Friday, December 10, 2010

Sula notes, Part 2 (Q2, Wks 6-9)

What is going on with New River Road? Why does Jude want to work there?
Jude wants to work on this new project because he wants to feel important and get his hands dirty. He wants to be legend and seem as manly as possible. This will show that he is more free because he's making, creating and building it himself, rather than just serving people. This gives him freedom and independence. They wanted the older man to do the job because they didn't want the young black man to show them out and they are also afraid of the strong young black men! Lack of information makes us afraid!

Why does the relationship between Jude and Nel work? What do they give each other?
Nel needs someone to tell her what to do and Jude needs Nels so that he can feel like a real man. Nel completes Jude.

What is the relationship between Sula and Nel like at this time?
Nel and Sula's relationship is falling apart after Nel gets married because its like their not one anyone, now thier separate human beings. Sula gains independence. Nel becomes half of a marriage and Sula goes out and finds herself.

Was Nel a leader with Sula? Where?
She was when they was playing in the dirt and the grass.

Why don't the deweys grow or change? Why do they always cause a ruckus? Why do they play "chain gang" ?
The deweys play "chain gang" because they are one. They are connected. The history of the "chain gang" goes back to the time of slavery. The deweys can not do something without the other. The deweys now look the same.

How has Sula changed since she left the Bottom?
Sula comes back with a college education and feels that she is too good. Eva is afraid of Sula's return, and for the first time, Eva is overpowered in her own home. Sula has become disrespectful towards Eva. This parallels to Eva leaving and returning to the Bottom. Morrison implies that a person can leave their home and come back, but they may not belong there anymore. Sula becomes an outcast in her own community.

What happens when Sula tries to help the boy who's mother neglects and mistreats him?
He was on the porch and fell off and after Sula tries to help him up, she was accused of pushing him by his mother. After his mother takes him to the hospital, she begins to take care of him. The false accusation of Sula makes the once neglectent mother take care of her son.

What happens to the Bottom when Sula returns?
Sula's returns brings the people of the Bottom together because they share the same animosity against her. Wives become nicer to their husband so they won't go to Sula for some good loving. In this community, she's the "other" and is the focus of hatred. Sula reminds Nel of who she really is. People are becoming more independent because Sula put Eva in a home.

How does Sula know about Eva burning Plum? What does she accuse Eva of doing? Do you think Sula is justified?
Sula knows about Eva burning Plum because when she was coming down the stairs the kids wondered why she was out of bed, considering the fact that it was not usual.She accuses Eva of Killing Plum, and she she is justified because she is no longer a child and doesn't have to be disrespected like one. You have to earn respect to recieve it and Eva hasn't earned that respect. Also she is only acting the way Eva has raised her to act with contributions from her mother, Hannah, as well.

What is the significance of Sula disregarding Eva's warnings on Pg 93?
The significance of Sula disreguarding Eva's warnings on pg 93 is because it shows that she doesn't want salvation. It's her life and she owns it people!

Is Sula evil?
No: People don't understand who she is. Because of the bad things she did, brought good, she's not evil. She represents reality and truth because she stands for common circumstances in everyday life. She doesn't make men sleep with her, men play an equal role in the affair. Morrison asks the question "who/what is good, who/what is evil". SOCIETY IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT! Sula is free from the constraints of society. Lack of understanding makes us judge people. Sula learned not to care about what other people say. There's a thin line between good and evil.
*Who judges what good and evil is?

What is the significance of Sula's relationship with Ajax? What is the literary allusion in his name? How does it become more important when she finds his driver's license?Ajax was a strong warrior who fought in the Trojan War and was arrogant and stupid and killed himself. A. Jacks "Ajax" is just a man who couldn't commit. Ajax name is ironic because he doesn't live up to it. He made Sula emotional and she had alot of passion for him. She fell in love for him and "started playing house". She connects with him on another level. Morrison is saying that love and concern makes you vulnerable and can open you up to pain. The women in the Bottom are looking for men to save them, but in reality, men are not divine. White men condemn black men and make them weak.

