Week 1:2 (Aug. 25-29)



AP English Literature: AP Lit SyllabusSiddhartha Essay RubricDiscussion Question InstructionsPoetry Response PacketMLA Template (for Poetry Responses)Turnitin.com Registration InstructionsJane Eyre Journal InstructionsJane Eyre E-textJane Eyre Vocab Assignment

English 1 Honors: English 1 Honors SyllabusFour QuestionsProofreading ExpectationsUsage NotesFirst Vocab Presentations (Instructions)Journal ExpectationsLiterature TermsTheme Writing #1

English 1: English 1 SyllabusFour QuestionsProofreading ExpectationsUsage NotesFirst Vocab Presentations (Instructions)Journal ExpectationsLiterature TermsTheme Writing #1

Freshmen Proofreading


journalsIf a writing assignment is completed outside of class (e.g. journals), students are expected to proofread their writing for the assignment in order to eliminate mechanical errors prior to the due date.

When working on writing assignments outside of the classroom, students should always refer to the Proofreading Expectations guide in order to ensure that submitted work meets ninth-grade expectations.  This guide will provide a list of non-negotiable errors that will not be academically tolerated in high school students’ writing.  For each of the non-negotiable errors (which are listed in each grading period’s Proofreading Expectations) that are present in a submitted assignment, 10% of the total possible points for the assignment will be deducted – up to a maximum of 50%. Continue reading

Week 1:1 (Aug. 18-22)



Welcome to a new school year! I’ve posted the week’s agenda for all to see. This is a weekly occurrence, usually done on Friday for the week which follows. I strongly encourage students and parents to check the weekly agenda in the case of a student being absent, being confused, or simply being smart by planning ahead. Below, you’ll find downloadable versions of this week’s in-class handouts along with a few other helpful bits.

AP English Literature: Summer PacketAP Lit Syllabus, Siddhartha Essay RubricDiscussion InstructionsPoetry Response Packet, MLA Template (for Poetry Responses), Turnitin.com Registration InstructionsJane Eyre Journal InstructionsJane Eyre E-text, Plagiarism NotesReading Schedule (1st Quarter)

English 1 Honors: English 1 Honors Syllabus, Four QuestionsProofreading ExpectationsColormarking #1, Usage NotesVocab Presentation InstructionsJournal ExpectationsLiterature Terms

English 1: English 1 SyllabusFour QuestionsProofreading ExpectationsColormarking #1Usage NotesVocab Presentation InstructionsJournal ExpectationsLiterature Terms

What’s a Bildungsroman?


The bildungsroman (bill-DUNGZ-ro-men, German for “formation novel”) is a genre of the novel which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood.  The driving force behind the plot (and the major impact of the work) is the main character’s search for self, so change is thus extremely important.

The birth of the bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication of Goethe’s The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister in 1796.  Although the bildungsroman originated in Germany, it has had extensive influence first in Europe and later throughout the world.  Thomas Carlyle translated Goethe’s novel into English, and after its publication in 1824, many British authors wrote novels inspired by it (e.g. Dickens’ Great Expectations).

A bildungsroman tells about the growing up or coming of age of a sensitive person who is looking for answers and experience.  The genre evolved from folklore tales of an idiot or youngest son going out in the world to seek his fortune.  Usually in the beginning of the story there is an emotional loss which makes the protagonist leave on his or her journey.  In a bildungsroman, the goal is maturity, and the protagonist achieves it gradually and with difficulty.  The genre often features an underlying conflict between the main character and society.  Typically, the values of society are gradually accepted by the protagonist, and he or she is ultimately accepted into society – the protagonist’s mistakes and disappointments are over.  In some works, the protagonist is able to reach out and help others after having achieved maturity.

Summer Reading

Summer is nearly over!  I personally hand-delivered SPHS’s Summer Reading List to all of the major south county bookstores: Barnes & NobleHaslam’s, and Wilson’s.  (Of course, there’s also always Amazon.)  If you aren’t sure what class you’re registered for, contact Guidance.  If you have any questions about your course’s summer assignment, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

English 1 Honors

Middle school is over; rejoice!  There is no summer reading assigned.  Why not read one of this year’s texts to get an academic head-start?  The texts we will cover in this coming year are Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Burton Raffel, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Here is a link to an Amazon list created for this class, and if you’re interesting in the standards being covered in this class, please visit this link.

English 2 Honors

(I’m posting this for my former freshmen.)  The required summer reading text is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.  The English 2 Honors summer assignment is due on the first day of school, August 18th; here’s a “Crash Course US History” video that will help with the Vietnam War setting of the novel.  The other texts for the year will include works such as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Othello by William Shakespeare.

AP English Literature

The three summer texts are Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  (If you didn’t sign out a summer packet from me before the end of school, please email me at bentonro@pcsb.org and then download the packet here and print it.)  All three parts of the summer packet (the Mythology questions and the two theme logs) are due in class on August 18th.  There will be a quote quiz on Jane Eyre on August 18th and an in-class essay on Siddhartha on August 19th.  Once you have the Mythology questions completed, I don’t expect you to spend any more time in the summer studying Mythology; that quizzie won’t happen for a few weeks.  The suggested reading order is as follows: Mythology, Siddhartha, Jane Eyre.summerreadingTexts for the year will include William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.  Here is a link to an Amazon list created for this class.  Monitor Focus closely this summer to be sure that you are indeed enrolled in my class; if not, contact your guidance counselor right away.

Other Classes

Literature Improves Empathy

Have you ever felt that reading a good book makes you better able to connect with your fellow human beings? If so, the results of a new scientific study back you up, but only if your reading material is literary fiction – pulp fiction or non-fiction will not do.

Great Expectations from great literature … empathy occurs in the spaces between characters, such as Joe and Pip, pictured here in the 2012 film adaptation. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex Features

Empathy occurs in the spaces between characters, such as Joe and Pip in Great Expectations, pictured here in the 2012 film adaptation. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex Features

Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships.

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