May 5

Unless you contact me, your creative project is due in class. An emailed copy is due by 5.00 PM. If I do not receive the emailed copy on time, your project grade will be reduced by 10 points.



May 3

Finish The Buried Giant. 

Rather than doing your literature circle role, 1) identify a quotation that sums up how you feel about the ending of the story, and 2) on an index card, write an open-ended discussion question. You will receive a little extra credit for this, 2 points/assignment on an all-or-nothing basis.

Interested in knowing more about the nuclear bombing of Japan, or the American actions towards Japanese-Americans in World War 2? Check out these links:

  • Hardcore History podcast; “The Destroyer of Worlds“. Excellent history of nuclear development & warfare. Very compelling. Perfect for your drive home!
  • George Takei, “Internment, America’s Great Mistake.” A short essay in the NYT about what happened during the internment of Asian Americans and the lessons we should learn for today.

Remember, your final creative project is due in class on Friday, May 5. Please work hard at doing your very best!

April 12

As I’m finishing up grading your second projects, I’m thinking ahead to what I can do to support you on the final project. I’ve created a form that helps me understand how you completed the project. Please fill out the form.

Because it’s important for you to fill out the form, in order to provide me with enough information to teach you well, I am giving you three points of extra credit for filling out the form. Some of you missed a few points on one of your early literature circle roles, and this will help you make up for it.

Here’s the link: Creative Project Form

Please note, you will need to email me when you’ve completed the form, for me to assign you extra credit. The form is set up to be anonymous, and so I won’t be able to go through and give you extra credit.

I must get your response by class time on Wednesday to give you credit.

In class on Wednesday, we’ll continue our discussion of the novel’s themes & characters. Come ready to talk & bring your book.

April 10

Do your literature circle role. Write your work out (in order to get full credit, be detailed, use full sentences, and follow directions exactly!) and submit it in your folder at the end of class.

Also, I’m thinking ahead to the final project & created a checklist for you, which you can use to make sure that your work is the best it possibly can be. Head over to the Course Documents page if you want to download it.

April 3

Your creative project is due in class. Please have it printed off & ready to go, so you’re not late to class. 🙂 Remember, I don’t accept emailed copies unless you make arrangements with me beforehand.

Also, now that you have your literature circle role assignments, you may start reading the novel. Your first role will be due on April 5.


March 31

At the end of class on Wednesday, you sat down with your literature circle group & chose literature circle roles.

Read, “Journey of the Magi” (link & audio version available here), print off a copy for class, and do the literature circle role you are assigned. You may print off a copy of the relevant chart from the “Novel Homework” under “Course Documents,” or you may create your own chart on a blank sheet of paper.

When you come to class, you’ll work with your literature circle groups to discuss the poem.

Submit your homework in a folder at the end of class.


March 29

Read “The Dragon,” posted under the “Readings” part of the course website. Do your assigned role: Word Lover, Connector, or Teacher; and write one discussion question & one “question tracker” type question. You may write this in your notebooks.

(If you were not in class, pick a role based on your birthdate: Jan-April birthdays, do “Word Lover”; May – September birthdays; do “Connector”; October-December Birthdays, do “Teacher. You will find directions for this homework under the “Novel Homework” packet in “Course Documents”.)

Email me 1) one person you really want to work with for the literature circle groups, and 2) one person you don’t really want to work with. This email will be 100% confidential. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume you’re cool working with anybody!

Extra credit: 

Write your thesis statement (your answer to the prompt), outline (the order in which your points will appear in your project, based on your thesis), and select a format for your project (e.g. soundtrack, collage) and email me. This is exactly like you did last time, and you will receive five points fro it. Email due by class time on Wednesday.

Buy your copy of The Buried Giant. THIS IS VERY URGENT AND NEEDS TO BE DONE ASAP. If you bring it to class on Wednesday, you will receive three points of extra credit.



March 27

Please access and read the “Novel Homework” packet under “Course Documents,” available now.

You’re encouraged to start working on your next creative project! The project is due April 3 in class. 

Want to earn some extra credit? You may do so one of two ways:

  • No later than class time on Wednesday, March 29 email me 1) your thesis statement, which should be simply your answer to the prompt, 2) an outline sketch, which is simply the order in which you’ll present your points, based on the thesis, and 3) your project selection (e.g. soundtrack, collage, etc). You will receive five points for completing this work, about half a letter grade on the project.
  • Purchase your novel & bring it to class on Wednesday, March 29. (We won’t actually use it in class, but I need to see with my own eyes that you’ve got it.) This will earn you three points.12801531_1193895680645131_5549133793676385749_n

March 24

Read “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” available under the “Lit Readings” tab of the course website.

Print out a copy, and as you read, underline the sentences that tell us something important about the character & lifestyle of the people that live in the city of Omelas. What kinds of things do they do? How would you describe the way they live? What kind of people are they? Underline sentences that answer these questions, then write the answers in the margins.

On page 3, you will read about a child. In another color, underline the sentences that tell us something important about this child’s life, and explain what you learn from these sentences in the margins of the story.

Marking up the story this way will help you get a feel for how the story is structured, along with helping you notice important details about the characters in the story. As usual, marking up a physical copy of the text generally helps you think more deeply about it.

I’ve put an essay by David Brooks, published in the New York Times, up along with the story; we’ll discuss some of his points in class, but if you want to get a head start, fel free to read the essay as well.

Trigger warning: This story contains descriptions of (fictional) child abuse.