English 9

Always evaluate the websites you access before you believe what you read!

Power Point - A Lesson on Evaluating Websites contributed by Angela Tarr

A Study of Survivalism in The Odyssey and Other Literature contributed by Sonja Stewart

This research topic for English I students has evolved over the years on our campus. It has roots in the study of The Odyssey. A few years ago from the literary study, topics of survival and survivalism began to emerge until this exploration became a full-fledged research paper. Considering the headlines we continually witness about disasters, natural and man-made disasters, courtroom shootings, child kidnapping, it's very relevant. The following video demonstrates how seriously some prepare for survival of any catastrophic event. After the video let's look at some writing options for this paper.

Survivalism Writing Options:
1. English I students generally are either guided to a small collection or given greater latitude in selecting a social problem that had to be overcome. Students will choose a book that features a character that dealt with a social problem. For example, a student might consider the problem of deadbeat dad worth exploring using the book, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelly. A monster was created by a mad scientist, Victor
Frankenstein and then was abandoned by his creator. Sounds an awful lot like a deadbeat dead.

2. Students are to examine three short stories dealing with the same social issue/problem. Students will do a compare and contrast of the characters who cope with the issue.

3. Students will decide on social issue from a literary work and bring it forward to the newspaper headlines today. For example, Julius Caesar was betrayed by the men he trusted to protect him and his agenda. How is that similar and dissimilar to Gen. Stanley McChrystal for unflattering remarks in a Playboy Magazine interview? Did Newt GIngrich feel betrayed by he key campaign strategist who all quit early in the 2012 presidential primary campaign?

We have more than a few novels that focus on survivalism. I have uploaded a bibliography of the works we have in the library. This bibliography includes short summaries of each book. After you have selected the novel and writing option, you are ready to begin the process of gathering information to see what approach you might take with this paper.

When you began to consider your social problem, you may be uncertain as you move forward because you may not know how to fully explain your topic. You may not have the vocabulary for topic to conduct keyword search. You will find subject directories very useful in these cases. You the following links to access the most popular subject directories:
Google Directory
Yahoo Directory

If you read a novel and the survival theme just doesn't seem all that apparent to you perhaps you could the assistance of some online literary guides that list the themes for you. Often there is a lot of debate about the misuse of the tools. Don't get trapped by trying to substitute reading the actual work for a quick scanning of these notes. Use them for the valuable tools they are as guides for literary devices, character analysis, short plot reviews. Stick these types of uses and you'll be fine.


Ask for help as often as you need it.

English 10

Don't be an information thief! What is plagiarism and how can you avoid it?

Plagairism is taking someone else's ideas and using them as your own. Ideas can be in the form of words, music, and even pictures. Whenever you are using an idea that is not common knowledge, you need to cite where you found your information. This includes images you use and music in multimedia presentations. Plagiarizing, even if it is not intentional, is still considered an academic crime and can have severe consequences. Here are some helpful interactive sites to help you identify what plagairism is and how to avoid it by paraphrasing and citing sources correctly.

First off, some short videos from Rutgers University's Paul Robeson Library. Notice how the writer in the second film goes through her paper line by line to check if she has included all of her footnotes. You get to play along with The Cite is Right in the third video.

Then let's move on to You Quote It, You Note It! by Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia University. Here you will get to pick a character and follow along as your student writes a paper. It has fun graphics and crucial information.

What have you learned so far? Take a moment and share this information with someone. You can tell someone near you, send an e-mail, write a blog post, send a twitter or even add to this wiki. Or, here is an idea, use snail mail. Remember that? Don't forget the stamp.

Finally we have two different interactive choices. The first is Avoiding Plagiarim by Longman Publishers. This is an extremely thorough site that will take you through all forms of citation, as well as paraphrasing. It is written at a college level.

If you still do not think plagiarism is a big deal, here is a cautionary tale of a student expelled from a program for, as she claims, unintential plagairism. Learn how to avoid stealing information so you are not the next example.

Think you can identify plagiarism? Take this quick self-test and see how you do!

PowerPoint - A Lesson in Avoiding Plagiarism contributed by Angela Tarr

More About Citing Sources

A contribution by Andrea Dumais

In addition to the valuable information in the previous sections about identifying and avoiding plagiarism, Purdue University's OWL website is an excellent resource for writing and citing sources.

Researching Literary Terms--Not Just Copy and Pasting Anymore

When researching literary terms for Sophocles' Antigone, my students were able to apply all of their new knowledge about research, citation, and plagiarism. Here's the assignment:

Literary Terms: Sophocles' Antigone

Your job is to research the literary term: ___.

Catharsis Tragedy Hubris Dynamic/Static Character Chorus (in Greek Plays) Protagonist/Antagonist
Exposition Conflict Soliloquy/Monologue/Aside

Please find at least TWO sources that have RELIABLE information (they must pass the “CRAAP” test) and synthesize the information to create the definition of the term in YOUR OWN words. You can cite your sources in your explanation!

Source with author and page(Last Name Page)
Source with author and no page(Last Name Paragraph)
Source with no author and no “obvious” paragraphs
(Lee 39)
(Achebe par. 4)
(“Purdue Online Writing Lab”)
(“University Writing Center Texas A&M”)
Check out my model "Prezi"!

Ms. B's Model Prezi

English 11

A contribution by Joanne Didriksen

The American Dream is defined differently by each of us and has changed dramatically throughout time. Consider what the American Dream means to you and draft a personal defintion after reading the Wikipedia article, viewing the video, and exploring the PBS web site. It wouldn't hurt to have a conversation with your parents, grandparents, and friends about how they would define the American Dream.

