This is it! Closing out…

We did it, y’all! We got through the most insane semester I (and likely you!) have ever had. Thank you so much to all of you who continued to work diligently throughout our time with online learning. I’m loving the soundtrack projects coming in!


Please let me know via Remind or email by 11:59 pm on Tuesday evening if I am missing anything for you. I’ve been keeping up with your grades, but I want to make sure I’m not missing past grades, for example. Please also check your emails from me first — if you turned something in and I haven’t graded it, I may have sent you an email beforehand to improve your grade before putting it in the gradebook.

Grades are due for me on Wednesday morning, so anything after that 11:59 pm deadline on Tuesday will NOT count.

Don’t forget about summer reading!

7_summerreadingclipartThis year, summer reading is more crucial than it has ever been. Some of you have not done ANY schoolwork since March, and all will likely be a little bit behind because of this. Keep up with your summer reading to start your senior year off right!

Please click here for the Pebblebrook summer reading assignments. Scroll all the way down to the end for 12th grade. Make sure you’re paying attention to the course names (Multicultural Lit., Honors Advanced Composition, and AP Literature)!

Not “goodbye,” but a “see you later” 🙂

It’s been a pleasure being your teacher this semester, even though we couldn’t really finish it in the way we had hoped. However, the vast majority of you will be back next year, and you know where I am 🙂 Please drop by whenever we can see each other again!

Stay safe, be well, and never forget that you have a voice and it is valid. 

Love y’all,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

May 4 – May 17, 2020: Final Quarantine Soundtrack Project

I can’t believe it – we’re very quickly nearing the end of our semester! For the next two weeks, you will be working on a Final Quarantine Soundtrack Project. Please note that this is the last major grade that can go in the gradebook, so please be sure to complete this project! It will be counted as a test grade, so it will help your grade greatly if you work hard and do this well!

Please review all directions thoroughly, as there are a few parts and options to this project! 


  • Choose ONE of the following options as you build a soundtrack that describes your experience of this unique semester at Pebblebrook High School.
  • A minimum of five songs are required, and the lyrics to each will be copied faithfully (this means no editing) and the artist will be credited.
  • An analysis and explanation for each song will describe how the song relates to your thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. (One complete, 6-8 sentence paragraph per song.)
  • Annotations – Using Google Docs, provide annotations for your lyrics. To do this, highlight the area of text you want to annotate, then click the “+” button to add a comment. Alternatively, you can also click “Insert > Comment.” A minimum of five solid and thoughtful annotations are required for each song.
  • Album Cover Art – Use or Adobe Spark to create your own unique cover art for an album that would contain your chosen songs.  Remember our discussions of imagery and symbolism when creating your album cover. For the purpose of your album, please create an artist and album name for yourself. (Pretend like you are putting out this album. You may choose to create a “stage name” if you’d like.)

Project Options:

Option 1: Jamming in Room 1007When choosing this option, consider our brief time as a traditional class.  Consider the mood, content, and feeling of being in this class, in addition to the content we covered.

Option 2: Rocking the PandemicWhen choosing this option, consider how your life has changed during the current pandemic.  Consider your experiences with remote learning, as well as your own day-to-day experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Option 3: Spitting Mad IdeasWhen choosing this option, consider your favorite ideas explored in this course, as well as your favorite activities and texts.  Consider how your lyrics relate to and express these ideas.

Additional notes and reminders:

  • Of course, please be mindful about the songs you choose. You are analyzing poetry, so be sure to choose songs with lyrical depth (no mumble rap about money and drugs).
  • If you would like to do more than five songs, you are welcome. If you have a song you wrote yourself, you may include it.
  • This is not due until May 17, as I want to give you ample time to give me quality work. Again, this is our FINAL grade, so please treat this like a final exam project.
  • As always, plagiarism will earn you a 0. This includes annotations on Genius.
  • Your completed project must have (please arrange in this order on ONE Google Doc for submission):
    1. Cover page with your name, class period, and original album cover art
    2. Lyrics of song 1, with annotations (cite where you got the lyrics from)
    3. An analysis and explanation for song 1 (1 full paragraph)
    4. Lyrics of song 2, with annotations (cite where you got the lyrics from)
    5. An analysis and explanation for song 2 (1 full paragraph)
    6. Lyrics of song 3, with annotations (cite where you got the lyrics from)
    7. An analysis and explanation for song 3 (1 full paragraph)
    8. Lyrics of song 4, with annotations (cite where you got the lyrics from)
    9. An analysis and explanation for song 4 (1 full paragraph)
    10. Lyrics of song 5, with annotations (cite where you got the lyrics from)
    11. An analysis and explanation for song 5 (1 full paragraph)
    12. Works Cited page with all five songs cited in MLA format

Please click here to submit your project by May 17th.

