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WEDNESDAY, 6/19:  ELA REGENTS EXAM.  Be in the room by 8:15.  The examination begins at 8:30 whether everyone is there or not.  I will not be your proctor, but I will swing by to give you your college essays/poetry exams, and to wish you luck.

Get a good night's sleep.  Eat a healthy breakfast.  Bring two pens (black or blue ink only). 


For the Part 2 Essay based on 4 texts--pick 3 texts that you understand/appreciate the most, and that best prove your view/opinion. 

Remember to write all over the booklet--underline solid and convincing info.  Make sure each text gets its own body paragraph (3 body paragraphs total).  Make sure you pick 2-3 quotes/references (preferably word for word in quotation marks) per article.  Write a simple but focused intro paragraph with your view stated clearly.  Do the same for your conclusion.  3 - 4 pages in the essay booklet.

Part 3 Response:

Length should be 1 1/2 - 2 pages in the essay booklet.  2 paragraphs.

- 1st paragraph discusses the central idea/theme with a BRIEF overview and 1-2 quotes to support--topic sentence must mention title/author and central idea.  

- 2nd paragraph will be longer stating how your literary device supports/clarifies the central idea.  You must mention your literary device in your topic sentence.   2-3 quotes from the passage for proof and explanation.


1. World Lit. Honors students must read Rings (Ring Series, Book 1) by Koji Suzuki. Translated by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Walley, and be prepared for an exam the first full week we return from vacation.

2. Advanced Placement students must read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut AND How to Read Like a Professor by Thomas Foster, and be prepared for an exam the first full week we return from vacation.

E.C. Whitman Birthplace Historic Site.  Visit the museum and do a tour of the house his father built and that he was born in.  When you get home type up a paragraph on what you liked most about the museum, and a paragraph on what you liked most about the house tour.  Finally, make a suggestion on what the historic site (museum and house) could add to make it even more interesting.  Up to 25 pts.  


Wednesday, 6/13:  Goodbye.  ;)

Monday, 6/10: POETRY EXAM, 100 pts.  Exam will be based on knowledge and recognition of poetic devices, as well as memorizing Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." 

Please copy and paste and print out the "Song of Myself" highlights below:

Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes?

It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.

The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,

Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,

The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,

Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.

I know I am solid and sound,

To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,

All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.

Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from,

The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,

This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,

And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,

And the tree-toad is a chef-d’œuvre for the highest,

And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,

And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,

And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,

And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,

I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?

Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

Friday, 6/7:  College essays due!  100 pts.  Typed, TNR, 12 pt. size, full heading, 2 pages max.   SEE BELOW.



  1. Allow yourself plenty of time to write the essay. Do not wait until the last minute. I know this sounds absurdly simple, but it really does make a difference to be as relaxed as possible when you sit down to write.

  2. Choose the prompt that comes closest to something you’d like to write about. The purpose of the prompt is to help you reflect on something that matters to you. Your application will be full of information that illuminates dimensions of you and your abilities, but only the essay gives you a vehicle to speak, in your own voice, about something personally significant. Choose something you care about and it will flow more naturally.

    (a) Fallacy: If you haven’t experienced a life-changing event, you have nothing to write about. Wrong. You care about things now. Write about one of them and show us why it matters to you.

    (b) Fallacy: If you haven’t had a major international service experience, you’re sunk. Wrong again. If you’ve had such an experience and you feel it says something important about you, great. If you haven’t, just choose something that says something important about you. That’s all.

  3. When you’ve written a first draft, let it sit. Then go back to it another day. Ask people you trust for their feedback, but don’t let anyone else tell you how you should write it. This is your story, or some small but significant part of it, as told or reflected upon by you.

  4. When you’ve revised it to your heart’s content, proofread with care. Spellcheck isn’t always the most reliable friend, as I have learned on occasion with a quickly typed email that gets sent before it was proofread!


Wednesday, 6/5:  Vocab Unit 15 quiz, 30 pts., and Unit 15 exercises due 8:15 a.m., 10 pts.

Monday, 6/3:  Regents Pt. 2 Essay due, 50 pts.  Essay booklets will be distributed.  3 - 4 pages.  See June 2018 Regents below:


Note:  the first 2 bullets points are basically your intro paragraph.

Remember to have 2 quotes/textual references per body paragraph.


Sylvia Plath poem reflection, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  Read Sylvia Plath's "Mirror" (see below) and discuss how personally revealing it is to make Plath's mirror the speaker in the first stanza, and discuss how tragically revealing it is to make the speaker in the second stanza the surface of a lake !  

