Humanities 2013-2014 Summer Reading Assignment


All students must read Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand or Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides



The Summer Reading Assignment is to be completed independently. Students are expected to work alone generating responses that reflect their independent views, analysis and interpretations of each of the readings.

Below there are assignments that are to be completed along with the reading of the novels. Students will submit the assignment the first day of school. The assignment is to be handwritten. In addition to responding to the assignments there will be follow-up assignments given the first week of school.


Assignment:  Students will complete this activity for one of the novels.

option #1-Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

option #2-Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton sides


You will keep a reading log to support your reading of the novel you select. The requirements for your reading log are provided below.


Your reading journal will represent your own personal dialogue with the novel. It is designed to provide the foundation for original literary analysis. Think of it as a conversation that you are having with the novel as you are reading it. You want to continually be relating to and making connections with the text.


**You must have a minimum of 25 entries**


Journals must be handwritten on 8 1⁄2 X 11 lined notebook paper.


1. Divide your paper in half vertically.

2. Label the left column “Evidence.”

These are exact passages or quotations from the text.

You must write exact quotes from the text in the left-hand column in the sequential order as they appear in the novel. If the sentence is especially long just write the key words and use an ellipsis (…). You should be keeping your journal as you are reading the novel, so this format should not be difficult. Your quotes should be evenly distributed throughout the book. They cannot all be from only a few chapters in the book, but should demonstrate that you did indeed read the entire novel. Quotes do not have to be only dialogue. They can include descriptive passages as well.


3. Label the right column “Commentary.” These are your thoughts or reactions to the Evidence from the text.


4. Number your entries.


5. As you read, quote important ideas from the text in the left column using quotation marks and putting the page number at the end in parentheses.


6. In the Commentary column note your reaction or response to each quotation in COMPLETE SENTENCES. Do not restate the Evidence. Do not write “John said this,” and expect it to count as personal commentary. Do not use unidentified pronouns!


7. Do not merely summarize or paraphrase the quote in your Commentary. You must respond or react to it!


8. Reading logs must be handwritten.



The evaluation of this assignment will be divided into two parts, each worth one-half of the grade—Entries, Quality, and Classifications (See the following section for classification format). The second part of your grade will be based on the quality of your commentary.

What defines quality commentary? Quality commentary includes observations and thoughts about the text which show that you are focusing on details and are thinking about them thoroughly and insightfully. Once you have read your text and completed your journal, you will already have a great set of notes which can be used for future assignments. You also should have gained a great deal of insight about your particular text.

Reading Journal – Format Examples and Commentary Assistance

Annotating Text – Reading Strategies



➢ Examine the front and back covers (books)

➢ Read the title and any subtitles

➢ Examine the illustrations

➢ Examine the print (bold, italics, etc.)

➢ Examine the way the text is set up (book, short story, diary, dialogue, etc.)


As you examine and read these, write questions, and make predictions and/or connections near these parts of the text.



Mark in the text:

➢ Characters (who)

➢ When (setting)

➢ Where (setting)

➢ Important information


Write in the margins:

➢ Summarize

➢ Make predictions

➢ Formulate opinions

➢ Make connections

➢ Ask Questions

➢ Analyze the author’s craft

➢ Write reflections/reactions/comments

➢ Look for patterns/repetitions


AFTER READING – Preparing to write an essay!

➢ Reread annotations—draw conclusions

➢ Reread introduction and conclusion—try to figure out something new

➢ Examine patterns/repetitions—determine possible meanings

➢ Determine what the title might mean


(Carol Porter-O’Donnell)

Dialectical Journal

Classification Format


Use these symbols to label EACH ONE of your 75 commentary entries.

(C) = Connect: Make a personal connection to the passage by relating the quote to something in your life from your past or present or from another literary work which you have read.

(CL) = Clarify: Answer earlier questions that you recorded and/or confirm or disaffirm earlier predictions that you made.

(DI) = Determine Importance: Determine the significance of the passage. How is the passage hooked to other important events in the story? What does the passage reveal about theme?

