High School English

October 6

While I read your Process Analysis outlines, you are to throw yourself into writing an introductory paragraph.

I’m the one you have to impress, remember.  You want me to be astounded by your wit, amazed by your craftiness, bedazzled by your nifty introductory paragraph.

Rough it out this week, and don’t worry about English grammar rules for a while.  Picky Mrs. B will be back later when you turn in the final, but jaunty, creative, fun-loving Mrs. B would like you to NOT BORE HER TO DEATH with lousy writing.


That’s it for writing, folks, but you do have a “writing numbers quiz” next week, so check your online folder and study.


September 29

Our next essay has a name:  Process Analysis 5PE.  For this one you will write five paragraphs like normal, but this time you will focus on either a “directive” process analysis or an “informative” one.  Either is fine with me; just please make sure you are writing at  high school level about a high school worthy subject.

Here are some possibilities, but you are not limited to these:

  1. Dress for success
  2. Survive an earthquake
  3. Learn to drive
  4. Gain weight
  5. Have a good time for free
  6. Continue a friendship over long distance
  7. Throw an impromptu party
  8. Enjoy a movie at the theater
  9. Clean house for your mom
  10. Flea your cat
  11. Survive without a car
  12. Kick a bad habit
  13. Overcome insomnia
  14. Enjoy the weekend
  15. Complain effectively
  16. Pitch a tent in the rain
  17. Find a great job
  18. Get an “A” in English.
  19. Avoid cavities
  20. Be a good friend

For next week complete the worksheet questions as you did in your group today.  You do not need to write a rough draft yet, but are welcome to if you want to get started and save yourself some work later.

Besides this, go to grammarbook.com and complete the Writing Numbers quizzes in your folder.  Big test coming October 13.

September 22

Let’s just get this paper finished, shall we?

Write your final draft 5PE about your special person.  The big deal this time is to get those main body paragraphs into T-SEE-SEE-C form, which I explained today in class and on the handout.

You will include an introductory paragraph – here, fishyfishyfishy! – to lure your audience on this essay trip with you, and a concluding paragraph to bring your audience back home in one piece.  Remember:  your audience is the fish…you are the fisherperson…the bait is a well-written, interesting paragraph to draw your audience in.  (You are not hunting for bear.  Your audience will not rip you to shreds, but your English teacher might.  Heh.)

At the END of your introductory paragraph write a thesis sentence.  This is a sentence that summarizes the topic of each paragraph so your reader knows why she’s taking this essay trip with you.  Like this:

Dad is clever, compassionate, and the most comical man I know.

Do your best; checksheet below.

5PE Checksheet

Also go to grammabook.com and do the quizzes I have for you there.  Expect another numbers quiz next week.

September 15

Your Fat Paragraphs are in the grading queue right now, folks.  Expect to get them back next week; expect also to receive a grade report emailed to your parents and/or you by Friday.

Now, onward to the Five Paragraph Essay, which I am going to nickname the 5PE.  This week you are to write a rough draft of the main body paragraphs in a descriptive essay about a person.  We did three exercises in class today to help you think of a person you could use for your subject and ideas of what you might write about him or her.  Since the 5PE will include one introductory paragraph and one concluding paragraph, that leaves three main body paragraphs for you to fill with descriptive information.

To begin, you will need to decide on three paragraph topics.  These could be “Zelda is creative.  Zelda is funny.  Zelda is compassionate.”  For each paragraph topic, you will include examples and details to support your topic and flesh it out for your reader.  I would suggest that you outline/brainstorm/make a list of ideas before you begin to write; however, I won’t be collecting that for this assignment.

In addition to the 5PE writing assignment, begin learning how to write numbers correctly.  Read “Chapter 5:  Writing Numbers” in your grammar book.  (Well, as we discovered, this is indeed Chapter 5 in MY book, but maybe not in yours.  SO,  find the chapter about “writing numbers” and there you go.)  In a day or so you will be able to logon to grammarbook.com and find a quiz or two in your folder.  Complete the quiz by next Tuesday.  Logon with the first letter of your first name followed by your last name; then use that very special 4-digit number you wrote for me as your password.  Like this:

If your name happened to be Mergatroid Simpleton, and you chose 3887 as your 4-digit password, you would logon as



Okay?  Let me know if you have troubles with this but don’t even try until Thursday.  I have to input a lot of info before the system will recognize your new class.  Thanks.

I also told you that you would be very, very bored if I were to give you a punctuation/grammar lecture each week.  Instead, I will assign pages in the book or particular rules for you to learn, and expect you to learn them by the deadline.  Next week expect a quick, in-class quiz on the first five rules in your chapter.  The test will be on October 13.

That’s all.

September 8

Welcome to your English class homework blog.  This is the place you’ll come after 9 a.m. on Wednesdays to discover exactly what I want you to complete for homework this week.  Everything I assign is due in one week; therefore, make it your habit to understand what you need to do, and then to plan your time well so that you get it done.

My rule for homework is that if you miss a deadline you are in “grace week” and have one more week to finish.  If you fail to turn your work in at the end of grace week, I will not take it and you will earn a “0”.  Of course, if you’re sick or away on a trip, let me know and I will grant you extra time.

Here is your assignment for this week, due on September 15:

Write a Fat Paragraph explaining your thoughts on the short story, “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes.

Here is a more detailed explanation of this assignment:

A Fat Paragraph is a paragraph of approximately 8-15 sentences written on the same subject.  When I ask you to write a Fat Paragraph I am looking for these elements:

  • A topic sentence which states the main idea of your paragraph.
  • Details, examples and reasons to support the topic sentence.  These will make the body of the paragraph, and will provide the “fat” in your Fat Paragraph.

A clincher sentence which restates the topic and gives the reader a feeling of satisfaction.  (Did you know that “fat” is satisfying?  For example, think of how much more gratification you receive from a strip of bacon compared to a broccoli floweret.)  For this particular assignment on the short story, “Thank You, Ma’am”, I would like you to simply respond to the story.  What are your thoughts?  What did you learn from our class discussion?  How would you interpret the story for another person?  Caution:  You’ve read the story, and so have I – so don’t summarize it for me.  Instead, analyze it.  Think about what meaning it holds for readers, you and others like you.

Now, there is another element of this assignment I need you to focus on, and that is the form of your paper.  English teachers are concerned about many aspects of writing – content, mechanics, style, form – and we will tackle all of them this year.  Of these, “form” is both the easiest to master, yet the gnarliest to do correctly right out of the gate if you’re not paying attention.  So, pay attention:

  • Type your paper.  Set your margins to 1” on all sides (top, bottom, right, left).
  • Use a standard font like “Calibri” or “Times New Roman” set at 12 pt.
  • Head your paper with, in order:  Your Name, My Name (spelled correctly!), High School English, and the date the paper is due (in this case, 15 September 2015).  Notice how I wrote that?  Headers should be double-spaced.
  • Double-space your paper.
  • Include a title, written in the same font and size as the rest of your paper, and center it.  Do not include extra line spaces, please.  Do not underline, italicize, or bold your title.
  • This particular paper must be exactly one page long.  Not one page minus one line of type…and not one page plus one line of type on another page.  Linked below also is a sample Fat Paragraph so that you can see what yours should look like.

Seymour’s Fat Paragraph

I will evaluate and grade your paragraph based on the criteria in the Fat Paragraph Check sheet, also linked below.  Happy writing!

Fat Paragraph Check Sheet