Here is a list of assignments, in reverse chronological order. Blog posts are in caps, and hard copy assignments to turn in to Dr. Preston are in bold.

  • Reminder: literature analysis #2 due Friday, 2/28.
  • Begin thinking about your masterpiece. Assigned 2/4.
  • Read the Wikipedia entry for Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Assigned 2/3.
  • LIT TERMS LIST 5: due on blog by Friday, 2/7. Assigned 2/3.

  • Study lit terms list #4 for quiz Monday, 2/3. Assigned 1/31.
  • THE TIME OF MY LIFE: post a description of how you used today's time. Assigned 1/31.
  • Reminder: literature analysis #1 due tomorrow, 1/31.
  • Study & Reflect. For tomorrow (Friday, 2/1) you should have a solid handle on the two Dickensian lectures, this week's lit terms, your lit analysis book, and Derrida's concept of structure/free play (so please at least read the Wikipedia entry and skim the Stanford Philosophy entry). Assigned 1/30.
  • Read this quote:
    "What is it that makes you want to write songs? In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people's hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you're playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people. To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack."
    -Keith Richards
  • WHAT'S THE STORY?: in a blog post, answer the following question, due Tuesday, 1/28. Assigned 1/27.
    Why did Charles Dickens write the novel you're reading/reviewing? What in your analysis of literary techniques led you to this conclusion? (Make sure to include textual support illustrating Dickens' use of at least three techniques we've studied/discussed this year.)
  • TALE OF TWO CITIES LECTURE NOTES: Watch Dr. Tony Williams's Gresham College lecture on A Tale of Two Cities here; take notes and post them to your blog. Assigned 1/27.

  • LIT TERMS LIST 4: due on blog by Friday, 1/31. Assigned 1/24.
  • Study your novel and your notes for Great Expecations/Tale of Two Cities/Catch-22/whatever you read. Assigned 1/23.
  • LIT TERMS LIST 3: due on blog by Friday, 1/24. Assigned 1/21.
  • Please reflect on your performance on today's essay exam and write about it in your journal. Assigned 1/21.

  • Reminder: work on the first literature analysis of the semester (preferably using a book from the AP Reading List), due on your blog Friday, 1/31. Assigned 1/10.
  • Prepare for Tuesday's essay on the St. Crispin's Day speech (to learn about the context of the speech, see here; to learn about how the essay [and more importantly the AP exam] will be graded, see here). Assigned 1/17.
  • Add a "Followers" gadget to your blog. Assigned 1/17.
  • Recruit and add 20 followers (from our three classes) to your course blog. Assigned 1/17.
  • LIT TERMS REMIX 1-5: remix the first five terms of Lit Terms #2 (circumlocution, classicism, cliché, climax, and colloquialism). Assigned 1/16.
  • Reminder: memorize the best pre-game speech in history; due Wednesday, 1/15. Assigned 1/10.
  • Post definitions and examples for Lit Terms #2. Assigned 1/13.

  • Study for the lit terms quiz #1 on Monday, 1/13. Assigned 1/10.
  • Select a Literature Analysis book from the AP Reading List and bring to class Monday, 1/13. Assigned 1/10.
  • Reread the Siddhartha passage and see if we can find any of the literary terms from this week's list. Assigned 1/9.
  • AP PREP POST 1: SIDDHARTHA: Search for AP Literature/Composition questions on Siddhartha and find five multiple choice/essay questions worth asking. What do these questions tell you about the AP exam? What do you need to "see" when you read a passage? In a blog post, please:
    • a) list the five questions you chose and the URLs where you found them;
    • b) answer the five questions to the best of your ability (if you listed an interesting question that you can't answer because it's not covered in the passage, explain what information you'd need to do a proper job);
    • c) explain what the questions tell you about the skills/content you need to master for the AP exam.
  • HACKING MY EDUCATION: Hack your education for the second semester by creating your own goals to prove to the government that they don't have to do it for you. In your blog post, please answer these three questions:
    1. What do I want to know?
    2. What experiences do I want to have under my belt?
    3. What skills do I want to demonstrate?
  • Read the passage from Siddhartha here and come to class tomorrow (Thursday, 1/9) prepared to discuss. Assigned 1/8.
  • WHAT'S IN THIS FOR ME?: please read this post and comment with a brief (1-2 sentence) description of what you want to accomplish by participating in this course over the next six months. Then, post a longer description to your course blog. Assigned 1/6.

  • Last assignment of the semester: create something awesome for your final showcase!
  • LIFE AFTER THIS BLOG POST: write an email to yourself at, and then write a blog post about the experience. Assigned 12/9.
  • Semester wrap up: literature review/Dickens or Shakespeare; literature analyses; any/all outstanding work that you want considered for your final semester grade, all of which is due on your blog BY the time we meet on Friday, 11/6. Assigned 12/2.
  • Reminder: Prepare for this week's vocab and essay finals (Wednesday, 12/4, and Thursday, 11/5, respectively).

