Welcome to our last unit of the semester: Identities in Transition

English Party tomorrow and Thursday (see Calendar tab)! Bring a food or beverage item to share to celebrate our last day together on Wednesday (per 1) and Thursday (per 5, 7, & 8)! See Documents tab for what people are bringing

This Week: Mini-Modes Project is due tomorrow, June 1st (Period 1) and Thursday, June 2nd (Period 5, 7 & 8). Complete all rough drafts of your three mini-modes essays! Take time to polish each mini-essay (500-700 words). Shoot for that Exceeding on each and end the year off strong! Remember to time manage each mini-essay - choose your "mode" (cause and effect, description, personal narrative, process analysis) and focus on the strategies and tools you need to show skill in that mode of writing!

I encourage you to choose your writing topics carefully! Write about what is relevant to you and your life; what do you care about or love to do? Use your personal experience to inspire your various mini-essays. 

Fourth Mode: Process Analysis Writing (Lesson 5) the 'how to' step by step writing we will learn next week

Third Mode: Cause and Effect Writing (Lesson 4) write like a lawyer or journalist and determine whether you want to persuade or inform!

Second Mode: Descriptive Writing (Lesson 3 and 2) complete a polished final draft - write a dominant impression and use detailed adjectives, imagery, and similes

First Mode: Personal Narrative Writing (Lesson 1) revise your original HW assignment so that it's polished

5/16-5/19  Begin your "Mini Modes" Project! Go to the documents tab for helpful lessons on the above modes of writing. Take notes in class on the various modes of writing as we learn them. Write your drafts for at least two mini-mode essays and begin polishing them in and out of class!

5/10-11 Identity Unit - Final Summative Writing due June 1st or 2nd: Your Final “Mini-Modes” project  (draft and revise three mini-essays) is posted on the documents tab and you may begin it as soon as this weekend.

I encourage you to start by finishing Mode 1 - Descriptive Writing Essay - this weekend. You might choose to write it based on today's self-portrait descriptions OR choose your own topic or thing to describe. Be purposeful and choose a "Dominant Impression" - This is the thesis , gives your writing purpose, and is the impression you want to make on your reader.

*This Week's Theme: Descriptive Writing and Identities in Transition - We will have a guest speaker joining us next class!

5/9 Identity HW for Period 1: See below and spend time completing both pieces of HW by next class.

  • Self-Portrait HW: Complete your worksheet for at least 10 self-portraits (there are 20 to choose from). Go to my SWIFT to see them. This is DUE at the start of next class.
  • Weekly Writing due in next class (write notes in Journal, no need to post on Discussion Board!): Interview two people and ask them the following questions (a mentor, parent, grandparent, friend). Then write clear notes  to bring to class tomorrow; please keep all names anonymous. See questions below:

1. How do you identify? Take a moment to reflect on gender, race, class, sexual orientation, ability, interests, hobbies, social location, family – where you were raised, where you live now and others.

2. Have you faced oppression because of your identities? Have you experienced privilege because of your identities?

 Extra Challenge: Create your self portrait. What might your self portrait look like? What would you include?

5/2 Period 1 Self Portrait HW due Wednesday: See the documents tab for the self portraits. Finish today's worksheet for at least 10 self portraits. We started with 5 in class today. This is due Wednesday.

4/28 Period 5, 7, & 8 HW due Tuesday - Weekly Writing is BACK! Due Monday or Tuesday in class (typed) - Identity Personal Write - typed and printed for class next week. Anything goes (good moments, not so good moments, mistakes, successes), but be sure to narrow down to one incident and find a quiet space to reflect and write.

Writing Prompt: Write a personal narrative describing an autobiographical incident that was significant in the formation of your identity. How did this moment change or shape your identity?


•Start with a list of moments – narrow down to one
•Describe the background info – who were you before the incident.
•Clearly explain the incident – what social, familial, geographical factors were involved? or the who, what, when, where, and why
•Then explain the impact on your life afterwards - both the immediate and long term effects
*Please edit/revise what you wrote in class so that it is clear and organized and shares your story fully.

Check out the David Tennant version of Hamlet Act 5, scene 2, here!

Check out the Kenneth Branagh version of Hamlet Act 5, scene 1 and 2, here!

4/25-4/26 Check out the "How to write a Classy Conclusion" posted on the documents tab for extra help! Your typed and printed final essay is due Wednesday/Thursday. Be sure to bring your green rubric from last class and any drafts or revisions to Raike. Be sure to also complete your discussion board summary post of Act 5 (this was last week's weekly writing).

