Novel Studies

Beginning Monday, February 4, we will begin an in-depth study of a novel (see titles below). It is to your benefit to own a copy of this book, so directions have been provided below to allow you to acquire one digitally for your personal use.

English III (Periods 1, 2, 4, 5): The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane

If you have a Kindle, or the Kindle app (which is free), you can purchase a copy of the novel for $0.60. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK.  Doing so means you can complete your Reader’s Response log digitally (rather than having to handwrite). You can also highlight in the ebook as well as use the dictionary function to look up the definitions of words you do not know. I cannot recommend this avenue highly enough! CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE KINDLE APP.

If you do not have access to Kindle, you can acquire the book for free from Hoopla if you have a Polk County library card. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK Hoopla will not allow you to highlight or take notes digitally, but it will at least allow you to have the book available to read on your own as well as to study from. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE HOOPLA APP.

The book is also available for free on the Internet. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK. Project Gutenberg has books that are in the public domain, but you will not be able to highlight, take notes, or bookmark your place as you read. At least you will have the book available to read on your own as well as to study from.

Apparently, you can listen to the audiobook of this novel for free on YouTube, but this will not help you complete your readers response log. Still, the more you do to increase your knowledge/understanding about the book, the better off you’ll be.

I *do* have physical copies of the book to be used in class, but these cannot be taken home.

English III Honors (Period 3): Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

If you have a Kindle, or the Kindle app (which is free), you can purchase a copy of the novel for $6.99. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK.  Doing so means you can complete your Reader’s Response log digitally (rather than having to handwrite). You can also highlight in the ebook as well as use the dictionary function to look up the definitions of words you do not know. I cannot recommend this avenue highly enough! CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE KINDLE APP

If you do not have access to Kindle, you can acquire the book for free from Hoopla if you have a Polk County library card. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK Hoopla will not allow you to highlight or take notes digitally, but it will at least allow you to have the book available to read on your own as well as to study from. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE HOOPLA APP.

I do not have physical copies of the book to share; be sure to acquire a copy. (NOTE: You *can* apparently listen to the audiobook for free on YouTube, but this may make your readers response more difficult to complete. It is better than nothing, I suppose.)

 

English IV (Period 7): Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

If you have a Kindle, or the Kindle app (which is free), you can purchase a copy of the novel for $0.99. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK.  Doing so means you can complete your Reader’s Response log digitally (rather than having to handwrite). You can also highlight in the ebook as well as use the dictionary function to look up the definitions of words you do not know. I cannot recommend this avenue highly enough! CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE KINDLE APP

If you do not have access to Kindle, you can acquire the book for free from Hoopla if you have a Polk County library card. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK Hoopla will not allow you to highlight or take notes digitally, but it will at least allow you to have the book available to read on your own as well as to study from. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO GET THE FREE HOOPLA APP.

The book is also available for free on the Internet. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE BOOK. Project Gutenberg has books that are in the public domain, but you will not be able to highlight, take notes, or bookmark your place as you read. At least you will have the book available to read on your own as well as to study from.

Apparently, you can listen to the audiobook of this novel for free on YouTube, but this will not help you complete your readers response log. Still, the more you do to increase your knowledge/understanding about the book, the better off you’ll be.

I *do* have physical copies of the book to be used in class, but these cannot be taken home.

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Weekend Warriors – English 3 and English 3H Only

This is an optional assignment for the weekend. If you choose to do it and do it to my expectations, you will earn 50 out of 50 points. If you choose not to do it, you will get an X in the gradebook, which means you are exempt from the assignment (it will neither hurt nor help you).

Read one of the following stories by Edgar Allan Poe and create a Reader’s Response Log of at least ten (10) entries to track your reading:

  • The Black Cat
  • Hop-Frog
  • Never Bet the Devil Your Head
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Purloined Letter

Here is the document I shared with you this week about Readers Response Logs: CLICK HERE

Here is a website that has those stories by Poe: CLICK HERE

If you choose to do this assignment – which is intended to boost your grade – it is due Monday at the beginning of class.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Pink Papers

Did you get a pink paper today? That was my sincere attempt to help you, by alerting your parents to your situation since you did not make the decision to self-advocate.

Be sure to have them sign it and return it to me tomorrow. Otherwise I have to go to even more work to encourage your parents to help you succeed. This may be telephone calls, text messages, emails – all of which takes my own personal time. And if I have to take my personal time to motivate you to success, then I feel it is only fair that you have to do extra work for me.

I reserve the right to also alert Guidance to your decision to fail English by refusing to write the essays I assign and give you an entire week for. I have been known to alert students’ other teachers and even their club sponsors and coaches when a student is making the wrong choices.

