English 9B

class info

  • Meets Red Days, periods 2, 3, and 4
  • Room 775

Announcements: The last day for late/revised papers will be May 19. The final will be an essay on the Hero’s Journey as seen in two films Star Wars (1977) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) — the final will take place on May 21 for periods 2 and 3 and May 22 for period 4.




This class is an opportunity for students to develop and practice their skills in reading and analysis of literature as well as writing. Our various texts will be the vehicles through which they will hone their critical thinking abilities, and our writing exercises will be an outlet of expression for these abilities. During this semester we will be reading To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet, and we will also study a unit on The Hero’s Journey. Our objectives are to apply a mastery of the elements of literature, continue to practice the writing process, and better develop organization of writing.


Wednesday and Thursday, 5/21 and 5/22

Today was the final (Wednesday for per. 2 and 3, and Thursday for per. 4). The essay on the Hero’s Journey using Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean as our texts was due at the end of each respective finals period. Finals will be graded and figured into semester averages by next Tuesday.

Monday, 5/19

Today we discussed the particulars and the rubric for the final. We also went back and wrapped up our discussion of Jack Sparrow’s Hero’s Journey. The last hour of class was given for time to work on preparing for your final — putting together an outline, collecting evidence (specific details) from the films, and even beginning a rough draft.


Homework: show up for your final prepared to type the final draft and turn it in by the end of that period. Being able to show me an outline and rough draft will help your grade if you aren't able to finish the final draft in time.

Thursday, 5/15

Today we watched the last half of Pirates of the Caribbean. The last 20-ish minutes of class were spent discussing the Hero’s Journey patterns for the characters of Jack Sparrow and Will Turner. If you missed class, please make sure to catch up with the rest of the film as it will be necessary to take the final. Next week, on our last day of class before said final, I will make both films available to help you collect good evidence for your essay.


Also, please remember that Monday is the last day for late and revised Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet essays. After Monday, I will not accept any more.

Tuesday, 5/13

Today we began the second of our Hero’s Journey texts — Pirates of the Caribbean. We will once again be plotting the heroic journeys of the characters Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Remember, we are doing a compare/contrast essay for the final using this film and Star Wars, so if you haven’t seen and taken notes on all of that first film yet, you need to do so on your own.

Friday, 5/9

Today we watched the last half of Star Wars. The last 20-ish minutes of class were spent discussing the Hero’s Journey patterns for the characters of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. If you missed class, please make sure to catch up with the rest of the film as it will be necessary to take the final. Next week, we’ll watch the second of our two Hero films — Pirates of the Caribbean.

Wednesday, 5/7

We continued our viewing of Star Wars today, and continued taking our notes on the Hero’s Journey of Luke and Han. We will finish up the film on Friday. Remember that you are responsible for catching up with any parts of the film that you miss.

Monday, 5/5

Today was the due date for the Romeo and Juliet essays. If they were not turned in today (and you don’t have an excused absence), it is now late. If you have an unexcused absence for today, you will not be able to make it up.


We then started our mini-unit on The Hero’s Journey. For this unit, we will watch two films — the original Star Wars film and the first Pirates of the Caribbean film — and the compare and contrast paper you write will be the final. To understand these films, and The Hero’s Journey pattern itself, we had a lecture and notes today which will be integral to doing well on the final. I also distributed viewing worksheets, of which you’ll need 4 — two for each film. These will be the basis of the evidence you must have to earn a satisfactory grade on your final.

Thursday, 5/1

Today was a work day for the final drafts of the Romeo and Juliet paper. I checked rough drafts at the start of class, and those students who had them complete (or mostly complete) were allowed to begin typing their final drafts in the computer lab.


Homework: finish the final draft of your paper. It is due when you walk in the door on Monday, 5/5.

Tuesday, 4/29

Lots of stuff going on today. First I checked the outlines for the Romeo and Juliet essays. Then I gave back a bunch of late and revised To Kill A Mockingbird essays, along with progress reports for everyone. Next we reviewed paragraph and essay structure and talked about some specifics to cause and effect essays — a couple different organizational patterns as well as clue words that will be very useful in setting up cause/effect relationships for your readers. (The Period 3 class also finished reading the play, since we didn’t quite get done on Friday.) The last bit of class was work time for the rough drafts.


