Here’s what has been going on in our classrooms during the month of March and what we are planning for April!
Mrs. Bowden – RHS
- APLAC: The students are finishing the Politics unit, a really interesting unit that spans political issues in our nation and across the globe. The students read many essays about past history, colonialism, and terrorism in the US and abroad. The next unit the APLAC students will be working on is Pop Culture in preparation for the AP Language and Composition Test on Wednesday, May 10.
- English 200: The sophomore English class has finished their study of The Great Gatsby and the 1920’s and is beginning their Shakespeare unit. This month the students will be reading and analyzing the Scottish play, Macbeth. Shakespeare’s shortest play will lead to many interesting discussions in class about ambition, fate vs. free will, and ethics.
- Generational Media: The students in the Generational Media class finished their Video Editorial unit and Magazine Unit this past month. With both projects the students created their own! For the Video Editorial project each student planned, wrote, filmed, and edited their own video editorial. The students also created and designed their own magazines. In addition to their work in class, the students have completed a number of blogs for Boiling Springs Bank. Check out their work here:
Ms. Chamberlain – UMS
- Ms. Chamberlain’s 7th grade classes started the month by finishing The Watsons Go to Birmingham unit. Soon after, they read short stories from the anthology Sixteen, and worked with their narrative writing skills throughout the unit. Students showed their skills with descriptive writing, which led into a poetry unit. Currently, students are creatively expressing themselves through poetry as they explore figurative language, meaning, and rhyme.
- Ms. Chamberlain’s 8th grade classes read short stories from the Time Capsule anthology. After discussing the post WWI era, students learned the history of Prohibition and the Great Depression to better understand the characters in the stories they read. Students are currently working to analyze poetry, specifically noting how a poet incorporates tone and mood to create a message. They will soon be crafting their own poems.
Mrs. Collins – UMS
- In Mrs. Collins’s 7th grade ELA classes, students have finished their iMovie projects on topics from the Civil Rights Movement. These projects provided great background knowledge as they read the novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. As they read the novel, students practiced critical thinking and collaboration skills in both whole class and small group discussions. Looking forward to the April, students will continue to learn about prejudice and discrimination as they begin reading novels related to the Holocaust.
Mrs. Dougard – RHS
- English 300: Lutwyler and I have been completing thematic poetry units with the Junior classes. They are currently working on analyzing a poem of their choice and will present this to the class, along with an original spoken word piece.
- Honors English 100: The Honors’ classes have been working on various PARCC narrative tasks; they are currently writing their own narrative stories.
Mr. Ersalesi – RHS
- The students in Mr. Ersalesi and Mrs. Lutwyler’s English 300 class have completed their study of A Raisin in the Sun. Along with the study of the text, students also researched the illegal real estate concepts of ‘redlining’ and ‘steering’ that forced immigrants and minorities into segregated areas of cities and towns. Students also viewed the Academy Award winning film, Fences and wrote a comparative character analysis of Walter Lee from A Raisin in the Sun and Troy Maxon in Fences.
Mrs. Gallo-Pasquale – RHS
- Sports in Literature will conduct research in the library and will choose a famous sports athlete who overcame adversity, and has had a book written about him/her. They will discuss how he/she achieved success, with a focus on how he/she overcame obstacles. They will look for these ideas and give examples of the definition of success, concepts of teamwork and leadership, and response to adversity. They will craft a written and visual presentation that teaches everyone what they’ve learned.
- English 400 will identify dramatic irony in order to demonstrate comprehension of themes which will be seen in 1984, and then discuss the novel in literary circles. In addition, they will analyze and compare and contrast writing in class to watching YouTube snippets, in order to conclude whether they enjoy visual presentations more and answer why.
- Writing for College will define the concept of ‘Carpe Diem’ and examine poems and discuss them to demonstrate comprehension and mastery They will examine poems from Marlowe, Raleigh, Marvell, Donne. They will choose a favorite poem from the ones read and evaluate it; and find a song that has the Carpe Diem message and bring in lyrics to present to all of us.
