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Parent Portal

[broken photo link hy to google drive file that I do not have access to]

Hello proud freshmen parents!

The purpose of this site is to allow you and your student a place to learn and explore in an interactive, fun and engaging way. I know as a parent myself that I often have questions about my child's progress that I would love an immediate answer to, but have no way to get them answered. This site is meant to do just that. On this Parent Portal you will find links to my Unit Review Guides as well as a snapshot of our weekly assignments so you can always know what your child's homework assignment is for each particular evening. Of course you can always email me at if you have any questions that can not be answered here.

I hope you all find this useful, and thank you for your commitment to your child's education!

-Christopher Wyckoff

The name of this new course is Coming of Age in a Literate Communityand the focus of the course will be how young adults come to terms with the hardships and complexities of the world around themThe novels and most of the short stories that we will be reading throughout the year will focus on this theme from several cultural perspectives. On October 21st we started our 3rd Unit. Here is a snapshot of what our focuses will be for this Unit - 

1.  Rising Action (4/5 weeks)

In this unit we will focus on skills closely related to the Personal Narrative. The unit will include freewrites about how you over came the hardship from unit 2.           (Note: Students will finish rough draft of Narrative over Thanksgiving, we will grade final draft over Christmas)


Essential Questions: How can learning about how others overcome their hardships in literature help us overcome our own personal hardships and help us increase our own self-confidence in the process?

Skills: Narrative writing skill focus, reinforce reading and vocab strategies, peer review


·         Run-ons, comma splices, semi-colon usage

·         Verb Tgyense (focus on the Perfect Tenses) Verb Tense agreement/consistency

·         Punctuation: quotes, colon for long quotes, commas for quotes, indentations

            Informational Texts: Confidence, peer pressure

            Assessment: Personal Narrative (midterm), unit test

            Texts: Sound of Waves, Karate Kid, 

Here is what should be done by November 10th in your Fictional Narrative:

 Negative Exploding moment: Something bad happens to your main character (protagonist) early in the story (someone dies, someone goes away, your character fails at something, some kind of disaster). Describe how it happened. What led up to it? Who was involved? Most importantly, what was the effect on your main character? What kind of negative trait did it cause? (low self-confidence, lack of trust, feeling of loss or grief, etc.). The negative trait should be the same as your personal narrative, but caused by a different event (keep it fictional).

Positive Exploding moment: Now you're skipping to the end of your story. Your protagonist finally gets over the negative trait. Explain how this happened. Who was involved? Is there a thematic character (like Mr. Miyagi) to help the protagonist? Many people receiving this email have a zero for this assignment. Check Powerschool.

First 5 pages: Now back to the beginning. The good new is, if you wrote about your negative exploding moment, you already have a start on this assignment. You need to add to this, show the reader something about each of your characters and describe the setting (time and place) of your story. Put some background information here that the reader will need in order to get to know your characters. Talk about how your protagonist meets other characters, including the antagonist (bad guy) if there is one. Then start writing about what happens after the negative exploding moment. How does your character react to this negative event? What does he/she do? Remember, your protagonist now has a negative trait that will give you ideas about what to write. For example, if your character was hurt by someone, she/he might not trust people. When someone tries to get close to your character, there could be rejection, accusations, insults, fights, misunderstandings, etc. (Think of Daniel's problems in Karate Kid). Many people receiving this email have not passed in this assignment, or need to work on it more. 

Next 3 Pages Due December 8th - (Total of around 8 pages)

You’ve already introduced your characters, described the setting, and given your protagonist a negative trait*. Now it’s time to build the rising action.

  1. Before you do anything, write your Premise on top of your paper. Remember - everything you write must relate to your premise (________ overcomes ________)

  2. If you haven’t introduced your antagonist, now is the time. Write a scene in which the reader first meets the antagonist. How does the antagonist bring out your protagonist’s negative trait? (think about how Johnny bullies Daniel in The Karate Kid).

  3. If you’ve already introduced your antagonist, write another scene that clearly shows the negative trait. Your reader should be able to say what the negative trait is (lack of confidence, grief, etc.) without reading your premise.

