English 9

Homework assignments


 ALL PERIODS

Monday, Apr. 9 – Portfolios due Thursday.

Tuesday, Apr. 10 – Portfolios due Thursday.

Wednesday, Apr. 11 – Portfolios due tomorrow (Period A by 12:35)

Thursday, Apr. 12 – None

Friday, Apr. 13 – Write one paragraph: Discuss a movie comedy or an episode of a TV comedy in terms of its structure or elements we’ve discussed.  Bring Comedy of Errors book on Monday.

 

Monday, Apr. 16 – One paragraph:  Why is the Duke’s offer (in lines 140 and following) important to the structure of the play?

Tuesday, Apr. 17 – Vocab. 14-18 quiz (including Lesson 1 prefixes)

Wednesday, Apr. 18 – One paragraph: Read Act 1, scene 2, lines 33-40.  What qualities of Antipholus of Syracuse can you pick up on just from these few lines?

Thursday, Apr. 19 – See Wednesday (period A, turn in the last homework today, please).

 

Monday, Apr. 23 – One paragraph: Discuss three comic barriers to happiness so far in the play

Tuesday, Apr. 24 – Act II quiz tomorrow (just Act II)

Wednesday, Apr. 25 – One paragraph: Adriana invites Antipholus of Syracuse up to dinner.  Why does he decide to go, since he doesn’t think this is his wife?  If you were directing this scene, how would you stage it?

Thursday, Apr. 26 – See Wednesday.

Friday, Apr. 27 – One paragraph: Comedies often have near solutions, places where the problem could be easily solved if only…  For example, Character A might just miss seeing Character B at the train station by a few seconds, which would have cleared up the problem.   How does Act III have near-solutions?

 

 

 

 


 

 English 9 syllabus, 2017-2018

 

Books we will use

Fall Semester                                       Spring Semester

Life of Pi (summer)                             The Sherlock Holmes Mysteries        

75 Short Masterpieces                         Spoon River Anthology

Into the Wild and Walden                    Rebecca          

The Catcher in the Rye                        The Comedy of Errors

Mythology                                                      

                       

FOR DETAILS ON THE UNITS, SEE MYMV

                       

GOALS AND PURPOSE

            The goals and purpose of this course are to develop further your writing, reading, thinking, and speaking skills and to enhance your ability to appreciate, analyze, understand, and enjoy good writing. Here are some of the questions we will be exploring throughout the year:

 

How are the content and structure of my writing related?  We’ll be learning how to structure essays, opening paragraphs, paragraphs themselves, thesis statements, even sentences.  How do grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and structure make the content of your writing better?

 

How can I find my voice in different types of writing?  We will be working primarily in four modes of writing: expository, persuasive, creative, and analytical.

  • Expository writing is writing that informs, writing that explains. Job applications, company reports, notes on how to cook a meal – these are all expository pieces.  So are such prompts as, “Discuss why Holden Caulfield has trouble talking to girls in the novel.”

 

  • Persuasive writing is designed to take a position and move the reader to agree with the writer (and maybe take action). 

 

  • Creative writing is designed to express the feelings and beliefs of a writer through a narrative, which tells a story. 

 

  • Analytical writing looks at how writing does what it does, by looking at such things as word choice, sentence structure, or descriptions.  Analytical writing looks at the parts that make up writing and examines how these parts work to create an effect on the reader.

 

 

GRADING POLICY

Writing Portfolio = 35%

Tests and Projects = 25%

Reading quizzes = 20%

Vocabulary = 10%

Classwork (homework, discussion, effort) = 10%

 

  • Portfolio: You will have four major papers each semester.  After you hand in a first draft, I will return it to you with a grade on it.  That is not the final grade.  You have until later in the semester to turn in your all your final drafts.  Each final paper will then be re-graded. So each paper in the semester writing portfolio should represent your most polished version of that assignment.  We’ll go into more details of the portfolio later.

 

OTHER HOUSEKEEPING

  • Respect other people in the classroom

 

  • Do your homework every night.  Every two weeks I will give you an assignment sheet for the next two weeks.  They are also listed on my Web site at www.tcamb1.com.  Keep a planner! You are responsible for finding out and doing assignments when you are absent.  Homework not ready and printed out at the beginning of the class is graded a zero.

 

  • Written assignments must be turned in at the START of class.  Occasionally there is a valid reason for lateness.  “My printer isn’t working” is not a valid reason for lateness.  If your printer is not working, then you can bring in a jump drive or email yourself a copy of your paper and print it first thing in the library or ask a friend to print it at home.  You can, in addition, email a copy to me (tcambisios@mvcds.org) as either a Word attachment or as text in the body of the email to prove you did it – but YOU should still print out a copy in school.  A major paper is graded down one letter grade for every day that it is late.  If it is due at 10:00 a.m., telling me you will turn it in by 3:00 means that it is late.  If you have what you think is a valid excuse for a late assignment, talk to me AHEAD of time.

 

  • Pay attention to school rules, such as those relating to tardiness, the dress code, food in the Upper School, etc.  No food or drink (except water) in my room.  Please turn off your technology in the classroom.  Ask first before you use it.

 

  • Plagiarism means attempting to pass off another person’s words, ideas, or work as your own, either in whole or in part.  We take plagiarism seriously at Maumee Valley.  If you plagiarize, there may be serious consequences.  We will spend some time talking about proper citing of sources.  You will also have to submit your papers to the Internet plagiarism service we subscribe to (Turnitin.com).

 

 

 

 


 

Paper assignments

Semester 2

Paper #1 of Semester 2 - Greek heroes

 

This paper is due Monday, Dec. 18.  The expected length is 3-4 pages, double-spaced, 1” margins.  For this essay use THREE of the following Greek heroes: Jason, Perseus, Hercules, and Theseus.

