Please CUT AND PASTE only what you need on to a word document;

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NOTE: These assignments are sometimes subject to modification AFTER they have been posted. I usually announce in class when there are such changes and they will appear in red print. The most recent assignment is at the end of the link.

Note: All educational standards appear in green print.




AP: Weeks 1 and 2 = 9/5 and 9/12 

1) Passion and empathy. Do you have it? It's two of the keys to a happy life. Think about it. We will share our passions with the class. Why are they important to us? To any individual? To a group of people. To society? Where can passion go wrong? Donald Trump? Let's read some articles about him. Can we verify the truth of what he says?  Speaking and Listening Standards 1a, 1c

2) During the first week you will listen to an article I will read on gun violence, taking notes, then produce a 200 word formal and objective summery, followed by a 200 word opinion. This claim will be backed by evidence. in short, make an argument and defend it with proof. Writing Standards 1a,b

3) We were in the College Room Thursday and Friday of week 1. We start applying for colleges NOW!

4) Due 9/12: Find and read an "interesting" article on 9/11 and make two copies of it, one for you and one for someone else. By "interesting" I mean provacative. Something that stirs your mind. Bring it Monday. If there is time I will put you into one-on-one situations where youi will present the issues to your partner. We're trying to create a community of scholars who will share their findings though collaborative discussions. Speaking and Listening Standards 1a. Note: we did not have time to do this activity.  

4) Catcher in the Rye exam Wednesday  9/14 Indentify characters.

5) We will annotate two very engaging poems in class just to get our feet wet. "Janet Waking" and "First Death in Nova Scotia." Pay special attention to word choices, tone and point of view. What is directy stated in a these two poems and what is really meant? Reading Standards for Literature 4, 5, 7

6) We take an exam on The Madelaine passage in Proust's "Remembrances of Things Past." Half of the test will be the analysis of the passage, the other half our own "Madeliane." Writing Standards 3d and 4

7) We annotate "Crossing the Swamp" by Mae Swenson, "London 1802" by William Wordsworth, and "Douglass" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. We will discuss how to do a close reading of poetry. It will take time. Be patient. You will get thereReading Standards for Literature 1, 4, 5, 7


AP: Week 3 = 9/19

1) We discuss the five most important scenes in Catcher in the Rye. What does it mean to be "important."

 2) We annotate "Crossing the Swamp" and then compare our annotations in small groups. Then we write the essay on our own. Reading Standards for Literature 5. See week 1 and 2

Note 1: Week 3 did not begin auspiciously. Many of you did not annotate "Crossing the Swamp" so we were unable to analyze it in class as I had hoped. 

Note 2: I am also very disappointed that many of you have not read Blood Meridian. You've had 5 months. I'll give you two more weeks. The test will be Oct 3rd. 

Note 3: Many of you will be sitting on F's if you don't read Blood Meridian. The 3 current full assesments are A) The Madelaine essay, B) The Catcher in the Rye quiz, C) The Blood Meridian quiz. "Crossing the Swamp" will be a half grade. The other half will come from another poem we'll analyze in week 4.

Note 4: I talked to Mr. Riamondi and he said that he mentioned the AP summer reading assignment for the three days after I appeared with students to talk up the AP class. Then he wrote the assignment on the board which stayed there for 4 more weeks until the end of school. Those who claim they never knew about the assignment really have no leg to stand on. 

Note 5: We will quietly read Friday: Catcher or Blood Meridian.

Note 6: If you were absent the day we took the Senior Survey. You have to go to Ms. Taylor and complete it.


Cultural Literacy Weeks 1 & 2: The David, Miles Davis, Pete Seeger, Treblinka, Bruce Springtseen

Cultural Literacy Weeks 3 & 4: Maria Calas, Howlin' Wolf, Simon and Garfunkel, The Pulitzer Prize, Charles Lindburgh 

Cultural Literacy Weeks 5 & 6: TBA


AP: Week 4 = 9/26

1) We spent Monday and Tuesday of week 4 talking about the debate. We read several articles on the two candidates and discussed them Monday. Then we discussed the debate on Tuesday. How persuasively did each candidate use evidence and rhetoric? I thought the claases went very well. It was valuable. Essential even. Speaking and Listening Standards 1d

2) I don't sense much forward movement on The Catcher in the Rye during our class discussions, which is why I think you should read it again over the week-end. We'll have a silent reading period Friday Sept 23rd to get you started, then resume discussing it Wednesday 9/28. This discussion has to be organic. This means it comes out of your experience with the text, not mine. If you haven't read it closely, you won't have much to contribute. You'd be surprised at how clear things become when you re-read a text. 

3) On Wednesday bring a typed analysis of "Crossing the Swamp" in which you focus on sensory language. There is a ton of it. You can hear it even. You will hand it in and in return I will give you a poem to annotate and write on in class. If we don't do this analysis Wednesday, we'll do it Friday. The two analyses together will be worth one grade. Writing Standards 3d

4) I won't be in school Thursday but there will be a reading and writing assignment from the AP text book.

5) Back to The Catcher in the Rye Friday

6) ...or....I may give you the other half of the poetry analysis test in class on Friday. 

7) ...also...I may give you two poems to annotate for Tuesday of week 5:"London 1802" and "Douglas." One poem is in the canon of American Literature, the second is not, but each serves as a critque of its respective society. We need to develop a confidence with poetry. 42% of the AP exam is poety analysis. Reading Standards for Literature 9.

8) Make sure you have copiously annotated the first 3 pages of BLOOD MERIDIAN for Tuesday of week 5. Create four essential questions to ask. Define, of course, an "essential question."

Let's go! Show me your stuff!


AP: Week 5 = October 3

Welcome to week 5!

Four grades in the first four weeks: Grades 1 and 2: reading tests on The Catcher in the Rye and Blood Meridian; grade 3: the Madeliene essay, and grade 4: the two poems "Crossing the Swamp" and "It's a Woman's World" will be analyzed at home and in class. I will take the average together.

Blood Meridian quiz Monday. Be ready.

Copiously annoate the first 3 pages of Blood Meridian by Tuesday. We're going to begin doing "close readings." This will be a taste. Writing Standards 3c

Note: I touched on Huck Finn, Moby Dick and The Scarlet Letter. One class of you knew none of them. The other class knew all of them. Very strange. I wanted to connect to the voices of the two teen-agers: Holden and Huck.

The Catcher in the Rye resumes Wednesday through Friday.

Wednesday: Answer these three questions and maybe it will allow you to enter into The Catcher in the Rye in a more personal way. You've got a half hour.  1) When did you realize that you weren't a child any more? 2) Who is it that is not listening to you and what is it that they can't hear? 3) When did you enter into the soul of Holden Caulfield and he into yours?  Do you sense a tone in any of your three answers?You may wish to focus on two words: "growth" and "resolution." Writing Standards 3c  

NOTE: We did not go as deeply into the subject above as I had hoped. I felt in the end that these writing exercises were too personal in nature and most of you declined to share your thoughts and that's fine. Still, I'd like to think you are examining some essential questions in you lives. And I hope these "exercises" will bring you closer to Holden.


NOTE: I may be introducing more poems for weeks 6 and 7. And I may also introduce the some "free writing: exercises, They're a lot of fun.


AP: Week 6 = October 11

Blood Meridian all week, hopefully including a college lecture! We'll start with chapter two. Re-read it and annotate it. We begin the Kind's journey.

Second period Tuesday was a washout. Many studenst missing because of the possibe strike. I used the reading plan below to examine an essay in Reflections called "Chess Boxing."

Here is a ten-step plan for reading better:

Adult Readers

Are aware of why they are reading the text

Review and make predictions

Read selectively

Make connections and associations with the text based on what they already know

Refine predictions and expectations

Use context to identify unfamiliar words

Evaluate the quality of the text

Review important points in the text

Consider how the information might be used in the future


We will apply these ten precepts throughout the year


AP: Week 7 = October 17


EXTRA! EXTRA! Surpise! Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize = a bonus essay for you to celebrate him = Due next Tuesday = 500 words (and you may write whatever you want about him) = 99 points that can replace any bad grade. Or...500 words hand written = 80 points that can replace any bad grade. The lone requirement = you must discuss 2 of the following 4 longer Dylan songs, though the essay does not have to be--and should not be--exclusively on those two songs. "Desolation Row" 11 minutes, "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" 9 minutes, "Hurricane" 9 minutes, "Highlands" 16 minutes. You should listen to as many songs as you can. I'm sure there is a Top 100 Dylan Songs somewhere on the Net. Check them out. He is very important, certainly one of the most famous and influential songwriters ever. You should know who he is. Every literate person does. I'm doing this is violet to get your attention.

NOTE 1: On Monday Oct 17 I will be showing two Ted Talk videos on the oppression of young women around the world. I think it is the sort of material that would be very helpful for you senior students who are writing your personal statement. You need to write something that is essential, that jumps off the page, that matters, that has passion. I have some examples on my web-page under "Slake," then "College Writing Watering Holes." Reading those examples--and viewing the Ted Talk--might be very helpful with your personal statement

NOTE 2: Back to Blood Meridian on Tuesday. You will be broken into groups and do a close reading of a text. I will have a handout for you to look at explaining close reading. Each group will read and discuss one chapter covering crucial events/scenes in the book focusing on A) what can be inferred in the passage though the dialogue. B) how the passage contributes to the over-all theme of the book and C) what choices does the author make in terms of structuring the passage and why. This process will continue into week 8, perhaps culminating with an unorthadox final presentatiom--maybe a letter one character sends that allows us to view his interior life. Reading Standards for Literature 3, 4, 5

No class Wednesday PSAT exam for juniors.

Thursday & Friday return to Blood Meridian. We will work in goups on our chapter. A  presentation will follow.


AP: Week 8 = October 24

Continued close reading of Blood Meridian. There will be a handout for doing the close reading.

Note: We'll do some automatic writing this week as well so you can get the flavor of it. It's fun.

Note: In addition, I'll spend two days showing you a video of a Yale Professor lecturing on Blood Meridian. This will give you a taste of a serious, in-depth lecture at an Ivy League university.


AP: Week 9 = October 31

There will be a final exam where you'll do a close reading of a text. We'll use a passage from Blood Meridian and call it the final for the 1st quarter. I'll also have a handout with a couple poems on it--one from WWI and one from the Civil War. We'll work in groups comparing and contrasting those poems and perhaps also include another war passage, this from Blood Meridian. Get out you Venn Diagrams!

NOTE: There will be a play to start quarter two. Maybe two plays. Well see. I'll try to start the first play at the end of week nine. We have only three days of class week 10. Report card pick-up and then Quarter # 1 finished. 


AP: Week 10 = November 7

I was not in school this week.


AP: Week 11 = November 14

        Week 12 = November 21 Thanksgiving Week, we only met Monday and


        Week 13 = November 28


We’re going to have a three week unit plan on war poetry that will end the week after Thanksgiving week. The activities follow.

1. First, we'll look at the first half of the movie "Paths of Glory," one of the greatest anti-war films ever made. You will take notes on your personal change in attitude towards war as you watch the movie. We will end the unit with the conclusion of the movie.

2. There will be various ten-minute writing exercises on war. The first exercise will be, "tell me what you know about war." It does not have to be first-hand expereince.

3. In our discussions we may introduce passages from any book that will shed light on a particular war poem we are examining. Go find a war poem (or a war passage from a book) on your own that you think might shed light and/or contribute to the discussion. "The Things They Carried" might be good for this since you're currently reading it. We want to paint as wide a canvas as we can in three weeks.

4. Listen to two or three antiwar songs from the list below and make a brief five minute--class presentation. You can cover everything from your own personal reaction, to the song's postion in the pantheon of anti-war songs, to the circumstances surounding the writing of the poem. Also, what are its similarities and differences with other songs from other wars? Is there a thread that runs though all of them? Try to address these question in your presentation.

5. Repeat # 4 but this time with a poem and a partner. (use cell-phones in this activity if possible).


Here are some of the skills we'll be adressing with these poems:

A) Vocabulary building in context as we read the texts.

B) A formative assessment near the half-way point which can measure growth. “What do you know about war now? Show me your stuff." Ten minute writing excercise.

C) Discovering meaning using context clues/ I will try to guide you through this.

D) Close reading of difficult passages in the text (using a "close reading" hand out)

E) Deeper analysis of the lyrics of a more complex union song.

F) Cumulative assessment will be a letter to a real person explaining as best you can, war. Do it with some empathy. (exigence, audience, purpose...discuss it)

NOTE: Conclusion of "Paths of Glory." There will be a grade replacement essay on this book. Details to follow. Prompt: Define a great movie and then choose the five most important moments/scenes in the movie and how they serve to make the film great. You'll have lots of scenes to chose from, trust me.


NOTE: This is a preliminary plan, subject--as all plans are--to change.



1. Pete Seeger, Vive la Quince Brigada

2. Pete Seeger,  Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

3. Pete Seeger,  Draft Dodger Rag

4. Pete Seeger,  Schtille di Nacht (Quiet is the Night)

5. Pete Seeger, Bring’m Home

6. Anne Hills, I Come and Stand at Every Door

7. John Lennon and Yoko One, Give Peace a Chance

8. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Ohio

9. John Hartford, Lorena

10. Johnny Cash, Like a Soldier

11. John Ungar and Molly Mason, Marching Through George

12. Eric Bogel, And the Band Playerd Waltzing Matilda

13. Ani Difranco, Which Side Are You On?

14. Bruce Springsteen, Youngstown

15. John McCutcheon, Chtistmas in the Trenches

16. Eric Bogel, No Man’s Land

17. Studs Terkel, Blessed be the Nation

18. John McCormack, Keep The Home Fires Burning

19. Creedance Clearwater Revival, Fortunate Son

20. Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock, I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag

21. Richie Havens, Handsome Johnny

22. Bruce Springsteen, Mrs.  McGrath

23. Joan Baez, Where Have All the Flowers Gone


Characters in Paths of Glory:

Col. Dax

Gen. Paul Mireau

Cpl. Phillipe Paris

Lt. Roget

Pvt. Maurice Terol

German Singer

Gen. George Broulard

Pvt. Pierre Arnaud


NOTE AND REMINDER: To put it simply we're going to C/C two or three sets of poems from a list I've generated. This shold prepare us for an in-class essay you'll write on two of the greatest war poems ever written. We may write a summative/reflection essay on what they learned about war poems and WWI in general.:




Week 12 = November 21. (only met two days due to Thanksgiving week.

