The Great Gatsby PBL

You have been asked by Sparknotes to create an in-depth study guide of one of the greatest American novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The guidelines for this project have been kept purposefully vague because the executives at Sparknotes (aka your teachers) want to see what 21st century teenagers can come up with. The final product will be your decision, but it must be complete. In other words, it must cover the entire novel as well as the historical time period, and contain an in-depth literary and historical analysis of the novel. What you must not do is attempt to pattern your study guide off of an already existing one.

Fitzgerald scholar, Maureen Corrigan says that The Great Gatsby is not about who we are as Americans, but rather is about who we wish to be. Do you agree? Your study guide is your opportunity to delve deeply into the language and history of this novel that explores the American Dream. Your study guide will be your fresh, 21st century look at what some have called the greatest American novel of all time.

Please see this document for specifics and due dates:  Great Gatsby PBL Intro


Photo Friday, English 11- OPTIC

English 11 Students:

For your Photo Friday, please use the OPTIC handout found at the following link:  http://goo.gl/xFd0q

Each Friday that you meet with me, you will have a Photo Friday due.  You may choose any photo from the Time magazine website: http://time.com/lightbox/

Your first Photo Friday is due February 6, submitted via Googledocs.


Photo Friday- English 11 Honors and AP

Each Friday that you meet with me, you will have a “Photo Friday” due. Photo Friday is a visual textual analysis of one of Time magazine’s photos of the week found here:   http://time.com/lightbox/

The goal of any textual analysis is to demonstrate your understanding of how the piece communicates its messages and meanings.
Your one page analysis must include:
1. An introduction in which you briefly summarize the text and state your thesis.
2. A breakdown of the components of the visual text and how they come together to create a message or meaning. These components may include focus, angle, light, color, composition, lines, pattern, texture, figures, scenery, groupings, appeals to emotion, etc.
3. An analysis of the rhetorical situation. Who or what do you think is the audience for, purpose of, and context of this piece of text?
4. Your interpretation of the text. What is the overall meaning or message, and how well does this piece of text convey it? As in any textual analysis, do not merely give a summary.

Please submit via Googledocs.

You can find out more about analyzing visual text by visiting: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/725/01/


English 11 Honors- Small House Project

Henry David Thoreau said,  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…”  and “Our lives are frittered away by details….simplify, simplify.”

In this project, you will have the opportunity to think like a Transcendentalist.  You will be creating your own small house.  Here are the steps:

1. Determine what it means for you to “live deliberately.”  How does a small house help you or not help you to achieve your definition of living deliberately.

2.  Determine your true needs vs wants.  For this project, you will have to simplify as Thoreau exhorts.

3.  Create plans for your house. Make sure that you customize your plans for your own needs and lifestyle, though you need to stay within micro-house parameters of no bigger than 150 sqft.  Your model must be to scale. Our “model” in class is 121 sqft.

4.  Determine where you will place your tiny house.  Will your house have a foundation or be built on a trailer?  Explain the reasons behind your choice.

5.  What kind of energy will you use?  Explain the benefits and drawbacks of this particular energy source.  How will you deal with waste?

In a 3-4 page (including your plans)  Thoreauvian (means you are imitating Thoreau) essay, explain the above in detail.  You will be graded on: Writing skills; prof presentation (plans, pictures, essay presented in MLA); use of resources

Rough draft due:  Jan 20/21

Final draft due:  Jan 22/23


English 11- Parable Rubric

parable rubric


AP Notes on Argument

Everything’s An Argument


AP-Modes Project



The purpose of this assignment is to further your understanding of different rhetorical modes of development and to show you a model for the writing project you will be doing. You will be writing 14 précis and writing in 5 different modes for this project.  The nine modes* are:

1)     Narration  2) Description,  3) Exemplification, 4) Process, 5) Cause/Effect 6) Compare/Contrast, 7) Classification, and Division, 8) Definition, 9) Argument

Basic steps:

1. With a partner, you will be researching and presenting one mode of writing to the class.  See the handout for detailed instructions.  You will become the expert group for that mode and in charge of peer reviewing all essays for that mode.

2.  On your own, you will read two essays from seven of the nine modes.  You must read all of the required essays. You will write a précis (instructions to follow) for each of the essays you read.

3.  You will write five essays (approx 500 words each) on the same general topic from five different modes.  See the handout for detailed instructions.


1.  Mode presentation-  Oct 12,13

2. Precis X2-  Oct 20, 21; Oct 22,23; Oct 26,27; Oct 28,29; Nov 4,5 (X4); Nov 12,13

3.  Essays-  Oct 26,27; Nov 12,13; Nov 17,18; Nov 23,24; Dec 1,2

4. Final project- Dec 7,8

*Some modes of writing may require research which would necessitate the proper documentation of sources and a work cited page.


AP Independent Reading

Each quarter you will chose 1-2 books to read independently from the following list:

AP Fic Reading List

Q1: Choose one book from Era 1 Due October 17
Q2: Choose two books from Eras 2 and 3 Due January 6
Q3: Due March 18-  Please read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Q4: Choose one book from Eras 5 or 6 Due May 4


AP Glossary of Literary Terms

Glossary of Terms Master List


Summer Homework

In preparation for our study of literature and composition, please complete the following summer reading.  Have a restful, enjoyable summer.  I’m looking forward to meeting you in August.

Summer Reading 2014

Kurt Vonnegut: “How to Write with Style”