Parts of Speech: Adverbs

Now that we’ve reviewed pronouns and how to identify and use them correctly, we’ll move on to the second part of speech that your assessment indicated you needed to review: adverbs.


Adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjective or other nouns. Simple adverbs indicate one of five elements – time, manner, place, degree and frequency. 

Click here to view the powerpoint over adverbs from class. 

10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

The How and Why of Language – Poetry and Art: Cezzane and Duchamp, Ginsberg and Kennedy

Now that we’ve practiced analyzing poetry as a class with Van Gogh and Anne Sexton’s “Starry Night”, you’ll practice working in small groups with your peers to analyze the next set of poems and paintings.

For this assignment you will choose to either read the American poet Allen Ginsburg’s poem “Cezzane’s Ports” while examining the French painter Paul Cezzane’s painting “The Gulf of Marseilles Seen From L’Estaque”, or read American poet X.J. Kennedy’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” while analyzing the painting by French artist Duchamp with the same title.

Paul Cezzane’s painting “The Gulf of Marseilles Seen From L’Estaque”. L’Estaque is a town in southern France.

Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”, a famous cubist painting.

Remember, refer to the chart you made in class if you have a hard time remembering which artistic elements you should be looking for, and how they relate to poetry:

Artistic Element Poetic/Literary Element
Color Imagery, or Symbolism
Texture Imagery
Images Imagery
Lines/Movement Line breaks, stanzas, enjambment
Lighting Imagery
Level of detail Imagery
Emotion Mood/Tone
Contrast Juxtaposition
Symbols Symbolism


Click here to access the poems if you misplaced them.

You will be responsible in Part One of this analysis project for teaching your other group members about the poem or painting you’ve selected.

In Part Two, you will work together with those students to teach the rest of the class how your poem and painting pair together.

Please click here to view the assignment sheet and rubric for this project.


10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

The How and Why of Language – Poetry and Art: Starry Night

In class today we began discussing the ways that you can view language and poetry in much the same way you view art – paintings, and photographs.  First, we discussed that we’ll be trying to answer the questions:

  • Why would you use certain poetic devices?
  • How does using these devices change the meaning/theme of a poem?

Throughout this unit we’ll be working on answering these questions together for each of the poetic devices we encounter, and recording them on our “How and Why of Language” chart, which you can access by clicking here.

Next, we discussed the different elements that catch our eye or that we notice when we look at a picture or work of art. We discussed how bright colors catch our eye, and that sometimes we even associated certain meanings or feelings with these colors (i.e. red = danger, yellow=warm, blue=sad, depressed, cold). You guys did a great job of making connections between some of the artistic elements and similar literary elements:

Artistic Element Poetic/Literary Element
Color Imagery, or Symbolism
Texture Imagery
Images Imagery
Lines/Movement Line breaks, stanzas, enjambment
Lighting Imagery
Level of detail Imagery
Emotion Mood/Tone
Contrast Juxtaposition




Next, we looked at a series of images, and you guys analyzed the artistic elements that caught your eye – you did a great job of noticing the use of contrast and line, as well as texture, to draw our attention to certain parts of the image. You also did a good job of discussion the possible connotative meaning of these images – focusing on the symbolism behind the shapes and colors.
















After all this, we zoomed out and looked at the painting as a whole, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. We discussed how, just like a poem, you can analyze small parts of a work of art and still find details and insight – but without looking at everything as a whole, you cannot determine the theme or meaning.

Now, you will read the poem about this painting by Anne Sexton, titled “The Starry Night”. As you read this poem, look back and the painting and make connections. Look at Sexton’s use of imagery, personification and metaphor – how are they similar to the techniques Van Gogh used to create his painting?

Click here to read Anne Sexton’s “The Starry Night”

Finally, be sure to answer the writing prompt below over the poem by Anne Sexton – you must cite your evidence in MLA format. Remember, you will include the author’s last name and line numbers, and use a bracket to indicate when there should be a line break.

“…This is how/I want to die” (Sexton 5-6).

The prompt: 

  • What is the main idea of the poem that is reinforced through the refrain?
  • How is this main idea also reinforced through other poetic devices throughout the poem? 
10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

Parts of Speech – Pronouns

After our parts of speech pre-assessment yesterday, it seems we need to cover some of the different elements of pronouns together.

There are proper nouns, which give a specific name to an organization, person or place.

There are also personal pronouns, which identify a specific person place or thing and indicate singularity or plurality, and antecedents, which replace or reference pronouns.

Click here to review the pronoun powerpoint for our warm-ups this week.

You can also review the video below if you are having trouble with pronouns and antecedents:

Additionally, we discussed possessive pronouns. One thing to remember here is that possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes. ‘

Many of you were using it’s instead its. 