 

            This paper will look at what qualities the ancient Greeks valued in their heroes and whether our society would still value these heroes.

 

            In the first paragraph of each section, discuss TWO traits that the ancient Greeks would have valued highly or considered heroic in that person and for what reason.  Give examples to prove that he possessed each trait.  For instance, if you say the Greeks would have valued Jason’s friendliness (I’m making this up), discuss WHY they would have valued it and give evidence of his friendliness.  Then do the same for a second trait in that first paragraph. (Note: avoid repeating the same traits for different heroes. That is, don’t discuss later Hercules’ friendliness.)

 

            In the second paragraph of each section, you need to discuss whether that person would still be considered heroic today.  You have four possible ways to approach the second paragraph:

                                                                        Because we value those same traits

                                                                         (use different examples)

Yes, he’d still be a hero today

                                                                        But we would value him for other reasons

                                                                        (use different examples)

 

                                                                        Because we don’t value the same traits that

                                                                            the Greeks did (with different examples)

No, he wouldn’t be a hero today

                                                                        Because there are other traits about him

                                                                         that we would not like (different examples)

 

 

Essay structure

Paragraph 1 – Introduction (why not try a non-standard one?)

Paragraph 2 – Two traits the ancient Greeks would have considered the most heroic in one hero (with EVIDENCE, based on his actions)

Paragraph 3 – Would this person still be considered heroic in 2017 based on his traits and actions?  Why or why not? (with EVIDENCE – not the same evidence as the previous paragraph)

Paragraphs 4 + 5 – Same as above, with a different hero

Paragraphs 6 + 7 – Same as above, with a different hero

Paragraph 8 - Conclusion

 

Rubric for Greek heroes essay (expository)

9-8      These exceptionally well-written essays present a strong discussion of the three heroes and their heroic natures, centered around an interesting thesis.  The writer clearly explores each person’s heroic nature, assessing how each Greek hero was admirable to the ancients.  The writer then offers a meaningful discussion of whether that person’s nature would be viewed as heroic in modern times.  Strong details and examples are not just added on, but integrated into the total discussion of what it means to be a hero. The writer offers mature insights and backs them up with evidence from throughout the book.  The essay structure and grammar in this paper are strong.

7-6      These essays present an excellent discussion of the heroic nature of three Greek icons.  A good thesis unifies these papers, and the discussion of why that man was heroic in ancient times and whether he would be seen as such now is noteworthy for its thoughtfulness.  Statements have relevant examples and quotes (though not as strongly as in papers in the 9-8 range). There is a clear sense that this essay is about the question, “What is a hero?”.  These essays are well-written, but with less maturity than the top papers. The writing is generally quite effective.

5          These essays attempt to discuss the heroism of three men of ancient Greece although the traits discussed may not be as strong as other possible ones, or the qualities of each man are not explored in enough detail. Some examples from the text are given, although they are not discussed in sufficient depth.  The writer might occasionally fall back on generalizations.  Some organization of ideas is evident, but it may not be fully realized.  The thesis may be merely okay.  These papers need to offer more analysis, as well as more proof.  Some errors in grammar are evident.

4-3      Papers in this range mention three heroes, but insufficient discussion is given for the heroic nature of each man.   The concept of heroism is only approached in general terms, or ideas are repeated from hero to hero, without distinguishing these men.  These essays simply list examples or offer only a few examples without enough explanation. The discussion of each hero doesn’t follow the prompt enough; there is likely a number of unsupported general statements. These papers tend to lack sufficient depth or analysis. The writing needs work in organization and/or content.  There may be serious grammar mistakes.

2-1      These essays may attempt to mention three ancient Greek heroes, but the follow-through is poor.  There is not much discussion of important heroic qualities (or the choice of qualities is unimpressive), and there’s little real discussion regarding why this man would or would not be considered heroic today.  Evidence is lacking or vague.  Generalizations are often substituted for proof. Essays that are unacceptably brief or poorly written also fall in this range. The writing usually reveals consistent weaknesses in grammar or other elements of composition.



Victorian Era research paper

 

            The second paper of the second semester portfolio will be a research paper. The actual first draft is due on Monday, Feb. 13.   We will have some research deadlines over the next few weeks, which you will be graded on.  The goal here is to help you along with the process of writing a research paper so that you actually understand what you are doing.   The ultimate length of the first draft should be about four pages (plus the Works Cited page).    Each deadline will be graded as a homework assignment. 


DEADLINE 1 – Wednesday, Jan. 31

  1. A typed list of resources you will be using.  You must list at least one book, one magazine or newspaper article (use the EBSCO database), and two Web sites. (While you may read Wikipedia on your own, it may NOT be used in your bibliography.) This is the MINIMUM.  Also give me a time schedule for your reading (e.g., “I will read Chapter 3 in Time Travel for Dummies by Feb. 8”).
  2. All bibliography (index) cards properly completed.
  3. This counts as a homework assignment.

 

DEADLINE 2 – Monday, Feb. 5

  1. At least 25 notecards completed properly.  Each one labeled at the top as Fact, Quote, or Paraphrase (have at least one of each type), representing at least three of your resources.
  2. This counts as a homework assignment.

 

Due Monday, Feb. 12

  1. Your draft, about 4 pages, plus Works Cited page

                                

Some reminders about MLA format for Works Cited and in-text citations:

 1.  Here’s the link to my Web site page about this:   http://www.tcamb1.com/english-9/mlaplagiarism/

 

2. Do your Works Cited page (from your bibliography cards) first!

 

3. What do you have to cite with (   ) in a paper?  Facts, quotes, and paraphrases of someone else’s ideas.

 

4. What goes in (    ) in a citation?  Whatever is FIRST in the bibliographic entry.  If you do the bibliography cards correctly, that’s what is in the entry.  That’s usually the author’s last name  (Smith).  If the author is unknown, as on some Web sites, then it’s the title (Here is my Website).  If you are citing a page in a book, then add the number of the page  (Smith 15). 

