Drum roll, please…

And, now, for our feature presentation, the blog you’ve all been waiting for…

Today’s the day when we honor our seniors. It’s the last blog of the year—and of their high school career. Juniors, this is your opportunity to, perhaps, thank the various seniors that have impacted your life in some positive manner. You can thank them, appreciate them, love on them, encourage them… Oh, seniors, you should also do the same. You don’t have to thank yourself, although in some cases it might be appropriate, but you should offer your appreciation to your fellow classmates. What do you admire in a senior? Who inspires you to do more than you would do on your own? Who just makes your day when you see them or talk with them? Is there a specific incident that comes to mind when you think of one senior?

Class of 2010, you are a wonderful group. I’ve so enjoyed having you in my classes—for at least the past two years, although I’ve had some of you four and more years (if you count Math Lab and double doses of Algebra!). I will try to get back and comment on some individuals, but right now I’ve got to attend to my dear family.

Please, bless one another!
Love you!
Mrs. D

P.S. Do your Lesson 20 exercises to make tomorrow’s class and quiz easier. Practice the words and definitions with quizlet, and be sure to memorize the Bible verse—last one of the year! It comes from Rom. 8:38-39.

Sample essays to peruse…

In case you were wanting to look at sample answers to today’s in-class essay prompts, here are the links to the PDF files:

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Remember, 45 percent of the test is multiple choice; 55 percent is from the essays. You earn points for correct answers, lose 1/4 point for incorrect answers, and earn nothing but also lose nothing for questions you don’t answer. If you’re clueless, leave a question blank (multiple-choice, that is!).

Do well!
Mrs. D

Changes afoot?


I usually like to ask my juniors what they’d like to see in English next year, but it occurs to me that you seniors and juniors both would have opinions as to what worked well this year and what might work better next year. So today, I’d like you to share what you found effective in learning through English III and IV and what your suggestions are for making the class better. In other words, what did you like about English and find helpful this year? What do you think is lacking and what suggestions do you have for me to make English better?

Of course, I think many things went well this year, but I also think I can improve the class. These are my random, spontaneous thoughts:

Literary terms are still a problem. How can I teach them and make them stick?

Caught’ya! is a wonderful tool, but it takes too long–just because of discipline issues in my students (or myself).

Motivation? With three days a week of school, students really have to take on the responsibility for at least making the most of what is offered, if not actually pursuing learning on their own. How can I motivate that? Reward it?

Books we study: Should we cover more books and poetry or short stories (I think so) and give less time for reading them? How can we make discussions more interesting and get students engaged? (I know! Have them actually read the books…)

Writing: I think a writing lab on Thursdays would actually be a positive thing in the future. Not every student needs help in writing, but some are severely limited in what they write, and one-on-one time working on writing would be a good thing. I fear I failed in writing this year because we did not write as much as we usually do. I’m thinking of making 10-minute appointments with students during lunch next year about each assignment, rotating the due dates so that I don’t get all the papers at once, and, maybe, having students write a rough draft and then a final draft, turning in both.

On the positive note, I thought the website was a great addition to our classroom this year, as were the AP multiple choice passages relating to the books and available as online quizzes (Again, thanks so much to Catherine for her willingness to help me out in that category!). I think the wiki was underused this year, and I think using forms and a website page for Capstone Projects is where I’m headed for next year. I’m hoping that we’ll have more ready access to a projector for normal class periods so that we can just plain do much more with technology. And make students a part of that technology, too.

Now, share your thoughts, please. (Last week, Seniors!)

Love you!
Mrs. D

I know the plans I have for you…


Nope. I’m not talking about me knowing the plan for you. Sure, I know my lesson plans for you, but I was thinking of a more extensive plan for you—as in your life. As in God’s plan for you. We’re nearing the end of this school year, which for some of you is the end of your high school career. Where do you think God is leading you after high school?

When I was in high school, my plan was to go into engineering, specifically environmental engineering, even more specifically, marine environmental engineering. I was a Rachel Carson/Silent Spring, environment-hugging, Earth Day-embracing Christian destined to save the world from nuclear power plants and overbuilding in marine communities, among other tasks. I had taken marine biology and the advanced versions of those courses offered in my Sarasota High School, and I loved every minute of it. I had purposed to go to college and so had taken my higher maths and Englishes, and the whole nine yards, and I had checked “Environmental Engineering” as my career goal on every standardized test or survey I took. I don’t doubt that God had his hand on me, even then, despite the fact that between high school and college, He completely changed my college path—directing me into communications instead. From my degree in journalism—always with an eye to write a book that would change the world (still my goal)—God gave me the desire to work on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, helping to reach the world for Christ. Instead, I had a bizarre path of marrying, being widowed, then marrying and becoming a parent in the same day. And then God led me into teaching. My life is nothing I would have envisioned, yet I have no doubt that God planned from the very beginning this place in my family’s life—and in your life. And God has also planned for you to have a role in my life.

I thought it might be fun today to share your thoughts as to what God’s plan for your life is—at least as you envision it today. And, maybe, sometime in the future, you could check back to this blog and compare those thoughts with the reality you’re living. Remember, just because your eventual path is different than what you first envision, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a hand in it all. I mean, if I hadn’t been pursuing engineering, would I have developed my math skills to the extent that I could easily walk into a mathematics teaching position, essentially untrained? That was my door into teaching. From there, I was able to go into teaching English, because of my training in journalism.

None of us really know what tomorrow holds, let alone the next forty years of our lives. But God says in His Word (Jeremiah 29:11; New International Version):

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I can’t wait to hear about your plans—and I’d love to hear from you later in life to hear what God has done in and through you!