I hope you all enjoy this project! As always, please know that I am here for you for anything. If you can make it up to the school on May 7 (Thursday), I’ll be there all day and would love to see you! Please shoot me a message on Remind if you are planning on going 🙂

I miss you all so much. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for anything.

Until next time,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of April 27, 2020: Final Drafts, Works Cited, and Submission of Speech

Good morning and welcome to another week of digital learning! Thank you to all of you who are still sticking with me and getting work completed. The more you do now, the less you will have to catch up on when school starts back up again.

Some housekeeping info:

  1. If you have not signed up for electives yet, please do so ASAP! I have sent out directions via Remind, but you can visit the Pebblebrook website to complete the form.
  2. Moving forward, I will update grades on Fridays. If you are submitting work from previous weeks, please follow up with an e-mail so I can make sure to go back and enter that assignment for you. 
  3. On Thursday, May 7th at 11 am, all juniors will be allowed to drive or ride up to the school to drop off any textbooks, library books, or other school materials. You will not be allowed out of your cars, but I would love to see your faces if you can make it! 🙂

Thing to do This week #1: Revise and Edit

This week, you will be revising and editing your final draft for submission. I know I originally said that we would do peer editing; however, I have only received seven submissions so far. If you would like to reach out to your friends who have turned in their drafts, I encourage you to peer edit each other’s papers. These students are:

  • Christian M.
  • Sophie D.
  • Sheyla R.
  • Nini I.
  • Tana B.
  • Danny S.
  • Niya S.

However, you may revise and edit on your own if you wish. Please utilize online tools such as Grammarly and EasyBib to make your life a bit easier.

***Before submitting your final draft, please make sure to review the rubric (click here) to ensure you have all necessary requirements, including rhetorical appeals, devices, and couterclaims. 

Thing to do This week #2: Works Cited

Please read the instructions below thoroughly to ensure you know how to complete a Works Cited!

Are ALL of your appeals to logic and credibility (ethos and logos) cited in your paper with quotation marks and parenthetical citations? If not, this is priority #1! CITE YOUR SOURCES! Sources and information that is not properly cited is considered PLAGIARISM and will earn you a big fat zero. Plus, Ms. A. will show you NO chill.

Now that you’ve finished up your rough drafts and included parenthetical citations for ALL of your sources, it’s time to move on to the Works Cited page. Your Works Cited will list all of the sources you have included in your essay.

Please click here for step-by-step instructions on how to create a Works Cited page!

(Please note that you will have to download the video to your computer to watch it. It is quite long, so it may take a minute to load.)

Or, follow the written steps below to create a Works Cited page, which will be the last page of your essay.

  1. When you’re at the end of your essay, hit “enter/return” until you hit a fresh, new page. At the top of that new page, center-align the title, “Works Cited.” Be sure to capitalize the “W” and the “C”!
  2. Hit “enter/return” one more time and left-align your cursor. (Your cursor is the blinking line that shows up as you type.)
  3. Open up all three (or more) of your sources in separate tabs in a browser. (It’s 2018, quit using Internet Explorer.)
  4. In another tab, open up EasyBib is an excellent citation generator you should use for ALL of your essays!
  5. Copy and paste the URL of your first source into EasyBib. Make sure you’re using the “Website” tab.
  6. Click “Cite it.”
  7. On the next page, you may have one or more options of citations to use. Choose the article name that fits yours, and click “Cite this.”
  8. Click “Continue to the final step.”
  9. Now here’s where it can get a little tricky. You’ll have to use your detective skills here, because websites are all formatted differently. First, make sure every word, other than words like “the,” “a,” “an,” “and,” “be,” etc. are capitalized. For example, “Why teachers’ salaries should be doubled – now” needs to be edited as, “Why Teachers’ Salaries Should be Doubled – Now”
  10. Under “Contributors,” include the first and last names of ALL authors listed on the website. The author’s name (or byline, as it’s called in journalism) is typically immediately below the headline, or title of the article.
  11. Include the website title. Again, be sure all major words are capitalized (for example, The Washington Post).
  12. You can leave the publisher/sponsor blank, if it’s not already filled in.
  13. Include the FULL URL.
  14. “Electronically published” is the date that the article was published online. You can typically find this in the byline by the author’s name. If there is no date, use the copyright year, which is typically found at the very, very bottom of the website.
  15. Click “Create Citation.” Hooray! Your first citation is done!
  16. Follow steps 5-15 above for each source. Make sure you’re using the same window on EasyBib, as it will automatically save all of your citations in one place, which is what you want!
  17. Once all of your sources are in one place, copy and paste the entire Works Cited into the page you titled “Works Cited.” Make sure your sources are all in alphabetical order by the first word in the source.
  18. Next, you will have to create a hanging indent. In Google Docs, make sure you have the ruler view on. If you see numbers at the top, the ruler is on. If you don’t, go to “View” > “Show ruler.”
  19. Highlight your ENTIRE Works Cited, with the exception of the words “Works Cited.”
  20. In the ruler, you will see a rectangle and a triangle. Move both over to the right to 0.5.
  21. Selecting ONLY the top rectangle, move the rectangle to the left, back to 0.0. Click here to see it in action!
  22. You’re all done! 🙂