Pick 2 lines from the first stanza and 3 lines from the second stanza that revealed the most about each one's observations and discuss why.

MIRROR   Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful,
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Tuesday, 5/28:  Short Fiction Quiz, 50 pts.  

"To Build a Fire"  Jack London

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"  Ambrose Bierce

Tuesday, 5/21:  Vocab 14 Quiz, 30 pts., and Unit 14 exercises due 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, 10 pts.  

Friday, 5/17:  HC Favorite Character reflection, 1/2 page in notebook, 10 pts.   I haven't asked you this question about any character in any major work yet.  Now, you have many noble characters to choose from.  Make sure you give  at least 2 reasons why, and make a reference to a specific scene that supports your response.  You may discuss 2 characters if you can't decide!

MONDAY, 5/20:  Read Dr. Heidegger's Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne, then answer the following questions:

- How does Hawthorne use imagery to enhance the story?

- How does he use dialogue to enhance the characterization of these individuals?

Wednesday, 5/15: Field Trip reflection,  1 page typed minimum, 20 pts.

2 paragraphs--in your 1st paragraph discuss what you liked most about the field trip and why.  Give details and be specific.  Then in your 2nd paragraph discuss what Salinger may have been able to use from your highlight(s) of the day to create an additional moving or funny scene, theme, moment.

(For the few of you who couldn't attend, please think back on any trips to the Bronx Zoo or any zoo, and please follow the same guidelines above.)

Tuesday, 5/7:  Unit 13 Vocab quiz, 30 pts.  Plus, Unit 13 exercises due Tuesday 8:15 a.m. 10 pts.  Exercises have been sent!

ATTENTION WORLD TRAVELERS:  Mr. Kruger still has room for a few more students for the Germany Student Exchange Program.  Please see him asap for more details and/or to sign up!   Jake did it last year and it was amazing.  2 weeks in Germany for only $1,500!  And you get to host a new friend for 2 weeks in NYC.

Friday, 5/3:  The Human Comedy reading exam, 100 pts.

ALSO:  Poem reflection in notebook, 1 page, 10 pts.  Read "You Reading This, Be Ready" below by William Stafford.  How did this poem give you genuine appreciation for the beautiful, perfect, and elusive present, and who you are right now?  Please discuss your 3 favorite lines.  Why might this be one of the most important poems you read in your 4 years at Prep?

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life––

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

Tuesday, 4/30:  FIELD TRIP!  Remember to be at the top of the Prep driveway (Francis Lewis) by 8:15 a.m.  We will leave at 8:25 a.m. sharp. (Reminder: you must go to "H" period.) Weather looks okay! Partly cloudy and 65 degrees.  No ponchos needed.

Wednesday, 4/17: Regents Pt. 3 assignment, 50 pts.  1 page, loose leaf.

Length should be one full page (and maybe a little on back).  2 paragraphs: - 1st paragraph discusses the central idea/theme with a BRIEF overview and quote (or two) to support--topic sentence must mention title/author and central idea.  

- 2nd paragraph will be longer stating how your literary device supports/clarifies the central idea.  You must mention your literary device in your topic sentence.   2 quotes from the passage for proof and explanation.

ALSO:  Bring The Human Comedy by William Saroyan.

Wednesday, 4/10: Permission slips due!   

Friday, 4/12:  Read Edgar Allan Poe's "The Oval Portrait"  Go to:  


Monday, 4/15:  Fear reflection, 1/2 page loose leaf, 5 pts.

Pick one of your three fears and write about the experience in detail, with perhaps some thoughts on it at the end.

E.C. Re-write your Gatsby re-write.  PLUS...

Write your own opening to your own play using the same opening line that Miller used to open the dramatic floodgates that became Death of a Salesman

"It's all right.  I came back."

1-2 pages typed, double-spaced, full heading, TNR, 12 pt. size.  Make sure you use the format of a play--name, then colon, no quotation marks.  Stage direction (you must have stage direction!) is in italics.

Monday, 4/8:  "Water" reflection in notebook, 1 page, 10 pts.  Read the poem, "Water," by Robert Lowell (see below).  Make a list of all of the words with a negative/empty/hopeless/dull connotation.  THEN, pick 4 lines that you felt demonstrated the deterioration of this relationship the most.  How is water used as a metaphor?  How is it so effective in this poem?  Why mermaid?  Why barnacles?  Why gulls?  ;)

Water by Robert Lowell

It was a Maine lobster town—
each morning boatloads of hands
pushed off for granite
quarries on the islands,

and left dozens of bleak
white frame houses stuck
like oyster shells
on a hill of rock,

and below us, the sea lapped
the raw little match-stick
mazes of a weir*
where the fish for bait were trapped.

