Posted 4/16:

F- and G-Periods: 

Over the break, finish Brave New World

Purchase Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Vocabulary Unit Fifteen on the day we return.


Over the break, read Lord of the Flies in its entirety.


Posted 4/7:

F- and G-Periods: 

  • For Wednesday, read Chapter Six in Brave New World. You can expect a quiz on Chs. 5 & 6. 
  • Vocabulary Unit 14 tomorrow. 
  • Continue to bring both your textbook and Brave New World until told otherwise. 


  • Continue to bring your textbook to class each day. Tomorrow we'll continue with Keats and Romantic poetry.
  • Have Lord of the Flies in class by Wednesday, 16 April. 
  • Take a look at my Course Requirements, which you can find in the Files section below.
  • Let me know if you have any questions.


Posted 4/4:

Continue to bring both textbook and Brave New World until told otherwise.

Read Chapter Five for Monday.


Posted 4/1:

Continue to bring both textbook and Brave New World until told otherwise.

Read Chapter Four for Friday.

F-Period: Rememeber that we will not meet tomorrow (Wednesday).


Posted 3/28:

I'm pushing back the due date for Chapter Three in Brave New World to Tuesday. 

Continue to bring both your textbook and BNW to class everyday.


Posted 3/26:

Continue to bring both Brave New World and the textbook to class. 

On Thursday, there will be a quiz on Chapters One and Two in BNW. After that we'll discuss the reading, and continue to discuss the poetry of Keats.

All optional movie reviews are due to Turnitin no later than 11:59 tonight. If you're going to recite one of the poems, you must tell me before Friday. Films are due on Saturday. No late optional assignments will be accepted.


Posted 3/25:

Bring textbooks and Brave New World to class on Wednesday, 26 March.

Read up to Chapter Three in Brave New World for Thursday, 27 March. There will be a quiz.

Vocabulary Unit 13 on Friday, 28 March--the last day of the third quarter.

The Turnitin dropbox for the Movie Review Optional Assignment is now open. All reviews must be submitted by 11:59 Wednesday night.


Posted 3/22:

For Tuesday, read Chapter One in Brave New World. I expect that you'll find it difficult--this is OK; you should. Read it slowly; take notes: Try. We'll discuss on Tuesday.

Note: On the Optional Assignments (file below), the due dates are incorrect. The movie review is due on Wednesday, the 26th. The film is due on Saturday the 29th, and the poem recitation must be completed by Friday the 28th. 

Holler with questions.


Posted 3/21:

Some of you have pointed out that the BBC link on the first optional assignment does not work. Here it is:

How to Write a Movie Review (BBC)


Posted 3/20:

I've posted the Optional Assignments for this quarter, in the Files section below. There are three options. Please review and consider each one. If unsure of anything, ask me.

Bring Brave New World to class on Friday. You do not need your textbook at this time.


Posted 3/19:

Bring Brave New World to class on Thursday, 20 March. 

Most of the group presentations are complete. F-Period will finish up on Thursday with Virgin Galactic; G-Period on Friday with Amazon Prime Air.

All project submissions (both individual and group) are due to Edmodo on Thursday. For the group project: Make sure that it is visible to everyone else (so, if it's a Prezi, make sure we can see it). For the individual project, rememeber that I'm asking you to type up a response to your personal involvment in the project. What did you find? How did you find it? Where did you find it? Did you find the process to be challening? Do you think what you found is interesting, scary, worthless, etc.? Explain. Type it, following all standard MLA formatting guidelines, and submit it to the assignment that I've posted for it on Edmodo. 



Posted 3/16:

Tomorrow begins the research project presentations. Below you'll find guidelines, reminders, requirements, and the schedule.

Presentation Guidelines and Requirements

  • Each group must lead the class in presentation and discussion for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Each presentation must feature a visual component.
  • All members of the group must have an equal role in the presentation.
  • The presentation should be fun, creative, and informative.
  • The information must be presented, not read from a screen or paper.
  • The presentation should provide all necessary background information on your topic, as well as the potentially dangerous implications of this pursuit on Humanity. (You do not need to tell the class every single little detail of what you came up with. As a group, you need to determine the most essential pieces, and the best way to convey it.)
  • Again, this should go without saying, but let me repeat: Projects MAY NOT include any inappropriate material (this includes violent language, graphic images, cursing, derogatory or demeaning language, and any sexual content) or political or religious opinionating.
  • All information must be accurately cited. There are a few ways to do this, and since most of your projects will consist of outside material, you want to avoid clutter. Research citation methods, and play around with what will work.
  • Projects must be free of grammar, phrasing, usage, editing, and language errors.

