Purple Hibiscus Unit: Schoology

schoology-heroFor our next shared text unit, we will be reading the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. We will be spending approximately three weeks on this book, and during that time, our learning will move to a “virtual classroom” in Schoology.

Schoology is an LMS—a learning management system—that the T/E school district will actually be implementing, grades 5-12, beginning next year. As a member of the District Technology Committee, I have been working with other teachers to learn more about the benefits of Schoology. And since you’re my students, you’ll be among the first to help me pilot a few of Schoology’s features! 🙂

So what does this mean for you?

Our entire Purple Hibiscus unit will be accessed through the Schoology platform (not mrsEbarvia.com). To access these materials, go to schoology.tesd.net. Use your district network email and password.

Once you log on to Schoology, you’ll see a menu bar at the top. Click on Courses and then select World Lit. From there, you’ll find the Purple Hibiscus folder with our course materials.

Schoology Screenshot

Note that the screenshot above is a TEACHER view, which is why you see all class periods listed. In STUDENT view, you should just see your class period.

NOTE: While you are in Schoology, you will notice your other courses and teachers. Ignore any activity on Schoology not related to English class unless otherwise directed by a teacher. Several teachers are experimenting with Schoology’s features, so you may notice, for example, that your math teacher has scheduled a quiz or your social studies teacher has created an assignment. Unless those teachers specifically direct you to complete assignments in Schoology—like I am here—you should ignore all other activity not related to our class. If you have questions, just let me know.

Schoology is an extension of our classroom. That said, remember that all interactions in Schoology must be classroom friendly and appropriate. Practice positive online behavior. Remember that things online can sometimes be more easily misinterpreted. Take care in how you interact with others. Be sure to read the Best Practices for Online Interactions handout on the Schoology website.

Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

FIRST, enter all books that you have finished reading to the online Independent Reading Log (in the menu above).

SECOND, share your favorite Read-a-Thon title with a “notable quotable” from the book. How? Each class period will create a Powerpoint presentation that collects together the best “notable quotables” from your favorite Read-a-Thon books. Each student will be responsible for creating one slide for the presentation.

Go to your specific class period’s Powerpoint Presentation by clicking the appropriate link below:

Once you click on the link, you’ll be taken to an online Powerpoint presentation. You may be asked to log in to your Office365 account. Use your school username and password.

When you see the Powerpoint, you will be in “View Only” mode. From the top menu, click on “Edit Presentation” and choose “Edit in Powerpoint Online.” Find your assigned slide number (find your number here). Edit only that slide.

IMPORTANT: Do not change anyone else’s slide. If you accidentally edit or delete someone else’s slide, quickly “Undo” in Powerpoint (use CTRL-Z on a PC or CMD-Z on a Mac).


On your slide, include the following:

  1. An image of your book cover
  2. One notable quotable (from your index cards)
  3. Title and Author
  4. “Recommended by” with your first name and last initial and then your graduating year (i.e. “Class of”)

Some tips:

  • Try to select a quote from a book that you would recommend to others to read. These books and presentations may be featured in the school library.
  • Choose your quote wisely. The best “notable quotables” are those that will pique a reader’s interest. Be sure that it’s a quote that can stand alone and still be meaningful.
  • Use an appropriate font type and color to match your book cover design.
  • Check your spelling and punctuation.
  • See the samples below. Click to enlarge.

Tell the Wolves PPT Slide

Mosquitoland PPT slide (2)


DUE DATE: Your Powerpoint Slide is due by the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) on WEDNESDAY, 3/30.

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).

TFA Review

On Monday, March 7, we will have our Things Fall Apart in-class essay test. You’ll be given a choice of 2-3 prompts. Answer the prompt in a 5-part essay (introduction, narration, confirmation, refutation, conclustion).  Be sure that your thesis statement is specific, with a debatable view, that directly answers the essay question. Then support your thesis with ample evidence from the text. While you will not be required to quote the text, you will need to include at least three well-developed examples in the confirmation section of your essay.

To help you, you may use one of the following during the test:

  • All of your typed homeworks (must be printed out, not on your device). If needed, you may annotate your homeworks.
  • An original “cheat sheet.” This sheet can be up to 8.5 x 11 in size, and you may use the front and back. You may include any notes on this cheat sheet but your content must be original. In other words, you are not allowed to copy/paste information found from Spark Notes or other similar sources. Instead, review all the notes you have taken during this unit (and there are a lot!) and draw from this information to create your cheat sheet.

John Green + Things Fall Apart = Crash Course!

To review, you may also want to watch this Annenberg World Literature Video Series: Things Fall Apart. It reviews all the major themes in the novel.

Things Fall Apart Assignment

UPDATE: FRI, 2/19 | The reading schedule has been adjusted. Note changes below.