Remember? We sat on a slab of rock.
From this distance in time
it seems the color
of iris, rotting and turning purpler,

but it was only
the usual gray rock
turning the usual green
when drenched by the sea.

The sea drenched the rock
at our feet all day,
and kept tearing away
flake after flake.

One night you dreamed
you were a mermaid clinging to a wharf-pile,
and trying to pull
off the barnacles with your hands.

We wished our two souls
might return like gulls
to the rock. In the end,
the water was too cold for us.

*an enclosure of wooden stakes placed in the water to trap fish

Friday, 3/29:  "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway. 10 pts.     

Write a 1 page reflection (in notebook or on loose leaf) on how Hemingway uses the setting, the dialogue, and the cat to show the passion-less marriage of this couple.  Any "husband/wife power plays" noticeable?  Make a reference to 2 lines of dialogue from the wife, 2 lines of dialogue from the husband, and 2 lines about the padrone to support your responses.   Link below.  Please copy the story below, paste in Word, then print out and bring to class.  


"Hemingway's writing was his way of approaching his identity—

of discovering himself in the projected metaphors of his experience. 

He believed that if he could see himself clear and whole, 

his vision might be useful to others who also lived in this world...

the pen handled with the accuracy of the rifle; sweat and dignity; bags of cojones."

Wednesday, 3/27: Vocab 11 Quiz, 30 pts. plus Unit 11 exercises due (10 pts.) Wednesday morning, 8:15.  Exercises will be sent out tomorrow morning.

Friday, 3/22:  Death of a Salesman Reading Exam, 100 pts.  Bring a pencil.

Thursday, 3/21:  Bring Death of a Salesman.  We will finish up our Miller bio, and the remainder of the class will be for some reading.

Tuesday, 3/19:  New title assignment, 20 pts., 1 page minimum, on loose leaf.  To be collected.  

1 short paragraph on what you think of the title--explain how the adjective great suits Jay Gatsby, and give an example from the novel to support your response.  Finally, in a long paragraph, and make sure you use your imagination and have fun with this one, come up with a new title for the novel, and discuss why your title is so appropriate and meaningful.  (The best title will earn 5 pts. extra credit!)

You do not have to bring Gatsby again.  We will wrap up a few key scenes on Tuesday.  ALSO, if you borrowed a copy from the English Dept. please return to me by Wednesday or -5.

Thursday, 3/14:  Bring Death of a Salesman to class.  5 pts.

ALSO:  Gatsby Returns to Louisville Too Late reflection, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  Read the excerpt below and discuss how these 2 pages from chapter 8 reveal even more of Gatsby's dedication, mission, hopeless romantic and hopeful mindset.

It was dawn now on Long Island and we went about opening the rest of the windows downstairs, filling the house with grey turning, gold turning light. The shadow of a tree fell abruptly across the dew and ghostly birds began to sing among the blue leaves. There was a slow pleasant movement in the air, scarcely a wind, promising a cool lovely day. ‘I don’t think she ever loved him.’ Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. ‘You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her those things in a way that frightened her—that made it look as if I was some kind of cheap sharper. And the result was she hardly knew what she was saying.’ He sat down gloomily. ‘Of course she might have loved him, just for a minute, when they were first married—and loved me more even then, do you see?’ Suddenly he came out with a curious remark: ‘In any case,’ he said, ‘it was just personal.’ What could you make of that, except to suspect some intensity in his conception of the affair that couldn’t be measured? He came back from France when Tom and Daisy were still on their wedding trip, and made a miserable but irresistible journey to Louisville on the last of his army pay. He stayed there a week, walking the streets where their footsteps had clicked together through the November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car. Just as Daisy’s house had always seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other houses so his idea of the city itself, even though she was gone from it, was pervaded with a melancholy beauty. He left feeling that if he had searched harder he might have found her—that he was leaving her behind. The daycoach—he was penniless now—was hot. He went out to the open vestibule and sat down on a folding-chair, and the station slid away and the backs of unfamiliar buildings moved by. Then out into the spring fields, where a yellow trolley raced them for a minute with people in it who might once have seen the pale magic of her face along the casual street. The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever. It was nine o’clock when we finished breakfast and went out on the porch. The night had made a sharp difference in the weather and there was an autumn flavor in the air. The gardener, the last one of Gatsby’s former servants, came to the foot of the steps.  ‘I’m going to drain the pool today, Mr. Gatsby. Leaves’ll start falling pretty soon and then there’s always trouble with the pipes.’ ‘Don’t do it today,’ Gatsby answered. He turned to me apologetically. ‘You know, old sport, I’ve never used that pool all summer?’

