Here are some of my best assignments from 40 years of teaching. Contact me if you have questions or comments. (Email or Home Page.) You may also be interested in copies of the various Handouts available on another page.

Please feel free to use any materials you find helpful. I welcome any donation you feel is appropriate,
payable through PayPal. I can maintain and expand this website only with your help. Thank you for your support.

Pending additions to be added are listed below though links are not yet active.

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Kind Description of Unit Approximate Time
  All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque -- Pre-AP Unit
3 weeks
Journal Autobiography Portfolio -- 50+ autobiographical writing assignments (originally designed for sophomores) cover exposition, description, narration, and argument. Each one is short, non-intrusive. Individual assignments can also be used as character autobiographical activities for litarary works. For example, Holden’s Personal Alphabet.

1 a day
& 1 week for final format

Beowulf -- This page includes Reader Response Journals for specific sections of the full epic and extra credit assignments for the desperate. Extensive links for further study and images from the graphic novel are also provided.

6 class periods

  Billy Budd by Herman Melville --
1 week
Cover The Book of Qualities -- J. Ruth Gendler’s book inspires student writing by personifying abstract qualities. Includes an assignment handout and samples from the book.
2 class periods
Calligraphy Calligraphy Projects -- general guidelines, several special projects, alphabet sentences to practice, links, and student samples. These projects focus on language in a new way -- ah, synthesis!
ongoing
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger -- One to two weeks to read. Activities included might take a week of classtime. Use the links provided to help enrich your reading experience.

3 weeks

Mortarboard Career Workshop -- Career exploration project based upon PSAT and PLAN test results. Includes signing up for My Roads, taking the ORA Personality Profile, completing Career and College surveys, writing and researching a Career Essay, and preparing a resume.

5 class hours

Catalog Using Catalogs-- Don’t Throw that Away: Using Free Catalogues to Teach Almost Everything English (Fall 2010 OCTE Presentation).
1-2 class hours
Classical Literature -- Several online activities for studying classical literature and art. (Special instructions and samples for the Coat of Arms and the Postcard Project.)

Semester
Course

news NewCurrent Events -- Links and handouts for a year-long ongoing project.
ongoing
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand -- Activities for Cyrano de Bergerac itself and for the adaptation Roxanne. Page includes poster illustrations, creative projects, study guides, links to theater guides, handouts, and video links. 10 class hours
Faustus Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe -- Intense Study Guide for the Christopher Marlowe play. My all-time favorite play to teach -- even over any Shakespearean play!
2 weeks
Everyman -- This page includes links to online versions of the play, study questions, composition assignments, and creative writing options. Teacher's Guide includes links to other medieval plays and their performance.

3 class periods

Child Fairy Tales: Literary Analysis for All Ages -- Brainstorming, freewriting, theme statement, synopsis, classification, analysis, application, evaluation, and creative writing, too.

5 to 10
class hours

Film Reel Film Studies -- Teach essay writing, internet search strategies, research skills, parenthetical notation, and critical analysis through film review. Focuses on classic film genres and how to view them.

Semester Course

Grendel by John Gardner -- A critical overview, chapter-by-chapter study questions on the novel, links to John Gardner's famous letter, critical articles, and astrology references. Includes information about Julie Taymor’s production of Grendel the Opera.

2 weeks

Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad -- Literary Analysis section covering five major critical stances as small group research and writing appropriate to fourth week study.
3-4 weeks
How to Read Literature like a Professor -- Short writing assignments for each chapter. Your responses may be informal (yes, you may use “I”) and you may also use films for your examples. Written assignments will be due the first day of class, so see the Taboo List to avoid any formatting penalties. Do not waste time and effort re-writing for neatness; use proofreading marks for corrections.

Summer

Huckleberry Finn Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain -- Unit focuses on this text as a resource for AP Language, with an emphasis on rhetorical strategies.
3 weeks
IM Invisible Man Online -- Includes teacher materials, notes, motif strands, art, music, sound clips, critical articles, links to background resources, assignments, and handouts. Focuses on major motif -- dreams, family, music, significant objects, oratory, paper, power, sex, violence, and vision. Also links to student sample webpages, PowerPoints, and decorated pages (Humament style).

5 weeks

Invisible Man Web Pages -- Each group traced a major motif -- dreams, family, music, sugnificant objects, oratory, paper, power, sex, violence, and vision -- throughout the novel. Includes a grading rubric and a self-evaluation. Includes links to 1999 Student Webpages.

5 class hours & notes as reading

Caesar The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare -- AP Literature focus on analyzing literary techniques and funeral speeches analyzed as rhetoric.
3 weeks
“The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson -- More Than You Ever Wanted to Know about teaching this poem. Includes links to artwork, criticism, and derivative writing. Check out the links to additional allusive artwork.

2 class periods

  Lord of the Flies by William Golding --
3 weeks

Macbeth by William Shakespeare -- AP Literature focus on tracing motif strands, much like the Invisible Man unit elsewhere.
3 weeks
Movie Monuments Men is a contemporary movie based upon historical events of World War II, with an excellent opportunity to open discourse on what art is, what art is worth saving, and at what costs. Excellent primary resources are available to construct a synthesis question for AP Literature or a DBQ for AP US History.

1 week

markings Markings -- A pre-writing strategy based upon Dag Hammarskj÷ld’s autobiographical fragment, Markings. Arbitrary restrictions on a brainstorming list force such critical thinking that it almost always produces thoughtful writing topics. 2 class periods
Compass The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway -- Links, reviews, centennial perspectives, style assignments, an essay assignment, and a sample essay

5 class hours  

Poem-a-Day: National Poetry Month and Online Resources are used for Poetry Immersion in preparation for the AP Literature exam. Using a carefully selected daily poem to foster deep reading and prompt focused writing, students can review major poetic techniques and forms.

1 a day for
April

Poetry & Paintings -- This website, captured and re-posted here, from Emory University offers connections to Ekphrastic Poetry. In modern usage, the vivid literary description of a specific work of art, such as a painting, sculpture, tapestry, church, etc.

Varies

Poetry Presentations -- Using LOVE poems, students apply poetic terms and analyze the effect of poetic elements. Directions, handouts, and student web pages.

5 class hours & lab time

  The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli -- Non-fiction analysis appropriate to history and government, as well as a background for study of later Shakespearean works.
1 week
Poet Research Project -- A research project on the life, the works, and the time period in which a significant poet lived. Includes directions, links, and handouts.

Six Weeks
Ongoing 

Projects for Reports -- Creative projects for any subject, with grading checklists. My old “50+ Ways of Sharing Knowledge” improved by collaboration (developed with Sandy Bahan, Linda Kramer, and Walt Shaw). Homework
3 or 4 days

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Root Words: Getting to the Root of Vocabulary -- Covering two or three roots a day, all year, students improve their ability to figure out the meanings of words. Tests are given every twn roots until 120 roots are covered.

All Year

Experiencing Shakespeare -- Assignments, projects, and study links for an interactive elective course on Shakespeare. Includes works also studied in required English classes. Semester
Course
  True West by Sam Shepard -- Viewing Guide 1 week
  Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez -- Viewing Guide (with tips for scene editing) 1 week

I have uploaded each assignment in a form which you should be able to print easily and attractively from your browser. If an activity uses the internet as a teaching resource, I have provided links, so please let me know if any links are incorrect. Updated 2 April 2014.

Please feel free to use any materials you find helpful. I welcome any donation you feel is appropriate,
payable through PayPal. I can maintain and expand this website only with your help. Thank you for your support.
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