Thing to Do this Week #3: Record Your Speech

Remember that this assignment is “Writing and Presenting a Persuasive Speech.” Using your phone or laptop, you will record yourself delivering your speech. Although you should pay attention to your inflection, tone, and speed of delivery, you do NOT have to memorize it! However, please note that having your head down to read a speech the entire time will not earn you an “A”. Consider your intended audience and purpose. We have viewed and listened to a few speeches in class, but it would be worth your time to view a few TED Talks or similar videos on YouTube to get an idea of what an effective speech looks like. You will upload your video with your final draft.

So What do I need to turn in this week?

  1. Submit your final draft and speech video here.

And that’s it! As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any help! I know MLA in particular can be a bit tricky, especialy when we’re not in class together. I’m only a Remind message or email away! Stay safe and be well.

Until next time,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of April 20, 2020: Extension on Outlines and Rough Drafts

Happy Monday and welcome to another week of digital learning! Thank you to those of you who have completed and submitted your outlines and rough drafts for the persuasive speech. I had a very small number of submissions but know that some of you are still working, so I have decided to extend the outline and rough draft deadline to this Sunday, April 26th.

What if I already turned in my outline and rough draft?

Thank you for adhering to the original deadline! As a result, please enjoy this week to polish your rough draft and complete the USA Test Prep assignment. Please get caught up in other classes if necessary!

What if I haven’t turned in my outline and rough draft yet?

This is the week! Please refer to last week’s post and extensive resources to submit your outline and rough drft by Sunday, April 26th. Complete this week’s USA Test Prep as well!

Click here to submit your outline and rough draft.

Enjoy your week! Remember that I’m always just a Remind message or email away. I miss y’all more and more each week – please stay in touch 🙂 

Week of April 13, 2020: Draft Persuasive Speech

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a great spring break at home. This week, you will be completing an outline and a rough draft for your persuasive speech. Luckily, you’ve already done this earlier in the semester, so you should be able to get it written fairly easily! As you are writing, make sure to refer back to this post and all of its resources as well as the rubric, which I linked in a previous post (you can also find it here).

Thing to Do This Week #0.5: Consider Audience and Purpose

Before writing any persuasive piece, we must consider our intended audience and purpose. Think back to the SOAPSTone from a couple of weeks ago and consider what you want your audience and purpose to be. Who are you trying to convince? Why? What assumptions do you have about your audience? Which rhetorical appeals and strategies will be most effective for your topic and your intended audience?

Thing to Do This Week #1: Outline your speech

320px-joy_oil_gas_station_blueprintsPlease use the links below to aid in your writing of your outline. Think of this document as a “blueprint” for your essay – you are planning the organization, structure, and flow of your speech. This is the rough draft to your rough draft! Please write out and organize your ideas in bullet points, rather than full sentences. 

*Note: Please choose the ONE format that works for you, whether it’s a traditional or web outline.

Ms. Antonacci’s Sample Outline (Note: if you would like to use this as a template, you may. Just use File > Make a copy to copy it to your drive and edit on top.)