Jude and Sula's affair
Sula challenged Jude, Nel comforted him.
It didn't mean anything to Sula.
Nel and Sula accuse each other of changing.
Nel allowed herself to be condemned just as her mother did on the train.
They shared everything else.
*Nel and Sula are one half that makes them whole.
Morrison points out that Sula gets the freedom of men, but she gets punished for it and men aren't. Men had a certain freedom and expectation that wasn't fair to the women. Love breaks Sula and Nel. Women carry a heavy burden that men are not responsible for caring.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sula notes, Part One (b): Teacher questions, student answers...

Compare and contrast Nel and Sula's behavior at the funeral. (Venn Diagram is fine).

What does the chart show us about each girl and their upbringing?

What does Morrison tell the reader about funerals and the effect of them on the attendees?

Sula and Nel are often seen holding hands or not holding hands--Morrison specifies. What does that image mean?

What are the 4 (or 5) strange things that happen?

How did Eva's sacrifice in 1895 allow Hannah to ask her mother "did you ever love us?"

Why does Morrison put the ice truck scene right after Hanna's question about Plum's murder?
juxtapostion: putting two opposite things together to force the reader to make a conclusion/comparison

Why does Morrison tell us about the canning process and townspeople's canning tendencies?

What is "the perfect judgement" against Eva?

On the first page of "1927" Helene says "The culmination of all she had been." What is she referring to? What does she mean?

What is symbolic about the name JUDE?

What is going on with New River Road? Why does Jude want to work there?
Jude wants to work on this new project because he wants to feel important and get his hands dirty. He wants to be legend and seem as manly as possible. This will show that he is more free because he's making, creating and building it himself, rather than just serving people. This gives him freedom and independence. They wanted the older man to do the job because they didn't want the young black man to show them out and they are also afraid of the strong young black men! Lack of information makes us afraid!

Why does the relationship between Jude and Nel work? What do they give each other?
Nel needs someone to tell her what to do and Jude needs Nels so that he can feel like a real man. Nel completes Jude.

What is the relationship between Sula and Nel like at this time?
Nel and Sula's relationship is falling apart after Nel gets married because its like their not one anyone, now thier separate human beings. Sula gains independence. Nel becomes half of a marriage and Sula goes out and finds herself.

Was Nel a leader with Sula? Where?
When they was playing in the dirt and the grass.

How has Nel changed? Why?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From Notes to Outline...

Today you are going to begin organizing your notes. It's the first step in creating an outline.

Creating an outline:

  1. Organize your notes according to your Plan of Development.
  2. Using a traditional outline organization, sketch the main body sections of the paper.

  3. Then, organize each sub-section, using your notes as a guide.

Remember: Each paragraph in your paper has a purpose--it is explaining or persuading your reader. When you don't know what should come next, ask yourself, "what do I need the reader to know to believe MY opinion?"

In your MLA Book instruction on outlining begins on page 48. Outline example on page 53.

Here is a picture of a properly formatted outline:

Still confused? Ask Ms. Miller for a Writing Research Papers book. Start on page 42.

Here is some advice from other people who've written research papers....

Arrange Your Notes by Topics -- (

Once you have taken color-coded notes, you will be able to sort your notes more easily. Sort the cards by colors. Then, arrange by relevance. These will become your paragraphs. You may have several paragraphs for each sub-topic.

Outline Your Research Paper

Write an outline, according to your sorted cards. You may find that some of the cards fit better with different “colors” or sub-topics, so simply re-arrange your cards. That’s a normal part of the process. Your paper is taking shape and becoming a logical argument or position statement.


All points must relate to the same major topic that you first mentioned in your capital Roman numeral.

The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline an INTRODUCTION, a BODY, and a CONCLUSION. Make the first outline tentative.

INTRODUCTION - State your thesis and the purpose of your research paper clearly. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic. Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.

