Friday, September 22, 2017

I Read This Poem Aloud to Punish My Students

Read part IV of "The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe:

Hear the tolling of the bells -Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people - ah, the people -
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone -
They are neither man nor woman -
They are neither brute nor human -
They are Ghouls: -
And their king it is who tolls: -
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells: -
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells -
Of the bells, bells, bells: -
To the sobbing of the bells: -
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells -
Of the bells, bells, bells -
To the tolling of the bells -
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells, -
 To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

What literary term is used way too much in this poem?

a. allusion
b. hyperbole
c. repetition
d. verbal irony

Scroll down for the answer.

c. is the correct answer.

Teachers!  The title to this selection is true.  When you need to get your class's attention, pull out this poem and start reading it.  Every time someone speaks, rolls their eyes, put their head down, etc., say that it distracted you and now you have to start all over.  Once you make it all the way through the poem, just pin your copy of the poem to the wall.  Whenever in the future you need to regain their attention, just walk toward the poem and watch the kids get each other in line.  Best form of passive aggressive  classroom discipline ever! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I've Never Liked This Book's Title

Read this excerpt from Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

“There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it. The road climbs seven miles into them, to Carisbrooke; and from there, if there is no mist, you look down on one of the fairest valleys of Africa.”

What literary device is being utilized in this passage?

A. Pun
B. Allusion
C. Foreshadowing
D. Imagery

Scroll down for the answer.


Answer- D- The visual portrayed here gives the reader, who may be unfamiliar with this terrain, a clear idea of what the land looks like. Although, foreshadowing may also be present, without any other information provided from the novel, you, the test taker, must utilize only the information that you are being given.

Thanks, Maggie, from Mrs. Stamey's class.  The title of this book speaks of crying and you who else cries often?  State fans during basketball season.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Know the Answer. Do you?

Read the following passage:

Who is smarter, males or females? Well if you go by the North Carolina English II EOC scores then the answer is clear. Year after year the scores pile up and more 4s are achieved by . . .

What is the purpose of the first sentence?

a. to set the mood of the passage
b. to set the tone of the passage
c. to give the setting
d. to interest the reader

Scroll down for the answer.

d. is the correct answer. The hope is that the competitive nature between males and females will lead you to want to read further, at least enough to find out who is actually smarter. Of course the answer is really obvious, don't you think.

These questions can be difficult since they are asking you WHY the author chose to do what he/she did.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Waiting...

Read this very short story by Eileen Gunn

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?

What is the purpose of the question at the end of the story?

a. to imply that we cannot trust computers to take care of our needs
b. to infer that the batteries were not brought
c. to point out the situational irony in a computer knowing about batteries
d. to play on the archetypal symbolism of batteries

Scroll down for the answer.

O.K., not a hard one.  You guys all got the correct answer was b.  The question implies that the computer is not answering due to the fact that the batteries are dead and no new ones were brought.

I'll try to come up with a harder one tomorrow.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Just Imagine the Count from Sesame Street When You Read This One.

Read the following passage:

In All Quiet on the Western Front, the company commander is counting how many men are left in the Second Company; "he ceases at thirty-two" men. And has a long pause before asking "anyone else?" 

What kind of tone is Remarque using in this?

a. happy

b. angry
c. confused

d. shocked

Scroll down for the answer


a) incorrect; because a lot of men died; that's not happy

b) incorrect; because you can't really be angry at dead people for not being there. But you could be angry at the people who killed them.
c) incorrect; because you know that people died; there's no reason to be confused
d) correct; because the commander was expecting a lot more. Many died in battle.

Thanks to Jacob and Nick from Mrs. Stamey's class for this question.  This one really had me stumped.  I thought he ceased at 32 because he couldn't count any higher.  You know, maybe he was a State grad or something.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Sad Love Story

Read the passage below:

She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but she had to break it off.

This is an example of a(n):

a. alliteration             
b.  pun        
c. hyperbole
d. personification 

Scroll down for the answer


a. is incorrect - alliteration means repeating the same sounds at the beginning of words
b. is correct - a pun is a play on words.  Here, break it off has a double meaning that makes you think she may have needed to break his wooden leg, rather than break off the dating relationship
c. is incorrect - a hyperbole is an exaggeration used to make your point
d. is incorrect - personification gives something not human some human-like qualities ("The moon looks sad tonight," is an example.  The moon cannot look sad, it is a big hunk of green cheese floating in space)

By the way, if you like that pun, try reading the short story, "Good Country People."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Did You Ever Think as a Hearse Goes by...

Teachers!  Never fear, your question of the day is below this intro.  I just wanted to point you in the direction of Extreme English Teacher Blog.  It has tidbits here and there, some lesson ideas, tech stuff, humor, and pretty much anything that awesome English teachers like.  Get in there, enjoy it, share information, and post comments.  Now back to your regularly scheduled question.

Read the passage from All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque:

"I open my eyes- my fingers grasp a sleeve, an arm. A wounded man? I yell at him- no answer- a dead man. My hand gropes farther, splinters of wood- now I remember again that we are lying in the graveyard....I crawl still farther under the coffin, it shall protect me; though Death himself lies in it."

What literary device is used to show the speaker's determination?

a. alliteration
b. irony
c. metaphor
d. personification

Scroll down for the answer.

The correct answer is d.  A key to noticing personification is when the thing personified (in this case Death) is written with a capital letter.  Here  the speaker won't even allow that to stop him.  
However, the best wrong answer is B, since there is some irony in a dead body being used to keep the speaker alive.  

The EOC will often use answer choices that appear in the passage, but do not directly answer the question.

Thanks, Ashley from Ms. Stamey's class, for a thoroughly gruesome story.  Now I'm going to have nightmares!