Know that your definition will change throughout your life and throughout this year as you explore how the American Dream is reflected in the American Literature we will read. For example after reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald you may think differently about including wealth and status in your definition. Reading The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday may cause you to consider the effect that your ancestors have on your interpretation of the American Dream or the importance that land--home--adds to your definition. After connecting to Jim and Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you may want to include an element about human dignity in your definition.

Two novels by Ernest J. Gaines further explore the significant issue of human dignity, viewed especially from the perspective of African Americans, but also touching on other "minorities" such as women, the elderly, the uneducated and educated, the poor, and others typically viewed as oppressed. In A_Lesson_Before_Dying, set in the 1940's, Gaines contrasts two young men whose relationship leads both men -- a teacher and a condemned man -- to discover their manhood and pride in self. In a later work, A_Gathering_of_Old_Men, Gaines reinforces similar themes as 15 narrators find their voice, retell their history, and face death by choosing to battle years of bigotry and injustices at the hands of those in their Cajun community: the wealthy, whites, police and other government officials. In both works, the struggle to define, reach for, and achieve the American Dream will not be easily faced nor won.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston may make you realize the need for a strong spirit in order to endure hardships. Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men will surely help refine your definition to include the necessity of relationships/friendships in a world that can be so isolating. Watch video here.. Social justice may creep into your definition after watching Walter Younger suffer from discrimination when his will to provide for his family is so powerful in Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun. (Read a digital copy of the book here.) Don't neglect to focus on the play's opening reference to Langston Hughes' "Dream Deferred," for in this short poem , the speaker defines the agony of a life void of dreams.

The war that brought about a change in how Americans viewed patriotism is explored intimately in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried; perhaps considering our country's sacrifices in war will change how you define your American Dream.

Your definitions will most likely change and we will keep track of these changes in the future on our class blog!

**John Steinbeck** and The Grapes of Wrath
A contribution by Pamela Stevens

Steinbeck's characters in The Grapes of Wrath endure extraordinary hardships as they remain optimistic about their own dreams. Ma Joad dreams of keeping her family together and safe in a place so different from their home. Jim Casy dreams of galvanizing the migrant workers to create an organization that will protect them from exploitation and prejudice. Tom Joad dreams of finding his role in the world. Watch John Ford’s 1940 classic film version starring Henry Fonda here.
Regardless of the horrors the men, women, and children faced during the Dustbowl of America's midwest during The Great Depression, they remained optimistic that their lives would improve. They held their dreams close, fought to remain the last man in their communities, and were determined to work their way back to the lives they lived before. An American Experience film describes the lives of several Midwest farmers who lived through these devastating times. Others share the accounts of the “Box Car Children” who jumped the trains and travelled the country.
These characters suffer the consequences of an economic disaster, a decade-long drought with destructive dust storms, perhaps exacerbated by poor farming techniques; destructive insect plagues; bankruptcy and forced relocation; virtual slave labor; blistering heat and flooding rains; death; starvation...and hope. Although fictional, Steinbeck's characters find their lives extended into art, music, and literature. Using the characters for inspiration, many readers convey their connection through music, music videos, art, photography, or poetry.
Steinbeck travelled the same roads from Oklahoma to California to research the conditions of the "Okies"; the story of the development of the novel is described in a National Public Radio report. Dorothea Lange's famous photograph Migrant Mother often is used to depict the plight of the migrant families of The Great Depression.
After its publication, Steinbeck himself faced the wrath of farmers in California and across the United States. Read through a collection of newspaper articles from the 1940s offered by the Library of Congress.
Because many economist say that the current recession teetered becoming another period of depression, you might find it useful to view actual images taken during this economic disaster. It would be interesting if you would take one of these photos featuring children and retroactively create a Public Service Announcement on the style of the Save The Children campaign. These photos are unique because they are in color. That is a bit of a rarity for the time. You may also explore giving voice to the people in the photographs. How would they explain their circumstance?

English 12

Origins of the English Language.

The Legacy of the Norman Conquest

Perhaps the most monumental date in the development of English was October 14, 1066. When Harold the Saxon fell to the archers of William the Conqueror in The Battle of Hastings, the seeds for modern English were sown. As a direct result of the conquest, the English language is the largest in the world both in terms of the number of words in the English vocabulary and in terms of the number of speakers worldwide: a truely impressive acheivement for a language spoken by a population of only several million at the time of the conquest.

Orwell's Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
Soviet Propaganda

George Orwell's short beast fable is an allegory that presents the corruption of socialism as the Bolshevik Communists turned a revolution into a totalitarian rule. Orwell's work demonstrates how one group gains control of another and manipulates the other groups through tools such as propaganda and illiteracy. Peruse this Animal Farm.ppt provided by www.worldofteaching.com.

Cultural perspective in Hamlet and Things Fall Apart
-Contributed by Joshua Farrish
In my AP English class, I teach a unit in which students read both Shakespeare's Hamlet and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. While the texts depict two wildly different culrures, they also have a lot in common. Both texts feature protagonists that meet Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero, and they both deal with complex parent-child relationships. I use the article "Shakespeare in the Bush" by Laura Bonnerman to link the two texts.

It's a fascinating article about an anthropologist who tries to explain the plot of Hamlet to African tribesmen. She learns that cultural differences cause them to interpret the play in dramatically different ways, calling into question her perception that the play contained some form of universal meaning.

Macbeth Content