Category Archives: Honors IV

Mr. Bean Does Shakespeare

In this sketch, comedian Rowan Atkinson (better known as Mr. Bean or the voice of Zazu, the majordomo bird in The Lion King) explains Elizabethan theater, including the roles of king and messenger and the importance of having a poison checker. Enjoy!

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Filed under AP Literature, Honors IV

What’s Your Word? Essay

After reading the excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, you will craft a short essay in which you explain your word and why it fits you. Your essay should include three elements found in Gilbert’s original piece:

  • A detailed description of something – Emulate her description of the “quintessential Roman woman” in the first long paragraph of the excerpt. Your description may be of anything (person, item, etc.), but it must contain the same level of focus and detail. Your description should fit with the tone of your overall piece.
  • One sentence containing a string of participles, like the one from the first long paragraph at the top of page 2: “Thinking about it, dressing for it, seeking it, considering it, refusing it, making a sport and game out of it—that’s all anybody is doing.”
  • A contrast paragraph in which you further define yourself by including several brief explanations of words you are not, as she does in the final long paragraph of the piece.

Your elements do not have to come in the same order as they do in the excerpt, but they must be included somewhere in your response. Your final piece must be typed (double-spaced, 12 pt. font) and is limited to two pages. Please use Google Docs to prepare your response. A carefully-crafted paper might be revised as a potential college essay, so take care to do a good job.

Your final completed essay must be submitted to Canvas. Have fun!

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Filed under AP Literature, Honors IV

Get More Done

make it happen

Senior year, with all its excitement and change and possibility, can be daunting. Managing a busy schedule that includes AP and honors classes along with a job and extracurriculars is something most of you have figured out, but adding the college search, beginning the college application process, and securing financial aid can gum up what used to work in unexpected ways.

Thankfully, there are a number of apps that can make the time management process easier and simpler. Each of the ones listed below has something to offer, so pick and choose based on your particular needs.

Keeping Track

Dropbox is free cloud-based storage. You earn 2 GB of free space when you sign up for a Dropbox account, plenty of room for any research you might find: pictures, notes, .pdf and Word files, audio clips–if you can save it to a flash drive, you can save it in your Dropbox!

Dropbox is a great solution if you are in the habit of saving things into folders or onto flash drives–especially if you often misplace or lend out your flash drive. It’s accessible on any Internet-connected device, including smartphones and tablets. A free app is available for all platforms. Everything in your Dropbox is private and secure, but you do have the option to share folders if you’re working with a team.

Dropbox online
FREE iOS and Android apps


Evernote is a multi-platform notetaking program designed for people on the go. Like Dropbox, it is accessible through a web interface or through a smartphone or tablet app. Evernote live-syncs across all platforms to keep your information as up to date as possible. Evernote organizes notes into notebooks that you design. You could set up one notebook per class, or one for a special project, or your scholarship search, or separate notebooks for each college you’re exploring–you have lots of flexibility. Evernote also gives you the flexibility to share notebooks with collaborators, which can be really helpful for classroom projects. Whenever you sync, you have all the latest input, whether someone’s absent or not!

Evernote has a number of add-ons that add functionality, such as the Skitch app, which allows you to annotate pictures and .pdfs, and (my favorite), the Evernote Web Clipper, a browser add-on that will clip web information and import it directly into your Evernote account as a new note.

Evernote online
FREE iOS and Android apps

Homework Apps

If you need a place to keep all of your tasks in order, you need a planner. If you’d rather not carry/write in a hard copy calendar, try one of the following phone apps:

  • Google Calendar
  • My Homework
  • The Homework App
  • Reminders (iOS)
  • Taskade


Staying on Task

Pomodoro Timers

The Pomodoro technique is a great way to help you tackle a ton of tasks you have to complete in a limited time frame. The technique works in blocks of thirty minutes. You work for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break. After you complete four Pomodoros, you should take a longer break of a half hour. Psychologically, it enables you to fully concentrate on the task at hand because you know that a work period (homework, reading, etc.) will be followed by a break period (social media, snack, play with the dog, etc.)–your productivity goes up, and so will your grades!

Multiple free apps modeled on this technique may be found at the App and Google stores, including BeFocused, Toggl, Clockwork Tomato, Tide, and Brain Focus. Want to introduce some gamification? Try Forest. As long as you concentrate, your little forest of trees will grow. Get distracted and they die. See how the technique works below.