Mrs. Garo – RHS
- In Film and Literature, students have identified archetypes of the hero’s journey, examined how major themes and symbols are reflected, and analyzed the important role that Point of View plays while screening films. Additionally, students have enhanced writing skills by composing cinema reviews and engaged in reflective, creative, and analytical conversations about The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, and Casablanca.
- In English 200, students are wrapping up their study of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. Throughout this unit of study, students have examined the theme of “The American Dream” while reflecting on their aspirations for the future as well as identifying the necessary steps needed to achieve their goals. Students examined the role and significance of point of view, analyzed symbols, and investigated how characters are defined by their setting and time period.
- In English 200 Honors, students have examined how social, political, and historical elements of the 1920’s work to define characters and their decisions in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. Students have explored how Fitzgerald exposes the idea of the American Dream as both myth and reality while analyzing how characters’ beliefs and morals affect their relationships and lives.
Mrs. Herninko – UMS Library
- Ms. Herninko’s architecture classes are finishing up their treehouse models. They look amazing! Students will be using ZSpace to look at Greek and Roman Architecture and then will use Tinkercad to recreate an design feature of Greek and Roman Architecture. Students will be using the UMS Makerspace to make antique bookmarks for Mother’s Day presents. The Not-Your-Traditional Literature class has been using the library to read transmedia fiction novels and play the corresponding video games. Ms. Thompson’s health class used Scratch (a coding program) to create interactive stories representing different aspects of safety.
Mrs. Kiick – UMS
- In Mrs. Kiick’s English Language Arts classes, eighth grade students are completing their prejudice reduction reading unit by presenting their Daniel’s Story 4 C’s portfolio projects to the class, and then creating a gallery of work in the hallway! Students completed a variety of alternative “test” projects to analytically and creatively demonstrate their understanding of the novel we studied, as well as the overall theme of the dangers of indifference. Students have considered how that theme not only relates to history, but also to their current day-to-day life. Projects include rewritten lyrics and performances of student chosen real songs like Les Miserables‘ “I Dreamed a Dream” or Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, originally written and illustrated children’s books and/or “comic” strips, interviews with the author with researched facts, character/theme mind maps, and character “superheroes,” just to name a few!
Mrs. Lancaster – RHS
- Ms. Lancaster’s English Honors 100 class and English 100 classes are currently completing a project based assignment that is designed to connect the required reading to the study of psychology and the multiple reactions people, and characters, experience when forced to endure obstacles outside of their control. The month of April will also continue to focus on students’ ability of writing different genres, in conjunction with the continued study of vocabulary terms and word relationships. The English Honors 100 class will begin reading Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, while examining and critiquing ways in which issues leading to the eighteenth century French Revolution can be seen in modern events.
- Ms. Lancaster and Ms. Valdes’s English 200 classes will begin reading and analyzing William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, paying close attention to the struggles faced by the different characters found in the play. Students will critique each character’s desperate attempt to gain power, using specific quotes as textual evidence. Students will simultaneously continue to target their writing styles through a large range of writing genres.
Ms. Lefkovits-Callaghan – RHS
- In English 300, students turned in the final draft of their character analysis paper for Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. We are moving from Hansberry’s dramatic take on an American family’s search for a place in society to an examination of the very human search for meaning in life using William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Students are currently building their own creative projects to tackle themes from our past or our upcoming unit. Project proposals range from short films to original musical compositions to comic strips. By establishing a more personal connection to the work, students will be able to more concretely understand the link between our study of literature and their development as citizens of the world.
- In English 300 Honors, students turned in the final draft of their literary analysis paper for J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and are preparing to present their independently planned and executed performative projects. These projects examine the interplay between the search for a voice in childhood and adolescence and the search for meaning in life during early adulthood. The students’ work ranges from original short films to slam poetry performance to adapted raps. Students will move on from this project to an intensive study of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet using an authentic theatrical company perspective. Students have auditioned for roles in the “H300 Theatre Company” and will be either an artistic director, a dramaturg, or a cast member. This approach will enable students to build a more honest and independent understanding of the play and its continued inclusion in the English curriculum.