(LI) = Literary Term: Identify the literary device being used and offer your interpretation of the language.

(P) = Predict: Using information given in the plot or the action, predict events that you anticipate will occur.

(Q) = Question: Ask something about the passage – who, what, when, where, why, and how.

(R) = Reflect: Pay close attention to the dialogue used between characters. What do you think each character’s dialect (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation) reveals about his or her background, ethnicity, education, or upbringing?

(V) = Visualize: Does the passage paint a picture in your mind? Draw a graphic representation of the passage.


Label each entry in your reading journal with one of the above classifications. Using this classification system forces you to think about HOW you read and WHAT information you are noting. It will also help you make connections and expand your comprehension.



Study the evidence in the chart below. For each quotation, you must have thorough and well thought out commentary.




5. “Jose Arcadio Buendia, trying to surprise Divine Providence in the midst of the cataclysm, was the one who least understood it” (60).


6. Linda: “Well, you’ll just have to take a Rest, Willy, you can’t continue this way.”

Willy: “I just got back from Florida.”

Linda: “But you didn’t rest your mind.Your mind is overactive, and the mind is what counts, dear” (1.3.115).

It is the middle of this quote that I find interesting. Divine Providence is the same thing as fate. How can you surprise fate?  I don’t think that you can. Just another side of how misguided Jose Arcadio

Buendia is at times. (Q)


Nowadays, it seems that vacations

can often contribute more to one’s

stress than if one were not to take a

vacation. If one is overburdened by work, being away from that buildup of work only exacerbates his or her worry. Willy does not understand this concept; he expects too much out of himself because he expects that a vacation should naturally relax him.

Linda is correct in stating the mind is what counts because an “overly active mind” can contribute to physical fatigue. However, the problem lies deeper than Willy’s mind; his problem is the job that feeds this overly

active mind. (C) (R)


Reading Journals must be handwritten in a single-subject, spiral bound notebook. Please remember, if I cannot read it, I cannot grade it. Take your time and write neatly and thoughtfully.

You may use both the front and back of the paper, and you may write on every line. You may use any color of pen or pencil as long as it is legible. Get used to reading and responding to the text. An immediate response is imperative. Knowing the ending of a story influences your emotional response as you read and may alter your commentary in a significant way. It is imperative that you write your commentary AS YOU NOTE YOUR EVIDENCE. Failure to do so may result in a loss of points.


HOW should I choose the evidence (quotes) for my reading journal?

  • Find a line or passage which made a strong impression on YOU. It could be something you seriously disagree with; if so, go ahead and counter the argument in your Commentary. On the other hand, if it’s something you like, is this something you want to remember and/or live up to in your own life? Would your life be any different if you do?

  • Find a line or passage that offers a powerful statement. You are allowed to define the power in any way you wish. Sometimes a passage is particularly persuasive, emotional, descriptive, or meaningful—but there are all kinds of other things that set one line apart from the rest. Decide for yourself.

  • Consider the assignment you will be completing on this novel and use your reading journal as a tool. What does the prompt ask you to contemplate? Use your log to trace that idea and you will already have textual support for your essay!

  • Find a line or passage that confuses you. You find yourself wondering if you might understand the whole text better if you could make sense of this part.

  • Find a line or passage that helps you understand the text or that reminds you of another text that you have read. (How is this similar to or different from the other, and how can that comparison or contrast contribute to our understanding of the text?)

  • Find a line or passage that demonstrates a noteworthy way of connecting with and persuading the reader.


Spelling and Grammar / Opinions

You can use informal style as long as you write in a way that does not undermine your credibility as a commentator. (Significant grammar problems will affect your readability and your credibility.) Please be certain to use school appropriate language and refrain from the use of profanity. Certainly your personal opinions will be evident in your Commentary section, but remember this is not a place simply to VENT! (I like this book. I hate this book.) Every sentence that you write in the Commentary section must be tied to the Evidence provided. The Commentary section is to be used to help you understand and relate to the text.

