• "All learning floats on a sea of talk."  John Dewey

    Ms. Sellenriek                                                                    [email protected]
    English Teacher                                                                                  Office:  CHS, Room 3
    Literacy Curriculum Coordinator                                                        (314) 854-6661
     "You force people to stop asking questions, and before you know it they have auctioned off the question mark, or sold it for scrap.  No boldness.  No good ideas for fixing what's broken in the land.  Because if you happen to mention it's broken, you are automatically disqualified."
                                                                                                                                                     Artie from The Lacuna by Barbara Kingslover


    Summer 2018 ⦿ Zeitoun ⦿ Clayton High School, Honors English I

    Summer reading offers you an opportunity to enjoy quality literature while keeping your active reading skills sharp. This self­directed experience will serve as a foundation for our Honors English I reading and writing experiences in the fall.

    This year, we have selected Zeitoun by Dave Eggers which tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian­American, as he navigates Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Let the directions below serve as a guide for your active reading and note taking. In the fall, we will draw upon your insights as we continue our journey into how authors explore the human condition.

    Reading Closely

    First, obtain a copy of Zeitoun by Dave Eggers that you can keep and annotate.

    Below you will find five big ideas and questions to help begin your inquiry. As you read, annotate passages that explore the following questions. These are the same motifs we will discuss throughout the year.

    1. Heroism—What are the qualities that make a person heroic? What role do mistakes play in a hero’s life?

    2. Loss—How do different people define loss differently? How do we recover from loss?

    3. Barriers—Howdothephysical,emotional,andculturalbarriersorobstaclestheyface

      affect Abdulrahman and Kathy?

    4. Deterioration—Whatarethefactorsthatcausepeople,families,orcommunitiesto deteriorate?

    5. Transformation—Howdoourexperiencestransformhowweseeourselves,others, and our shared spaces? How can transformation create opportunities? Is transformation always good?

    Annotation Method

    Mark important passage with a sticky note and then write a brief remark to remind yourself why you noted the passage. Some students prefer using different colors of sticky notes to color­code. Whether you use one color or many, you can let the notes barely protrude from pages; that way, locating passages about a certain theme later on will take mere seconds.

    Limit your work to finding five examples each of heroism, loss, barriers, deterioration, and transformation. You will therefore create 25 sticky notes. This limit will force you to find the best examples and allow you to enjoy reading without pausing constantly to annotate.

    Outside Research

    Good readers often have questions and wonderings about what they are reading. Don’t be shy about researching Hurricane Katrina, the culture and geography of New Orleans, Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun, and Dave Eggers. On the other hand, avoid the temptation to access online summaries and analysis of the book to replace the rich investigation we are asking you to engage in as you read the text itself. CHS values academic integrity. We are excited to hear your ideas and thinking in the fall.






    Class Rule
    1. BE PRESENT.  

    What does it mean to be present?  Class Expectations

    • Each person in our class and any visitors to our class should feel comfortable saying what they believe, sharing what they know, and asking when they don’t.  Members of this community strive to contribute positively to the learning of others by being respectful, courteous, and enthusiastic—and will work to maintain a calm environment that supports our learning.

    • Come to class on time, ready to learn:  supplies PLUS an open mind.

    • Learn everybody’s name.  Help someone who needs it.  Find someone who can help you when you need it (i.e. when you’re absent).

    • Respect your classmates’ rights to defend their passions and to change their minds.

    • Take responsibility for your own learning.  Talk to me if you’re struggling with a part of the class.  Show up for all of your conferences.  Take care of the work you missed during an absence in a timely manner.  Demonstrate integrity; plagiarizing a paper or relying on sources such as Sparknotes is unacceptable (and can result in a zero on the assignment).  


    But what about the little details?  Absences, Tardiness, Cell Phones, etc.

    • Being here is important!  The third tardy in the course of a quarter will result in an after school detention. After an absence, you should make up work in a timely manner.  Check with a classmate about homework, but speaking with me, preferably before class, is necessary.  Students will be given one day for every missed, but if a student is present on the day an assignment is given, he/she should hand in the assignment when returning to class.  

    • Don’t skip class.  For real.  You cannot earn credit for work missed during an unexcused absence--but more importantly, you might miss an essential discussion or learning opportunity that you won’t be able to catch up from.  Plus...what else is better than English class :>).  

    • What about if I can’t get my homework in on time?  Things happen.  It might happen that you don’t have your homework in on time.  Every once in awhile, that’s not a big deal, especially if you let me know if advance.  Sometimes, though, the class will be counting on you to complete your portion of a project or to contribute to class; think about how you not having your homework affects others not just yourself.  If missing assignments are made up on in timely manner, and is still relevant to our work, you will not be penalized.  If, however, the homework assignment is part of a larger assignment, such as a peer workshop or finding a research article for class, you may earn a zero for that day’s assignment but will eligible to continue your work and continue the project.   

    • We’re here to read, write and think, and not to be on our phones….but of course sometimes it’s hard to resist...or you have a pretty good streak going.  Resist!  It’s okay to take a quick look or even to answer the sophomore who needs a ride to hockey practice.  It is not okay to be consumed by your phone.  I trust you to be smart about it.  Remember that we have a community of readers and writers in our room...it’s not okay to snap pictures of each other (or take selfies) and send them out while we are in class.  That is not being present here...it’s being present somewhere else.  

    • Keep in mind that we’re here to LEARN not to earn a grade.  Powerschool is a great resource, but it is not an “official” grade until your semester grade is recorded.  Don’t panic when a grade looks lower than you think it should be, and don’t sit back because your grade looks better than you thought.  Talk to me about discrepancies.  We’ll figure it out.

    • Your final exam score will represent 20% of your total grade.  The class is total points, not an average of quarter grades plus the final.  

    • Grading Scale:  A+=100-99%, A=98-94, A-=92-90, B+=89-88, B=87-83, B-=82-80, C+=79-78, C=77-73, C-=72-70         

    Now voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find…              Walt Whitman
Last Modified on June 1, 2018