Here are some of the exciting things that have been happening in our 7-12 English classrooms during the month of May. Also included are some of the exciting things still to come!!
Mrs. Bowden – RHS
- APLAC: The AP Language students took their AP Exam on Wednesday, May 10. Although the test is over, the year is not. The students are finishing out the year with a research paper and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For their research paper the students had to select a documentary to view and analyze for rhetorical appeals. They are also examining the information presented in the documentary and must find research that corresponds or disproves the information presented. In addition to their research paper, the students are currently reading Hamlet, a challenging but rewarding way to end the school year.
- English 200: In the English 200 classes the students are completing their study of Macbeth. To finish out the year, the students will complete their research paper and read Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck’s classic novel about life during the Great Depression.
- Generational Media: The students in Generational Media have begun their final unit: History of Film! This unit revolves around an understanding of the film industry and the criteria for a good film. They have also continued writing blogs for the REF and Boiling Springs Bank, who have presented them with an excellent opportunity.
Ms. Chamberlain – UMS
- ELA 7: Students in Ms. Chamberlain’s seventh grade ELA classes are currently working on a Holocaust unit, exploring stories of survivors, and reading about the lives that were lost in this tragedy. They are reading the novel The Devil’s Arithmetic, and will be completing poems based off of the novel and the time period that will be included in the Holocaust symposium in early June. At the symposium a Holocaust survivor will share her story with our seventh grade class, and they will partake in other Holocaust related lessons and activities throughout the day.
- ELA 8 Accelerated: Students in Ms. Chamberlain’s eighth grade ELA classes are currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird. They are exploring themes of discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and social class, and also connecting with the main character as she learns valuable lessons about growing up.
Mrs. Collins – UMS
- In Mrs. Collins’ Grade 7 ELA classes, the students have begun their interdisciplinary study about the Holocaust. As students build background knowledge by completing on research projects in their social studies classes, in ELA they have been grouped into book clubs, with each group reading a different memoir or novel that takes place during the time of the Holocaust. In the coming weeks, students will be creating cereal box projects and id booklets based on their books. These projects will be showcased at the Holocaust Symposium in a couple weeks; on this day, students will engage in a variety of activities focused on remembering the Holocaust and promoting tolerance. In addition to sharing their projects, students will have the opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor share her testimony. Although this is a busy time of year, students and teachers are excitedly looking forward to these upcoming events.
Mrs. Dougard – RHS
- The Junior classes are finishing Hamlet and discussing essential questions such as the nature of revenge, the theme of appearance/reality, and whether logic trumps emotions. They have made (and presented) their own advice posters, modeling after Polonius’ advice to his son, Laertes.
- The Honors English 100 classes have been finishing up thematic poetry projects; some groups have created their own spoken word, highlighting their interpretations of their poems. We are beginning our A Tale of Two Cities unit shortly; their understanding of the French Revolution will assist us in our discussion of this complex novel.
Mr. Ersalesi – RHS and Department Supervisor
- Ersalesi and Mrs. Lutwyler’s class has finished their poetry anthology on the subject of “The Stages of Life.” Students were charged with finding and analyzing a poem for each of the stages of life. Students then presented their findings on stage in the auditorium using the large projector. Each presentation was approximately 15 minutes long and included insights from student audience members. The class has begun their final literary piece of the year, “Catcher in the Rye” and will finish out the year with discussion and analysis of the text.
Mrs. Gallo-Pasquale – RHS
- The students of English 400 are embarking on a study of all types of poetry, including poems they will encounter next year in College Writing 2. They are creating visual projects based on their favorite poems, and delving into the connections between poetry and song lyrics.
- The students of Writing for College are beginning the third phase of their research project on Children’s Stories and Fairytales. Their research will be presented in class in a visual project they share and assess.
- The students of Sports in Literature are reading and examining the psychological implications of being a coach or mentor. By looking at examples in literature, and recalling their own experiences they will be able to evaluate what makes a good coach, and write a paper based on their findings.
Mrs. Garo – RHS
- In Film and Literature, students have shifted their focus from the technological advancements in early film history to more modern day films. Students have explored how films can be used as political commentary in Casablanca, used as social commentary while reflecting on gender stereotypes in Some Like it Hot, and analyzed how internal conflict works to motivate character behavior in On the Waterfront and The Graduate. Students will work independently to research how varying aspects of early film history worked to influence modern day films.