Baroque Art in Northern Europe, Rococo, and Neoclassicism.

What you need to know:

Images 15.12, 15.23, 15.25, 15.26, 15.28, 15.29, 15.30, 15.31, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7, 16.11, 16.12, 16.14.

Artist’s Name ( Known as )

Title of Work

Medium (building exterior materials)

The city where the Art can be found.

Style: Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicism.

THREE Relevant Historical facts. (These “facts” can relate to: stylistic characteristics, individual artist’s qualities, significant compositional structures, explanation of the painting’s message, importance as a work of Art, etc.) NO REPEATS, and IN FULL SENTENCES.

The test is on March 12th.  SIX Slides. Four minutes each.

Northern Renaissance and Baroque Art

What you need to know:

Images 14.4, 14.10, 14.13, 14.14, 14.16 through 14.21, 15.1 through 15.12, 15.14, 15.16, 15.17, 15.21, 15.23

15.23 IS A GUARANTEE, IT IS ON THE TEST. It is the greatest painter EVER created.

Artist’s Name ( Known as )

Title of Work

Medium (building exterior materials)

The city where the Art can be found.

Style: Northern Renaissance (Germany, Netherlands, France) Baroque (Italy, France, Spain, and Northern Europe)

Four Relevant Historical facts. (These “facts” can relate to: stylistic characteristics, individual artist’s qualities, significant compositional structures, explanation of the painting’s message, importance as a work of Art, etc.)

The test is on January 18th.

Owen Meany Body Biography Directions

Body Biography Directions

(90 Point Project)

What is a body biography?


A body biography is a combination of artwork and writing (quotes from the novel and your own explanations of those quotes). You will decorate your body biography according to the requirements listed below to demonstrate your understanding of this character. Please note: your body biography is not suppose to be a literal representation of your character. Instead, it should be more like a giant collage of written ideas, drawings, and symbols that work together to show us how well you understand your character, but we also want you to be CREATIVE!


What is the purpose?


The purpose behind creating a body biography is to allow you to take a DEEP look at one character from A Prayer for Owen Meany. You will have to review significant events, choices that your character made, and changes that your character went through internally within the course of the novel. You will have to take a serious look into what makes your character tick – what motivates your character, how your character feels about himself/herself at the beginning of the novel, and how those feelings may have changed by the end of the novel.


How do we create a body biography?


For your chosen character, your group will create a body biography- a visual (body template) and written portrait, illustrating several aspects of the character’s life within the novel. You will then present your life-size visual presentation to the class and you will also evaluate the work of other groups. Make sure you display your character’s name prominently on the body outline paper.


  1. One of you will need to be the “body”.
  2. Have that person lie down on the paper.
  3. Trace the outline of the person’s body (body template).
  4. Then choose the best way to represent the following aspects of the character symbolically:


  1. THE HEART– (5 points) Where should you place it to best represent what this character loves most? What should it look like and what shape, color, pictures, or symbols should be included in it? If the character’s love changes, you should find a way to represent this visually. The heart is a good place for illustrating the important relationships in his/her life.


  1. THE BACKBONE – (5 points) Actors often discuss a character’s “spine.” This is the character’s objective within the novel. What is the most important goal for your character? What drives his/her thoughts and actions? This is his/her spine. How can you illustrate it?


  1. THE FEET – (5 points) On what is the character standing? This should be a symbolic representation of the character’s most fundamental beliefs about life.


  1. THE HANDS– (5 points) What does the character hold in his or her hands? Items that are associated with the character either literally or figuratively should be included.


  1. QUOTATIONS – (15 points) Near the character’s head, students should place three direct quotations from the story that sum up the character and add to an understanding of the character. These quotes do not necessarily need to be spoken by the character. Possibly, another character says them in regard to your character.


  1. COLORS – (5 points) Colors are often symbolic. What color(s) do you associate with your character? Why? How can you effectively work these colors into your project?


