Week 25

On Tuesday, we met in the Media Center Lab and worked our way through the FSA Practice Reading Test.

On Wednesday, we met in the Media Center Lab again and worked our way to the FSA Practice Writing Test.

On Thursday, we read the next two sections of Fahrenheit 451, discussing and annotating as we went.

On Friday, students read a letter from Kurt Vonnegut to a school that had burned copies of his novel, Slaughterhouse-5, and answered questions related to that letter. These CommonLit assignments reinforce strategies students will need in order to pass the FSA. I also gave students an extra credit opportunity to do over the weekend, retelling a passage from yesterday’s Fahrenheit 451 reading from the perspective of the woman who martyred herself.

Extra Credit Opportunity

We just read pages 32 – 38 of Fahrenheit 451, the section with the woman who martyrs herself for her books.

As an extra credit opportunity this weekend, you may — if you wish — rewrite this scene from the woman’s Point of View (instead of Montag’s). Do not CHANGE anything; just re-tell everything as if the woman had been the viewpoint character.

I have some thoughts, all of which you should feel free to ignore and write your own ideas out.  But here they are …

  • Start with her awakening (or potentially staying awake), fearing the firemen might be headed her way. What was she doing before they got there? Details will help this be great.
  • Describe what she sees as she watches the firemen arrived and enter through her front door.
  • Detail her thoughts as the firemen grab her, even though she is not trying to escape. What are you hoping will happen? What do you fear will happen?
  • Remember to make your quote; it’s obviously very important. What’s going on in your head as you are preparing to say it?
  • Describe your feelings as the firemen begin to destroy your library.
  • One of the firemen – you don’t know his name, but it’s Montag – is not doing what the other firemen are doing. He is standing beside you. What are your thoughts about this man? (Do you see him take the book, or not? It’s up to you … Consider how this will affect your narrative.)
  • Write about your decision not to leave your books behind. Why are you willing to sacrifice your life for what you believe?
  • Describe the end, and why you do the thing that you do.
  • What is your last thought as you perish?

If you choose to do this assignment, it is due Monday, February 24. It is worth up to 25 extra credit points (plus an automatic 5, if you type.).

Please remember that extra credit opportunities, when given, are part of my Grade Recovery Plan. There are no miracle makeups at the end of the 9 weeks marking period; students should take advantage of these opportunities when they come.

Here are the qualities I’m going to use to assess your writing:

  • Is it written like a story? (Proper paragraphing, a blend of narration and dialogue, etc.)
  • Is it complete? (Covers the entire section, leaves no important parts out, etc.)
  • Is it true to the story? (No major deviations from the story, other than perspectives she has that might be different from Montag’s)
  • Rather than merely rehashing what happens in that section, does it present some new ideas to be considered in the context of the world of the novel?
  • Is it interesting?

To submit your story – which I look forward to reading – you have three options:

  • hand deliver in class on Monday
  • type and submit through Google Classroom before 11:59 p.m. on 2/24/20
  • e-mail as an attached .doc or .docx file to richard.stanton@polk-fl.net before 11:59 p.m. on 2/24/20

Have fun!


If You’re Absent Tomorrow …

If you’re absent tomorrow (or any day on which homework is due), use your camera phone to take a picture of your assignment and email it to me:


This shows me, without doubt, that you did in fact finish your assignment on time and were ready to present it when it was due. I can then accept it without qualm.

This is good advice for all of your classes, all the way up through your college PhD program. Work is due when it is due, and the responsibility is on you.

Furthermore, while you are still in high school, anytime you are absent, be sure to have your parent called the school’s Attendance Line (863-499-2900) and ask for your absence to be excused. Here is the attendance policy for Polk County Schools: For unexcused absences, work missed during the student’s first three (3) days of unexcused absences during a semester is expected to be made up. This includes absences caused by an out-of-school suspension. The right of students to make up work on the fourth unexcused absence and all other days of unexcused absences per semester may be denied.  I know for a fact that you are going to have teachers at LHS who are going to enforce this policy.