Week 13 - December 5 

Week 14 = December 12

Week 15 = December 19


NOTE: In these last three weeks before Xmas vacation, we'll look at a pair of famous poems, one famous play and one famous novel, all three AP material.

1: The poems are "Ducle Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen and "Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night" by Walt Whitman. You'll write a C/C essay and then afterwards I'll share the essays of a few of your fellow students in class. We can always learn from looking at other's work.

2: The play is The History Boys. The students will see the play and then write fifteen minutes of notes from three separate AP prompts: 1984, 1991, 2002. Each collection of notes should take about fifteen minutes and we'll discuss them in class. This will be followed by at least one new AP free response prompt. The notes for the three questions should be attached to the final essay. We'll do one prompt for sure, maybe a second one. We'll chat and decide. 

3: On Friday December 16 I'll give you an objective quiz on The Things They Carried. Then you will go on the internet and read three critical essay about the book. Print and annotate them, if you can. Then we will start talking about this wonderful book. 

A) "How to Tell a True War Story: Meta-fiction and the Things They Carried " Calloway

B)  "Metafiction and O'Brien's The Things They Carried" (Starts with quote by Patrica Waught)

C)  "The Things He Writes About" Keller


HERE WE ARE! The last three weeks of the first semester. Weeks of Jan 9, 16 and 23

Week of Janaury 9:

Monday: 1) Take the Quiz on Madam Bovary 2) I will handout the two possibe prompts you can use to write a take-home essay on The History Boys. Treat it like an AP test. 40-45 minutes. Hand that back in on Wednesday. 3) We continue viewing It's a Wonderful Life until the end. It may go into Wednesday.

Tuesday & Wednesday: We continue viewing It's a Womderful Life. Along the way will discuss various dramatic stratigies that actors, writers and directors use to enrich the story.  When we're finished we will examine some students essays on the two war poems from a few weeks back. There will be an essay question on the movie. Maybe we can create the prompt together. 

Thursday: I will not be in class. You will all read The Dead by James Joyce in Lit and Lang anthology pages 162-191 There will be an essay on this as well. Please note that The Dead is also on the net as a PDF. You shoild have it read  by January17. 

Friday: We'll take a deeper reading of The Dead integrated with the 5 prose passages I have you to analyze over the holidays and that were dure January 17th.


Week of Janaury 16:

MLK Day, no school

Tuesday through Friday: The Dead should be finished by Tuesday January 17 Two poems will be analyzed. This will be another assessment.


Week of January 23. Prep for exam by examining villanelles.

Final Exam will be C/C on three poems. You'll take this exam on

Tuesday January 31.


The rest of that week--and the following (Feb 6)--we'll look at Casablanca and discuss what it means to be iconic. How important it is to think iconically? We'll be looking at the movie during the week of February 6th as well. Be prepared to read Casablanca essays and reviews on the internet


NOTE: Feduary 6 marks the end of the first semester.








DUE Friday February 17




Write on 3, 4 or 5 secrets in CASABLANA. Discuss the cause of each secret and the effects of each secrets. How does each secret change the story? Be specific.


Did seeing CASABLANCA change you in any way? How? Be specific. A character, a line, a scene, a moment? The music, the acting, the setting, the time, the black and white film making?


Due Friday February 24


MADAME BOVARY. We have discussed the novel for almost two weeks. It's time to write. I think much of the book is infused with dispair, but I am open to having you present a second noun that might contrast or illuminate or challange this idea of dispair. Here are three suggestions that members of the two AP classes offered: "hope," "disgust," and "dreams." You can entitle your paper "Madame Bovary: A Study in Dreams and Dispair." And listen, if dispair doesn't fit you, then use two words of your own. I know the prose has been difficult, and I have tried to guide you through it. But one last time--let's grapple with the difficult pleasures that are in this great novel. We will reward ourselves in the end. Due Monday February 27th. Keep it under 1,000 words. Thanks.



Due Wednesday March 1st


You are going to write an extended definition essay on Courage or Doubt using the movie High Noon for courage (periods 2 & 8) and the movie Doubt for doubt (periods 4, 5, & 7). You will look up and write down 5 thoughtful quotes for your respective word. You need to find quotes you understand, agree or disagree with, and that can be used in a thoughtful essay. On Thursday you will have seen at least the first 45 minutes of each film, having taken notes as you watched it and noting any event that demonstrates courage or doubt. You will continue doing this on Friday, turning your notes into sentences with ideas and connecting certain quotes with events in each movie. Friday is not a goof-off day, so be prepared to begin writing your essay. Here are a couple questions you might ask yourself to get started: From where does one draw courage? What happens when someone is filled with doubt?


Due Monday March 6th 


The Things They Carried. 


HOMEWORK: re-read 

"On the Rainey River"

"Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong"

"Speaking of Courage."


Come prepared to do an indept goup analysis of each chapter.



Due Tuesday March 7


Doubt Essays due (students choose prompt)



March 13th


Reading and discussing The Metamorphosis. Possible essay down the road.



March 20



You were going to compare and contrast Our Town and In Our Time. The questions was these: What is the pupose of The Stage Manager in Our Town and the Italic Roman numeral vignettes in In Our Time. How are they similar? How are they different? What effect does each have on the their respective audience? Is there a way they guide the audience, comment on the action. explore contrasts? Since we have been talking about the importance of empathy as an essental element in living life the right way, let's see if we an incorporate that into the essay as well. A final paragraph might address how each writer sees the world.


Okay I think this assignemnt is too tough. Let's just find six AP prompts that could be used to answer Our Town and The Metamporphosis. Three prompts for each work. Then you'll write an essay due after Easter and due after we have seen the complete movie of Our Town



March 27 and April 3




AP blizzard. We were planning on doing two AP prompts each day for several days.


...But I'm out sick, so maybe we'll adjust it.


Lets try five poems instead, one for each day of the first week. And go from there.


See below.


Here are the assignments for the week of March 27th. 

Periods 4 and 7 are the senior AP classes. Each day they will have a different poem to analyze. They may use the “Exploring the Text” questions at the end of each poem to help guide them, if they wish. Collect the essays at the end of the period. This is a simulated AP atmosphere. So they should act accordingly They will. They’re good kids.

Period 5 is the lively junior honors class. They should do the same as the AP except they must answer the questions at the end of each poem and you should collect the essay and those answers. I have not gone over the methods for analyzing poetry with them yet, but they may address a simple prompt: “What is he/she doing and how is her/she doing it?” If they finish before the bell, they can read “The Terrorist. He Watches” by Wislawa Szymborska p. 1431 and follow the same procedure.


Monday “Orgun” by Kamau Brathwaite p. 515

Tuesday “Weighing the Dog” by Billy Collins p. 681

Wednesday “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning p. 1104

Thursday “A Call” by Seamus Heaney  p. 1151

Friday “True Love” by Robert Penn Warren p. 679


Periods 2 and 8 are Regular Seniors. They should spend the week reading the book “In Our Time” by Ernest Hemingway. The books are in a white box near the DVD player in the front…I think. They should write a brief synopsis of each chapter--who, what, when where, and why. The chapters with

Roman Numerals don’t have to be analyzed for the 5 W’s.

If at any time the administration or the English Department wants to do SAT Prep for periods 2, 5 and 8, that should take precedent. There are some practice SAT MC tests going around. I’m not sure if there will be time to practice the following week. Maybe only Monday



Mr. Rychlewski 



April 17 week. AP prep, including AP Lit practice exam. We also will be looking at the end of OUR TOWN. Is it a timeless masterpiece? Write and discuss. Students were also given 4 AP MC exams to use as practice exams: 1999, 2012, 2015, 1987. Here is the 1987 link. Simply type up "AP Lit Exam 1987" and choose the pdf version.





April 24 and May 1


 Last play before AP exam will be Death and the Maiden. with an essay due May 3rd.


May 3rd.


Review, review, review, review.

Get some good sleep.


Good Luck!










NOTE: These assignments are sometimes subject to modification AFTER they have been posted. We usually announce in class when there are such changes and they will appear in red print. The most recent assignment is at the end of the link.

Note: All educational standards appear in green print.


English III: Weeks 1 and 2 = 9/6 and 9/13 


On 9/12 and 9/13 we're in 340 working on two essays:

1) During the first week you will listen to an article I will read on gun violence, taking notes and try to follow a line of reeasoningand  while adressing possible opposing  perpectives. We will go over the words we don't underdtand and then write a 200 word summery. Then we will edit that down to 150 words. Speaking and Listening Standards 1, 4

2) You will go find an article on 9/11, read it, take notes and write a 200 word summery.

3) I will confer with each student during these two days to ascertain their degree of commitment to leaning in this class: professional conduct, research, vocabulary enrichment, expanding cultural literacy. For instance: now you know The David, Miles Davis, Pete Seeger, Terblinka, and Bruce Springsteen.


HONORS I hand out two novels to read. The Catcher in the Rye and As I Lay Dying. Read them side-by-side for the next few weeks and think about the differences between these two universes. And the similarities.


English III: Week 3 = 9/19


In week two and three we will be upstairs in room 340 writing our essays. Our third essay is on cell phone addiction (see below). We will write a 200 word summary of the article and then 200 words of our own thoughts on this situation. We will focus on dialectical thinking, weighing our point of view versus some other. We will touch on more complex thinking skills as well--claims, reasons, evidence. So perhaps 400 words all told. Typed. Writing Standards 1 a


He are the seven documents we used, seperated into two porfolios


1. "Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail." by Niko Koppel.

2. "Facebook Live -- Too Much Too Soon" by Liz Spayd

3.  "iSwear--Apple's AirPod Revolution Must Be Stopped " by Eric Zorn

4. "Will Amazon Bookstore Save a Buck, Cost Chicago More?" by Mary Schmich


5. "When Cell Phone Addiction Becomes and Hang-up" by Cynthia Hubert. approx 400 words.

6. Your 9/11 selection 200 word essay.

7.  "War On Guns Won't Stop Chicago's Violence" by Amy Campanelli  200 word essay followed by a more focused 150 word essay.


Note 1: There will be an diagnostic exam on Thursday 9/16 for all juniors. 42 MC question. This same exam will be given at the end of the year to measure your improvement. Reading Standards 1, 4, 5

Note 2: We will be in room 340 9/16, 9/20, 9/21, 9/27, 9/28. Lots of opportunities to build our portfolio and maybe read "The Intruder." 

Note 3: GOALS! We will discuss goals: short-tern, mid-tern, long-term  Why do we choose certain goals? How do we achieve these goals? How do we measure that achievment? Monitoring our goals will be a year-long process, which the student will take charge of and will be assessed on.

Note 4:You need to build your vocabulary. I will introduce 20 new vocabulary words and their origins each week, culminating in a cloze-reading assessment. 

Note 6:  You will write a 400 word essay on one of the three articles I posted here last week Go on the internet and find them. It would be great if you found another article on the computer so you could C/C and maybe share it. Not required, only suggested. A reminder: the subjects are: jeans, air pods, amazon. The first 200 words will be an abstract, the second 200 your opinion, rendered with clarity and coherance. You frame it; you get to talk about it. I'll give everyone who did it a 90 and then readjust the grade 10 points up or down. This is an easy 90! Go get it. If it's late you, can still score in the 60 to 80 range, depending on you corrections. Writing Standards 4, 6 

Note 7: Week four we begin FENCES. Read the first act by Monday. Start reading immediately.


English III: Week 4 = 9/26


1) We will look up the following vocabulary words in preparation for another lecture/article called "Yes, It Could Happen Here" by Richard C. Longhworth. It will be essay # 1 in portfolio # 3. Here are the vocablary words for that article. Look them up: populist, preposterous, banana republic, succumbed, demagogue, vulnerable, pedigree, sympathizer, fuhrer, charismatic, megalomaniac, invariably, pied piper, charlatan, sycophant, enable, immune, ultimate.

2) Please watch the debate tonight. Starts at 8. Why see it? Because it poses an essential question. Maybe THE essenial question. What do you think that essentail question is? I will ask it again after I read "Yes, It Could Happen Here." See if you notice Clinton or Trump probe for reasoning and evidence. Do they chalange each others idea's and conclusions. When?Speaking and Listening Standrads 1 c

3) On Tuesday we will begin FENCES. We have read Act I and are ready to go

4) If we have time, we will read "The Intruder PDF" and discuss the basics of literary criticism: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. Or we will relax a little by doing some "free writing" exercies. We will do this on Wednesday Sept 28 up in room 340. Note: this assignment has been postponed.

5) We will not be meeting in room 340 on Thursday 9/29 as I will not be in school that day. There will be a reading and writing assignment for you to do that Thursday.

6) We will test on the first ten vocabulary words Friday Sept 30.


Note 1:  Your grades will be as simple as ABC.

A) The 9/11, cell phones, guns work

B) The airpods, Amazon, jeans work

C) the 1-10 vocabulary test.

