Friday, December 21, 2012

ROAR III: The Research Paper book

Here are great choices for research paper books. Get looking, get a head start!

If you want to read something not on this (or the other list I provided), then better e-mail for approval before you start reading!

The Catcher in the Rye
-a sarcastic kid gets kicked out of school (again) and tries to make his way around New York.

Sense and Sensibility
-what are two girls to do when their husbands-to-be just up and leave?

How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents
-a story told backwards as a Dominican-American family changes with their new home

 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
-nerdy guy tries to find love, and an old curse (fuku) threatens an entire family

Breath, Eyes, Memory
-a hidden trauma forces a woman to return to Haiti and confront her past

China Men
-trace the arrival and adaptation of Chinese into life in America through memoir and myth

Uncle Tom's Children
-stories of life, love, and brutal violence, one generation removed from slavery's end

The Great Gatsby
-find out why "No Church in the Wild" is a perfect song for this story of America and her dreams

Video distraction #4

While I've been to lots of amazing shows this year (Dirty Projectors, Drake, Jay-Z, Passion Pit, Coldplay, My Brightest Diamond), the most joyous concert was last night. Sufjan Stevens has been making Christmas music for his friends over the past 10 years, and has begun releasing the songs for everyone else to enjoy. He  decided to create a crazy sing-a-long tour for the Christmas songs, and here's a little taste of the beautiful madness that was "Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

review for Antigone test

Solid work with our Socratic Discussion today, and here's what you should review for tomorrow's test.

1) check your study questions, and be sure to bring them tomorrow!
2) reread Greek Theater pages (958, 964-965)
3) skim article that will be used for the paraphrase portion
4) NO vocab power plus on the test; moved to next Wednesday

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Extra Credit?

With the term ending in a scant 3 weeks, you might need an extra credit event! Here are a few choice options:

Harvard Bookstore
1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Dec 7 Friday 7:00 PM 
Louise Glück  reads from  Poems 1962-2012
Monday December 10, 2012 7:00 PM
Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome psychologist DONNA PINCUS and YA novelists SUSAN CARLTON and KATHRYN BURAK for a reading of their books and a panel discussion about adversity and teens.

Harvard Coop
1400 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge,  MA 02238

Tuesday, December 11 Time: 07:00 PM-08:00 PM
Karen Engelmann
"The Stockholm Octavo"
This is the story of Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat and devoted card shark living in Sweden’s capitol city in 1791. Gaming house owner Mrs. Sofia Sparrow draws Emil into laying his OCTAVO, a form of fortunetelling with playing cards that reveals eight people surrounding a significant event in his life. Emil can influence the outcome of this event in his favor If he can find his eight in time.

Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St. Brookline MA 02446

Thursday, December 6 at 7pm
Ricardo Cortés
A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola

Go the F*ck to Sleep illustrator Ricardo Cortés returns with the history behind coffee and cola, tempting the reader with secret plots, the true story behind coca-cola, and what coca-cola had to do with Prohibition (quite a bit,
 actually). It’s a gloriously illustrated tale of hypocrisy and intrigue.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Video Distraction #3

Here is the tracking shot to end all tracking shots- keeping pace with a sprinting cheetah. Be sure to watch the last minute for a behind-the-cat look at how these shots were filmed.

Friday, November 30, 2012

video distraction #2

this is so catchy, a mixture of macabre ridiculousness and cutesy animation. I love the chorus section when the "super glue" figure just stands with mouth open. It's good tragicomedy.

Poetry Handouts

Here are the three TPCASTT handouts for "Sonnet XXX," "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer," and "Who Makes the Journey."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

some video distraction

I haven't done much with sharing non-homework work on the blog, but want to get started. So, here's a beautiful night run through Bangkok. Parkour is a contemporary ballet, and I could watch hours of how these athlete/artists carve through the cityscape.

Light Emitting Dudes - LED Freerunning from Frank Sauer on Vimeo.


Monday, November 5, 2012

ROAR Term II: Book into Film

For this term, select a book from the list below. Read the book, and compose 2 set of ROAR notes. Then, read the film adaptation of your book. Compose 1 post that makes use of film terms and analyzes how it adapts the book.

Do select a book that interests you, but also one that you will be allowed to watch the film version (check to see what the film is rated). Also, check the ROAR selections website that is listed on the right-hand column.

You are required to prove you legally watched the film, so no downloading or illegal streaming.

Fresh Films!

Life of Pi by Yann Martel 
The novel follows young Pi Patel, a 16-year-old whose family moves from India to North America on board a Japanese cargo ship, along with a number of his father's zoo animals. When the ship sinks, Pi is left alone in a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger. 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
The novel is set on Long Island during the roaring 1920s. Nick, just returned from the war, rents a house in West Egg where he is invited to the extravagant parties hosted by his guarded and mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Nick eventually learns Gatsby's story – the tale of a young man who corrupts himself in seeking to attain the American Dream and gain the love of the idealized, and unattainable woman, Daisy.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky  
This is a coming-of-age story about a high school freshman who deals with the challenges of most high school kids – making friends, having a crush, going on a first date, dealing with emerging sexuality, experimenting with drugs – but must also face the suicide of his best friend. He is helped through his first year by two senior friends and a teacher.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 
The prequel to the "Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" is set in the time "Between the Dawn and the Dominion of Men." It follows Bilbo Baggins's quest to secure a piece of the treasure guarded by Samaug, a dragon, as he travels through Middle Earth.

