Monday, August 31, 2009

AP--short story unit

Here is a link to the document describing various responsibilities for presenting material from the short story anthology in our textbook.

The list of story titles and page numbers may be found on the current assignment schedule.

Pride and Prejudice essay--AP

Write an essay of approximately 600-750 words (2-3 typed, double-spaced pages), in which you discuss in as much detail as space permits the significance of the following passage to the work as a whole. In your discussion you may focus on an appropriate combination of the following elements:

• How does the passage characterize its participants and Austen’s methods of characterization?
• What is the relationship of this scene to the “action” of the novel? Does it contribute to either the complication of the action or to its resolution?
• How does it embody or advance themes important to the novel?
• In what sense is the scene “comic”?
• How does it most significantly illustrate Jane Austen’s style?

Drafts are due in class day 3 for peer editing and essays are due Friday, September 4, both hard copy and electronically to Here is a link to the formatting requirements. Here is a link to the syllabus, section 5 of which details procedures.


“Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him?”

Though Elizabeth would not, for the mere purpose of obliging Lady Catherine, have answered this question, she could not but say, after a moment’s deliberation, “I am not.”

Lady Catherine seemed pleased.

“And will you promise me, never to enter into such an engagement?”

“I will make no promise of the kind.”

“Miss Bennet, I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away, till you have given me the assurance I require.”

“And I certainly never shall give it. I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. Your ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter; but would my giving you the wished-for promise, make their marriage at all more probable?” . . . .

Her ladyship was highly incensed.

“You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit of my nephew! Unfeeling, selfish girl! Do you not consider that a connection with you must disgrace him in the eyes of everybody?”

“Lady Catherine, I have nothing further to say. You know my sentiments.”

“You are resolved then to have him?”

“I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Most Memorable Books

1. Catcher in the Rye, Salinger (when I was 15 I thought it the truest book I'd ever read)
2. The stories of Edgar Allan Poe (the summer I was 12--couldn't stop reading--I can still picture the library book)
3. All the Kings Men, R. Penn Warren--first time when I was 20--lots of times since
4. Master and Commander, P. O'Brian--the whole series, 20 volumes--counts as one for me. Read them all at least twice.
5. Winter's Tale--Mark Helprin--a burglar, a consumptive heiress, a flying horse, and bridges from the future
6. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole--the most outrageously funny book I've ever read.
7. Outlander, D. Gabaldon--another series--volume 7 is due out next month.
8. Lonesome Dove--Larry McMurtry--my all-time favorite western
9. Crossing to Safety--Wallace Stegner--wonderful story of friendship between two married couples lasting 40 years
10. Gone to Soldiers--Marge Piercy--my favorite WW2 novel
11. Anna Karenina--Tolstoy--read it one chapter a night before bedtime for three months--amazing story.
12. Absalom Absalom, W. Faulkner--even better than the Sound and the Fury, which I also love.
13. Pride and Prejudice, Austen--my 2nd favorite 18th century novel
14. Tom Jones, Henry Fielding--my favorite 18th century novel
15. Great Expectations, Dickens--he may be out of fashion now, but I love Dickens
16 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn--the book I've read the most times, so many I've lost count.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

English IV & AP--blog assignment #2

For FRIDAY, August 28, all sections:

N.B. This blog assignment is NOT subject to the usual suggested length of 500 words.

This summer, one of the topics bouncing around facebook between me and some of my friends went something like this:

What are the 15 books you have ever read that have stayed with you the longest and made the greatest impression on you? Don't think too hard about this topic. Just list the ones that come into your mind first as books that have made a lasting impression on you.

I'd add the following notes: a) your lists don't have to be 15 titles long, although I hope you have at least 5 or 10 you can honestly name that have stuck in your mind; b) for each title on your list, write a sentence, two at the most, explaining why it's on your list.

2 PS's: Remember to turn off "word notification" if you have not done so already; it will speed up my process of replying to your initial blog posts; second, if I have your url, delete my e-mail address from the notification box. If I don't have your url, well, you're already a bit behind, so please get with the program.

Blog vs. essay

Revising a blog


1. Look at the blog entry you’ve chosen for the idea that you can develop into an essay of several paragraphs. It may or may not be the topic most addressed in the blog, but it should be one which forms a considerable part of your blog discussion and which you think you can develop further in essay form.