We also examined relative pronouns, which connect two clauses two a nouns or pronoun.

For example, “Cecil, who cannot swim, avoid fishing on the open water.” The first clause “Cecil avoids fishing on the open water” is connected to “who cannot swim”, as ‘who’ is the relative pronoun referring to Cecil.


10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

Diagramming Sentences – Coordinating Conjunctions

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram sentences with conjunctions.

We structure each compound element different in our sentence diagrams. Here are examples of how to diagram compound subjects, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and objects of the preposition.

The following sentences will only contain compound words that you will need to diagram.

  1. Mr. Travers teaches at the school and plays outside at recces.
  2. Matt and Dina learn from Mr. Tavers.
  3. Lori’s blue and green dress has been drying on the clothesline in the yard.
  4. I looked for the jacket in the house and the car.
  5. Scott jogged quickly and quietly onto the soccer field.

Phrases are groups of words that function as a single part of speech. We studied prepositional phrases last week, and now you will learn to diagram sentences with prepositional phrases and conjunctions.

The following sentences will contain compound phrases you will need to diagram:

  1. The students were running in the halls and were sent to the principals office.
  2. My sister drove around the block and up the hill.
  3. The crazy little dog ran out the door and toward the stranger.
  4. Lori and Lisa were laughing and howling at the funny movie.
  5. Jason looked in the garage and around the house.

A sentence is a group of words that express a complete thought. We can make sentences compound by putting two or more independent clauses together with coordinating conjunctions.

The following sentences will have two independent clauses connected by a conjunction:

  1. The little kitty in the basket meowed, and the small girl smiled.
  2. He drove across town, but she walked.
  3. Have you tried, or did you just ask for help?
  4. The man in the backyard cried, for he  fell from the tall ladder.
  5. Should you have been running towards the dog, or should you have been running away from it?
10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

The Shape of Stories

In the next two weeks  we will be reading and examining a series of short stories, and discussing the ‘shape’ of short stories – their plots.


Many of you are probably familiar with a simplified version of Freytag’s Pyramid :middle-school-plot-diagram (1)

plot-shape-conflict-2-638However, while this is an easy way to remember the typical form of plot progression in Western storytelling, it is not completely accurate. Not all, not most, stories follow this plot progress. Stories have their own ‘shape’ – and the more interesting the plot of the story, the more interesting the shape.

Listen to amazing short story writer Kurt Vonnegut explain the ‘shape of stories’ by clicking the link below.

Click here to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘The Shape of Stories’.

Vonnegut explains that stories are much more complex that the typical Freytag’s Pyramid.


Think of movies you’ve watched – what type of ‘shape’ did the plot create? Think about tv shows – each episode has its own plot, and then all the episodes in a season create a larger plot as well.


As we read through the short stories in this unit I want you to consider the ‘shape’ of these stories. You will need to keep track of them – and decide which ‘shape’ make for the most interesting story.

Also remember that we’re looking at the shape of Western stories (stories from American or Europe) – stories from other cultures in Asian and the Middle East follow a much different plot structure. Stories in Asian culture are often told in a cyclical or spiral manner:




If you’ve ever watched an Asian movie or tv show (Dragon Ball Z) and felt like so much information was being repeated, or that the story took a really long time to ‘get going’, it was probably because their storytelling structure is so different from ours.

Some modern storytellers and movie-makers like Christopher Nolan are trying to use new and interesting plot structures – if you’ve seen these movies and have been confused about what’s happen, that’s probably why!

inception-explained_50290a7919c5a_w1500 619f8731a1c552dc05fbc6fdf5b23dbd


10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

Conducting Research – Determining the Reliability of Sources

As we being our unit on World Literature, you will be deciding which culture you would like to research and explore in your groups. You will also need to brainstorm six questions about this culture or literature you would like to find the answers to.

Once you have decided which culture’s literature you’re focusing on, and have determine which set of questions you want to research the answers to, you will need to make sure you use only RELIABLE SOURCES!

Remember, reliable sources are those that can be trusted to provide unbiased, factual information. Reliable sources include .org, .gov or .edu websites, books, news organizations, educational journals or publications.

Unreliable sources cannot be trusted for accuracy or for an unbiased perspective. Unreliable sources include Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, any .net or .com website, blogs, editorials from newspapers, or forums.

Click here to view the worksheet from class on reliable vs unreliable sources.

Remember, if you have a hard time determine if a source is reliable or not, you can always ask us to check it with you!

You will need to gather information from reliable sources to answer the questions you’ve selected from above, and be sure to paste the information in your GoogleDocs. You will need to use this information throughout the week to write an extended essay response, so please save your research!

10th Grade Literature Spring 2018