Dow English

Take an interest in the future. You will spend the rest of your life there.

To Kill a Mockingbird




The Great Depression

Maycomb, Alabama (CH.1)

ACTIVITY: Maycomb [Complete Activities II A and III A  with a partner]

The South: 1920s-1950s


DAY 2: CH. 1:


first-person point of view

reliable/unreliable narrator

introduction of themes of coming of age, parental influence, nonconformity, and prejudice

Class Discussion:

Analysis of first paragraphs

Boo: parental influence; bias


HOMEWORK: read chapters 4-6 (voc.: unanimous, evasion, benevolence, uncompromising, inference); 

DAY 3: CH. 4-6

Boo: assumptions/reevaluations


Class Discussion:


ACTIVITY: Inference (with a partner)

ACTIVITY: small group: coming of age

HOMEWORK: read Chapters 7 & 8 (voc.: simultaneous, ruthless, , oppressive, coming of age)

DAY 4: Ch. 7 & 8

Boo--inferences about the truth


HOMEWORK: read Ch. 9-10 (voc.: inconsistent, proclaim, ethics, elude, speculation, tedious, tentative, defendant, prohibit)

DAY 5: Ch. 9 & 10

prejudice and nonconformity (Atticus)

themes of bias and misconception (Atticus)

Jem's coming of age

symbolism of the title

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 11. (voc.: antagonize, benevolence, irk, transaction, inevitable)

Day 6: Ch. 11

Ms. Dubois

A Brief History of Jim Crow Laws

More about Jim Crow

Jim Crow Laws

ACTIVITY: in small groups: Discuss three of the Jim Crow laws and respond to the following:

  1. What do you think about these laws?
  2. Why do you think they were put in place?
  3. Considering the position of blacks in Maycomb, in what way do you see evidence of the effects of these laws in Maycomb?
  4. Jim Crow laws were officially abolished in the 1950s. Explain how you see evidence of their influence today.

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 12 up to the line "While she was shelling peas, Calpurnia suddenly said, 'What am I gonna do about you all’s church this Sunday?'" Read 13-14 (voc.: coming of age, justification, contradict, antagonize, perpetuate)

DAY 7 & 8: Ch. 12-14

themes of prejudice and nonconformity

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 15 (voc.: vengeance, aggravate, apprehension, acquiesce, unanimous); JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT: Describe some incident of a mob you witnessed, participated in, or something you saw in the media. Reflect on the mob's influence on the mob itself and on others.


themes of prejudice and nonconformity

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 16; voc.: accommodate, assurance, testimony, inference, inconsistent)

DAY 10 & 11

Analyzing the testimony of Ch. 17-19

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 20-21  (voc.: inevitable, inference, verdict, acquit, unanimous, vicious); JOURNAL: Write a letter to Tom Robinson expressing your opinion about the trial and verdict. End with some advice you would give him.

DAY 12:

The Verdict

Research: Scottsboro Boys Scottsboro Boys

themes of parental influence, nonconformity vs. conformity; bias

HOMEWORK: Read Ch. 22-23; 

DAY 13: Ch. 22-23

themes of coming of age (loss of innocence), parental influence, nonconformity, bias

HOMEWORK: skip Ch. 24; Read Ch. 25-27; 

JOURNAL ACTIVITY: Look at the last paragraph in Chapters, 22, 25, and 27. Come to a generalization based on what these paragraphs have in common and explain why you've come to this conclusion.

DAY 14: Ch. 25-27

themes of prejudice, coming of age

foreshadowing (Ch. 27)

HOMEWORK: finish novel

DAY 15: Wrap-up

MAJOR ASSIGNMENT: Integration of quotes into a written analysis.

Due date TBD

For each theme, write a concise analysis about each theme. [250-300 words per theme]

Instead of proving that the theme exists in the novel, you will assume it does exist. You will focus on one aspect of the theme in one scene and examine it, coming up with your unique perspective that you prove by incorporating evidence from the novel.

For example, you might focus on:

  • one scene as the most powerful example of parental influence or bias or coming of age or nonconformity and prove why it is the most powerful example, concluding with what this example indicates about parental influence in the real world.
  • how a character usually viewed by the reader as being biased/unbiased, nonconforming/conforming, etc. shows traits of the opposite in the scene. [A character who seems extremely prejudiced actually shows evidence of not being prejudice]

  • incorporate quotes.

The Glass Castle


  1.  Characteristics and purpose of a memoir
  2. Is a memoir true?
  3. first person pov/adult as narrator [comparison to Scout
4. Analysis of the title and the opening quote.
5. Read through to p. 5
6. CHAPTER JOURNAL ENTRY: Respond to the opening chapter.

HOMEWORK: Read pp. 9-50
CH/JOURNAL ENTRY: Write about how the young Jeannette views her father and her mother. Use quotes and make inferences based on the text. (voc.: 

DAY 20: pp. 9-50

  • Small group discussion: parents: how do you view the parents? Why? How is this different from how Jeannette views her parents?
  • laissez-faire culture (nonconformity)
  • The Glass Castle plans

HOMEWORK: Read pp. 51-93




DAY 21: pp. 42-72

Literary Analysis Essay


  1. First sentence: Begin with one of the following:
    1. A quote by a famous person that relates to your chosen topic/thesis/theme. [Notice how the quote has a context.]
      1. How to find an appropriate quote:
        1. Google search: famous quote about your topic. Example: famous quote anger
        2. Search for a short quote that perfectly expresses your thesis/theme.
        3. Ways to incorporate quote:
          1. “Blah, blah,” physicist Albert Einstein said after the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.
          2. After the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, physicist Albert Einstein commented on the resulting devastation by saying, “Blah, blah.”
    2. A quote and/or situation in the story that instantly illustrates your thesis. [Either have to be set into the context of the story.]
      1. How to find an appropriate quote:
        1. Search for a short quote that perfectly expresses your thesis/theme.
      2. Ways to incorporate quote [notice that the name of the author and title of story are included in the first sentence to make it clear who Joe Smith is.]:

