Thursday and Friday, December 5-6, 2019: 13th

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Before we start our reading of The Other Wes Moore, we will view and discuss Ava DuVernay’s documentary film, 13th. Please note that viewing and discussing this documentary will require us to be mature, sensitive, and inquisitive.

Please refer to the handout provided in class with the discussion questions. As you watch the documentary, be sure to take notes so you can refer to textual evidence as you build your arguments. (Yes – a documentary IS text!)

Friday, November 22, 2019: EOC Trashketball Review

Happy Friday before break! It’s Trashketball Review time! Please put yourselves into groups of 4-6 and sit with your teams for our last-minute EOC Prep.

Thanksgiving Break Information:

Quizlet: Please use my Quizlet set to help you study for the EOC! Click here to access the study set.

Answers to the study guide: Please click here to access the American Literature EOC Study Guide. Skip to page 79 for answers and explanations from the Philip K. Dick reading from class today.

USA Test Prep Extra Credit: If you took one or both of the practice EOC assignments, I have assigned three practices for you to complete over the break for extra credit. This is HIGHLY recommended, as these are your individual weakness areas. 

USA Test Prep Amnesty: Every USA Test Prep assignment from this semester has been opened for you to retake or complete. However, your grade will NOT be changed unless you submit a Google Form. You must submit a Google Form for EACH assignment that you re-take or complete in the first place. Click here to access the USA TP Grade Change Request Google Form.

Since this is an amnesty assignment, late assignments will NOT be accepted. All amnesty assignments are due by midnight on Sunday, December 1st. 


thanksgiving2I hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving break! Enjoy some time with the ones you love 🙂 

Thursday, November 21, 2019: Constructed Response Review and EOC Prep

We are down to the last few days before our EOC! Today, we will review the questions and constructed response from Tuesday’s reading, “I Went From Prison to Professor.” You will trade your paper with at least two classmates and use the EOC two-point rubric below to grade their response.

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After reviewing your RACE responses, we will do a quick tour of the EOC system. There are a few new features on this year’s EOC and I want to make sure you are aware of them. Please click here to access the online tutorial.


Today, you will complete a short EOC practice assessment via USA Test Prep. This is due by midnight tonight, so please work diligently in getting it done. During this time, we will practice working in an EOC testing environment. This means no phones, no talking, and no music. If this becomes an issue, I will take away points from your overall grade.


If you finish early, please continue working on your typing skills via Typing Club!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019: Writing Wednesday and EOC Prep

Today, we will start with Writing Wednesday! Please read the poem and answer the prompt below:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Write about a time that you encountered a fork in the road. You had two options; you chose one. Please explain, in detail, what your choices were, what your decision was, and how you made it. Most importantly, please imagine what might be different in your life had you chosen the other path.


For the rest of the class period, we will complete EOC reviews via USA Test Prep. This will be for a grade and is due by 11:59 pm tonight. I will NOT take these late, so please be sure to work diligently in completing this assignment.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019: “I Went From Prison to Professor,” Dr. Stanley Andrisse

It’s Tuesday, so we’re starting with Lit Term Tuesday! Please grab your warm-up log from yesterday and complete the review questions on the bottom of the sheet.


cohl-photo1-2_origToday, we will read “I Went From Prison to Professor” by Dr. Stanley Andrisse. The theme of how incarceration affects higher education will be evident in our reading of The Other Wes Moore after the EOC.

Let me remind you that there are THREE school days until the EOC! Make sure you are on time and present to class each day, as we will be doing lots of practice to prepare.

Check out Dr. Andrisse’s story here!

A Second Chance for Inmates

Discussion Questions from CommonLit: 

  1. In the text, the author discusses how he was likely not accepted to several graduate programs because of his incarcerated status. Do you think this is fair? Do you think a person’s criminal record should have any impact on their consideration for academic programs? Why or why not?
  2. In the text, the author discusses how an education can improve a previously incarcerated person’s income and diminish the likelihood that they’ll reoffend. What other useful skills do you think an education provides previously incarcerated people? How might academic classes help formerly incarcerated people transition to life outside of prison?
  3. How do inmates and previously incarcerated people face more obstacles than other citizens when pursuing an education? Do you agree with the author’s suggestions for how to improve incarcerated people’s access to education? What else do you think could be done?

Monday, November 18, 2019: Blackout Poetry

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Blackout Poetry by Laura Randazzo

The words for blackout poems are already written on the page, but it’s up to the blackout poet to bring new meaning and life to these words. 

Blackout poems can be created using the pages of old books or even articles cut from yesterday’s newspaper. Using the pages of an existing text, blackout poets isolate then piece together single words or short phrases from these texts to create lyrical masterpieces. Blackout poems, as I’m sure you can imagine, run the gamut from absurd to sublime because all of the words are already there on the page, but the randomness is all part of the fun! Some pages of text, admittedly, work better than others. Although it might not be Wordsworth each time, I truly believe a poem lives within the words and lines of any page, and I encourage you to uncover it!

Creating a blackout poem involves steps that are all about deconstruction then reconstruction

Step 1: Scan the page first before reading it completely. Keep an eye out for an anchor word as you scan. An anchor word is one word on the page that stands out to you because it is packed and loaded with meaning and significance.  Starting with an anchor word is important because it helps you to imagine possible themes and topics for your poem.  

Step 2: Now read the page of text in its entirety. Use a pencil to lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and resonate with you. Resonant words might be expressive or evocative, but for whatever reason, these are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than three words in a row.

Step 3: List all of the circled words on a separate piece of paper. List the words in the order that they appear on the page of text from top to bottom, left to right. The words you use for the final poem will remain in this order so it doesn’t confuse the reader. 

Step 4: Select words, without changing their order on the list, and piece them together to create the lines of a poem. You can eliminate parts of words, especially any endings, if it helps to keep the meaning of the poem clear. Try different possibilities for your poem before selecting the lines for your final poem. If you are stuck during this step, return back to the original page of text. The right word you are searching for could be there waiting for you.

Step 5: Return to the page of text and circle only the words you selected for the final poem.  Remember to also erase the circles around any words you will not be using.

Step 6: Add an illustration or design to the page of text that connects to your poem. Be very careful not to draw over the circled words you selected for your final poem!

More examples:

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