Overall Project Guidelines (In addition to those found on the assignment sheet, and discussed in class)

  • All groups must share their visual component on Edmodo.
  • In addition, each individual group member must type and submit a brief (1-2 pages) write-up of how he/she went about the research process and what he/she found. This must be submitted online (I will set up a dropbox on Edmodo). Follow all formatting guidelines for typed assignments.
  • Students will be graded on their write-up, the visual component, and on the presentation (both their role and the overall product). The standard requirements apply: Thoroughness, Thoughtfulness, Accuracy, and Honesty.


Monday, 3/17


  • 1st: Google X
  • 2nd: Quantum Theory/Theory of Everything
  • 3rd: Higgs Boson


  • 1st: Data Collection/Targeting Advertising
  • 2nd: Mobile Technology
  • 3rd: Genome Mapping

Tuesday, 3/18 (After Vocabulary quiz)

  • F-Period Genome Mapping
  • G-Period Virgin Galactic/Civilian Space Travel

Wednesday, 3/19


  • 1st: Data Collection/Targeted Advertising
  • 2nd: Drones/Amazon Prime Air
  • 3rd: Virgin Galactic/Civilian Space Travel


  • 1st: Higgs Boson
  • 2nd: Quantum Theory/Theory of Everything
  • 3rd: Google X
  • 4th: Drones/Amazon Prime Air


Posted 3/12:

Just a reminder that I will not be in school tomorrow, 3/13.  I suggest you use this time to work on your group projects.

You no longer need to bring Frankenstein to class. On Friday, I will give you some time in class to work with your group; you do not need your textbook. 

Brave New World is due in class next Thursday, 3/20.

Holler with questions.


Posted 3/11:

Information for tomorrow's in-class essay on Frankenstein:

F-Period will go to Junior lunch at 11:45, and then to class at 12:20. 

You will be allowed to use your novel, but nothing else. I will not provide extra copies.

Review all of your materials on Frankenstein, the novel itself, and past essays/writing assignments.

You will have several essay options that may or may not include those discussed today.

Focus this time around on organization, order, grammar, and mastering where you fell short on the Macbeth essay.

Holler with any other questions.


Posted 3/3:

Schedule of things upcoming:

Friday, 3/7: Multiple choice exam on Frankenstein, plus the section in your textbook on The Romantic Age (pp. 455-472). No vocabulary quiz.

Wednesday, 3/12: In-class essay on Frankenstein.

Monday, 3/17: Research project presentations begin.

Thursday, 3/20: Brave New World due in class.


Posted 2/28:

Over the weekend (however long it is), finish reaading Frankenstein

Continue to work on your research projects. Communicate with each other.

Out next novel will be Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. As noted in the Course Requirements, be careful NOT to purchase Brave New World Revisited. You must have the novel in class by Thursday, 20 March.

Holler with questions.


Posted 2/27:

For Friday, please read Chapter Twenty-two in Frankenstein.

Your project proposals are due tomorrow.


Posted 2/26:

For tomorrow, be up to Chapter Twenty-two in Frankenstein. Come prepared to discuss.

Please review the instructions for the research project (in the Files section below; G-Period: yours is updated). By Friday, each group must submit to me one proposal of responsibilites.Talk it over with one another.

Holler with questions.


Posted 2/25:

Just a reminder that tomorrow is vocabulary unit eleven.

For Thursday, be up to Chapter Twenty-one in Frankenstein.


Posted 2/24:

G-Period, ONLY: Tomorrow I will be attending Jason Liang's funeral. Therefore, I will be late to school and our class will not meet. Be up to Chapter Twenty-one by Thursday.

F-Period: Read Chapters 17-19 for tomorrow.


Posted 2/14:

Over the break, read up to Chapter Seventeen in Frankenstein.


Posted 2/11:

For Friday, 14 February, please be up to Chapter Eleven in Frankenstein


Posted 2/10:

For Tuesday, read Chapter Seven in Frankenstein.


Posted 2/5:

As we are always looking for parallels between life and literature, here's one for our current interests: We, like Robert and Victor, are stuck in the ice. 