Homework: complete your rough drafts, which are due on Thursday. You will not be able to type your final draft until you can show me a completed rough draft. Remember, the final draft is due next Monday.

Friday 4/25

I started today by collecting the homework which asked you to find evidence pointing to Romeo, Juliet, and Fate being to blame for the lovers’ deaths. I also handed out revised rubrics (I’ve updated the file online to reflect the changes). Then we finished reading Act V, discussed the homework, and worked out the outlines for the remainder of class. (Period 3 had extended time to work on the outline, but did not finish reading the play in class — we will finish V, iii on Tuesday).


Homework: finish your outline and have it ready to go first thing on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 4/23

Today saw shortened classes due to ACT testing for the juniors in the morning — but we still got a lot done in the time we had. We started off with a quiz on IV, iii. Then we moved into a discussion of the summative essay assignment for this unit (as noted in class, I need to adjust the rubric; I’ll pass out updated rubrics in class on Friday, and I’ll also update this file at that time). Please take note of these important due dates for the essay assignment:

  • Outline — Tuesday, 4/28
  • Rough draft — Thursday, 5/1 (this is also our work day in the computer lab)
  • Final draft — Monday, 5/5

To let you get started, I handed out blank working outlines today as well. After all of the essay-talk was finished, I summarized the rest of Act IV (lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth), and two of the three classes read about a page of V, i out loud before the bell. We’ll finish Act V on Friday.


Homework: complete this handout on how the lovers (or maybe fate) might be to blame for their deaths at the end of the play.

Monday, 4/21

We started class by collecting the homework given on Thursday. We then finished reading the very end of III, v., which was followed by a viewing of Acts IV and V of Zeffirelli’s film version. We discussed the homework a little bit, and then began our group reading of Act IV — we finished IV, i and IV, ii.


Homework: Read IV, iii for Wednesday.

Thursday, 4/17

Today we tried to finish reading Act III, and we almost made it. We’ll finish up III, v on Monday.


Homework: Follow the directions on this handout to complete it for Monday.

Tuesday, 4/15

Today we watched Act III of the Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet. Afterwards, we discussed yesterday’s homework and then we began reading Act III. I hope to finish our reading of Act III this week.

Friday, 4/11

Today we started with a quiz over the homework reading — II, iii. Then we reviewed and read II, iii together, along with II, v-vi.


Homework: think about the involvement of the Nurse and Friar Laurence in the wedding of Romeo and Juliet, then complete this handout, which I will check on Tuesday. This is the beginning of thinking about the content for your essay.

Wednesday, 4/9

Today we started Act II of Romeo and Juliet — we skipped II, i and went right to II, ii. We are going to have to start moving a little more quickly as we need to finish the play by the end of the month; the work day for the paper will most likely be May 1. I also reminded everyone that I’m still missing many of the Mockingbird papers, which were originally due on...wait for it...February 25! Yeah. Let’s get those in, or else start saving up for summer school.


Homework: read II, iii and be ready for a quiz on Friday.

Monday, 4/7

I was out sick today. The sub should have had you view Acts I and II of the Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet. After that, there should have been some discussion of cause and effect using the Elements of Language text. Wednesday, we will continue our reading the play with Act II.

Thursday, 3/27

Today we collected the homework from Tuesday — if you were absent excused, please make this up ASAP or risk getting a 0 for it. We then finished Act I of Romeo and Juliet and watched just the beginning of the Zefferelli film version (1968). We will pick up there when we return from spring break.


Homework: get those late or revised Mockingbird papers in!

Tuesday, 3/25

Today we held a quick de-brief of the sub I had on Friday. We then read I, ii-iii in Romeo and Juliet in class, pausing to explain lots and particularly to paraphrase Lady Capulet’s speech at the end of I, iii (the one with the book metaphor). I also handed out a cause and effect worksheet to facilitate us beginning to discuss the organization of cause and effect papers.


Homework: complete and bring in the cause and effect worksheet, which will be due for a grade on Thursday.