  4. Now, your character will probably need some help dealing with the antagonist and getting rid of this negative trait. Introduce your thematic character (like Jukichi or Mr. Miyagi). Write a scene in which your thematic character advises your protagonist.

  5. By the end of this section, you should be right about at the point where your protagonist realizes that s/he can overcome his or her negative trait. If you want to include this revelation in this assignment, think of an event that could reveal this ability to your character. Perhaps some insight from your thematic character was helpful. Maybe your character had a small success that gave a boost in confidence. Don’t be afraid to use some symbolism (remember the sunrise in The Karate Kid, or the lights coming on in The Sound of Waves).

  6. Combine these pages with your first 5 pages and hand the whole thing in on Monday 12/8 for a quiz grade. Make sure you have edited/revised your first 5 pages using any feedback you received.

  7. Stuck? Use your Short Story Tips packet for ideas, ask a friend, parent, or teacher for help, scour the internet for writing advice, email,, or

*if you haven’t finished the first 5 pages, now is the time to ask for help. It’s not quite panic time, but it’s getting close. You still have time to write a solid narrative and get a decent grade.

(Thanks to Mr. G for writing this out!)

Feel free to ask your child questions about the Literary Terms, vocabulary or Grammar on this list as we will be covering them throughout the next 4 weeks. To get a better idea of our day to day schedule, please refer to the weekly schedule below. 

During Holiday Break Everyone Must Finish Their Fictional Narrative!!!!!

This means 15 - 20 pages that is double spaced and in 12 font.

Every student should already have 11 drafted pages completed, so this shouldn't ruin the break!

Skill Focus: Expand LCEAF, Extended Metaphor, Symbolism, Importance of Revision in the Writing Process.

Coming of Age in America: Identity

The first Tuesday after break, students began a new unit on identity. This is a unit that I (Devon) have created for the purposes of my solo-teaching period. Students will begin to understand issues around identity by reading texts from Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American authors while also considering how these issues apply to their own identities. We will be finishing this unit up in the next two weeks (probably by March 20th or maybe a little later). 

Essential Questions:
  • What is identity?
  • What types of characteristics contribute to our identities?
  • How does our identity help us relate to or connect to people?
  • How does our identity help us to isolate or alienate people?
  • How does identity change over time?
Enduring Understandings:
  • We are all different in our own ways, which is what makes the world such an interesting place.
  • Our identities can unify a group of people or they can isolate people based on who is or is not in a group.
  • Our identity can include aspects like race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, family, and language.
  • It is important to be accepting of people who have different values or beliefs than ours or who identify differently than us.
  • "Its Wavering Image" by Sui Sin Far
  • "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan
  • "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan
  • A section of The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • "Names/Nombres" by Julia Alvarez
  • "Liberty" by Julia Alvarez
  • A section of Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the U.S.A. called "Invitation"
  • Poetry by Joy Harjo and Julia Alvarez
  • "Hurricane" by Sherman Alexie
  • Monday (3/9) Homework: Read Liberty Part 2 and Finish Prediction Chart (graded)
  • Tuesday (3/10) Homework: Read "Invitation"
  • Wednesday (3/11) Homework: Grammar
  • Thursday (3/12) Homework: Compare and Contrast LCEAF on two poems: "Exile" and "Crossing the Boarder"
  • Friday (3/13) NO SCHOOL!!!!
Graded Assignments for this unit so far:
  • "Its Wavering Image" Homework Assignment - Students were supposed to write an open ended question about the text, find a quote from the text and explain why they chose it, write about a connection they have to the text - it could be personal or to other texts, and then a visual, either a drawing or a printed picture, that relates to the text.
  • "Mother Tongue" three paragraph LCEAF essay (Quiz Grade)- Students were supposed to write a three paragraph essay answering the following question: In "Mother Tongue," what does Amy Tan suggest we do with all of our Englishes and why?
  • Vocabulary Crossword Review - Students were supposed to fill out the crossword for homework as a part of the vocabulary review for the quiz last Thursday.