Honors American Studies II--Block 4B

Please check this page for updates to our class! We will have assignments, resources, in-class activities and homework listed here.

I will also be posting articles and other readings here, so if in doubt, check the wiki first!

Friday, February 23:

Fun times today!

You're going to start with your quiz. When you finish, you can begin the reading for the weekend until everyone else has completed the quiz.

Depending on how much time is left, we may watch a clip from the movie, or you can just get into your dinner party groups to start working.
Read through the switch back to the present on the top of page 90 (end at Willy saying, "Put up your hands!"

Make a list of all the things Willy does during the meeting that contradict what he told Biff to do.
Wednesday, February 21:

We are through with Act I!

I want to spend some time today reviewing the Expressionism/Realism elements of the play and then get into some close reading passages.

We may link this to a broader thought as well with fathers and sons.

Act I quiz next class.
Friday, February 16:

We have a mixed bag of things for this rainy half day:

1. Introduce the joint 1950s project with Ms. Abruzzese

2. Go over the Expressionism/Realism and Step 4 from last class
3. Read through the end of Act I
Finish Act I and complete another "While Reading Writing Assignment" for pages 53-69
Wednesday, February 14:

Exciting things today! We are going to look at pretty pretty pictures!

We are going to be working on this document today:

Essentially, we have several steps to guide our understanding today:

1. Read Miller's writings about the play

2. Investigate the artistic landscape of his inspirations

3. Get some formal information re: art history

4. Apply it to the play!

By the end of class, you should have a better handle on how Miller uses expressionism and realism in Death of a Salesman :)
Finish Step 3 of the handout (the chart for expressionism and realism)

We will do Step 4 together in class
Monday, February 12:

Ok, let's try this again.

We are going to focus on relationships for the first 50 pages: we talked generally last class about Willy and Biff's present relationship but have several more on which to focus:
  • Willy/Biff (past)
  • Willy/Happy (past)
  • Charley/Bernard (past)
  • Ben/Willy (past)
  • Linda/Willy (present)

To that end, we're going to start with the doc below and then move into some group work.

We'll come back to discuss then zero in on Willy's concept of what a man should be.
Complete two While Reading Writing Assignments

Thursday, February 8:

We have some focus elements for today and some housekeeping to take care of.
Reread to page 53. Come in with any outstanding questions.d
Tuesday, February 6:

Simple task for today--complete the close reading sheet for the first 27 pages of Death of a Salesman.

The sub has the reading sheet for you, but it is here as well. We will be going over this on Thursday and extending our reading as well, so BE PREPARED.

If you finish early, start reading your homework
Read to p. 53, stopping after "But your slippers, Willy"
Friday, February 2:

We are starting Death of a Salesman today!

Before we take some notes and get into it, let's start with a preview of some of the themes.

Open and read this poem--use the blank space to write a reaction to the piece.

After we discuss "Richard Cory," it's note time!

We will spend the second half of class on the opening stage directions of the play, which set the scene and introduce the tone. I have this on paper for you, but here is an e-copy anyway:

Finish the "Opening Stage Directions" reading and Qs

Read to p.27, where Happy says "Sh...Sleep Biff"
Wednesday, January 31:

We are going to extend your discussion of the atomic bombing of Japan today with some documentary scenes and some readings.

We are going to be working off this document today:

TBD--pay attention in class. I will update this at the end of the block.
Monday, January 29:

Last day of working.

I have a few last-minute things to cover with you (adding details and a reminder about blending quotes), then it's your time with my help.

Please remember: your decisions affect your grade.
You must submit your essay by 8PM TONIGHT (MONDAY) to eBackpack.
Thursday, January 25:

I have another few mini-lessons/reminders to run today: MLA formatting, intro/conclusion paragraphs and adding details.

We'll start with MLA so everyone can check their document's setup, then move into intro/conclusion and adding details.

Most of the class will be spent working on your essays and with peer review.

As ever, focus and attention to YOUR work is the best way forward.
Monday will be the last day to work in class.

