Sophomore English

Welcome to Sophomore English! Recognizing both contextual (i.e. historical, biographical, cultural) and formalist (i.e. literary devices, techniques, elements) approaches to literature, English 10 requires a more informed and insightful discussion of literary craft. Through the study of craft, students make grammatical and stylistic choices in their writing in order to produce clarity, concision and cohesion ultimately leading to more purposeful, powerful, and elegant prose. In addition to analytical essays, students complete written and visual creative projects that provide another means of literary interpretation as well as self-expression. Info


Hope you are all well. Be sure to upload your PBA (for Poetry Seminar students that means your entire Poet Study) to You must upload either before or shortly after your presentation. Do not wait until the day after your presentation to upload. Below is the info per class:

English 10B

Class ID: 15548390
Code: english10b

English 10H

Class ID: 15548395
Code: english10h

Existential Lit

Class ID: 15548411
Code: english12c

Poetry Seminar

Class ID: 15548414
Code: english12d

Due 6/12: PBA Final Draft

1. PBA–Final Draft/Comparative Essay

The following are due Monday:

  • TWO COPIES of your PBA essay (one for me and one for your partner).
  • Edited first draft with your editor’s name clearly marked at the bottom of the first page.
  • Cover Letter
  • Index cards! Hopefully you have been generous with your kindness. Remember to write the name of the recipient on the back of each card but keep your name off!

Due 6/12: PBA and More

Lots of info here, so read closely! Class rosters at the very bottom.

Quoting guidelines for a play! Any quotes that are blocked, should be single-spaced. Ex:

VLADIMIR. But one of the four says that one of the two was saved.
ESTRAGON. Well? They don’t agree and that’s all there is to it.
VLADIMIR. But all four were there. And only one speaks of a thief being saved. Why
believe him rather than the others? (this line should be indented quarter inch)
ESTRAGON. Who believes him?
VLADIMIR. Everybody. It’s the only version they know.

1. Due 6/12–INDEX CARDS–Be sure to have your index cards filled out for our wee brown bags! Remember, this is meant to be wonderfully positive and absolutely anonymous.

2. PBA–Comparative Essay

The following are due Monday 6/12:

  • TWO COPIES of your PBA essay (one for me and one for your partner)
  • Edited first draft with your editor’s name clearly marked at the bottom of the first page.
  • Cover Letter (Guidelines below)

Due the day of your presentation:

  • Index cards or notes showing that you have prepared for your opening 2 minute presentation.
  • Copy of your essay for YOU to refer to during the presentation.
  • Your partner’s essay with your notes/questions written on the essay.

Failure to have any of the above means you are not prepared for your presentation.

Expectations for your presentation:

The meeting will last for 20 minutes (10 min per student). The first 2 minutes belong to you. TAKE ME BEHIND THE SCENES OF YOUR ESSAY.

While it is interesting to hear you discuss your thesis and your development of the argument, I am more interested in the thought process behind the essay.  So organize your presentation in this fashion:

* Open with your thesis.

* Then, a little flashback.  Take us through the thought process that led to that argument.  Why did you choose those quotations?  How do they help in the development of your argument? Why that argument? What were some of the challenges along the way?  Etc.  All throughout, I expect you to demonstrate great control of the material. (most of the time should be spent here)

As you are articulating the hows and whys of your argument (i.e. why this argument, how you proved your argument), feel free to include any last minute points that you would have included had you more time. While you should prepare your notes/note cards for the meeting, I don’t want you reading to me. The notes/note cards are there to show me that you have prepared for the meeting and they are there as a last resort reminder.

* During the remaining time, I and your second assessor will ask you a series of questions. During this time we might:

  • Challenge an assertion
  • Question your application of Existentialism (if relevant)
  • Question your use of evidence. Ask questions if you don’t understand how the evidence is being used.
  • Ask that you clarify a point
  • Ask questions about the development of your thesis
  • Present counter arguments
  • Ask questions about your source material
  • Ask questions that give you an opportunity to demonstrate greater depth of control.

3. Cover Letter (instructions below)

One or two pages
Single-spaced, with a double spaces between paragraphs
Letter format addressed to (top left hand corner):

Sean Leon
The Beacon School
522 W. 44th St.
New York, NY 10036

Sign the letter!

Three paragraphs in all (with an optional 4th opening paragraph)!

Para #1: Optional! A brief introductory paragraph that introduces the purpose of the letter and introduces the contents of the portfolio. Get funky creative in introducing the letter. Leave a trace of your personality here.

Para #2: Which creative piece are you submitting for your PBA? Discuss the creative inspiration behind your creative piece. Take me through that process as well. If you are submitting a group project it is imperative to detail your contributions to the final project.

