Thursday, June 16, 2011


Sharing "This I Believe" Essays - turn in final draft, rough draft, gold peer/adult revision sheet, and proof of submission after you read aloud

My "This I Believe" submission - 3 years in the making! "From Streetlamp to Streetlamp"
Letter of Recommendation request form--please read, complete, and return the purple sheet to me as soon as possible, or email this electronic version of the form to, as soon as you can!

Upload all necessary assignments to Gatsby final draft, commonplace book entry, two God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater humor devices entries, All the Pretty Horses discussion notes and All the Pretty Horses rhetorical analysis writeup

Bookmark to guide your reading of Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

HW: Read and be prepared to discuss Zeitoun by Dave Eggers on the first day of school! Use the bookmark to help focus your reading. Also, read a free choice book this summer (perhaps the next installment of Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy? :-) and if you are entering AP Literature in the fall, check out the Samohi English Department's webpage for your reading selections from the Bible and Voltaire's Candide.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Discussion - All the Pretty Horses, pages 283-302

Review for tomorrow - how to submit "This I Believe" essays

HW: "This I Believe" essay final draft, rough draft, gold revision sheet and proof of submission to NPR. If you like, forward your proof of submission to, and then write "emailed" on the front of your final draft. Bring snacks!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


All the Pretty Horses seminar - 257-283
"This I Believe": Peer and Trusted Adult Revision Sheet (due Monday for period 2; Tuesday for periods 3 and 5) and conferences

HW: Read the end of the book--last discussion is on Wednesday! Finish your "This I Believe" essay. Proof of submission to NPR, gold revision sheet, and final copy of essay due on the day of the final exam. Bring snacks to share!

As you finish reading the book, consider:
  • What is the significance of the rainy wedding scene?
  • How does John Grady reemerge in Texas and what is significant about his arrival?
  • Why does John Grady go to see the judge at his home? What new wisdom does he find from a man of the law at the end of the book? (Remember how the lawyer at the beginning wasn't helpful?)
  • What does he learn at Reverend Blevins' home?
  • What parallels do you see between the beginning and end of this novel? Why do these parallels matter?
  • Think about the ending. The British novelist Fay Weldon offers this observation about happy endings. “The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from their readers are the writers who offer a happy ending through moral development. By a happy ending, I do not mean mere fortunate events -- a marriage or a last minute rescue from death -- but some kind of spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation, even with the self, even at death.” In what ways does this book offer Weldon's notion of "a happy ending"? What spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation does John Grady experience?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


"This I Believe" - Peer Editing/Revision
"Our Vulnerability Is Our Strength" by Colin Bates

Continue All the Pretty Horses discussion over pages 219-241

HW: Read pages 241-257 and review the passage on pages 255-256 for tomorrow's discussion. As you read, consider:
What religious imagery is present in this section, and what do you think it means or suggests?
Why does John Grady tell his story to the children? What does he hope to gain from them?
Describe his meeting with Alejandra. What do you notice and what stands out or seems out of place?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


"This I Believe": Peer and Trusted Adult Revision Sheet (due Monday for period 2; Tuesday for periods 3 and 5)

Continue All the Pretty Horses discussion - pages 203-217

HW: Read and prepare for tomorrow's discussion over pages 219-241. Review the passage on pages 220-221.
Consider, as you read:
How do the farmworkers treat John Grady at the opening of Part IV?
What religious imagery/references do you see in this section, and what does it make you think about?
How is he received back at La Purisima?
What happens in John Grady's dream on page 225 and what might it mean?
What does he learn from his meeting with Dueña Alfonsa?
What sentiments does Dueña Alfonsa share that remind you of the captain? Of Don Héctor? Of Pérez?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Grammar Practice: Who, That, Which

Continue AtPH discussion over pages 178-203. SO EPIC!!!

HW: Read pages 203-217 and review the rhetorical analysis passage on pages 208-209 to prepare for tomorrow's discussion.