Why do I do this? To help you. You can pretend all you wish, but writing is an invaluable skill and many of you – MOST of you – need to improve your skills if you hope to be competitive in the world of business and/or college.

So get those letters signed and returned to me tomorrow. If you do so, I will give you 10 points on one of those essays you did not turn in – as a gift. If you do not, I will … make a decision that will in no way benefit you but that I have already cleared with the school’s administration.

And be sure to get to work on next week’s essay. There is absolutely no reason for you to fail this class.

Essay – Overcoming Adversity

The topic for this week’s essay comes from The Princeton Review: Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them):

“The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failureHow did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

This is a narrative essay, which means you are going to tell a story: the story of a time you overcame a challenge, suffered a setback, or experienced failure. This comes straight from your own experiences, so search your memories for an experience that taught you something (about yourself, about other people, about the world in general). This needs to be something important, of course, something that others can feel sympathy for and can commiserate with you about. But your story is YOUR story, and the only way to invest your reader is to write in such a way that your story invites the reader to be on your side as you deal with this situation that you faced.

This does not have to be about school, by the way. Any experience that you have had is fair game for this essay. My only caution is to CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE. This is not an essay you’re writing to your friends, so stay away from topics that you would not want to share with someone you respect. I am your first audience, but the real audience is an anonymous group of adults who will decide whether or not you are worthy of admissions into their college.

That’s right: This essay you are writing this week is one that you might possibly use to apply for admission to a college you hope to attend. Keep that audience in mind as you consider your situation and write your essay. You want to impress these people with your writing ability as well as your ability to think deeply and reflect meaningfully about a personal experience you have had.

To be honest, I cannot do much more brainstorming for you than this. My own shortcomings and failures are nowhere near the same as yours. What I *can* and *will* do for you is this: If you write me a brief note and tell me what you are thinking about writing, I will give you some feedback about your idea and help you flesh it out a bit. Similarly, I will make myself available to you before and after school this Thursday and Friday so you can talk to me about your idea. Yes, I will do the extra work for *you* so that *you* can be more successful. Remember to thank me and show me proper respect; all that I do, I do for you.

The essay is due Tuesday, January 29, at the beginning of your class time. As you are well aware by this time, I will not accept late work. You have an entire week to think about, write, and revise your essay; there is literally NO REASON you cannot submit your work on time.

The minimum length is 500 words, but feel free to exceed this as you get into your narrative. Your life is important. Your experiences are important. Your reflection on these life lessons is important. I would not be surprised to receive essays that go beyond even 1,000 words. Make it your mission to impress your readership.

(This was 568 words, by the way, and it took me about a half-hour to type with my crippled hands. You are certainly capable of writing 500 words in a week.)

 

MLA PowerPoint and Common Errors Document

These are the files we discussed in class today. I expect the essays you submit on Tuesday to adhere to the guidelines we established. I am in the pursuit of excellence, as you should be.

MLA Format – Click Here

Common Errors Document – Click Here

Please feel free to contact me, either by leaving a comment below, sending me a message using Remind, or sending me an email. I would love to have the opportunity to help you write the best essay ever 🙂

Oh, and for the record, your absence from my class does not excuse your paper being improperly formatted. Contact a friend or email me if you have questions about anything on these documents. Those of you who were in class today: Be a buddy and call someone you know was absent to let them know about the content of today’s class.

Have a great weekend, Best Friends!

Essay: Problems in Education

What problems are you aware of in today’s educational system?

I know that many of you have things that you complain about, and this is the essay in which you get to express those ideas. The problem, though, is that as you’re complaining about things you cannot sound whiny. Sounding whiny will take away all of your credibility – your ethos – and you want to be someone who is perceived as credible with a legitimate complaint. Several legitimate complaints, of course, since this is a multi-paragraph essay.

Your points are all valid. Whether your complaint is about the schedule, the socialization aspect, the teachers and the administration, other students, fire drills – it doesn’t matter. If you don’t like it, then it is something worth writing about. Of course, you are going to explore your ideas in some depth in your paragraphs, so you’ll need to think of examples and anecdotes to support your points. It’s not just enough to say that you don’t like 50-minute classes. You have to give reasons why a 50-minute class is not enough time or is too much time per class.

One way to look at this is as if you were writing to the school board to professionally present them a problem in the educational system that they may not be aware of. Another way to think about this is this: What would you like to see changed before your children become students in 20 years? Whether your kids are kindergartners, middle schoolers, or high school students, there are changes all across the board that could be made in order to enhance their educational experiences.