Tumblr can eat your life. So can Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and just about any other social media platform out there. That’s where Anti-Social steps in. You specify the social media sites you wish to turn off, schedule the days and hours you want them to be disabled, and go about your business. You can set blocks for as short as 15 minutes and as long as 8 hours. This is a great tool to use when you need access to the Internet for research or to finish up that pesky FLVS course but can’t manage to get through a session without checking “just for a minute” (which turns into an hour or more). Compatible with Windows and Mac systems.

Anti-Social online
$15 shareware


Freedom provides you total freedom from the Internet. You specify the period of time you want, and it blocks access to the Internet until your time is up. The only way to disable it during a session is to reboot your computer. This is an effective tool both practically and psychologically. If you are very distractible and can just as easily amuse yourself reading CNN as you can Reddit, then Freedom may be the solution for you. Available for Mac, Windows, and Android-based systems (like Chromebook).

Freedom online
$10 shareware


Stay Focusd
This nifty extension for the Chrome browser restricts the amount of time you can spend on specified websites. Once your allotted time is used up, those sites are inaccessible for the rest of the day. You can block entire sites, specific subdomains or pages, or even in-page content like videos, images, or games. Best of all, it’s free!

StayFocusd online
Free Chrome browser extension

wastenotimeWaste No Time
This browser extension for Safari and Chrome helps you manage your online time more efficiently. The Time Tracker gives you reports on what websites eat most of your time when you’re online. Instant Lockdown mode gives you very limited Internet access during a specified time period, while Time Quota blocks a site once your present amount of time for the day is used up. You can set a global quota that will track all of your Internet activity or specify a time limit by site.

WasteNoTime online
Free Safari and Chrome browser extension


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Filed under AP Literature, Honors IV

Welcome Back!


Congratulations, seniors! Welcome to your last year of high school and your first step into life beyond Dr. Phillips. This year will go much faster than you expect and cost much more than you think it will, so save your pennies!

To prepare you for the college environment, your course is designed to emulate those expectations. The course syllabus may be accessed by clicking the appropriate link to the right. Assignments and papers will be submitted to Canvas, where they will also be marked and returned to you. The course calendar will be housed in Canvas as well. Additional resources, forms, and detailed explanations about assignments will be posted on this website.

AP Literature is designed to help you accomplish the following:
• see complexity
• find patterns
• recognize shifts in a passage
• make inferences based on the evidence available
• determine how form suits function
• connect seemingly small details to the meaning as a whole
• follow the relationship of diction’s influence on tone, and tone’s influence on mood
• appreciate point of view

English 4 Honors is designed to help you accomplish the following:
• read for information and enjoyment
• analyze and discuss essays, short stories, poetry, plays, and novels
• write for a variety of audiences
• select the proper form of writing to suit your function
• determine the veracity and suitability of evidence
• learn how to cite evidence using MLA format

To get the most out of this year, be prepared, be curious, ask questions, and enjoy. I’ll do my best to send you off in style—it’s your job to do the work to get there. Here’s to an excellent year!

Skills list courtesy of Brian Sztabnik (@TalksWTeachers), Miller Place High School

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Filed under AP Literature, Honors IV, Life on Campus

Lord of the Flies Seminar Questions

In preparation for our Socratic seminar on Lord of the Flies, please gather textual support that will help you answer the following questions. Although direct quotations are encouraged, references to specific plot elements, characters, etc. in the text will suffice. Remember that the ultimate goal of the seminar is to enhance your knowledge of the work itself, so focus your attention on what occurs in the text rather than speculation drawn from the events in the text.

1. Who was the most effective leader, Ralph or Jack?

2. Could the boys have avoided the fate predicted by the Lord of the Flies?

3. Are people truly good or evil? Was the Lord of the Flies correct?

4. Analyze the conversation between Simon and the Lord of the Flies.

5. Which of the main characters was the most important to the story?

6. Whose fault is it that children started dying on the island?

7. Explain how the book uses foreshadowing.

8. What is the beast, really? Who is most affected by it?

9. How does the importance of the conch change throughout the novel?

10. What are the boys facing when they return home?

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Brave New World Study Questions 15-18

BNW3Chapter 15
1. Why does John decide to interfere with the soma distribution? Why does he say it is poison?
2. What does he think of the Deltas to whom he delivers his speech?
3. What roles do Bernard and Helmholtz play here? What does this tell us about their characters?
4. How does the soma riot end? What does it mean to be happy and good?