On Video/Netflix

Playing the Enemy by John Carlin
Invictus is the true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar, to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.

A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick
America in the near future has lost the war against drugs. Though the government tries to protect the upper class, the system is infested with undercover cops like Fred, who regularly ingest the popular Substance D as part of their work. In a bizarre twist, the drug has caused Fred to develop a split personality, of which he is not aware.

The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri
What’s in a name? A MIT professor and his wife face this question, when hospital authorities won’t allow them to leave with their baby until it is given a name. The staff is ignorant of the cultural difference that allow for Bengali families to spend a good deal of time and deliberation before deciding their child’s name. Thus, Ashima and Ashoke are forced to enter a “pet” name for their son- Gogol.

Slumdog Millionaire Vikas Swarup (Q&A)
Jamal Malik is an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved.

A Civil Action Jonathan Harr
This is the true story of a town’s fight against deadly environmental toxins in the town of Woburn, MA. With a class action lawsuit to file, lawyers represent families impacted by the pollution. However, the case that could ruin the law firm firm.

Antwone Fisher Antwone Fisher (Finding Fish)
This autobiography tells how Fisher was born in prison to an incarcerated mother and a father who had been shot. After being placed in foster care, Fisher was treated brutally and blamed for his own misfortunes. Through these experiences, he eventually found his way into a stable job in the Navy.

Everything Is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, and a dog named Sammy Davis, Jonathan is led on an amazing journey into an unexpected past.

Fever Pitch Nick Hornby
Love sports? This book tells the story of the author's unhealthy relationship with soccer. As a fan of Arsenal, a London soccer team, Hornby describes his life as it relates to the successes and failures of his favorite team.

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Bride & Prejudice

The five Bennet sisters, including strong-willed Elizabeth and young Lydia, have been raised by their mother with one purpose in life: finding a husband. When a wealthy bachelor takes up residence in a nearby mansion, the Bennets are abuzz. But when Elizabeth meets up with the handsome and snobbish Mr. Darcy, a battle of the sexes ensues.

Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
A wounded Confederate soldier walks away from the horrors of the war and back home to his pre-war sweetheart, Ada. This love story connects Inman's odyssey through the devastated South with Ada's struggle to revive her father's farm.

Girl With a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier
When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. What no one expects is that Griet's quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master's paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife's pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a huge scandal.

Secret Window Steven King (Four Past Midnight)
Mort Rainey is a successful writer going through a rather unfriendly divorce from his wife of ten years. Alone and bitter in his cabin, he continues to work on his writing when a stranger named John Shooter shows up on his doorstep, claiming Rainey stole his story. Mort says he can prove the story belongs to him and not Shooter, but while Mort digs around for the magazine that published the story, people begin to die.

Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution


Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone

Green Zone 

The Juliet Club
Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love

Winter's Bone: A Novel

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

127 Hours

True Grit

Friday, November 2, 2012

examples for your TKAM homework

For the last week of reading To Kill a Mockingbird, you will "Shine a Light" on one paragraph from your reading. This is just like your test, so select a strong paragraph and:

1: connect the passage with one of the five thematic topics of a “Southern Novel”
2: explain the situation in the quotation by providing context from the novel
3: analyze the use of literary devices by identifying the devices and explaining why they are used

            Personification                     Dual Narrative Voice            Simile                    Hyperbole            Euphemism
            Situational Irony                  Dramatic Irony        Metaphor            Allusion                        Indirect Characterization

Here are some samples from your tests! 

Passage A
It connects with traumatic violence because after seeing Miss Maudie’s house burn down, Scout “shudders” when her father lights the stove. This shows her uneasiness with fire, and is similar to how Miss Maudie just stands and looks at the “black hole” that used to be her home. The trauma with fire is ironic since it was strangely cold and had snowed, and it also indirectly shows how Miss Maudie is affected by the fire.

Passage B
The thematic topic is decorum because it is known by everybody that girls shouldn’t be acting like boys. This takes place when Scout and her family are at Finch’s landing for Christmas, and Aunt Alexandra criticizes Scout on the way she dresses and that girls should shine in their father’s eye. Her metaphor explains the decorum of girls needing to act properly by wearing pearls and dresses, especially since Atticus’ wife had died.

Passage C
The fact that Miss Caroline, the first grade teacher, was from Winston County was a big deal. It separated her from the students, who were mostly farm kids. This class separation is shown when Miss Caroline doesn’t understand her students, especially Walter who doesn’t have a lunch. Scout and the class judge their teacher since she comes from a place filled with “liquor interests, Republicans,” and makes an allusion to North Alabama and their role in the Civil War.