- In English 400 Honors, students capped off their study of Shakespeare’s Othello with a character analysis essay. They have moved into an examination of language, communication, and power through George Orwell’s 1984. Students will take on an increasing amount of independent reading assignments — nonfiction essays and articles in addition to Ayn Rand’s Anthem — in order to inform their final literary analysis paper for the year and their penultimate long-term project. As an additional challenge, students will be required to participate in the 48-Hour Challenge, a weekend long experiment concerning their relationship with modern technology, specifically the Internet and social media.
Mrs. Lutwyler – RHS
- English 107/207 students are excited about starting our new piece of literature Three Cups of Tea. The story is about one man’s mission to promote education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to build literacy and peace in Central Asia one child at a time.
- The English 307/407 class is currently finishing the exciting tale of a young man’s coming of age during the Vietnam War and the trials and tribulations he faced.
Mrs. MacFadyen-Doty – UMS
- Ms. Mac-Doty’s 8th grade ELA classes are wrapping up Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel generated A LOT of interesting discussions about family, race relations, bravery, accountability, and humanity. Students love the novel and are quite sad to see it ending. Final projects will involve writing, analysis, creativity, and art work. We can’t wait to see what we are inspired to do!
- Ms. Mac-Doty’s 7th grade ELA classes are in the middle of Watson’s Go to Birmingham: 1963. Christopher Paul Curtis’ novel appeals to our senses of humor, while teaching us about the Civil Rights Movement. Curtis engages us with the antics of the Watson family as they deal with family issues that carry them down to Birmingham, Alabama at the height of the Movement. We completed research papers prior to reading the novel and now feel like experts about iconic figures of this time period. We have also been using the novel to highlight and study methods of figurative language.
- Pop Culture has entered the 80’s and just wrapped up a visual project highlighting the music, movies, books, headlines, and fads of the decade. Teams created large “graffiti” posters that now hang in the front hallway of UMS. We also watched The Goonies by film mastermind Steven Spielberg and noted the 80’s references and compared it to 2016’s Stranger Things.
Mr. Narozny – RHS
- AP: The AP classes are deep into their final review and preparation for the AP Exam. We have been focusing on Poetry Analysis this past month. The students completed an extensive study of various poetry time periods, ranging from Renaissance through Metaphysical up to Modern poetry. We have also been grading sample essays from past AP Exams as exemplars in order to hone their writing styles.
- English 200: The Sophomore English classes have been studying The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties this past month. We have been using the text to practice critical reading skills by doing a close analysis of specific passages. This was followed by writing analytic paragraphs about how Fitzgerald establishes theme, character, and symbolism to support the message of his novel. Developing these skills are all building up to both the Q3 Benchmark essay and the PARCC exam.
- Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature: The inaugural Sci-fi class has been fantastic! The students have delved deep into the origins of Fantasy Literature through various readings and film. We began with a discussion of Beowulf as we transitioned into Tolkien’s seminal works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Using Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Hero’s Journey as a guide, we have analyzed how Tolkien went about the gargantuan task of World Building. The students completed various projects and presentations that examined the themes, symbols, and styles Tolkien employed to make Middle Earth feel ‘lived in’.
Mr. Stracco – RHS
Ms. Westra – RHS
- In our English 100 classroom, students have just begun Lord of the Flies. We are looking deeply at characters in relation to the theme savagery vs. civilization. Students have been using contextual evidence to prove their own ideas. One project we have already completed allowed students to use contextual evidence to draw an artistic representation of the island from clues found in the text.
- In our English 400 classroom, students have been working on rhetorical synthesis writing. As a class, we have read different essays and watched the documentary Waiting for Superman. We looked at each source for ethos, pathos, and logos, as well as audience purpose, theme, and message. Students are preparing to write a complete synthesis of three of these works.