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Sophomore English

Printiable PDF of Course Overview


Welcome to the 2008 – 2009 school year at Jericho High School! This English course is
designed to provide you with a strong foundation in reading and writing. Some of the literary
works we will read this year include: The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Julius Caesar,
and Animal Farm
. We will meet in room 261 every day and in the computer writing lab in room
262 on alternating days. We will read and study works from various genres, such as poetry, short
stories, novels, and plays. In conjunction with the literature we read, we will also master our
writing skills. As a student in this class, you will be expected to read and write often and to be a
positive contributing member during class sessions. Please read the following expectations
carefully to help ensure your success in the upcoming year. Keep this as the first page of your


You are expected to bring the following materials to class every day:
1. Pens, highlighters, index cards, and Post-It notes
2. Three ring binder with plenty of loose-leaf paper divided into the following sections:
• Literature
• Writing
• Vocabulary
3. Textbook or other reading material


Participation in discussion and class activities is an integral part of this course and has a
significant impact on your grade. Your responsibilities in this class are:
1. To attend class regularly (at least 90% of the time)
2. To attend class on time
3. To be prepared for class, including completing all reading and homework assignments
4. To meet deadlines (late work, if excepted at all, will significantly lower your grade)
5. To ask questions when you don’t understand
6. To avoid eating and drinking in class
7. To never use your cell phone, IPod, or other electronic devices in class

Keep all graded papers and handouts in your English binder for reference. Your grade each
marking period is based on the following:
1. Class participation, behavior, and preparation
2. Homework, which will be assigned each day and written on the board (if you are absent
you will find the assignment on the class website)
3. Tests and quizzes (including the occasional pop quiz)
4. Essay assignments, take-home projects, and your writing portfolio
5. Class work, in-class projects, and group work

My Name Reading and Activity

Printiable PDF of entire exercise and handout

Motivation : “We are the hero of our own story.” --Mary McCarthy

What do you think is meant by this quote? Do you agree or disagree with the quote?

Focusing Question: How can you relate this quote to the story “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros?

My Name

[an excerpt from Sandra Cisneros’s novel The House On Mango Street]


In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.

It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine. She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse—which is supposed to be bad luck if you're born female—but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong.

My great-grandmother. I would've liked to have known her, a wild horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn't marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier. That's the way he did it.

And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window.

At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quite as thick as sister's name Magdalena—which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who at least—can come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.

I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do.


Literary Elements to Know:

1. Simile: a comparison of two different things using the words like or as.

2. Metaphor: a comparison of two unlike objects that does not use the words like or as.

3. Alliteration: the repetition of initial syllable sounds in a group of words, such as Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Focus Questions:

  1. Underline every simile that you can identify in the passage. How many did you find?
  2. Circle every metaphor that you can identify in the passage. How many did you find?
  3. Double underline every example of alliteration that you can find in the passage. How many did you find?
  4. Why doesn’t Esperanza like her name?
  5. Why does Esperanza say she would have liked to have known her great-grandmother?
  6. What does this [#6] reveal about Esperanza’s character?
  7. Why do you think Esperanza would prefer to be called Zeze the X? What does that reveal about her character?
  8. How does “My Name” relate to Mary McCarthy’s quote about heroes? Do you still agree or disagree with the quote? What do you think Esperanza would think about the quote?

Writing Assignment: Write a one-page introduction of yourself (preferably typed and double-spaced). You may want to focus on what your own name (or nickname) means to you. Does it represent you or would another name be a better fit? If you do not have a strong connection to your name, then simply focus on who you are as a person or who you would like to be. Include at least one metaphor and at least one simile.

Extra Credit Option: You may create a visual collage of images around your essay for extra credit. The images may be drawn or cut from magazines, newspapers, etc. The images should add to the meaning of your writing by creating a collage that represents who you are as a person.

Oral Presentation: On Tuesday, September 9 each student will be asked to read aloud his or her composition to the class. Extra credit collages may also be shared.

Due: Tuesday, September 9

Grading Rubric:







The introduction is inviting, states the main topic and engages the reader.

The introduction clearly states the topic, but is not particularly inviting to the reader.

The introduction is elementary in style when stating the main topic, and is not particularly inviting to the reader.

There is no clear introduction of the main topic.


Writer uses vivid words and phrases that linger or draw pictures in the reader's mind, and the choice and placement of the words seems accurate, natural and not forced.

Writer uses vivid words and phrases that linger or draw pictures in the reader's mind, but occasionally the words are used inaccurately or seem overdone.

Writer uses words that communicate clearly, but the writing lacks variety, punch or flair.

Writer uses a limited vocabulary that does not communicate strongly or capture the reader's interest. Jargon or clichés may be present and detract from the meaning.


Writer makes no errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization that distract the reader from the content.

Writer makes only a few errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization that distract the reader from the content.

Writer makes several errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization that distract the reader from the content.

Writer makes many errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization that distract the reader from the content.


Writer uses original, logical, and effective examples of similes, metaphors.

Writer uses similes and metaphors, but occasionally the figurative language seems inaccurate or overdone.

Writer uses similes and metaphors that do not effectively convey meaning or seem forced.

Writer fails to use similes and metaphors.


Speaks clearly and distinctly without mispronouncing words; facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Speaks clearly and distinctly; facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Could speak more clearly and distinctly; facial expressions and body language could be used to improve enthusiasm.

Often mumbles or cannot be understood; very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.


Reflects the theme, is created / glued neatly, demonstrates creativity and effort.

Reflects some aspects of the theme, is created / glued neatly, demonstrates some creativity and effort.

Could better reflect the theme, could have been created / glued more neatly, and could use additional creativity and effort.

Does not reflect theme, lacks neatness, and/or effort.








PDF Text of "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros

Reflection: Think about a time in your childhood when you had a very strong emotional reaction to something. You may have been very happy, sad, angry, embarrassed, etc. Try to recall as many details about the event as possible. The experience does not need to have been a major life event, it may have been a simple incident that made you feel very strongly for a short period of time, but you do need to remember the episode clearly.

Jot down a few words or sentences that come to mind when you think about this experience from your past. Do not worry about spelling or grammar. This is just a time to get your ideas down on paper.


The writer's craft, a thought from the author herself:

“If you write something from the corazón (the heart), . . . you do it to serve the
community . . . [If] you do it with all your heart and absolute humility, then something
good will come of it.” - Sandra Cisneros