And, just so you know what’s coming in the future, when I teach college classes, students are allowed to miss one class without penalty. On the second absence, their final grade for my class is reduced by 12.5%. On the third absence, it is reduced another 12.5% – so even if they had a 100% in my class (which is not common in college classes), the highest score they could earn would be a 75%. College credit is only awarded the students who earn a C or better in a class, so once a fourth absence occurs, they cannot pass the class at all.

There is no such thing as an excused or unexcused absence in college; you are either present or you are not present. There is no such thing as late work – Work Is Due When It Is Due. I really want you to start developing the correct habits now, when your education is free. Imagine spending $700 on a class plus $200 in books just to fail because you can’t turn your work in late and you can’t miss class.

You guys think I’m “grouchy” and “unfair” when what I am is “taking you seriously as a scholar” and “sincerely caring about your future.”

Sermon over, I suppose.

Metaphors Be With You.

Week 24

On Monday, we shared aloud the poems that had been written a couple weeks ago relating to repeated motifs in Fahrenheit 451. These poems were shared anonymously, and each class read and judged a different class’s poems in order to make the judging fair. (Students were allowed/encouraged to share their own poetry aloud at the end of class, in order to get feedback from other students and from me.)

The winners for each class, as chosen (anonymously) by their peers, are as follows:

Period 1 – Reagan C.
Period 2 – Landon D.
Period 3 – Ethan L.
Period 4 – Joely T.
Period 6 – Avalon J.
Period 7 – Collisha R.

On Tuesday, we read and discussed the poem “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. We started with a 5-minute QuickWrite, where students kept their pens moving for five minutes as they wrote about a decision they made that they wish they had made differently. We then studied the poem by following the process that I teach: (1) Reading for enjoyment the 1st time, (2) Reading to think the 2nd time, (3) Reading to analyze the 3rd time, and (4) Reading to evaluate the 4th time. At the end of class, there were given an opportunity to write a poem based on their QuickWrite from earlier in class, for extra credit. (Please Note: Extra credit opportunities, when given, are part of my Grade Recovery Plan. There are no miracle makeups at the end of the 9 weeks marking period; students should take advantage of these opportunities when they come.)

On Wednesday, we read and discussed the poem “A Voice,” by Pat Mora. We repeated the process we learned Tuesday: QuickWriting, multiple readings, and a writing opportunity for extra credit. (Please Note: Extra credit opportunities, when given, are part of my Grade Recovery Plan. There are no miracle makeups at the end of the 9 weeks marking period; students should take advantage of these opportunities when they come.)

On Thursday, we learned a mnemonic called SOAPSTONED, using our study of “The Road Not Taken” And “A Voice” to discuss how to analyze the Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone, and Devices of various poems. After doing this, I (perhaps somewhat selfishly) shared some of my own poetry out loud and asked the classes to use SOAPSTONED to provide feedback about the writing.


Students were also given homework on Monday, the 10th. This assignment can be accessed on my Fahrenheit 451 page. Essentially, I provided them links to some of my favorite stories by Ray Bradbury and asked him to read one and create a Literary Terms Template to analyze the story’s plot and structure. This is due Tuesday, February 18, at the beginning of class – no late papers, no excuses.

Optional Assignment – Decisions Poem

As we discussed in class today after studying “The Road Not Taken,” you have the *option* of writing a poem based on your QuickWrite from the beginning of class, about a decision you wish that you had made it differently.

Originally my intention was to make this poem *required,* but in the interest of time and fairness it seems more reasonable for me to offer you the opportunity to earn extra credit if you choose to do this assignment.

In order to earn the points for this assignment, your poem must

  • be composed in five-line stanzas (like Frost’s)
  • have at least three stanzas
  • use an ABAAB rhyme scheme in each stanza (like Frost’s)
  • be about a decision you wish you had made differently.

The absolute deadline for this assignment is tomorrow when you arrive in class. If you choose not to do it, then you will be exempted from the assignment. If you do it, you will receive up to 25 extra credit points.