How to Write an Outline – Perdue OWL

How to Write an Outline – University of Richmond

A web outline is a graphic organizer that may look something like this:


You should already have a three-point thesis statement (make sure that’s submitted to me before starting on the outline!); the main details 1, 2, and 3 will be your three reasons referenced in your thesis statement. These will make up your three main body paragraphs.

reminder-fingerReminder! Remember that you must have a MINIMUM of three credible sources throughout your speech — one per body paragraph. Refer to my post from last week for resources on credible sources.



Resources: Introductions and Conclusions


The introduction to a research paper can be the most challenging part of the paper to write. The length of the introduction will vary depending on the type of research paper you are writing. An introduction should announce your topic, provide context and a rationale for your work, before stating your research questions and hypothesis. Well-written introductions set the tone for the paper, catch the reader’s interest, and communicate the thesis statement.

  1. Announce your research topic. You can start your introduction with a few sentences which announce the topic of your paper and give an indication of the kind of research questions you will be asking. This is a good way to introduce your readers to your topic and pique their interest. The first few sentences should act as an indication of a broader problem which you will then focus in on more closely in the rest of your introduction, leading to your specific research questions.
  2. Define any key terms or concepts. It may be necessary for you to clarify any key terms or concepts early on in your introduction. You need to express yourself clearly throughout your paper so if you leave an unfamiliar term or concept unexplained, you risk your readers not having a clear understanding of your argument.

(From WikiHow)

Some suggestions on how to start your speech…

  • Pose a rhetorical question
  • Use imagery to pull your reader in (set the scene; opportunity for pathos!)
  • Start with a surprising or unusual fact/statistic
  • Provide a relevant anecdote
  • Reveal a common misconception
  • More examples here!

Be sure to consider your audience and purpose when writing the introduction!


Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:

In a general way,

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don’t try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang (!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.

The preacher’s maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:

  1. Tell what you’re going to tell them (introduction).
  2. Tell them (body).
  3. Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

(From Purdue OWL)

Thing to Do This Week #2: Write Your Rough Draft

Once you’re done with your outline, move on to your rough draft. Since you outlined and organized your ideas in the outlining stage of the writing process, all you have to do is put it all together! Basically, you are taking your organized bullet points and turning them into complete sentences and paragraphs. Make sure you are always considering audience and purpose, as this will dictate your choices in rhetorical appeals and strategies used.

Please use this template to type your speech (File > Make a Copy). We will peer edit next week, so please make sure this is completed by Sunday, or else you will be missing out on valuable feedback from your classmates. 


  • Please click here to submit your persuasive speech outline and rough draft! For your rough draft, please make sure to change the document title from “Persuasive Speech Template” to your first and last name.
    • Over the weekend, I will compile these into shared Google Drive folders separated by class period. We will peer edit from there!
  • Don’t forget about USA Test Prep – your assignment for next week is up! 
  • As always, reach out if you need anything! I am available 24/7 via Remind and email. If you need someone to talk to for anything, I am here for you! We will continue with Wednesday yoga and mindfulness and our Friday Hangout. I look forward to seeing you all this Wednesday and/or Friday! 🙂 

Stay safe and be well,

Ms. Antonacci ❤


Week of April 6, 2020: Spring Break!

Happy Spring Break!Spring break decorative type lettering design

Please enjoy this time off to be with family (but not friends because SOCIAL DISTANCING!) and find some time for yourself! If you need, you may use this week to catch up on any work from the past few weeks. Please reach out if you need me to look over something for you or if you need me for ANYTHING!

I know this Spring Break will be a weird one, but please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and avoid crowded areas.

We will still have yoga and mindfulness this Wednesday at 1 pm and our weekly Friday Hangout at 12 noon. I hope to see you all there! 🙂

Stay safe and be well,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of March 30, 2020: Rhetoric in Media and Speech Research

Welcome to week three of our new normal! Thank you so much to those of you who joined our Google Hangouts this past Friday; it was great to see all of your faces and have a chance to chat! If you missed it or slept in that day, no biggie – I have decided to continue these Hangouts every Friday at 12 noon. Please be on the lookout for Remind messages to sign up for the next one! This is just a chance for us to get together and do just that — hang out!


You’ll be doing headstands like this in no time! 🙂

Also coming up is our first guided yoga and meditation class! I am SO EXCITED to share my love of yoga and mindful practices with you all. I will send out invite links to those who have RSVPed, but please shoot me a Remind message or email if you’d like to be added to the list. I will hold these on Wednesdays at 1 pm via Google Hangouts. 