I think the one thing you should keep in mind is, why do we insist students go to school anyhow? School was not mandatory 150 years ago, but now everybody is forced to go to school until they’re at least the age of 16. So there must be some reason that the government wants students in school. Thinking about that may help you focus your essay on what should be done to help students get a better education. School is SUPPOSED to be a beneficial service to make better citizens: What needs to change to make it the best possible experience?

Your essay is due Tuesday, January 22 – no late papers, no excuses. You may handwrite if you wish (print, blue or black ink, double-spacing, one side of the paper only), but in all sincerity typing is better.

See previous entries about proper format for typing as well as about proper paragraph construction and strategies for intros and conclusions.

Leave a comment if you have any questions you’d like answered. I am always here to help you 🙂

Essay Is Due Monday

Your essay is due Monday at the start of your classtime, absolutely no later. You can had-deliver it, of course, but I will also allow you to email if to me (richard.stanton@polk-fl.net). If you email it to me, you must do so as an attached .doc, .docx, or .pdf file – do not send it as a shared document and do not simply type it in the body of an email. The previous update to this site explains how your typed document must be formatted,

You will have had a week to work on your essay – it was assigned Monday, January 4, and is due when you come to class Monday, January 11 – and I need you to take seriously my warning that late papers will not be accepted. You were encouraged to submit your essay on Friday (the day I am writing this) and were repeatedly advised that no papers would be accepted. I am not interested in excuses and will spend no time entertaining reasons you could not do what was expected of you.

In college, when you are paying good cash money for your education, professors will not accept late assignments. It is not FAIR to those who submitted their work on time for YOU to get extra time. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, for you to take yourself seriously as a scholar.

This assignment is worth 50 points – an easy 50 points. It is a personal essay, so no research is required. If you write 500 words, stick to the topic, and present a professional-looking document, you are going to get all those points. Hooray! If your paper is not professionally presented (see directions in last two updates to this site), I cannot see any way I would award you more than a C. If your essay does not meet my minimum word count (500 words) then I cannot give you anything other than an F. And if your paper is not delivered on time, then you will receive a zero – and nobody wants that!

I have stated and restated my expectations clearly, so I am looking forward to awarding you full credit on Monday. And I am very interested to read what you value most about your educational experiences so far 🙂

(Your next essay will be about where the system has let you down, but this particular essay is about The Value of Education – the good things!)

Feel free to comment below – drawing to be held on Monday!

Professional Presentation

In order for your essay to be properly respected by a reader, it must adhere to the conventions established for proper presentation. In English classes, this is known as MLA format:

  • One side only
  • One-inch (1”) margins on all sides
  • Black ink on white paper
  • 12-point serif font: Times New Roman or Garamond is best
  • Double-spaced: Highlight entire area using Ctrl-A…Right-click…select Paragraph…set “Spacing” to Double
  • First Line Indented ½”: Highlight entire area using Ctrl-A…Right-click…select Paragraph…set “Special” to First Line
  • Page Numbering: Use the header command (Insert…Header) to set page numbers ½” from the top on the right of each page.  Use your last name and the page number, separated by one space.
  • Proper title format: Center, using capital first letters of important words only.  Do not use bold, italics, underlining, quotation marks, all-caps, or word art.  Your title should be eye-catching and interesting, not merely “Report” or “English Paper” or “What Makes a Poem ‘Good.’”

Your paper should also have a proper heading, placed at the left margin of the first page. The required information is as follows, but do not use bullets:

  • Your Name
  • Teacher’s Name (Professor Stanton)\
  • English III
  • 14 January 2019

Please comment below if you have any questions; I am happy to help. A drawing will be held Monday for all who have commented (one entry per day).

Introductions and Conclusions

As important as the body of your essay is, the introduction and the conclusion are even more important.

I know, it seems wrong; doesn’t it? But it’s true, and here’s why:

THE INTRODUCTION

Consider the plight of your reader – in this case, Professor Stanton. I have 141 students, each writing a 500-word essay. Do I *want* to read 141 essays about what you guys think is valuable about the educational opportunities you’ve been given? Would you? I mean, let’s be honest about it here. I *will* read the essays and offer feedback because that’s the kind of guy I am, but I could hardly be described as eagerly *wanting* to read these essays. Right?

So your job in the intro is to make me feel as if my effort to read is going to be rewarded. I can tell if an essay is going to score high, medium, or low from the very first few sentences! You have to convince me that you have something meaningful to say and that you know how to say it.

Your very first sentence is make-it-or-break-it, so you need a strategy to capture my attention. There are a variety to choose from (feel free to Google “first sentence introduction essay” to see what other suggestions are out there), but here are some of my favorites:

  • A short punchy (perhaps seemingly confrontational) statement: <<School sucks. Or at least that is what my friends say. For me, though …>>
  • A brief anecdote that will be tied up in the conclusion: <<Walking into the school auditorium the first day of my ninth grade year, I was terrified – what had I gotten myself into?>>
  • A rhetorical question (one that does not require an answer but is intended to get the reader thinking in a certain direction): <<Why are children still forced to go to school, when all learning can be done online?>>
  • A famous quotation, attributed: <<Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”>>

Once you’ve lured me in to your essay, you need to establish your FOCUS (that you have gained much through your educational opportunities) and then write your THESIS.

THE CONCLUSION

Ironic as it seems, the conclusion is the most important part of your essay. Many people just dump out at the end. They are tired of writing and are just putting the endcap on.

<<That’s why I think education is valuable. What about you?>>

Ugh.

The end of the essay is when you bring it all home for the reader. What does it matter? What should I do? What have I learned?

Pretend that the essay you are writing is a request for cash money. When is the judge going to decide if you are going to get the money? You certainly hope that he or she is enticed to read your essay (that’s the purpose of the introduction), and I hope you have given good reasons why you deserve it (that’s the body), but he or she is not going to decide until the very end – the conclusion.

You want to leave tor reader either amused or amazed at your cleverness, and the best way is to somehow echo your introduction. Think about your first sentence, and try to find a way to finish that thought in the last sentence of your essay.

  • INTRO –<<School sucks. Or at least that is what my friends say. For me, though …>>
  • CONCLUSION — <<I cannot imagine how much my life would suck if I had not had the opportunity to pursue a meaningful education>>
  • INTRO — <<Walking into the school auditorium the first day of my ninth grade year, I was terrified – what had I gotten myself into?>>
  • CONCLUSION — <<Walking out of school on my last day of ninth grade, I knew I was going to have many opportunities to excel.>>
  • INTRO — <<Why are children still forced to go to school, when all learning can be done online?>>
  • CONCLUSION — <<Thank goodness I had the opportunity to broaden my worldview by going to school with so many amazing people.>>
  • INTRO — <<Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”>>
  • CONCLUSION — <<My education has given me an arsenal of intellectual weapons with which to rule the world in which I live.>>

 

As an added note, you should also carefully consider what your title will be for this essay. “The Value of Education” is okay but hardly captivating. Pretend your ideal reader was going to choose just a few essays to read for the contest; what would make your title catch his or her attention?

Next: Professional Presentation

Remember to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing, which will be held next Monday. You can enter once per day 🙂

 

Proper Paragraph Construction

I hope you’ve started to find your focus for this essay!

Today we took time at the start of class to brainstorm some ideas with your peers to share your ideas and hear theirs. You had the opportunity to ask probing questions and to answer questions posed to you.

Each of your body paragraphs is going to explore one big idea. Academics, for example, or elective classes, or socialization, or athletics, or any other large categories you choose. It’s your essay; your ideas are valid and worth exploring!

You will start – as you probably already know – with a clear topic sentence. This contains the subject you will explore in that paragraph. (Example: <<One of the things I value most about my education has been my elective courses.>>) This sentence includes the focus of the essay (things I value) as well as the topic I plan to explore (elective classes).

After that I need to move into the first things I want to say about elective courses; for me, that would be my drama classes. I want to introduce that idea and then explain fully what value I derived from my experiences in that class. I want to include at least one or two anecdotes (short stories) to demonstrate how that class benefited me. Then I want to move into another elective class; for me, that would be French. Again, I want to explain why it such a beneficial experience and to provide an anecdote or two. I myself have a third elective class (creative writing) that I would want to explore. At the end of that paragraph, I will include a simple sentence that wraps everything up: <<My elective classes allowed me to explore my own personal interests, and I learned very important lessons there.>>

So basic paragraph structure is as follows:

I. Topic sentence
A. First class
1. What I gained from the class
2. Anecdote
3. Anecdote
B. Second class
1. What I gained from the class
2. Anecdote
3. Anecdote
C. Third class
1. What I gained from the class
2. Anecdote
3. Anecdote
II. Wrap-up sentence

Then, of course, I would move on to the next big topic I wanted to discuss.

Remember that your essay should end on its strongest point. Start strong, bury your weakest point in the middle, and end super-strong.

Tomorrow: Intros and Conclusions

 

NOTE: Typing is really the best option. You will need to either print your essay or email it as an ATTACHED DOCUMENT (not as a shared file). I will give directions for typing Thursday.

If you are going to handwrite for whatever reason, follow these directions to prepare a professional document:

  • Print neatly
  • Use blue or black ink
  • Write on the front of the paper only
  • Double-space (write on every other line)