Please carefully read the following:

As I noted in class yesterday, on Edmodo, I have created a Small Group for each of the Frankenstein groups. At the moment, you are working on a character analysis of Victor through the first three chapters of the novel. I would like you to use Edmodo to have a discussion (a back and forth exchange) amongst all members of the group. You will be graded on what you contribute to the Edmodo group. Anyone who was absent (or unconscious) on Tuesday should seek out another classmate for more specific instructions. 

For homework tonight: Each of you must post to your Small Group on Edmodo. 

On Thursday I will allow class time for further discussion in your group and, of course, to ask any questions of me. The final project is due on Friday. 

On Friday you will take a quiz on Unit Ten of vocabulary. 

Your next reading assignment: Up to Chapter Seven. Please complete this reading for the next Day Five (let's assume, at the moment, that will be Monday).

Also, a reminder: I have posted my Frankenstein notes on Edmodo. Please check it out. I will add my notes on Chapters Two and Three in the coming hours.

Stay safe and warm and temperate. And, as always, holler with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 1/31:

By Monday, please be up to Chapter Four in Frankenstein.

Remember, when reading, to give yourself a goal, determine what you know, and build from there. And, as always, holler with questions.


Posted 1/29:

For Thursday, read Chapter One in Frankenstein.


Posted 1/25:

In the Links section below, you'll find a full (and free) online version of Frankenstein, since some of your editions don't have the Author's Introduction (beginning, "The Publishers of the standard novels...") and the Preface (beginning, "The event on which this fiction..."). Remember to read slowly, carefully, and with a pencil and dictionary by your side.



Posted 1/22:

I hope everyone is safe and warm. Please follow the revised schedule of things upcoming, listed below.

  • Thursday, 1/23: Bring Lord of the Flies to class.
  • Friday, 1/24: Bring Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein to class. 
  • Tuesday, 1/28: Quiz, Vocabulary, Unit 9; Writing Workshop.
  • Wednesday, 1/29: Quiz, Frankenstein: Author's introduction, Preface, and the letters from Robert Walton to Mrs. Saville. 

All Macbeth optional assignments are due by Friday, 1/24. If you're going to perform the soliloquy, please let me know. 

You no longer need to bring Macbeth to class. 

For homework: Respond to the post I made on Edmodo. All responses are due by the start of class on Thursday. 

Soon I will be posting instructions for a Frankenstein group research project. We'll go over it in class.

Lastly, please refer to my Course Requirements (which you and your parents signed and agreed to) for my policy regarding make-up tests/quizzes. There were two exams in recent days which some folks missed. Make sure you take the initiative so that you don't receive a zero.


Posted 1/15:

Remember to post a link to your Google doc onto Edmodo, so that other students in the class may view it and study from your notes. All groups will receive a grade, but any group that does not have a link on Edmodo will receive a zero.

Stay on top of the schedule listed below.


Posted 1/13:

Schedule of things upcoming:

Tuesday, 1/14: Quiz, Vocabulary Unit 8; Writing Workshop.

Friday, 1/17: Quarterly, Part One: In-class essay on Macbeth

Tuesday, 1/21: Quarterly, Part Two: Multiple choice test on Lord of the Flies.

Thursday, 1/23: Frankenstein due in class. (REMEMBER to purchase the 1831 edition, NOT the 1818 edition.)

Monday, 1/27: Quiz, Vocabulary, Unit 9; Writing Workshop.

Tuesday, 1/28: Quiz, Frankenstein: Author's introduction, Preface, and the letters from Robert Walton to Mrs. Saville. 


I've posted the other two optional assignments in a file below. Please consider.

For the remainder of this week, we'll go over the Final Discussion Points which I distributed in class today. In the meantime, work on them with your group. You must post your responses in the Lady Macbeth Google doc. Remember to anchor all thoughts/observations in the play. Don't just state something; PROVE IT TO ME.

F-Period: I'll give you your group assignment tomorrow (Tuesday).

Next week, after the Lord of the Flies test, we'll very briefly discuss the novel and then introduce ourselves to Romanticism and Frankenstein.

As always, holler with questions.



Posted 1/6:

First post of 2014. Woo! Exciting. 

Today you worked on a group character analysis of Lady Macbeth. I told you all that I wanted you to submit this as a Google Doc. Each group must create and submit ONE document (so, one person in the group should create and share the doc; the others will only contribute/edit). 