Each session will start with some mindfulness tips, move on to some beginner yoga asanas (poses/postures) and a slow yoga flow, then end with a section on mindfulness and guided meditation. Even if you’ve never practiced yoga before, that’s totally fine! We’d love to have you 🙂

What do I need for the first yoga class?

  • A yoga mat, if you have one. If not, you can use a towel, woven blanket, or a rug. If you have carpet in your house, that should provide enough padding; however, if you have hardwood, vinyl, or other hard flooring, I’d recommend something in between (save your knees!).
  • Comfortable, form-fitting clothing. You don’t want your T-shirt falling over your face during downward facing dog. No socks!
  • If possible, a quiet space without distractions.
  • An open mind and a grateful heart!

Okay, so on to the school stuff! 

Thing to Do This Week #1: Research!

This week, you will be completing research for your persuasive speech. If you have yet to turn in your claim statement and reasons, please do so ASAP so I can provide feedback. If you’ve submitted one and haven’t checked your feedback yet, please do so! The links can be found in my blog post from last week.

Last week, you should have completed your KWL chart. I said you would be completing your “L” column this week, but just kidding (cue Niy’s giggles)! Instead, you will use the graphic organizer below to organize your research.

Why? This one will be much easier for you to keep track of your sources by each body paragraph (reason). This way, when you go back to complete your outline, all of your sources are already organized into paragraphs. I promise you will thank me for this later 🙂

Please click here to access my Google Slides presentation on credible sources. (Do this first!)

Please click here to access the research graphic organizer.

  1. Go to File > Make a copy
  2. Save it to your drive, then edit on top.
  3. ***BE SURE TO SAVE FULL URLS FOR YOUR WORKS CITED!** Copy and paste the ENTIRE address bar (not just the main website) onto your graphic organizer. You will need this later!
  4. Once you’re done, scroll down for the submission link!

Thing to Do This Week #2: Rhetoric in Media

For this assignment, you will choose a documentary or movie to analyze rhetoric and the art of persuasion. Your purpose is to provide a way of understanding how the film persuades its audience. Because of this, I highly recommend choosing a documentary or documentary series. Please read the information below thoroughly so you can understand the entire assignment.

  1. Choose a documentary or film. I have a list provided (click here for suggested titles), but you may choose something else if you want. However, there MUST be an element of persuasion at play, meaning there has to be character(s) trying to convince others of something.  This will be evident in most visual texts.
  2. Introduce the film and view the film, analyzing its use of rhetoric and persuasion.  What is it arguing and how effective is it?
  3. Then, complete the OPTIC graphic organizer analyzing the film or documentary for specific use of rhetorical appeals and effectiveness of persuasion. Click here to access the OPTIC Google Form, along with guiding questions.  
  4. Conclude by making a judgment about the film’s rhetorical effectiveness.  This should be completed in the “Conclusion” portion of the graphic organizer.
  5. Review your details.  You should be citing evidence from the documentary or film to address its effectiveness in regards to persuasion.  Your evidence should be specific and use complete sentences.

*To clarify, you will record all of your responses on the Google Forms submission link above. 

*Note: Most of these documentaries are available on Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime.  Please choose one that does not require you to pay anything as I would not want you to be required to pay anything to complete this assignment.  Also, please read a description of the plot and/or pay attention to the rating as some material may be a trigger or too mature in content for you and I would not want you to deal with any unnecessary stressors or feelings of uncomfortableness for completion of this assignment. 

What do I need to turn in by this Sunday?

  1. Submit KWL chart (only K and W need to be completed) AND research graphic organizer here. 
  2.  Submit the OPTIC for the documentary/film rhetoric assignment (link above).
  3. Complete this week’s USA Test Prep! Y’all had a break last week, but we’re back at it 🙂

As always, reach out if you need anything! I am available 24/7 via Remind and email. I look forward to seeing you all this Wednesday and/or Friday! 🙂 

Stay safe and be well,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of March 23, 2020: Persuasive Speech

We did it, y’all – we got through the first week of digital learning! I appreciate everyone’s hard work so far, and it truly warms my heart to see all of you prioritizing your learning during this frankly scary and uncertain time.

