Monday 9-19-11

Read An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Pierce and then in your journal answer the following questions in complete sentences:

1. What does the third paragraph reveal about the character of the man who about to be hanged?
2. a) What sound does the condemned man hear as he waits to be hanged? b) What does he mistake this sound for and what is it really? c) What does this show about his state of mind?
3. What thought does he have just before the sergeant steps aside? How is this connected with what later goes through Farquhar's mind?
4. a) How much of what occurred in the story was real and what was fantasy? Explain. b) Why is the next to the last paragraph told in the present tense?
5. Some say that the theme of this story is the passion for survival. Briefly discuss how this story supports that theme.

Vocabulary Words (bell, pac/peas) [Use complete sentences to respond and include the underlined word in the sentence]
  • Some children are rebellious, especially when they get older. Explain something a child might do that would be rebellious.
  • Sometimes parents pacify their children. Explain a situation that might occur where a parent might appease their child.

According to, these are the words you should know in grades 6-8

Monday 9-26-11 and Thursday 9-29-11

Read silently to yourself as the audio portion of The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry reads aloud to you. The goal for this story is to improve your fluency, which is the speed at which you read while correctly articulating the words. I will have you read the story to me when we meet and expect you to read as well as the reader has read it to you. So you may need to read it several times with the audio of the story.

Today we are going to consider four literary terms, sometimes called literary elements, that are at play in this story.
1) The first literary term is allusion. Click on the links to literary terms and read the definition and the examples, if there are any. In The Gift of the Magi, the title itself has the word Magi, which is a Biblical allusion. In the New Testament, who were the Magi and what was the gift of the Magi?
2) The second literary term we need to be aware of is setting, which sometimes, besides the time and place, includes the mood or emotional tone of the story. The setting and mood is established in the first two paragraphs of this story. Read these two paragraphs again and identify the setting of this story; explain what time of year the story takes place, where it occurs mostly, and what the mood is as the story begins.
3) This story, like several of the previous stories we have read, has a surprise ending or a twist of fate, sometimes referred to as irony. What was the irony in this story?
4) The fourth literary term is theme, what the story is really about. What is the theme of this story?
5. Read Richard Cory by Edward Arlington Robinson and explain what is the irony in the poem.
6. Read The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant (it's in your literature book or use the link). Explain the irony in this story.

Examples of Irony:
In another example, suppose an employee says to his boss in a large meeting with all his co-workers:
  • Sir, may I say you are as smart as Einstein ever was.

But now consider that everyone in the room - except the boss - knows that the employee has a dog named Einstein, and that dog was the real intent of of the employee's named reference. This would be exquisitely ironic, because the boss would truly believe the employee's statement to be high praise, whereas everyone else would understand the statement for the ribald insult it was meant to be.
Irony can appear in other forms. It can be circumstantial or accidental. For example:
  • An ambulance driver rushes to the scene of an accident, only to run the victim over, because the victim crawled into the middle of the street in the darkness of night.

Vocabulary Words (hosp/host) [Use complete sentences to respond and include the underlined word in the sentence]
  • If I was visiting you and your family, what would be an inhospitable thing for you to do?
  • If I had a hip replacement, would I go to a hospice to recover? Explain your answer

According to, these are the words you should know in grades 6-8

Monday 10-3-11 and Thursday 10-6-11

Read silently to yourself as the audio portion of The Open Window by Saki reads aloud to you. The goal for this story is to improve your fluency, which is the speed at which you read while correctly articulating the words. I will have you read the story to me when we meet on Monday and expect you to read as well as the reader has read it to you. So you may need to read it several times with the audio of the story. Look below for some questions to answer in your journal. Also, check the Discussion link.
  • This story has another surprise ending. Why do you think Mrs. Sappleton's niece tells Mr. Nuttel the story about her aunt's tragedy that happened 3 years earlier?

Read The Bet by Anton Checkov and answer the questions below in your journal. Be prepared to read the story out loud.
1. What are the exact terms of the bet?
2. a) Which does the banker believe is more humane and why -- life imprisonment or capital punishment. b) Which does the lawyer feel is more humane and why? c) Some states in this country have made capital punishment illegal. Do you agree (why or why not)?
3. a) What situation does the banker find himself in at the end of fifteen years? b) How does he plan to resolve it?
4. What conclusions about life does the young man come as the term of his imprisonment nears its end?
5. Why does the banker weep when he has finished reading the prisoner's statement?

