Thursday December 6

We’ll begin today by taking up the “What Makes Us Moral” article and the Tonya Harding articles. These are already marked and returned in Google Classroom.

Then you will be working on writing your rough draft. This is due on Monday for peer editing.

Wednesday December 5

I’m away this afternoon. Here’s what you’re working on:

  1. Did you forget to read that article “What Makes Us Moral?” and answer the questions that followed? That was due on Friday. Are you looking to get coal in your stocking? Because that’s how you get coal in your stocking. Get it done. via GIPHY
  2. Your outline for your essay is due today.
  3. I have posted an assignment for you in Google Classroom that also must be completed today called “THE TONYA HARDING AND NANCY KERRIGAN SCANDAL” Follow the link in Google classroom. You will have comprehension questions to complete as you read.

We will be discussing both articles when I come back tomorrow so the MUST BE DONE.

Don’t disappoint Santa.




Monday December 3

I’m away at a subject council meeting today so here’s what you’re working on:

Your thesis statement. (See Google Classroom) This is due today and so is your final synthesis paper.

How to Generate a Good Thesis Statement

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes.
It will:

  1. take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, that is, there could be an equally valid counter-argument.
  2. deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment.
    develop one main idea.
  3. assert your conclusions about a subject.

Brainstorm your topic:

Write down everything you can think of that’s related to your topic. You have already done this, but you may wish to revisit your brainstorming and expand on initial ideas.

Narrow it down:

Review your brainstorming and look for ideas that come up more than once. Start making connections. Identify things that wouldn’t be obvious to most readers of the literary work upon first glance.

Can you take your topic and turn it into a question? (Please note: for the purposes of illustration only, Sherlock Holmes will be used in the next examples.)

For example, if you wanted to look at the role of Watson as a foil for Sherlock Holmes, you might ask “What function does Watson serve in the Sherlock Holmes novels?” Your next step is to answer the question. Your answer can become the basis for a thesis statement.

Take a position on the topic.
Watson’s primary role in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is as a foil for Sherlock Holmes.


Be specific.
What are Watson’s characteristics?
What are Holmes’s?
How does the author depict Holmes’s more unpleasant characteristics?
What are the specific words, phrases, or examples of imagery used?
What is the significance of having Watson as a narrator?
This might lead you to…


In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle positions John Watson as a loyal and sympathetic narrator, and foil, to contrast Sherlock Holmes’s more antisocial qualities, which both emphasizes Holmes’s quirky character traits, while giving the reader someone likable with whom they can identify.

This is much more complex than just saying “Watson’s role is as a foil.”

Thursday November 29

Make sure you completed the google form from yesterday. You will have time to work on your final synthesis paper if you choose to (it’s due Monday), but we’re going to gradually introduce Macbeth. We’ll start by discussing the learning goals and success criteria for the Macbeth unit which are going to mostly be focused on media expectations. Then I want you to begin your descent into the madness that is Macbeth by reading an article on morality. See “What Makes us Moral” in Google classroom.


Wednesday November 28

We’re going to start today by reviewing the learning goals for this unit:

Then you’ll work on your final synthesis paper.

Thursday November 22

Today we’re going to start by talking about how to improve your synthesis papers.

  1. MLA format
  2. Supporting your ideas with evidence from the text
  3. State, illustrate, explain.
  4. Integrating quotations into your writing.
  5. Drawing conclusions.

Then you can continue working on your next synthesis paper or reading journals.

Please read yesterday’s blog post from yesterday. It is the focus for your third and final set of reader’s journals.

Today you are working on your reader’s journal amd synthesis paper—both due Monday.

Tuesday November 20

Today we’re working on our synthesis papers and reader’s journals for your final meeting.

What should you be focusing on for your next set of reader’s journals?

The Power of Language

Language is powerful because it can affect us in a variety of ways:

Intellectually, by conveying ideas/impressions/suggestions to the reader. Imaginatively, by conveying sensory impressions to the reader, especially visual and auditory effects. Emotionally, by creating feelings within the reader, e.g. excitement, fear, pity, anger, suspense. Aesthetically, by appealing to the reader’s sense of what is beautiful in the language. Physically, this is much more difficult to achieve, but a text that takes the reader on a terrifying roller-coaster of events filled with horror and gore might create such physical manifestations such as goose bumps, or, in extreme cases, even nausea; particular words or phrases may help to generate the moments of high intensity which make this possible.

When analyzing an author’s use of language, you want to avoid writing things that are vague (i.e., “It creates interest.” or “It helps create an image in the reader’s mind.” or “It helps the writing flow.”). Instead, be very specific about the effect that it creates for the reader. Here is an example of a student analysis of language. Notice how the student states her point, illustrates with an example, and then elaborates.

The author begins by making a direct address to the reader (“you”), instantly involving the reader in what is about to be written. The phrase “if you dare” would certainly create suspense by suggesting that this could well be an exciting and thrilling read. The ellipsis after this challenge has the effect of further drawing the reader in. The author has also written the passage in the present tense, thus bringing the reader even closer to the event by creating the illusion of immediacy.

At the beginning of the next paragraph, the phrase “late at night” definitely helps to set the scene and establish an eerie atmosphere because it intimates danger, as does the heavily punctuated reference to being “alone”. The frequent mention of the main character’s preoccupation with his / her book also adds tautness to the writing as the reader has already been strongly encouraged to believe that this character should really be much more vigilant.

The author then further ratchets up the tension, and the reader’s emotional engagement with the writing, by use of the simile “the isolation which completely surrounds you and which clings to you like a second skin”. It encourages the reader to imagine how vulnerable the main character is by the fact that he/she is all alone and far removed from any possible source of help. Furthermore, the reference to “a second skin” may well conjure up in the reader’s imagination a fleeting impression of nakedness, thus further increasing the sense of this character’s vulnerability.

The metaphor “darkness devours” is further satisfying in both an imaginative and intellectual sense because it suggests that the night itself is also a nocturnal predator. Because the darkness is depicted as being so pervasive, it implies that there is danger everywhere and adds even more menace to the writing.

In this final chunk, your focus should be on the author’s use of language. You may wish to review this list of literary devices.  As you focus on language in this activity, consider the following quotation:

One important thing that can be learned by reading slowly is the seemingly obvious but oddly underappreciated fact that language is the medium we use in much the same way a composer uses notes, the way a painter uses paint. . . . it’s surprising how easily we lose sight of the fact that words are the raw material out of which literature is crafted.

-Francine Prose