  1. PRESENTATION – (20 points) Your group will have three days to prepare your body biography. Then, each group will present their Body Biography to the class. The presentations should explain the choices your group made and help the class understand the meaning of the symbols you have used. This is a group grade, so practice your presentation.


  1. CLASS PARTICIPATION – During each presentation, the rest of the class will respond to the biography and presentation by making suggestions and discussing alternative ways in which the character might have been represented.


  1. WRITTEN PORTRAIT – (30 points) This is an important part of the project, so make sure you read the directions. Pay careful attention to the examples.
    1. Paragraph one discusses the symbols you chose and an explanation why you selected these particular items.
    2. Paragraph two discusses the quotes you selected and an explanation why you selected these quotations.
    3. Paragraph three discusses the colors you chose and how they represent your character.




Body Biography

Part I – Writing

Paragraph 1Visual Symbols— Even though you may have placed several symbols on the template, you only need to discuss three symbols in this paragraph that represent significant personality traits or important aspects of your character’s life. For example, you might use a light bulb to show that your character has good ideas. Make sure that each symbol from the paragraph is placed on the drawing in a meaningful place. For example, you might draw one object close to the character’s heart if it symbolizes something he/she loves or feels; around the head if it symbolizes what a character thinks; on the hands if it symbolizes his/her work; etc. The paragraph should identify the most important symbols; explain what each represents, where you placed it on the body template, and why you chose to place it there. Be sure to use a topic sentence and a closing sentence.


Paragraph 2Quotations – Choose at least three quotations from the novel which reveal personality traits of your character. These do not have to be what the character actually says, but could be part of the narration or what another character says about him/her. These quotations will also be placed on the body template in a significant place, like the symbols from Paragraph 1. In your paragraph, write the exact lines from the novel, explain what each quotation reveals about the character’s personality,

and explain where you placed the quote on the drawing and why. Be sure to use a topic sentence and a closing sentence.


Paragraph 3Symbolic Colors– On the body template, you will add any other decorations you think apply to the character. The colors you choose for these decorations should be symbolic of the character’s personality. Use the color symbolism chart to help you choose the best colors for your character. Use at least three colors. In your paragraph, describe the colors you used and how those colors apply to your character’s personality. Be sure to use a topic sentence and a closing sentence.




Format directions:

*Type your paragraphs in Times New Roman, 12 font.

*Label each paragraph like the examples.

*Each paragraph should be single-spaced, but double-space between paragraphs.  

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Summer Reading Assignment 2012



The summer reading assignment for Humanities is A Prayer for Owen Meanyby John Irving. Told in two time frames, the story centers on the title character, Owen Meany, a young man with a nasal -y voice and stunted growth. Owen may be little, but he is oddly powerful. Johnny, the narrator, spends most of his time with Owen, whose family owns a granite quarry in Gravesend. We learn right away that Owen is totally different from the other kids in town – physically, he’s the smallest kid around. He has ears that stick out and a voice that terrifies people who hear it for the first time. We get a sense of Owen’s voice from the first time he speaks because all of his dialogue is written LIKE THIS, IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Owen also sticks out because he kind of acts like a little old man; he’s wise beyond his years and isn’t afraid to tell other people about his beliefs and principles.

Class discussions and assignments will focus on this novel when students return in the fall. Students will have brushed away some of the summer cobwebs and be prepared to begin class. The completed reading will provide a basis for discussion, writing, and thinking from the first day on. The corresponding assignment will be graded and averaged into the students’ grades; failure to complete the reading does not automatically drop the student from the course, but it will adversely affect their course grade.  Students are expected to provide their own copies of the assigned titles. The assignment will be presented to the students in class as well as posted on the website.


Select one quotation for every 30 – 35 pages (for this book that means roughly 25 quotes with comment). Look for passages that show how characters grow and change over the course of the novel, both in their attitudes and outlook on life. What do these changes illustrate about human tendencies? How does the author use symbolism and conflict to reveal larger ideas about human nature? How do the topics and themes mentioned above connect to the characters? Look for opportunities in the novel to expand on and analyze character actions, events, and ideas. How do character actions, events, and ideas provide insight into larger truths about how people tend to act.