  • Consider that literature, like art, might be intended to convey a philosophy of life, that might be beneath the surface and the actions of the characters intended to form impressions, and that the events of the story, these intended impressions create the whole. In the world of art, Impressionism was a technique and style. (Note Monet's Impression: Sunrise and the parody that hangs on my living room wall -- par·o·dy Noun: An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect).

Vocabulary Words (am/im) [Use complete sentences to respond and include the underlined word in the sentence]
  • There's a person I know that always says something mean to me when he sees me, like there's old baldy. What might be a more amicable way he could greet me?
  • There's a girl at school who is enamored by you. When she finds out it's your birthday, what might she do and why?

Check out and take quiz from the vocabulary words we have covered for September. Then take a vocabulary quiz from words that were in "The Open Window".

Password: garyid

Monday 10-10-11 and Thursday 10-13-11

Read The The Minister's Black Veilby Nathaniel Hawthorne and answer the questions that follow. Also be prepared to read the story aloud. Once again, one of the goals for this story is to improve your fluency, which is the speed at which you read while correctly articulating the words, so look up the pronunciation of any word that you have difficulty reading.
Before you begin responding to these questions, take a short online quiz.

Thinking About the Selection

  1. Respond: How would you react if someone you knew suddenly appeared wearing a mask?
  2. (a) Recall: What does Parson Hooper say to Elizabeth when she first asks him why he is wearing the veil? (b) Interpret: What do you think he means by his response?
  3. (a) Recall: From what does the veil separate Parson Hooper? (b) Interpret:Parson Hooper says the veil is a symbol that typifies dark sorrows and a "sign of mourning." Based on that statement, how do you interpret the veil's symbolism?

Literary Analysis


  1. Parables often teach moral lessons through the use of symbols such as the minister's veil. Identify one moral lesson that Hawthorne's story teaches.

Critical Thinking

  1. a) Explain how the veil affects Parson Hooper's perception of the world. b) In what way does it isolate him? c) Why does it make him a more effective minister?
  2. What does Parson Hooper mean when he tells Elizabeth, "There is an hour to come...when all of us shall cast aside our veils"?
  3. When Parson Hooper refuses to remove the veil at his deathbed, Reverend Clark refers to another symbolic meaning for the veil. What is his interpretation?

Reading Strategy

Drawing Inferences About Meaning

  1. Hawthorne and the other Anti-Transcendentalists believed that the truths of existence are elusive and disturbing. Draw an inference about the "truths" Hawthorne conveys through Parson Hooper and his black veil.
  2. What message is conveyed through the parishioners' inability to grasp the meaning of the veil?
  3. How would you compare the attitude toward human nature expressed in "The Minister's Black Veil" with an attitude that might be prevalent in today's society?

Think about this: Parson Hooper is a minister in a Puritan community. What implications does this have? Do the think the author is posing some challenge to that community?

Check out the word list from The Minister's Black Veil and take the vocabulary quiz.

According to, these are the words you should know in grades 6-8

In preparing to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we should know a little about the author Mark Twain. The following is from the first three paragraphs of Wikipedia's biography of Mark Twain.

"One of the most famous of all American authors was Mark Twain. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),[1] better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel."

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which became very popular and brought nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling."

Mark Twain often used colloquialisms, allowing his characters to speak as they would, representing the informal speech of country folk.

Read The Preface and Chapters 1and 2 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to yourself as you listen to an audio presentation of the Preface and Chapters 1 and 2 of the story. We will continue to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer aloud in subsequent weeks, until we finish the novel. Check out the following Google doodle.

Check out the word list from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch. 1 and take the vocabulary quiz.