4/20-4/24 Weekend HW:

1. Finish reading ACT 4 and ACT 5 (No Fear Shakespeare) and POST A SUMMARY of Act 5. This should be 5-10 sentences, not 500 words!

2. Complete your Final Draft of your Hamlet essay. Bring it to class typed AND printed or email me the night before to print it. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. This is a large chunk of your final English grade.

4/19 No Fear Shakespeare was VERY useful and helpful in period 8 today to understand Act 4 and what goes down. Please continue writing your essay draft at home (dedicate some time to your work). Remember to think: "Why should Raike care?" and share YOUR interpretation and analysis of this Hamlet unit.

4/18 Write your "shitty first draft!" Take what we did today (reflecting on writing and writing our vows/affirmations) and get into PROCESS - write write write - Component #1 and #2. I recommend you OUTLINE your essay first by deciding on your THREE BODY PARAGRAPH CLAIMS/POINTS. Find evidence via No Fear Shakespeare! Bring ALL WRITING to class on Wednesday typed or hand-written.

For ALL English Periods --> See some questions below to guide your writing:

  • What is at the essence of Hamlet’s delay in action against Claudius?
  • What is the nature of the ghost – a spirit of good or of evil? Why can Hamlet see the ghost but not his mother in Act IV?
  • Summarize and support Hamlet’s evolution/understanding as it pertains to life, death, and human mortality from Act I to Act V, paying special attention to the soliloquies.
  • Does Hamlet (or Shakespeare) ever answer the purpose of existence?
  • What sends the play on its course of inevitability?
  • Why is the play considered a tragedy?
  • In what ways is Hamlet responsible, and in what ways is he a victim of circumstances?
  • What is Hamlet’s central tragic flaw? Does he have one?
  • Ambiguity and mystery are central ideas that cloud Hamlet, other central characters, and the play overall. Explain the role, function, and purpose of these mysteries and ambiguities (find examples) and how they contribute to the overall theme.One question all viewers have in watching a play is “why?” – we want to understand characters’ rationale for their actions. However, Hamlet is full of what one scholar deemed “a lack of casual logic” in the instability and seeming irrationality of many characters’ choices. Why is the play so full of this “lack of casual logic”?Are there admirable characters throughout the play who show strength and resolve of the human spirit? Why do the majority of the characters highlight varying human weaknesses and frailties?
    • Who is responsible for casting this cloud of corruption over Elsinore and the events of the play? Is anyone?
  • Note examples and quotes of corruption, rot, and disease.

Quotes/Arguments/Criticisms to Ponder and Discuss in your essay

  • “…the play’s lack of a rigorous type of casual logic seems to be part of its point”
  • “…every major personage in the tragedy is a player in some sense, and every major episode a play”
  • “Hamlet is painfully aware of the baffling human predicament between the angels and the beasts, between the glory of having been made in God’s image and the incrimination of being descended from fallen Adam…in fact, he exemplifies it. Thus, Hamlet’s problem appeals to powerfully to us as it is an image of our own.”


4/14 HW For Period 5, 7, and 8 (and Period 1 if you'd like to get ahead)! Due Tuesday, NO EXCUSES, YOU HAVE 7 WEEKS LEFT: Please see useful documents pinned to the top of the documents tab. Use the Outline Template to help those of you who feel stuck on organization/structure! Bring Essay Component #1 & #2 (two body paragraphs with relevant and well explained evidence + an introduction) to class next week.

Re-read Act 1, 2, and 3, and feel free to read Act 4 (scene 1, 3, and 5 are what matter) and Act 5 (scene 1 and 2) using No Fear Shakespeare!

Remember, you are a better writer than you think... but writing takes time and planning so begin today and devote time this weekend to your process!

4/13 Weekend HW for Period 1 - Due Monday, NO EXCUSES, YOU HAVE 7 WEEKS LEFT: See useful documents pinned to the top of the documents tab. Bring a typed draft of your essay component 1 - at least one body paragraph and an introduction paragraph - that include a clear Focus (thesis), Use of Evidence, correct MLA formatting. Use today’s lesson and student samples handout to help you strengthen your writing and argument. See prompts below OR follow your heart (i.e.- diagnose and write about the neuropsychology of Hamlet):

1. Should Hamlet be considered courageous or a coward?

2. Should the audience feel sympathy for Hamlet?

3. How is this play relevant to modern times?

4. Who is the most villainous character in the play?

5. Are Hamlet’s reasons for being so cautious in taking revenge convincing? State his reason(s) and why or why not.  

See SWIFT for No Fear Shakespeare (to cite evidence). Cite evidence from ALL three Acts if possible!