BODY - This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i.e. find 3 supporting arguments for each position you take. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point.

CONCLUSION - Restate or reword your thesis. Summarize your arguments. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sula Questions, Part One (a)

What is the biblical reference to Shadrack? Why did Morrison choose this name for him?

Explore the relationship between Nel, her mother Helene, her grandmother Rochelle, and her great-grandmother Cecile. Why are the women separated? What separates them?

Why is the incident on the train between Helene and the conductor significant? What happens as the train travels further south?

How does Morrison use the notion of defilement in "1920"? Who is defiled? Why?

Explore the symbolic resonances of the Peace family. Is there peace in the Peace family? How are the names symbolic? How is Sula's name different?

Why does Eva leave her children? Why does she return with only one leg?

Why does Eva take Plum to the outhouse? What does she realize in asking herself this question?
Who are the "deweys" and what do they represent?

Why does Eva set Plum on fire? How does the narrative describe this scene? Why is the description important?

How are Nel and Sula becoming aware of their sexuality in this chapter? How do we sense this awareness? Do we also sense a threat of violence?

What does Hannah say to upset Sula?

Why do Nel and Sula watch Chicken Little drown? Explore the significance of his name and his death, especially in relation to the name of the neighborhood "Bottom".

Why does Sula go inside Shadrack's shack?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trip to DePaul's Library

Nadia, Tierra and Natasha are going to the DePaul Library, in Lincoln Park to work on our Annotated List of Works Cited.

When: Saturday, 10/23--We're meeting at PSM at 3:00. Probably will get to the Library by 3:30

Where: 2350 N. Kenmore Ave

SP Work Day

Your Annotated List of Works Cited (plus notes) is due Monday, 10/25. Use this time wisely! Check out the links to the right. Remember to use your MLA book!

If you working on your documents at school and at home, take an inventory of what MS Word version each place need to save as the OLDEST version every single time you open the document, to ensure you can open it wherever you are editing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sula, Part One, "1919" Questions

1919, pgs 7-16
1.What war was Shadrack in? (Be careful!)
2.What doe the narrator’s description of Shadrack’s experience on December 7th tell the reader about his combat training?
3.What is "it" that Shadrack can’t feel?
4.Shadrack is thinking about the nail in his boot when going into combat-what would you expect him to think about? Why isn’t he? What is Morrison telling us about Shadrack and the war?
5.What does the headless soldier symbolize? Consider his actions.
6.Explain the irony in the straight-jacket episode.
7.Why might Shadrack be afraid of the sidewalks?
8.What are the properties of paper? Why might Shadrack think all the people around him are made of paper?
9.Think about Shadrack’s hands. What do they symbolize?
10.Why does Shadrack keep seeing the window and river? What are those things?
11.Why does seeing his own face calm him down?
12.What is the symbolic nature of Shadrack seeing his face in the toilet?
13.Explain this quote "He knew the smell of death and was terrified of it, for he could not anticipate it."
14.Think about the purpose of National Suicide Day. Why is it ironic?
15.The end of the chapter focuses on how NSD has been integrated into the neighborhood. What does this tell the reader about Shadrack, the community, and his place in it?
16.EXTRA CREDIT: Shadrack’s name is an allusion. Explain the significance.

ACT Question Types

look for the general, vague, or broad answer

don't look back! you don't need to.
make an assumption based on what you read

usually has a positive answer

when this question says "the passage states" or "indicates" the EXACT answer is in the passge.
if the question refers to a line number, read the lines before and after

must look back for context
read the lines before and after
re-read sentence with the choices in the question

answer this as a true or false question

Friday, October 15, 2010

Notes on Toni Morrison's writing...

For Morrison, "all good art has been political" and the black artist has a responsibility to the black community. She aims at capturing "the something that defines what makes a book 'black.' And that has nothing to do with whether the people in the books are black or not." She thinks that one characteristic of black writers is "a quality of hunger and disturbance that never ends." Her novels "bear witness" to the experience of the black community and blacks in that community.