Passage D
As Francis and Scout are having a conversation, the topic of ancestry comes up. Their families are celebrating Christmas at Finch’s Landing, and Francis criticizes Atticus for supporting a back man and acting like a “nigger lover.” This ruins “the family name.” Their ancestry is also ruined since Scout hangs out with kids of a lower social class, who Francis calls “stray dogs” as a metaphor for Dill. 

Passage E
This is an example of ancestry as the narrator talks about her Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Alexandra as they have a son named Henry, who leaves home to get married and gave birth to Cousin Francis. Euphemism was used as Scout describes Francis as being “produced” and that he is “deposited” at his grandparent’s home every Christmas so the parents can pursue their own “pleasure,” which shows that the family doesn’t care about him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Boston Book Festival! Saturday Oct. 27

I can't believe that next Saturday is the BBF, and that I haven't scheduled out my game plan to see as many amazing authors as possible!

It's also the last chance to earn extra credit for term 1...

Here are my "must attend" events:

Fiction: The Short Story

11:00am Trinity Sanctuary 206 Clarendon Street
imageJunot Diaz, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a professor, writer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He is the author of Drown and The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Diaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Nancy Allen professor at MIT.

Stories on Stage

12:15pm Old South Church: Mary Norton Hall
Have you ever wanted to see your favorite picture books and fairy tales come to life? Here's your chance, thanks to the creative and enthusiastic teens who make up Hyde Square Task Force's Youth Literacy Theatre. They'll perform a series of short and funny plays based on children's books. Then it's your turn to get in on the act, with acting games and craft projects that you can take home!

Serious Satire

12:45pm Trinity Sanctuary 206 Clarendon Street
imageBaratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics, and served as Director of Digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/technology startup Cultivated Wit. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter, and has over thirty years experience being black. He writes the monthly backpage column for Fast Company, and his first book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller.

Graphic Novels: Drawing the Story

2:30pm Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street
The brilliant Chris Ware will present Building Stories, described by Publishers Weekly as "the graphic novel of the season or perhaps the year...Ware takes visual storytelling to a new level of both beauty and despair." Charles Burns will show The Hive, volume two of the highly acclaimed X'd Out comic book. Legendary designer and writer Chip Kidd will present Batman: Death by Design, his architecture-themed Batman comic. And one of the brightest young stars of the genre, Gabrielle Bell, will show The Voyeurs as an opening act for the session. Hosted by writer and critic Eugenia Williamson.

Fiction: Time and Place

4:15pm Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street

imageTayari Jones is the author of Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and Silver Sparrow. Her debut novel, Leaving Atlanta, won the Huston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction, "Novel of the Year" by Atlanta Magazine, and the "Best Southern Novel of the Year" by Creative Loafing Atlanta. Her most recent novel, Silver Sparrow, was selected as among the best novels of 2011 by Library Journal, Slate, and Salon. Currently, she is an assistant professor in Rutgers-Newark University's MFA program.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Everyday Use" articles for Monday's HW

Here are 4 selections from critical readings of "Everyday Use." This is high level reading, a good introduction to the level of conversation expected at college when looking at literature.

1) read the passages
2) select one passage to work with
3) type and upload to by 10/15 @7pm
-one sentence summary of the passage
-three sentence paraphrase of the passage
-one sentence direct quote (your intro+direct quotation)

1) Mama's comparisons between animals and Maggie often seem insensitive. Without a doubt, the most shocking example of this occurs early in "Everyday Use" when Mama ponders, "Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone ignorant enough to be kind him? That is the way my Maggie walks." Near the end of the story, Mama describes Maggie in similar terms: "I looked at her hard. She had filled up her bottom lip with checkerberry snuff and it gave her face a kind of dopey, hangdog look." It is at this moment in the story that Mama has her epiphany, realizing that her thin, scarred, daughter, deserves the quilts more than her shapely, favored, educated daughter Dee, who only wants the quilts because they are now fashionable. Acting on this flash of insight, Mama does two things that she has never done before: she hugs Maggie and she says "no" to Dee. Afterward, in the final paragraph, Maggie's face lights up with a smile that is "real […] not scared." Moreover, Mama asks her for "a dip of snuff,” and together the enlightened mother and the faithful daughter sit, enjoying their snuff and each other's company, oblivious to the "dopey, hangdog look" they presumably present to the world.
Gruesser, John. "Walker's Everyday Use." The Explicator 61.3 (2003): 183+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.