- In English 200, students have examined the disadvantages of the American population during the Great Depression as a precursor to reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Throughout this course of study, we have explored the significance of the novel’s primary theme, The American Dream, both in context to the novel as well as its relevance to American History. Additionally, students have worked collaboratively to identify themes of friendship and loneliness while providing textual evidence to support. Students will be writing a thematic based MLA formatted research paper at the end of the quarter.
- In English 200 Honors, students have completed reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and are currently in the beginning phases of a thematic based MLA formatted research paper. They will be examining whether Steinbeck can be considered an activist for social reform by tracing how several characters are alienated and isolated due to race, gender, age, and mental disability. Students will be encouraged to examine Steinbeck’s treatment of social problems and determine whether or not all marginalized people are seen as equivalent. Students will learn how to craft strong thesis statements, produce properly formatted MLA outlines, properly integrate relevant quotes and strengthen MLA in text citations and Work Cited page. Students will also create and present digital presentations of their analysis and research.
Mrs. Herninko – UMS Library
- Students came in to select a blind date with a book for their spring break. Students browsed wrapped books with only the first line of the book on the cover, and chose a date based on that first impression! It was tons of fun, and the “rate your date” reviews show there were many happy customers! The 3D printer is up and running for all students to use. Architecture classes have been using tinkercad to design floorplans to be 3D printed. Other students are designing time period relics for printing, and others are simply having fun by designing name key chains and trinkets. Herninko’s Architecture class is currently working on making Roadside Architecture. They chose a local business in Rutherford to design a building structure that represents the product being sold. The students are adding so many creative touches to their Roadside Architecture!
Mrs. Kiick – UMS
- Kiick’s regular and accelerated ELA8 classes have just concluded their MLA formatted 1930’s research papers. They will be ready to use MLA format more confidently in high school.
- For the rest of the school year, Mrs. Kiick’s 8th graders will use their knowledge of the 1930’s and the Great Depression to help them read, understand, and discuss Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Although the novel is set in 1930’s Maycomb County, Alabama, its themes of prejudice, social inequality, coexistence of good and evil, education, courage, perspective, and justice are just as relevant in today’s society. Mrs. Kiick’s hope is that her students will graduate Union Middle School truly understanding and living by the quotation, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30).
Mrs. Lancaster – RHS
- The class analyzed Lord of the Flies by exploring neurological developments and studies to gain greater insight into the decisions that the characters make throughout the novel. The class is currently reading The Kite Runner. The students will analyze the characters as they encounter conflicts throughout the novel. The students will also explore the changes that occurred in Afghanistan and the impact that these changes would have on the world. The theme of the novel is redemption, and the class will evaluate the roles that the protagonist, the antagonist, and many other characters play in The Kite Runner. In addition, each student is continuing to strengthen his or her understanding of grade level words through word relationships.
- Lancaster’s English 100 Honors class will be focusing on Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, which requires an interdisciplinary approach to inject elements of The French Revolution into the class to offer each student greater insight into the setting. The text is challenging and offers an opportunity to strengthen each student’s reading comprehension skills as well as his or her ability to complete a critical analysis of a close reading. Each student is also continuing to strengthen his or her writing skills through different stages of Writer’s Workshop.
- Lancaster and Ms. Valdes’s English 200 classes are finishing William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Upon completion of Macbeth, the classes will begin John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. This unit will explore the impact that The Great Depression had on the United States. The students will analyze each character’s pursuit of the American Dream and assess the cost that multiple variables have on the pursuit. Each student will be asked to make connections between the multiple texts that we have read during earlier units and to continue to apply his or her writing skills to multiple stages of Writer’s Workshop.
Ms. Lefkovits-Callaghan – RHS
- In English 300, students finished reading William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. They revealed their understanding of the play’s plot through an adaptation and modernization of an assigned scene. Students were wonderfully creative and showed a thorough understanding of the action. We are closing the year with the development of a portfolio consisting of a personal project that captures the themes of Hamlet, a final essay on the tragedy that showcases students’ understanding of the analytical skills practiced and literary terms studied throughout the year, and a research project extending the ideas tackled in the literary analysis essay. As a whole, the students in this class have shown a great deal of growth and should be proud of their efforts as the academic year comes to an end.
- In English 300 Honors, students are analyzing William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in concert with Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Students are maintaining dialectical journals to track their unfolding experience of the play and their assigned roles. With the end of Quarter 4 rapidly approaching, students will be demonstrating their understanding of Shakespeare’s and Stoppard’s plays through a comparative analysis essay examining the intersection of the play’s themes, motifs, and plot points in addition to a research project extending the ideas tackled in the comparative analysis essay.