Themes and Practices in Morrison's Novels

Sense of Loss.
Morrison feels deeply the losses which Afro-Americans experienced in their migration from the rural South to the urban North from 1930 to 1950. They lost their sense of community, their connection to their past, and their culture. The oral tradition of storytelling and folktales was no longer a source of strength. Another source of strength, their music, which healed them, was taken over by the white community; consequently, it no longer belongs to them exclusively.

Roots, Community, and Identity
To have roots is to have a shared history. The individual who does not belong to a community is generally lost. The individual who leaves and has internalized the village or community is much more likely to survive. Also, a whole community--everyone--is needed to raise a child; one parent or two parents are inadequate to the task. The lack of roots and the disconnection from the community and the past cause individuals to become alienated; often her characters struggle unsuccessfully to identify, let alone fulfill an essential self.

Ancestors are necessary: they provide cultural information, they are a connection with the past, they protect, and they educate...The ancestors may be parents, grandparents, teachers, or elders in the community...Morrison believes that the presence of the ancestor is one of the characteristics of black writing.

Extreme Situations
Morrison places her characters in extreme situations; she forces them to the edge of endurance and then pushes them beyond what we think human beings can bear. These conditions reveal their basic nature. We see that even good people act in remarkable and in terrible ways. Also, this "push toward the abyss" reveals
what is heroic.

Freedom and "Bad" Men
To be free, the individual must take risks. Morrison sees men ordinarily regarded as "bad," men who leave their families and refuse responsibilities, as free men. (She is using bad to mean both bad and good.) These men, who have "a nice wildness" and who are fearless and "comfortable with that fearlessness," are misunderstood and therefore condemned. Morrison admires them as adventurers who refuse to be controlled and who are willing to take risks. Because they own themselves, they are able to choose their own way to live their lives. Blacks have been cut off from their own natures and needs by conforming to the rules of white society. The outlaw serves as a partial solution to the problem of being out of touch with the essential self.

Morrison is not advocating irresponsibility and destructive or chaotic behavior, however. She believes in the necessity of being responsible for one's choices: "freedom is choosing your responsibility. It's not having no responsibilities; it's choosing the ones you want." Jan Furman comments, "She respects the freedom even as she embraces the responsibility." Unfortunately, in our society, "many women have been given responsibilities they don't want" and which they could not refuse. Consequently, they are not free.

Good and Evil
Morrison shows understanding of and, often, compassion, for characters who commit horrific deeds, like incest-rape or infanticide. This trait springs in large part from her attitude toward good and evil, which she distinguishes from the conventional or Western view of good and evil. She describes a distinctive view which, she claims, blacks have historically held toward good and evil: It was interesting that black people at one time seemed not to respond to evil in the ways other people did, but that they thought evil had a natural place in the universe; they did not wish to eradicate it. They just wished to protect themselves from it, maybe even to manipulate it, but they never wanted to kill it.

Loss of Innocence
Innocence has to be lost in order for the individual to grow.

The Black as Other
Morrison presents the white view of blacks as the Other and the blacks' experience of themselves as Other
She believes that blacks were used to control succeeding waves of immigrants in order to prevent class warfare. Immigrants were given the blacks to feel superior to; they were not at the bottom of the social ladder-- blacks were. Blacks also provided immigrants with an identity, i.e., they were not blacks. So, in an ironic way, the Otherness of blacks helped to unify the country and to give immigrants their American identities. She calls learning to perceive blacks as the Other a traumatic experience, like being told "that your left hand is not part of your body."

excerpt from

Annotated Works Cited Reminders

Remember, the content of your A.W.C. will be graded on these criteria:
10-15 valid sources
Annotation must indicate why the source is useful for YOUR paper.
Should be clear how the source is tied to your thesis.
Student should be able to discuss any source with the teacher.
Students will turn in their notes, which correspond, with the Annotated List of Works Cited.