For the student who is creating and sharing, here's how:

  1. Go to docs.google.com. Here you will either need to log in using your Google (Gmail) account, or create an account. ALL STUDENTS MUST CREATE A GOOGLE ACCOUNT, because all students must contribute to this assignment (and others in the future).
  2. Once you log in, you should be in your "Drive." This is a cloud storage service (like Dropbox), which should prove to be quite useful to you. On the lefthand side of the "Drive" page, you should see a red box that says CREATE. Click this and select "Document." A word processor page should appear. This is the document in which all students in the group will work. 
  3. Go to "File" and then "Share." Give the document a name. Then you'll be in a "Sharing Settings" window. Where it says "Who has access," change it so that "Anyone who has the link can edit." 
  4. If you have the email address of each of your group members, just email them the link. If you do not have their email addresses, post the link to Edmodo and they will access it from there. YOU MUST ALSO SHARE THE LINK WITH ME AT DDIOGUARDISFP@GMAIL.COM.
  5. Now you're ready to begin writing the assignment.

Once the link is shared through either email or Edmodo, all group members must contribute to the ONE document. (DO NOT create multiple documents.) This is the beauty of Google Docs: Each person with whom the file is shared may edit the file from wherever he or she is in the world. The "editing" also happens in "real time," so it's possible that all group members may be writing at the same time, and they'll see all the writing appear as it's happening. Cool stuff.

If you have questions or problems, email me and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can. This is a homework assignment that is due by the start of school on Tuesday.

Other things:

We'll resume reading Act V on Tuesday. 

You can expect another major assessment on Macbeth. It will be next week. I'll let you know the format and the date when I'm sure of each.

Your vocabulary projects are due on Wednesday. (I don't know why anyone thought it was due today, when the assignment sheet CLEARLY INDICATES Wednesday, the 8th.) If you have done the project digitally, please upload or post the file or link to Edmodo. This will make everything much easier. PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOW REQUIRING EACH STUDENT TO UPLOAD THEIR DIGITAL PROJECTS TO EDMODO. If the project is a standard hard copy, just bring it to school on Wednesday. 

You must purchase Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, by Thursday 23 January. This is also the last day of the Second Quarter. We will begin the Third Quarter with this novel.

Remember that tickets for Macbeth this coming Saturday are still available. They are $55, and I am offering credit to students who attend. 

Holler with questions.



Posted 12/19:

Okay. Several things.

Each class is up to Act V in Macbeth. (F-Period got a bloody taste of V.i, but nothing more.) Upon our return from the Christmas break we will "lay on" with the dark, tense climax to this terrific play. We've torn this play to shreds with some deep and insightful discussion; our concluding conversations will be no different. Expect to finish the play by 10 January, and then write an in-class essay on it the following week. I will return your take-home essays on the day you return.

Speaking of Macbeth: As you know, it's currently being staged in NYC and we're going on Saturday the 11th. It's a 2PM performance at Lincoln Center, and you must find your own way into the city. Tickets are $55, and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please give cash or a check (made out to St. Francis Prep) to me ASAP. Attendance of this play is not required, but strongly encouraged. 

If you choose to see it on your own (say, over the break), you may submit as an optional assignment an original written reaction paper. The reaction paper should follow all standard formatting and originality guidelines, and should describe your reaction to the performance. Include specific scenes, and particular elements that you found _____________ (insert adjective here). Obviously, you should compare it to reading the play in class. The paper should be approximately one-two typed pages. In order to receive credit, you must include a picture of yourself inside the theater, as well as your ticket stub.

In addition, you should be reading Lord of the Flies. This you will read entirely on your own. Sometime after we finish Macbeth, you will take an exam on the novel. After this we'll discuss it briefly, before moving on to our next unit. After Lord of the Flies, the next three novels you need to purchase are (in order): FrankensteinBrave New World, and Never Let Me Go. They make wonderful Christmas gifts.

During the break, you should work on the project for Vocabulary Units 1-5. Use media. Use technology. A standard, cut and paste, posterboard project can be okay, but it must be really, really creative. Otherwise, consider doing a photo and video documentary. Find and take pictures/video of these words in use, out there in your world. Make an Instagram page. Make a documentary style movie. I don't know. Utilize the resources with which you're surrounded. Be creative. Be smart.

Your next vocabulary quiz will not be until 14 January.

After we return from break, we'll revisit and continue the Canterbury Tales modern multi-media projects I introduced to you.