Quote Response: Two Column Notes

Write the quote from the book on the left side of the paper with the correct MLA citation (176).

On the right side of the page, write your response. You have several waysto respond to a text:

1.Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text

2.Give your personal reactions to the passage

3.Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or a character.

4. Consider the writing itself, i.e. style.

5. Discuss what it reminds you of and what you relate to.

5. Argue with the character or author.

Humanities Final Exam 2012

Humanities Final Exam Spring 2012 

Your task is to compose a poem which embodies the “big ideas” from this year’s studies. Your poem must be 20 lines in length and reflect the lessons on writing poetry regarding topic, theme, structure, and poetic strategies. Economy of language, that is using precise word choice and saying a lot with just a few words, is very important to the success of your poem. Brevity is the name of the game in poetry. You may consult your book and notes.

The poem may be free verse or traditional verse. If you choose free verse, be sure you also incorporate imagery, figures of speech, etc. for that is what will distinguish it from prose.

You may prepare your list of “Big Ideas” ahead of time, but the poem will be composed during the exam.

Criteria for grading:

1.Accurately reflects the content of Humanities this year

2.Uses an effective structure

3.Language is economical and vivid

4.Poetic strategies are used

5.Poem is at least 20 lines

The Winner is

Recording a decisive victory… Nora and Becky won with 65.22% of the vote. Congratulations and thanks to all who voted.

Field Trip Blog Post

For our field trip please “blog” your experience on the trip on your website by Monday April 9th..  Include photographs. Avoid personal identifications and direct references.

Painting Research Project and Portfolio Presentation Final Exam

Painting Research Project and Portfolio Presentation


Write an essay in which you research a painter and discuss your opinion about his/her work.  This essay will be posted to your website rather than turned in as a paper.  Discover who that person was/is; what or who were/are his/her influences and motivations—create a short bio about their life.  You should choose three specific paintings by the artist to discuss/critique.  You can discuss the theme, composition, special techniques or other aspects of the paintings that you find unique or revolutionary.  Why are you drawn to the artist’s work?  What is the message that he/she is trying to send?  What do you think his/her goal was/is with his/her artwork?  Pay close attention to your reactions to the artwork, you will need to reflect on what you think about the artist’s work and the view of life that he/she presents.  All images and writing will be presented in your portfolio for the final exam.
Be careful to site your sources and DO NOT PLAGIARIZE.
Your paper should include the following:
1. Approximately 500 words, including the discussion of the three paintings you have chosen.
2. Three visuals from the painter need to be included (the examples you discuss in your paper).  The three photos of the paintings should be posted on your site, labeled correctly with the title and date of the work.
3. Site your resources—MLA format!!!  You should have at least 3 resources.
The second part of this assignment is to create a painting based on the work of the artist you have researched.  You may emulate his/her style in composition, paint application or content/context.  Be creative, think outside of the box, how can you emulate, or be inspired by, the work of this artist? DO NOT COPY A WORK DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST.



Painting Research Project and Portfolio Presentation—Rubric

Name ___________________________________
Part 1—Writing
Introduction to the artist, including a short biography and discussion of the artist’s training and work.
Discussion of selected artist paintings—you should have discussed theme, composition, special techniques or other aspects of the paintings that you find unique or revolutionary.  Discuss why you are drawn to the artist’s work.  What is the message that he/she is trying to send?  What do you think his/her goal was/is with his/her artwork?  Discuss your reactions to the artwork.
Painting 1 ______/25
Painting 2 ______/25
Painting 3 ______/25
Presentation of writing and images in the portfolio: ______/25
Part 2—Your interpretation of the artist’s style.  Painting completed in the style of the artist:
Grade determined using the standard art rubric.

Phone pics from the Met.