• Latest Updates
  • Files
  • Links
  • Department Resources

Bring The Great Gatsby to class.  5 pts.  

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.  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.

Writing Center:  Don't forget to make an appointment with me (or another English teacher) in the Writing Center in order to re-write a body paragraph for 10 extra pts.

***Interested in going to Assisi and Rome this summer, and receiving an elective credit for a whole semester?  See me for more details!

Date:  June 26 - July 3, 2019


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!