Tuesday, 3/12:  Vocab Unit 10 quiz, 30 pts. and Unit 10 exercises due 8:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, 10 pts.  Exercises posted Thursday night.

  SOUP KITCHEN VOLUNTEERS FOR THIS THURSDAY, 3/7!  I have a few spots left for this Thursday's visit to Presentation Soup Kitchen in Jamaica.  Please tell me (or email me) by Wednesday if you're interested.  We meet in the lobby at 3:50 p.m.  We will be back to Prep around 7:00 p.m.  Please consider this opportunity to be a blessing.  Peace!

Monday, 3/4:  Gatsby Collage & Symbols Project due, 100 pts.

Part I:  You must use magazine photos, ads, etc. (you may use ONE internet photo and/or ONE personal photo if you wish).  Select at least 15 images for your collage that deal with characters, events, or major themes from the novel, The Great Gatsby.  Arrange them aesthetically. Make sure you don't just pick images of wealth, alcohol, models that look like characters--overlap or combine unique images for more impact.  If you're an artist, you may add some illustrations to your collage. Think of using oak tag to make the most of your space.  Then pick what you believe is the most powerful/meaningful quote from the novel, and put it on the FRONT of your collage (you may write it, print it--use your imagination).  Put your full heading on the back of your collage.

Part II:  Select your 5 best images and discuss briefly (short typed paragraph each) why you chose that image, and what specific theme it symbolizes/represents.

Part III:  Discuss in a short paragraph, typed (1/2 page), why you chose your quote from the novel.  Be sure to analyze and discuss it’s significance in the novel as a whole.  

NOTE: The written portion of your project should be about  1 1/2 pages typed, and handed in separately with full heading.

If you go above and beyond the call of duty, you may receive up to 10 extra credit pts. on this assignment.  For example, if your written responses show a lot of effort and analysis, or if you find and include very imaginative images (and many of them!), etc.

Monday, 2/25:  

1.  Hemingway reading quiz on  "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." 50 pts.

Bring a pencil.  Please watch short bio of Hemingway below. 

2.  Gatsby Essay Rewrite, typed, 50 pts.  Pick the weaker of your 2 body paragraphs to revise

and rewrite. If your intro or conclusion needed work, please pick one and revise/rewrite for extra credit.

 Please print on ONE piece of paper, back and front if necessary, then staple to your written essay.

 PLEASE remember to support your thesis:

...a noble American character stopping at nothing to achieve his dream of love, fulfillment, 

and meaning; OR pick 2 scenes (with textual references) that show a lost American 

character floundering in his search because of fear, insecurity, lack of self-awareness, 

or another specific weakness that you name. 


Attention my dear juniors!

The Walt Whitman Birthplace and Historic Site is having its 33rd Annual Student Poetry Contest.

The theme is "Realize the future."  Your poem must be 30 lines or less.

The deadline is FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH!

Go to waltwhitman.org for more details.  Good luck!

Tuesday, 2/12:  Vocab Unit 9 Quiz, 40 pts. and Unit 9 exercises due Tuesday, 8:15 a.m., 10 pts.

In 1845, Thoreau received permission from Emerson to use a piece of land that Emerson owned on the shore of Walden Pond. He bought building supplies and a chicken coop (for the boards), and built himself a small house there, moving in on the Fourth of July. He had two main purposes in moving to the pond: to write his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, as a tribute to his late brother John; and to conduct an economic experiment to see if it were possible to live by working one day and devoting the other six to more Transcendental concerns, thus reversing the Yankee habit of working six days and resting one.  His nature study and the writing of Walden would develop later during his stay at the pond. He began writing Walden in 1846 as a lecture in response to the questions of townspeople who were curious about what he was doing out at the pond, but his notes soon grew into his second book.    

Thoreau stayed in the house at Walden Pond for two years, from July 1845 to September 1847.Walden condenses the experiences of those two years into one year for artistic unity. During these two years he also spent one night in jail, an incident which occurred in the summer of 1846 and which became the subject of his essay "Resistance to Civil Government" (later known as "Civil Disobedience”).  That same year he also took a trip to Maine to see and climb Mount Katahdin, a place with a much wilder nature than he could find around Concord.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU               English 11 Honors       Mr. Hafker

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

Do what you love. Know you own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as fair as that into which the Sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays.