2. Rewrite the current opening statement or write a new, brief opening paragraph. Keep your opening concise, identify the focus of the essay, and, at the end of the paragraph, make a clear, specifically worded statement of thesis, the interpretive idea whose validity you wish to prove in the essay.

3. Look at the middle paragraphs of your blog entry. Are they too long? Too short? If they don’t already begin with sentences that state ideas rather than facts, add clear topic sentences that relate to your thesis. Check within each of those middle paragraphs for a balance between specific textual evidence, preferably both examples and brief quotations, and your own commentary designed to identify the significance of your evidence and fully develop the depth of each paragraph. Finally, make sure each of these middle paragraphs helps support the validity of your thesis.

4. Check your final paragraph. Make sure it does not simply repeat what you have already stated. Draw a conclusion from the evidence you’ve presented. Save your most important idea, the one everything else in your essay leads up to, for last.

5. Last but certainly not least, read all your sentences out loud for clarity and clutter. Have you expressed your biggest ideas in simple words? Have you taken out who, which, and that whenever possible? Are you varying the length of your sentences, alternating complex and compound sentences with simple ones? Does the punctuation of your sentences help make them clearer and more meaningful? Have you caught the spelling mistakes spellcheck won’t catch?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Headings, formats, and style tips

HEADINGS FOR PAPERS—Always head your papers with the following information:

  • Your name,
  • Course and section number (Monsters 2, Time 1, for example)
  • Paper ID number from
  • Word count (your word processing program should perform this last task for you automatically).


  • Use 12-point font
  • Choose a font with serifs (Times New Roman, for example)
  • Set 1 inch margins all round
  • Give your paper a title which indicates its subject; when writing about literature, give more than just the name of the text you are writing about.
  • Double space text
  • Keep quotations brief; for quotations of FIVE lines or longer, block the passage with one and one-half inch margins and single spacing.
  • Remember to put novel and play titles in italics, poem and short story titles in quotation marks, and to give your paper a title different from the literary work it discusses.
  • Use American spelling and usage: double quotation marks, not single; toward, not towards; judgment, not judgement; gray, not grey; honor, not honour, and so on.
  • Avoid "naked" pronouns: this, that, which.
  • Whenever possible, omit who, which, and that--make the relative clause either the main clause or a participial phrase.
  • Simplify your language; use everyday words to express important ideas.
  • Omit unnecessary words from your sentences, unnecessary sentences from your paragraphs, unnecessary paragraphs from your essays. Be studious of brevity.
  • Whenever you face a choice between a general term and a specific word, opt for the latter.
  • Use parenthetical citation for primary texts (the literature from the course)
  • If you looked at any outside sources, be sure to cite them fully and accurately. This responsibility extends both to direct language (in quotation marks) and paraphrased ideas (your own words, not in quotation marks, but clearly cited).

English IV--assignments to September 8

English IV—World Literature
Mr. Coon
Schedule of Assignments
August—September 2009

Note: Assignments are DUE on the day indicated.

Week 1: August 24—28
Day 1. First day—welcome, syllabus, blog intro, assignments
Day 2. Set up account with Google Reader (see “how to start a blog,” below); write the blog entry indicated in the instructions after you establish your blog; vocabulary intro (bring books)—
Day 3. Print blog entry, bring to class for discussions and workshop (blog to essay in five easy steps); begin peer review
Day 4. Continue peer review; begin revision and re-writing of draft 2

Week 2: August 31—September 4
Day 1. Essays due, both hard copy and; introduction to tragedy
Day 2. Read Antigone, pp. 14 to 32 (to line 593 “enter Ismene”)
Day 3. Antigone, pp. 32-44, to line 1034;
Day 4. Antigone, finish reading to page 57; vocab quiz 1, lessons 1 & 2

Week 3: September 8—11 (No school Monday--Labor Day)
1. Read “Torn Lace,” pp. 73--77
2. Read “War,” pp. 79-82
3. Writing activity TBA

AP--Assignments to October 8

English IV—Advanced Placement World Literature
Mr. Coon
Schedule of Assignments
August—October, 2009

Note: All assignments are DUE for the class day listed.