 

            On the following page you will find the Victorian Era paper topics you have to choose from.  Look through these choices and then, on the attachment, place IN RANK ORDER, the top FIVE roles/paper topics you wish to pursue.  Only write down roles you’re interested in doing; you might get your choice #5 if a lot of people want to do the same ones.  Remember, no whining. J

Victorian (1830-1900) Roles and Paper Topics

 

Food and drink

1.Cook – food, cooking, and eating habits in a typical worker’s home

2.Chef – food, cooking, and eating habits in a wealthy person’s home

3.Brewer – the role of alcohol in Victorian life, and how it was brewed

4.Butcher – the role of meat and how it was raised in Victorian times

5.Tavern keeper – the design of a tavern or inn and how it was run

 

Health and Hygiene

6.Sick Villager – sanitation and personal hygiene in a Victorian town or city

7.Cholera Victim – beliefs about the disease of cholera and how it was treated

8.Doctor – medical theories about illness and the role and practice of a general doctor

9.Surgeon – medical theories about surgery and the role and practice of a surgeon

10.Hospital Chief – types of hospitals, treatments and approaches to medicine in them

 

Military

11.Soldier – what an army soldier’s life was like and the weapons he might have used

12.Sailor  – what a sailor’s life was like in the British Navy

13. Shipbuilder – types of ships built, how they were built

 

Aristocratic Life

14. Architect – the types of house used by the wealthy, the role of the architect

15. Lady of the Estate – estate life and the wealthy lady’s role in it

16. Domestic Servant – types of servants and how they kept manor life going

17. Stable Master – the importance of horses then and the care of them, also coachmen

18. Gardener – the life of the groundskeeper and the importance of grounds in an estate

19. Child of the Estate - what a wealthy child’s life was like, how he or she was raised

20. Outdoorsman – hunting and outdoor pastimes for the wealthy

 

The Lower Classes

21. Beggar – the life of the beggar or vagrant and Victorian views of the poor

22. Farmer – the life of the independent farmer, farming practices

23. Lowlife – these bad jobs: chimney sweep, resurrectionist, matchstick-maker, rat catcher

24. Child of the Lower Classes – a working child’s life, child labor practices

25. Criminal – typical crimes of the time, justice system, punishment

26. Workhouse Manager – development of workhouses for the poor, how they were run

 

The Working Class

27. Miner – what life was like working in the coal mines

28. Textile Mill Worker – what life was like working in a textile mill, its dangers

29. Tailor – types of clothing worn by men and women of all classes, the tailor’s job

30. Jeweler – types of watches and jewelry and the craftsmanship involved

31. Shoemaker – types of boots and shoes made, the process involved

32. Blacksmith – processes of metalworking and forges, blacksmithing

33. Tanner – leather and its uses, the tanning process and its dangers

34. Schoolteacher – what schools were like, the job of the schoolteacher

35. Railway Worker – what railroads were like, the jobs of the railway worker

36. Factory worker – life in the factories, types of jobs factory workers might have

37. Shopkeeper – the life of the typical shopkeeper in a village or town


Victorian Culture

38. Minister – the role of the local clergyman in a village or town

39. Sportsman – types of sports that were popular then, how people played sports

40. Gamester – toys and games in the life of villagers and aristocrats

41. Actor – Victorian acting and theater

42. Musician – music and dancing in the Victorian era

43. Celebrant  – How holidays (especially Christmas) were celebrated by all classes

44. Social guide – Views of manners and etiquette among the social classes

45. Lover – love and marriage, husband and wife relationships (for poor AND the rich)

RUBRIC

 

9-8        These well-written papers present a compelling, well-written exploration of an occupation in the Victorian era. They ultimately argue for the importance of this position in Victorian society. The opening grabs the reader's attention.  These essays show a stylistic maturity by an effective command of sentence structure, diction, and organization.  The body of this essay is organized logically, discussing the roles of this person in Victorian life and important particular subtopics related to this person in terms of Victorian culture.  Each point is backed up with an impressive combination of facts and analysis.  Facts are properly documented, and the research done seems thorough.  The writer's own voice is clearly evident in this assignment, and the writer's tone may change to suit the subtopic. The writing need not be without flaws, but it reveals the writer’s ability to choose from and control a wide range of the elements of effective writing.

 

7-6        These fine papers line up a series of meaningful subtopics supporting the writer's position that this profession was important in the Victorian era.  The opening is fairly straightforward and effective, although it could be more interesting. The body of the essay explores relevant aspects of this profession and relates them to Victorian society;  in general, the arguments made are well done.  However, the writer might have either (at times) offered other arguments or provided a little more support on the given arguments.  Citations and the Works Cited page are generally correct.   Very good research has been done from a variety of sources.   These essays are well-written in an appropriate style, but with less maturity than the top papers.  Some lapses in grammar or organization may appear, but the writing demonstrates sufficient control over the elements of composition to present the writer’s ideas clearly. 

 

 

5          These persuasive essays provide an acceptable structure and series of meaningful subtopics on this Victorian profession.  The opening is satisfactory, although the writer needs to find a better way of grabbing the reader's attention.  The thesis might need to be more strongly worded. The body of the paper includes generally good subtopics related to the daily life of this person and his or her position in Victorian society, but the given arguments might need to be more strongly worded, reconsidered (a different subtopic might replace one given in the paper), or better supported.  The reader is left only partially convinced.    Clearly some research has been done, but more research is needed.  These papers are adequately written, but may demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition.  Organization is evident, but it may not be fully realized or effective.