PLEASE NOTE: Please remember that intermittent extra credit assignments such as this are part of my county-mandated Grade Recovery Plan. There will be no sudden pull-up-your-grade assignment given at the end of the marking period – take advantage of these opportunities when you can.

Also, I allowed students to take their QuickWrite home if they chose to do so, with the understanding that they would deliver it to meet tomorrow at the start of class. That writing is worth 10 points, so please do not forget to bring it tomorrow (if you did not leave it in class already today).

Write On!

Week 23

On Monday, we read a section of Fahrenheit 451 and students were asked to highlight and/or annotate (or take notes if they do not have a book); I provided suggestions for their note-taking, and we discussed the section thoroughly as we went. I also assigned students a homework task, which is almost exactly the same task as they were given last week: Read one of the short stories from A Pleasure to Burn (a different story from the one they read the first week, naturally) and complete a Literary Terms Template (the same exact document they completed last week). See my Fahrenheit 451 page for details.

On Tuesday I was absent, and students were given a list of Poetry Terms to define.

On Wednesday, which was a half-day, we read a poem called “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and discussed it thoroughly. (As a reminder, the first reading of a poem should just be to get a feel for it and to hear what it sounds like. The second reading is when a person really starts to think about what the poem is trying to say. Third and later readings are when analysis would start to take place.) Students were given citation models to transcribe and complete along with a brief paragraph to write using those citation models. <<We also talked about the unfairness of students turning their homework assignment in late and expecting to get credit. I addressed the issue in class just as I did on my webpage, You Can Read It Here. I advised students that next week’s homework (due February 10) would be worth twice as many points as the first week’s.>>

On Thursday, we read one of the most important sections of Fahrenheit 451, annotating and taking notes as appropriate, discussing it thoroughly.

On Friday, I provided every student a handout of the section we covered on Thursday (see, I told you it was important) and students were given time to reread that passage and annotate it as thoroughly as possible. At the end of class, small groups of students worked interactively to create a five question multiple-choice test for that brief passage. (Aside from proving that they had read and understood the passage, they also had to demonstrate their “test smarts” by providing appropriate distractors for each of the multiple-choice questions.)

Just like last week, I reminded students of the homework that is due February 10 every day, I sent out Remind messages, I stayed after school so students who need extra help could get it, and I helped everyone who messaged me via Remind and email as much as I could. Students are well aware of my policy regarding late homework, and it is my sincere hope that no one forces me to give them anything less than 50 out of 50 points tomorrow.

Work Is Due When It Is Due

I went into this in some depth when I assigned the first Bradbury homework last week, but it is unreasonable to think that someone who cannot complete a homework assignment in a week’s time is suddenly going to be able to miraculously do it overnight, between a Monday and a Tuesday.

It is much more believable, unfortunately, to believe that a student chose not to do the assignment despite being reminded every day, including weekends (using Remind).

This is not a habit that will promote future success. As such, I feel it would be wrong for me to enable such behaviors. I will be giving these late-delivered assignments a zero, as promised when I gave the assignment.

If a parent wishes to communicate with me on this matter to explain why his or her child legitimately could not complete this assignment in seven nights but can somehow do it in eight, I will be open to that communication. I promise, I will listen with an open mind and do whatever I can to help your child succeed.

As another somewhat-related issue, I have students who were absent the day the assignment was due. They wish to turn their assignment in the day they return — but that gives them an extra day that other students did not get. I understand that students sometimes must be absent, of course, but I think it reasonable to expect that the absence be excused if I am to be expected to accept the work. Please contact the school’s attendance office (863-499-2900) when your child’s absence should be considered excused.

Please communicate with me your thoughts on the matters at hand.

Ignore This

For Homework #3, you will read a different story — but this time NOT from A Pleasure to Burn. Nope nope nope! This time you get to read one of Professor Stanton’s own handpicked favorite Bradbury stories! Aren’t you just the luckiest person ever?!?

And yes, of course, the Master of Predictability (I’m getting T-shirts made) once again wants you to complete a Literary Terms Template (THIS DOCUMENT. (<– click link for document) after you’ve read. Wow, are you going to understand Literary Terms (and  Bradbury) or what!