I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.


 “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

 “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”

 “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

 “Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.”

 “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”

 “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”

 “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

 “All good things are wild and free.”

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.”

 “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

Tuesday, 2/5:  Thoreau reflection due.  10 pts.  1 page minimum in your notebook.

Read the quotes slowly and carefully, then pick your 4 favorites and discuss why and how you make a deep connection to each.  Please read all of them before you make your picks!

Monday, 1/29: Vocab Unit 8 Quiz, 30 pts., and Unit 8 exercises (10 pts.) due by 8:15 a.m. Monday.  Exercises have been posted.

ALSO DUE:  Poem reflection, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts. 

Read "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" by e.e. cummings.

Pick 4 favorite lines where you appreciate cummings' ground breaking, unique use of words to seemingly create a new form of English!  Make sure you discuss what he is trying to say about these individuals and their sad, monotonous, self-centered, empty lives.  

Tuesday, 1/22:  World Lit. Honors or AP Literature requests due!  If you are going to take Drama, Poetry, Gothic Lit., or Fiction you don't need to email me.

IMPORTANT:  You must email me by 3:00 p.m. Tuesday if you wish to take World Lit. Honors or AP Literature next year.  Please know my decision will be based on your semester average, reading exam grades, and especially your Raisin in the Sun essay and in-class Gatsby essay.  

For World Lit. you need at least a 93 semester average and a 90 or more on your Raisin essay and Gatsby essay.

For AP Literature you need at least a 95 semester average and a 95 or more on your Raisin essay and Gatsby essay.

Friday, 1/18:  E.C. Assignment:

The famous 1 page love letter from Gatsby (stuck in Europe) to Daisy--the one that starts "coming to pieces like snow" in the bathtub where her mom, Jordan, and the maid try to sober her up (and right after she throws her pearl necklace from Tom into the wastebasket the day before the wedding (up to 10 pts.).  Use your imagination.  Re-read the scene in chapter 4 to refresh your memory.   If we're bored minimal points.  =(

You can write it in your notebook or type it up.  Be prepared to read to the class for the full 10 pts.

Wednesday, 1/16:  You will have about 15 minutes of class time to proofread your essays and make any last minute changes/improvements.  Please make sure you are laser beam focused on the heart, soul, intentions, etc. of the character you're discussing, with a complete analysis. 

Tuesday, 1/15:  In-class Gatsby Essay, 50 pts.  Approximately 1 1/2 pages. Note:  Both body paragraphs can be on Gatsby OR both body paragraphs can be on Nick OR one paragraph can be on Gatsby (positive?) and the other on Nick (positive or negative?).

You must write your intro paragraph at home (title, author, main idea/thesis, and characters you are discussing and why).  IN YOUR NOTEBOOK, please write the 2 quotes you will be using.  You may want a 3rd quote for your conclusion, just in case.  Plus, you may write out your 2 topic sentences in your notebook.

We have already discussed in great detail the brilliance of this novel, as well as its flaws.  Picking Gatsby and/or Nick, pick 2 scenes (with textual references) that reveal a noble American character stopping at nothing to achieve his dream of love, fulfillment, and meaning; OR pick 2 scenes (with textual references) that show a lost American character floundering in his search because of fear, insecurity, lack of self-awareness, or another specific weakness that you name.

Monday, 1/14:  The Great Gatsby Reading Exam #2, 100 pts.  

Read chapters 6 - 9.  Bring a pencil.

Thursday, 1/10:  Vocab Unit 7 Quiz, 30 pts.  Unit 7 exercises, 10 pts., due 8:15 a.m. Thursday. Exercises have been posted!

1/10: POETRY OUT LOUD PREP COMPETITION, 3:00 p.m. in the Prep library, East Side.  BE THERE!

Thursday, 1/3:  F. Scott Fitzgerald intro plus reading/writing period.  Bring The Great Gatsby to class!

Friday, 1/4:  Great Gatsby reading exam #1, 100 pts.  

Read chapters 1 - 5.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (known as F. Scott Fitzgerald) was a short story writer and novelist considered one of the pre-eminent authors in the history of American literature due almost entirely to the enormous posthumous success of his third book, The Great Gatsby. Perhaps the quintessential American novel, as well as a definitive social history of the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby has become required reading for virtually every American high school student and has had a transportive effect on generation after generation of readers. At the age of 24, the success of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, made Fitzgerald famous. One week later, he married the woman he loved and his muse, Zelda Sayre. However by the end of the 1920s Fitzgerald descended into drinking, and Zelda had a mental breakdown. Following the unsuccessful Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood and became a scriptwriter. He died of a heart attack in 1940, at age 44, his final novel only half completed.