Just three grades! Make them count.

Note 2: I may also give a cumulative grade assessment on FENCES

Brain storm with each other and respond thoughtfully to some of the following remarks. These are a few lines from Lloyd Richards' introduction to FENCES to get us thinking more globally. Big issues are being addressed in this play. We must discuss them.


* "He had taken the responsibility of telling the tale."

* "How they have passed a legecy of morals, mores, attitudes, and patterns through stories with and without music."

* "A man takes responsibility for his family no matter how difficult the resonsibilities may be."

* "The same country that deprived him asked sacrifice of his brother in World War II."

* "He lived close to death and must wrestle with death to survive." 

* "Chance and the color of one's skin. Amd chance again, can tip the balance."


English III: Week 5 = October 3 


Welcome to week 5. We've done 4 weeks with 4 grades: two portfolios, a vocab test and the first reading of FENCES. We will continue this week with FENCES, doing close readings and formulating essential questions.


We will inroduce more vocabulary words in weeks 5 and 6. Vocabulary is absolutely essential to your success. 


Below are the texts for your third porfolio. They all focus on one issue: driverless cars. Read all three articles and compare and contrast two, then write your opinion on this. You are welcome to find your own articles and use them.  I don't insist, but it would certainly demonstate some passion for learning. Look up vocabulay words you don't know. Be proactive. Take charge of your life.


 PORTFOLIO 3: (All from The Chicago Tribune)


 8) Editorial: Paved new world: Self-driving cars come factory-equipped with complex issues

 9) Driverless cars could improve safety, but impact on jobs, transit questioned

 10) Would you like to be a driverless car driver


We've had four weeks together and now it’s time to start turning the classes over to you. For the next two weeks the plan looks something like this:


Note: The grades are low in some classes.

Here is a quick and clear assignment to improve your grade. You print a review of FENCES from three newpapers of your choice and then write a 500 word essay compairng and contrasting them. I will give you 100 points or this. It will be due in week seven.

You will come on Tuesday ready to wrote a 400 word summary of the FENCES review you read. 


ENGLISH III: Week Six = October 11


We have reserved the Orange Crush chrome book cart and we'll be creating documents all week (such as more summerization of reviews) We want to get deeply in to FENCES. 

I was disappointed at the end of week five that so few students in second period brought in a FENCES review. I'm giving you students a second chance. I want it Tuesday.

Monday was a washout for English III period 2. More than 1/2 of you students were absent. I handed out the following guide to adult reading and we applied it to "Chessboxing," a piece in the "Reflection" page of this web-site. Use this guide below all through college; it will be helpful.


Adult Readers

Are aware of why they are reading the text

Review and make predictions

Read selectively

Make connections and associations with the text based on what they already know

Refine predictions and expectations

Use context to identify unfamiliar words

Evaluate the quality of the text

Review important points in the text

Consider how the information might be used in the future


ENGLISH III: Week Seven = October 17


Monday we showed two Ted videos on the oppression of young women in the Third World. Tuesday we had a Build-On activity with Ms. Schwartz. Wednesday the PSAP exam.

Thursday we began to read the play FENCES out loud, discussing it as we went along. I encouraged but did not require everyone to read aloud. 

1) The Bob Dylan essay (see below) is due Monday I will probably discuss some texts that cover baseball and/or "The American Dream." next week as well.


EXTRA! EXTRA! Surpise! Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize = a bonus essay for you to celebrate him = Due next Tuesday = 500 words (and you may write whatever you want about him) = 100 points that can replace any bad grade. Or...500 words hand written = 80 points that can replace any bad grade. The lone requirement = you must discuss 2 of the following 4 longer Dylan songs, though the essay does not have to be--and should not be--exclusively on those two songs. "Desolation Row" 11 minutes, "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" 9 minutes, "Hurricane" 9 minutes, "Highlands" 16 minutes. You should listen to as many songs as you can. I'm sure there is a Top 100 Dylan Songs somewhere on the Net. Check them out. He is very important, certainly one of the most famous and influential songwriters ever. You should know who he is. Every literate person does. I'm doing this in violet to get your attention while you scroll.


ENGLISH III: Week Eight = October 24


Hopefully this will be the week we dive deeply into FENCES, reading the entire play aloud. It may take 4 or 5 days. We will focus as we go on setting, characterization, vocabulary, figurative language and tone. (What does August Wilson think of his character Troy? How does setting effect a characters decisions? Are there words you don't understand? Can you place them in contex? Do you recognize anyone you know?)


Note 1: If time, we'll do some automatic writing this week so we can get the flavor of it. It's fun.

Note 2: The quarter final is Wednesday October 24. As of this moment it counts for two grades.

Note 3: I will let you retake Vocab Test # 1 Wednesday of this week. If you were absent you don't get to get another make-up.



ENGLISH III: Week Nine = October 31


We'll finish off the reading and analyzing of Fences this week, followed by an essay test on the play. We'll write an essay comparing and contrasting Troys opinion of Lyons and Cory. Also, I'm looking also to enrich your experience with both "The American Dream" and "Baseball" aspects of the play. I have some handouts on both subjects and we will try to look at them in-depth using a "Close Reading of a Literary Passage" hand out sheet. This is a lot to plan and may spill over to the 10th week. We'll have three days that week. Then report card pick-up. First quarter over!



ENGLISH III: Week Ten = November  7


I was not in class this week.



ENGLISH III: Week Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen = November 14, 21, 29


We’re going to have a three-week unit plan on the importance of unions. See the various activities below:


1. Ten-minute writing exercise on everything you know about unions. (formative assessment)

2. Listen to a simple union song and try to explain it. (use cell-phones in this activity if possible).

3. Watch and take notes on the movie "Matewan" It's about forming a union in a small coal mining town in 1920. The conclusion of the movie will be shown at the end of the unit.

4. A writing exercise that explores the jobs of people close to the student. I want you guys to see the connection. It is the KEY assignment for this unit plan.

5. Simple (and complex) reading of two texts: “The Jungle” and “Fast Food Nation." (introduce ethos, logos, pathos)

6. Read and summerize in 200 words the article/handout I gave you "Why We Need Unions." It will be factored into your grade for the unit. Just FYI: this union project will be worth 2 grades.

7. Vocabulary building in context as we read the texts.

8. A second formative assessment near the half-way point which can measure growth. “What do you know about unions now?" Show me your stuff. Ten minute writing excercise.

9. Discovering meaning using context clues, guided by the teacher.

10. Close reading of difficult passages in the text (using a "close reading" hand-out)

11. Deeper analysis of the lyrics of a more complex union song.

12. NOTE: The double-grade cumulative persuasive essay assessment has an audience. It might be written as a letter to the newpaper or some business man who owns a coal complany. Think: exigence, audience, purpose.

13. Conclusion of "Matewan."


NOTE: After Thanksgiving you will write a persuasive essay on why we need unions. You can start by dicussing the up-coming strike at O'Hare airport. It will be a timely introduction. The body-paragraph proof will come from the two texts--FFN, and The Jungle--various songs you've heard in the last couple weeks and the movie Matawaan. Any other materials you wish to contribute are always welcome. It will be double grade.

NOTE: You may also wish to write a reflection/replacement essay on this "union" experience in addition to the double-grade persuasive essay. I'm looking for you to reflect on your experience these three weeks, write this essay, and pull up your grade. Let's do some serious thinking about this.


NOTE: This is a preliminary plan, subject--as all plans are--to change.












“The airport workers are leading the way,” Marc Goumbri, an SEIU spokesman, said Monday. He said workers at 19 other airports around the country, including Reagan National Airport, will also hold demonstrations in support of the $15 minimum wage and the striking workers. The strike by O’Hare workers also is intended to coincide with a national day of action by fast food employees, daycare attendants and others in more than 300 locations who are also hoping to drive up the minimum wage, Goumbri said.

The union argues that the support staff at O’Hare and other airports deserve better wages at a time when the number of people flying has hit records and the carriers have been fattened by profits.   A survey of non-unionized workers at the nation’s busiest 30 airports found that a majority make less than $12 an hour and have annual household incomes of less than $25,000, SEIU says. Some are paid as little as $2.10 an hour plus whatever tips they can get from passengers.

Airlines for America (A4A), an organization that advocates on behalf of the airlines,  took no position on the workers’ attempts to form a union.

But the industry — which engages hundreds of contractors to handle aircraft maintenance, baggage, booking, fuel, catering, internet service, advertising and other aspects of the business — believes the best way to address wages is at the state or national level so that wage scales are uniform,  A4A spokesman Vaughn Jennings said in an email. He also noted that both employees and customers have benefited from the booming airline business: wages were about 38 percent higher than other private sectors in 2015. Wages also rose 29 percent — or more than double 13 percent in other private sectors — from 2010 to 2015. And the industry is still hiring.

It’s not clear how much of an impact the walkout might have on travelers at O’Hare, which is among the busiest airports in the United States. Neither A4A nor the Chicago Department of Aviation anticipate any disruption in service. But union officials said that that was never the workers’ aim.

“It’s always been clear that disrupting travel has never been the goal,” Goumbri said. “They do care about passengers getting to their destination.”






English III Regular:


Wednesday--Friday a movie you will write an essay on TBA

This Friday Ethos, Logs and Pathos exam.





Wednesday 12/7 we discuss in class the Cultural Literacy list you have researched

Thursday 12/8 we show the movie connected to Cultural Literacy: Midnight in Paris

Friday 12/9 you take the ETHOS, LOGOS AND PATHOS TEST, then we'll look at the movie

Mon 12/12 to Thursday 12/15 we continue with the movie

Friday 12/16 Catcher in the Rye objective exam

Monday 12/19 Catcher in the Rye...........................all week



ENGLISH III: Week Fourteen, Fifteen and Sixteen = December 5, 12 and 19  



1. We'll see a movie "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." It will take several days of the first two weeks.

2. You'll take notes, we'll stop and discuss it in class and you'll write on an essay on it. You'll have two choices:

A) Choose the four most effective scenes in the movie and explain why they are so effective, especially in terms of the over-all theme. Theme is defined as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly. In short. how do they intensify the experience of the movie.

B) Write a persuasive essay which argues that one of these men--Damien or Teddy--is in the moral right.

The essay is due Monday December 19th.

3. Monday December 19th I will give the Ethos, Logos, Pathos test to those who have missed it.

4. All this final wek before Xmas we will try to do some close readings of short stories from the anthology You Gotta Read This. We'll foucus on the theme in each story. Theme is defined as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly. We will try to discover the theme through as use of tone, point of view, and imagery. We will also review the rhetorical triangle--exigence, audience and purpose--and see if it helps us understand where the author is coming from and where they want to go. We will try to examine at least three stories in the course of the week. Friday you will come with an essay on thse stories whose subject is yet to be determined.




Week Fourteen and Fifteen, December 5 and 12. Week Sixteen, December 19 TBA


We have seen Midnight in Paris and parts of Paris I Love You in order to understand better this great city. Hopefully you will go there one day. Now let us us visit another great city, New York, with our own personal guide, Holden Caulfield.



Have a Merry Xmas!


We're Back



There are three weeks left: Jan 9, 17 and 23.



Week of January 9


On Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday we'll watch

our respective films and discuss them


English III Essay choices:


1. OUR TOWN. Why is OUR TOWN the most produced play in the history of the American Theater? Is it because it's a masterpiece? What defines a masterpiece? Is OUR TOWN a masterpiece? (extended definition essay) 


2. How has seeing the play Our Town changed the way you think about life and loss? Or did it not change you at all? You may wish to consider some of the strategies Thornton Wilder used to connect you to the world of Grover’s Corner. Did they succeed? Did you feel a part of this average American community? Feel free to discuss both the film and your life. Or, if you prefer, just the film. (process analysis essay) 


(Extra consideration) Pick a person you know who has passed. Decribe in detail the last time you saw them. What were they wearing? What did you talk about? What was the weather? Were other people there? (personal narrative essay) 






1, Discuss the different types of lies in the film The Lives of Others. First list them, then divide and classify them, then evaluate them. You can do this in pairs or groups of three. Which of these lies are the most pernicious? Which are the most beneficial? Why? What are their causes and effects? How do they infect, corrode and destroy or confront, energize and liberate the people involved in them? You may wish to conclude with a few sentences about a society such as the one depicted in the film. 100 max grade


2, Imagine that you live in a world where you can’t trust anyone, a world like East Germany under the Stasi. Using examples from the film The Lives of Others, discuss how you would protect yourself and your loved ones in such a world. Consider what you would do if you were in their situation? Feel free to use some of the characters in the film in your argument. 90 max grade


3. Write an essay arguing what makes a masterpiece. First, give a definition. What five elemenst must be present? Is The Lives of Others a masterpiece? You may wish to look up "elements of a great film." 90 max



Final Exam for both regular and honors will be a standard MC test. you'll take on Tuesday January 31st.


On the same day, the honors English III class will hand in their essay on The Lives of Others.


TO ENGLISH III regulars and honors:

The rest of that week--and the following (Feb 6)--we'll look at Casablanca and discuss what it means to be iconic. How important it is to think iconically? We'll be looking at the movie during the week of February 6th as well. Be prepared to read Casablanca essays and reviews on the internet


TO ENGLISH III regulars and honors:

The rest of that week--and the following (Feb 6)--we'll look at Casablanca and discuss what it means to be iconic. How important it is to think iconically? We'll be looking at the movie during the week of February 6th as well. Be prepared to read Casablanca essays and reviews on the internet







FEB 10, 17, 27




Write on 3, 4 or 5 secrets in CASABLANA. Discuss the cause of each secret and the effects of each secrets. How does each secret change the story? Be specific.