Next, our web guru informs us that our systems will be getting an upgrade and so the notes pages may not be accessible over the break. This may be inconvenient, but we'll work around it. Get any information/documents you may need. If I need to communicate with you, I will use Edmodo (remember that?). If you need to communicate with me, you may use Edmodo or just email me. Regardless of what happens tech-wise, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

Lastly, please have a safe and relaxing break. It's a good chunk of time to reset, readjust, and reenergize. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, just as I'm sure it is for many of you. It's easy to get bogged down in the mud, to get lost, during the gruel and grind of the day-to-day of life in the real world (just ask Macbeth!). But Christmas is a nice time to remember that there's beauty and love everywhere—that life is wonderful. So, enjoy the time. Rest your minds; rest your souls. Remember that you are blessed. It's a pleasure to teach you each day.

Merry Christmas, all.

Mr. DioGuardi


Posted 12/4:

At this point, we are through III.2 in Macbeth.

I was quite pleased with our conversation today. Many of you were asking great questions, and making really keen observations. Also, I saw some volunteers to read that I don't often see. Well done. Truly. Keep it up. 

This play is quite simple in scope, but rich in complexity. We've talked a lot about some really complicated ideas. If you, at any point, feel as if it's going too quickly for you, or that you just don't get something, don't hesitate to ask. 

Today your essays were due. Make sure to submit the digital copy to Turnitin by 11:59 tonight. All essays received tomorrow are considered late, and will be subject to serous point reduction. I'm looking forward to reading them.

Remember to buy Lord of the Flies, if you have not already done so. You will need it for the Christmas break (in two [!!] weeks). 

Holler with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 11/29:

The king is dead. 

Make sure, when we resume on Monday, that you are through II.3 in Macbeth

The essay that you are writing this weekend requires at least three quotes in your supporting analysis. Quoting a verse-play like Macbeth can be tricky, but it must be done accurately. For your reference, here is a link to some information on how to do it. Scroll down to the sections "How to cite poetry" and "How to cite plays." It's quite simple.

Work well, rest up, and enjoy the long weekend. Holler with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 11/17:

Remember that you will take your unit five vocabulary quiz on Monday, 18 November. After the quiz, we'll have our usual writing forum to discuss the tragedy of your Hobbit re-writes.

On Tuesday, we'll resume Macbeth. You should be up to the end of Act I, Scene 3 (I.iii). Even though we are reading it together in class, you should re-read at home to better familiarize yourself with the language and concepts. Our discussion is extensive and occasionally sprawling. Still, many of you are not taking notes. 

At the end of this week, you will have a quiz on Act I. Over the Thanksgiving break, you will write an essay on the play. Prepare yourself. 

See you anon.

Mr. D


Posted 11/9:

Remember to read the introduction to the Renaissance (pp. 127-148) and to Shakespeare (pp. 164-165), and take good notes. There will be an open notes quiz to begin class on Tuesday.

Bring Macbeth on Tuesday.


Posted 11/4:

No reading HW tonight. Just keep preparing for the quarterly on Wednesday.

Have Macbeth by Tuesday.


Posted 10/31:

For Monday, 4 November, in the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales, read the following portraits: the Cook (p. 68), the Skipper (pp. 68-69), the "woman from beside Bath" (known as the Wife of Bath, pp. 69-70), the Parson (p. 70), the Miller (p. 72), the Summoner (p. 74), and the Pardoner (pp. 75-76). 

Read closely. Take good notes. Expect an assessment.

Have a fun and safe Halloween. Use wisely this time during the long weekend.

Mr. D


Posted 10/28:

A few announcements and reminders...

Your first Quarterly Exam will be on Wednesday 6 November. It will cover everything we've done this quarter, including...

  • The Hobbit
  • The Hero's Journey
  • The Anglo-Saxon Period
  • Beowulf
  • The Medieval Period
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • King Arthur
  • Chaucer and the general prologue of The Canterbury Tales up to and including the Friar
  • Vocabulary, units 1-4

Reread certain sections (anything you don't understand or remember) of the material. Review all notes and old quizzes. Anything I've said or written or assigned is fair game to appear on the exam. We will do a brief review in class on Wednesday 30 October. Do not rely on this review to fully prepare you. Ultimately, you must prepare yourselves.

The day of the Quarterly is our usual vocabulary day. We will not do vocabulary on this day. Unit Five will be on Monday 18 November. Your first vocabulary project will be assigned this day. 

We will continue with The Canterbury Tales for the next couple of weeks. Continue to bring your textbook. 

You must have Macbeth in class by Tuesday 12 November.

I have posted another optional assignment for the first quarter. It is the memorization of the first 18 lines of The Canterbury Tales. I am giving you two options (a written assessment or an oral one). Please read the instructions carefully before you make a decision. Remember, you may only do one optional assignment.