FINAL DRAFTS are due by 8pm on Monday to eBackpack. Sort out any technology issues sooner rather than later.
Tuesday, January 23:

Let's back track a little--I want to present you with a couple of organizer options so that you can choose one that you think will be best for your writing purposes with this essay.

After reviewing these, I have a couple of mini-lessons/reminders for best writing practices and techniques, including embedding quotes into sentences and a toppling reminder of Works Cited elements.

The rest of class is for you to workshop your ideas and starting drafting your rough draft.

Review these due dates:

Thursday 1/25: Full Rough Draft

Monday 1/29: Final submitted by 8pm
You must have AT LEAST an intro and 2 body paragraphs drafted for next class, with quotes embedded and cited as well as an attempt at a Works Cited page.

Here again are my "Office Hours" times in G205:

Thu 1/25: 2:10-2:40 (we will likely move to G208)

Fri 1/26: 2:10-3:00

Mon 1/29: 2:10-3:00
Friday, January 19:
We are spending time today in class talking about how exactly you should approach the writing of this essay.

To that end, we are going to review thesis statements, topic sentences, and selecting good quotes in an effort to get your essay off the ground.

I wrote up this little explanation and organizer so you have a reference sheet of my own words to help you along the process:

Here are your due dates:

Tuesday 1/23: Notes/Quotes and Body Paragraph Organizer

Thursday 1/25: Full Rough Draft

Monday 1/29: Final submitted by 8pm
Homework tonight is two-fold:
  1. find your 5 novel quotes

  2. get a handle on the content of your essay

"Office Hours" Availability After School in G205:

Mon 1/22: 2:50-3:15

Wed 1/24: 2:10-3:00

Thu 1/25: 2:10-2:40 (we will likely move to G208)

Fri 1/26: 2:10-3:00

Mon 1/29: 2:10-3:00
Wednesday, January 17:

Let's get those theme charts out--you are going to start in small groups and then share out on a given theme.

From there we are going to bridge the theme of Nature into the opening and closing scenes of the novel on the MWDS and the idea of circular plots.

Then, it's time to introduce the writing assignment--we will go through the parameters together and you should have time to start research and ask questions in class.

Select essay topic, start research, select sources, and create a working thesis
Friday, January 12:

Things to cover today:

  • "To a Mouse" and connections to characters
  • Extension of the Dream and connections to characters
  • Allusion of poem and application to themes
Identify 3 specific examples (with passages/pages/quotes) for each of the 4 themes of the novel

- American Dream
- Loneliness and Isolation
- Friendship and Camaraderie
- Nature

Be ready to discuss in depth!
Wednesday, January 10:

We're going to continue with our characterization discussion today, including elements derived from your homework regarding migrant workers.

Then we will focus on closely reading a few sections to really examine the language Steinbeck uses and what that might imply.

These sections are the convo re: the dream of the ranch (p. 56-61) with an eye for HOW the characters discuss their ideas, and then looking for animal imagery at the beginning of the novel (p. 2-7) and in the fight scene with Curley (p. 62-64).

Finally, we will get into the poem from which the title of the novel was derived and you will start in on a close reading sheet:
Reread "To a Mouse" and complete the first part of the OMM Close Readings sheet.
Monday, January 8, 2018:

It's been so long since we last met! Let's jump into the Great Depression and OMM.

We're going to start with some song lyrics from the Depression--read through and jot down ideas about how they characterize the setting and time period of the novel. Follow this link to read the three songs.

After that, we will watch a little bio about Steinbeck and then get into reviewing the novel together using your Major Works Data Sheet (MWDS).
Please read the articles below and complete a written document analysis sheet (WDAS) for each (you can open and save the WDAS for each article).

Wednesday, December 20:

Two things to do today: introduce Of Mice and Men and your over break reading assignment, then continue watching and charting the movie!

Here is your over break assignment--BE SURE TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I TELL YOU IN CLASS. You are only completing PARTS of this solo--we will do the rest together as we go through OMM after break.