Did seeing CASABLANCA change you in any way? How? Be specific. A character, a line, a scene, a moment? The music, the acting, the setting, the time, the black and white film making?






ENGLISH III HONORS: AS I LAY DYING. We will discuss it the week of February 13. Even though the prose is difficult, you can get on Sparks or something similar and read the synopis. There is no excuse for not knowing what is happening.


NOTE of Friday March 3rd. We struggled through and "finished" the book and I'm very proud of you! You are beginning to learn the value of "difficult" pleasures.



ENGLISH III REGULARS. We are on a New York Times Research Unit. Pick five articles from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, write a 300 word synopsis for each, explain the exigence, the audience and the purpose. All 5 = 100, 4 = 80. You get the picture. You can hand them in from Tuesday February 22 to Tuesday February 29









CLASS WORK: You are going to write an extended definition essay on Courage or Doubt using the movie High Noon for courage (periods 2 & 8) and the movie Doubt for doubt (periods 4, 5, & 7). You will look up and write down 5 thoughtful quotes for your respective word. You need to find quotes you understand, agree or disagree with, and that can be used in a thoughtful essay. On Thursday you will have seen at least the first 45 minutes of each film, having taken notes as you watched it and noting any event that demonstrates courage or doubt. You will continue doing this on Friday, turning your notes into sentences with ideas and connecting certain quotes with events in each movie. Friday is not a goof-off day, so be prepared to begin writing your essay. Here are a couple questions you might ask yourself to get started: From where does one draw courage? What happens when someone is filled with doubt?


Monday March 6th

Read to learn. We'll each pick out something "we like" and something "we don't understand" from the AP text book. This is Regular and Honors juniors. The focus here is on "difficult" pleasures versus "easy" pleasures.


Due Tuesday March 7


Doubt Essays due



March 13th


We will be reading and discussing The Metamorphosis and trying to understand a very interesting (and difficult) one-of-a-kind writer. The essay question is this: What do you think are the five most unforgettable steps that occur in Gregor's descent into oblivion? Why are these five the most important?


We might ask ourselves another important question: What needs are essential in the lives of the father, the daughter, the mother and Gregor? Do any of these needs intersect with your five steps? Also, where does empathy fit into their lives? Is there any? Who demonstrates it? Same question for honors. 




March 20th


A movie in the Kafka-esque tradition and a B & W masterpeice: The Third Man. An essay on this film TBA down the road




Periods 2 and 8 are Regular Seniors. They should spend the week reading the book “In Our Time” by Ernest Hemingway. The books are in a white box near the DVD player in the front…I think. They should write a brief synopsis of each chapter--who, what, when where, and why. The chapters with  Roman Numerals don’t have to be analyzed for the 5 W’s.

I believe they are looking at a movie called Hoosiers. which they will finish after spring break (April 17) and then write on.



 April 17


1) Essay on "Hoosiers" due April 20. Yu can write a C/C, an extended definition or process analysis. 2) More PSAT pratice

3) The Train, followed by an essay: What is more important: a human life or a masterpiece of art?



April 24 and May 1





We will collect the stories and poems we have read in the last week or two and look at them again. You will select five or six passages that you only understood after several readings. You'll discuss what happened in your mind (or heart) during that process. Here are a few things that might have changed/opened your mind and/or made the passage more clear: a word, an image, an action, a remark the teacher made, some memory of your past, the structure of a sentence, a remark a character makes At the end did you feel you understood what you were reading. Or was it still eluding you. Was the work we did in this project enjoyable, frustrating, different? Do you intend to pursue difficult pleasures in the future?












We've been seeing lots of movies and we've have been writing on them. Here are the last sets of movies and their prompts:



Junior Regulars: L'America, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Day of the Jackal.


Discuss the major changes that happen in the six major charaters in these three films. 2000 words due June 5.




Junior Honors: L'America, GlenGerry Glen Ross, The Day of the Jackal:


Discuss great story telling. What strategies are used to make a great story? How are these films different in their mode of story telling? Which ones are the most successful? 2000 words due June 5.
























Look up John Hanning Speke and Richard Burton. How does each of them deal with the "other" as they continue on their expidition? Check these two sites.








March 20th






























RE AP WORK: April 28 until the exam


On Friday April 25th I did not collect the essay that you had to do weighing the morality of Hector from The History Boys. It was the 1979 AP question. I will collect it Monday or Tuesday. No one then will have an excuse for not doing it. All other tests should have been done by now, with perhaps the exception of a few students who were absent for the Auden and Oliver essay on suffering.


In this last full week of classes before AP exam week we will be watching a movie of a play and writing on Lord Jim. I will give you the question I want you to write on using the movie of the play on Monday so you'll know what to look for as we watch the movie during the week. The typed essay on that assignment will be due on Monday April 2nd. To prepare for the writing assignment on Lord Jim I want you to A) have finished the book and B) have printed and annotated chapter 20 from the book. Have the book finished and the pages annotated by Wednesday April 30th. I'll give you an in-class essay exam on Lord Jim using the annotated chapter 20 as a spring-board into the book. That will happen in class on Friday May 2nd. Be there that day.


The film will probably take three periods and we have four days to do it. We will hopefully also be able to discuss other AP poems, prose pieces…etc…as time permits during the first four days, perhaps reviewing work from the last few weeks, especially the six passages you wrote on over the Easter Vacation.


The following week is AP exam week. Ours is on Thursday. That will give us three days to review. Come with ideas about what you want to review this week. One thing might be literary terms. You should know them. It is imperative that you come these three final days, unless you have another AP exam.


You will reflect on and argue for your professional conduct grade in an essay that will be due Wednesday May 7th. NOT in the morning of the AP exam. I won't accept it then and give you two zeroes. If you’re sick, e-mail it. It will be a double grade. Some things to consider in your essay: I have asked you to take all MC 6 exams from the Cliff Notes Book and I hope that will be done by the week-end before the exam. Clearly, your commitment to improving your MC scores is tied to the taking of those exams and should be an essential point in your reflection/argument, as well as your attendance, your class contribution, your reading of the materials...etc. You are writing this reflection to persuade me as to what grade I should give you.


So...there are four assignments left: Lord Jim in-class, Movie of Play take-home essay and a take-home double-grade professional conduct essay due the day before the test.



AP WORK For beginning of APRIL 2014

April 1: Finish discussing the last of the first collection of six AP prose prompts.

April 2: We’ll read from Lord Jim

April 3: We’ll discuss Speak, Memory

April 4: The four John Donne poems and the 4 sonnets should be annotated and read for discussion.

April 7: You’ll take the second C/C poetry prompt and THAT will be graded and entered not "The Barred Owl" and "The History Teacher" prompt.

April 9-11: Movie from a play TBA


April 21: Do the  4th MC exam in  the yellow Cliff-Notes book. Three points better each time, yes?

April 21: ALL of the second collection of 6 AP prose questions should be annotated and there should be an essay of at least 500 words for EACH ONE = Two 100's.

NOTE: First week after spring break: Lord Jim




Some works of literature use the element of time in a distinct way.

The chronological sequence of events may be altered, or time may be suspended or accelerated.

Choose a novel, an epic, or a play of recognized literary merit and show how

the author's manipulation of time contributes to the effectiveness of the work as a whole.

Do not merely summarize the plot


This is a homework assignment now.

You'll spend Thursday and Friday reading it off the internet (if we can get a computer lab).

You'll hand it in Tuesday.



Quarter 3 Week 7


The first three chapters on Lord Jim should be read. We'll discuss them in class.


Quarter 3 Week 6


Next week (week of March 3rd) There will be two assessments: One will requite you to do a close reading of a passage from The Things They Carried. A second assessment will ask you to apply and open ended prompt to Johnny Got His Gun. These will be the 4th and 5th assessments of the third quarter. Note: By Friday March 7th you should have taken the first AP exam on the Yellow Cliff Notes book.




First 5 weeks of Quarter Three


The Things they Carried


Analyzing prose passages


The Brief Wondrous Live of Oscar Wao




Week 19




You will be writing on two poems: "My Mother Would Be a Falconress" by Robert Duncan and "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath. I'll give the test on Jan 16th. Go print the two poems and mark them up so you're ready.


Week 13




Discuss the effectiveness of repetition in poetry using three of the four poems we’ve looked in the last few days. How are we, as readers, moved by these repetitions? Does it make the poems more memorable? If so, how? Or does it lesson the dramatic effect of the poems? Does the poet “over-reach” with all these repetitions? Try to discuss one element in each poem that you find particularly pronounced--tone, imagery, shift, line break, diction, rhythm, POV, stanza, rhyme, figurative language, mood--and explain how the repetition works with this element to enhance or diminish the power of a particular poem. You don’t have to love all these poems. If you liked three poems and were left cold by the fourth, why not include the one you didn’t care for as part of your discussion.


Week 12


We're discussing 4 poems: The Darkling Thrush, Quarantine, The Centaur, and We Are Seven and writing on two at home for 45 minutes: It's a Woman's World and The Convergence of the Twain, due Monday and Tuesday respectively.


Week 11




Week 10 / Oct 28


The Great Gatsby, focusing on critical studies: Feminist. Marxist, Gay. African-American


Week 9 / Oct 21


The Great Gatsby, focusing on the Roaring Twenties.



Week 8 / Oct 15


More  Blood Meridian. Begin The Great Gatsby


Week  / Oct 7


Discussion of Blood Meridian.


Week 6 / Sept 30


(end of week 5) Dear AP class: I talk too much in class so today I’m not talking. Someone take attendance. I’ll start Act III of Our Town 30 seconds or so after the bell rings. After the play is over discuss the claim I made on the board that this play will be shown in 1,000 years. To do this you have to argue what “greatness” is in literature. Or perhaps what “A Masterpiece” is. And where is this evident in the play? Does a masterpiece need  irony? I want you to take control of the debate. Small groups, then the class as a whole. Or just the class as a hole. As you like. Let’s not have someone dominate the talking. Let’s all contribute. As you leave hand me the homework. Have a great week-end. I hope this play changed your life.  Mr. Rychlewski


Week 5 / Sept 23rd

Discuss the literary strategies Flynn uses in Gone Girl to create a post-apocalyptic atmosphere in pages 111-117.  Due Friday: 3 first drafts of essays (1973 AP prompt, 1979 AP prompt and essay on post-apocalyptic atmosphere on pages 111-117 of Gone Girl) and one second draft of any one of these three. Typed. Have you reread Blood Meridian? We begin Our Town.


Week 4 / Sept 16th

We'll spend much of the week on Gone Girl, paying particular attention to the unreliable narrator and how it affects the reading of a work of literature. Come Monday with a particular passage you'd like to discuss. Let's get into this book!


Week 3 / Sept 9th

We'll continue with the comparison/contrast poetry unit. By the end of the week I want three first drafts of the first three pairs of poems we analyzed and then chose one to write (typed!) as a serious essay. Due Friday Sept. 13th. Do it as I request. Please don't invite a penalty for not having all four essays. We'll begin Gone Girl on Thursday.


Week 2 / Sept 3rd

We will make, use and discuss comparison/contrast charts for "First Death in Nova Scotia" and "Janet Waking," our first two poems of the year. And we'll begin to c/c four other poems: "Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night," "Dulce and Decorum Est," "We Grow Accustomed to the Dark" and "I Am One Acquainted with the Night."


Week 1 / Aug 26

General introduction, plans for the course, student expectations, the value of taking an AP course. Selections of poems and fiction will be read aloud. We introduce and discuss the first two poems of the year: "First Death in Nova Scotia" and "Janet Waking."





You were assigned two books to read and mark up over the summer: Gone Girl and Blood Meridian: or the Evening of Redness in the West. Bring them both on Tuesday of week one. What do I mean by “mark up?” I mean read the books with a pen in hand, commenting in the margin, asking questions, underlining...etc. You should "mark" anything that looks confusing, interesting, shocking, funny, mysterious, moving. Or something that jogs your memory ("that reminds me of the time..."). Every page should have some ink on it, even if it just a plus sign (+) that indicates you liked what you read. Don’t just passively watch the words go by. It’s not TV. The goal for the year is to get involved with the texts you're reading. So mark them up. Hug them if you feel like it. Kiss them. Yell at them. Throw them against the wall. Use them a pillows, Frisbees, door-stoppers, umbrellas. Make them feel a part your life.


Sometime in the next few weeks print these two novellas and mark them up.
The Dead by James Joyce. It’s maybe 40 pages. Here’s the web site: http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/english/micsun/IrishResources/dead.htm
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Also 40 pages. Here’s the web-site: http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/stories/kafka-E.htm


There are poems we will be discussing the first quarter. I'll ask you to print them as we go along. Sometimes we will mark them up beforehand and sometimes we will mark them up in class. Here are the first two. "First Death in Nova Scotia," by Elizabeth Bishop and "Janet Waking" by John Crowe Ransom. Bring them Wednesday of the first week. Don't mark them up. Note: you can usually find an analysis of a poem on the internet. Avoid reading those; you want to stay in the habit of approaching poems fresh and cold, as you will do in the AP exam next May.


Also print the following from the AP Lit Handout page: 001, 002, 003, 006, 009, 011, 202. I would like you to print 002 and 003 ASAP.


NOTE: Some of you might not have access to a printer. This is where were going to have to work as a sharing community The printer in my room is capricious; it prints when it wants to. I do have a limited amount of copies I can print through the English Department, but it's limited, and I teach three different courses. So I'll need your help. Maybe you can partner off--has printer/doesn't have printer--and find some means of reciprocation. Quid Pro Quo, as it were.