 

4-3        These essays generally offer an adequate overview of a Victorian profession, but there are problems with the subtopics chosen, their arrangement, or the level of research done.  The topics for exploring the profession may not be the best ones to use to educate the reader, and the support and discussion for each subtopic are not fully convincing.  More facts are needed for support; this can be resolved with more in-depth research.  The paper (including the opening) may be too bland, leaving the voice of the writer out.  Citation and Works Cited format is often incorrect.   The writing is sufficient to convey the writer’s ideas, but it suggests weak control over diction, syntax, grammar, or organization. 

 

2-1        These essays are lacking in development.  The writer has not spent enough time on the research or organizing ideas; it seems more like a series of half-hearted or underdeveloped arguments.   The opening is either disjointed or uninteresting.  The subtopics don’t dig very deep, and relevant subtopics may have been ignored.  The body of the essay just isn't convincing; poor arguments are chosen, and the arguments made are not supported convincingly.   Documentation is handled improperly.   The research is shoddy.  The writing is sufficient to convey the writer’s ideas, but it suggests weak control over diction, syntax, grammar, or organization.


Spoon River Projects

            This will be paper #3 in your portfolio.  You have a choice of three projects.  The due date is Monday, March 12.  All of these projects can be rewritten or reworked for the final portfolio, as you would any other portfolio entry.

Poems

            You will write at least eight more poems that constitute the "missing" Spoon River poems recently found.  Each poem can be written as either rhymed verse or free verse (without meter or rhyme).  Each poem should be an epitaph, just as they are in the anthology.  If you wish, you can include references to people in the anthology; perhaps they pick up the story from another person.  The cause of death need not be included (not all of the people in the anthology refer to how they died).  Write from the first-person ("I") point of view.  You might consider relating some of your deceased people to each other, revealing a different point of view regarding an event (as sometimes happens in the anthology).  Some people can be pleased with how their lives turned out; others can be part of a scandal or unhappy life.  Include some of the poetic devices we've encountered in some of the poems: imagery, metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, symbols, alliteration, irony, and so forth. Suggested length of each poem: about the length of the poems in the book.

            Criteria for grading: quality of the poems, ability to make the person seem real, ability to express thoughts in poetic ways, ability to tell a story, ability to evoke pathos or humor or whatever feeling is appropriate, ability to manipulate poetic language.

 

 

Story

            You will write an original short story that develops in depth the life of one of the people in the cemetery at Spoon River.  That person's epitaph only begins to discuss that person's life, feelings, relationships, attitudes.   Your story will flesh out that episode discussed in the epitaph and clearly go further.  How did that person get to be who he or she is?  You may refer to or incorporate other Spoon River Cemetery citizens; you may also create new characters.  You may lead up to the point of death or only focus on part of that person's life.  Let the epitaph in the book be the inspiration for a story about that person's life. Include action and dialogue.   Suggested length:  about four pages.

            Criteria for grading: quality of the story, originality and creativity, the ability to make us believe we are reading a person's life story, the use of interesting details, the ability to evoke all the elements of a short story we have discussed, proper grammar and writing style.

 

 

Video

            You will create a video that allows at least 7 citizens from the Spoon River Anthology to tell their stories on video.  Each of your seven readings should be memorized OR at least read from cue cards OR have a voice-over narration; that is, you cannot read them directly from a book before the camera.  You must act out the story of the poem, revealing the speaker’s emotions.   Appropriate settings and costumes should be employed; that is, we don't want to see you, the student, in normal dress, just mumbling some words in a classroom.  You need to plan ahead of time how you are going to look, where you are going to shoot each poem, and how you are going to film it.  A maximum of three people may work on this project together, all of whom must appear on screen at least three times each. As with papers, you will be able to rework this for a final draft for your final portfolio.

            Criteria for grading:  Ability to convey the person through appropriate costumes and settings, ability to speak in an articulate way with expression, ability to create interest in what is being said, a clean well-produced video production with appropriate sound and editing.

 

 


PORTFOLIOS

Portfolios are due Thursday, April 12.  Your portfolio grade is 35% of your semester grade. Here are some details about what I expect in your portfolio:


  1. You will have four papers in your writing portfolio:

·       #1 – Greek heroes paper

·       #2 – Victorian research paper

·       #3 – Spoon River work

·       #4 – “In Defense of …”

 

For each paper, you should have the final draft, along with the first draft that I graded.  (For paper #4, there will only be one draft.) Also include all other drafts you might have written.

 

  1. On your final draft, highlight in color the passages or sentences that you revised. If you wrote several drafts, use a different color highlighter for each set of changes; set up a color code for me.  So, for example, the changes you made in draft #2 might all be colored in blue, and the changes on the final draft (#3) would be in blue (carried over from draft #2) AND red (changes that are new to draft #3).  You should also highlight spelling and grammar changes (such as fixing run-on sentences).
  1. Before all your paper drafts, include a one-page (double-spaced) evaluation of your writing this semester.   Reflect on your writing progress, strengths, and weaknesses.

 

  1. Put your portfolio in a binder or folder.

 

  1. I am going to read each final draft, compare it to the first draft, and then put a new score on each final draft.  I will write some comments on each paper. Late penalties on the original drafts carry over into the final drafts.

 

  1. Just correcting spelling and grammar will not improve your score on that paper. (Not correcting these errors may even hurt your score.)   Writing a sentence or two in response to a question I wrote in the margin is NOT revising.    Unless you received a strong grade on the first draft, you need to make major changes to the first draft. You are presenting the best possible final draft you can. In some cases, you have had months to revise your essay.  If you choose to do little or nothing to the first draft, your score on that paper might even drop.