          1. “Blah, blah,” Joe Smith says in Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire” after getting lost in the forest while the temperature is dropping.
          2. Lost in the forest with the temperature dropping, Joe Smith in Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire” comments sarcastically about his situation: “Blah, blah.”
    3. An historical reference that illustrates a real-world example of your thesis/subject/theme. [Again, when incorporating into your essay, the context must be evident.]
      1. How to find an historical reference:
        1. Google search: historical incident about your topic. Example: historical incident riots
  2. Next: In one or two sentences explain the quote in terms of how it relates to your thesis/subject/theme. Example for: Lost in the forest with the temperature dropping, the man in Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire” thinks to himself about his situation: “I’m a man. I’ll be fine.” Ironically, it is exactly these kinds of feelings of self-importance that has gotten him into this predicament in the first place.
  3. Next: In one or two sentences begin to discuss the topic you will explore in this story. Relate it to your opening sentences as well as your theme. Continuing from the example in #2: The man has found himself slowly freezing to death after ignoring advice not to travel through the Alaskan woods alone during the depths of winter, yet he refuses to believe he has made a mistake. Instead, he goes deeper into the forest with his only companion--a dog he mistreats—to meet his own death.
  4. End with thesis statement. Continuing from the example above: Through the man’s inner thoughts as he ignorantly journeys to his death (1), London reveals that man’s sense of superiority, despite evidence to the contrary (2), can lead to fatal miscalculations (3).

Body Paragraphs (3 total) format:

  1. Topic sentence (1, 2, and 3 in your thesis statement [above] will be the basis for each topic sentence.
  2. Reason why you think the topic sentence is true. [Using the above example, for topic sentence of Body Paragraph 1, why do you think he ignorantly journeys to his death?]
  3. Evidence from the story that proves your reason. Use both quotes and paraphrasing.
  4. Explain fully how/why the evidence proves the reason.
  5. Concluding sentence: Now that you have proved your topic sentence, explain how part of your thesis is proven. Ex.: The man’s refusal to listen to the experts and instead rely only on his own belief that he can easily make it to his destination is ultimately what kills him.

Conclusion: Now that you have proved your thesis, it can be considered to be a true statement (no longer just your opinion).

  1. First sentence: Don’t just plop in your thesis statement. Instead, restate it as a fact. Example: The man in London’s story is trapped by his own erroneous beliefs about himself, a reliance which leads him to ignore all reasonable warnings about the error of these beliefs.
  2. Next: Restate your concluding sentences from each body paragraph that led you to conclude this.
  3. Next: A sentence that continues the thesis, but also transitions to your view. Example: The result of this kind of ego can be deadly.
  4. Next: Broaden out your discussion about this topic, while still relating it to the story. Example: The man in “To Build a Fire” gives up his life rather than ever admitting he was wrong from the very beginning.
  5. Next: continue the discussion. Example: Furthermore, he never even thinks it is possible he is wrong.
  6. Last: A strong statement or quote from the story that emphasizes the significance of what you’ve concluded. The statement does not have to mention the story or character. Examples:
    1. #5 could continue with: even as he is dying in the snow.
    2. In the end, the dog, who has no ego and whose instincts have warned it all along about the danger, is the one who survives.
    3. His thoughts when he first set out: “I’m a man’s man and can survive anything because I believe I can,” prove to be his undoing.

Written Assignment: 


The following NY Times resources:

The New Yorker: “Homelessness in New York: The Other Millennials” (video):

Newsweek: “Homeless Millennials Are Transforming Hobo Culture”:


All assignments must be typed on Google Docs in MLA format and shared with me at:

Assignments must have your full name, the date, and the name of the assignment at the top of the page.

Assignments should be grammatically correct with no spelling errors.

Late assignments will not be accepted.

For each chapter reading assignment, you must:
  • write a brief reaction to the chapter(s). (5 sentences is fine).
  • in your response, use the assigned vocabulary words
  • use the assigned vocabulary words properly (a noun as a noun, not as a verb, for instance)
  • use each vocabulary word so that it is clear you know what the word means.
  • underline the vocabulary word
  • write down the words on a separate document that you will share with me. Identify: part of speech, definition, and add something that reminds you of the word.

GRADING: each word is worth 3 points: 1 point for using the world properly in terms of definition, 1 point for using the word properly in terms of part of speech; and 1 point for following all the other requirements.


Entries must have Chapter or Assignment title and date; 

For To Kill a Mockingbird:
For each chapter, find at least two (2) quotes that deal with one or more of the themes; coming of age, nonconformity, bias/prejudice, and parental influence.

These quotes will be used in your final essay for this novel AND the memoir The Glass Castle.

I will randomly check entries and grade them.

For each quote:
  • write the quote in its entirety
  • explain in a sentence what is happening when this quote appears
  • note who is speaking and to whom
  • write your analysis of the quote (1-2 sentences)
  • note the page number
Example: Atticus to Scout after she complains that the teacher at school is incompetent: "'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view" (p. 24)
Atticus is saying that we don't really know what other people are dealing with, but if we try to understand the things in that person's life that might be affect him or her, then we will have a better understanding of why that person is behaving a certain way.

NOTE: The quote entries should all be contained in the same file (not separate files). Each of the other Journal entries should be its own file.