If you have any questions, please ask me. I'm free before school, after school and in periods 2, 3 and 6. Or e-mail me: mjrychlewski@cps.edu


Let's have a great year.








We will try to post homework in the middle of the week preceding the week homework is due.


College Writing

Into the Wild Essay Prompt

Edward Abbey, a 20th century American writer, was a great advocate of the American West.  He dedicated his essays, novels, speeches, and letters to fighting for the preservation of the wilderness. In Into the Wild, Chris McCandless, another man passionate about the environment, leaves behind his friends, family, and material possessions to explore the wilderness.  In a clear, concise, and coherent exemplification essay, use the Edward Abbey quotes to discuss and illuminate McCandless’ motivation and rationalization for embarking and pursuing his quest to the end.  Use one or two of the Abbey quotes and evidence from Into the Wild to support your answer.  This essay should be double-spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial font, and be 1000-2000 words. PLEASE PUT WORD COUNT ON TOP OF FIRST PAGE.

"But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had eyes to see."

"I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving."

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”

  **Due Date TBA**

Information on how to write an exemplification essay coming after Spring Break


Exemplification Essay


An exemplification essay uses one or more well-developed examples to support a thesis statement.

Use Appropriate Detail
An essay will be more interesting and appealing if you provide your readers with appropriate detail. For example, you could write a paper about how missionaries have done much to affect and influence different cultures. It is more intriguing, however, to give specific examples of missionaries who have impacted the cultures they lived in, such as Lottie Moon in Asia, Jim Elliot in Latin America, and David Livingston in Africa.

Use Applicable Examples
Be sure to use examples that are interesting as well as applicable to the subject matter in your paper. If your essay is about missionaries who have influenced the cultures they lived in, it is not important to discuss Lottie Moon's height and weight. However, you will want to show specifically how Lottie Moon made a difference in China.

Use Examples to Persuade
Examples can effectively convince your readers that the material presented in your essay is logical and convincing. Using a few excellent, well-developed examples can be much more powerful than several pages of general explanation.

For example, you could write an essay reasoning that the sale of cigarettes should be banned because of the negative effect tobacco has on smokers. However, instead of explaining from your own experiences and observations why it is harmful, you could give other researched and persuasive examples. For instance, you might present evidence that young users have abnormally high heartbeats, lower lung capacity, and more intense asthma. When you use research, you must be sure to give proper credit to your sources.

Use Examples to Test Your Point
You may also use examples to test your thesis and ideas in order to determine if you are making a valid assertion.

Perhaps you are planning to write a paper about how extensive reading, writing, and conversation practice can help strengthen an international student's grasp of the English language. To test your thesis, you should search for instances when you've noticed international students actually improving their language skills. You might remember how your friend, David, considerably improved his vocabulary and sentence structure after going through a period of extensive reading, writing, and conversing with American friends. Therefore, you realize that this example, among others, will support your thesis sentence.


Types of Examples

Brief Examples
Brief examples are helpful because, when gathered together, they serve as evidence for the thesis by covering a wide range of possibilities (possible outcomes).

If you were to discuss the theme of deceit in Shakespeare's plays, you would need to include several examples. Using only one play would show that the theme of deceit is only in one work; whereas, using examples from plays such as Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar would show the common theme throughout his work.

Extended Examples
Because they include greater detail, extended examples can add distinctness and appeal that brief examples sometimes cannot.

If your thesis is about how a mission organization should be financially supported, an in-depth study of a particular organization would be more useful than several different organizations as examples.


Use Enough Examples

There is no general rule to tell you whether to use one extended example or several brief examples to support your thesis. However, the most common method of developing an exemplification essay is by combining brief and extended examples. Having a few solid examples is better than having many weak examples. Exemplification essays sometimes lend to choppy, disorganized writing. Make sure you choose the best examples and tie them together appropriately.





A.  Present the thesis

i.     A generalization: Routine city services are in a terrible state

ii.   An observation: Social success depends on deceit. OR My tendency to procrastinate has caused me unnecessary work and loss of time.

B.  Clarify the thesis by providing necessary background information or explanation.

II.        Body

A.  Gather the examples and write a paragraph for each.

B.  Establish through examples the validity of the thesis. Three examples, at least, may be enough.

C.  Use relevant examples, those that represent a reasonable cross-section of the subject.

D.  Use specific examples that make the meaning clear. Don’t add other generalizations.

E.   Arrange the examples to produce the greatest impact.

F.   Establish a clear connection between your examples and the point you are trying to make.

i.     Repeat a key word from your thesis statement or a variation of it.

ii.   Use suitable transitional words and phrases.

a.   For instance

b.   For example

c.   To illustrate

d.   A classic example

e.   Also

f.    In addition, additionally

g.   A case in point is

iii. Avoid unimaginative transitions like “My first example is...”

III.     Conclusion

A.  Reinforce or advance the thesis.

B.  Re-state the basic idea you have been proving throughout the paper




Assignment # 1: Reflection Essay = 1 grade

Due Friday March 21, 2014

Write an essay that reflects on your “WW I” experience in this class. Was this worthwhile for you? What did you discover about your world, yourself, your friends, your teachers, your school? What part of the experience would you pass along to others? What were the most memorable moments in the process? Where did things drag? What four of five facts, moments, photos, scenes from movies…etc…will you keep as a souvenirs of this experience? Did anything that happened in the last several weeks that change you in any profound way? This is your chance to really reflect.


 Assingment # 2: Persuasive Evaluation Essay = 2 grades

 Due Monday March 24, 2014

 John Ford, the American film director, once said that “a great film has three good scenes in it and no bad ones.” What qualities make a great film for you? Develop a set of criteria for what makes a great film, and then in a clear, concise, and coherent essay use that criteria to compare and evaluate the six films we have seen. Compare All Quiet on the Western Front with The Trench, Regeneration with Johnny Got His Gun, and Joyeux Noel with Paths of Glory.  Consider how each of these pairs are similar and different in the way they tell the story of the First World War.  Which ones are more powerful and effective? Which ones--if any--rise to your criteria of greatness? You can arrive at your criteria either through deduction--have a thesis for greatness and evaluate the films according to the thesis--or induction--identify and explore the most powerful moments in the films and derive a thesis from those moments.


Here are some thoughts on how each pairing can be compared:

·         All Quiet on the Western Front and The Trench: These films are examples of a wide-angle view of the war versus a close-up.  All Quiet presents the life of a solider over many years and in many different situations--school and family being the most notable. The Trench, by contrast, zooms into trench life in the 48-hour period while the first wave of soldiers waits to go into The Battle of the Somme.

·         Joyeux Noel and Paths of Glory: These films detail the war at different times.  The first takes place at the start of the war when there was still a sense of humanity and generosity and the second focuses on two years later, after attitudes and morale have declined considerably. They also booth are based on true events.

·         Regeneration with Johnny Got His Gun: Both of these films are concerned with the wounded of the war.  Regeneration examines the day-to-day lives of officers in a hospital recovering from shell-shock.  Johnny Got His Gun examines the life of a single soldier who has been irreparably wounded--no arms, legs or face--but still has his mental faculties.










GRADE 1: Feb 13. Students must hand in a typed comparison/contrast essay on two films: All Quiet on the Western Front and The Trench.


GRADE 2: Feb 17-21 Teams of students will give presentations on their research with an average total time that equals 2 to 3 minutes per student X the amount of students in the group. Example: Group A has five students. The presentation should therefore be 10 to 15 minutes.  Example: Group B has three students = 6 to 9 minutes. NOTE: Not everyone in the group is required to speak. Put your best speaker forward. If everyone wants to speak, that's fine too. The presentations have no fixed format but here is what I want you to cover.


A) A description of your battle, it's importance to the war, and it's place in history. Include a map.


B) Some figures in or connected to the battle. You might start with the participants--the generals, the soldiers, the nurses, the reporters--and then move to more remote but no less important figures--politicians, historians, old vets remembering. ...etc. You should use primary source material when you can and cover both sides of the battle. Visuals and movies clips are okay but make them very brief. I don't want a  presentation that has a video running for 4 minutes. Be lean and clean!


C) Other pieces of information that you found interesting during your research and wish to share. This information does not necessarily have to be connected to your battle. Some examples: the use of chemical warfare, the role of the Red Cross, how effects were sent home, the war-bond rallies, the conscientious objectors, the types of air planes, the patriotic music, the "unpatriotic" poems, the military cemeteries, the diseases the solders contracted, the poppy fields, interesting facts from OUR high school about WWI and the young men from OUR high school who died in that war. And 1,000 other aspects of  "The Great War." Take more books out and look through them NOTE: Make your presentation wide and deep. I want to know the large geo-political issues and the color of the soldiers' woolen socks.


                                                            Make these presentations real! Make them yours!


GRADE 3: During the week of Feb 24-28 we will see two movies, Paths of Glory and Joyeaux Noel. These are two very different movies about events during the war. In the meantime for homework you will look at two movies which you should have already seen by Feb 24. You can find them on YouTube: Johnny Got His Gun and Regeneration, both films deal with life after the war. You will then write an exploratory essay in which you organize these six films according to the degree they affected you, from the most effective to the least. This is about you exploring and discovering your own personal value system and your own artistic aesthetic.  It will be due March 3rd.


GRADE  4: First week of March. We'll have a few days of a free-for-all-discussion, maybe bringing what we found to other classes in the school, maybe creating some sort of follow-up, well-edited presentation from each group. 5-8 minutes each. When you do this, please pay attention to the visuals you put on the overhead screen. Make them easily accessible visually. Don't have photos (or any visuals) that are too small. Don't talk to the screen when you are presenting. Be ruthless in editing out what slows down the presentation.


NOTE: Some of these assignments may end up double grades





First Semester Final Exam for COLLEGE WRITING

"TIME (Magazine's) Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year." On December 11, 2013, Time Magazine named its Person of the Year as Pope Francis. In second place was Edward Snowden.

For your final exam, you are to research both men and write an argumentative piece either defending Time Magazine’s choice, Pope Francis, or arguing that Snowden should have won. You will complete the research on your own time. You should take notes, gather research from a minimum of three sources (that you will have to cite), and come prepared on the day of the first semester final (probably January 17th) to write your essay. However, you must write your essay IN CLASS--you may not come with the completed essay. While brainstorming and researching ideas, please remember that the award is not given to the best or worst person, but rather the person who has affected the news and media throughout 2013.

The requirements are as follows:

A clear explanation of Time Magazine's criteria, underlined.

A minimum of three sources cited with textual proof. This means you submit a copy of what you're quoting, paper clip it and identify it.

An acknowledgement of the validity of the other point of view. If you're arguing for Edward Snowden, you must also discuss the validity of those who claim Pope Francis is the best candidate

A minimum of 1000 words

Remember, your choice cannot be wrong, as long as you can defend it!





World War I: Background and History

World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War, was a global war centered in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II in 1939, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I. In America it was initially called the European War. More than 9 million combatants were killed: a scale of death impacted by industrial advancements, geographic stalemate and reliance on human wave attacks. It was the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance. These alliances were both reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.

Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.

On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia. As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915 and Romania in 1916.

The war approached a resolution after the Russian Tsar's government collapsed in March 1917 and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and American forces began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.

By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The map of Europe was redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created. The League of Nations formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim failed, with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the humiliation of Germany contributing to the rise of fascism and the conditions for World War II.


1.       Germans were the first to use flamethrowers in WWI. Their flamethrowers could fire jets of flame as far as 130 feet (40 m).c

2.       More than 65 million men from 30 countries fought in WWI. Nearly 10 million died. The Allies (The Entente Powers) lost about 6 million soldiers. The Central Powers lost about 4 million.f

3.       There were over 35 million civilian and soldier casualties in WWI. Over 15 million died and 20 million were wounded.f

4.       Nearly 2/3 of military deaths in WWI were in battle. In previous conflicts, most deaths were due to disease.a

5.       During WWI, the Spanish flu caused about 1/3 of total military deaths.b

6.       Russia mobilized 12 million troops during WWI, making it the largest army in the war. More than 3/4 were killed, wounded, or went missing in action.e

7.       In August 1914, German troops shot and killed 150 civilians at Aerschot. The killing was part of war policy known as Schrecklichkeit (“frightfulness”). Its purpose was to terrify civilians in occupied areas so that they would not rebel.b

8.       During WWI, British tanks were initially categorized into “males” and “females.” Male tanks had cannons, while females had heavy machine guns.h

9.       “Little Willie” was the first prototype tank in WWI. Built in 1915, it carried a crew of three and could travel as fast as 3 mph (4.8 km/h).c

Artillery barrageArtillery barrage could be heard for hundreds of miles

10.    Artillery barrage and mines created immense noise. In 1917, explosives blowing up beneath the German lines on Messines Ridge at Ypres in Belgium could be heard in London 140 miles (220 km) away.c

11.    The Pool of Peace is a 40-ft (12-m) deep lake near Messines, Belgium. It fills a crater made in 1917 when the British detonated a mine containing 45 tons of explosives.a

12.    During WWI, dogs were used as messengers and carried orders to the front lines in capsules attached to their bodies. Dogs were also used to lay down telegraph wires.c

13.    Big Bertha was a 48-ton howitzer used by the Germans in WWI. It was named after the wife of its designer Gustav Krupp. It could fire a 2,050-lb (930-kg) shell a distance of 9.3 miles (15 km). However, it took a crew of 200 men six hours or more to assemble. Germany had 13 of these huge guns or “wonder weapons.”c

landshipTanks were first used during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (1916)

14.    Tanks were initially called “landships.” However, in an attempt to disguise them as water storage tanks rather than as weapons, the British decided to code name them “tanks.”c