Make sure you post the final draft of The Hobbit essay to Turnitin by 11:59 tonight.

That's all for now. Holler with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 10/23:

Tomorrow is a quiz on unit four of vocabulary. After the quiz, we'll do a writing review. Be ready and be alert as you're in the final days before your essay is due. You do not need your textbook tomorrow.

The first quarterly exam will be on Wednesday 6 November. This is a day four, so we will not have vocabulary on that day. We'll review on Tuesday the 5th.

I just want to take this time to refer you to my policy on absence. If you miss class---for any reason---it is your responsibility to get the notes, turn in any work you missed, and arrange with me to take a make-up (if there was an assessment that day). If you do not take a make-up within a week of returning to school, that grade will become a zero. You must arrange a make-up with me. I will not always seek you out.

On Friday we'll continue with The Canterbury Tales.



Posted 10/22:

Today we began our look at The Canterbury Tales with a brief introduction to Chaucer and the poem's historical background. On Wednesday we will begin to read the poem together, with a particular focus on (the opening lines of) the General Prologue. (What's the General Prologue, you ask? I'll tell you tomorrow.) 

With The Canterbury Tales and on, in a few weeks, to Macbeth, we begin our journey away from the black-and-white world of warriors and wizards and villains, and into a messy, greyer world occupied by human beings and governed by the choices they make, the things they do. The codes of morality, so obvious and prominent in tales like Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, now become blurry, obscured. No magic here to guide our characters into heroic glory, only the recklessness of human greed and ambition. 

Speaking of Macbeth...if you're going to purchase a copy, make sure you do so within the next few weeks.

Continue to bring your textbooks to class. Continue to work on your essays. Remember to prepare for the fourth unit of vocabulary on Thursday. The written copy of your in-class informal writing assignment from Monday is due to Turnitin on Friday. Here are the directions:

F-Period: Simply, tell a tale. Think about the tradition of storytelling that we've been examining since the beginning of the year. Think about how the tale of Bilbo is told in The Hobbit. Or of Gawain and the green girdle in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Or of Beowulf and Grendel in Beowulf. And on and on through this rich tradition. The tale may be anything, as long as it is original. (By original I mean that it cannot be a retelling of a famous tale or legend or myth. If it's a family story passed down through generations, that's fine.) Use the conventions we've seen in other tales from literature. Embellish a bit. Place it in some kind of a history. It should have an obvious theme, setting, and characters. It should be entertaining, and have a moral. The storyteller need not be known. It need not be true.

G-Period: Tell the tale of you: What is essential to who you are? Describe events, skills, character traits. Think of it like a written portrait of yourself. Make sure that it is written in the third person. The storyteller need not be known.



Posted 10/20:

This weekend continue to work on your essay and to familiarize yourself with the basics of the Arthurian legends ("King Arthur" in the "Topics" section below). Remember to click through the links for the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail.

Also, in the "Links" column below, you'll find a page entitled "Thomas Becket Biography," one entitled "The Murder of Thomas Becket," and one entitled "Chaucer (Luminarium)." Over the next few days, go through these links and familiarze yourself with Chaucer, Becket, and some of the background for The Canterbury Tales. Read the two Thomas Becket pages in full. 

Continue to bring your textbooks to class each day.

Holler with questions.



Posted 10/17:

Continue to bring your textbook and The Hobbit to class. On Friday, we'll finish up Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and then jump into some more Arthur. 

Take a look at the first optional assignment that I posted below and reviewed briefly in class. I'll post the next two sometime in the next few days. 

Continue to work on revising your Hobbit essays.



Posted 10/12:

At this point, everyone should have finished Fit 1 of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In class, I "filled in the gaps" for you about what happens in the second and third Fits. For Tuesday, read about when Gawain meets the Green Knight one year after their first encounter at Camelot. You will find this starting on page 90 of your textbook. It's worth noting that this is a different translation than the one we've been reading. 

Furthermore, make sure you go through the guidelines for the final draft of your essay. In class we ran through it quickly; make sure you read through it on your own, and familiarize yourself with what is expected of you. Also read the formatting example that I posted.

Have a great weekend.