Thursday, 11-3-11

Read Chapter 4 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Check out the word list from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Chapters 2 and 3 and take the vocabulary quiz

Monday, 11-7 and Thursday, 11-10

Read Chapters 5 and 6

Monday, 11-14

Read Chapters 7 and 8

Thursday, 11-17

Read Chapter 9 (also listen to Ch. 9 and 10 Audiobook) After reading, practice subject -verb agreements by taking: Subject - verb agreement quiz and More subject - verb agreement quizzes

Monday, 11-21

Read Chapter 10
Turning Point
"Chapter 9 marks a turning point in the novel. Up to now, Tom’s adventures have been play and make-believe. In the scene at the graveyard, he and Huck witness real evil. Tom is forced to make life and death decisions. Analyze this chapter, addressing such questions as the following: How does Twain create the frightening atmosphere in the graveyard? To which senses does he appeal? How does he use foreshadowing—clues planted by an author that point to events to come—to prepare the reader for the change in mood? End your analysis by making a prediction about how you think the events Tom and Huck witness will affect the rest of the novel" (The Glencoe Literature Library,

Monday, 11-28

Study the Irregular Verbs handout and be prepared to get 100% on Exercise 2 and Exercise 3.
Read Chapter 11
Thursday, 12-1 Take a brief Tom Sawyer Vocabulary Quiz from Chapters 1-10.
Monday, 12-5 Read Chapter 12and take the Irregular Verbs Exercise 4
Thursday, 12-8 Read Chapter 13 and take Irregular Verbs Exercise 5.
Monday, 12-12 Happy Birthday Yidedia - No Tutoring
Thursday, 12-15 Read Chapter 14
Monday, 12-19 Read Chapters 15 and 16
Thursday, 12-22 Read Chapters 17 and 18
Essay -- Beginning Christmas Vacation:
The story follows Tom Sawyer from a mischievous prankster to his eventual maturation, where he begins embracing social customs and sacrificing the freedoms of childhood (You may use this as your thesis sentence). You are at the halfway point in the story, so this essay can only be partly completed as you analyze Tom's growth from a mischievous boy to a young adult. Be sure to include Tom's relationship to the adults in his life --his behavior towards Aunt Polly, in school and church, as well as his behavior towards Sid, Huck, Ben, Becky, and other peers. Since this is a lesson in essay writing, there will be numerous revisions following each submission, with the final essay due when the story is completed.

Due Dates:

1st draft -- Thursday, January 5
2nd draft -- revisions and additions: Thursday, January 26
Final Submission -- Thursday, February 2

Thursday, 12-29 Read Chapters 19 and 20
Monday, 1-2-12 Read Chapters 21, 22, and 23
Thursday, 1-5 Read Chapters 24 and 25
Monday, 1-9 Read Chapters 26 and 27 -- First draft of completed essay due.
Thursday, 1-12 Read Chapter 28
Monday, 1-16 Read Chapters 29 and 30
Thursday, 1-19 Read Chapters 31 and 32
Monday, 1-23 Read Chapters 33 and 34
Thursday, 1-26 Read Chapters 35 and Conclusion; Look at revised essay and discuss possible improvements.

House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Thursday, 2-2 through Thursday, 2-16 > Read aloud and discuss.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Monday, 2-20 Before we get together Read the Introduction and together we will read Chapters 1 and 2
Thursday, 2-23 Read Chapters 3 and 4
Monday, 2-27 Read Chapters 5
Thursday, 3-1 (I will out of town for the Illinois Computing Educators Conference all day and spend the night in St. Charles, IL.)
Monday, 3-5 Read Chapter 6
Thursday, 3-8 Read Chapter 7
Monday, 3-12 Read Chapter 8
Thursday, 3-15 Read Chapters 9
Monday, 3-19 Read Chapter 10
Thursday, 3-22 Take this Animal Farm quiz and these Animal Farm quizzes 1, 2, and 3

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

Thursday, 3-22 Read Chapter 1
Monday, 3-26 Read Chapter 2
Thursday, 3-29 Read Chapter 3
Monday, 4-2 Read Chapter 4
Thursday, 4-5 Finish Chapter 4
Monday 4-9 Read Chapter 5
Thursday 4-12 Read Chapter 6
Monday 4-16 Read Chapter 7
Thursday 4-19 Read Chapter 8
Monday 4-23 Read Chapter 9 (begin with section III), then Read Chapter 10
Thursday 4-26 Read Chapter 10 (begin with section IV), then begin Chapter 11
Monday 4-30 Read Chapter 11
Thursday 5-3 Start with Section IV Chapter 11 and finish the chapter.
Monday 5-7 Read Chapter 12
Thursday 5-10 Read Chapter 13
Monday 5-14 Read Chapter 14
Thursday 5-17 Read Chapter 15
Monday 5-21 Read Chapter 16
Thursday 5-24 Read Chapter 17
Monday 5-28 Read Chapter 18

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington