Friday, September 25, 2009

The Overcoat Extra Credit Opportunity

At least one time per quarter, the English 10 teachers offer an extra credit assignment to extend learning. This assignment is open to all students; however, students who have missed turning in a daily assignment should pay special attention to this opportunity to make up for those lost points.

For the first extra credit assigment of the year, students may read Nikolai Gogol's short story "The Overcoat," the story that saved Ashoke's life in The Namesake, and complete the questions below. "The Overcoat" may be read online by clicking here.

Turn in your answers to the following questions by Tuesday, October 13 for five points of extra credit.

1. The name Akaky comes from a Greek word meaning "no evil." How does the origin of Akaky's name relate to his character and to his experiences in "The Overcoat"?
2. How does Akaky change after he purchases the overcoat? In what ways does he remain the same?
3. Discuss how the overcoat can be symbolic of all three of the following ideas: security, risk-taking, and identity.
4. Discuss the theme--material possessions have a dramatic impact on the way people view themselves--as it applies to both "The Overcoat" and The Namesake by writing one PIE of literary analysis on this theme. The illustration for your PIE should be a direct quotation from "The Overcoat." Site the quotation in proper MLA format with Gogol and the page number from the online PDF file that links this blog post to the short story.
5. Discuss another thematic connection that you thought of between "The Overcoat" and The Namesake by writing one PIE of literary analysis. Your illustration for the PIE should be a direct quote from "The Overcoat." Remember MLA citation for your direct quotation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ms. Roehl is really great at using a Multi-Flow Map to help with Thesis and Organization

After you have generated ideas on your multi-flow map, it's time to think about a thesis and organization. Both are easy to do from the multi-flow map. The thesis should incorporate the general causes and effects in the boxes and be a blueprint for the body paragraphs.

Read the following draft of my thesis statement that tells a theme about the causes and effects of the topic "cultural conflict."

In The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri claims that people who face cultural conflict caused by a separation from their familiar lifestyle end up rebelling against their traditional culture, assimilating to the new culture, or living a somewhat isolated life from the culture of power in their new society.

Did you notice how the boxes on the multi-flow map came alive in the thesis?

You can also organize the essay right from the multi-flow map and thesis. Here are my potential body paragraphs:

1. Causes of cultural conflict on separation caused by fear and being homesick. That paragraph would have a PIE on fear and a PIE on being homesick.

2. Effect of cultural conflict being rebellion as illustrated by Gogol and Sonia.

3. Effect of cultural conflict being assimilation as illustrated by Ashoke's dress and naming of children.

4. Effect of cultural conflict being isolation as illustrated by Ashima's Bengali friends, food and clothing.As another model to help you write your essay.

Here's a draft of part of the body paragraph on isolation and Ashima with the PIE about food.

TOPIC SENTENCE - Ashima’s acute sense of cultural isolation is caused most profoundly by a sense that something is missing, even in the most familiar of things.

POINT First, as Ashima looks for comfort in the cooking from her home country of India, even the foods that she craves most are lacking in some satisfying, key ingredient.

ILLUSTRATION For example, in chapter one when Ashima, attempts to make the spicy Rice Krispies snack with peanuts and red onions that she used to buy in the streets of Calcutta, she is wishes “there were mustard oil to pour into the mix…[it] is a humble approximation of the snack sold for pennies on Calcutta sidewalks and on railway platforms throughout India.” As she tastes it from her palms, she thinks “as usual, there’s something missing” (1).

EXPLANATION Even the most familiar things that bring her comfort are only “humble” or inferior substitutes for what she misses in India. The “something missing” in the food is symbolic of the cultural isolation that Ashima feels in her life in America.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation

Today in class we completed an anticipation guide to prime our brains before reading an excerpt from The Washington Post's "Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation." (Notice how blog posts have hot links to articles in case you have forgotten yours at school.)

Here were the questions you marked agree or disagree and stated why:

___ 1. Schools have a responsibility to promote American culture.
___ 2. Immigrants are often unskilled and uneducated.
___ 3. Immigrants should be encouraged to assimilate into the American national identity.
___ 4. When learning about a new culture, it’s better to overlook differences and focus on similarities.
___ 5. It would be easy to move to a new country.
___ 6. People should follow the customs of the country they live in, regardless of where they’re from.

Your homework for the weekend, in addition to reading to p. 158 of The Namesake, is to comment on this blog post. Your comment needs to make a connection between the article "Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation" and The Namesake. You should consider the assimilation of Ashima, Ashoke, Gogol, Sonia and other immigrants in the novel.

A thoughtful comment deserving of an "A" would include three sentences.

Sentence 1: Write the POINT being made about assimilation and the immigrant experience. This is a general, analytical statement about an idea that is found in both the article and the novel.

Sentence 2: This sentence is an ILLUSTRATION of the point being made in the previous sentence. Direct quotations from The Namesake would be the most credible illustration here. When using direct quotations, be sure to cite the page number where the quotation is found. MLA format looks like this (Lahiri 15) for a quotation that appears on page 15.

Sentence 3: This sentence contains further EXPLANATION of your main point and illustration. Think about why the main point matters today to you and to the world and further explain your ideas.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4 Square Vocab

Remember to complete a 4 Square Vocab activity for one of the vocabulary words that you didn't know. Be prepare to share with the class tomorrow!

If you didn't write down what goes in each square, a photo of the board is pasted below.

Upper right hand square--definition or synonyms

Lower right hand square--the sentence as it's used in the book AND an original sentence using the word

Upper left hand square--an image OR a trick to remember the definition of the word

Lower left hand square--morphology (different forms of the word) OR antonyms.

Also, you should start filling in the definitions from your big vocab packet onto your yellow sheet of Namesake vocabulary.

Enjoy your night off from reading!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Namesake Reading Schedule

Reading Schedule

The date indicates the due date for the reading selection. Be prepared for discussion or a quiz.

Sept. 11: pp. 1-21
Sept. 14: pp. 22-47
Sept. 15: pp. 48-71
Sept. 16: free day
Sept. 17: pp. 72-96
Sept. 18: pp. 97-124
Sept. 21: pp. 125-158
Sept. 22: pp. 159-187
Sept. 23: pp. 188-218
Sept. 24: pp. 219-245
Sept. 25: pp. 246-267
Sept. 28: pp. 268-273
Sept. 29: pp. 274-291

“The reader should realize himself that it could not have happened otherwise, and that to give him any other name was quite out of the question.”
--Nikolai Gogol,
“The Overcoat”

Friday, September 11, 2009

What's in a name?

Who is your namesake?
What's the story behind your parents naming you?
What does your name mean?
Do you have any great "name" anecdotes to share?

As we begin reading our first book together this year, Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, we will share all of the trivia that we know about our names. The questions above should get you thinking about your name, and you should talk to your family about your naming process if you don't know the story. You could even research what your name means. These will be fun stories to share on Monday, September 14, so be prepared to do so when you get to class.

Over the weekend I want you to comment on this blog post with one or two fun facts about your name.

Also, don't forget to read pages 22-47 in The Namesake!

Have a great weekend--we deserve it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Namesake

Homework for Friday:

1. Read pages 1-21 in The Namesake. Be prepared to talk in class tomorrow!
2. Leave a comment on this post so I know that everything is working properly. Feel free to say something about how much you love reading. (Be sure to include your name and hour in your comment so I know it's you!)

If you're interested, check out the trailer for the film adaptation of The Namesake:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Journey

For homework tonight, don't forget to read Mary Oliver's poem, "The Journey" and complete the response paragraph.

The poem and directions for the response are pasted below:

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do
determined to save
the only life you could save.

In response to Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey,” please write a well-organized, thoughtful paragraph considering the following questions:

** What is the main idea or theme of the poem?
** How does the author’s language enhance the poem’s meaning?

Paragraphs should consist of at least 5-7 complex sentences. Typed, double spaced, 12 pt. font.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Bubble Map Paragraph Example

One of the earliest memories I have growing up was when my older sister, Cyndy, gave me a Garfield mug for my birthday. The mug had a picture of Garfield rowing a canoe with the yellow dog from that show (whatever his name was) on it, but they were each trying to row the canoe in a different direction. The mug showed a thought bubble over Garfield's head that read, "I'm easy to get along long as things are going my way." That was the first time I remember realizing that, perhaps, I could be a bit stubborn. The older I get, the more prevalent this characteristic has become. I blame it both on my stubborn father (the older I get, the more I realize I'm my father's daughter, as well) and my birth order place as the middle child. I'm sure that at some point, I tired of doing what my big sister was telling me to do, and complying with my baby brother's wishes. My only option was to dig in my heels and be firm about what I was going to do. Old habits die hard. I am definitely a stubborn person.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cyber Bullying

Remember that this blog is an extension of our classroom, so every comment that you write needs to follow our established class rules around the words Work--Respect--Belong.All of your comments and posted images need to be appropriate.


Welcome to our class blog! I'm looking forward to a great year together!

Course Syllabus

Edina High School English 10
Ms. Rachel Hatten
Course Syllabus
Room 280

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity…For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” --Kofi Annan

“Books are the deepest way to communicate about what it is to be a human.” Peter Weer

Course Description
English 10 refines the language arts skills of reading, literary analysis, writing, vocabulary development, research, critical thinking, speaking, listening, visual literacy, and digital literacy. Units include studies of the journey as a universal human ritual, ethical dilemmas and the conflict between responsibility to society and to the individual, causes and effects of different cultures colliding, and persecution and other outside influences that affect us on a local and global level. Some selections align with the World History sophomore course so that students can make interdisciplinary connections. Selections include both Western and non-Western texts that reflect diversity in race, gender, age, economics and geography. In addition, students will contribute to a class blog to create an online learning community that not only extends classroom literary analysis discussions, but also provides an authentic audience to outside reading and writing assignments.

Regular instruction in vocabulary will use both explicit lessons and vocabulary specific to the literature being studied in class.

Intensive writing instruction will help students develop thinking skills and a personal voice. Students will write one formal, typed assessment each quarter for a total of four formal assessments per year. Essay assignments throughout the year will include multiple modes such as narrative, persuasion, and critical analysis. Grammar and usage review will include explicit lessons, but focus on using correct conventions in writing. Writing instruction and assessment will use the Six Traits of writing, rubrics and exemplars. Students will write a major research paper during third quarter.

Students will also develop and practice effective speaking skills in individual presentations and group discussions.

Major texts in each unit of study:
Identity and the Journey as a Universal Ritual
The Namesake
The Road
The Odyssey
O, Brother Where Art Thou?

Ethical Dilemmas: Individual vs. Society
All My Sons
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Cultures Collide
Nectar in a Sieve
Things Fall Apart
The Mission
Bride and Prejudice

In the Time of the Butterflies
Slaughterhouse 5
The Weight of All Things

Tying it all Together: Coming Home
Animal Dreams

Ongoing areas of study:
Visual literacy, including photography, film, and other print and digital images
Grammar, usage, and mechanics
Digital Literacies
MCA Poetry and Reading Prep

Some notes about literature selection in Edina Public Schools:
1. Literature that is studied and read as part of a course has been sited for excellence by an independent source (for example it has won literary awards, received positive reviews by independent book reviewers and/or recommendations from professional organizations, etc.) and/or the author has been sited
for excellence by an independent source.

2. Students should read and analyze a variety of literature in print, auditory and visual texts including:
Fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction;
A variety of diversity topics/themes including: race, gender, age, economics, and geography;
Contemporary and classic selections. Approximately one classic and 2-3 contemporary selections in each course read by all students.

3. In grades 9-12 literature is adult, full-length novels/non-fiction as well as short stories, poetry and drama.


In this course, I hope that you will:
** Read widely and analytically.
** Develop, explore, and clearly articulate original ideas.
** Write well for a variety of purposes.
**Use critical thinking skills to accomplish a wide range of tasks related to literature, writing, and media.

My work as a teacher is based on the following beliefs:
** I have a responsibility to create and nurture a safe working environment for all of my students—both collectively and on an individual level
** I believe in the power of texts to affect our understanding of the world and the human condition in a profound way
** I have a responsibility to prepare you for real world working and thinking on a critical, analytical level in a media infused 21st century
** I believe that you can be better than you are today. I believe that you can write more fluently, read more deeply, question more critically, and empathize more compassionately. I believe in the work we’re doing here.

My expectations for you are:
** Work: Show up for class—physically and mentally. Your fellow students and I need you here. Your primary purpose here is to participate in your learning and to produce work that contributes to the good of our class community. As Michael Hartoonian, scholar of education and public policy, says, “Work that we do to improve our personal circumstances always affects others. If we do good work, that good radiates to others. Of course, poor or bad work also radiates to others, causing a general decline in the wealth of the community.” Knowledge, which you gain through work, is key to successful citizenship in a multicultural world. To this end, expect homework each night and prepare to speak in class each day.
** Respect: At all times, be respectful of scholarship, of yourself, of each other, and of me. We are in this together.
** Belong: Foster community by taking care of each other, being ready for anything, and appreciating the differences that each person brings to class.

Grades are figured according to the following scale based on cumulative point totals:

100-93% A 79-77 C+ 69-67 D+
92-90 A- 76-73 C 66-63 D
89-87 B+ 72-70 C- 62-60 D-
86-83 B 59-0 F
82-80 B-

Please pay attention to penalties for scholastic and academic dishonesty outlined on page 18 of the handbook.


Major papers: Major papers will be due within a 3-5 day window, rather than be due on one, set date. While the size of the timeframe will remain at my discretion, I will alert you to the dates of the timeframe within which you can hand in your paper. This should give you ample time to complete the paper on time, and resolve any technical or personal issues that may arise. As long as your paper is handed in within the window, it is considered on time and will be graded without penalty. Papers are graded in the order that they were handed in. If you hand in your paper one day after the timeframe has closed, 25 points will be taken off of your final score (C is the highest possible grade). If you hand in the paper any time after that, 50 points will be taken off of your final score. All major papers will be worth 100 points. If you are absent on the closing due date, the paper needs to be emailed to me that day by 8:30 a.m. as an attachment if it is to be graded without penalty. Additionally, you must plan to hand in a hard copy of your paper upon your return to school.

Daily work: Research indicates that assigning homework, providing timely feedback, and obtaining assessment of student learning are important in enhancing the teaching-learning process. The purpose of homework is to either prepare you for the following day’s lesson, or to enhance and practice the skills learned in the previous lesson. This purpose is lost if the homework is not completed on time. For this reason, late homework will not be accepted.

Tests: If you are absent the day of a major test, you will need to attend the make-up test session that I schedule. There will only be one opportunity to make-up a missing major test. Make-up tests are comprised of short answer questions, while the regular test will have a variety of question types, including multiple choice. Retesting is not allowed. Be prepared for tests the first time.

Reading Check Quizzes: Occasionally, you may need to complete a quiz on the previous night’s reading assignment. Quizzes may be unannounced. If you are absent and miss a reading check quiz, you will need to complete questions on the reading that are posted to our class blog in order to be excused from those missing points.

The Notebook: All students will be expected to maintain a classroom composition notebook that includes comprehensive classroom notes as well as a detailed table of contents. The individual pages of the notebook will be checked at random during class every two weeks. After an absence, it is your responsibility to check with a trusted classmate and to copy down the notes that you missed within two days of returning to school.

Integrity: Consider that your character and good name cannot be easily reclaimed once you make the decision to cheat. If you do decide to cheat or plagiarize in any portion of the academic work for the course, you will earn a zero for the assignment and may be referred to administration for disciplinary action, as spelled out in the student handbook. Do not compromise your integrity by cheating.

The Mouse Problem and the New Carpet: There are mice in the building. There will be mice in this classroom if we bring food or sugary drinks into it. That is terrible. Conversely, we have brand new carpet, which is awesome. I don’t want mice, and I don’t want to ruin my new carpet. To that end, water ONLY (no additives) is allowed in this room. Please use reusable water bottles as there is no recycling in this room and we’d like to be as green as possible.

Requested Supplies:
All students need a single subject notebook to be used exclusively for English 10. I happily accept donations of tissue, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, loose leaf paper, glue sticks, scissors, markers, pens, and pencils which we can all use.

Keeping in Touch:
If you have any questions or feel as though you need additional help throughout the semester, please ask! I am available most days before and after school in my classroom. Please call or email with any questions or concerns. I’m looking forward to sharing a productive and enjoyable year together!

Ms. Rachel Tholen Hatten
Room 280