Friday, 3/21

Today I was absent. The sub was supposed to work with you on finishing I, i, doing a paraphrase of it (detailed in part), and beginning some discussion of cause and effect writing. We’ll see on Tuesday what actually got done.

Monday, 3/17

We spent a little more time talking about the Mockingbird essays again today — this time, we read two sample essays to help you in your revisions (and finishing the late ones). If you were absent, please come see me to take a look at these models.


We then spent most of the class reading Romeo and Juliet out loud. We got most of the way through I, i (up to the point where Romeo enters and speaks with Benvolio).

Thursday, 3/13

Today we spent the bulk of class handing back and reviewing the Mockingbird essays.  Please remember, if you haven’t turned it in, it’s a zero until you do. If you want to do a revision, you must turn in the original with my comments along with your revised version.


After this, we spent a short amount of time paraphrasing and discussing the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet.

Friday, 3/7

Today was the last day of CSAP practice before testing begins next week. Good luck!


Don’t forget to bring your purple Elements of Literature textbooks to class next Thursday.

Wednesday, 3/5

Today we continued CSAP practice, particularly with reading tests. Remember — read the passage, then the questions, then re-read the passage, and finally try to eliminate any bad choices in the multiple-choice questions before selecting your answer. In the short response (paragraph-length) open-ended questions, don’t forget to restate the question as the topic sentence of your paragraph, select at least three concrete pieces of evidence from the passage as supporting details, then try to wrap it up with a clincher if you can.


Homework: read p. 776-782 in the lit textbook as an introduction to our Romeo and Juliet unit. I will grant/dock points based on whether you have this textbook with you for Friday’s class.

Monday, 3/3

Today we started the class with a roundtable presentation and discussion of the Depression research topics. Students needed to give 2-3 minute oral reports, and then turn in their notes and a bibliography in correct, MLA format. These assignments will be accepted late for reduced credit for those students who were present, but not finished. Excused absent students will of course get to turn them in late for full credit, but not indefinitely. Unexcused absent students will, as always, receive a zero and will not be able to make it up.


Afterwards, we began preparing and practicing for CSAP testing, which starts next Tuesday.


Homework: please bring your lit textbooks to class on Wednesday. We will start using these every day for our Romeo and Juliet unit.

Wednesday, 2/27

Today was the second of two work days for the post-Mockingbird research project.  We spent a few minutes at the start of class discussing MLA citation and how to apply it to this project. Two handouts were provided to help you (a pink one, that you could keep, and a laminated one, that you could not); both are online here for you to view/print out. The Skyline Library Media Center’s Research Help page is also a good resource, as is the Landmark Citation Machine. When in doubt, you can also consult the good ol’ print version of the MLA Handbook in the Skyline Library. I did adjust the restrictions on the research project to allow for one online source (and not Wikipedia).


Homework: finish your research project, if you’re not done. Your 2-3 minute presentation along with your bibliography are both due on Monday.

Monday, 2/25

Today I collected the Mockingbird papers. If you did not turn it in, and don’t already have an excuse or extension, it is late — per the late policy, it is a zero until I receive it, and then it will receive full credit, but you will lose the option to revise it. If you were absent excused today, you may turn it in on the next day you are back. If you were absent unexcused today, you will receive a zero and have no chance to make it up (ouch!).


Today we also began our brief research project — each student received a topic and will have to give a short (2-3 minute) oral report on Monday, 3/3. A bibliography with 2-3 print (non-Internet) sources is also due at that time. We will have another work day for this project on Wednesday, 2/27. If you were absent, see me soon about your topic assignment.


Homework: if you’re behind on your research project already, work on that; if you haven’t turned in your Mockingbird essay, finish that; otherwise, none!

Thursday, 2/21

Today was a work day for the Mockingbird paper. I started by checking rough drafts; those without complete rough drafts were not allowed on the computers to type their final drafts. We also spent time at the start of class reviewing some requirements for the formatting of your essay as well as tips for transporting it back and forth between school and home (or wherever else you might be typing it, if you didn’t get it finished today). 


