Frequently Asked Quests (FAQ) about our Class

As part of our first day activities, you were asked to come up with questions regarding the class. The variety of questions was so dynamic that I posted them for everyone to read. So, let's get started:

Q. Will we be writing poetry?
A. As it stands today, we will probably write one to two poems during the semester.

Q. How many papers are we going to write?
A. There will be numerous writing projects through the semester, but we will be actually writing three (3) papers: a research paper, a literary analysis paper, and a combination paper.

Q. Is this class hard?
A. The difficulty of this class will be based on what knowledge you are bringing to the class, the amount of effort you put into it and if you come to get help during tutorial.

Q. Is Of Mice and Men better than The Pearl?
A. Like any good novel, it is really up to what you like to read. You may find the characters in Of Mice and Men more interesting, the setting easier to connect to and the events more interesting.

Q. How much homework will we have each night? How often will we have homework?
A. The amount of homework will be relative to the novels we are working on at the time. Most nights you will either be reading approximately twenty pages of text, responding to the text or completing vocabulary/grammar material.

Q. How many group projects do we do in the semester?
A. We will do several short activities in class several times through the semester, however we will do one to two larger group projects during the course.

Q. What will the research paper be about?
A. Oh, I have to keep some secrets! I will say this much….you won’t be writing it until after the midterm.

Q. Are the books we are reading interesting?
A. All four novels have great characters, interesting plots and some super twists. They will definitely keep you on your toes.

Q. What do we do if we don’t understand the books?
A. We will be reviewing the text, addressing changes in the characters, the activities and the literary elements of the novels daily as we move through the readings. However, if at anytime, you are feeling lost during the course, you can come see me during tutorial any Tuesday through Wednesday in rm. 210.

Q. Is Romeo & Juliet hard to read/understand?
A. Any piece of Shakespeare will be challenging at first, BUT we will spend some time before we delve into the play into getting connected with the language.

Q. Do we specifically learn about Shakespeare?
A. If you mean do we learn about the author, then yes. We will get to know Will a bit more intimately before we delve into his sonnets and then “Romeo & Juliet”.

Q. Will we have readings every night?
A. While we are reading the novels, yes, you will probably have reading just about every night. However, we will be reading “Romeo & Juliet” in class, thus not requiring you to read at home, but you will probably have an accompanying homework assignment that you will need to complete instead.

Q. Do we get extra points for reading books for pleasure?
A. Regrettably, the school policy does not allow us to give extra credit out for any reason. I would hope you would enjoy reading just because it is fun!

Q. What would happen if I was absent for a test?
A. It all depends on the absence. If you were absent the previous day and the test is the day you arrive, you will be asked to take work into the hall so the test and the feedback session may take place for the rest of the class. If you are absent on the day a test is administered, you will have to attend the next available tutorial to complete it.
Q. Can we combine this subject with another in a binder?
A. Absolutely. If you decide to do that, make sure you have properly labeled all your material so the subjects do not get mixed up.
Q. How much does homework count for the overall grade?
A. Homework and Classwork combined account for 30% of the overall grade. If you are not a math pro that means the best you could consider doing in the entire course WITHOUT doing homework is a 70 (which is barely passing and means you received a PERFECT score on all your other work – in another words, next to practically impossible to pass the course without doing your homework)
Q. Will this class put me to sleep? Do we learn Latin roots?
A. There will be not sleeping in this class! Literature lives in this room, so keep your eye out – you might get the book bug! On your second point, no we won’t be focusing on Latin roots. If you want that Mr. Gichen teaches Latin in the world languages department.
Q. Why are there chalkboards in this classroom? I haven’t seen on since 5th grade? What’s with the ‘cave’ under the chalkboard?
A. Room 210 can be considered a time capsule with our classic chalkboards, mini bulletin board and antique computers. I have never been able to get a direct answer, but it is a nice have a little glimpse back in the past – except when you find you have chalk dust all over the sleeve of your black jacket. As for the “cave”, we were to have additional equipment put in through the area, but they never actually closed it up. Now it’s a little cubby to store my classic Shakespeare box.

Q. Do you send e-mails to parents about what is going on in class?
A. At Back to School Night I will share with your parents all the details about our course, including how they can find access our wikispace to see what we are working on. On a more personal note, if you are personally struggling or if I see your work change (better or worse) I will be in touch with your parents either by email or telephone.

Q. What is usually the hardest subject that students don’t seem to get right away?
A. In the past, students have said the development of the literary analysis has always been the toughest part of the semester. We will break down the process, focusing on each element separately then link the different elements together into a fantastic paper.

I hope you have answers to all your questions, but if I missed anything that is still driving you crazy remember you can email me at any time.