Posted 10/8:

For tomorrow, read up to strophe 16 in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


Posted 10/7:

Tonight, read strophes 1-6 (up to "...Good beer and bright wine both") in Fit One of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

We've spoken often about how custom and convention are of great importance to the early British tribes, the Anglo-Saxons, and those in the middle ages. In this way they're not so different from us: Think about how you celebrate Christmas (or other holidays) and the traditions that you follow in doing so. There's a lot of respect and pageantry in SGGK, and we've seen this before (think of Beowulf's hailing of Hrothgar, and Welthow's raising of the cup). As you read tonight, think of these things. Get the setting straight in your head. And sew your head on tight, as we ride into the action in the seventh strophe.

Tomorrow you need not bring your textbook.


Posted 10/3:

Tonight for homework you're going to finish analyzing the words in context from the Bede except. I've posted the directions and the words below in the "Files" section. 

Basically, I'm asking you to explain how Bede uses those words. Also, you should consider and acknowledge if they different from the way they are normally used. Don't go crazy: two or three sentences should do the trick.

Remember to bring your SAT book tomorrow.



Posted 10/2:

For Thursday, 10/3: Read the selection from Bede's "A History of the English Church and People" (pp. 33-34) in your textbook. Bring your textbook and The Hobbit to class on Thursday.

On Friday we'll do a little bit of SAT work. No textbook this day.

Begin to read the historical background to The Medieval Period in your textbook (pp. 43-54). Take notes. On Monday, you will have an open notes quiz on this section.

Using the worksheet on the Thesis Statement, posted in the Files section below, and our discussion today, come up with a thesis statement for any two subjects you wish (this should go without saying, but obviously they must be school-appropriate). In a Word document, complete the Four S outline. Then put it all together into one fluid statement. Post the document to Turnitin by Sunday night. If you wish to do more than two for practice, that's fine.

Stay focused; stay organized. Shout with questions.



Posted 9/30:

Tonight for HW, read the final three sections of Beowulf in your textbook. Two of them--"The Battle with Grendel's Mother" and "The Fight with the Fire Dragon"--are mere summaries of those particular sections of the poem. The last section, "The Burning of Beowulf's Body," is in verse. 

Make sure your have purchased the SAT book. 13th, 14th, or 15th edition is fine. We'll begin to work from it on Friday. You will not need your textbook or The Hobbit on that day, nor will you need those two books  on Wednesday (vocab day).



Posted 9/27:

Hey, all.

Hope you enjoyed the Walk-a-Thon today. The weather was pristine.

Like Beowulf, I hope you showed your pride. And, like him, did so honorably--always honorably.

For Monday (which is Day Two, remember), read the next two Beowulf excerpts, "Unferth's Taunt" and "The Battle with Grendel," in your textbook.

On Wednesday you will have a quiz on the vocabulary words from Unit Two. If you need clarification on the meaning of any of the words, ask me. After the vocabulary quiz, we'll have a writing workshop. I should have your "mini-essays" back to you by this time. 

Bring both The Hobbit and the textbook with you until I say otherwise.

Holler with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 9/25:

Ok...made it through the Anglo-Saxon info dump. Sounds like a daytime game show. 

Below you'll find the PPT from today. Study away.

Have your textbook and The Hobbit everyday until I tell you otherwise.

Mr. D


Posted 9/24:

As I am discussing the Anglo-Saxons in class, at home you should be reading the "The Coming of Grendel" and "The Coming of Beowulf." Once again, there will be a quiz on Thursday. 

If you did not submit to Turnitin last night's small writing assignment, please do so immediately.

Again, hang in there during these early days. We're still getting going, still finding a groove, and there's a lot of "stuff." Pay attention in class and do the reading. This is the easiest way to stay on point and set yourself in the right direction for the remainder of the course. And, always, ask questions if you have them. 



Posted 9/23:

A recap of what I told you about today:

  • Vocabulary Day will now be every Day Six. So, your next vocabulary quiz, on Unit Two, will be on Wednesday, 2 October.
  • For Thursday, 26 September, you must read the first two of the Beowulf excerpts in your textbook, "The Coming of Grendel" and "The Coming of Beowulf" (pp. 12-19). There will be a reading quiz at the start of class on Thursday. 
  • You need not bring your textbooks on Tuesday or Wednesday, but you must bring them on Thursday. Continue to bring The Hobbit to class every day.


Tonight, for homework, I'd like you write about something that makes you heroic. I do not necessarily want you to recap the time you saved your neighbor's cat from a tree, or when you helped grandma cross Queens Blvd., or when you dressed up as Batman last Halloween. Think about what makes Bilbo a hero--the perseverance, the choices, the continually outshining expectations, the retrun home, the wisdom gained, and so on. Write it into a paragraph, or two, or three. Mostly informal; be creative; be descriptive; be precise. Submit it to Turnitin by the start of class tomorrow.