Thursday, 12/20: Bring The Great Gatsby to class.  You can order your own copy on amazon (if you know you want a copy for life) OR you can reserve one from the English Dept.  You'll be reading the first half over the Christmas Break.

***POETRY OUT LOUD!  Please go to poetryoutloud.org and pick a poem you understand, connect to, and LOVE.  Memorize it and recite it to your class on Wednesday, December 19th.  Maybe you'll be the winner that goes to the Prep competition on January 10th!  See me for more details.

Friday, 12/14:  Vocab 6 Quiz, 30 pts. , and Unit 6 exercises, 10 pts.,  due Friday, 8:15 a.m.  Exercises sent Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.  (Please ignore old Unit 5 exercises sent by mistake.)

Monday, 12/10:  The Things They Carried descriptive/personal essay, 100 PTS.  TYPED.  2 PAGES. Times New Roman, 12 pt. size, full heading, no cover sheet.  Imagine you are going to war tomorrow and can only take 3 personal items.  Describe each item in detail, and explain the reason why you want to carry it with you.  Remember, no cell phones, ipads, or gaming systems!  You may bring an ipod with a playlist and 2 or 3 songs you discuss (see me if you're confused about this one).  Also, you can't bring an entire photo album--it won't fit in your backpack. If you pick a photo, you must describe the subjects/setting in great detail.  Note:  2 photos gluesticked together back to back can count as 1 item.  

Remember, 3 things that are special and meaningful and will somehow keep you grounded, as well as close to your loved ones, and your true self!  (5 paragraphs--each item gets a body paragraph.)

IMPORTANT:  You must mention the novel and Tim O'Brien in your intro or conclusion, AND you must have a quote from the book in your conclusion that somehow connects to your motivation of your 3 items somehow.  

Thursday, 12/6: Whitman poem reflection, 1/2 page in notebook, 5 pts.

 During the Civil War, Whitman went to visit his wounded brother who was being cared for at one of the hospital camps around Washington, D.C.--Whitman was so moved by the thousands of wounded he stayed 10 years!

Read "To One Shortly to Die."   If you were about to die, would you want this caring nurse you just met a week ago say these words to you?  Are his words too brutally honest, or just honest, truthful, loving?  Make 3 textual references to support your response.

commiserate:  to pity       prevaricate: to evade the truth

Wednesday, 12/5:  "Facing It" Reflection.   Read the famous poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, and write a 1 page reaction to it in your notebook.  Make sure you discuss his emotions and why he's feeling them.  Make sure you discuss how he focuses/REFLECTS upon key images to get his theme of despair, loss, and regret across.  Make specific textual references to at least 3 lines to support your responses. How does the title have a double meaning?   10 pts. 

Thursday, 11/29:  The Things They Carried chapter reflection, 1 page minimum in notebook, 10 pts.  If your major literary essay for the 2nd quarter had to be on one specific chapter from the novel, which would it be and why?  (Imagery, diction/writing style, dialogue, symbolism, characterization?) What would the thesis/theme of your essay be?  Finally, pick 3 quotes from the chapter that support your thesis. Discuss briefly 

Friday, 11/30: Vocab Unit 5 quiz, 30 pts.  Unit 5 exercises due Thursday at midnight, 10 pts.

Tuesday, 11/27:  The Things They Carried reading exam #2, 100 pts.  This will consist of multiple choice questions and a literary paragraph response.  Bring a pencil.

Monday, 11/19:  Draft reflection, 1/2 page notebook, 5 pts.  If the U.S. institutes a draft tomorrow, and you get your notice to serve, will you go?  "What would you do?   Would you feel pity for yourself?  Would you think about your family and your childhood and your dreams and all you're leaving behind?  Would it hurt?  Would it feel like dying?  Would you cry, as I did?"  - Tim O'Brien

Friday, 11/16:  Museum reflection, 1 page, 10 pts.  Today we read the famous Museum of Natural History pages.  In your notebook please discuss why you think Salinger chose the following museum memories/glass cases.  You can write a couple sentences for each.  

- Eskimo ice fishing with 2 fish beside him

- Deer drinking from water hole

- squaw weaving a blanket (others rubbing sticks to make a fire)

- war canoe with American Indians paddling or standing (plus the scary witch doctor in back)

- Columbus "trying to discover America"

Wednesday, 11/14:  The Things They Carried Exam #1. 100 pts.