There are not enough physical copies of the book, so here is a PDF of the whole novel:

Your comparison chart is due on Friday, as are your Gatsby books
Monday, December 18:

Hand in those Allegory of the Cave drawings, then we move into movie time :)

Because no movie watching experience is complete without an assignment, here is yours: you will compare elements of the movie with direct language from the text and make an assessment of movie vs novel!

I am giving you a hard copy in class, so there is no need to post it here.
Have two of your four comparisons ready.
Thursday, December 14:

Gatsby assessment day :)
Have your Allegory of the Cave mini-projects ready for next class. We will start the movie on Monday.
Tuesday, December 12:

Big fish to fry today--we are going back 2300 years in time to the Classical Age of Greece to read Plato's "Allegory of the Cave."

To this we will apply characters from the novel and you have a little in-class project to work on :)

Test next class! Be sure to carefully review notes from class as well as have a close and specific understanding of the text (characters, plot, symbols, significance).

Your test will be largely multiple choice--I'm still deciding if I want to add an open-ended response
Friday, December 8:

Let's wrap up the book :/

I want to start class today with some final words on the biblical allusions from last time and apply it to our final understanding of the characters.

Then, you are going to work in partners on building your own class set of close readings for chapter 9. Please go to Ms. Abruzzese's Google classroom to gain access to the doc.
Read through and comment on 3 other groups' close reading passages. Add commentary, ask questions, and generally engage in the conversation of the close reads.

Try not to crowd all in the same boxes--let's spread out your commentary.

Your test (summative assessment) on The Great Gatsby will be next Thursday, 12/14
Wednesday, December 6:

As we wind down the text, we are going to talk about biblical allusions and their applicability to both character and overall theme for the novel.

We're going to start with a list of places in the novel and their symbolism, then move into a careful reading of allusions in the rest of the chapter.

Here is your doc for the day:

Finish the book :)
Monday, December 4:

Socratic seminar day!

Before we do that, however, I want to discuss plot diagrams with you and chart out where the text has led us into chapter 7.

Then, you get to talk! Remember the guidelines for Socratic seminars and that this will be a small project grade.

Keep reading--chapter 8 this time
Wednesday, November 29:

Our focus today is Gatsby and a close look at his identity development.

Let's start with some social identity mapping for yourselves, which we will later apply to G:

Then we have some sections from the text to closely read so we can use the Erik Erikson article as a basis for discussion.

I want to go over Socratic seminar practices, too, for a seminar we will run next class. If any time remains, you may start reading Chapter 7 (it's a doozy!)
Finish reading Chapter 7 and prepare Qs for a Socratic seminar

Monday, November 27:

A chunk of class today will be spent going over your close reading sheet, so let's start there. I'm anxious to hear YOUR thoughts on the symbols, etc.

After that, it's on to Chapter 6. We learned A LOT about the artist formerly known as James Gatz in this chapter, and to that we are going to apply a psychosocial framework to better understand him.

To that end, please open these docs and be ready to read:

Read the article below, annotate, summarize, and write any Qs you have in the margin. Be ready to discuss next time in relation to Ch 6.

Tuesday, November 21:

Big stuff--I want to hear about/read your found poems and the themes you have established for chapter 4 and run through the Truths and Lies of Gatsby. We will do some characterization work with him, too, to better understand what's going on.

Then I have some close reading passages for Chapter 5--you may work with a partner to go through these while I filter around and help out.

If we have time, there are some symbols I want to cover as well, but we will probably run out of time :/
Finish your chapter 5 close reading sheet and be ready to discuss in class. DO NOT use the internet--use your brain. I don't care if your responses are perfect or even good.

Also read Chapter 6. Thoroughly.
Friday, November 17:

While I'm out today, I want you to focus more closely on the conversation between Nick and Gatsby when they are driving into the city in Chapter 4. You may work with a partner, but each person is responsible for having his/her own notes. Please fill in this organizer and drop into eBackpack.

When that is finished, open these links and investigate the idea of "found poetry" a little:

From Poets.org

From Found Poetry Review

Library of Congress (go to page 3)

I want you all to do the same--go through the three sections of Chapter 4 (Nick/Gatsby in the car, with Wolfsheim, and Nick/Jordan’s tea discussion) and select one event on which to focus. Use the language from that given section to create a “found poem” that helps underline the theme or underlying idea of the passage. Be sure to identify/explain the theme at the bottom of your poem.