2) Before "rifling" through the "trunk at the foot of [Mama's] bed" and getting out the quilts, Dee has already removed all the items of everyday use that she will lay her hands on. The quilts she gets out of Mama's trunk are quite clearly in a trunk, which is to say not in everyday use. These quilts, which had been pieced by Mama's mother, and then quilted by her and her sister, had been tucked away, put in reserve, and not because they were being temporarily stored for the summer. When a horrified Dee claims that, if the quilts are given to Maggie, she would use and consequently ruin them, Mama responds," 'I reckon she would…God knows I been saving 'em for long enough with nobody using 'em'." As Patricia Mainardi notes, "'The women who made quilts knew and valued what they were doing: frequently quilts were signed and dated by the maker, listed in her will with specific instructions as to who should inherit them, and treated with all the care that a fine piece of art deserves'" (quoted in Showalter 2001). The quilts in Mama's house had been placed in reserve because they held a certain value. That Mama had promised them to Maggie "for when she marries,” as a kind of wedding present or dowry, attests to their recognized value, and this value is being protected precisely in their not being put to everyday use.
Whitsitt, Sam. "In Spite of It All: A Reading of Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'." African American Review 34.3 (2000): 443. Expanded Academic. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.

3) Dee announces that she is no longer Dee, but "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo." She has newly adopted an African name since, as she explains: "I couldn't bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me." Many readers point to Dee's proclamation of her new name as the turning point in the story, the point at which Dee pushes her mother too far. They point out that Dee is rejecting her family heritage and identity in this scene. Yet it seems to me that Dee and Mama are both right here. Mama's recounting of the family history of the name is accurate, but what the critics fail to point out is that Dee's assertion that the name comes from "the people who oppress" her is also accurate. While most readers see Mama and Maggie as having a "true" sense of heritage as opposed to Dee's false or shallow understanding of the past, both Mama and Dee are blind to particular aspects of heritage. Dee has much to learn about honoring her particular and individual family history, but Mama has much to learn about the history of African Americans in general, and about fighting oppression. Although each is stubborn, both Dee and Mama do make a concession to the other here. Dee tells Mama that she needn't use the new name if she doesn't want to, while Mama shows her willingness to learn and to use the name.
Farrell, Susan. "Fight vs. Flight: a re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'." Studies in Short Fiction 35.2 (1998): 179+. Expanded Academic. 30 Sep. 2011.

4) Wangero despises her sister, her mother, and the church that helped to educate her. Her quest is ultimately selfish, and Walker focuses the reader's growing dislike for the heroine in her indifference to Maggie. Maggie represents the multitude of black women who must suffer while the occasional lucky "sister" escapes the ghetto. Walker symbolizes this by the burning of the original home and Maggie who lives with the scars of this fire, a conflagration Wangero had welcomed. While Wangero did not set the fire, she delighted in its obliteration of the house that represented everything she sought to escape. This burned house represents a history of violence from slavery to the pervasive inner-city violence of subsequent decades. The fire, that is, is the African American past, is a conflagration from which assorted survivors stumble forward, and covers like Maggie with scars of the body or like Wangero with scars of the soul.
Cowart, David. "Heritage and deracination in Walker's 'Everyday Use.' (Alice Walker)." Studies in Short Fiction 33.2 (1996): 171+. Expanded Academic.. 30 Sep. 2011.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Culture Vulture Weekend!

Museum of Fine Arts 

Celebrations around the World

The Museum opens its doors for a day of celebration with free general admission for all. Enjoy family art-making activities, performances, and tours. Visit and enjoy!
10 am–4:45 pm
Free admission for all

Boston Conservatory of Music presents MuzikoMonda, 11 am and 2 pm, Remis Auditorium
Anikai Dance Theater, 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, Edward H. Linde Gallery 168
DJ Berbere, 2–4 pm, Calderwood Courtyard

2012 Roxbury Open Studios

October 4-7,  2012

All eyes on Roxbury Open Studios! This annual event is an opportunity for Roxbury's visual artists to welcome the public to view and purchase paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry and other studio crafts. The event also provides a means for individual creativity to play its part in the cultural and economic development of Roxbury.

All events are free and open to the public.

From garden builders and growers to services that fight food waste or turn scraps into compost, exhibitors on Oct. 7 at the third annual Boston Local Food Festival will bring to life the so-called virtuous circle of local, sustainable food. For some fun, vendors will fill that circle with goodies, including 3 Scoops ice cream of Brighton, WholeSweets of Londonderry, N.H., offering cookies, Sprouted Raw Foods of Lexington, bringing fruit-and-nut clusters, and New World Hot Sauce of Grafton, offering Sailor’s Swagger, a pineapple hot sauce. The festival this year takes place on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Root Words!

As we look ahead to the PSAT test this month, we need a way to gain even more Vocabulary Power!

For the next three weeks, we will learn Root Words. These cognates of the English language will give you the skills to break down unknown diction into smaller chunks to build an approximate meaning. For students who know French or Spanish, you will recognize many of these Roots as the English language has "borrowed" their vocabularies.

Where are the roots?