As well as the Format rubric you've been given.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Senior Paper Lab Days

Each Thursday, I've schedule lab time for our class. You should be working on the next due date for your senior paper. Currently, that means you're working on your Annotated List of Works Cited.

If any student abuses this time and chooses not to use it wisely, we will cancel our lab workshops for the Senior Paper.

Please use the links in the upper right corner when needed. You can find sources, dictionaries, formatting help, etc.

Friday, October 1, 2010

English 4, Quarter 1 Exam Review sheet


  • Oedipus Rex
  • Antigone
  • Sappho’s poetry
  • From Plato’s Apology

Other Content

  • Vocabulary units 1-2
  • Research, note-taking, thesis writing


  • Identify and explain use of figurative language, symbolism and irony in all literature read in Q1
  • Evaluate character motivation and author’s purpose in creating each of the character
  • Recall vocabulary meanings
  • Write in Standard English using proper grammar and language mechanics

Exam Format

  • Multiple Choice
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Reading Comprehension and Analysis
  • Short Answer
  • Essay

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

JTC&G Quiz

1. Who lived in the boarding house first, Bynum or Martha?
Martha, she moved there looking for Bynum, who could help her bind her daughter to her.

2. What is syncretisim and how is the Juba an example?
Syncretism is the blending of two disparate rituals. The Juba is an African style dance performed by the characters when they've caught the Holy Ghost. This blends two ideas from
Christianity and African culture.

3. Why won't Seth tell Loomis where Martha is?
Seth doesn't trust Loomis. He feels it would be a breach of Martha's trust to tell Loomis that he knows her and where she is.

4. Bertha says, "He ain't never found nobody he ain't took away." What is she referring to and why?
Bertha says this about Selig, the People Finder. She says that his finding skills are a scam. Another business he has is to act like a taxi for those wanting to move to new areas. So while he's selling his housewares, he's also taxiing people to new places, and then finding these people for those left behind.

5. What does Martha tell Loomis about leaving their home? What advice does she give him?
Martha explains to Loomis that she thought he might be gone forever; that she didn't know if Joe Turner would ever let him go, or if he'd be killed. She moved in with her mother and waited a few months, but then had to kill Loomis in her heart and move on, otherwise she'd have spent her whole life waiting. She says that Loomis should do the same.

Vocabulary Quiz Answer Key

Level G
  1. N
  2. A
  3. O
  4. G
  5. F
  6. T
  7. P
  8. I
  9. H
  10. M
  11. C
  12. Q
  13. S
  14. D
  15. B

Level H

  1. E
  2. S
  3. L
  4. M
  5. N
  6. C
  7. Q
  8. G
  9. O
  10. H
  11. T
  12. R
  13. P
  14. I
  15. D

Look at the back of your quiz. I left you a gift.

Citation Quiz Answers

1. What is internal citation:
Parenthetical citation, or internal citation, should be used when a quote, paraphrase or summary is used in your paper. Then you must cite that source (from your works cited page) inside your paper using parenthesis.

2. What is external citation?
It's the works cited or bibliography.

3. How do internal and external citation work together?
When the reader wishes to know more about a source he encounters in the paper, he can turn to the bibliography or works cited and find more information about that source.

4. Why is it important to use both internal and external citation?
It is important to use this system of citation because a writer must give credit for any ideas she used when writing the essay. If a writer quotes, paraphrases or summarizes another person's words or ideas, a citation is necessary. It also prevents plagiarism.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Exam Review


Research and Writing
Parenthetical Citation
External Citation
How they work together
Paraphrasing properly
Integration quotes properly
Ilogical arguments

Joe Turner Come and Gone
Purpose in writing the ten cycle plays, message in JTC&G

Vocabulary Unit 12

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last Blog Assignment

For the last blog assignment,
  • Answer 2 questions.
  • Comment on another student's answer to a question.

Due Friday by 8:00 AM.