Paper Number Four

                  The fourth and final paper for your spring portfolio is a persuasive paper.  You will turn this in with the portfolio on Thursday, April 12, so make sure the draft you turn in is polished and your best work.

                  The title of your final essay will be "In Defense of … "   You are going to choose a subject that I find hard to defend and offer a spirited defense of it.  While you can be humorous in this essay, ultimately you must seriously try to defend your subject.  Your grade will be influenced by how well you defend your topic and how interestingly you do it, so don’t just offer generalizations.   Offer concrete evidence; you should probably use outside sources to strengthen your arguments, requiring citations and a Works Cited page.  Remember to have an interesting and bold opening paragraph.  Suggestion:  have three reasons for your position and devote two paragraphs to each reason.

 

Warning:  This paper is all about me.  I find many of the items below tough to defend, so your arguments better be pretty solid.  Many of the things below I don't "get." J

                  Here are some possible topics or subjects to defend, although you may come up with your own (you should clear with me any topic that is not on this list):

 

In Defense of …

  • Taco Bell
  • Eating contests
  • Corporal punishment in schools
  • Smoking being allowed in public places
  • Very loud music
  • Riding a motorcycle without a helmet
  • Sleeping very few hours each night
  • Not exercising
  • Bare knuckle fist-fights
  • Using all of your free time at home to play video games
  • Using steroids
  • Talking loudly on the cell phone in public places
  • Not doing homework
  • Anchovies (which I actually like)
  • Narcissism
  • Child beauty pageants
  • Body piercing
  • Alabama
  • Skydiving
  • The Kardashians (or Lindsay Lohan or Adam Sandler or any other celebrity idiot)
  • Pigeons or electric eels or blue jays or any other annoying animal
  • Christmas lights on the house all year long
  • Fruitcake
  • The “Real Wives” of any idiotic city
  • Mimes
  • Talk shows where people get into fights
  • Belching in public
  • Dressing pets in clothing and outfits

 



SEMESTER 1 PAPERS


Paper #1 - Life of Pi  prompt Expository mode

This paper is due Monday, Sept. 18, at the beginning of class (3-4 pages). You must give me a printed copy by then.  You must also send me an electronic copy as a Word or PDF attachment, or in the body of the email.  The paper copy must be on time, or there will be a late penalty.  If you forget to send me the electronic copy that day, that’s okay.  I will continue to nag, hound, bother and generally annoy you for the electronic copy until I get it.  (The electronic copy is needed to check for plagiarism.)

 

The two halves of this book – the part set in India and the part set on the lifeboat – may seem unrelated, but they are strongly connected.  Pi has to confront many of his basic beliefs while he is on the lifeboat, but those beliefs were formed during his youth in India.

In this paper, you will explore three beliefs that Pi reveals during his time on the lifeboat.  As you discuss each belief separately, talk about how that belief originated in India, and then how that belief revealed itself on the lifeboat.

 

 

If you’re confused, here are three examples that I’m making up because they do NOT really apply to Pi:

            “Pi’s belief that he is better than others in this novel, which he first learned in school in India, sets him up for a great fall that shows how evil he actually is.”

 

            “The holy men in India all taught Pi to believe that living creatures are wicked, and this belief caused him to isolate himself from Richard Parker on the lifeboat.”

 

            “Pi believes that God tries to make life difficult (something his parents taught him), and his actions and thoughts on the lifeboat reflect this belief.”

 

Here is the suggested structure for this essay:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Discuss one belief or idea Pi learned in India (with evidence)

Paragraph 3: Discuss how this belief revealed itself on the lifeboat and why it is important (with evidence)

Paragraph 4: Discuss a second belief or idea Pi learned in India (with evidence)

Paragraph 5: Discuss how this belief revealed itself on the lifeboat and why it is important (with evidence)

Paragraph 6: Discuss a third belief or idea Pi learned in India (with evidence)

Paragraph 7: Discuss how this belief revealed itself on the lifeboat and why it is important (with evidence)

Paragraph 8: Conclusion

Some things to remember:

1.    Paragraphs 2-7 (the body of the paper) should each have a topic sentence, which sets up the paragraph.  Here are examples of topic sentences:

·      Paragraph 2: “In India Pi learned that humans exist in order to make animals laugh.’

·      Paragraph 3: “On the lifeboat, Pi’s belief that people exist to amuse animals explains how he learned to get along with Richard Parker.”

 

2.    The last sentence of the introduction should be your thesis statement.  A thesis statement presents your argument for the essay.  A typical thesis for this essay would be this: “Pi’s ability to survive on the lifeboat was because of three beliefs he acquired in India: X, Y, and Z.”  Notice it is NARROW (it presents three specific moments) and ARGUABLE (it represents your opinion).

 

3.    A common mistake freshmen make in papers is using too many quotes.  Yes, you must prove your arguments, but it is better to use examples from the book that are paraphrased (in your own words).  Limit yourself to one or two BRIEF quotations per page.  Instead, PARAPHRASE examples.

 

4.    When you use a quotation, use the author’s last name and the page number right after the quote (no comma between them).  Quotes must also have a lead-in; they cannot be the entire sentence.  For example:

 

WRONG        “My memories come in a jumble” (Martel 192). [There’s no lead-in here.]

 

CORRECT     As Pi says in the book, “My memories come in a jumble” (Martel 192).

 

CORRECT   Pi says this about his trip: “My memories come in a jumble” (Martel 192).