Without getting too sappy, — that’s for another post — I just want to say how much I truly miss each and every one of you. My days are a bit empty without you all, and it’s just not the same. I miss Niy giggling every time I say “just kidding!” in class; I miss random acts of singing from Daria and Tana; I miss beaming with joy when I see Keaton finally allowing us to see just how smart he truly is; I miss jumping for high fives from Jamall; I miss Sophia’s whiteboard drawings.

I even miss the pile of tardy slips from Danny, having to get on Von a thousand times, and Scotty’s million and one questions every class period.

You, my students, are at the core of my work. You are cared for and you are loved. We will get through this together. 

Things are always changing, and a lot is still uncertain. I am being extremely flexible with deadlines, so please don’t stress yourselves out. Like last week, moving forward, I will post a suggested outline of what your weeks should look like and what needs to get done. Be proactive, be sure to manage your time wisely, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever need me, regardless of the time of day!

This week, we will start on our persuasive speeches. I know, I know, I told you all I wouldn’t make you do this on your own, but we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do at the moment! We will be taking this very slow and step by step, so please don’t worry! Please be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and review the resources!

This week, you will:

  1. Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech
  2. Pick your topic
  3. State your claim and three reasons (please submit by Wednesday if possible!)
  4. Complete part of a KWL Chart (“K” and “W”)
  5. Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

Please review the steps below for directions and resources! Be sure to go in order and do your best to have everything submitted by midnight on Sunday, March 29th. 

1. Monday: Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech

Review the prompt below (it is also on page 197 in Springboard):

Your assignment is to write and present an original, persuasive two- to three-minute speech that addresses a contemporary issue. It should include a clear claim, support, counterclaim, and conclusion/call to action. Incorporate rhetorical appeals and devices to strengthen your argument and to help you achieve your desired purpose.

Review the rubric here, being sure to pay attention to specific requirements: Persuasive Speech Rubric

2. Tuesday: Pick your topic

When choosing a topic, be sure to choose something that

  1. You genuinely care about (If you’re bored writing your essay, I’ll be bored reading it!)
  2. You actually know something about (even if it’s only basic knowledge)

The prompt asks you to choose a contemporary issue; if you don’t know what that means, consult a dictionary! 🙂

You should select a specific topic that has a provable component to it; that is, two people should be able to have a reasonable argument over your topic. Be sure to choose something important – that is, no “iPhone is better than Android,” conspiracy theories, or similar topics. 

There are only two topics you may NOT write about: abortion and gay marriage.

3. Wednesday: State your claim and three reasons

Once you have your topic, you will state your claim. Your claim is the stance you take on your topic. In other words, it is your primary argument.

  • Many arguments start with questions.
    • For example: Should teachers be paid more?
  • Answer your question with what you believe; yes or no?
    • For example: Yes, teachers should be paid more. 
  • Now put those together to write your claim statement.
    • For example: Teachers should be paid more. 
  • But wait — is that specific enough? Should ALL teachers be paid more? Just the experienced ones? Just the ones with high test scores? Even the “bad” ones? How much? Consider possible questions that may poke holes in your argument.
    • Then, make it more specific.
    • For example: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 

And there you have your claim statement! All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. Remember that a statement is just that – a statement – so if your is a question, it is NOT a claim statement!

Click here for a list of possible topics! However, you are NOT limited to this list!

  • Next, come up with some reasons to support your argument. The way I like to explain this in class is to visualize your worst enemy that you can throw your hardest arguments at! You CANNOT lose your argument to this person, so you’ve gotta bring your A Game!
    • For example, consider my claim statement: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 
      • And my worst enemy says, “Absolutely not! Teachers already get paid enough.”
      • (Aw, hell naw.) Come at them with the FACTS!
        • Why should teachers get paid more? Many teachers often hold advanced degrees, teachers are required to work outside of work hours grading, planning lessons, creating assignments and assessments, and more, and increased pay will make the profession more attractive for young professionals. FACTS!
        • These are my top three arguments to support my claim.
  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Please click here to submit your claim statement for approval. 
      • Please submit by Wednesday, March 25th if possible!
    • Click here to see others’ topics and check your status for approval or changes; only one person may write on one topic. If someone else has chosen your topic, you will have to choose something else.
      • A GREEN highlight on your claim statement means that your topic and reasons have been approved. A YELLOW highlight means your claim needs some work. If you receive a yellow highlight, Ms. Antonacci will email you directly with any changes that need to be made! 
      • However, you MAY choose the same topic, as long as your claims counter (or go against) each other. For example, one student may write that Chromebooks should replace textbooks in schools, while another argues that textbooks should NOT be replaced by Chromebooks.
    • Click here to access the research planning document. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • You are ONLY completing the top two rows of this sheet this week — your claim statements and three reasons. You will record your research onto this document next week.