Question #21

Loomis says "I just wanna see her face so I can get me a starting place in the world" (2496). What does he mean? How is this tied into Wilson's theme of identity?

Question #20

List and explain examples of binding in the play. What is this theme about?

Question #19

Consider Bertha's advice to Mattie--is it still good advice today? Why?

Question #18

What is Bynum's daddy's healing song? Why does he tell this story?

Question #17

Bynum is covertly helping many of the people in the boarding house. Who is he helping and how?

Question #16

Compare and contrast Molly vs. Mattie. Which philosophy do you admire more? Why?

Question #15

Loomis proclaims "I seen these bones rise up out of the water...begin to walk on top of the water...A whole heap of them. They come up out the water and started marching" (2485-6).

Make a connection to this bible verse

Also, connect the whole idea to Wilson's theme of finding self, and identity.

Question #14

"Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparete or contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term may refer to attempts to merge seveeral originally discrete tradtions."

Find examples of syncretism in JTC&G. Explain how they fit this definition.

Monday, May 3, 2010

JTC&G Reading

Read trough page 2492 for Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Joe Turner Come and Gone Second Discussion

Answer one of my questions.

Comment on one of your peer's answers.

Ask a question of your own!

5 possible for each post.
-1 for each typo
-1 for grammar mistakes
-2 for each wrong answer/information used
-5 for closed questions.

Your Turn...

Ask a question. The higher level thinking required, the more points you earn...

Question #13

What metaphor do you think Wilson is implying with Ruben's pigeon situation?

Question #12

Why do you think Loomis needs to find Martha? Why do they keep searching? What does Loomis means when he says he "smells" her?

Question #11

Consider Mattie and Jeremy's conversation. Do you agree with Mattie or Jeremy's philosophy on relationships, self, and life in general? Why?

Question #10

Do you believe in the idea of being bound to someone? In everything "happening for a reason?" What examples of these two similar ideas exist in the play (so far)?

Question #9

What can Bynum fix? Is he responsible in the use of this power?

Question #8

Do you agree with Seth's decision not to tell Loomis about Martha Pentacost? What evidence does Seth give for this decision?

Question #7

Bynum says, "Somethings is worth taking the chance going to jail about." Do you agree that music is something Jeremy should risk a run-in with the cops over?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Joe Turner Come and Gone Activity

Posts will not immediately appear on the blog. They will first go through Ms. Miller. Posts with nonsensical answers, grammar errors, or that are very vague, will not be posted. To get full credit, students must use evidence from the play in their answers. Feel free to post questions about the assignment here.

Question #7

Bynum refers to a "song of my own." What does that mean?

Question #6

How does Selig's "People Finding" business compliment his "Housewares (pots, dustpans) Selling" business? Is he exploiting the African Americans in the community? If so, how?

Question #5

What is country-style living? What evidence is there of the conflict city vs. country ? How does Wilson succeed in connecting it to his main purpose in writing this play (remember, we know why he wrote this play)?

Question #4

Who is sympathetic with Jeremy and his predicament? Who is not? Why?

Question #3

What signs of racial tension do you see in the play so far?

Question #2

How does Wilson use humor? Based on what we've read so far, where and why?

Question #1

What is a rootworker or a conjurer? Which characters practice it or believe in it, and which do not? Why?


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Remember, you can email me with any questions. Don't leave this imprlortant paper to the last minute. Don't settle or less than your full potential.

Annotated List of W. C. Example

This is a good example of a properly formatted ALWC.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills information from Class--Click to enlarge each image.
Information from

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Power Point and YouTube

Many students have asked me if it is possible to embed a YouTube video in a MS Power Point presentation. Yes. Check out the link Mr. Rojahn sent me:

Note: it takes careful reading and does not work for every video (there is a way to prevent it from being embedded by the person who uploads it).