Love you!
Mrs. D

P.S. Practice your literary terms using quizlet.com. Joey created a shorter list from the mammoth list I had created, so you might want to check that out. You also have an AP multiple-choice passage and vocabulary work to do!

How to pass the AP exam…


Today I’d like you to suggest ways to study/prepare for the AP exam. You have lots of opportunities to make yourself succeed—even if you’ve waited until now to do so. You’ll be completing another section of multiple choice questions on the library website today—go to the AP Quizzes Online on our website for details.

You can also go to the collegeboard.com site and check out the sample exams or old free-response questions (the essay prompts) there. You can take them and grade them yourselves—not quite as much fun as having the library grading it for you. You could also go to the physical library and check out an AP exam book for the Literature and Composition or the Language and Composition exams—for free! Those are great because they include tips on taking the test as well as sample tests that include explanations for why answers are what they are.

“Our Literary Terms” (all 295 of them!) are on quizlet.com, so go there and learn them, practice them, and compete with each other. If you’ve never figured out how to use quizlet (shame on you!), then go to our Information page on our website, click on quizlet, and get moving!

Suggest some more ways to prepare for the exam and tell us what you’re going to do—and then do it! And if you’re not going to prepare or not going to take the exam, then tell us something helpful anyway!

Prepare thyself!
Mrs. D

And so we continue…


Today you don’t have much on your assignment sheet, but as we really need to amp up the AP practice, I’m adjusting your AP practice to include the library multiple-choice test for the Literature & Composition section. (See the AP Quizzes Online page on our website to get instructions.) You will be printing out the page that tells of your results and turning that in to me on Tuesday. The AP tests are coming quickly! I want you to be as ready as possible. Remember, you have no reading or vocabulary, so you have a little more time to do this and do this well.

In addition, as the test over a Separate Peace is Wednesday, you should continue working on the study guide for the wikispace and copying and pasting those answers here. Work together and make sure everything gets answered completely (and accurately). We’ll have our final discussion over the book in class on Tuesday, and the test will be Wednesday.

Don’t quit now!
Mrs. D

Help a brother out…


Two things to do today pertaining to two tests you will be facing quite soon. The first is to check out some essay answers to the AP prompts you did in class yesterday. I’ve included prompts from all three prompts this time (thank you, David Sp., for pointing out where the others were… my apologies for last week!). Please read through the examples and comment here on your own work. Please really read and really think so that you can really improve….

Prompt one

Prompt two

Prompt three

The second item that needs your attention is the study guide for A Separate Peace, which is available on the class wikispace. Please note that in addition to the questions that have been available on the class website, I’ve included some overview types of questions as well as questions by the author. [May I suggest, as well, that you visit Sparknotes and attempt the multiple choice questions there to test your knowledge? Click on this link for that quiz. This is just a suggestion. If you do take the quiz, let me know your score.]

Go to the study guide on the wikispace and add your two cents–or answer two questions. Then copy and paste those questions and your answers here. Please put some thought and energy into the questions. It’s a rather “deep” book and deserves your deep thoughts.

Get busy!
Mrs. D

Weekend wonders…


Today you’re finishing A Separate Peace (can you believe it?), dealing with List 18 in vocabulary, and a myriad of other items because your teacher is so demanding. I thought maybe you’d like to spend a few moments reflecting on your weekend wonders and sharing your thoughts here. After all, most, if not all, of you went to the spring formal (or slaved over it) or did some form of fun activity. Not me, although I had a most satisfying weekend. I got my filing cabinet, drawers, and school cabinet weeded out and organized on Saturday; I cleaned out my closet (that I share with my husband), getting rid of several large trash bags of clothes, shoes, and purses. Though it was all a lot of work, it was so much more satisfying than my usual clean-up chores, which seem to be undone the moment someone (or the many someones that live here) gets home.

Oh, and did I mention that Friday evening was spent cheering the Cougar baseball team on to victory in the FCAL tournament? They went from six straight losses in the beginning of the season to a record of 8-6. Once they started winning, they never stopped, much to the other teams’ amazement—and disappointment. Go Cougars! The baseball coach kept the boys memorizing Scripture, having devotions, and keeping their focus not only on the goal of winning the tournament but also the goal of following our Lord Jesus Christ. It was an incredible season! (Thanks to those who came to cheer Friday! We had a great turn-out.)

So what wonders filled your weekend?

Mrs. D

A Separate Essay


Yesterday in class, you were given a choice of three AP essay prompts from which to compose an essay. Today, I’d like you to check out this link to read good and some not-as-good responses to the essay prompts. I’d like you to read at least those essays that were based on the prompt you chose to answer so that you can compare your attempt at covering the question adequately. It certainly wouldn’t hurt you to also read the others! Then as your reply, let me know what you think of the responses and how you feel you fared. Is there anything that stood out to you as inspiration or instruction for your next attempt?

Mrs. D



I hope you all have had a great spring break and are ready to work hard for the next month or so. I know we’re tempted to slow down and slack off after the break, in anticipation of summer (or graduation). Instead, consider how little time we have left and determine to make the most of it.

Seniors are breathing a sigh of relief now that their Capstone Projects are truly completed. (I am too!) Juniors, you have a great year in store next year, and I hope you’re already thinking about what you might want to do for your senior Capstone Project.

Today, I’d like you to offer your feedback on the projects presented. You can comment on each project, or you could comment on what you think went well. You might make suggestions as to how to make the whole thing run more smoothly or better. Seniors, you might also offer advice to the juniors as they embark on their Capstone Projects.

Great job, seniors!
Mrs. Dagen

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