Freshmen 10/19 – Going to the underworld

Hi 9th graders,

Use this post to guide your class today.

First, in your notebook, take 5 mins to write about a story you know where a character has to journey to the underworld (or hell) for some reason. Explain who they are, why they go and what happens to them when they’re down there.

We’ll discuss what you wrote as a class.

Then, in your group watch the following three clips. After each clip, try to fill out a portion of the left side of the sheet Mr. Shulkin gave you.

1) Lord of the Rings:

2) Orpheus and Eurydice

3) Star Wars


Superheroes 10/17 – God Loves, Man Kills pdf

Hi guys,

Here’s the pdf to read “God Loves, Man Kills.” god-loves-man-kills-pdf


Eventually you and your group will be presenting on how your literary theory lens applies to X-Men and GLMK. Your presentation will have four parts:

-A description/definition of the lens
-How the lens applies to the X-Men in general
-How the lens applies specifically to God Loves, Man Kills and finally
-Your conclusion

I’d like to have the presentations ready for next Thursday and Friday.

For today:

  1. Before reading GLMK with your group, read through your explainer on your literary theory lens. Ask Mr. Shulkin/Mr. Boyar for any clarifications you might need.
  2. Read part one of GLMK with your group. As you go, look for quotes/picture/ideas that you can analyze or look at through your lens.
  3. Make a plan with your group in terms of reading between now and Thursday. How far will you read? Who’s looking for what aspects of your presentation?

Superheroes 10/16 – Plato’s ring allegory

We’re still talking about allegory. Today we read Plato’s allegory about the ring of Gyges. Before reading we went over four reading strategies to use when reading something dense and difficult:

1) Chunk and summarize

Draw lines after paragraphs (or groups of short paragraphs) and as you read pause to write a short summary in the margins after each chunk

2) Bracket and dig

If/when you get stuck, embrace the confusion. Mark what section lost you with [brackets] and figure out what the problem is. Do you not understand some of the words? Is the tone different than before? Is someone else speaking and you missed the quotation marks? Is the sentence really long and you’re having trouble following their thoughts?

3) Highlighting and underlining

Sometimes just the act of moving or doing something active helps us focus. Use a highlighter (or pen) to go over the paper. Don’t worry so much about what you’re underlining, but rather why you are underlining (an interesting sentence or idea, a word or phrase you like, something unexpected).

4) Organize key terms

Skim the document the first time and figure out what ideas or words are most important. Put them in boxes on a sheet of paper, and as you come across them in the reading fill in your boxes with quotes/ideas/summaries/questions

For tomorrow, answer these three questions:

  1. What is the story of the ring an allegory for?
  2. Do you agree with Plato’s characterizations of human nature?
  3. Which reading strategy did you choose, and how helpful was it?

Here’s the text: Plato’s ring

American Lit 10/10 – Class work

Hi everyone,

I’m out all day at a meeting, but remember, there’s still stuff for you guys to do. By Thursday, you need to have read through chapter 39 of Huck Finn.

For Friday, your writing on the n-word in Huck Finn is due. Here’s the rubric and the guiding question you need to follow. Like all formal writing, this should have a thesis statement and evidence from at least two texts: N word writing assignment

Good luck!

APSEM 10/10 – Classwork

Hi everyone,

I’m out today at an AP training. Here’s what I’d like to you do today/have done for Thursday:

Thank you for reading “A Most American Terrorist” by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. It’s a difficult but important story to wrestle with.

For class today, I’d like you to do the following:

1) Does Kaadzi Ghansah have an argument in here? (Remember, the argument is in the conclusion as well as the thesis/beginning.) Choose three claims of hers and explain whether or not they support an argument.

2) Review the story and identify the perspectives (lens + angle) Kaadzi Ghansah uses in order to try to make sense of this tragedy. Give a couple examples of how different perspectives/lenses “are in conversation with one another.” In other words, where does one claim from one perspective connect with a claim from another perspective?

3) Read or listen to “How One Man Convinced 200 Klu Klux Klan Members to Give Up Their Robes” by Dwane Brown:

After reading, come up with three research questions related to both or either of these stories. Can you phrase those questions in a way that you could research them and provide solutions? (We will revisit/revise your questions in class on Thursday.)

APSEM 10/5 – Weekend reading


This weekend, please read “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylan Roof.”

Read it and mark it up as best you can (digitally or hard copy). Look for arguments when there are some, or further questions you’d ask, or even try to infer what questions the reporter was asking as she wrote specific sections. You’ll be working with it on Tuesday.

Just a warning, it’s a tough read. Go slow if you need to.