Conclusion ideas and rules


Various ways to end an essay:

  • Summarize your ideas
  • Issue a call to action--encourage the reader to believe and act on your opinion
  • Make a prediction
  • Conclude with a story that briefly gives an example of your opinion

Things to avoid in concluding:

  • Do not introduce new ideas
  • Do not restate your thesis in the exact same way
  • Do not write "In conclusion"
  • Do not tell the reader waht you've told them--"I have proven"

Here are some links to help you

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Transitions for Composition

List of Mistakes found in Rough Drafts

  • paginate
  • margins
  • space between paragraphs
  • internal citations--also known as parenthetical citation. IT'S NOT JUST FOR QUOTES!!!!!
  • "p." is not needed for page numbers
  • YOU--never, ever, write in the second person (unless you are writing a letter).
  • italics are only to be use for titles
  • paragraphs: should never be longer than 3/4s of a page
  • periods and quotation marks: either behind (89). or inside "blah blah."
  • big font is the oldest trick in the book. Seriously?
  • Times New Roman or Arial, size 12. Period.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drafting in 407

Welcome to drafting! This means the hardest part of your senior paper is behind you. You've already
  • Reasearched
  • Formed an opinion
  • Organized your information
  • Started writing

All of this means that with some diligence, you will soon be finished drafting your essay.

Today, you should continue writing where you left off. Remember, you should have 3 pages when you arrive in class. At the end of the period, please print what you have (even if you stop mid-sentence) and turn it into the substitute. Understand that I am assuming, from experience, that in a 45 minute period, you can write about one more page.

I will briefly go over these tonight and return to you tomorrow.

I am avaliable after school today. At 4:30, I will be at the front desk. Until then, you can find me in 306.

Please note that any misbehavior will be recorded by the substitute and will result in points lost off this assignment (3 page check-in, worth 25 homework points).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Introductions and Teacher Meetings

For the next three days, you'll be working independently (either in the lab or classroom) while I meet with you each about your outlines.

Your task today, in our 26 minute class, is to write the first draft of your introduction. Remember the triangle diagram--your intro should start with a broad statement. Each subsequent statement should get closer and closer to the point (which, for some of you, is your thesis--others, it will be the beginning of a necessary history).

It should be at least one paragraph and typed by the end of class. Print and hand in!

Here are some websites to help you--

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Practice: Identify and evaluate the logical fallacy in each of the following statements. Then change the statements to correct the logical fallacies.

1. I've never favored our high school's adopting a uniform dress policy because I've always disliked the idea.

2. Either we choose the kind of clothes we want to wear to school, or our rights as citizens will be demolished.

3. No one wants to wear the same outfit every day.

4. The only reason people want a dress code is to try to control our tastes.

5. Those who support the idea are unimaginative and controlling.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hi seniors!

I miss all of you and can't wait to see you next week. I hope you're keeping up with your senior I want you to spend time doing the following things in the lab:

First--check your email. Check whether or not I asked you to revise your thesis. If I did, please work on that first. There are some student who *gasp* have not emailed me a thesis. Some of these student have even told me that they LOVE my class. How could you miss such an important assignment? If this is you, please send me your thesis immediately. The grade is going in today and breaking grade news letters go out Friday.

Second--work on your Annotated Works Cited page. I have given you an example and you can find helpful information at A reminder that this is due March 5th, a week from Friday.

Finally, I am very sorry I haven't been able to meet you at the Harold Washington Library. However, I'm here to tell you that it isn't a scary place. Furthermore, most of you have been there before (remember the History Fair?). I might be able to go with you next week, but I can't commit to that right now. If you haven't gone yet, here are some ideas--
  • Go to It's a great site. You can search the card catalog there. That way, you know what books you want before you go to the library. If you have a library card, you can even put the books on hold (they'll be there when you arrive).
  • Go immediately to the 3rd floor. That is where the circulation desk is located. Once you're there, you can determine what floor the sources you need are on--there are maps, just like the mall, to tell you what is on each floor. Also, the card catalog will tell you what floor the book you want is on.
  • Ask for help: The librarians there very helpful. If you are polite, they'll most likely be of service. Ask for help in groups of 1-3. Try not to show up with ten students all needing help.
  • There is a new area of the library, solely for high school students. It's called YOUMedia. Once you have your materials, you can go in there, listen to music, eat, use computers, sit on couches, hang out while you read, etc. It's a new initiative to get teens to the library. Check it out.
Email me with questions!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Research in the lab

Hi Seniors,

NOTE: Read all of the long letter below.