4/9 (surprise extension!!!), read and post a summary (your own words) of ALL of Act III via the No Fear Shakespeare - which has the full text and translation - UPDATE: you can post this summary up until 4/9 if you are out of town. No word requirement! Summaries should NOT be 500 words.

4/9 - Complete component #1 of your Hamlet essay which is to write a complete brainstorm/begin a rough draft: Write your thesis and at least one completed body paragraph with text evidence from the play. Your thesis should be an argument about the play using either one of the five prompts below or create your own! This weekly writing requires close reading and clearly understanding the different plot points and characters. Use today's prompts to guide you in choosing your essay topic and argument.

1. Should Hamlet be considered courageous or a coward?

2. Should the audience feel sympathy for Hamlet?

3. How is this play relevant to modern times?

4. Who is the most villainous character in the play?

5. Are Hamlet’s reasons for being so cautious in taking revenge convincing? State his reason(s) and why or why not.  

3/23 Period 1 please email your argumentative paragraph to draike@tacoma.k12.wa.us by the end of class today. This is your way to receive feedback before beginning your essay on Hamlet over Spring Break.

3/22 Period 5, 7, & 8 please email me your thesis statements for your argumentative paragraph (we will do in class on Thursday). **Write your name and class period in the subject line! Feel free to start your writing and/or evidence brainstorming at home before Thursday's class.

3/21 - Period 1 - You have an extension on Weekend Writing which is DUE no later than TONIGHT: Reimagining "To Be or Not to Be" for Period 1. Do not forget to write a reflection explaining why you did what you did! If you do not, you cannot get an exceeding.

Weekend Writing HW #7: While I did not explain it fully, you can do it! This week's writing is a creative write - Reimagining "To Be or Not To Be" - and I'm grading on quality NOT quantity. See Options below. This is summative, do not delay! You need to POST your rough draft of your reimagined soliloquy composition (or option #2: a comparative analysis of another text) on the Discussion Board by Saturday evening. BRING this draft on Monday or Tuesday to read aloud in a small group.

Be sure to FIRST organize your thoughts in your journal: what is the style you will use, what is your objective/purpose, what is your great conflict or what are you contemplating (life/death, action/inaction)? 

Option #1: Write a modern version of the "To Be or Not To Be" soliloquy using the voice and point of view of a modern popular literary figure, television or film character, pop culture icon, or a political figure. Your version of Hamlet's famous soliloquy should maintain the feel and rhythm of a poem (it can be a song, rap, sonnet, spoken word, speech) as well as stay true to the meaning of Hamlet’s words. (Examples! Obama reflecting on the end of his presidential term; Joy from Inside Out self-reflecting on her identity and the importance of Sadness)

To complete the assignment:

  1. Re-read Hamlet’s soliloquy (III.i.57-91) and note important ideas (did this in class).
  2. Re-imagine Hamlet’s ideas through the eyes of your chosen figure.
  3. Choose an appropriate style/genre for your piece.
  4. Compose your re-imagining (line or page length should mirror the original).
  5. AND write a reflection in which you explain and evaluate your rhetorical choices (choice of style, tone, figure or person, audience, word choices, etc) and support the validity of your interpretation with references to the original. Include text evidence.

Use your understanding of the text, your personal interest in the “voice” you choose and your creativity to do justice to some of literature’s most famous lines!

Option #2: Find and analyze a piece of modern text – a poem, a song, an album, an excerpt of dialogue from a movie, TV show or novel – that you feel echoes Hamlet’s soliloquy in mood, form, and function.  You will need to include the text and perform a comparative analysis which demonstrates your understanding of both texts.  As we are focusing on rhetorical strategies, compare and contrast specific rhetorical strategies employed by the two texts.

To complete the assignment, follow the steps below:                                                                                           

  1. Re-read Hamlet’s soliloquy (III.i.57-91) and note important ideas (did this in class).
  2. Re-imagine Hamlet’s ideas and look for a modern text that reflects similar concepts and mood.
  3. Choose an appropriate complementary piece (cite it and print it or have it in a word document)
  4. Analyze your chosen piece for its own ideas and structure and compare it to Hamlet’s soliloquy.
  5. AND write a multiple-paragraph comparative analysis in which you directly investigate the similarities and differences (in both content and form) between the two texts.

**Rhetorical Strategies to employ and/or reflect: Style, Objective, Audience, Purpose, Structure, Tone, Mood

3/15: Today we wrote a list of themes and central ideas. Be sure to keep track of these in your journal as you read Hamlet and identify direct lines that show those themes. Today we watched Hamlet's famous soliloquy from Act 3, scene and checked out "The Sound of Hamlet" Comic strips  to get caught up/refresh your memory of Act 1, 2, and the beginning of 3.