Para #3: Discuss the process of writing the essay focusing on what you believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of the essay. Address how those weaknesses could be addressed. Address the following questions about the comparative essay: What do you think you did well on this assignment? What do you think you could have done better with this assignment?

Para #4: A concluding paragraph (and most important paragraph) that reflects on the year as a whole. You must reflect on yourself as an English student at this point in high school. What do you need to work on in the future? Where do you go from here? How have you developed over the course of this year? I could go on and on; I think you get the idea for this final paragraph. Optionally, you can reflect on your Self at this point in your journey through life. In short this paragraph is about YOU!

Class Rosters: [Read more…]

Due 6/5: PBA First Draft

Brown Bag Special–As a parting gift, each of you will leave a few kind words for each of your peers on an index card. The thoughts expressed on the index cards should be personalized to the student. These cards are due Monday, June 12th…LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! Index Cards You are going to need 35 index cards. It is important that the index cards be exactly like the ones linked (i.e. White, lined, 3×5). We will talk more about this on Monday.

How to quote a play! Scroll Down!

  1. PBA–First Draft is due on Monday! 4-5 page comparative analysis. We are using the same rubric (Print it). One significant addition: You must treat both texts equally! Remember, a good comparative essay will weave both texts together in a body paragraph (even text by text organization).

    You should take care of the little things before we pair up on Monday. JUST SO WE UNDERSTAND: ADDRESS THE LITTLE THINGS BEFORE CLASS ON MONDAY. INCLUDING CIRCLING AND COUNTING TO BE/TO HAVE VERBS. The Little Things:

    • Heading
    • Topic=Observation + Opinion
    • Use present tense when discussing the novel
    • Always analyze your  evidence
    • Use normal font for your title (No underlining, bold, etc)
    • Italicize book titles
    • Spell names correctly!!!!!!!
    • No contractions
    • MLA Citations
    • No 1st or 2nd person pronouns
    • Page numbers starting with page 2
    • To Be (am, is, are, was, were)/To Have (has, have, had) verbs (circle and count them before Class on Monday!)

    General Formatting:

    • Double-spaced; size 12 font; Times New Roman or similar
    • .75 margins on both left and right sides. Justify margin. Indentations– .5” or 1 tab space.
    • All pages beyond the first page should be numbered.  Page numbers should be placed at the bottom right of each page.
    • No Cover Page.  Include name, class, and date (Single space the heading)
    • Be sure TITLE reflects the theme of the essay (for instance, 1984: Hierarchical Hegemony)
    • Include Title, Author, and General Theme of work in first paragraph of essay…For Example—Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea
    • Follow MLA guidelines

    Order of Arrangement:

    • Final Draft on top.
    • 1st Draft—with significant corrections made + name and signature of reader

    Avoid the Following:

    • Avoid Pronouns: I, it, you, me, we, us
    • Avoid Troublesome language. Do your best to avoid the following words: it, these, this, those, kind of, almost, seems, maybe, like, then, later, eventually, basically, constantly, so, many, a lot, things, due to the fact (or any variations of the fact that), in reality, very, really, forms of the verb “to be” and “to have”
    • In the intro, nix all book-review commentary—i.e. “is fascinating, interesting…”
    • Avoid meaningless sentences–i.e. “Authors rely heavily on symbolism.”
    • Contractions
    • While I am not suggesting that you avoid all modifiers, you certainly should be conscious of how you are using them. Yet, definitely avoid the likes of really, basically, very, excellent, terrible, etc.
    • Avoid misspelling proper nouns!


    • When writing about literature, write in the present tense.
    • Active voice should be your default voice and only use passive when you are CHOOSING to use passive voice.
    • Get comfortable writing in complex and compound sentences.
    • Introductions and conclusions are factored into the grading of this essay.
    • Read your essay aloud and you will hear many diction and syntax issues.

    Keys to Good Writing:

    • Cohesion—Every sentence fits together; paragraphs flow smoothly.  Ensure that the entire discussion comes together as one unified discussion of your text and its context.
    • Concision—Less is more.  Use fewer words to explain yourself.  Begin fusing sentences by merging ideas into tightly knit phrases.
    • Precision—Accuracy.  Use words that accurately capture what you mean.  Don’t settle for words or expressions that come close.
    • Coherence—Does your essay make sense? Are your ideas organized in a logical sequence? Do you prove your thesis? Do the parts contain the essence of the whole?

Due 5/31: Godot and PBA

1. Waiting for Godot–Complete the play!
2. PBA Prep–Evaluate your peer’s choice of evidence. As always, be candid.