Image from Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet

for further information

Shakespeare Internet Game

i am circling new boundaries

i have been trailing the ornamental

songs of death/life

a strong pine tree

dancing in the wind

i inhale the ancient black breath

cry for every dying/living


come, let us ascend from the

middle of our breath

sacred rhythms

inhaling peace.

-Sonia Sanchez from "Early Ripenings," edited by Marge Piercy

(For more on Sonia Sanchez see this website.)



Welcome to Spring Semester Humanities ELA. We too shall be circling new boundaries - dancing, inhaling, crying and ascending sacred rhythms. It will be a great journey of discovery and we will be taking it together. In the end, using all the literature we have found, we will try to put together our pieces and puzzle out what it means. I know that we will all feel richer for what we have learned. I also know that for some, it might make all the difference.


Two roads diverged in a wood and I -

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost


What will we do this semester?

The stuff of a ELA (Humanities) class is basically reading, writing, talking and thinking. We will do this in a variety of ways. There will be times when you will help to design what we do and how it is done. For now, here are some of my ideas:

1. Our theme for this cycle will be RELATIONSHIPS. Most of the literature we will read will touch on relationships between friends, lovers, family, society and within ourselves. I will ask you to make up 10 questions on this theme and paste them to the front of your journal. By the end of this semester we will see how many of these questions you will be able to answer.

Using poetry, short stories, novels, plays and non-fiction pieces, this theme will be divided into 3 smaller units:




Through these units we will investigate how passion, tragedy and spiritual renewal have influenced the themes of literature. We will also look at the conventions of the discipline through it's structure and style.

2. At the beginning of the semester I will ask you to choose a novel to read. You may select it from the booklist or a recommendation from elsewhere. I will then ask you to make up a reading book circle of yourself and two others. It is not necessary that you read the same book. However, that might be fun to do. You will be given four weeks to read this book. One day each week you will confer with your circle, write and respond to each other's literature logs. These logs and responses from others in your circle will be kept in your journal book. Each week you will write 3 pages of literature logs. (You will bring your book and journal with you to class each day.) You will be responsible for reading at least two books this semester. You will read these books at home but you will also be asked, on certain days, to bring your book to school for in-class reading. Check this link for the book circle calendar.

3. I will also ask you to collect quotes in your journal which you will share with the class. These quotes can be taken from your book, short stories, poetry, the newspaper, quotation books, friends & family, etc. What is important is not where it comes from but that you think it is important. Each day another quote will go up on the board until everyone in the class has contributed. (*Remember, always copy down the name of the author of your quote and also where it comes from.)

How will you get credit? Complete all homework assignments:

#1: Description of self through your mother's point of view

#2: Temperament evaluation (For more information on temperament, see chart on learning styles according to temperament)

By the end of the semester, this is what you should have done:

a) Read 2 or more books

b) Written 3 pages of logs in your journal every week

c) Responded to the logs of others in your reading circle


A) Written an end of semester essay about the theme which refers to your questions and uses discoveries from literature & critical literary analysis


B) Created a hyperfiction narrative and authored a webpage to display it

See student work

*NOTE: For those students who are scheduled to take the ELA Regents in June, we will work as a group on skills and content to further prepare you for this exam. All others will create a hyperfiction web site.

click here for ELA Listening Worksheet

back to top

Last updated 4/29/01 by Dina Heisler, Language Arts Teacher, Inquiry & Action