Week 1: August 24—28

Day 1: First day—welcome, syllabus, blog intro, assignments
Day 2: Set up account with Google Reader (see “how to start a blog,” on; write the letter indicated in the instructions after you establish your blog; vocabulary intro (bring books); Introduction to close reading
Day 3: Bring Pride & Prejudice; continue introduction to close reading
Day 4: Quiz 1—Multiple choice (15 minutes); close reading exercise

Week 2: August 31—September 4
Day 1: Discussion of passages
Day 2: Discussion of Pride and Prejudice; introduce short story presentations & roles
Day 3: Essay draft due in class on Pride and Prejudice; vocab quiz 1 (lessons 1 & 2)
Day 4: Read A Rose For Emily (28) (LCC); revised essay due

Week 3: September 8—11 No classes Monday (Labor Day)

1: Everyday Use (p.443)
2: Teenage Wasteland (35)
3: Interpreter of Maladies (p. 579); Multiple choice quiz 2

Week 4: September 14—18
1: A & P (p. 14); blogs due
2: Parker’s Back (382)
3: A Good Man is Hard to Find (p.358)
4: Cathedral (p. 98); Vocab quiz 2 (lessons 3 & 4)

Week 5: September 21—25
1: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (156); blogs due
2: Battle Royal (p. 526)
3. Shiloh (p. 604)
4: The Yellow Wallpaper (p. 424); Multiple choice quiz 3

Week 6: September 28—October 2
1: Greasy Lake (p. 129); blogs due
2: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been (p. 613)
3. I Stand Here Ironing (p. 637);
4: The Things They Carried (p. 625); vocab quiz 3 (lessons 5 & 6)ALSO, spend one free period in the library browsing the short story collections Mr. Thommen has set out.

Week 7: October 5—8—No school Friday (Fall Break)
1: The Five Forty-Eight (p. 503); half blogs due--update on independent short story project--less than 500 words is preferred.
2 & 3: Begin the Sound and the Fury (pp. 3-75); finish reading and research for short story papers.

How to Start a Blog

Go to You should be automatically directed to their start page. Follow the "three easy steps" :
--Create your account using your PCDS e-mail account and a password of your choice (suggestion: use the same account and password for your account). Since your blog will only be read by me and by your classmates, please use your first and last name as your display name; that way I always know whose blog I'm reading and you get credit for having written it.
--Name your blog. Whatever you like, but it's a school assignment, so be appropriate, please. For your blog's url, use firstname-lastname so that we may find each other's blogs easily during the year.
--Select a template for your blog. Pick whichever one you like, with one condition. My eyes are getting older and I can't read text set against a black or dark blue background, so please don't choose one of those templates.

After you create your template, click "start posting" to go to the editing page of your blog. From there, you have one more crucial task. Click the Settings tab, then the e-mail tab. Type my e-mail address in the box marked "BlogSend": ( After I have an RSS feed for your blog, I’ll ask you to turn this setting off. But to get started you need to include this step or you may not receive credit for your blog entries. (IMPORTANT: Be sure to click "Save Settings" before closing this tab.)

Finally, one crucial setting. Open the "comments" tab, scroll down, and click the "NO" button next to a setting called "show word verification for comments." This one is important to save me a great deal of time and bother when I write comments back to you about your blog posts. Again, click "save settings" before you leave this section of your settings.

When you have completed all these steps, click the "Posting" tab and create your first blog entry.

For AP English: Write your first blog about the reading you did this summer. I’m interested not only in the books you chose from my recommendations but also any books you read on your own. Include a list of any books you have read since the beginning of June, both titles and authors, and then write a short piece about ONE of the titles you read. Pick the one that made the strongest impression on you, or the one you enjoyed the most, or the one that stayed with you the longest after you read it. Here is a link to such a piece, one I wrote last summer after I read Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. As you write, remember to be as specific as you can in your language, your reasons, your examples.

For English IV: Write a blog about the book you chose from the grade 12 Summer Reading List. If you read more than one title from the list, choose the one that made the strongest impression on you. In your blog (500 words or so), identify which aspects of the novel are most prominent, which ones go the furthest to explain the impression the book made on you. Was it an idea, a character who seemed particularly lifelike, a relationship, the ambiguity of the book's ending or meaning, something about the writer's style? Your blog will serve as the first draft of a paper to be turned in next week, so give some thought to identifying and discussing those elements of the book which are most notable.