For this first Root Word quiz, please study the roots from "a" to "anti"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another example of ROAR S/Q/R notes

Junot Díaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 

  • Oscar's sister Lola protects her little brother
  • mother Belicia is just so mean to her children and everyone around her
  • fukú, a curse,  has been placed on the family for centuries
  • Oscar is an awkward boy, whose family is from the Dominican Republic. 
  • he gained a hundred pounds, and lost his skills to get the girls. 
  • Oscar creates "new worlds" with superheroes, and his own sci-fi collection. 
  • he became isolated because while friends were off with their girlfriends he was either moping about his lack of a relationship, or reading. 
  • Oscar’s sister Lola, basically raised Oscar and their mother Belicia. 
  • Belicia was a single mother, working three different jobs at a time 
  • one afternoon her mother calls her into the bathroom and tells her that she has breast cancer. 
  • For the first time Lola is sad, and feels bad for her mother.  
  • Belicia decides to send her children to live in the DR for six months with her mother, La Inca. 
  • With La Inca the children feel truly excepted and part of a family
Quote: “He told them that what they were doing was wrong, that they were going to take a great love out of the world. Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him. He told them about Ybón and the way he loved her and how much they had risked and that they’d started to dream the same dreams and say the same words. He told them that it was only because of her that he’d been able to do the thing that he had done, the thing they could no longer stop, told them if they killed him they would probably feel nothing and their children would probably feel nothing either, not until they were old and weak or about to be struck by a car and then they would sense him waiting for them on the other side and over there he wouldn’t be no fatboy or dork or kid no girl had ever loved; over there he’d be a hero, an avenger. Because anything you can dream (he put his hand up) you can be” (Diaz 322).

Reaction: This is a powerful moment for Oscar, if not the most important. These were his final words, just before he was shot to death. You would see something like this written in history books just before someone noble dies, which is actually the way Oscar wanted to be remembered. Oscar declared then in his finally moments what his life has taught him, even though it was so short and horrible. When he referred to being “able to do the thing that he had done, the thing they could no longer stop” he was talking about being strong and dreaming. He was talking about learning to love and love and love again! He was talking about looking life in the eye and not blinking. He was talking about he had learned, and that they could never ever take that way from him, even if they killed him. Oscar to me was the strongest in this moment more than any or the point in the book. In my mind I did not envision a big nerdy guy shaking with weak knees, I saw a strong man standing straight looking his murder right in the eye, with such a power and presence. Oscar did not die a weak boy, but a valiant man.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sample ROAR S/Q/R notes

Here is a strong set of S/Q/R notes from last year:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

This is a story about a coward, a coward named Amir. The Kite Runner takes place in Afghanistan around 1975, and an older narrator is looking back when he was "became a man." Amir was young and spent most of his time with his servant, Hassan, who was also his secret best friend. Hassan was considered part of the family; a son to Baba (Amir's father), and Amir finds out 20 some years later that Hassan was actually his half-brother. This later knowledge explains why Baba would always try to include Hassan into their activities and that often made Amir jealous. As a form of gaining his dad's affection, Amir triumphed in the kite running contest with help of Hassan. An important conflict happens when Assef, the bully of the block, wanted the kite and Hassan refused to give him it.

"'We're the same, you and I,' he was saying. 'You nursed with him, but you're my twin'" (Hosseini 107).

Amir was in the hospital after almost getting killed by Assef. Amir was dreaming and Assef says those words to him. This quote almost connects to a theme in the book because it categorizes two types of evil: people who do evil things and people who witness evil things and do nothing about it. Amir was the second one, and Assef was the first. Amir makes one simple decision- to not save the life of his half-brother Hassan. Assef sneers, "You nursed with him" refers to how Amir and Hassan fed from the same mother. But they were completely different; Amir was selfish while Hassan would give his world to Amir. In his heart, Amir knows that he's just like Assef- cruel and evil.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Revising the Ender's Game essay

For Wednesday (9pm), type and upload your Ender's Game essay to Make the changes we discussed today:

1) hook! don't quote from the prompt
2) thesis! pick one past event and explain two future effects
3) theme! topic + author's opinion

1/2 of the grade will be on these changes
1/2 of the grade will be for using MLA formatting

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Connecting literature to life

We looked at 5 articles that have a strong thematic connection with Ender's Game. Next week we will take these connections and develop a short paper that investigates how our world shares elements with science fiction.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Welcome to English 10!

It was great to meet all of you today, and I am excited to start a new year by looking at Ender's Game. It is a book that keeps me asking questions, and it will be up to you to help find some answers.

If you neglected your summer reading, there are only a few days to get caught up. Everyone needs to complete their Graphic Organizer for Monday when we have our writing prompt.

Start assembling your supplies:
-flash drive
-2 composition notebooks
-1 inch binder

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homework 6/5

What wonderful presentations! You did so well in preparing your posters and speeches, making sure the cookie supply never waned, and serving your classmates with compliments and scotch tape.