I miss you! I'm so sorry I've been gone. I wouldn't miss this many days if it weren't necessary. Please do your best today and I will answer all your questions when I return.

You should have recieved your topic request from the substitute. The topic highlighted in yellow is your topic. If you have two topics highlighted in yellow, it means you can choose--I probably did this to encourage you to choose your #2 choice, however you are free to choose either. If you pink highlighting on your paper, it means you and I need to talk when I come back. Go ahead and start researching anyway. It's early enough that what you find will still be useful.

Your assignment today is to find 3-5 useful web-based sources. Look for webzines (Time and Newsweek have one), online newspapers (, news shows (CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, etc), databases with articles, images, videos, etc. Don't limit yourself to putting your topic into google. [Remember, if you want to gain some background knowledge, feel free to use Wikipedia, but remember it can't be a source. Check out the reference links at the bottom of the article.]

You may print up to five pages from MS Word. Do not print directly from the web. When you copy and paste, be sure to find your bibliographic information to copy and paste it too. Always copy the website. Save these MS Word documents to your H://, in which I hope you've created a "Senior paper" folder.

A key element to finding these sources is reading them. Make time to find them in class, and read at least one thoroughly in class. Before printing, you should be scanning for key words. Don't underestimate the use of the "ctrl F" !! Ask the person next to you if you don't know what this does. For homework, read the rest of these sources and begin highlighting key infomation. You will get credit for them when I get back.

Do not use the time to talk to your friends. We are not moving any due dates because I've been sick.

Please email me with any questions!
Get work done and be good for your substitute teacher!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tolstoy Ch 1-3 Response Questions

Chapter Two begins with an important claim: "Ivan Ilyich’s life had been most simple and commonplace-and most horrifying." Why might Tolstoy consider Ivan’s "simple and commonplace" life to be "horrifying"?

As Ivan rises in his career, he fails in his personal life. What might Tolstoy be suggesting here? Why does Ivan find so much pleasure in playing bridge?

Several times over the course of the novella, we find statements very much like this one: "So that on the whole Ivan Ilyich’s life proceeded as he felt it should-pleasantly and properly" (p. 52). One’s first, instinctive reaction to such comments might be, "Well, what’s wrong with that?" What, according to Tolstoy, is wrong with that?

What sort of person is Praskovya Fyodorovna? Why did Ivan Ilyich marry her? How would you characterize their relationship? Does his attitude toward her seem justified by her personality and behavior?

At the beginning of Chapter 3, we are told that 1880 was "the most difficult year in Ivan Ilyich’s life" (p. 53). What difficulties does he face, and what does he seek by way of a solution to them? How is the situation resolved, and what are his reactions to that resolution? What does this whole experience tell us about Ivan Ilyich’s character and his values?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leo Tolstoy

Read "What Men Live By" available online at:

Then answer the following questions, also available in our World Literature Books, page 995

  1. What is your reaction to Michael’s explanation of what men live by?
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  3. In your own words, explain what the three lessons are that Michael learns and how they are related.
  4. Besides love, what are some other virtues illustrated by the characters in the story. Support with evidence.
  5. Do you think Michael deserved to be punished by God? Why?
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  7. Taking in a stranger can be dangerous in our society today. What do you think would happen if Michael appeared in your neighborhood in need of food, clothing and shelter? Do you think it would be possible for him to learn the same lessons? (remember Tim’s grandmother and his last talk at retreat. Use his story as a comparison).