 

5.    One key to a strong paper is lots of good evidence (examples, details, quotations).  You must PROVE your argument.  Prove that THAT episode is important.  So after you give an example, offer a few sentences of discussion and analysis (this is where you explain the importance and meaning of your evidence).  Find examples (paraphrased) from the book.

 

6.    Avoid such phrases as these.   They don’t add anything to the paper:

·      "I will now tell you…"

·      "The purpose of this essay is to…"

·      "In conclusion…"

·      "I have now shown you…"

Rubric for Life of Pi essay (expository)

9-8       These well-written essays present a strong discussion of Pi’s three beliefs, centered around an interesting thesis.  The writer clearly explores three interesting values or beliefs specific to Pi’s life and discusses how those beliefs have a purpose in second half of the book.  Details and examples are not just added on, but integrated into the total understanding of how Pi thinks about his life. The writer offers mature insights and backs them up with examples from throughout the book.  The structure of and grammar in the essay are strong.

 

7-6       These essays present a fine discussion of the role that three distinct beliefs play in Pi’s life.  There is a strong connection made between what Pi comes to believe in Part I and how he uses this belief in Part II of the book.  A good thesis unifies these papers, and statements have some relevant examples and quotes (though not as strongly as in papers in the 9-8 range). The purpose of each belief is identified well.  These essays are well-written, but with less maturity than the top papers. The writing is generally quite effective.

 

5          These essays attempt to discuss the role that three beliefs play in Pi’s life, although the beliefs may not be as strong as other possible ones, or the purposes are not explored in detail. Often the connection between Pi learning the belief in Part I is not made with how he uses this belief in Part II of the book.   Some examples from the text are given, although they are not discussed in sufficient depth.  Organization is evident, but it may not be fully realized.  The thesis may be merely okay.  These papers need to offer more analysis.

 

4-3       Papers in this range mention three beliefs that are important to Pi, but insufficient discussion is given for each belief.   The role beliefs play in his life and how he learns each belief are only approached in general terms.  These essays simply list examples or offer only a few examples without enough explanation. It’s often not clear how he uses each belief on the lifeboat.  The discussion of each belief doesn’t follow the prompt enough; there may be a number of unsupported general statements. These papers tend to lack sufficient depth or analysis. The writing needs work in organization and/or content.

 

2-1       These essays may attempt to mention some beliefs of Pi, but the follow-through is poor.  The choice of beliefs is weak, and little real discussion regarding how the beliefs work is given.  The writer needs to select clearer values that Pi learns in India and then connect them better to Pi’s actions on the lifeboat.  Examples are lacking or vague.  Sometimes there is too much reliance on quotes from the book.  Essays that are unacceptably brief or poorly written also fall in this range. The writing usually reveals consistent weaknesses in grammar or other elements of composition.



Persuasive research paper – Paper #2

This paper is due Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the beginning of class. Think about how you are going to organize your paper to develop your main points. Include examples and details to support your points.  The length should be around 4 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font.

 

Prompt:

Quite simply, you are going to write a persuasive essay that includes research for your position. Your goal is to convince readers that your position is the most logical or strongest one. 

 

Here are the topics you can choose from:

 

  • Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds should be allowed to vote.
  • Four years of foreign language study in high school should be required.
  • All professional athletes should be required to submit to regular mandatory drug testing.
  • The Electoral College for presidential elections should be abolished.
  • Television reality shows, despite their high ratings, should be canceled.
  • All able-bodied people should be required to do one year of community service or military service before the age of 25.
  • Grades in high school should (or should not) be eliminated.
  • Maumee Valley should require students to take a course in …. before graduation.
  • The city of Toledo should build a new downtown … (fill in the blank).
  • Maumee Valley should (or should not) require its students to wear school uniforms.
  • Southwyck Shopping Center should be converted into ….
  • Genetic testing for diseases should (or should not) be done on all infants.
  • Talent shows on television, like "American Idol," are (or are not) unhealthy obsessions for many Americans.
  • All cell phone use should (or should not) be banned in cars except for 911 emergencies.
  • College athletes should (or should not) be required to complete their college education before becoming professional athletes.
  • Schools should (or should not) be allowed to sell carbonated soft drinks.
  • Any citizen who does not have a criminal record should be able to carry a concealed weapon wherever he or she wishes.
  • High school athletes should have at least an overall C average to play sports.
  • Everyone 17 and under should have a 9:00 p.m. curfew on Sunday through Thursday nights (with exceptions for jobs and school activities).
  • Gambling casinos should be illegal in Ohio.

 

However, you must also include some research here.  Your paper must have a minimum of FIVE sources used including at least one book, one Web site, and one magazine or newspaper article.  Your paper must also have at least 12 total citations (using all your sources).  You must then also have a Works Cited page.  We will go over citation and bibliography form in class.   You may NOT cite any Wikipedia articles.


Suggested structure of this essay:


Paragraph 1: An interesting opening paragraph, leading up to a thesis. 

Paragraphs 2-3: ONE major argument supporting your position. Support this argument with facts, statistics, logic, and analysis.  Discuss each argument in some detail. Devote two paragraphs to this argument.

Paragraphs 4-5: ONE major argument supporting your position. Support this argument with facts, statistics, logic, and analysis.  Discuss each argument in some detail. Devote two paragraphs to this argument.

Paragraphs 6-7: ONE major argument supporting your position. Support this argument with facts, statistics, logic, and analysis.  Discuss each argument in some detail. Devote two paragraphs to this argument.

Paragraph 8: Strong and interesting conclusion, beginning with a restatement of your thesis.

 

You are also going to put your research on notecards, which will help you organize yourself when it comes to writing the paper.   I will show you in class how to do notecards and bibliography cards.    You have two notecard deadlines and here they are:

 

1.    On Thursday, Sept. 21, you will give me FIVE bibliography cards representing your five sources and also at least SIX total notecards (representing at least TWO of your sources).  I will look over your cards that night, give you a small quiz grade on them, and return them to you the next day.   