Your poem should be at least 10 lines long and use language ONLY from the section of the text that you choose. It doesn't have to rhyme (but it can!) but it SHOULD reflect the tone/mood/feeling of the passage you choose.

Don't stress out about this--it's not a super formal writing assignment.
Read Chapter 5 and finish your "found" poem
Wednesday, November 15:

We are going to spend today investigating and discussion the concept of the American Dream--you read a (kinda difficult) article last night, so we're going to spend some time breaking that down.

The American Dream idea will be applied to our text so far, using that close read of the Valley of the Ashes as a guide and understanding some more about the main characters.

We also have a poll re: the American Dream to complete:

Read Chapter 4 for Friday and be ready to use it in class
Monday, November 13:

We need to finish our characterization discussion with Jordan and recap the main people before jumping into chapters 2 and 3.

We'll use your homework Qs as guides for our discussion.

If we finish early, you may start your homework.
Read and annotate the article then answer the Qs below (be ready to hand in/discuss):

  1. What are the different ways in which the phrase "American Dream" were originally used?

  2. What final definition of the phrase can you pull from the language of the article? In other words, pull some quotes from the article and create a definition of the term.

  3. What is your conception of the American Dream? What does it mean to you?

  4. Summarize "The Swimmers"--how was Fitzgerald a little bit prophetic in his presentation of the American Dream?
Tuesday, November 7:

I want to hear initial reactions to the text and show you a map of East and West Eggs before we move on today.

Most of our time will be spent characterizing Tom, Daisy, Jordan, then Nick, which we will do as part of a class mini-project.

Remaining time in class will be used to start Chapter 2--you have Qs for homework.

Read Chapters 2-3 of the novel

Complete reading Qs for Ch 2-3
Friday, November 3:

You have the whole block today to work on your Harlem Renaissance project.

You do not need to be silent but you CANNOT act like kindergarteners. Any negative report I get will be a grade deduction for the offender.

This class time is a gift--do not squander it.

Your project is due Wednesday, so have specific Qs for me in class on Tuesday (if you have any).

My field trip should come back around 1:30 today, so I will try to come up to our room and see if anyone needs help, but don't count on it.
Read chapter 1 and complete the direct/indirect characterization chart for Tuesday, 11/7
Wednesday, November 1:

We're moving further into the 20th century!

You've done some introduction to the Jazz Age and 1920s already with Ms. Abruzzese so now it's time for some literature.

I have a short bio video of F. Scott Fitzgerald to start with, then have a little discussion about points of view and narration.

Then we jump into the text to meet our narrator and get the set up of the land. This will bridge us into a short conversation about characterization and get you ready for your homework.

You have an in-class work day on Friday with you Harlem Renaissance project, so please have all your materials for that.

Chapter 1 and the direct/indirect characterization chart should be read and ready for Tuesday, 11/7
Monday, October 30:

Disillusion assessment day! You have the whole block to write :)
Thursday, October 26:

We're going to wrap up our reading of "The Hollow Men" today and apply some allusions.

First thing to discuss is Eliot's use of epigraphs and the allusions therein--this will make some of the imagery in the text much more approachable.

Follow this link to read about the 4 main allusion sources:

Then it's to Hell! You read Canto III of Inferno for today, so I want to hear about your take on the canto and then we'll apply it to the text.

If we have time, I want to play you some readings of the poem to highlight the impact of the spoken words.
Assessment on "In Another Country," imagist poetry, and "The Hollow Men" next class.

Be ready for a blind reads and open-ended Qs. You should review your start of unit notes as well as the works we have read and all of your annotations/additions.
Tuesday, October 24:

Big day today-- we're jumping feet first into "The Hollow Men."

We'll start with this idea: "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." A super quick quickwrite on this will bridge us into our discussion of the poem LED BY YOU.

Then I take over--there are 8462475064762.3 allusions in the text that need to be addressed and that's where I can help. We need to address the epigraphs first, then do some allusion-based reading.