For 3/15 & 3/16: We have an in-class easy Reading Assessment because I need to put a grade in the gradebook for midterm! You'll be asked to annotate and paraphrase Hamlet's famous "To Be or Not To Be" soliloquy and have ample time to do so.

ATTN: SIGN UP FOR TCC COLLEGE CREDIT. Begin this process and see steps below. You will receive college credit if you get above a C+ in English.

FAQs students may ask:

1) When will I be able to register for the CITHS classes? In March, online for all spring and year-long classes earning 5 credits.

2) Can I still put CITHS on my college application? Yes, absolutely!

3) Will I still earn TCC credit for the fall class? Yes, students who completed the fall classes (pre-calc, calc, music theory) are completing a paper registration process now.

4) How do I register for TCC credit? Follow the directions on the paper your teacher gives to you (or see below!). It is an online process.

CITHS Registration Timeline & Process FOR SPRING CREDIT CLASSES (Spring and Year-long)

Step 1 –  Apply to TCC online – Now! (Please introduce the process in class, and ideally supply a few computers for applications)

Step 2 –  2 days later, students will receive an acceptance email from TCC. Then, register online for TCC course. Submit FRL paperwork to TCC

Step 3 –  Make Payment directly to TCC via online or in-person –Payment due by the date listed in the letter (end of March). Teachers - Please do not take money!

Some students are having trouble with the link to apply to TCC (step 1). Basically, all you need to do is go to the main TCC on the website and apply using this link: http://www.tacomacc.edu/gettingstarted/theenrollmentprocess/apply

Here is the direct link: https://csprd.ctclink.us/psc/cbf/EMPLOYEE/SA/c/IP_AD_MNU.IP_AD_LOGIN_CMP.GBL

Hope that helps!

3/7 & 3/8  We closely read Hamlet's first soliloquy in Act I, scene 2 in class and paraphrased it. Take the Humours personality test  for your own fun (under my Links tab)!

HW: Your Weekly Writing #6 is due Saturday, 3/12, and I am looking for specific text evidence from Act I or II from Hamlet: Choose and respond to ONLY ONE of the questions below using summaries and characters and direct quotes from Hamlet:

1.Is thought preferable to action? When is action preferable to thought? (think “I want to kill my uncle” vs “I killed my uncle”) Use text evidence

 2.What is the function of Hamlet’s soliloquys? Can something that is fictional, like this play, offer the “truth” about the human experience? Why or why not? Use text evidence

 3.How does conflict (external or internal) impact relationships?

 4.How does your family and/or your religion address death or the afterlife compared to what you see in Hamlet? Use text evidence

 5.What is the effect of guilt on a person who has committed a crime or a sin? Is there a difference? Make a prediction about Hamlet and use text evidence

 *Be sure to show how your opinion connects to the events that have happened in Hamlet

2/29-3/4 This week we are reading Hamlet Act I in groups (splitting up the scenes) and beginning Act II! If you are absent, you need to get caught up on these scenes and know what is going on by next class.

Due Saturday 3/5 - Weekly writing assignment #5: Ghosts and Apparitions. See the Discussion Board for your class period or see the details below.

Begin by reading page 1-6 here of the article on Ghosts and Apparitions in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Step 1, research the topic of ghosts in Shakespeare’s plays and in Elizabethan England. Then, write a clear argumentative paragraph (include and cite text evidence/research to support your claim) responding to the following:

  • Do you believe in ghosts?
  • Why did Shakespeare use ghosts in his plays and what was the purpose of them in both tragedies and comedies and, specifically, in Hamlet?  

Step 2, make an artistic choice and explain how you would portray the Ghost of Old Hamlet. Use details and be descriptive.:

  • What would he wear, look like, sound like, act like; what props or clothing would symbolize his character best, how might he be staged in Act I or how might you want him to be seen by the audience?
This Week's Writing HW due 2/27: Today's lesson (twitter activity and Hamlet character mapping) shed light on betrayal in the opening Act of Hamlet. Please take some time to write and organize an argument about the effects of betrayal on a relationship (and/or forgiveness). Aim for two direct quotes to support your thesis.

See the documents tab for "Week 4 Writing on Betrayal & Forgiveness" handout that you will receive in class today or tomorrow. Please be conscious of including at least two direct quotes that are relevant and well explained. Focus on including lead-ins to introduce your quote and explain the quote in your own words. The 2nd page of the handout will help you with this!

