Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 (A day)

October 16th, 2017

Today we began our unit of study on Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

If you missed class:

  • Check out a copy of Waiting for Godot from the AV room as soon as possible.
  • Review this PowerPoint: godot intro
  • Watch “Act Without Words II,” a film version of a 10-minute play by Beckett:
  • Begin reading Act I of Waiting for Godot. Read as much of it as you can by next class.

Monday, Oct. 9-Tuesday, Oct. 10 (B and C days)

October 10th, 2017

In-class essay on poetry of Akhmatova. If you miss class, please plan to make up this essay test Wednesday afternoon, or contact me to make other arrangements. Also, timelines are due today. 

Reminder: For seniors, there will be workshops at graduation information on Wednesday morning. Please report to the auditorium at 8:30, and then go to three of the available workshops.

No classes Wednesday afternoon. No classes Thursday or Friday of this week. Please check Synergy to see if you have any missing work, and if you do, contact me ASAP!

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 (A day)

October 6th, 2017

Vocabulary quiz today! If you missed class, please contact me to arrange a makeup time.

I used this PowerPoint to give students information on what to expect for the in-class essay on Akhmatova: essay prep If you missed class, it is important that you review this PowerPoint and e-mail me as soon as possible with any questions you have.

I also shared the scoring guide I will use for this essay: in-class essay scoring 2017

We continued reading and making sense of “Requiem.”


Wednesday, Oct. 4-Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 (B and C days)

October 4th, 2017

Reminder: Vocabulary test on Friday!

We will continue reading and discussing “Requiem.” If you miss class, please work through the poem cycle on your own. Write brief summaries of each section to clarify your own understanding and note recurring motifs like cold/snow/ice, other nature references, flowers, stone, metal, imprisonment, religious references. How does Akhmatova use these motifs to develop the central ideas of the poem? How does the voice of the speaker develop over the course of the poem cycle?

Homework: Prepare for vocabulary test; keep working with “Requiem.”

Tuesday, Oct. 3 (A day)

October 3rd, 2017

Our schedule for the next week:

  • Today: “Requiem” as well as various other things
  • Next class: Finish “Requiem” and begin preparing for in-class Akhmatova essay
  • Friday, Oct. 6: VOCABULARY QUIZ and continue preparing for in-class Akhmatova essay
  • Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 9-10: In-class Akhmatova essay. Timelines due.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11: “Testing day”–morning workshops for seniors, including an optional senior paper work session; no afternoon classes; senior paper drafts due
  • Thursday, Oct. 12: No classes for South students (midterm grading day/professional development)
  • Friday, Oct. 13: No classes in 4J (statewide inservice day)

Vocabulary quiz this Friday will be on terms and words on the green Akhmatova vocabulary sheet. Format will be matching/multiple choice/true-false/etc.

I asked students to review their handwriting samples and make an individual Handwriting Improvement Plan–please do this if you missed class: handwriting improvement plan

I talked about the components of the IB in Literature and reminded students that IB registration and fees are due Monday, Oct. 16. Please contact the IHS office ASAP if you have IB registration questions.

We read several sections of “Requiem,” pausing after each to summarize/clarify literal meaning, define unfamiliar words, and recognize repeating motifs.

Homework: Study vocabulary, work on timeline, and continue reading “Requiem.”

Thursday, Sept. 28-Monday, Oct. 2 (B and C days)

October 2nd, 2017

For today’s 5 minutes of handwriting, I asked students to practice some form of joined writing (cursive, joined italics, or joined printing) by copying some pangrams (sentences that contain all 26 letters of the alphabet).

We then reviewed the elements of the senior paper that are due for the draft next week and talked about senior paper titles–you can see these things in this PowerPoint: ee titles

I asked IB diploma candidates to give me some information about their senior papers and in what subject areas they plan to register their papers–if you are an IB diploma candidate and missed class, please give me the info on this form: IB DP EE category form

We talked further about senior paper introductions and conclusions and looked at some more samples–if you missed class and would like to look at these samples, drop by my classroom some morning this week.

Finally, we began reading Akhmatova’s poem cycle “Requiem,” which honors all of those who suffered in the Stalinist Terror of the 1930s.

Homework: Read “Requiem” (pages 34-43 in your packet)

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2017 (A day)

September 28th, 2017

Today’s goal: Establish understanding of the context of Akhmatova’s poem sequence “Requiem,” which is a memorial to the people who suffered under the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.

Homework due today was to read the material on the GULAG which I handed out last time.

Today’s class focussed on response to and discussion of that material. If you missed class, use this PowerPoint to help guide you through exploration of this material: gulag discussionYou will also need to refer to the biographies (fictionalized, but based on real people/events) on pages 43-52 of this link: . (You don’t need to read all these biographies but you should skim them all and read one or two to get a sense of the kinds of things that people experienced at this time.)

Homework due next class is to write a reflection about how these articles and discussions have helped develop your understanding of the context of Akhmatova’s poetry. Specific instructions for this assignment are here: akh reflection hw 2017

Monday, Sept. 25-Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 (B and C days)

September 25th, 2017

Five minutes of handwriting practice included an invitation to experiment with different styles (as exemplified in my not-very-beautiful example: quick brown fox_001 )

I asked students to give me some information about how they plan to use their personal essays–if you missed class, please fill out this sheet: personal essay survey

Students had time to continue working on their timelines using the article from last time. I clarified some dates:


The Siege of Leningrad lasted from September 1941 to January 1944; Akhmatova was evacuated to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1941 and returned to Leningrad in spring of 1944).

Dates of Lev Gumilyev’s arrests/imprisonments: 1933, 1935 (Punin was arrested at the same time), 1938-1944, c. 1949-1956

We then read and very briefly discussed the following poems: “Courage”; “The Return.” If you missed class, please read these poems and think about how they relate to Akhmatova’s World War II experiences.

Students began reading a background article on the GULAG.

Homework: Read background article on the GULAG. (If you missed class, you can find it online here: Read pages 1-11 and 15-27–but if the information about life in the prison camps starts to depress you too much, then stop reading!) Be prepared to discuss this article next class.

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 (A day)

September 22nd, 2017

We finished the poetry presentations from last class.

Students then received a biographical article on Anna Akhmatova and had time to use it and the poetry packet to update their timelines and vocabulary sheets. If you missed class, please work on these things. The article can be found here:

Homework: Final draft of personal essay is due to tonight by 10:00 p.m.!

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 (A day)

September 19th, 2017

We started with 5 minutes of handwriting practice (see last time for exercise sheet) and looked at some samples of presidential handwriting in my ongoing effort to pique your interest in penpersonship! (Did you know that there have been a disproportionately high number of left-handed presidents?)

I distributed an Akhmatova timeline assignment. If you missed class, please see me to get this (it is on 11 x 17 paper so I can’t post it here for you to print out).

We then moved on to looking at poems from about 1914 to about 1940–poems reflecting the effects of World War I, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Stalin, and World War II. More info to come later today–please check back later if you missed class.