To summarize those requirements — it must be typed, double-spaced, 12-pt. Times or Times New Roman Font and 1" margins all around. If your paper does not meet these requirements, I will not accept it, and it will be late when you do turn it in correctly, thereby losing you the ability to revise it. 


As for the tips, I don’t offer extensions for broken computer/don’t have Word/dog ate my printer type excuses. Take responsibility, and get it done. You have lots of resources for typing this assignment besides the 80+ minutes I gave you today in class — among them are probably home and/or a friend’s house and/or a relative’s house and/or the public library and/or the computer labs here at school and/or any public computer that you can get your hands on. Things that can help in getting the paper to and fro: save it in Rich Text Format (.rtf) if you don’t know if you’ll be able to use the same version of Microsoft Word everywhere; buy and use a USB flash drive; e-mail the document to yourself (and copy and paste it into the body of the e-mail just to be on the safe side); or use Google Docs, a really cool, free, online word processor which you can use simply to save and transport the file, or even type the whole thing there. And, worst case scenario, I do accept papers submitted by e-mail — send them to me as Word (.doc), Rich Text (.rtf), or PDF (.pdf) files to me before your class meets on Monday, and I’ll take care of the rest. Please note, though, that I’m not responsible for errors in transmission or file incompatibilities if you e-mail it to me; you may want a back-up plan just in case.

Tuesday, 2/19

Today I started class by checking the outlines for the Mockingbird essays. We then spent some time practicing introductions and conclusions using a sample (non-Mockingbird) outline I had created for today. Everyone practiced writing thesis statements and re-wording them for the conclusion. Then I gave students time to start working on their rough drafts — or for many of you, finish your outlines, which you hadn’t successfully done for homework.


Homework: your rough draft needs to be about 80% done, minimum, before I will let you on a computer Thursday to start typing your final draft; this assignment is also for points.

Thursday, 2/14

Today was primarily a work day for the Mockingbird essay. I started by reviewing the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revision, publishing. Then I handed out copies of the working outline every student will use in their pre-writing. Students worked on these for at least 45 minutes, organizing their essays and collecting evidence from the text. We finished up by briefly discussing introductions and conclusions, which we’ll talk more about on Tuesday.


Homework: complete the outline, due Tuesday.

Tuesday, 2/12

Today we finally finished our lessons on the qualities of good paragraphs; I also finally have the notes for you to download. We also discussed the changes in the Mockingbird essay assignmentthe essay is now due Monday, 2/25, and we will spend Thursday, 2/21, in the computer lab. We talked about the contrasts in the film (and in the text) as guided by last week’s handout. And we ended by deconstructing the prompts in the essay assignment.


Homework: pick option 1 or 2 for your essay, and begin collecting evidence from the tex.

Friday, 2/8

Today we finished our viewing of the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. We will begin working on the essay on Tuesday. Because the film took so long, the due date of the essay will probably be pushed back one class period. (Extra credit to the first student in each class to mention this change.) More details next week.

Wednesday, 2/6

Today was a late start day. I handed out progress reports as well as while-you-view-the-film work (comparisons and contrasts), then we began our viewing of To Kill A Mockingbird. We will finish the film on Friday.

Monday, 2/4

Today we finished our reading/discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird. Students took the last quiz for this text (and for a while), discussed the end of the novel (particularly the meaning of the title, which is hopefully more clear now), continued discussing paragraph writing (taking longer to get through than I had hoped, so the complete notes will be up later this week), and finally I introduced the Mockinbird essay. See the details here. A quick overview of the next few weeks:


Wed., 2/6 — late start, begin watching the film version of Mockingbird

Fri., 2/8 — finish the film, finish our work on good paragraph writing

Tues., 2/12 & Thurs 2/14 — work on general essay organization as well as specific work on the essay

Mon., 2/18 — no school (Presidents’ Day)

Tues., 2/19 — work day in computer lab for typing essay

Thurs., 2/21 — essay due

Thursday, 1/31

As always, we started with our quiz, this time over Mockingbird ch. 22-26. Afterwards, we briefly discussed the reading and the important developments, including Tom Robinson’s death. Next, we continued our lessons on paragraph writing — now that we have the basic building-blocks, we want to try and work on making those paragraphs good. We took some notes on the three qualities of good paragraphs (Unity, Coherence, & Elaboration), but they are incomplete and we’ll continue with them next week; I'll post the complete notes then. Lastly, we put some of these qualities into action by writing a paragraph together, which I typed up on the screen, giving some details on the emotional changes Jem continues to experience (and by which Scout continues to be confused and frustrated).