Weekend HW Due Saturday, 2/20 - Check out the discussion board and guiding prompts for this week's Academic Paragraphs on Elizabethan England.

  • I encourage you to use some new vocabulary and include direct quotes from your research (don't forget to introduce and cite each quote!). Please show your understanding of two to three Elizabethan Era topics from class - from what you studied and what your peers taught you - and close with a paragraph on how history, society, and culture connect both then and now. Avoid vagueness!

English HW Due 2/18 - February 16th and 17th, we did in-class Research. If you were absent, complete this research at home and choose from today's topics in the lesson powerpoint which is posted on my documents tab. 

2/16 & 2/17 HW - Research Objective and Required Notes Due Thursday (Period 5, 7 & 8) or Monday (Period 1): By the end of these 30 minutes, you must have the following written in your journal OR, better yet, typed in a word doc to send to Raike! I will compile these notes for your class. Go to my Links tab to get started on your topic:

1. Clearly state your topic and offer a brief (1-2 sentence) overview
2. Select what you feel is the most important information to know Identify at least two significant quotes and cite them!
3. For each direct quote --> Paraphrase or summarize the main idea in your own words!
4. Write a several sentence explanation of why you feel what you’ve selected is important for your class to know
Be prepared to relay important information about your topic at the start of class this Thursday!

English Weekend HW due Saturday evening, 2/13: Spend 20-45 minutes completing today's "Revenge" handout - read and annotate it, then write an editorial on the theme: Revenge. See the specific prompt and guidelines on the Discussion Board. Post your writing on the Discussion Board OR email it to me by Saturday evening. 

*This weekly writing is summative and accounts for 20% of your grade; I will not accept late work. Take your time and show me your abilities.

Guiding Prompt for academic writing #2: Is it appropriate for individuals to seek revenge when one is wronged?

Weekend HW: Write an editorial for your local newspaper responding to this prompt and discussing the causes and effects of revenge on individuals and society. Use your notes on the essay “Of Revenge” by Sir Francis Bacon, the opinions presented above, your personal experiences, and observations. As you write your editorial, remember to do the following for a Meeting score:

  • Focus on the causes and effects of revenge on both individuals and society

  • Consider the purpose, audience, and context of your editorial

  • Organize your ideas and details effectively

  • Edit your editorial for standard grammar and language usage

  • For an Exceeding score --> 500 word count is reached or exceeded. Writing shows analysis and synthesis of texts - both the essay and the opinions- with a command of academic language

English HW due 2/10 or 2/11 on Wednesday/Thursday: Create a “live action” video OR performance of your sonnet! You will be asked to perform these in SMALL groups and only will perform to the whole class if you are nominated and accept!

"Live Action Sonnet" Video OR Live Performance Guidelines:

•Sonnet must be written in iambic pentameter (find the unstressed-stressed feet, there should be five!). Begin your lines with unstressed words like "or" "but" "and" "though" "if" "thus" "so"

•Must be engaging and clearly read so we understand what’s being said

•Must have actions/gestures to show what is happening

For an exceeding on the written sonnet you can attempt to follow the abab-cdcd-efef-gg 14-line rhyme scheme!

For an exceeding on the performance, you have incorporated props, costumes, and/or special effects!


English Weekend HW for 2/3 and 2/4 due Monday/Tuesday: Write your own Pop Sonnet or an Original Sonnet! We'll read them aloud next week!

You can either finish your sonnet that you started in class today (on Creativity or Art) OR rewrite your favorite song lyrics in basic sonnet format. *14 lined stanza in iambic pentameter (look it up!) where each line has 10 syllables* If you'd like to exceed my expectations, try to write 3 quatrains and one couplet with a rhythmic pattern. See more pop sonnet examples here or here and see some traditional sonnet writing rules here to help you write a rockin' sonnet!

English HW for 2/1 and 2/2 due Wednesday/Thursday - 1. Purchase Hamlet by William Shakespeare, 2. Complete your first summative 500 word response in your journal OR typed on the discussion board. It is DUE this Wednesday and Thursday for English. The theme is creativity and the questions are below:
What is creativity? What makes something art? What is the role of the observer or reader or watcher of art... Do we make the meaning or does the artist? Explain your opinions in depth. Create a list of examples of art and analyze/explain why they are seen as art? You may go in depth, do research, or make educated assumptions. Cite any/all sources!

These responses are summative and will account for 20% of the grade, like in real college!

Scoring Criteria:

EXC if follows requirements – response is complete, legible, and shows critical thinking about the topic

MET if submitted but doesn’t attempt word limit/answer prompt

MI [permanently!] if no response by deadline