15.    The most successful fighter of the entire war was Rittmeister von Richthofen (1892-1918). He shot down 80 planes, more than any other WWI pilot. He died after being shot down near Amiens. France's René Fonck (1894-1953) was the Allies’ most successful fighter pilot, shooting down 75 enemy planes.c

16.    Margaretha Zelle (1876-1917), also known as Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer accused of being a double agent. Though she always denied being a spy, the French executed her in 1917.h

17.    French Second Lieutenant Alfred Joubaire wrote in his diary about WWI just before he died that “Humanity is mad! It must be mad to do what it is doing. What a massacre. What scenes of horror and carnage! I cannot find words to translate my impressions. Hell cannot be so terrible! Men are mad!”b

18.    Some Americans disagreed with the United States’ initial refusal to enter WWI and so they joined the French Foreign Legion or the British or Canadian army. A group of U.S. pilots formed the Lafayette Escadrille, which was part of the French air force and became one of the top fighting units on the Western Front.g

19.    In early 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to Germany's minister in Mexico. The telegraph encouraged Mexico to invade U.S. territory. The British kept it a secret from the U.S. for more than a month. They wanted to show it to the U.S. at the right time to help draw the U.S into the war on their side.d

20.    Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan for his second term was “He kept us out of war.“ About a month after he took office, the United States declared war on Germany on April 6th 1917.d

21.    To increase the size of the U.S. Army during WWI, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which was also known as the conscription or draft, in May 1917. By the end of the war, 2.7 million men were drafted. Another 1.3 million volunteered.a

22.    During WWI, people of German heritage were suspect in the U.S. Some protests against Germans were violent, including the burning of German books, the killing of German shepherd dogs, and even the murder of one German-American.b

gardening“Victory Gardens” were also called “War Gardens”

23.    Herbert Hoover, who would become president in 1929, was appointed U.S. Food Administrator. His job was to provide food to the U.S. army and its allies. He encouraged people to plant “Victory Gardens,” or personal gardens. More than 20 million Americans planted their own gardens, and food consumption in the U.S decreased by 15%.f

24.    The total cost of WWI for the U.S. was more than $30 billion.f

25.    The term “dogfight” originated during WWI. The pilot had to turn off the plane’s engine from time to time so it would not stall when the plane turned quickly in the air. When a pilot restarted his engine midair, it sounded like dogs barking.c

26.    The war left thousands of soldiers disfigured and disabled. Reconstructive surgery was used to repair facial damage, but masks were also used to cover the most horrific disfigurement. Some soldiers stayed in nursing homes their entire lives.h

27.    WWI is the sixth deadliest conflict in world history.e

28.    British author T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935), also known as Lawrence of Arabia, worked for Allied intelligence in the Middle East. He also led an Arab revolt against the Turks and wrote about it in his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.e

29.    Four empires collapsed after WWI: Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian.e

30.    While the first military submarine (named the Turtle) was first used by the Continental Army during the American Revolution, submarines only made a large military impact during WWI when Germany launched its fleet of U-boats. Its submarines mostly stayed on the surface and submerged only to attack ships with torpedoes. Germany’s indiscriminate submarine warfare was a primary reason the U.S. joined the war.c

31.    World War I was also known as the Great War, the World War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars.b

32.    WWI was fought from 1914-1918 on every ocean and on almost every continent. Most of the fighting, however, took place in Europe.b

World War OneOver 15 million people died in WW I

33.    WWI began on June 28, 1914, when a Serbian terrorist shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Russia and France sided with Serbia, and Germany supported Austria-Hungary. Other countries around the world were soon pulled into the fighting. WWI officially ended 4 years later on November 11, 1918.b

34.    The terrorist group responsible for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was called Black Hand, Sarajevo.b

35.    The United Sates joined WWI during the final year and half of fighting.g

36.    The trench network of World War I stretched approximately 25,000 miles (40,200 km) from the English Channel to Switzerland. The area was known as the Western Front. British poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote, “When all is done and said, the war was mainly a matter of holes and ditches.”h

37.    For the span of WWI, from 1914-1918, 274 German U-boats sank 6,596 ships. The five most successful U-boats were U-35 (sank 224 ships), U-39 (154 ships), U-38 (137 ships), U-34 (121 ships), and U-33 (84 ships). Most of these were sunk near the coast, particularly in the English Channel.c

38.    German trenches were in stark contrast to British trenches. German trenches were built to last and included bunk beds, furniture, cupboards, water tanks with faucets, electric lights, and doorbells.c

39.    France, not Germany, was the first country to use gas against enemy troops in WWI. In August 1914, they fired the first tear gas grenades (xylyl bromide) against the Germans. In January 1915, Germany first used tear gas against Russian armies, but the gas turned to liquid in the cold air. In April 1915, the Germans were the first to use poisonous chlorine gas.c

40.    During WWI, the Germans released about 68,000 tons of gas, and the British and French released 51,000 tons. In total, 1,200,000 soldiers on both sides were gassed, of which 91,198 died horrible deaths.c

Gas MaskTear gas was first used in WW I

41.    Approximately 30 different poisonous gases were used during WWI. Soldiers were told to hold a urine-soaked cloth over their faces in an emergency. By 1918, gas masks with filter respirators usually provided effective protection. At the end of the war, many countries signed treaties outlawing chemical weapons.c

42.    During the war, the U.S. shipped about 7.5 million tons of supplies to France to support the Allied effort. That included 70,000 horses or mules as well as nearly 50,000 trucks, 27,000 freight cars, and 1,800 locomotives.c

43.    WWI introduced the widespread use of the machine gun, a weapon Hiram Maxim patented in the U.S. in 1884. The Maxim weighed about 100 pounds and was water cooled. It could fire about 450-600 rounds per minute. Most machine guns used in WWI were based on the Maxim design.c

44.    The French had what German soldiers called the Devil Gun. At 75 mm, this cannon was accurate up to 4 miles. The French military commanders claimed that its Devil Gun won the war.c

45.    During U.S. involvement in WWI, more than 75,000 people gave about 7.5 million four-minute pro-war speeches in movie theaters and elsewhere to about 314.5 million people.f

46.    “Hello Girls,” as American soldiers called them, were American women who served as telephone operators for Pershing’s forces in Europe. The women were fluent in French and English and were specially trained by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. In 1979, the U.S. Army finally gave war medals and veteran benefits to the few Hello Girls who were still alive.a

47.    During WWI, American hamburgers (named after the German city of Hamburg) were renamed Salisbury steak. Frankfurters, which were named after Frankfurt, Germany, were called “liberty sausages," and dachshunds became “liberty dogs.” Schools stopped teaching German, and German-language books were burned.b

48.    Millions of soldiers suffered “shell shock,” or posttraumatic stress disorder, due to the horrors of trench warfare. Shell-shocked men often had uncontrollable diarrhea, couldn’t sleep, stopped speaking, whimpered for hours, and twitched uncontrollably. While some soldiers recovered, others suffered for the rest of their lives.f

49.    Even though the U.S. government didn’t grant Native Americans citizenship until 1924, nearly 13,000 of them served in WWI.g

50.    More than 200,000 African Americans served in WWI, but only about 11 percent of them were in combat forces. The rest were put in labor units, loading cargo, building roads, and digging ditches. They served in segregated divisions (the 92nd and 93rd) and trained separately.b

51.    The Germans were skilled at intercepting and solving Allied codes. Germans also captured one out of four paper messengers. However, when a U.S. commander used Choctaw tribe members form the Oklahoma National Guard unit, they used an extremely complex language that the Germans could not translate. The eight Choctaw men and others who joined them became known as the Choctaw Code Talkers.a

52.    More than 500,000 pigeons carried messages between headquarters and the front lines. Groups of pigeons trained to return to the front lines were dropped into occupied areas by parachutes and kept there until soldiers had messages to send back.a

53.    On Christmas Eve in 1914, soldiers on both sides of the Western Front sung carols to each other. On Christmas Day troops along 2/3 of the Front declared a truce. In some places the truce lasted a week. A year later, sentries on both sides were ordered to shoot anyone who attempted a repeat performance.a

Edith CavellCavell became a popular propaganda figure

54.    Edith Cavell (1865- October 12 1915) was a British nurse who saved soldiers from all sides. When she helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, the Germans arrested her and she was executed by a German firing squad. Her death helped turn global opinion against Germany.f

55.    The Harlem Hell Fighters were one of the few African American units that saw the front lines. For their extraordinary acts of heroism, the soldiers received the French Croix de Guerre, a medal awarded to soldiers from Allied countries for bravery in combat. However, in the U.S their deeds were largely ignored.a

56.    The most decorated American of WWI was Alvin Cullum York (1887-1964). York led an attack on a German gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers, and capturing 132 more. He returned home with a Medal of Honor, a promotion to Sergeant, the French Croix de Guerre, and a gift of 400 acres of good farmland.f

57.    U.S. troops fought their first battle of World War I on November 2, 1917, in the trenches at Barthelemont, France.g

58.    The greatest single loss of life in the history of the British army occurred during the Battle of Somme, when the British suffered 60,000 casualties in one day. More British men were killed in that one WWI battle than the U.S. lost from all of its armed forces and the National Guard combined.g

59.    WWI transformed the United Stated into the largest military power in the world.d

60.    Although Germany may have forced the hand of the European powers in the summer of 1914, it did not cause war. Germany was not responsible for creating the atmosphere in which war was a probability. WWI broke out against a background of rivalry between the world’s great powers, including Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungry, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan. The previous 40 years were characterized by increasing nationalism, imperialism. militarism, and various alliances.d

61.    The long-term effects of WWI include the formation of the League of Nations, which laid the groundwork for the United Nations and a worldwide arms race. Additionally, the Treaty of Versailles imposed severe sanctions on Germany, which drove the country into a deep recession, setting the groundwork for WWII.d

62.    WWI helped strengthen the power of central government in the United States and Europe, which meant that 19th-century liberalism that emphasized individual responsibly was gone forever. In fact, one of the chief legacies of the war is the lasting power of the state over its citizens.d

63.    WWI increased people’s suspicions of minority groups. All outsiders were considered a potential threat, especially the Jews, who were seen as sleek profiteers of the armaments industry.d

64.    During WWI, the Turks slaughtered approximately 1.5 million Armenians. This act of genocide would later attract the attention of Hitler and was partly responsible for sowing the seeds of the Holocaust.d

war debtBritain and France were “joyless victors” after WW I

65.    After WWI, Britain’s leadership in the world economy was gone forever. It had huge debts, high unemployment, and slow growth. France suffered as well. Most of the loans it had made to czarist Russia were never repaid, inflation was rampant, and large parts of the country were ruined.d

66.    WWI brought a new era of warfare. The most significant development was air power, which brought civilians in the line of fire. By 1918, it was clear that the days of cavalry as a realistic fighting force were over with the introduction of poisonous gas. Tanks heralded a new era of offensive war. Finally, the Nazi blitzkrieg tactic of WWII grew out of the final Allied offensive of 1918 in which tanks, aircraft, artillery, and men were carefully coordinated.d

67.    Because mustard gas was unpredictable, it was never the war-winning weapon its users hoped it would be in WWI. Neither side used it in WWII.c

68.    WWI helped bring about the emancipation of women. Women took over many traditionally male jobs and showed that they could perform them just as well as men. In 1918, most women over the age of 30 were given the vote in the British parliamentary elections. Two years later, the 19th amendment granted American women the vote.d

69.    WWI helped bring about the emancipation of African Americans. For example, Henry Ford recruited black people from the South to work in his factories. The migration of African Americans from the South to the North during WWI was one of the most significant population shifts in the 20th century.d

70.    WWI helped hasten medical advances. Physicians learned better wound management and the setting of bones. Harold Gillies, an English doctor, pioneered skin graft surgery. The huge scale of those who needed medical care in WWI helped teach physicians and nurses the advantages of specialization and professional management.d

71.    Post-WWI literature includes T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1923), Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, and Wilfred Owen’s tragic poem, “Anthem for Doomed Youth.”d

72.    WWI was the catalyst that transformed Russia into the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). It was the creation of the world’s first communist state and ushered in a new phase in world history. Historians note that this was the most startling and important consequence of WWI.d

73.    After WWI, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland emerged as independent nations.d

74.    The collapse of the Ottoman Empire after WWI helped the Allies extend their influence into the Middle East. Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine were declared “mandates” under the League of Nations. France essentially took control of Syria and Britain took control over the remaining three mandates.d

75.    The Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany had started WWI. It gave Alsace and Lorraine back to France. Poland picked up German territory in the east, and other territories were given to Belgium and Lithuania. The treaty also transferred the Hultschin area of Upper Silesia to Czechoslovakia. The eastern part of Upper Silesia was assigned to Poland. Lower Silesia, meanwhile, was left entirely to Germany. The key Baltic port of Danze, the industrial region of the Saar Basin, and the strategically important Rhineland were also taken from Germany. Its armed forces were strictly limited and its colonies were made League of Nations mandates. A 1921 Reparations Committee decided that Germany should pay $33 billion in compensation to the Allies for the damage it caused. The Treaty left Germany humiliated and impoverished, which left the world vulnerable to another world war.




WEEKS 18 and 19 January 7th and 14th

First Semester Final Exam for COLLEGE WRITING

"TIME (Magazine's) Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year." On December 11, 2013, Time Magazine named its Person of the Year as Pope Francis. In second place was Edward Snowden.

For your final exam, you are to research both men and write an argumentative piece either defending Time Magazine’s choice, Pope Francis, or arguing that Snowden should have won. You will complete the research on your own time. You should take notes, gather research from a minimum of three sources (that you will have to cite), and come prepared on the day of the first semester final (probably January 17th) to write your essay. However, you must write your essay IN CLASS--you may not come with the completed essay. While brainstorming and researching ideas, please remember that the award is not given to the best or worst person, but rather the person who has affected the news and media throughout 2013.