What is John Grady's recovery like?
How would you describe John Grady and Rawlins' reunion?
What's the significance of their discussion about blood (pages 210-211)?
Why does Rawlins ask John Grady, "What's the worst thing you ever done?" and how does John Grady respond?
Note the level of detail to describe John Grady's scar on page 215.
Why do you think McCarthy describes John Grady as "some newfound evangelical being conveyed down out of the mountains and north across the flat bleak landscape toward Monclova"? What "good news" might he bring?

Monday, June 6, 2011


"This I Believe" - drafting time. Drafts due THURSDAY!!!

"The Key to a Long Life" by Brian Eno

Discussion over All the Pretty Horses, pages 153-178

HW: Read pages 178-203. Review the rhetorical analysis passage from pages 199-200. SO EPIC!!!!
Consider, as you read:
  • What is sympathetic about the captain? What is troubling about him?
  • Who is Pérez? What insights does he share with the boys?
  • What does Pérez mean when he insists, "You dont speak [the language]"?
  • What does Pérez mean when he talks about superstition? How much control do you think Pérez has over the prison?
  • How does John Grady get a weapon? What is he fighting for, at this point?
  • What is the significance of his sharing tobacco with the indian? (p 197)
  • How does the description of the knife fight differ from the death of Blevins?

Friday, June 3, 2011


"This I Believe" - Focusing on a topic
"Science Nourishes the Mind and Soul" by Brian Greene

AtPH Discussion - pages 132-151
Juxtaposition, imagery, and paradox in the lake scene (page 141)
Game-playing and power struggles: symbolism of the chess and pool games
Transformation: John Grady, Alejandra, Rawlins

HW: Read pages 152-178 to prepare for Monday's discussion and review the passage on page 153. As you read, think about:
  • How have their circumstances changed and how does the setting reflect these changes?
  • To what extent do Rawlins and John Grady reconcile? Do you believe that John Grady is, as he claims to Rawlins, "the same man you crossed that river with"?
  • What is the captain like? Why does he treat each of the boys differently?
  • What is the significance of John Grady's dream on page 161?
  • What instances of humor do you see between John Grady and Rawlins in this section?
  • Animals show up again--this time mainly dogs. What do you think the dogs might represent here?
  • What parallels do you see between this section and earlier parts of the book?

If needed, work on your "This I Believe" essay. Check out the essay guidelines offered by NPR and the original producers' invitation for tips.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Journaling - focusing on a topic
"This I Believe" - "Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day" by Josh Rittenberg

Continue today's discussion of All the Pretty Horses, pages 111-132
  • What is the significance of the colors associated with Alejandra?
  • What power struggles do you see between John Grady and Don Hector during John Grady's interview?
  • What's up with the cats in the interview scene?
  • How is the relationship between John Grady and Rawlins changing? What tensions do you see developing?
  • How would you describe the interactions between John Grady and Alejandra?

HW: Read pages 132-152 (finish Part II) and review the lake scene on page 141. Consider the following as you read:
What is the significance of the chess game? How is this another power struggle?
How does the motif of "playing games" and "winning and losing" run through this section?
What happens at the end of the section? Why do you think it happens?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Grammar Practice: Misplaced Modifiers
Film clip - All the Pretty Horses "Sixteen Horses in Four Days"

Discussion over pages 97-110
  • What unusual techniques does John Grady use to break the horses?
  • What might the wild horses symbolize or represent in this section?
  • What parallels exist between Don Hector's ranch and the one JG has lost?
  • How are the horses and their "transformation" described?
  • What is significant about our "mystery girl"? How does she alter John Grady's world "in the space of a single heartbeat"?
  • What instances of religious imagery do you see, and why might this imagery be significant?

HW: Read and be prepared to discuss pages 110-131 for tomorrow. Review the rhetorical analysis passage on page 123. Think about your This I Believe essay topic: it's time to focus!