M: 2/22 T, 2/23 Chapters 17 – 19
T: 2/23 TH, 2/24 Chapters 20 – 22
W: 2/24 F, 2/25 Chapters 23 – 25

Don’t forget that you should submitting one question from your homework every night. That means that by Tuesday, you should have submitted six questions online. We will be using these questions next week and after we finish the book for review.

NOTE: Because of the ADL presentations on Monday, the vocab quiz is postponed until Tuesday.


UPDATE: WED, 2/10 | Because of my absence today, Chapters 5-7 are due Friday, 2/12 (not Thursday, 2/10, as originally planned). The rest of the schedule remains intact unless otherwise noted later.


As we read Things Fall Apart, consult your reading schedule and assignment guide (distributed in class). A sample assignment is included; follow the format indicated.

Each night, read 3-4 chapters; then respond to the reading in two ways.

First, you’ll identify and type three significant quotations from the reading. Don’t forget to include the appropriate context and intro clause.

Second, you’ll construct three questions about your reading—a literal question, an inferential question, and a critical question—and then answer the questions in complete sentences.

Third, when you’re finished, submit one of your questions online here. We will use these questions as the basis for discussion during class (questions must be submitted before class begins to receive credit).

Remember QQS: Find three quotations, ask/answer three questionssubmit one question.

LITERAL (text-based question)

  • Answers can be found in the text; verifiable
  • Questions answer who, where, what, how, and when
  • Takes the reader into the text
  • Tip: Don’t ask about any fact; be sure it’s a significant fact.
  • Example: Whom does Romeo kill? Where does George tell Lenny to go if he gets in trouble again?

INFERENTIAL (text-based question)

  • Answers found in the text, based on details and examples from multiple places throughout the text
  • Questions answer why, how, and so what
  • Takes the reader through the text, to evaluate and draw conclusions based on the text and read in between the lines
  • Tip: While the answer to a factual question can be found in one place in the text, the answer to an inductive question can be found by looking at multiple places in the text.
  • Example: Why does George continue to care for Lenny after all the trouble he causes? Why does Jack care so much about hunting? What does Don John mean when he says that he is “plain dealing villain”?

CRITICAL (Text, Text-Reader, Text-World, Reader-Text-World questions)

  • Answers found in the text but also makes connections to the reader and world
  • Questions answer how are these similar, different, or related?
  • Can take the reader beyond the text, to analyze the text against other ideas, events, situations, literature
  • Tip: The answers to these questions require you to bring in your own knowledge or experience to the text; think about how the novel reflects “bigger” issues or universal concerns.
  • Example: Evaluate the actions that lead to Ralph’s near downfall on island. – Notice that this is only a text-question but it goes deeper than inferential because you are required to bring additional judgement. How does Lord of the Flies reflect the horrors experienced during WWII?  What does Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship tell us about relationships during Shakespeare’s time? How is Jack’s leadership style reflected in history and today’s society?

And don’t forget: SUBMIT ONE OF YOUR QUESTIONS ONLINE HERE. You do NOT need to post the answer to the question online.

LOTF Essay Writing Reminders

This week (2/1), we will be working on drafting and composing our Lord of the Flies essays. Check back here all week for the schedule and reminders.

NOTE: The 50 quotations we reviewed last week is linked in the previous post below.

MONDAY, 2/1

  • During Class – Review the 5 parts of the classical arrangement model for literary analysis (same model we used for MAAN – Click here and here for those handouts). Complete the outline for your essay (last page of packet); begin typing essay if time available
  • Tonight – Submit your thesis statement online by clicking here. Finish your outline. Type at least one page of your essay, any part.

TUESDAY, 2/2

  • During Class – Write and/or revise the narration portion of your essay by following the Sway tutorial and steps outlined here. When you finish, get started on the confirmation portion of your essay. Remember to review how to properly integrate quotes using the context—quote—significance method we reviewed both for the midterm and for the MAAN essay.
  • Tonight – Write at least one more page, beginning with the confirmation. NOTE: Do not worry about the introduction at this point. If you have one already, great. If not, you can go back and write the introduction later. By tomorrow, at minimum, you should have the thesis statement, narration, and first few pages of the confirmation (at least two pages, if not more).

WEDNESDAY, 2/3

  • Tonight – Write another page. You should be at least halfway through the confirmation portion of your essay and as such, you shoudl have already discussed at least 2 or even 3 of your examples from the text. Be sure that you embed or integrate your quotes smoothly into the essay using the context-quotation-significance (“quote sandwich”) method. Here is a link to a Prezi I created that goes over the format. 

THURSDAY, 2/4

FRIDAY, 2/5

Be sure to review all tutorials here and listed above from this past week before you print your final copy of your rough draft.


MONDAY, 2/8

Review this Revision Sway. Take your time and  make notes on your rough draft.

FINAL COPY due on turnitin.com by Monday, 2/15, 11:59 p.m.