4. Thursday: Complete part of a KWL Chart

Consider your three reasons and what you will have to research to further hone your argument. What do you already know about this topic, and what do you want to know?

For example, to support my claim that teachers should be paid a six-figure salary, I want to know how much teachers currently make on average, how many teachers hold advanced degrees, how long teachers’ work days really are, what teachers are required to do outside of the classroom, how many college students are enrolled in teacher certification programs, and so on. The more educated you are about an argument, the easier it is to win it — think logos! 

  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Click here to access the KWL chart. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • This week, you are ONLY completing the “K” and “W” columns!

5. Friday: Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a guide to your paper. It tells the reader the subject matter, your argument, and what to expect from the rest of the paper. Usually, the thesis statement will come towards the end of the first paragraph.

Think of your first thesis as a “working thesis,” or a statement that is likely to change. Often, once you get into the body of the paper, you may discover that your thesis needs to be changed a bit as you discover more information.

Writing a good thesis statement:
When you are working on your thesis statement, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Make sure your thesis fits the scope of the paper. The scope means how long and how in-depth the research should be. If you only have two pages, you need to keep the thesis narrow enough to cover the argument adequately.
2. Don’t simply give a fact or make a statement that is obvious. For example, “An eating disorder is a serious disease” is a statement most would readily agree with. This is sometimes called a “so what?” thesis.
3. Do NOT start your thesis with “I believe…” or “In my opinion…” You are the author of the paper, so this is obvious to the reader. Using these types of phrases weakens the power of your statement.

Click here for Ms. Antonacci’s example!


As always, reach out if you need ANYTHING! I’m up pretty late these days, so don’t hesitate 🙂 Even if you’re just feeling lonely or bored and want someone to talk to, I’m here for you.

Until next time,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of March 16, 2020: Rhetorical Appeals and Mini-Project

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the first week of online instruction. Please make sure to check this blog daily and ensure you are staying on top of your work, as this is not a break from school. I know it may feel scary because of the many unknowns, but we will get through this together. As this is the first week, please be sure to read this blog post in its entirety so you are aware of the expectations.

Every Sunday, I will post the week’s upcoming assignments. Since you are responsible upperclassmen, I expect you to complete the week’s work in your own time and at your own pace. Please make sure to manage your time wisely, as you still have a full-schedule workload. I will post a suggested outline of your weekly assignments, but it is up to you to have everything for the week submitted to be by 11:59 pm every Sunday. Please see submission guidelines next to each individual assignment. 

Remember that I am here for you during this time. I will be available until 2 pm daily to answer any questions you may have about the work or if you need to talk about anything else. Please let me know if any links are broken or if you have trouble finding something. Remind messaging is the quickest way to get in contact with me. 

Like I said in class, be sure to continue taking care of yourself, and especially those older than you. Your health and safety is my top priority. Continue to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, physically distance yourself from others, and avoid crowded areas. If you get sick, please make sure to communicate this with me via email or Remind. I love you and will be thinking about you all. 

Assignments for Week of March 16th; suggested timelines below:

Everything for this week is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 22nd; however, please submit assignments as you complete them. As stated above, PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out for ANYTHING! Stay safe; I love you all! 

Friday, March 13, 2020: President Obama’s National Address to Schoolchildren

As you know, we will be out of school “until further notice.” However, this is NOT a break! We will continue with instruction as usual, which will be delivered via my blog. Please make sure to visit this website daily to stay up with your work over this time. I will be available to you during the ELA “office hours,” which are from 1-2 pm. However, I will answer any questions you may have via Remind or email before 1 pm as well! More information will be given in class today.

obamas-speech-on-importance-of-educationToday, we will analyze President Obama’s National Address to Schoolchildren, annotating for rhetorical style. Please review your notes from yesterday regarding rhetorical style — not only do we need to look for instances of ethos, pathos, logos, and rhetorical devices, we also need to answer the “WHY” and the effect of each rhetorical strategy.

When analyzing for rhetorical style and effectiveness, remember to first consider the author’s purpose and intended audience! Everything in your analysis must tie back to purpose and audience.

Please click here to view President Obama’s speech!