High School English

September 30

Steady as we go! Continue taking notes, this week on “Social Networking Benefits Validated”  and the study from the Pediatric Journal. Remember that you only need to take notes on information that will apply directly to the prompt: Is online social networking good for our society?

I showed you the “note page” method of note taking today. You have a choice of using note cards, electronic note cards, or note pages for this paper. Just be sure that you choose ONE method and stick with it.

Next week show me a page of notes using the note page method. Be sure and include source information AND section divisions. Do this for either of the two articles I gave you. Then, if you have decided to use note cards, take notes on the other article using them. If you’ve decided to use note pages, take notes on the other article using the note page method. At any rate, I need to see your notes for both articles next week.

Also, I encouraged you to develop a system of organizing all of your articles and notes in one place — a binder with dividers, perhaps.  To check up on you, I’m going to personally visit your house NOT! ask your parent to verify that you have a system of organization.  They will receive an email from me in a day or so with instructions about that.

We’ve taken a little break from grammar.com, but we’re good now. Go to your account and take the tests that are there. If you’ve done them all, take the practice tests in your blue grammar book, pages 78-81. The answers are in the back of the book, so check yourself after you do the questions. We will have a grammar test on October 14.


September 23

Here’s a new term for you: grunt work. Defined, it is “an expression used to describe thankless and menial work. Grunt work can also refer to jobs that lack glamour and prestige or are boring and repetitive. This term may be derived from the slang term “grunts,” which was used to describe low-ranking American soldiers during the Vietnam War.”  You are about to engage in weeks upon weeks of grunt work, which (regrettably) you cannot get out of if you intend to succeed in high school English.  (I had the ultimate “grunt work” job once; ask me about it next week.)

I refer to the tedious task of taking notes.  Today I explained one system of note-taking for research papers:  note cards.  Your homework is to take notes, using note cards only, on the Time, Inc. article, “Does Facebook Replace Face Time or Enhance it?” and the Discovery News article, “Is Online Social Networking Good or Bad?”  I gave both of these to you today.

First, however, you must annotate both articles.  When you annotate, you are actively engaging your brain to comprehend the article.  Underline catchy phrases and important points.  Ask questions – write them in the margins.  Use symbols — numbers, whatever you need to make sense of the text.  Some think annotation is also grunt work.  Others think it is torture.  Sorry about that, but it must be done.

In short, do this for next week:

  1. Check grammarbook.com for your practice tests.
  2. OOPS.  Apparently my subscription to the site has expired.  I will renew…but not until this weekend.  Take a break.  No grammar quizzes due this week.
  3. Read both articles.
  4. Annotate both articles.
  5. Make source cards – one for each
  6. Source cards must contain, in order:
    1. Author’s name
    2. Article title
    3. Place article was found
    4. Date article was published
    5. Web? Print?
    6. Publisher
    7. Date accessed
    8. URL
  7. Take notes on both articles using notecards. (“How many” you ask? As many as necessary.)
  8. Note cards must contain information about where the note was from (article), what “section” heading it might belong to in your paper (Greenfield’s Qualifications, for example), and a page number if the text is numbered by pages.
  9. Remember the weird way of using quotation marks.
  10. Notecards are due next week. I’ll be evaluating them for proper headings, use of quotation marks, etc.

September 16

This morning I demonstrated how to login to GrammarBook.com and find your very own student account.  To access the quizzes I have put in your folder, enter your first initial and last name (lowercase, no spaces) and the 4-digit number I gave you for your password.  You will have two quizzes to complete, and your scores will be sent to me.  These must be completed by next week, as part of your homework.

Are social networking sites good for our society?

Well, are they?

In class we developed a list of “benefits” and “detriments” to social networking. Rewrite that list with at least five points for each side. This is your “brainstorming list” which you will keep in your notebook; however, I will ask to see it next week. Then, choose two claims on opposite sides of the argument – two benefits and two detriments – and think about how you might support them with specific evidence. This evidence must come from your own personal schema (background knowledge), so don’t do any research. Here is a link to a worksheet that might help you know how to organize your thoughts, although I think the paper itself doesn’t give you enough room to write on. Use it if you wish, or make your own.

Social Networking ex 1,2

Finally, read “Facebook & Bebo” and answer questions below. Please write in complete sentences.

Facebook and Bebo

  1. Who is the author of this article? Where did this article appear?
  2. Define these terms (you may use a dictionary or online resource): infantilizing, sensationalism, empathize, attention-deficit disorder.
  3. Who is Lady Greenfield? Does she appear credible? Explain?
  4. Lady Greenfield (from now on, she will be “LG”) expresses several points against social networking. List three of them.
  5. According to LG, how do social network sites put attention span in jeopardy?
  6. How is playing a computer game to rescue the princess different than reading a book about a princess who needs to be rescued?
  7. How do social networking sites erode our identity?
  8. Overall, what is LG’s main concern about social networking sites? What do you think about her opinion?



September 9

You survived your first day of high school English, didn’t you?  Yes.  Now to work!

First, linked below are the two handouts I gave you in class today, just in case yours disappear.

MLA Style Guidelines for English Papers

High School English Expectations

As for homework, it is twofold:

1. Write a fat paragraph explaining the difference between a “basic essay” and a “research paper.”  I discussed this with you in class, and you took notes.  Use your notes to refresh your memory, and simply explain the difference to me, following all of the formatting rules (look at the handout).

YES.  You need a rough draft, edited, and a final draft.

A fat paragraph is 10-15 sentences long, with a clear topic sentence, details or examples in the middle, and a clear clincher sentence.  Grammar, spelling and punctuation count, as always.  See the check sheet, linked here, to know how I will grade your paper.

Fat Paragraph Check Sheet

2.  Read little Bethany Tugan’s research paper, “The Blame Game” which I gave you in class today.  (I cannot link it here, so if you were absent I will give you a copy when I see you and this assignment can wait until then.) Answer these questions about it, on your own notebook paper:

a. How long is this paper?  Pages?  Paragraphs?  Words (take a guess)?

b. Estimate the font size.  Is it the same throughout?

c.  What is the writer’s thesis statement?  Copy it onto your paper.

d. According to the author, what are the “basic flaws” in our immigration system?

e. What is the author’s stated position on immigration?

f. Who wrote “Immigration Benefits America”?

g. Was the quote from Patrick Buchanan in print or electronic?

h. When was The Economist published online?

And, that’s all for this week.

August 15, 2014

Dear Future High School English Students,

Summer is waning,

Our hours be few,

‘Tis but a moment,

And then I’ll see you.

Fortunately, though, poetry is not among our topics for the new year.  Research paper writing is, so play hard these last three weeks –you’ll be working hard come September 9.

I look forward to our year together!  You’ll need The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Strauss (if you have this from last year, you do NOT need a new copy.)

Mrs. B