  • Reminder: Finish your literature/group study of Great Expectations/Tale of Two Cities/Henry V/whatever. Assigned 11/20.
  • Brainstorm what you want to do for your final presentation (Wednesday, 12/11 for 3rd period and Thursday, 12/12 for 4th and 5th) so you can propose your idea to Dr. Preston. Assigned 11/26.
  • Prove you can read. Assigned 11/26.
  • Sartre v. Plato comparative essay (assigned 11/26):

    Something happens in your environment. It might be a sound just outside the field of your peripheral vision, it might be be an action that inspires or outrages you, or it might be an outright crisis or opportunity. Adopt the persona of any character from either the "Allegory" or "No Exit" and explain how this character would respond to the event and why. Explain how the response reflects the characterization, theme, tone, and general philosophy of the author (Plato or Sartre) who created the character. Compare this analysis with the work you didn't choose (for example, if you choose Estella from "No Exit," explain her response in these terms and then compare with a slave from the cave in Plato's "Allegory).

    Helpful hints:
    • 1) Start with a pre-write to organize your thoughts;
    • 2) Include enough about the literary techniques to support your argument without hijacking your entire thesis;
    • 3) Feel free to collaborate-- this exercise is practice/study/review for next week's essay final.
  • Reminder: finish reading No Exit by Tuesday, 11/26. Assigned 11/22.
  • Study ALL VOCAB for quiz tomorrow, Tuesday, 11/26.

  • ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE SONNET: Write a sonnet about Plato's Allegory of the Cave and post it to your blog. To receive full credit your sonnet must receive 10 positive reviews from your colleagues, each of whom must evaluate:
    • a) whether your sonnet meets the definitional requirements and therefore deserves to be called a sonnet in the first place; and
    • b) whether it's any good, as evidenced by the quality of narration, setting, use of figurative language, etc.
  • Begin reading the library book you selected (or Henry V, if you went that route; if anyone found a better script, please let Dr. Preston know and he'll post it). In addition to your close/active reading notes, and whatever additional roles you decide on as a group, here is an additional incentive: if you answer the the Literature Analysis questions in a post to your blog by the end of Thanksgiving weekend (11:59 P.M. on Sunday, December 1) you can count this as a Literature Analysis. Assigned 11/21.
  • Go to the member blogs page, find 15 people you don't know well, and comment to their blogs with:
    • a) a compliment about their blog,
    • b) a question you need help with for finals prep or Henry V / Dickens, and
    • c) the URL of your blog so they can comment back.
  • Dr. Preston says, "Happy Thanksgiving in advance. (Why wait to be thankful?) Thank someone you love, thank someone you like, thank someone you can't stand, and thank someone you don't know. And, since I don't say it often enough: thank you."
  • Begin collaborating with your literature group. Agree to an online platform and/or meeting schedule outside school that will support your study of Henry V, Tale of Two Cities, and/or Great Expectations. On that platform, come to an agreement on a reading schedule that will enable all members of your group to complete the reading by the end of Thanksgiving weekend (Sunday, December 1). Assigned 11/20.
  • BRAIN WITH [x] LEGS: post about your literature study/group to your blog. Describe the process of choosing the work, explain how you intend to collaborate on/offline, and share your reading schedule. Assigned 11/20.
  • Reminder: Review vocab lists 3, 4, 5, & 7 for quiz Wednesday, 11/20. Assigned 11/18.
  • Reminder: Prepare for Tuesday's Wednesday's essay on "Allegory of the Cave." Assigned 11/15.
  • Bring your ID if you want to check out Great Expectations or Tale of Two Cities on campus Tuesday, 11/19. Assigned 11/18.

  • Check out/contribute to the brain with 156 legs mindmap. Assigned 11/16, at 12:00pm exactly.
  • Consider which collaborative working group you want to join, follow and/or create. Assigned 11/15.
  • PLATO'S ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE: read Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" and answer these study questions. Assigned 11/14.
  • Comment to this post with your choice of mind map and your suggested article/s. Assigned 11/13.
  • WE HANG TOGETHER: read the article and post notes to your blog-- there will be an extensive reading quiz tomorrow (11/13) along with the vocabulary test. As you read, pay particular attention to how collaborative relationships operate offline and think about how we can increase their value by networking online. Assigned 11/12.
  • Study vocabulary-- the test tomorrow (11/13) includes lists 1, 2, 8, & 9. Assigned 11/12.
  • Using Dr. Preston's wording, read this and do this. Assigned 11/12.

  • Finish everything to your satisfaction by Tuesday, 11/12. Assigned 11/7.
  • A POETIC INQUIRY: revisit your Big Question and select a sonnet that relates to it, and then write a blog post about your thought process. Assigned 11/6.
  • SONNET ANALYSIS #1: post your lecture notes on sonnets from today (Wednesday, 11/6) to your blog.
  • Consider, analyze, and evaluate the remix resources. Assigned 11/5.
  • HAMLET REMIX: remix your Hamlet essay. Assigned 11/5.
  • Study vocabulary #9 for quiz tomorrow, Tuesday 11/5. Assigned 11/4.

  • HAMLET ESSAY: write an essay on the following prompt, and post to your blog AND bring in a hard copy by Monday, 11/4. Assigned 11/1.
    Using what you've learned about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play, evaluate the impact of performative utterance on Hamlet and your own sense of self. How does the way Hamlet speaks constitute action in itself? How does it impact the characters and the plot? How does this compare with your own "self-overhearing"? How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results? Use the text, your reading/lecture notes, the experience of memorizing the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, de Boer's paper (and Bloom's/Austin's theoretical frameworks), and the many online and offline discussions we've had.

See older assignments


  1. Thank you so much Lisa for doing this! it has helped me so much! you are awesome!