 

2.    On Wednesday, Sept. 27, you will give me at least 25 total notecards (representing all FIVE of your sources).  This can include the 6 from the previous deadline. I will look over your cards that night, give you a quiz grade on them, and return them to you the next day.  

 

3.    On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the first draft of the paper is due.

9-8        These well-written papers present a series of compelling, well-written arguments for a position. The opening grabs the reader's attention, and the counter-arguments are dealt with so effectively as to seem unimportant.  The body of this persuasive essay offers three strong major points in favor of the writer's position, and each point is backed up with an impressive combination of facts, emotional appeals, and logic.  Facts are properly documented.  The writer's own voice is clearly evident in this assignment, and the writer's tone may change to suit the argument being given.  These essays show a stylistic maturity by an effective command of sentence structure, diction, and organization.  The writing need not be without flaws, but it reveals the writer’s ability to choose from and control a wide range of the elements of effective writing.

7-6        These fine papers line up a series of sound arguments supporting the writer's position on a topic.  The opening is fairly straightforward and effective, although it could be more interesting.  The counter-arguments are mentioned and generally dealt with in a meaningful way, although one or two arguments might be better.   The body of the essay selects three good reasons for supporting the writer's position, and, in general, the arguments made are well done.  However, the writer might have either offered other arguments or provided a little more support on the given arguments.  Footnote or bibliography form may not be exactly correct.   The conclusion is satisfactory.   These essays are well-written in an appropriate style, but with less maturity than the top papers.  Some lapses in grammar or organization may appear, but the writing demonstrates sufficient control over the elements of composition to present the writer’s ideas clearly. 

5          These persuasive essays provide an acceptable structure and series of arguments on a given position.  The opening is satisfactory, although the writer needs to find a better way of grabbing the reader's attention.  The thesis might need to be more strongly worded.  Counter-arguments are mentioned, but the analysis of them needs more consideration.  The body of the paper includes three arguments for the writer's position.  Each argument is presented clearly, but the given arguments might need to be more strongly worded, reconsidered (a different argument might replace one given in the paper), or better supported.  The reader is left only partially convinced.  These papers are adequately written, but may demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition.  Organization is evident, but it may not be fully realized or effective.

4-3        These persuasive essays generally offer an adequate overview of an argument, but there are problems in the arguments given or the support for the arguments.  The topics for the arguments themselves may not be the best ones to use to convince the reader, and the support and discussion for each argument is not fully convincing.  More facts, logic, or weighty emotional appeals are called for.  The paper (including the opening) may be too bland, leaving the voice of the writer out.  Proper documentation of facts may not be given.   The writing is sufficient to convey the writer’s ideas, but it suggests weak control over diction, syntax, grammar, or organization. 

2-1        These essays are lacking in development.  The writer has not spent enough time on the arguments; it seems more like a series of half-hearted or underdeveloped arguments.   The opening is either disjointed or uninteresting.  The counter-arguments are not the ones the opposition would make, and they are handled poorly.  The body of the essay just isn't convincing; poor arguments are chosen, and the arguments made are not supported convincingly.   Documentation is handled improperly. The writing is sufficient to convey the writer’s ideas, but it suggests weak control over diction, syntax, grammar, or organization.


Paper #3 - Into the Wild  prompt – Comparison and Contrast

This paper is due Monday, Oct. 30, at the beginning of class (4-5  pages). Have a good thesis statement.  Include examples and details from the books to support your points.

Discuss three ways that Chris McCandless’s trek into nature was similar to or different from Henry Thoreau’s.

 

Do NOT focus as much on what happens to each as much as on their ideas, beliefs, and motivations for, and approaches to their experiences.  For example, don’t say, “One survives his journey into nature, and one dies” as one of the ways their treks differed.  Or don’t say “Thoreau built a house made of wood, while Chris built one out of gingerbread.”   But you might say (and I’m making this up) that “McCandless was partly motivated to move to the wilderness by his hatred of political parties, whereas Thoreau showed no interest in politics” or “Thoreau believed that contact with any other humans would ruin his experiment in nature, and McCandless agreed that even talking to other people during his time in the Yukon was harmful.”   (You would then use details and examples to support both of these contentions.)

 

Make sure you state the basis of comparison in the TS (topic sentence).

 

Suggested structure:

Paragraph 1 = Introduction

Paragraphs 2-3 = Compare or contrast a motivation; devote one paragraph with details and analysis to Thoreau and one to McCandless.

Paragraph 4-5 = Same as above

Paragraph 6-7 = Same as above

Paragraph 8 = Conclusion

 

Rubric for Into the Wild essay

9-8       These well-written essays offer a strong set of three motivations or approaches to the Thoreau’s and Chris’s reasons for going into the wilderness.  Each motivation is developed as a well-worded comparison or contrast between the two, in which it’s very clear what connects or separates the two for each motivation.  Details are not just added on, but integrated into the total understanding of how the approaches of two people differed regarding their treks into the wilderness.   These papers possess a stylistic maturity with a strong thesis and an effective command of sentence structure and word choice.  They are well organized, and the writer’s thoughts have great depth to them.

 

7-6       These essays present a fine discussion and comparison of three well-chosen motivations these two people had for going into the wilderness.   A good thesis unifies these papers, and statements have some relevant textual evidence (though not as strongly as in papers in the 9-8 range). Details about their treks are offered, but they may seem added on, rather than offering enough analysis or comparison. These essays are well-written in an appropriate style, but with less maturity than the top papers. Some lapses in grammar or organization may appear, but the writing demonstrates good control over the elements of composition to present the writer's ideas clearly.

