Love (and Cholera) is in the Air!

World Literature

October 3rd, 2009

Themes: ,

You can pick up your copies of Love in the Time of Cholera at Barnes and Noble. If you’re looking for a deal, Gardner’s may have a few copies as well. Dig in before Monday (read as far as you’d like, but hit at least the first chapter).

Don’t forget to journal. What are your first impressions? What is cholera? We’ll discuss the author’s style on Monday.

The Reading Journal Experiment

British Literature, World Literature

September 23rd, 2009

Themes: , , , , ,

On Monday I proposed a deal: If you keep a detailed (definition of “detailed” below) reading journal for our current work, one that includes as much or more information than an average essay, and turn it in at the end of the reading, you do not have to write a paper.

My hypothesis: A few of you would decide to just write the paper, as you are familiar with that routine and comfortable with your writing process; most of you would write down a few words you don’t know, perhaps a summary of the reading, a few questions, and be through with it; and a few would run with the idea, draw character maps, look up outside information, learn new words, come to class with questions about weird sentences and quote interesting passages.

The bell curve, right? Shame on me; I should have known better.

The past few days in class have blown me away. Nearly all of you have come to class with questions about the reading (or viewing, in Brit Lit), words you’re not sure about, connections you’ve made with outside works, points I’ve missed, and interpretations I hadn’t considered. You all seem to be enjoying the readings more (even though you have to write as you go), and understanding them in more depth. I’ve practically thrown out all my prepared questions for the past few days; yours are much better. I can’t wait to sit down with your journals at the end.

While I wrote this on the board, here is the list of things to look for or record in your journal:

You will turn in your journals the day after we finish the work. I will read them over that night, and return them to you the next day. I will not write in them, but simply give you advice on organization, some things you should focus on, etc. (I might steal some ideas for my own journal, too. Hope you don’t mind.)

If your journal is detailed enough (covers the entire work, or Act III through the end of Hamlet), you will be excused from the final essay. If you chose not to create a journal, or it seems a bit sparse (or is simply a list of quotations without your reactions), I will ask you to write the paper.

We will be creating reading journals for every reading assignment from here on out. For our next unit, I’ll show you how to write most of your essay in your journal before we even finish the novel.

Send me an email if you have questions, or post them below.

This is going to be an amazing year.

  1. is great for this. Simply put all of the words, separated by commas, into the search box, and you’ll have a list of definitions. For the truly adventurous, try this online etymology dictionary for where it came from and related words. []

The Scarlet Letter Reading Sched. 05.04-08

AP Language

May 3rd, 2009

Themes: , ,

We did it! Well, almost. We finished our discussion of "Another View of Hester" on Thursday, but did not get to "Hester and the Physician." In light of this, here is the reading schedule for this week:

Monday—Discussion of "Hester and the Physician," "Hester and Pearl," and "A Forest Walk." Pass out "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"

Tuesday—Discussion of "The Pastor and His Parishioner" and "A Flood of Sunshine"

Wednesday—Discussion of "The Child at the Brookside" and "The Minister in a Maze"

Thursday—Discussion of "The New England Holiday" and "The Procession"

Friday—Discussion of "The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter" and "Conclusion"

So, did I forget anything? Ahh yes. The paper. I promised to include Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery," so we will be discussing this in relation to The Scarlet Letter as we wrap up on Friday. Most of you have already read it, but it would be worth going over again sometime this week. (It’s in the back of your book.) I will also pass out "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Over the weekend you will write a synthesis essay. Utilizing themes from the three stories, you will write an essay in which you develop a position on the actions of the individuals in these small towns.

Some questions/statements to get you thinking:

This will be the framework of our discussions as we finish the novel.

The Scarlet Letter Reading Sched. Update

AP Language

April 26th, 2009


Dearest Students:

There comes a time in every unit when the reading schedule must be updated. Now is just such a time. I know it can be frustrating (if you put off a concert to discover Pearl’s true nature) or relieving (if you didn’t), but it must be done.  Therefore:

Monday—Review of essays and "Chapter VI: "Pearl," discussion of "Chapter VIII: The Elf Child and the Minister"

Tuesday—Discussion of "The Leech" and "The Leech and His Patient"

Wednesday—Discussion of "The Interior of a Heart" and "The Minister’s Vigil"

Thursday—Discussion of "Another View of Hester" and "Hester and the Physician"

Friday—Essay. (In the interest of not giving anything away, I’ll explain the prompt at the appropriate moment. Just know it will be argumentative [not an analysis] and will focus on the ethical treatment of a few characters.)

With warmest regards and best wishes,


MLK Comic and Nonfiction Books

AP Language

November 10th, 2008

Themes: , ,

Here’s an online copy of the 1956 "Montgomery Story" comic book, for those who are interested.

You should be choosing your nonfiction book tonight.  We will divide into groups tomorrow.  If you have questions about a book, or want to run an idea by me, send an email.

Remember, article analyses are due tomorrow.