Exam on first half of the novel.  Stop reading after the chapter "The Man I Killed."  Format is multiple choice with one literary paragraph short answer.  Bring a pencil.

Tuesday, 11/13: 

Poem reflection, 10 pts., 1/2 page min. notebook.  Read "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver (link below).  Discuss how she uses nature, specifically the geese, to calm the reader's mind, and affirm the reader's importance as an individual on this earth. AND, how do we know the speaker truly respects and understands you, the reader?


Monday, 11/5:  Ralph Waldo Emerson reflection, 3 paragraphs, 1 page in notebook minimum, 10 pts.  From the handout, pick 3 quotes you would consider making your yearbook quote.  Why and how do you connect to your 3 choices?  Also:  What quote would be Holden's favorite and why?

ALSO:  Bring The Things They Carried, 5 pts.

Wednesday, 10/31:  Saving Holden Essay, 100 pts.  2 pages typed, double spaced.  You will learn about voice, style, point of view, natural/poignant dialogue, and symbolism from this cool assignment!  

You must create a new scene with a new symbol with YOU as a new character who helps save Holden from himself--his anxiety, his grief, confusion, inability to face change and maturing.  You will write this scene in 1st person as Holden.  Make sure to use just enough godamn's, etc. to really capture his informal, conversational voice.  

Make sure you give him something, or show him something, or do something for him that is symbolic (and put this sentence in bold).  Your scene must also have imagery and meaningful dialogue and a clear setting.  AND HAVE FUN!

Monday, 10/29:  My Glass Case reflection, 20 pts.  1 page minimum on loose leaf.  What is the most joyous moment of your life?  Really dig deep and try to find it.  Be sure to use vivid details and most of your senses in describing this moment you want to preserve for ever.


June 26 - July 3, 2019!

Visit Assisi and Rome for the adventure of a lifetime, and earn a half unit  for a junior or senior elective!   Open to current sophomores and juniors.

Special presentation for students and their parents Wednesday, 10/24, at 6:30 p.m. in E207!

Thursday, 10/25: Vocab Unit 3 Quiz, 40 pts., and exercises due Thursday morning by 8:25, 10 pts.  

Monday, 10/22:  All Catcher lists due!  In notebook.  20 pts. 

1. Group work: 9 more images/symbols of childhood innocence/wonder/fun! 

2.  Holden's Self-Destructive Behavior List (at least 10).

3.  HOLDEN'S SAVIORS (10 characters who help save Holden throughout the novel and HOW).

Tuesday, 10/16:  Catcher Exam #2, 100 pts., based on chapters 14 - 26.  Same format as Exam #1.


Tuesday, 10/9: Raisin in the Sun Hero Essay, 100 pts.  2 pages typed, Times New Roman, 12 pt. size, double spaced.  This is a literary/personal essay based on a human being in the play, and in your own life who perseveres with hope, sacrifice, and honor.  

This will be a 4-5 paragraph essay.  Your first body paragraph will be based on a heroic character from the play.  Make sure you include 2 textual references AND ANALYSIS to support your choice.  A literary device must also be used to help strengthen your response.

Your second body paragraph will be based on a heroic person in your life (give details, use imagery and dialogue even to bring this individual to life for the reader!). This paragraph can be in past tense. 

As we said in class, please be aware of presenting a clear thesis statement in your intro paragraph, and clear topic sentences for each of your body paragraphs.

Thursday, 10/11:  Vocab 2 Quiz, 40 pts.  Unit 2 exercises due Thursday morning, 8:25, 10 pts.


- Care about what you're writing so that I care.  You must be both lawyer and psychologist when writing--a good lawyer proving his/her case with the best, most meaningful examples, and a good psychologist sounding the depths of your character's feelings, fears, motivation, etc. from what he says and does (and how it supports and reveals a theme).

- YOU MUST MAKE A REFERENCE TO AT LEAST ONE LITERARY DEVICE IN YOUR ESSAY (imagery, conflict, theme, characterization, symbol, foreshadowing, etc.).

- No "I" or "my" should be used (and never "in my opinion" or "In conclusion...").

- Write in the present tense for all action/scenes that take place during the current events of the work.

- Try using vivid verbs throughout your essay (instead of just "this shows" or "this tells"); for example, this... reveals, demonstrates, affirms, explains, presents, illuminates, informs, enhances, elevates, clarifies, enlightens...

 - Underline the title of plays and novels.  (Title in italics if typed.)

- Remember to have good topic sentences to start each body paragraph (and your conclusion).  Never make a quote alone be your topic sentence!