I recommend that you write, edit, spell-check, and word-count your letter as a word document then paste it into the box on the posting page of your blog. When you're done, give it a title, click the orange button marked "publish post," and voila!—you have created your first blog entry (436).

English IV Syllabus 2009

English IV Syllabus
Mr. Coon; Fall, 2009

I. Goals

In the courses which comprise English IV, we seek to expose members of the senior class to significant pieces of literature from the world tradition. The required semester selection of world authors includes pieces from the classical Mediterranean world, Asia, Africa, South America, and Continental Europe. Canonical authors such as Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Kafka, Tolstoy, Achebe, and Solzhenitsyn provide depth and balance to the assigned material. Authors and works are chosen with an eye toward providing significant intellectual, esthetic, moral, and literary challenges to readers. Each course asks students to read and think carefully, to listen and discuss, and to develop their language skills, especially in writing, critical reading, vocabulary, and English usage.

II. Readings

World Literature (first semester)
1. World Literature , Donna Rosenberg (editor)
2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
3. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
4. Short stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. selected novel(s) for summer reading

Advanced Placement World Literature (two semesters)
1. Literature: An Introduction, (10th edition) X. J. Kennedy & Dana Gioia, editors
2. Waiting for the Barbarians, J. M. Coetzee
3. The Sound and the Fury , William Faulkner
4. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
5. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (summer reading)
6. selected novels for summer reading

African-American Literature (second semester)
1. Black Boy, Richard Wright
2. Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
3. Fences, August Wilson
4. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Shakespeare (second semester); team taught with Mr. Burns
1. Hamlet
2. As You Like It
3. The Merchant of Venice

III. Additional text for all sections: Vocabulary for Achievement, 6th course

IV. Written work
The primary forum for written work is your blog. You are required to post weekly blog entries relating to the literature studied in the classroom. Your blogs will receive a gradeat the end of each marking period, accounting for 30% of each quarter’s grade. Blog entries should be approximately 500 words in length (please indicate word count in parentheses at the end of each entry). I will not, however, grade by length alone; rather, quantity will be one of four criteria, along with regularity of entries, style, and originality of content. Instructions about creating and posting blog entries may be found on my blog at
Occasionally I will ask you to respond to particular prompts or questions on my blog, but often there is no set topic for your weekly entries. Rather, I ask you to find an element of the assigned reading that interests you and discuss it thoughtfully. This comment may take many forms, a few of which are suggested here:
• Discuss a character’s actions, words, personality, moral values, or humanity.
• Comment on the writer’s style, use of language, tone, irony, or imagery.
• Consider a topic or idea raised in class discussion, trying to go beyond what has already been stated.
• Raise and discuss a question about the text under consideration.
• Discuss the importance or meaning of a key passage or scene from the reading.
• For longer works, show how a scene or passage develops a theme or pattern identified in class.
• Make a comparison between a scene, character, or idea from the literature and something from another source or from your own experience
• Use an idea from my blog or from that of one of your classmates as a point of departure for your response.
• Locate relevant research material on the web, post a link to the site on your blog, and discuss your choice.
• Using first person, tell the story of your reading of and interaction with the text.

In all cases, your goals are to demonstrate close, careful reading of assigned texts, challenge yourself to creative, original thinking, and develop your fluency as a writer. In addition to blog entries, several times each semester, I will assign papers, either revisions of blog entries or interpretations of asigned novels, plays, poems, or stories. Your papers will account for another 30% of your grade.

IMPORTANT: HEADINGS FOR PAPERS—Always head your papers with the following information: your name, date, turnitin receipt number, and word count (your word processing program should perform this last task for you automatically).

In addition to submitting hard copies of your papers this year, you are required to submit electronic copies of all papers to These instructions will help you submit your papers. Use the same e-mail address and password for that you use for your account at
• On your web browser, go to Register as a new user or login to the personal home page you created last year. You must give your e-mail address and a personal password which contains both letters and numbers to register. Click “student” as your user type. Give whatever other information may be necessary as you move through the required fields.
• When you reach your personal home page, click “join new class.” Then enter a class ID and a class enrollment password. For AP students, the class ID is 1598905 and the password pcdsap; for World Literature students (non-AP) the class ID is 1875359 and the password is pcdswl. Click “submit” when you finish. N.B: You only need to complete this step once.
• Then submit your paper. When you click on the class title, you will go to the class history page. Click on the word “submit” in the middle navigation bar. Enter the title of your paper and select the assignment with the correct date from the pull down menu. Assignments are listed by the title of the work and the date an assignment is due.