 

5          These essays attempt to discuss and compare three motivations for going into the wilderness, although the reasons or aspects given may not be as strong as other possible ones, or the motivations given are not explored in detail. Some examples from the text are given, although they are not discussed much after being cited or they may not reveal a wide range of events from the book.  Instead of comparing motivations, the approaches of the two might just be placed side by side.  These essays are satisfactorily written, but they may demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition. Organization could be stronger, and the thesis is merely okay.

 

4-3       Papers in this range mention three motivations for the two people’s trek to the wilderness, but the chosen motivations may not be meaningful enough in the context of the books; the student should review his or her reasons given.     The actual comparison of motives is done only in general terms.  Essays that simply list examples or offer only a few examples without explanation fall into this range. The writer ignores key events in the book as support for his or her ideas; there may be a number of unsupported general statements. These papers tend to lack sufficient depth or analysis. The writing needs more work on grammar and organization.

 

2-1       These essays may attempt to mention several similarities or differences between Thoreau and Chris, but the follow-through is poor.  The chosen similarities may not be based on larger motives or approaches.  Unsubstantiated statements are often made in such essays, as are essays that do not address the prompt given here. A range of examples is lacking. Essays that are unacceptably brief or poorly written also fall in this range. The writing usually reveals consistent weaknesses in grammar and organization.



Portfolios

Portfolios are due Friday, Nov. 17.  Your portfolio grade is 35% of your semester grade. Here are some details about what I expect in your portfolio:

 

  1. You will have four papers in your writing portfolio:

·       #1 – Life of Pi paper

·       #2 – Research paper

·       #3 – Walden/Into the Wild paper

·       #4 – Holden story

 

For each paper, you should have the final draft, along with the first draft that I graded.  (For paper #4, there will only be one draft.) Also include all other drafts you might have written.

 

  1. On your final draft, highlight in color the passages or sentences that you revised. If you wrote several drafts, use a different color highlighter for each set of changes; set up a color code for me.  So, for example, the changes you made in draft #2 might all be colored in blue, and the changes on the final draft (#3) would be in blue (carried over from draft #2) AND red (changes that are new to draft #3).  You should also highlight spelling and grammar changes (such as fixing run-on sentences).

 

  1. Before all your paper drafts, include a one-page (double-spaced) evaluation of your writing this semester.   Reflect on your writing progress, strengths, and weaknesses.

 

  1. Put your portfolio in a binder or folder.

 

  1. I am going to read each final draft, compare it to the first draft, and then put a new score on each final draft.  I will write some comments on each paper. Late penalties on the original drafts carry over into the final drafts.

 

  1. Just correcting spelling and grammar will not improve your score on that paper. (Not correcting these errors may even hurt your score.)   Writing a sentence or two in response to a question I wrote in the margin is NOT revising.    Unless you received a strong grade on the first draft, you need to make major changes to the first draft. You are presenting the best possible final draft you can. In some cases, you have had months to revise your essay.  If you choose to do little or nothing to the first draft, your score on that paper might even drop.

 

  1. The next side of this page shows the overall scoring rubric.

 

PORTFOLIO RUBRIC – FALL SEMESTER – 9TH GRADE

 

Paper 1: Life of Pi   _____                  Paper 4: Holden  _____

Paper 2: Research   _____                  

Paper 3: Thoreau/Wild_____

 

Total score: _____

 

A = 36-30        A- = 29-28       B+ = 27-26      B= 25-24         B- = 23-22       C+ = 21-20

C = 19-18        C- = 17-16       D+ = 15-14      D = 13-12        D- = 11-10       F = 9-0

 

Paper #4 – Catcher in the Rye parody

Your fourth paper assignment for your fall portfolio involves The Catcher in the Rye.  A few details before you begin:

  • The expected length is around 3-4 pages, 12 pt font, 1” margins.
  • No email needed for this paper

 

Your job is to write a story in the style and voice of Holden Caulfield.  As you read the book, you will have a good sense of Holden’s voice, his language, his likes and dislikes, and his philosophy of life.  So you are going to write a parody (definition = the imitation of a literary work or of the style of a well-known writer).  You are going to write a new chapter in his life.

 

Some details:

  • You ARE Holden for the purposes of this paper.  Use the “I” pronoun.
  • You may include other characters from Catcher in the Rye or create new characters.
  • Use a combination of plot and dialogue.
  • Start this task by jotting notes on Holden’s style of speaking.  Get a sense of how he speaks.  It’s not just a matter of adding curses to Holden’s speech.
  • Also start this task by jotting notes on Holden’s likes and dislikes and philosophy of life. He should be the same Holden in your story, not a different personality.

 

What should you write about?  You get to choose Holden’s situation:

  • Holden prepares to take an English test (or math test….)
  • Holden joins the circus
  • Holden talks about his job at McDonald’s (or Petco or Bed Bath and Beyond or …)
  • Holden gets ready for a blind date
  • Holden is sick at home, watching soap operas and other TV shows
  • Holden works at the Renaissance fair
  • Holden goes camping
  • Holden tries out for the football team
  • Holden tries to cook a fancy dinner
  • Holden starts a job as a doughnut-maker
  • Holden auditions for a reality TV show
  • Holden tries out a speed dating service
  • Holden goes bungee-jumping
  • Holden auditions for a play in the local theater
  • Holden visits an army recruiting center
  • Holden works at a dunking booth at a carnival
  • Holden visits a college he’s considering attending
  • Holden runs for City Council office
  • Holden starts a babysitting service
  • Holden works in a cafeteria at a senior citizen center
  • Any other situation?  (talk to me