-Tomorrow we have the district final "exam" in Ms. Trainor's computer lab

-Friday, vocab quiz #17

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Homework 5/29

1) complete our reading of Things Fall Apart, final quiz tomorrow

2) ROAR notes on 1/2 of your novella

3) presentation poster on Thursday

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homework 5/24

1) Things Fall Apart chapters 20+21, read and notes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Homework 5/22

1) Things Fall Apart ch. 18+19

2) vocabulary quiz!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homework 5/22

1) read Things Fall Apart ch. 16+17

Monday, May 21, 2012

Homework 5/21

1) read Things Fall Apart, chapters 14+15

2) vocabulary quiz #15 on Thursday

Friday, May 18, 2012

Homework 5/18

1) read the two articles, annotate, have some thoughts!


Down Syndrome

2) Things Fall Apart ch. 14+15 for Tuesday

Monday, May 14, 2012

Homework 5/14

1) read up to chapter 11 in Things Fall Apart for Thursday

2) upload your Food Memoir to for Wednesday

Friday, May 11, 2012

Homework 5/11

1) read chapters 5+6 of Things Fall Apart

2) send an edited copy of your food memoir to by Wednesday

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homework 5/10

1) read (notes?) on Things Fall Apart ch. 3+4

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homework 5/9

1) Things Fall Apart ch. 2 and characterization chart

2) vocab #13

Friday, May 4, 2012

Homework 5/4

1) propose a solid novella for Term 5

2) revise your food memoir for Tuesday

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homework 5/3

1) read and TPCASTT

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

2) propose a solid novella for Term 5 ROAR

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homework 5/2

1) read and annotate Brent Staples' essay "Just Walk on By"

2) Vocab quiz #12

Monday, April 30, 2012


ROAR Term V:
Classic Novellas

For this term, your best best is to select a work from this list. Selections will be scrutinized closely, and should be considered "classic" on the merit of the work or the author.

Animal Farm

George Orwell
-animal fable shows the problems of communism and democracy
(not if you read in 9th grade)

Ayn Rand
-a future world where technology is prohibited so all humans are equal

Bartleby, the Scrivener
Herman Melville
-a boss tries to fire a secretary who “prefers not to” do any work, but Bartleby keeps returning

-a biting satire of faith in God and the futility of finding hope in the midst of disasters

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Gabriel García Márquez
-you and the entire town know he is about to be killed, but Santiago Nasar has no idea

Walter Mosley
-a boy is visited by a mysterious visitor who teaches him to not be a slave or a master

Lan Samantha Chang
-a family struggles with isolation, adapting to a new culture and broken dreams

Pafko at the Wall (Underworld)
Don DeLillo
-a famous baseball game is the background for America entering the Cold War

Seize the Day
Saul Bellow
-one day in the life of a man who has lost his family and his money

Herman Hesse
-a wealthy young man leaves his home to search for meaning in life

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho
-a Spanish shepherd travels to the Great Pyramids for a promised treasure

The Day the Leader Was Killed
Naguib Mahfouz
-an account of a modern assassination in Egypt

The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy
-a man dies from a freak accident with curtains, but it’s really caused from living a bad life

The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka
-Gregor wakes up one morning, and has been turned into a beetle

The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway
-a fateful fishing trip to regain honor ends with the largest fish the Cuban village had ever seen

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Muriel Spark
-the lives of many students are impacted by this remarkable teacher

Homework 4/30

1) complete the ROAR/Culture Vulture reflection sheet to brainstorm what you want to use for a presentation

2) get started looking for a solid novella

Friday, April 27, 2012

Homework 4/27

1) complete your food memoir,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Huck Finn articles

How to study for our test?
1) review all class notes (prezi!)
2) watch the sparknotes summary video
3) skim the critical essays

Henry, Peaches “TheStruggle for Tolerance: Race and Censorship in Huckleberry Finn”(1-2, 11-12)

Kaplan, Justin “Born toTrouble”  (12-14)

Morrison, Toni “Jim’sAfricanist Presence in Huckleberry Finn” 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homework 4/24

1) revise your Food Memoir; it's due next Monday!

2) look back over our satire notes; watch the Huck Finn summary video a 2nd time

3) vocab lesson #11

Monday, April 23, 2012

Culture Vultures in The Globe!

I was so proud to read this story with my mom over April break, and so proud that your work is being recognized all over Boston.

Well done!

Homework 4/23

1) print out your revised Food Memoir for our Tuesday editing session in the library (before class!)

2) finish up your Term IV Culture Vulture: proposal, proof, reflection

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Homework 4/12

-All of Huck Finn, for periods 2+4 to help with the typed Discussion Questions (use control+F to search for your section of the book)

-Vocabulary Quiz #10!

-ROAR notes

-Culture Vulture proposal

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homework 4/10

1) Culture Vulture proposal, tomorrow

2) Watch this plot summary of The Adventures of Huck Finn

3) vocab quiz on Friday, ROAR notes #2

Twain satire/romanticism notes

Here are our notes from today:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Satire Notes

There was some difficulty with the prezi link, so here you go!

Homework 4/10

good editing session today! The tutors are well impressed with your stories, so well done with the changes from last week.