Holler with any questions, about anything.

Mr. D


Posted 9/19:

Just a reminder that tomorrow you will write the bulk of an essay on The Hobbit. In class you will be given a prompt, and then asked to formulate a thesis. After you've formed your thesis, come up with three examples from the novel that will support it. After this, you must devote one paragraph per example (so, three in total) to analyzing HOW the textual evidence supports your stance. You will have the opportunity to revise this argument and craft it into a full essay (with introduction and conclusion) over the next week. 

What you should do to prepare:

  • Familiarize (or re-familiarize, or continue to familiarize) yourself with the novel (obviously). If, at this point, you do not yet understand the basic premise, plot, setting, conflict, and characters, then you must do so. You will not be able to think and write critically about the novel and its thematic elements if you do not understand it on a fundamental level. 
  • Review notes that you've taken in class on the novel's storytelling elements, Tolkien's fantasy world, allegory, and the hero's journey. 
  • Review the smaller writing assignments you've worked on this week: Bilbo's hero's journey; characterization of the various races of Middle-earth and a reflection on their values; and an analysis of the quote "No great leap for a man, but a leap in the dark." 
  • Get a good night's rest, relax, and stay positive. 

You may use the novel, but nothing else, while writing tomorrow. 

Remember to submit to Turnitin if you have not already done so.

Mr. D


Posted 9/16:

Below, in the "Files" section, you'll find the "Hero's Journey" chart that I showed you today in class. Tonight, finish filling in the stages of the chart with examples from Bilbo's journey in The Hobbit

In your notebook, number 1-12 and write each step next to the corresponding number. Then, find appropriate examples from the novel for each step. Write a brief summary of the scene and how it represents that stage. Use your own words. Simply writing page numbers or two-word answers is not acceptable. Remember that some of the stages will require more than one scene.

Keep bringing the novel to class. If you did not read it over the summer, you should be reading it now so that you'll be prepared for the essay that's coming up. If you read it but not well, or in June, you should be re-reading it now. 

Shout with questions,



Posted 9/11:

Starting on Thursday 9/12, please have The Hobbit in class.

On Friday you will have a quiz on the vocabulary words from Unit One. Just a reminder that you do not need to buy the vocabulary book if you do not wish to, as long as you're able to study the words and definitions (including synonyms and antonyms). There are a good number of used copies in the Writing Center (E-209) which you are welcome to take.

Your course requirements indicate that you must purchase the 15th edition of the SAT book. However, it's acceptable if you have the 14th edition (this is what's available in the bookstore). 

If you have not yet registered for Edmodo or Turnitin, please do so. Feel free to begin using Edmodo.

Shout with questions.

Mr. D


Posted 9/9:

For homework tonight, make sure to register for both Edmodo and Turnitin. You must use the codes and passwords I gave you in class.


Posted 9/8:

Remember to review the course outline with your parents, sign it, have them sign it, and return it on Monday for a ten-point homework assignment. If you have any questions, please ask me tomorrow. If your parents have any questions, they are free to email me. We'll review in class any concerns, or anything we didn't cover on Friday.

As I was reviewing the requirements on Friday I noticed that I made a rather stark omission: my policy on turning in late assignments. (Just goes to show how easy it is to miss something, which is why we need to edit, edit, edit!) Here it is:

  • All assignments are due when they are due. An assignment may be turned in for HALF CREDIT ONLY, one day after the due date. After that, the assignment will receive a zero. I reserve the right to change this at any time. 

Remember that the summer reading test on The Hobbit will be on Wednesday, and your first vocabulary quiz, on Unit One, will be on Friday.

Enjoy the rest of this lovely day.

Mr. D


Posted 9/4:

...but still he began to feel that adventures were not so bad after all.

                                                                                   --The Hobbit

Welcome to English 10! I'm looking forward to meeting all of you on Friday, and to the adventure on which we're about to embark. 

I have posted the requirements for this course in the "Files" section of this page. Please review them, and have your parents review them. You do not need to print them out, because I will distribute copies in class on Friday. 

I hope you enjoyed (or, are enjoying) The Hobbit. You will need to bring this to class, but not until Thursday, 12 September. On Wednesday, 11 September, you will take a reading comprehension test on the novel. After that, we will begin to discuss it in some depth. 

See you all on Friday,

Mr. DioGuardi