The requirements are as follows:

A clear explanation of Time Magazine's criteria, underlined.

A minimum of three sources cited with textual proof. This means you submit a copy of what you're quoting, paper clip it and identify it.

An acknowledgement of the validity of the other point of view. If you're arguing for Edward Snowden, you must also discuss the validity of those who claim Pope Francis is the best candidate

A minimum of 1000 words

Remember, your choice cannot be wrong, as long as you can defend it!


WEEKS 16 and 17


It’s a Wonderful Life is a film that explores many themes: the importance of friendship, the way community can connect people, the decisions we make at crossroads in our lives, the power of dreams, and how certain dreams must be given up so others may realize theirs. But probably the most important theme in the movie is how every little thing every person does makes a difference. As we view the film, find five small moments that address this important theme. Then write a 1000-word essay in which you explore three or four of the five moments. It could be a remark, an exchange, a promise, a look, an object, a joke, a pause. We're not looking for the big dramatic stuff here. But hidden treasures that are missed the first time. Discuss how those "little things" work together to build the theme that every little thing every person does makes a difference. Or, if you prefer, you can apply it to one of the other themes above. Remember to make your essay clear, cogent, and concise. Grab the reader's attention in the first sentence and never let go. State the theme you will be discussing at the beginning and offer in-depth proof. We will stop the film every ten minutes so you can take notes. When you have finished writing your essay, you will read it aloud to your fellow students, with no one getting a grade lower than 85. So...four grades then: 100, 95, 90, 85. If it's not 1,000 words or not read aloud—zero. And oh yes, DOUBLE GRADE!


WEEKS  13, 14, 15  NOVEMBER 18, 25 and DECEMBER 2

JFK’s Assassination: November 22, 1963 / 50th Anniversary.

November 22 will be the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Below are two assignments that will help you deepen your understanding of this infamous event.

JFK assassination presentations, followed by the showing of the film JFK.


First google “My November 22nd” and read it. Be prepared to talk about it in class. What did you like and what didn’t you like. Then…read five excellent essays about the event. Google “best essays about JFK's assassination” to start. You’ll find a ton of them. Make sure they are all a little different. After you have read them, pick one essay you really like and explain why in a 500-1000 word essay. Be prepared to share a hard copy of both your essay and the essay you’ve chosen to write about. Questions to consider: Is it because it struck a nerve in you? Because you found out interesting things?  Because you saw your country in a whole new light? Because it just moved you on a human level? Because it contained interesting characters? Because the writing was just so damn good?  Remember to make your essay clear, cogent, and concise. NOTE: You can visit the New York Times, The Washington Post and any other major media outlet. There will be a lot of articles and essays about this in the next ten days. (Also check the last three weeks.) It’s due Tuesday November 19th. We’ll share our discoveries on that Tuesday and Wednesday


Conspiracy theories abound. Go on the internet and type up: The 10 Best JFK Assassination Conspiracies and read about them. Then pick one of the ten and research it more deeply. Does it seem legitimate? Could it be possible? Why? Why not? Be prepared to give a brief oral presentation. Work in groups of 4 or 5. One group per conspiracy. You can use the overhead to show internet sites and youtube videos. But come prepared to present. We don’t want a lot of dead air. Or people reading what is on the screen. We’ll do it Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. November 21, 22, 25 and 26.



See the film Miss Representation and write a 500 word essay on it.




Support, refute or qualify the claim made in "Bros Before Hoops." 500 words, Due 11/13.




Students  write a 1,000 essay comparing their ideas of what it means to be a man/woman with Kimmel's using 5 vocabulary words.

Note: All retake vocabulary tests must be done by October 31st.




Intro to Comparison/ Contrast, using Michael Kimmel's essay "Bros before Hoss." Hand out of various templates from They Say, I Say.




Paris Project process analysis essay due Monday October 15th. 1,000 words. "How did you come to have a deeper understanding of Paris and yourself during these last 4 weeks?" Vocab test 7 & 8 at the end of the week. NOTE: We will be spending time using the book They Say, I Say.




Most of the week spent seeing La Haine and taking notes on it in prepartion for a big process analysis essay. Also, vocab test # 5 and #6.


WEEK 6 / SEPT 30


Continuation of Midnight in Paris




Continuation of cultural literacy presentations followed by looking at the film Midnight in Paris.




This is a process analysis week. You're going to explore the process by which you learned about a subject, from barely a glimmer to some solid information that you could use to talk about this subject for five minutes.

During this unit we hope that you will broaden your knowledge of cultural literacy and also examine who you were as a person before and after you learned more about this subject. And the subject is: Paris.

Get ready to do some research. And write, write, write. Quiz for vocab list 3 & 4 on Friday.




We had a plan for the week which we already explained: annotate Kozol's essay and write three drafts of your argument for computer literacy. On the last two days of this week we will relax and have some fun. Well, we think we should postpone the fun until next week. Why?


Because we have a more pressing situation:

As some of you probably know, President Obama will be making his case for attacking Syria this Tuesday night. It will be a national speech covered by all the major networks, and it will probably be the most important speech of his life. We spent ten weeks with last year's class capitalizing on the election and using it to give our students a lesson in civics. Perhaps we can spend a day or two to do it again.  So...go to the "Reflections" page on thelearningcurve.net and you'll find three great articles about this decision. They will be the last three articles: "The Syria Babble We Don't Need," "Same War, Different Country," and " Pulling the Curtain Back on Syria." Look those over and then watch the speech Tuesday night. Then maybe you can apply your understanding of ethos, logos, and pathos to a real and very important moment in American history. How do you feel about this proposal? Did the President convince you? Can America be the moral watchdog for the world? If we won't, then who will?  Or is it none of our business? These are very difficult questions. Watch the speech! Then let's talk.




Study the vocabulary words for an important quiz on Friday Sept 6th.




Annotate "Prejudice" essay handout for discussion on Wednesday August 28

Choose an Ethicist question for group discussion on Thursday August 29

Buy a spiral notebook and a file folder ASAP

Study the first 20 vocabulary words on the College Writing page. The test will be Sept 6th. Study hard because the test will NOT be easy.








Start memorizing Hamlet and one of the other ten monologues from Mr. Rychlewski's Drama Class Monologues link in the "handouts" section of the Introduction to Theater web-page




Write a one-minute story for eventual performance. Due Wednesday, the 4th. Keep working on Hamlet






We're going to hide inside "READING WORKSHOP" this semester. Type up "thelearningcurve.net," then click "Homework"," then click "Reading Workshop."

Et Voila! 




NOTE: Students often ask me about great books and great films they might check out. Here are three sites:


1) The best one hundred films from Sight and Sound magazine.



2) The best one hundred fiction books of the 20th century



3) The best one hundred non-fiction books of the 20th century







Chapter 1 • herculean • bowdlerize • pandemonium • pander • quixotic • cynical • stoical •

stigma • impede • expedite /1

Chapter 2 • tantalize • labyrinth • Machiavellian • laconic • maudlin • galvanize • lethargic •

ostracize • gregarious • egregious /11

Chapter 3 • mesmerize • martial • erotic • cupidity • philistine • catholic • jeopardize •

precarious • foible • forte / 21

Chapter 4 • odyssey • protean • fiasco • idiosyncrasy • quintessence • rankle • decimate •

narcissism • incumbent • succumb / 31

Chapter 5 • amazon • iconoclast • sardonic • supercilious • nemesis • procrastinate • panacea •

capricious • introvert • extrovert / 43

Chapter 6 • aegis • auspicious • jaded • atone • lewd • succinct • prevaricate • aloof • jovial •


Chapter 7 • curtail • travesty • scruple • havoc • mentor • haggard • utopian • mercurial • diffident

• hypocrisy

Chapter 8 • zealous • candid • posthumous • enthrall • parasite • chagrin • cant • ephemeral •

dexterous • sinister

Chapter 9 • ignominy • aboveboard • anecdote • bedlam • martinet • indolent • meander •

precocious • scapegoat • shibboleth

Chapter 10 • agnostic • nepotism • enigmatic • blatant • nebulous • procrustean • denigrate •

prosaic • docile • boycott



Chapter 1 • Achilles' heel • stentorian • mnemonic • fathom • serendipity • desultory • pariah • tawdry

• pecuniary • impecunious

Chapter 2 • Spartan • gadfly • homage • spurn • pedigree • pittance • preposterous • macabre • farce •


Chapter 3 • chimerical • asinine • bellwether • limbo • plagiarize • titanic • irony • effete • hyperbole •


Chapter 4 • dunce • charlatan • sycophant • anachronism • draconian • plummet • fatal • nefarious •

vindicate • vindictive

Chapter 5 • venerate • sadistic • malapropism • pragmatic • disparage • vegetate • adamant • conjugal

• abominable • ominous

Chapter 6 • despotic • gullible • guile • exonerate • cliche • trite • melancholy • choleric • phlegmatic •


Chapter 7 • maverick • esoteric • undermine • alleviate • bacchanal • hedonist • nihilist • somnolent •

diatribe • tribulation

Chapter 8 • paradox • admonish • penitent • accolade • nonchalant • banal • iridescent • cajole •

urbane • stymie

Chapter 9 • recalcitrant • pinnacle • siren • Adonis • inexorable • tally • bizarre • remorse • spurious •


Chapter 10 • harbinger • opportune • skeptical • cardinal • trivial • meretricious • lampoon • fetish •

zenith • nadir






What is a hero? Someone who gives his/her life to something bigger, something other than himself or herself. By giving a life, I don’t mean necessarily you have to die. You can “consecrate” or “dedicate” your life to something and by doing that be a hero.


There is always a journey and two types of deeds.


Physical deed: Saving a life usually or performing a good deed for society. This may mean killing something or someone. The killing may represent man trying to shape his world from the ravages and threats of nature or of an opposing world view. In addition to the slaying there may be drinking of blood to take the powers of those who have been killed. Eat a man’s heart, for example



1: The knight slays the dragon, saves the kingdom.

2: Superman saves the girl, saves the planet.

3: Prometheus steals fire from the gods, gives it to man.

4: Gary Cooper kills the bad guys in High Noon, saves the soul of the town

5: The fireman walk up the World Trade Center, save the trapped.

6: Ulysses saves the men from the sirens, saves himself from Calypso, slays the Cyclops, gets back to Greece.

7: Your neighbor, brother or friend goes into the army, fights and dies for a cause.

8: Pete Seeger faces down HUAC and is banned from radio and television for 17 years, offers an example to live by

9: The Indian slays the buffalo, preserves the tribe.


Spiritual deed:  The hero learns to experience the supernormal range of human spiritual life, has a transcendental experience, comes back with a message.


1: Moses goes to the mountain, comes back with the 10 Commandments

2: Mohammad goes into the cave and meditates, comes back with the Koran

3: Christ has three temptations, doesn’t give in.

Economic--Satan goes to where Jesus is fasting in the desert and asks him to change stones to bread. (He won’t do it) 

Spiritual--Satan take Jesus to the top of the temple of Jerusalem temple and says. "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Luke 4:9-13) (He won’t do it.)

Political—Satan takes Jesus to the mountain top “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.”(Matthew 4:9) (He won’t do it.)


4: In certain myths (the Celtic) the hero follows and animal (deer) and there is a transformation. (Ex: The Bear in Faulkner)

5: Search for the father (Luke has to find his father in Star Wars)


Sometimes there will variations of both: Especially in Literature

1)      Huck saves Jim and his soul

2)      Don Quixote defends the helpless and destroys the wicked

3)      The Bundrens honor their mother’s wish to be buried in her home town…and they take a journey.

4)      Holden has his lost week-end in NY, trembles in Penn Station and Central Park, sinks to some sort of bottom, somehow comes out of it

5)      Scout takes a journey out of her childhood and slowly realizes there’s an adult world out there. With strangle lonely men like Boo Radley and racism and lynch mobs and violence and a side of her father that she had know idea even existed. Her story echoes the childhood initiation ritual in which you need to escape the psychological dependency of childhood, die to it, and come back as an adult, self-responsibility. Leaving one condition, finding the source that will bring you back in another condition. Everyone has to take this journey. Huck does it, Holden is getting there.








Aunt Ester 9

Caesar Wilks  4

Black Mary 3

Citizen Barlow 2

Eli 1

Solly Two Kings 4




Bertha 1

Herald Loomis 2

Martha 1

Rutherford Selig 1

Jermey Furlow  1

Seth  1

Bynum Walket 4

Zonia Loomis  1

Reuben Mercer  1

Molly Cunningham 1


Cutler 2

Ma Rainey 1

Slow Drad 1

Levee 2

Toledo 3

Sturdyvant 1


Avery 2

Boy Willie 6

Lymon 2

Bernice 3

Doaker 4

Wining Boy 5


Canewll 2

Floyd 4

Red Carter 2

Vera 1

Louise  1

Hedley  5


Troy Maxon 7

Rose 2

Bono 1

Gabriel 1



Memphis 11

Sterling  4

Wolf 2

Holloway 5

West 3



Becker 3

Doub 1


Turmbo 2

Booster  1

Sheally 1

Youngblood 1


King Hedley 5

Ruby 3

Tonya 2

Elmore 5

Stool Pigeon 4


Old Joe 2

Harmond Wilks  3

Roosevelt Hicks 3

Mame 1

Sterling Johnson 3




Great art does not break with the past. It breaks with the present by emulating the best of the past. (Darby Bannard)

he experiential test of whether this art is great or good, or minor or abysmal is the effect it has on your own sense of the world and of yourself. Great art changes you. (Sister Wendy Beckett)

Great art can be neither fully understood nor accomplished without the complete understanding of edges. (Harley Brown)

A great work of art is that which moves and touches one's spirit and adds to one's experience of the world, but does not impose on one's values. It lets one take from it what one wants or needs. (Maritza Burgos)

Great art is always a balancing act. But all art has both – an emotional content and an intellectual content. (George Carlson)

Great art picks up where nature ends. (Marc Chagall)


The great art includes much that the small art excludes: humor, pain and evil. Much that is repulsive when alone becomes beautiful in its relation. To find the ennobling relation is the task of life and art. (Oscar W. Firkin)

Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within. (Edith Hamilton)




Purpose:  As a group, investigate your assigned swing state and research the Presidential Campaign the candidates are running in that state.  Collaborate with the members of your group to create a Wiki page that documents your findings and analyses and present the page to the class.


