Classroom Library Book Bonus

The classroom library book bonus is back for third and fourth quarter. Students in English I, English II, English III, and High School Reading can turn in books from the independent reading list for bonus points. Each book is worth five bonus points and students can turn in up to two books per quarter. If you have read the book and passed a quiz on it for journals, then you can turn in one book for ten points.

Keep in mind that the goal is to donate books that either (1) you already own or (2) you find really cheap somewhere. I do not recommend that you go out and buy a new copy of the book simply to donate as that might be quite expensive. Instead, keep your eyes open for cheap copies or if there is a book you really want to read, buy it, then donate it when you are through OR donate it, then check it back out to read it yourself. Then just return it to the library when you are finished.

I almost always find a handful of books from the list when I visit any thrift store. When I visit the Goodwill in Ozark, I sometimes buy books for the library myself, but if I bought them all, I would spend hundreds of dollars of my own money each year. So often I move them to the top shelf all the way to the left to make them easier for my students to find. This might be a good place to start looking if you have the chance.

The point of this bonus is two-fold: (1) it helps familiarize students with titles and authors on the list and (2) it helps build up our classroom library, which makes it easier for all students to find books on the list.

If you have questions, let me know.

The Great Whoever vs. Whomever Debate

This video (starting at about 64 seconds in) does a pretty good job of summing up how people feel about grammatical issues like when to use “whoever” vs. “whomever.”

For the record, though, Pam is right. You use “who” when it is the subject of the sentence and “whom” when it is the object. So “whoever” does an action, and “whomever” receives it.

Online Resources Bonus

To complete the Online Resources Bonus click here. Only the first 10 students to complete the task correctly will receive the 5 bonus points. Must be completed by Friday, February 2, 2018. Only students in English 1, 2, and 3 are eligible.

Shakespearean Sonnets

The freshmen are currently working on writing their own Shakespearean sonnets. Here’s a little bit about the form from the Academy of American Poetry:

From the Italian sonetto, which means “a little sound or song,” the sonnet is a popular classical form that has compelled poets for centuries. Traditionally, the sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, which employ one of several rhyme schemes and adhere to a tightly structured thematic organization. Two sonnet forms provide the models from which all other sonnets are formed: the Petrarchan and the Shakespearean.

 *         *         *

The second major type of sonnet, the Shakespearean, or English sonnet, follows a different set of rules. Here, three quatrains and a couplet follow this rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg. The couplet plays a pivotal role, usually arriving in the form of a conclusion, amplification, or even refutation of the previous three stanzas, often creating an epiphanic quality to the end.

In Sonnet 130 of William Shakespeare’s epic sonnet cycle, the first twelve lines compare the speaker’s mistress unfavorably with nature’s beauties. But the concluding couplet swerves in a surprising direction:

     My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

Passive & Active Voice in The Office

In an episode of NBC’s hit show The Office, inept manager Michael Scott makes an important announcement to his staff:

Ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news. Meredith was hit by a car. …It happened this morning in the parking lot. I took her to the hospital and the doctors tried to save her life. They did the best they could and she is going to be okay.”

His staff is upset with him for making it sound like Meredith had died, but he’s using passive voice to conceal the worse of it. Only after someone has the idea of going to the security tapes to identify the car, does he finally admit his role in the accident (using active voice):

“I ran down Meredith in my car.”


Compare the differences in these constructions:

PASSIVE (hides the actor)

“Meredith was hit by a car.” & “It happened this morning in the parking lot.”

ACTIVE (actor performs verb)

“I ran down Meredith in my car.”

Is Trump Purposefully Creating Conflict to Make His Story More Interesting?

NPR interviewed reality TV producer Tom Foreman and he had a lot to say about the way Trump is creating his own narrative and our responsibility as citizens to actively deconstruct it:

“You don’t want to get bogged down in an argument over facts when you make a reality television show. You don’t want to convey a ton of information, because people get bored or lost or change the channel — and that’s certainly not our business….You want to amplify what your viewers already believe to be true — what they know in their bones. And that means keeping the conversation at a pretty red-meat level. It’s stuff I can grasp quickly, talk about at the dinner table. I think Trump just sort of gets that….I guess on some platonic level, I too have an objection, but who cares. He’s doing it and he’s going to continue doing it. But I do think it’s sort of incumbent upon us as voters to arm ourselves and to deconstruct the narrative coming from the White House or anywhere. You have to be an informed consumer of messages. But, like, that’s on us. He’s going to tell a story. He’s really good at it and you’re not going to stop him. You’ve just got to learn to read it right.”