Let’s Get Reading!

Check out the book trailers below to get ideas for titles you’d like to read during Read-A-Thon. Remember that you need to have your first book with you in class, ready to go, on Wednesday, 3/9. Feel free to stop by the school library, borrow a book from me, or go to the local library or book store to get your books!

If you have any special requests for titles, please leave a comment (see link above or below).

Much Ado Essay (and Updates)

Over the next few days, we will be writing our Much Ado essays. Now that you have a good draft of your essay question completed, you’ll begin the task of sitting down to answer it.

To view all submitted essay questions, click here.

If you are struggling with formulating an essay question, try this one: What can  Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing teach today’s readers about X? (where X might equal any of the following: gender differences, the importance of honor, the effects of deception, etc.).

To answer your question, you’ll write a 5-part essay (not a 5-paragraph essay). To learn more about the 5-part essay, read a sample that I wrote by clicking here (Period 3: you may find it helpful to print out a copy to annotate).

As you read, consider what goes in each part; in other words, what is the purpose of each part of the essay?

Note: Your introduction doens’t need to be as long as the sample, nor does it have to be a personal anecdote like mine. Other types of intros are possible (see box in the link).

Now, review the key differences between a traditional 5-paragraph essay and a 5-part essay (in the real world, it’s called a Classical arrangement, which is a tried-and-true form that was first established by the ancient Greeks and that we still use and find in much of professional writing today). Click here to see an outline of the 5-PART essay and the key differences between the two forms.  

NOTE: This weekend, I will be writing up more examples of the 5-part essay. A link will be posted here shortly, so come back to check it out. Click here for two more sample outlines of 5-part essays using To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet. In particular, note the different types of introductions and thesis statements.

Now go back to the sample essay(s) I wrote and note the following:

  • How does the introduction transition to the text?
  • Where is the thesis statement? What is in the thesis statement?
  • How are the quotations from the book integrated and cited?

As you can tell, the 5-part essay is much more flexible. At the same time, it’s also more logical. You start broad from either the Reader circle or the World circle and then connect to a R-T or R-W or even an R-T-W question. Then you answer that question by looking at examples in the text from the beginning, middle, and end (your body paragraphs can follow this organization; that’s what I did in my sample essay). Before you conclude, you consider other points of view (this is the Refutation part) and then conclude with a “final thesis.”

One thing you might consider doing is posing a question in the Introduction or Narration (for example: What would drive Claudio to reject, and moreover, to publicly shame Hero in the way that he did?). Then you use the Confirmation body paragraphs to answer that question (for example: by examining Hero and Claudio’s relationship as it unfolds chronologically in the play). In the Refutation, you consider other possible answers to the question (for example:  other theories as to why Claudio  did what he did, like maybe he was primarily acting out of his own feelings of betrayal) and then in the Conclusion, you argue that X reason is the  best answer to that question (for example: Because of the  differing expectations for men and women in society at the time, Claudio’s actions are deemed acceptable).

Next week’s schedule:

MONDAY: Much Ado quiz (for periods 5 and 6) and Vocab Quiz (all periods, up to word #40), then either IR or continue working on  your essay (BYOD, or laptops available). One IR reflection is due. Note: After Monday, we will pause our IR reading to make space/time for reading Lord of the Flies, which will be distributed in class this week.

TUESDAY: Work on essay in class (BYOD, or laptops available). Continue working on essay at home.

WEDNESDAY: Background on LOTF.  Books distributed. Begin reading in class and taking sticky notes; Work on essay at home.

THURSDAY: Read LOTF in class, take sticky notes. Work on essay at home.

FRIDAY: First draft of essay due. Read LOTF in class/take sticky notes and at home. No AoW due.

NEXT WEEK: Read LOTF in class/take sticky notes. Finish book by the Monday, 1/4. Revise essay over break; final copy due Tuesday, 1/5 Thursday, 1/7.

When your summer bucket list is too long…

Like most teachers (and students, I’m sure), by the time 4th marking period rolls around, I’m already dreaming of all the things I’m going to do once the summer begins. Finally, I say to myself, now I have the time to do everything I’ve been wanting to do, all the projects around the house that have gone neglected during the school year. Every room in the house needs a fresh coat of paint, the boys’ rooms need remodeling, as does our very outdated 1970s laundry room (our stylish 1980s kitchen is just too big a project to tackle any time soon).

I’ve been on vacation officially for two weeks (our last day was June 24). How much of my grand remodeling have I gotten done? Continue reading

A Year in Our Reading Lives: An Infographic

As the culminating project for their 9th grade year, my students created an infographic to represent their year in reading. They included the 9 books they read as part of the course (our “whole class” novels) and then any additional books they completed as part of our independent reading endeavors. I’m so incredibly proud of the reading they accomplished, and I think the highlights in the gallery below speak for themselves:

(Click here to see assignment details.)

Slice of Life 31: Purpose with a capital P


I came across this infographic in one of my social media feeds the other day and immediately saved it. I tried to locate the original source by doing a reverse image Google search, but it looks like the image has been copied/pasted around so much on the great and wonderful world wide web that locating the source is beyond my Googling prowess. So if, by some small chance, the creator is reading this, thank you.

The infographic got me thinking about Purpose with a capital P. And it reminded me of a question I ask students, the same question to bookend the school year.

Ask me anything.

Continue reading