To that end, we are going to medieval Italy and reading a small section of Dante Aligheri's Inferno. This will be the basis for your homework.

(you'll need to rotate the doc when you put it in GoodReader).
Read Canto III of Inferno and answer the reading Qs below

Friday, October 20:

We're continuing with our poetry exploration today--looking at another imagist (WCW), taking some time with your own poems, then moving into some real modernist poetry with T.S. Eliot.

The William Carlos Williams poems are fun, so we'll start here:

Looking at his work will give you some ideas to share with your imagist poems, which you'll go through in groups.

Finally, for Eliot--we need to talk allusions and background and context and then we'll start the poem together.

I have paper copies of the poem for you to use, but here it is digitally as well:

Fix up your imagist poem (hand in next class)

Read and get first-impression analysis of "The Hollow Men."

These are my expectations:
  1. You will have notes/annotations/questions THROUGHOUT the poem highlighting the connotative language, theme, etc.
  2. Each section will be summarized in the margins.
  3. You WILL be able to speak about your impressions of this poem in class on Tuesday with a degree of detail. Saying "I didn't get this at all" or giving one word responses is not ok.
  4. I don't care if you are COMPLETELY off base with your initial analysis and if you tell me this is set on Mars and the Hollow Men are actually made of chocolate IF IT IS AN ORIGINAL IDEA AND YOU CAN EXPLAIN YOURSELF.

In short, we will be going through this poem exhaustively, but YOUR IDEAS COUNT. Be an interesting human being--come to class with interesting ideas.

Tuesday, October 17:

Let's talk poetry today!

Our class begins with a more detailed discussion of the differences between Romanticism and Imagism and an addition to your notes on the subject.

Then we will do some direct comparison with two poems: "Sea Rose" by H.D., and "Bud of Roses, Virgin Flowers" by Thomas Moore to demonstrate the differences

After we do those poems together, we'll break into groups to look at 4 separate poems and do some group analysis

Finally, we'll end our mad imagism day with William Carlos Williams, one of my favorites :)
Write your own Imagist poem. See the doc below for directions and have fun!

Please have a printed or written copy of your poem for next class (we're doing an in-class activity with them)

Wednesday, October 11:

Now that your brains are all tired from the PSAT, it's time to tackle some of those writing skills that are wanting.

I want to cover blending quotes together as a group, then will break you into smaller groups depending on you individual needs to workshop them out.

We'll use this document for a reminder about blending quotes into writing:

You may rewrite one paragraph of your choosing for an additional 15 point grade.

This is due on Friday--no exceptions.

For class next Tuesday, 10/17, read the articles below on Romanticism and Imagism and annotate/take notes. Be prepared to use your knowledge of the types of writing when you get to class.

Monday, October 9:

We have to spend some time working through the PSAT preadministration task, after which we will continue with "In Another Country."

I hope you have come prepared with copious notes and additional insights to share with the class.

Paragraph response to the following Q: How does "In Another Country" represent the disillusionment of the Lost Generation?"

Disillusionment = freedom from illusion--in other words, being awoken to the understanding that things are not how they were expected to be and disappointed because of it

Disillusionment contains the idea of discontent as well
Thursday, October 5:

We're continuing our discussion around the WWI era of disillusionment today.

I want to revisit your notes first, so read through them and create a C Notes summary at the bottom of your page. Be ready to share out.

Then we have a song to listen to--please open the doc below and follow along with the lyrics:

This will give us some context to compare to the story "In Another Country." We'll go through your HW Qs together and then I have some additional discussion questions to present.

Finally, we will end class with a little formative assessment :)
Re-read, re-visit, and re-annotate the short story for next class.

Try harder.
Tuesday, October 3:

We're going to get into a new unit today--disillusion, modernism, and the Lost Generation.

I want to start with a poem to elucidate these ideas and then move into some background information (and maybe even a few short video clips!).