- Your conclusion should include a new quote that sums up your thesis/theme perfectly.

-  Make sure you don't commit the most serious crime of all--JUST SUMMARIZING!   I want your ideas and thoughts on the importance/meaning of the scenes and quotes you choose!  FULLY EXPLAIN/INTERPRET YOUR EXAMPLES TO GIVE MEANING AND DEEPER INSIGHT TO YOUR READER. Why is your choice of scene/quote so important? Prove your essay's theme.

-  Check for incomplete sentences, check punctuation.

- Check spelling. 

-  Skip a line between paragraphs OR just indent; never do both.


- Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, EVERY sentence in your essay must somehow prove and support your thesis statement/essay's theme.


Critical lens statement for essay below:  "...to be a hero, one must face forces larger than oneself."

Notice the clear and concise stating of the theme in the opening/thesis statement as well as the title and author.  Notice approximately 3-4 more sentences stating briefly the examples that will be given in the body paragraphs to support and PROVE what you stated in your thesis. 

In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, George is heroic because he faces forces larger than himself, whether it's having to care for Lennie or trying to keep hope alive in a hopeless Great Depression landscape. He is a man of character because he keeps his promise to Aunt Clara to watch out for Lennie, and tries to give him some life of normalcy and joy. He is also a man of optimism because he believes, if only for a short time, that he and his best friend can have their own place, and actually achieve a small slice of the American Dream. Tragically it all ends with the death of Lennie, but George's mercy killing still shows his love and concern to the very end--the trait of a true hero.

BELOW: Notice the topic sentence explains clearly what the body paragraph is going to discuss/prove.  Notice how we lead up to the specific scene and textual reference to show we know the example and sharing it with the reader.  Notice the most important aspect of the body paragraph--your analysis, your explaining with confidence and wisdom why and how your scene/quote fits your thesis perfectly. 

One of the most heroic things George does for Lennie is give him a sense of independence and importance. In the "fatta the lan'" dream of having their own place and being their own bosses, he makes it very clear to Lennie that he will be in charge of feeding and caring for his beloved rabbits. This brings Lennie such a sense of responsibility and joy that it gives him what every human being needs to survive--a sense of purpose. When Lennie realizes that he will always have George, his sense of security is so strong and confident, that he practically giggles like a child: "'...because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.' He laughed delightedly."  When any human being makes this challenging life a little easier and more bearable for his fellow man, he is truly a hero and a unique individual worthy of praise. The fact that this makes George a little happier shows his concern and compassion for his simple minded friend.

Story Time with Mr. Hafker:    "Thank You, Ma'm" by Langston Hughes

Monday, 10/1:  Langston Hughes poetry reflection due, 20 pts., On loose leaf--to be collected.  Read "Lesson From English B" twice, slowly and carefully (link below).  Your assignment is to be the Columbia University professor/instructor and give the "paper" a grade, then write a one page (minimum) response to your student Langston Hughes as to why.  You must comment on at least 3 specific lines from his poem.  Note:  We will discuss "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" in class.


Monday, 9/24: Bring The Catcher in the Rye to class, 5 pts.

Also, bring A Raisin in the Sun.

Make sure you complete the group work assignment on  A Raisin in the Sun from Friday (the specific dream deferred for each major character and what is the reason for each character's dream being "blocked.")  10 pts.

Wednesday, 9/19:  Vocab Unit 1 Quiz (40 pts.) and Unit 1 exercises due midnight Tuesday (10 pts.).

Monday, 9/17:  Read Langston Hughes' poem "Mother to Son."  Then answer the following questions in your notebook.  1 full page minimum.  10 pts.


- Express the theme of this poem to the best of your ability. 

- Why is a staircase the perfect symbol for the poem's theme?  

- Discuss at least 4 "stair images" in the poem, and how they show specific real life challenges for the son, especially at this time in America (the 1920s).

- Why is the dialect so crucial in this poem?  

- How does this mother and son remind you of Mama and Walter in A Raisin in the Sun?  

- Finally, find a quote from the play that could fit perfectly inside the poem.

Thursday, 9/13:  Bring A Raisin in the Sun and your English notebook.  5 pts.

Wednesday, 9/12:  A Raisin in the Sun summer reading exam, 100 pts.

Also, please print out the course outline and sign, and get a parent's signature as well. 10 pts.

 Bring a pencil.  The format will be multiple choice and a literary paragraph.

Tuesday, 9/11:   Bring A Raisin in the Sun to class for an important Q&A before the reading exam.

Welcome to English 11 Honors!