- In English 400 Honors, students have completed their examination of language, communication, and power in George Orwell’s1984 and Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Students have underscored their understanding of these ideas through a parliamentary style debate on the following resolution: Governments are meant to promote the welfare of their citizenry. To end the year, students will engage in a final Socratic seminar, which will inform their final literary analysis paper. They will also exhibit their own government through a well-developed group presentation and capture their takeaways from the past four years of education via a personal research project. Students have taken on a high level of independent work and excelled; they should be proud of their efforts as their high school career draws to a close.
Mrs. Lutwyler – RHS
- English 307: Students enjoyed reading the coming of age tale Fallen Angels. For their culminating project for the novel, they researched a war memorial of their choosing and presented their findings to their peers.
- English 107: Students are enjoying the novel Three Cups of Tea, the tale of one man’s courage and determination to change the world into a more peaceful place by building schools for girls in Pakistan.
Mrs. MacFadyen-Doty – UMS
- Mrs. MacFadyen-Doty’s 8th grade classes have just wrapped up a paper analyzing the many themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. We spent a great deal of time with the novel and are really sorry to see it go. We are now moving on to Daniel’s Story and have begun the journey by investigating the origins of anti-Semitism. As we read about Daniel’s family and their experiences during the Holocaust, we will also be looking further into the make-up and ancestry of our own families.
- Mrs. MacFadyen-Doty and Mrs. Collins’ seventh grade classes just wrapped up The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by creating life-sized characters from the novel and “filling” them with quotes, phrases, and words that Christopher Paul Curtis used to develop them in the novel. We are now moving into The Devil’s Arithmetic and will be participating in a Holocaust symposium on June 2nd. In preparation for the symposium we have been examining the experiences of children during the Holocaust and have been writing poetry to reflect their lives. It is a sad journey, but one that also inspires hope.
- Pop Culture classes have just finished up a project relating the trends and fads of the 21st century. Mrs. Herninko helped us out by working with us in the Maker Space lab as we created three dimensional objects to represent our research. Using Tinkercad and the 3D printer, as well as paint, clay, yarn, cardboard, cloth, glitter, and multiple other supplies, we brought our ideas to life!
Mr. Narozny – RHS
- English 200: The sophomore classes have been motoring along through multiple activities as the year comes to a close. We wrapped up The Great Gatsby through a brief project connecting the story to the Roaring Twenties, concluding the death of Gatsby was the death of the traditional American Dream. We continued this theme with the next work, Of Mice and Men. We tackled themes of loneliness, companionship, mercy, as well as the American Dream as we completed multiple close reading analyses focused on characterization and relationships. This was in prep for both the PARCC exam, as well as for their eventual taking of the SAT. We will finish the year with the toughest work yet: Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The final benchmark project will involve a theme analysis of multiple works assessed via a slideshow presentation and a formal essay.
- Sci-fi and Fantasy Literature: We have truly gone where no RHS class has gone before! The fourth quarter has focused on Science Fiction through various projects and assignments connected with 2001:A Space Odyssey. This has been coupled with viewings of multiple episodes of Star Trek (the original series) as we’ve discussed various media’s portrayal of aliens, and humanity’s reaction to first contact. We recently celebrated “May the Fourth” as Star Wars day by viewing Episode 4 and playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Our formal analysis of Star Wars centered on tracking Luke’s progression through Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”. We will finish the year with a study of dystopian/utopian portrayals of the future of humanity through short stories and sci-fi films.
- AP English Literature: This year, the AP classes have taken about 5 full-length MC practice exams, wrote about 15 – 20 essays, and completed about 1000 multiple choices questions in preparation for this year’s exam. Needless to say they have earned their summer vacation! To wrap up the year, the classes will now apply their literary analysis skills to a film studies unit. We will analyze such films as Lang’s German Expressionist Metropolis, comparing that with Scorcese’s Hugo, followed by two Hitchcock films – Rope and Rear Window, and finishing with a Chinese Kung-fu film called Hero. For the Q4 Benchmark, the students will have a choice: analyze the purpose of one the the films through a detailed scene study, or choose a scene from one of the works we read this year and explain how one of the directors from the film unit would film that scene.
Ms. Westra – RHS
- In our English 100 classroom, students have just finished Lord of the Flies. We are looking deeply at characters in relation to the theme savagery vs. civilization and the loss of innocence. Students will complete the reading with a project based on theme and symbolism and a character analysis project.
- In our English 400 classroom, students have finished working on rhetorical synthesis writing. We have completed two separate units based on student interest. Students will be preparing for the departure from RHS.