Here is the sample template I shared with you after we read “The Pedestrian.” CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THAT DOCUMENT. You can compare your efforts to mine after you’ve finished to ensure that your work is up to par.

I know, I know, the excitement is a bit much (!) and so, without further ado, here are your story options for this week:

There Will Come Soft Rains

The Foghorn

The Toynbee Convector

Mars Is Heaven

The One Who Waits

The Veldt

A Sound of Thunder

So again: Read a short story from the list above (and if you’ve read “The Veldt” already for this class, don’t read it again for this assignment) and complete a Literary Terms Template to show your understanding of the story. You will be presenting the template form to me and potentially using this information for a later presentation, so do Quality Work.

This assigned is being discussed and given on Monday, February 10; the due date for the template form is Tuesday, February 18, at the beginning of your class time.

For clarity: Based on directions given to me by administration, this assignment is HOMEWORK and will need to be completed on your own time. It is not optional, and there are no excuses for late work being submitted. Be sure you complete this assignment, do the work correctly, and submit your assignment on time.

I hope you enjoy the story you choose to read!

Week 22

On Monday, I presented to students their first major homework for Fahrenheit 451. This assignment (which can be found on my Fahrenheit 451 Page, requires them to read a related short story by Ray Bradbury and to complete a Literary Terms Template. To ensure that all students are ready for this assignment, we reviewed the standard literary terms. These are the same literary terms students have studied since fourth grade or so (so I know they know them), but I wanted to ensure that students could ask any questions and did not feel as if they did not have appropriate support to complete this assignment.

On Tuesday, we read the next three sections of Fahrenheit 451, wherein Montag deals with his wife’s overdose and what happens the day after. Students were encouraged to highlight and/or take notes as we read. We stopped at several points to discuss things happening in the novel.

On Wednesday, I gave students a poem called “Burning a Book” as well as several FSA-centered questions. They had the entirety of the period to complete this assignment. (Note: Some students in periods 2-4 were scheduling for next year’s classes; they will not be required to make up this assignment.)

On Thursday, I had a guest speaker from Full Sail University. I know that this is a for-profit college, and parents and students are encouraged to do proper research as they look for colleges. Students generally enjoy this presentation, however, and I wanted students to see that there were avenues directly related to their own interests that they could explore at the university level.

On Friday, we read the next section of Fahrenheit 451, the second time Montag talks to Clarisse. Following this, I asked students to write a poem on one of several topics and to turn it in before the end of class. I am looking forward to reading them 🙂

I reminded students EVERY DAY about the homework which is due on Monday, February 3. I offered to stay after school Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday to help any student who wish to stay. I have stayed in contact with students using Remind and email. This assignment is due Monday when students arrive in class and will not be accepted late.

Week 21

On Tuesday, we begin our study of Fahrenheit 451. I began by asking students to respond to one of three pre-reading questions. I then asked them to copy the quote that serves as the epigraph for the novel and to write a statement explaining why Bradbury might have used this quote. Following this, I presented a series of annotation challenges for students as I read the first two sections of the story aloud.

On Wednesday, I directed students to write an essay. I thought our collective purposes would be better served if we read together one day and engaged in some other activity the next. That way no one would be absent on one day and unable to participate in our shared reading on the next.

On Thursday, we read another section of Fahrenheit 451. Again (and most likely ongoing), I presented them with several annotation tasks. I also showed students that I have uploaded a series of Guided Reading Questions for the novel to my website. I am the person who created those questions, and I am the person who created the tests that I will be giving (after each of the three parts). I suggested to students that it might be in their best interest to be sure they knew the answers to these questions as we read the novel.

On Friday, I had students get in groups of two or three, gave each group two pages of biographical information about Ray Bradbury, and directed them to create a Top Ten List of interesting information. After doing this with first through sixth periods, I had seventh period put together an Ultimate Top Ten List using the other classes’ initial drafts. These posters are displayed on the whiteboard.