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Discussing the Final Portfolio

31 May

Today we will discuss the Final Portfolio. Here are some important handouts.

Senior Rubric:  seniors final portfolio checklist ’16

Freshmen Rubric:  freshmen final portfolio checklist ’16

Checklist for all: 10 STEPS for Completing Final Portfolio ’16

One requirement for the Final Portfolio is the Reflective Piece

Senior Reflective Piece: Reflective Piece 12

Freshmen Reflective Piece: Reflective Piece 9

Reading Assignment #2

25 May

Today in class we will do reading assignment 2. Here is the task:

  1. Identify a Central Idea or Theme from your book. Explain.
  2. Give a specific event or example from your book that illustrates the Central Idea or Theme. Be specific. Talk of actual things that happened in the book.
  3. Identify an example of a literary device or skill the author uses. Give a specific example.
  4. Explain how this literary device or skill helps to develop the Central Idea or Theme of your book. Be specific.


Remember Turn in Missing Work Tomorrow!

Don’t forget! I’m giving everyone a special offer! Turn in any missing work and I will give you half credit. Work must be in Thursday, before Memorial Day Break.

Letter to Younger Students

16 May


Letter to Ninth Graders

This week’s writing assignment will be to write a letter to next year’s incoming 9th graders. For the piece be sure to use specific examples and details. Tell them what you wish you knew when you were their age.

Some quick writes to think about:

-What are some important lessons you’ve learned?
-Think about sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and sounds you hear in the building.
-What are common things people (students and teachers) say?
-What are some Rules they should know?
-Give some advice or warnings.
-What are some lies people are told about high school?

Creating a Song for the 9th Graders

In class we will be creating a song for our new 9th graders. We will do this as a group and everyone will get to participate in some way. If you are a musician, bring in your instrument! Even a one note recording can be useful. Here are our class topics so far:

Period 1- Expect the Worst
Period 4- It’s Not That Hard
Period 5- Stay Classy Sachem East
Period 8- It’s Not That Easy

We will write and record the song in class. It’s an exercise in cooperation, lyric writing, team work, and fun. Feel free to include any ideas from the song in your letter to the 9th grader.

PS If you haven’t turned in your Life Philosophy Piece, you have until Tuesday with your extension. (Progress Reports are due this Wednesday!)

Life Philosophy Piece; New Skills

10 May

12th Grade Only: Read this  Transcript-of-Commencement-Speech-at-Stanford-given-by-Steve-Jobs and write a well developed response in which you identify an important central idea, as well as one literary device or skill that helps develop this central idea.

The Life Philosophy Piece

Our next piece is the Life Philosophy . It is due Friday. The Steve Jobs speech is a great example. Here is a decent example from a student.

Today we will learn 3 New Skills:


Action-Adjectives: A descriptive phrase that contains an action, in the format of  Noun-Past Tense Verb-Noun. Helps create concise and action-packed descriptions.

Examples:  Sun-kissed hair,  action-packed description, chocolate-covered donut, orange-flavored gum, garbage-filled gymnasium, sauce-drenched chicken, freckle-faced boy….


Antithesis: a statement that contains a contrast of two ideas.  Often delivered in the format of “It is not this, it is that.”   Here are some examples.

“We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin… [but] our allegiance to an idea…”

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.”

“Together we stand, divided we fall.”

“Lennie doesn’t kill the puppy because he hates him, he does it because he loves him too much.”


Anecdote: A short story to help prove a point.

Ex: Steve Jobs speech uses 3 anecdotes to prove his point.

Often people will cite anecdotal evidence as proof.
-“Orange juice cures a cold. My grandma drinks orange juice as soon as she gets sick and her cold is gone in two days.”
-Lots of commercials use this form of persuasion. “I lost twenty pounds eating only Cheerios.”  Often you will notice a disclaimer to the effect of “results not typical,” because this is merely anecdotal evidence, it is not scientific proof.

Here’s a link for more info.

Comfort Zones and Steve Jobs

9 May

Today, we will examine two different speeches.

Comfort Zones

Quick Write: write about a time in which you did or did not do something that was outside of your comfort zone.

Watch this video and ask yourself how often you are willing to leave your comfort zones.

Quick Write: Think of a motto, an important lesson, or some code that you live by.

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech

Steve Jobs delivered a powerful commencement speech to Stanford graduates in 2005. Here is the transcript: Transcript-of-Commencement-Speech-at-Stanford-given-by-Steve-Jobs

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech from Bob Macintosh on Vimeo.

Reading Assignment 1

6 May


Today we will answer some questions for Reading Assignment 1. Here they are reading assignment 1.

Please note that in addition to these questions, I will be checking your work for the week, including:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday’s Reading Plan (or vocabulary)
  • Thursday’s questions about your author.

Do the best you can. I’m really only checking to see that you have been reading and doing the in class assignments. If a question does not apply to your particular book for some reason, please just explain why in your answer.

Have a great weekend!


Research Your Author

5 May


Today we will be in the Library (Period 1 in D114), where you will be asked to research your author, in order to learn more about the person who wrote your book.

  1. When and where was your author born?
  2. What kind of people were his/her parents and family?
  3. Create a brief timeline of important events in the author’s life.
  4. What are some other books the author has written? Are they similar to the one you are reading?
  5. What connections do you see between the author’s life and the book?
  6. Why do you think the author chose to write the book?
  7. Do you have any personal experiences that connect with the author’s life?
  8. Find an interesting quote from your author.

Reading Reaction Friday

On Friday you will write your first reading reaction. Part of your grade will include The Reading Plans you worked on in class today and yesterday, as well as your information about your author. All of this can be in your notebook.

*If you don’t have a book yet, I’l be looking for Tuesday’s vocabulary and Wednesday’s short story reading plan. Anyone that does not have a book will not be eligible for credit for Friday’s Reading Reaction!

The Anthem Piece

19 Apr


The Anthem Piece

An Anthem is a piece of writing or song that highlights and celebrates the qualities and characteristics of a particular group. Think of the national anthem for the United States. It touches on our values (freedom, bravery, liberty) as Americans, and how Americans are willing to fight for those values (bombs bursting in air… our flag was still there).

Today we will be discussing the Anthem Piece. For this piece you will write about what it means to be you. Focus on some aspect of your life. Are you an athlete, brother, sister, son, daughter, an employee somewhere, video gamer, a die-hard fan of someone or something? At the very least, all of you are teenagers on Long Island, New York, and the United States. How do you identify yourself.

Here is a Great Example Piece by someone who identifies himself as a Stop and Shop employee.

9th Grade: I will check and go over your questions on The Cask of Amontillado.  We also have a new skill: Dramatic Irony

12th Grade: Write about your weekend (senior trip).  Then rewrite some sentences in your entry with the new skill: Starting Sentences with -ing Words.


Finish Stories, Complete Reading Plan

14 Apr


Today we will finish our short stories (9-The Gift of the Magi; 12th-Harrison Bergeron ) and complete a reading plan in our notebook.

Reading Plan-complete the following items about the story.

Who– Who are the Characters, describe them, what is their relationship to each other?

What– Plot and conflicts in the story

When and Where– The setting

Why– The theme, message, author’s purpose

How– Narrator’s Point of View, Literary devices used to convey the theme and tell the story.