• After entering your title and selecting the correct assignment, paste your essay into the box marked “main text.” (In my experience, the copy and paste method works better than the upload method. You may, of course, find otherwise). You may ignore the boxes marked abstract and bibliography unless otherwise instructed. When your paper has been pasted into the “main text” box, click “submit.”
• Remember to put your digital receipt number on the assignment before you give it to me. Otherwise your assignment will be marked late and penalized accordingly.

VI. Participation and attendance
• Class discussion is a crucial part of the course. Therefore, it is imperative that we all treat one another with respect and behave in such a way as to contribute to, not disrupt, an atmosphere conducive to maximum learning.
• Participation in class is mandatory. I understand that the introverts have difficulty speaking in front of your peers and me; nevertheless, I expect you to contribute meaningfully to class activities and discussions. You must come to class having done the reading assigned and be prepared to discuss the material, answer questions, venture informed opinions, and articulate personal responses.
• Participation grades are assigned as follows and account for 20% of your grade in the class: "A" students are fully engaged, on time with the necessary books and supplies. They display obvious enthusiasm for the tasks of the class: reading, talking, listening, working in a group, thinking about a problem. "B" students' engagement varies slightly, sometimes at "A" level, sometimes not. "C" students are generally involved but with noticeable lapses. They may arrive late to class or frequently forget materials. They spend time on things other than the work at hand: chatting with friends, doing homework for another class, catching up on sleep, or staring off in space. "D" students exhibit these behaviors to an even greater degree, becoming a distraction to the work of the class, having a negative impact on the group's ability to get its work done, regularly coming to class unprepared.
• Read the student handbook statement on attendance policies. After six absences in a class, a letter is sent home. After nine, students and parents meet with the Dean of Students. Also, be aware that beginning with the third unexcused lateness to class, you will be assigned to serve detention for each subsequent lateness. Please be on time to class.

VII. Vocabulary
• Three new lessons in the vocabulary book are assigned every other week.  Quizzes will take place the first 10 minutes of class on alternate Fridays unless otherwise notified.
• For first semester, we will cover lessons 1-15; for the second, lessons 16-30. Quizzes will contain all 30 words from the three lessons.
• Missed vocabulary quizzes must be made up at your earliest possible convenience. After one week, barring extraordinary circumstances, missing scores will be entered as zeroes.

VIII. Grading policy

• Grades are determined on a point system in which each assignment is weighted by the number of points it contains. Points will be totaled at the end of each quarter and semester and grades determined in accordance with the percentages contained in your student handbook.
• Grades from individual assignments are then weighted into categories as follows: blogs (30%), papers (30%), vocabulary and quizzes (20%), participation and attendance (20%).
• Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Work turned in during or after class is considered late and will be penalized. Late work is eligible for a score no higher than 75%, depending on the quality of the assignment and the degree of lateness. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, either have a classmate turn it in or fax the assignment to the Upper School office (602-224-6177).
• Students who miss quizzes or tests because of excused absence must make arrangements for make-up immediately upon returning to school. Missing work (quizzes or assignments never turned in or made up) will result in an incomplete grade for the quarter or semester.
• Any student who establishes a clear pattern of failing to complete the assigned reading according to the prescribed schedule will receive a semester grade of D or F, regardless of that student’s scores on other assignments. Repeated missing or poor written work, failed quizzes or tests, or the inability to supply basic factual information in class will be taken as signs of not reading.
• All assignments must be completed in accordance with the school’s honesty policy. See your handbook for details and be certain you know the difference between plagiarism and acceptable use of source material. Also, any assignments written for other courses may not be submitted without my specific permission.

X. Contact information
• In person—room 311. Stop by to talk or ask a question anytime I’m free. My schedule is posted on the door of my classroom. To make up a quiz, go over an assignment, a speech draft, or a college essay, please make an appointment first.
• By voice-mail—602-956-0253 x4296
• By fax—602-224-6177
• By e-mail—