1) ROAR and vocab quiz #10 pushed back to Friday

2) read/annotate the articles on Huck Finn: (the back side of the Chappelle articles)

3) Culture Vulture proposal due on Thursday

Monday, April 9, 2012

Homework 4/9

1) print your Food Memoir for tomorrow's editing session in the library

2) keep up with the ROAR reading!

3) vocab #10 on Thursday

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homework 4/5

1) keep working on the ROAR reading; there's an extra day to read

2) upload your food writing memoir to

3) notes on satire:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homework 4/4

1) vocab quiz #9, look out for the extra 5 words!

2) type, and upload your food memoir piece to

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homework 4/2

1) submit your cheese paragraph to

2) complete the Food Memoir brainstorm sheet

3) bring in your family food paragraph

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homework 3/29

phew, that was a discombobulated day...
and so will be tomorrow.

For all periods, bring your ROAR notes on 1/3 of your history book

For period 4+5, vocabulary quiz at the start of your period

We'll do much catching up, so bring your annotated articles to class and your revised food story

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homework 3/28

What a wonderful workshop today!

You made me so proud with strong questions, welcoming smiles, and taking a risk with some Gorgonzola!

1) vocab quiz lesson #8
2) revise your food memoir Do Now
3) annotate the article written by your period's guest speaker
4) bring your cheese score card

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homework 3/27

1) annotate this restaurant review by Devra First

2) vocab lesson #8
3) ROAR notes #1 pushed to Friday

Monday, March 26, 2012

Homework 3/26

1) ROAR reading!

2) vocab quiz on Thursday, lesson 8

Friday, March 23, 2012

Homework 3/23

Here's a copy of the Othello study guide:

Remember, we'll be shining a light in these 5 categories:
1) The Moor
2) voice of women
3) dramatic irony
4) 4 humours
5) Shakespearean diction

Hunger Games Extra Credit!


I'll be watching sometime next week, but all you who are hungry for opening weekend here's how to earn extra credit.

1) watch film, keep proof (popcorn bag doesn't count)
2) compose a short reflection on the film: key camera movement, non-diagetic sound, additions/subtractions, ect.
3) read, print, and comment on a professional movie review ( the actual review, NOT the sentence summary!

attach the whole shebangabang together, and earn 10% on a test!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Guess the MCAS writing prompt!

Here are the MCAS prompts from the past 7 years:

2005           character that changes as a result of a particular event
2006           character with the ability to inspire or lead others
2007           character who overcomes hardship and misfortune
2009           character whose pride or selfishness creates problems
2008           character who must adjust to life in a new environment
2010           character whose life is affected by a single act or mistake 
2011           character who stands up for what they believe 
2012           ???

For extra credit, post a comment that includes your name, period, and the essay topic. The closest entry will earn a lunch!

Posting closes at 9pm March 19th.

Friday, March 16, 2012

MCAS week: homework/Othello Reading

MCAS prompt-

Often in works of literature, a character stands up for something he or she believes in.
From a work of literature you have read in or out of school, select a character who stands up for something he or she believes in. In a well-developed composition, identify the character, describe how the character stands up for something he or she believes in, and explain how the character’s actions relate to the work as a whole.

Othello 4.2
Film Afternoon!
-I'll have a showing of Act 4

Othello 4.3

Othello 5.1
Film Afternoon!
-I'll have a showing of Act 5

Othello 5.2 (have the play completely read for Friday)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homework 3/14

-make some solid 3/2/1 notes for Othello Act 3 Scene 4

-vocabulary quiz, lesson #7

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homework 3/13

1) phew, Othello Act 3 Scene 3; this is where it all changes...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homework 3/12

1) look back at Act 2 and write down how Montano describes Othello

2) Read+3/2/1 notes for Othello Act 3 Scene 1-Scene 3 line 90

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homework 3/9

1) write an introductory paragraph for the 2008 MCAS question: change in environment

2) Othello 3/2/1 notes on Act 2 Scene 3

3) ROAR proposal, history book!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homework 3/8

1) 3/2/1 notes on Othello Act 2 Scene 1+2

2) MCAS cheat sheet notes on Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Antigone

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homework 3/7

1) read and notes for Othello Act 1 Scene 3
3-words you cannot define (or find in the dictionary)
2-connections with class information
1-specific question about character/plot

2) vocab lesson #5

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homework 3/6

1) read Othello Act 1 Scene 2

Friday, March 2, 2012

ROAR IV: History

Term IV ROAR: The History of _______________.
Proposal Due: March 12

No biographies, think about reading a history of a topic that interests you.
-math (the history of zero)
-chem (the discovery of an element)
-history (the Doner Party)
-ELA (history of curse words)

Here are some choice selections from past years:

This book is perfect for anyone who has ever touched a joystick or a D-pad. The premise of this book is how each big company or person that has made gaming history, from Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese), to Shigeru Miyamoto (the man behind Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Yoshi, and Star Fox).