Here is the Do Now poem--read through it and look for clues re: context. Mark it up with a look for startling phrases, imagery, and symbols. Then we talk :)

Next will be a review of textbook notes, which you will jigsaw out. This is also our friendly reminder about Cornell Notes! Here is a template to save and use:

Your first reading for this unit will be the short story "In Another Country" by Ernest Hemingway.
Finish reading "In Another Country" and answer questions 1, 3, 4, and 5 IN FULL.

I should also see annotations and marginal notes on the story.
Friday, September 29:

Half day working session!

You all have the block to peer edit, self-review, and ask me Qs. There are only a few things I want to go through and then the time today is yours :)
PRINTED final copy ready to hand in FIRST THING on Tuesday.

No exceptions.
Wednesday, September 27:

We're going to start our mini writing unit today.

I want to talk generally about essay structure then get into the specifics of pulling quotes. We're going to practice on an example thesis then you will use class time to pull quotes from our

Here is a doc to help you organize those quotes.

Full rough draft of your essay needs to be printed and in class on Friday
Monday, September 25:

We are going to restart our text-based discussion Qs for “The Yellow Wallpaper.” After cycling through each group and its response, we'll finalize the discussion of literary elements with a few notes on symbols.

Then we'll wrap up a mini Philosophical Chairs activity in which you agree, disagree, or change your mind regarding an Op-Ed piece printed at the time "TYWP" was published.

The remainder of class will be used to introduce a mini-writing project! You will spend the rest of this week writing a short essay (3-4 paragraphs) on the two short stories read together (The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper)

Here is the project sheet: I want to spend a few minutes reviewing thesis creation before letting you brainstorm/prewrite.

Theses and prewriting sheet due on Wednesday 9/27.

Full rough draft due Friday 9/29.

Final draft due Tuesday 10/3.
Tuesday, September 19:

We are going to spend all day today with "The Yellow Wallpaper" :)

Let's start with a fast summary activity of the story you read over the weekend--I'd like you to create a visual/pictorial summary of the plot/theme/tone/etc and be ready to present to the class.

After that, we will get into the nitty-gritty of the story. You will work in small groups on reading/discussion questions, which will then be jigsawed to the class at large. I'll give you paper copies the Qs, but they are posted here as well.

You are getting off awfully easy so far
Friday, September 15:

I want to start with your homework from last night and give you a chance to talk with a partner to go through the questions that you created. Your questions will guide our conversation about "Wear and Tear" and help us better understand our next short story.

So...we will move into "The Yellow Wallpaper" for our next reading joy. Please open and save the document to GoodReader or GoodNotes:

Read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and take marginal notes.

Be ready to FULLY discuss in class on Tuesday and apply outside sources
Wednesday, September 13:

We are going to start our intro to the Twentieth Century with a short story today.

I have a broad Q to start with, then we have a quick discussion of gendered roles at the turn of the century before moving into a short story that will help clarify those ideas.

Please open the following doc for today:

We will be analyzing the story through the lens of some literary techniques as well, so open and save this document (we will refer to it all year).

Read and mark up the "Wear and Tear" document below.

You should have key points and ideas underlined, notes in the margins, and THREE specific discussion questions ready for next class.

Monday, September 11:

Today's class is going to center around reading--specifically what you like about reading (or do not like) and why. This will segue us into our small summer reading in-class activity!

Let's start here: please follow this link to a padlet page and answer the posted Q.

After a quick class discussion, we are going to read and mark up an article to further our conversation around reading.

Please open and save the document in GoodNotes or GoodReader (so you can mark it up) and away we go!

The last part of our class today will center on group work. You will get together with others who read the same book as you over the summer to create a 1 minute presentation of said book.

You can choose to present ANY important information in ANY way your group sees fit. I'm not giving you a format because I want to see what you can come up with.

Class will end with "presentations!"
None yet.
Thursday, September 7:

Welcome to class! We are going to get acclimated to American Studies II, to each other, and to a new school year.

Here is your syllabus for the year:

You have a paper copy now, but it will be posted here for the duration so you can always access it :)
Have your signed course contract ready to hand in next block.

Be sure to be familiar with a summer reading selection as well--there will be an in-class activity next time.