Chapter 16
1. How would you describe Bernard’s behavior in this chapter? Why does he act this way?
2. What does Mond say is the role of liberty? Happiness? Stability? Truth and Beauty?
3. How does Mond explain the caste system? What would happen with an entire society of Alphas?
4. Why does Helmholtz make the choice he makes?

Chapter 17
1. Why does Mond want to talk with John alone? What do they talk about?
2. How does John argue that the civilized man has been degraded? From what and to what?
3. What role does Mond say soma plays in this? What is an “opiate of the masses”?
4. In saying no to civilization, what does John say yes to? Would you make the same decision?

Chapter 18
1. Where does John go, and what does he plan to do there? Does this represent a healthy alternative from society?
2. How does the crowd respond? What happens that evening? What becomes of Lenina?
3. What is John’s decision? Why does he make it? Were there alternatives?

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Brave New World Study Questions 10-14

somaChapter 10
1. How and why was the DHC planning to make an example out of Bernard?
2. Why is unorthodoxy worse than murder?
3. How does Linda act in the hatchery? How does the DHC react? The spectators?

Chapter 11
1. Why does John become popular, but not Linda?
2. How does Bernard’s life change? How does he react? What does Helmholtz think?
3. What does John think of the caste system? Of the clones? The feelies? Why?

Chapter 12

1. What does it mean that Lenina likes looking at the moon now?
2. How does Bernard’s position change? How do John and Helmholtz respond to Bernard now?
3. Why is Helmholtz in trouble with the authorities? What has he done that is dangerous, and why is it dangerous? Why did he do it? What does he want?

Chapter 13
1. What is happening to Lenina? How does she feel for John? What does she do to get what she wants?
3. How does John feel for Lenina? What does he want to do to prove it?
3. How does John react to Lenina’s actions? Why does he respond this way? What did he want from her?

Chapter 14
1. Why is Linda dying?
2. Why are the Delta children at the hospital? What does John think of this?
3. Why isn’t death terrible for those in the civilized world? What does this mean for the individual?

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Brave New World Study Questions 6-9

navajo_reservationChapter 6
1. Why is being alone a bad thing?
2. What do Lenina and Bernard do on their first date? Why is the ocean important? The moon?
3. How does Helmholtz feel about Bernard after he hears the story of the meeting with the director?
4. What do we learn from the Warden? What are the reservations like?

Chapter 7
1. What is the city itself like? What are the people like? How does Lenina respond? Bernard?
2. How is John Savage different? What does he want? How does he respond to Lenina?
3. What is Linda’s story? What has her life been like here? How does Lenina react to her?

Chapter 8
1. What was John’s upbringing like? His relationship with Linda? His education?
2. What does it mean to discover “Time and Death and God?”
3. Why does Bernard want to take John to London?

Chapter 9
1. Why does Mustapha Mond agree to the plan?
2. What happens when John watches Lenina sleep? What does he think or feel?

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Brave New World Study Questions 1-5

test-tube-babyChapter 1
1. What is the meaning of the World State’s motto “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY?”
2. Why do particulars “make for virtue and happiness,” while generalities “are intellectually necessary evils?”
3. How do people know who they are in this society?

Chapter 2
1. What work does the conditioning do? Who gets conditioned? How does hypnopaedia work?
2. Why condition the Deltas to hate nature but love outdoor sports?
3. What are the various castes like, and why?

Chapter 3
1. How is our world depicted? How do we get from here to there?
2. Why are strong emotions dangerous? Family relationships? Romance? Religion? Art? Culture?
3. What is soma? What are its uses?

Chapter 4
1. What does Lenina do on her date?
 What does she think of the lower castes?
2. Why is Bernard the way he is? What does he really want?
3. Why is Helmholtz the way he is? What does he want? How is he different from Bernard?

Chapter 5
1. What do Lenina and Henry talk about on their way home?
2. Why are stars depressing?
3. What are the solidarity services like? What role do they play? How does Bernard fit?

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Brave New World Vocabulary Quiz

bnwYour vocabulary quiz on words selected from Brave New World will be given next Thursday, April 23. The following word groups will be tested:






CHOOSE 2 WORDS OF YOUR OWN from the remainder of the list to study. These may not be words I have already assigned! You should study a total of 20 words for the quiz.

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