This book was about the war of chocolate. It started off telling about these two men who wanted to pursue a career in creating the best chocolates. The two men were Forrest Mars, and Milton Hershey.

Blue: The History of a Color By Michel Pastoureau
Certain colors were forbidden outside certain social groups. The moral issue was not the actual color, but the product used to create it. This became part of how people distinguished social outcasts. "The crippled, the deformed, lepers, the 'weak bodied,' and those who were 'cretins and funny in the head' were often to wear bright colors" (Pastoureau 91).

Chewing Gum By Michael Redclift
Michael Redclift shows a history of how gum was created. Thomas Adams introduced chicle to the Americans but Wrigley offered baking powder to customers who would buy two packs of gum. He convinced millions of Americans to buy his gum.

As the 1918 season ended it was a significant moment for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, it was the last moment worth mentioning for the next 86 years. That year was full of controversy due to the player strike, threat of government shutting down the season, and the lack of players on rosters.

Beer, spirits, wine, cola, coffee, and tea are six beverages that were each the most influential drinks at particular eras in history. These six beverages form a chain of drinks that were important to many people because they were used for important events.

The book takes you back to when ice cream first came to be, and what an interesting history it is. Marilyn Powell did a great in writing this book. She sure knew how to draw her readers in by intriguing stories, myths, and facts about ice cream.

Chocolate, referred to as "the gods' breakfast" is "just about everyone's drug of choice." In the book Chocolate, Mort Rosenblum describes the history and the processes that make chocolate. Based on history, it is said that one hundred beans of cacao was worth one slave.

The book Can't Stop Won’t Stop was about the hip-hop generation and how it started. Hip Hop was a very popular type of music in the 1979 when it started. It appealed to people because it was a type of music like no other. Hip Hop originated from the Bronx, New York when DJs began isolating the percussion break from funk and disco songs.

In the book the idea of “teenager” was discussed. Amazingly, this word did not always exist. According to Thomas Hine and many other people, teens were invented. "The word was coined during the early 1940's by some anonymous writer or editor to describe an age group that had suddenly become a great interest to marketers and social reformers."

Heroin By Humberto Fernandez
Heroin, the notorious drug known for its addiction and devastation, dates back over 7,000 years ago as the Sumerians made the discovery of opium. One of the main cereal crops that the Sumerians grew was the poppy flower, in which they referred to as "hul gil", or "the plant of joy."

The two men were very alike in physical features, but had different careers. One is an architect, while the other is a killer. Burnham, the architect, was well known for many of his like the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington. H. H. Holmes was at first a doctor who then built a hotel called "World's Fair Hotel” where the guests were brutally murdered.

Homework 3/2

1) study for our Vocabulary Review Quiz on Monday, lessons 1-5

2) pick a ROAR book for term 4, History of _________________!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last Chance for Extra Credit

Andre Dubus
Marianne Leone Richard Russo

Transformed by Art

March 4, 2012 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Authors André Dubus (Townie), Marianne Leone (Knowing Jessie), and Richard Russo, (Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool) recount how writing changed their lives.


Jamaica Plain Branch Library
Thurs. March 1, 6:30pm
The Book Club Cookbook by Gelman and KruppWhether it's Roman punch for The Age of Innocence or sabzi challow (spinach and rice) with lamb for The Kite Runner, Swedish meatballs and glogg for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, nothing spices up a book club meeting like great eats. Featuring recipes and discussion ideas for one hundred popular book club selections, this fully revised and updated edition of The Book Club Cookbook: Recipes nd Food for Thought From Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors guides readers in selecting and preparing culinary masterpieces that blend perfectly with literary masterpieces.

Brookline Booksmith
Thursday, March 1st at 7pm
Pamela Druckerman

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

When former Wall Street Journal correspondent Pamela Druckerman (Lust in Translation) had her first child in Paris, she started to notice that the French have a distinct style of parenting. In her new book, she shares how French mothers stay relaxed and independent while raising good sleepers, healthy eaters, and well-behaved, inquisitive children.
Saturday, March 3rd at 12:30pm

Michael Ian Black
You’re Not Doing It Right

Tickets Required. On Sale 2/6.

Michael Ian Black is a comedian (Stella, Wet Hot American Summer), screenwriter (Run, Fat Boy, Run) and author (My Custom Van, Chicken Cheeks). He is also, despite his best efforts, a “Yuppie A-Hole.” In his new collection of essays, he muses in his deadpan, sardonic style on suburban life, from cruising for his inevitable “divorce house” despite being happily married, to the pros and cons of hamster ownership.
Starting February 6th, get a free ticket when you pre-purchase a copy of You’re Not Doing It Right at our store (617-566-6660) or website with the option to buy a second ticket for just $5. All tickets will be held at the Brookline Booksmith.

Harvard Book Store
Cristina Alger
Cristina Alger

The Darlings: A Novel
March 1, 2012
7:00 PM

Audrey Schulman
Audrey Schulman

Three Weeks in December
March 2, 2012
7:00 PM