This is normal.  This is the art of writing!

Each support must be at least three sentences long.  

Aim to either handwrite a whole page with skipped lines, or type 2/3 page. Lead your reader by the hand. Explain your reasoning. Make sure that your facts are proving right or wrong, not just discussing the incident.

See the two handouts, one on peer edit that will help you edit each item, and one on "perfecting the paragraph." Perfecting the Paragraph 1, 2, 3

Great work so far!!

8.  (Done) Art -- Symbolism.  Draw three symbols that represent you.  These should you as learner, writer, and future writer.   (This was done in class on Thursday and Friday, but you have until Monday to turn it in.) Next week you will write a paragraph to explain how they represent you, and show your art in a Gallery Walk in the classroom.  
                                            Symbols -- Monday (past)
                                            Paragraph on symbols - Wed (past)
                    (Last day to turn in late is Tuesday, Sept 6)

9.  (Done) Write an alternate ending to Fahrenheit 451
Using the same style as Bradbury, write an ending that you prefer or that would be interesting.  Minimum 3 pages.  Use at least 5 vocab words.  Include description (imagery), dialogue, and 2 instances of figurative language.  Include Montag's thoughts and feelings (to stay in the style of Bradbury.)  Have fun with this.  Sharing is optional, but other students enjoy hearing your ideas. 

                                    --  Due Wednesday, printed, MLA format
                                    -- Automatic printing extension to Thursday's class, latest -- so figure out when you will print.  Lab 105 is open 8 to 9 am and during lunch. 

10.  Vocabulary Quiz Friday, September 9th
See the handout of 20 vocab words from Fahrenheit 451.

11.  Story using the 20 vocab words
This can be brief and funny or funky -- the point is to learn how to use the words in your own writing.  Students did this in groups, but if you missed Friday the 2nd, you need to do this on your own.  
                   -  Due last Friday but accepted without penalty on Tuesday after the break.  If you had an excused absence, you can turn it in as late as Wednesday, but remember that you also have another assignment due Wednesday. 

Fahrenheit 451

a novel by Ray Bradbury

Though you must have a copy of the book for class 
(because we use it for three weeks), you can 
read the whole book for free online at this link:


 or you can download the whole book here:

Click here for the whole book -- Fahrenheit 451 -- useful for searching as well

 Problems reading the book?  

The book takes five hours to read aloud.

You can listen to the whole book for free on youtube at this link:


or    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUzMFko--fA

                OR with a woman's voice:


Why read books?  Bradbury makes you think about it in Fahrenheit 451

Your reading will improve the most (your goal) if you read the book on  your own or read along with the audio.  Remember that you want to raise your reading level -- it will help you in every class and make reading much more enjoyable.

BACKGROUND INFO on this novel:

A banned book is a book that you are not allowed to read.  

The top ten banned books each year from 2000 to 2009, with reasons; reported by the American Library Association

Here is a quick article on book-burning in Nazi Germany:

Students in Nazi Germany burned books they called "un-German"

Click here to read the American response, including famous authors

We read Helen Keller's response, her actual letter, which is a primary source.

"But that was a long time ago. There are no currently banned books, are there?"

Arizona outlaws Mexican American studies


Tuscon, Arizona bans hundreds of books in schools 

The above site also gives a map of banned books and a brief explanation of why each book was/is banned. 

What do you think???  Should books be banned?  

For fun:

 Ode to Banned Books, a hip-hop poem

What do we need in order to learn? 

                  Volunteer teachers and students in India decide to make their own school 
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