·         Create and manage a Wiki page with your group

·         2 oral group presentations: the dates for these presentations will be provided

·         2-4 page essay: typed according to the directions below and uploaded onto Wiki page

·         In-class panel discussion: details and dates to follow.

Focus Questions:  Use the following questions to help guide your investigation.  At least 5 questions must be addressed in your written and oral analyses.

1.  What are three important issues that are particular to your state?  Why?

2.  What are three rhetorical strategies and/or advertising techniques used in ads, TV commercials and/or political cartoons being aired in your state?

3.  Clearly articulate the campaign strategy of each candidate as it applies to your specific state.  What issues are they addressing?  To whom are they appealing? 

4.  Trace the sources of the campaign money in each state.  Where is it coming from and how is it spent?

5.  What effects are the debates having on the success of each candidates campaign?

6.  What are the three essential differences between the candidates?

7.  Are there ballot issues in your state?  Are there groups of people who are experiencing any difficulty in voting?  Explain.

8.  How are the TV ads from each of the candidates similar?  How are they different?

9.  Summarize four columns by four columnists (two liberal and two conservative).

10.  Discuss unforeseen events or controversial remarks.  How have they affected the campaign?

 Research:  Begin research by accessing the links located in the class Wiki.  Recommended websites, columnists and other helpful information are located in the class Wiki under the Resources link.

 Evidence & Documentation:  Each group will be assigned a Swing State.  Each Swing State will have its own page located on the class Wiki.  On this page, you and your group-mates will provide links to websites, articles, ads, commercials, political cartoons, etc. as proof to your research.  You and your group-mates need to document proof of research for each focus question answered.

Written Interpretation & Analysis:  In addition to providing documented evidence, each of you will also be required to analyze that evidence and answer the focus questions in an essay.  Your interpretations must reflect a clear understanding of your research and be explained in your own thoughts and words.  Answers must also show evidence of your understanding of the rhetorical triangle: ethos, pathos, and logos. 

            Analysis Guidelines

·          2-4 typed pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman font

·          2-4 credible sources (see Resources page on the Wiki for suggestions on where to begin)

·          In-text citations (quotations or paraphrases)

·          Sources cited in parentheses inside of the essay.  A separate Works Cited page is encouraged, but optional.

Technology Component:  In order to successfully complete this assignment, you will need to be able to:

·          Remember usernames and passwords to CPS network and Class Wiki

·          Copy and paste text, links, pictures

·          Upload files to the Wiki

·          Efficiently navigate the internet

·          Determine whether web content is credible

How am I being graded?  Please see the Grading Rubric



Exceeds Expectations

Meets Expectations

Needs Improvement


Points Given/Points Possible


Provides a fresh and balanced perspective on the topic

Provides original ideas with a minimum of personal bias

Provides one or two original ideas which include some personal bias.

Does not provide any original ideas and personal bias is obvious



Provides comprehensive insight, understanding, and reflective thought about the topic.

Provides a moderate amount of insight, understanding, and reflective thought about the topic.

Provides only minimal understanding, or reflective thought about the topic.

Provides no understanding or reflective thought about the topic



Explains all ideas clearly and concisely in a logical progression with effective supporting evidence. 

Explains most ideas clearly and concisely with supporting evidence. 

Imcompletely explains ideas and does not effectively use supporting evidence.

Fails to explain ideas clearly, and does not use any supporting evidence.



Presents all information in a style that is appealing and appropriate for the intended audience.

Presents information in a style that is generally appropriate for the intended audience.

Presents information in a style that is often inappropriate for the intended audience.

Presents information in a disjointed unpolished style which is inappropriate for the intended audience.



Uses a consistent organizational structure that includes grouping related information defines specialized vocabulary and/or provides a table of contents

Uses an organizational structure which groups some but not all related information, defines specialized vocabulary and/or table of contents

Uses a loosely defined organizational structure which attempts to group similar items

Fails to provide a consistent organizational structure, and information is difficult to locate.


Text Layout

Makes frequent and effective use of headings, fonts, bullet points and white space to enhance the content’s visual appeal and increase readability.

Makes occasional use of headings, fonts, bullet points and white space to enhance the content’s visual appeal and increase readability.

Makes minimal use of headings, fonts, bullet points and white space to enhance visual appeal and readability.

Makes no use of headings, fonts, bullet points or white space to enhance visual appeal and readability.



Includes links to websites or documents that enhance the information presented

Includes links to websites or documents, but not all links enhance the information presented.

Includes links to websites or documents which add little value to the information presented. 

Does not include any links, or the links selected are of poor quality and do not add any value to the information presented.


Group/Partner Collaboration

Contributes equally other group members in researching, writing, and editing.

Assists group members with most of the researching, writing and editing.

Provides minimal assistance to group members in researching, writing and editing, and does not follow through with all tasks.

Provides no assistance to group members in any of the researching, writing and editing and does not follow through with any of the tasks.



Meets all goals and deadlines.

Usually meets goals and deadlines.

Occasionally meets goals and deadlines.

Does not meet goals and deadlines.



Exhibits appropriate wiki etiquette when editing and respects the work of others.

Exhibits appropriate wiki etiquette most of the time and generally respects the work of others.

Exhibits a minimal knowledge of wiki etiquette and often fails to respect the work of others.

Exhibits no knowledge of wiki etiquette and fails to respect the work of others.


Writing Mechanics

Edits the text with no errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

Edits the text with minor additional editing required for grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling.

Edits the text, berrors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling distract or impair readability. (3 or more errors)

Edits the text but numerous errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling repeatedly distract the reader and major revision is required. (more than 5 errors)


Focus Questions Addressed

6 questions are addressed appropriately.

5 questions are addressed appropriately

4 questions are addressed appropriately

3 questions are addressed appropriately





Knowledge:  describe (the party Gatsby gives), define (The Jazz Age) Describe the 1920’s: Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, Al Capone, Black Sox Scandal, Prohibition, The Charleston, Flagpole sitters, Sacco and Vanzetti,  The Stock Market Crash, WWI. The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a period. Which events capture the Zeitgeist?

Comprehension: distinguishe (Gatsby’s money versus Tom’s money), gives example of (Gatsby’s possible mob connection)

Application:  predict (the marriage of Tom and Daisy), discover (something about these characters on a second reading)

Analysis: differentiate (Feminist versus Marxist criticism), contrast (the 20’s with the 60’s)

Synthesis: design (a pie chart proportioning the influences of Nick: WWI, the Midwest upbringing, his age, his family fortune, the wildness of the Jazz age) reorganize (the way the Daisy might tell the story, Tom, Jordon = opening line.

Evaluation: defend (the importance of this book), critique (the feminist and Marxist views) Evaluate this quote: “Is it sadder to find the past again, and find it inadequate to the present than to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory” F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Four more quotes:

Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.


NOTE: We were disappointed in the quality of your Paris essays and do not plan to include those grades in your first semester totals. Apparently we need to review the idea of a process analysis with you again. And discuss plagiarism again. In the next few weeks we will take selections from those essays and discuss them.

Week Of Jan 22

Tues: 3-circle Venn Diagram due. Students get into groups and work with transition statements.

Wed: Examine comparison/contrast essays from Patterns: "Sex, Lies and Conversations” and “Two Ways to Belong to America” must be read

Thursday: Into the Wild essays due. Then we will watch 127 Hours.


Week of 1 / 14


Monday, Tuesday: Finish looking at Jeremiah Johnson, then discuss it.

Wed and Thursday: Discussion about Into the Wild in small groups. Use of Venn Diagram.

Friday: vocabulary test, second poster words. Amazon to Extrovert and Aegis to Saturnine.


Week of 1 / 7


1) On Tuesday January 8th you must hand in a 1,000-2,000 word process analysis essay in which you explore the process by which you developed some cultural literacy about Paris. You can use information you  have researched about the city on your own, ideas Mr. Rychlewski gave you from your questions about his years living there, and anything from the three movies we will have seen in this project: Midnight in Paris, Paris I Love You and The 400 Blows. We will show The 400 Blows on Tuesday, Friday and Monday after you get back from Xmas Vacation. Note: please look over the handouts on process analysis and use that information as a guide..

2) On Tuesday January 8th you will create copies of paragraphs from an essay you've written and we will analyze them them in pairs, groups and/or as a class. We'll be devoting the next several weeks to improving your writing. We want everyone to share in this so please bring those copies.

3) On Tuesday January 8th you will have finished Into the Wild. You've had it for over a month. We will begin discussing it.

4) Look over the next 20 vocabulary words under Reading Workshop on this web page.

5) We may take a look at Jeremiah Johnson, a film about the wilderness of the American west


Week of 12 / 17


We look at Paris Je t'aime and further alter out view of Paris. Note: Vocab # 1 test on Tuesday Dec 18.


Week of 12 / 10


Open forum: We finish Midnight in Paris and  apply the cultural literacy we have learned from our research into a deeper understanding of the the movie and of our lives.


Week of 12 / 3


This week begins our Paris Experiment. You're going to research and we're going to expose you to information about Paris. This will continue for two weeks culminating in an exploratory essay on the process of  learning, especially how increased learning gives you a deeper and more nuanced understanding of any subject. In this case--Paris.

1) You write on Paris from what you know about it.

2) You research Paris on the internet and augment your knowledge with more written information.

3) You interview Mr. Rychlewski--who spent three years in Pari--and take notes on his remarks.

4) You research specific subjects that are mentioned in the movie Midnight in Paris and present them to the class.

5) You watch the movie and note the references.

5) We discuss how your new found cultural literacy concerning Paris helped you appreciate the movie.

6) We will look at a second movie about Paris, which you will take notes on and/or react to, and which will further re-arrange your opinions of the city.

7) There will be a culminating discussion on the subject of Paris, perhaps with the introduction of some additional material,

8) You will write a reflective paper using all of the information gleaned in the presvious two weeks. 



Week of 11 / 25


Rychlewski and Srotir work with each other's classes on various writing projects


Week of 11 / 18


Rychlewski and Srotir work with their own classes on various writing projects


Week of 11/ 11


Rychlewski and Srotir work with their own classes on various writing projects


Week of 11 / 4


Reaction of the election. Reflective essay on Swing State Project due Monday Nov 11.


Week of 10 / 29


Final Swing State presentations. Hand in the essay that compares the rhetorical strategy of Dana Milbank and Charles Krauthhammer.


Week of 10 / 22/ 12

On Thursday October 18th you began working on an essay due Monday October 22 discussing your impressions of Tuesdays second presidential debate.  If you have not seen the debate, go to YouTube and search for Complete Second Presidential Town Hall Debate. 

Your essay should focus on your evaluation of how the two debaters performed.  Use your knowledge of rhetorical devices and pathos/logos/ethos to support your assertions.  You may explore both the content of what the candidates say and the presentation of how they speak.  This essay should be typed and double-spaced.

Although this essay should predominately explore your own thoughts on the performance of the two candidates, you must also seek what other major news organizations are reporting about the debate to support your arguments.  Please look at major newspapers: Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, or The Times (a London paper).

Coming Weeks:

       Watch final debate on Monday, October 22nd

       Examine editorialists impressions of the town hall debate

       Second presentation focusing on what has changed since your first presentation (a lean, 5-minute report)

       Wiki Project Essay due (date tba)


Week of 10 / 15 / 12:

Let’s take a Michigan vacation for a day

This week-end go on the internet and find information on one (or two if you’re feeling frisky) of the following. Then we will come back Monday and construct a presentation based on all of our ideas, but especially yours.

  1. Find a pie chart--or other graph--that shows the change in the presidential race for the last two months in Michigan. Try to explain why these changes have occurred.
  2. Find at least one local columnist from the state of Michigan who has articulated the problems in that state and why the polls are where they are.
  3. Find a presidential video ad for each candidate in Michigan and summarize what it is saying in 50-100 words.
  4. Find the demographic make-up of Michigan. What does that demographic say about the election?
  5. What are the major economic issues in Michigan? How are the candidates addressing those issues?
  6. Explore the geography of Michigan. How might the geography of this state affect who votes for whom?
  7. Mitt Romney's father was the governor of Michigan. How does that fit into the equation?


Week of 10 / 8 / 12:


Work in teams in computer room gather documents for your Swing State presentation. Annotate Michael Moore's essay "Idiot Nation."


Week of 10 / 1 / 12


Swing State project all week. 8 minute presentations due on the following state: New Hampshire, Iowa. Nevada, Colorado


Week of 9/11/12:


The 40 minute take-home essay is due Monday.


During the week read "Five Crucial Factors to Watch Just 58 Days From the Election." You'll find it on the College Writing page. It's the last essay. We're going to  break into groups and pick key swing states and present what's happened in each state from now until election day.


Did you annotate both essays we talked about the first week?


How about the first two vocabulary lists? Are you studying them?