Homework: finish the novel for Monday.

Tuesday, 1/29

We started today with a quiz over Mockingbird ch. 18-21. Then students reviewed those chapters for supporting details of three different main ideas, using this worksheet. We used these details for a discussion of the trial, particularly the contradictions between Mayella Ewell’s and Tom Robinson’s testimonies. To end class, students picked one main idea, and constructed a paragraph around it, complete with topic sentence, supporting details, and clincher.


Homework: Mockingbird ch. 22-26.

Friday, 1/25

Students took a quiz over ch. 15-17 of Mockingbird. Afterwards, we continued working on and refining our persuasive letters, focusing today on compiling the best possible supporting details. We also briefly discussed clincher sentences. Right before the end of class, we very quickly reviewed the reading for today, which included Scout’s repelling of the mob as well as the beginning of the Tom Robinson trial.


Homework: ch. 18-21 of Mockinbird must be finished when you show up for class on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 1/23

We started today with a quiz over chapters 12-14 in Mockingbird, followed by a brief discussion of the same. Then we continued our work with paragraph organization, reviewing the main idea/topic sentence information from Monday, and then adding supporting details (particularly sensory details, details from facts and statistics, and details from examples). We will continue working with this on Friday, working towards a revision of the open/closed campus letters we began last week. The last 15 minutes of class were reading time for Mockingbird.


Homework: ch. 15-17 are due on Friday.

Friday, 1/18

Once again we began today with a Mockingbird quiz. We then discussed ch. 10 and 11, especially their relevance in the book — all three classes talked about how they reinforce the “walking around in someone else’s skin” idea, and they also served as some important character development for Atticus and Jem (and to a lesser degree, Scout). After this, we spent a chunk of time defining some vocabulary and going over examples of the parts of a body paragraph. This will be setting up students for writing exercises next week.


Homework: ch. 12-14 of Mockingbird are due next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 1/16

Today we began with a quiz over ch. 8-9. Students then completed discussion questions on their own before having the discussion about the same chapters. We wrapped up with a practice writing prompt which we'll use more on Friday and next week for talking about good paragraph organization.


Homework: read ch. 10-11.

Monday, 1/14

Today we started with a clicker quiz over ch. 4-7. Afterwards, we reviewed those chapters, discussing Boo Radley and the kids' fascination with him. We also touched on the racist language in the novel and tried to contextualize it. After that, we did more practice with quoting and citing portions of the text to support an answer to a prompt.


Homework: read ch. 8-9 (that means all of ch. 8 and all of ch. 9).

Thursday, 1/10

Today we began our discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird. I asked students to spend 15-20 minutes describing the following people/places in ch. 1-3: Atticus Finch, Scout Finch, Jem Finch, Maycomb, Calpurnia, Dill, The Radley Place, Boo Radley, Stephanie Crawford, Miss Caroline, Walter Cunningham, and Burris Ewell. We discussed this list, which helped us review pretty much all of ch. 1-3, essentially the exposition to the novel. I then gave a writing prompt, which was due at the end of class. If you were excused absent, please complete this for class on Monday.


Homework: chapters 4-7 are due on Monday.

Tuesday, 1/8

Today I began where English 9A left off, and we jumped right into the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. We started with an activity in which students viewed four optical illusions which possibly challenged their perception. We talked about influences on our perception (not just visual perception), and then I connected those ideas to the necessity of the novel’s main characters (Scout and Jem Finch) to try and see things the way others see them. I then passed out copies of the novel, along with reading schedule bookmarks detailing when every chapter of the book needs to be completed. Students then began on their reading of the novel in class.


Homework: read ch. 1-3 of TKAM for class on Thursday.


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