Semester I Exam Information

What will be on the exam?

This is the question many of you may be asking right now.  The purpose of the exam is to assess your knowledge and your ability to perform the skills we have been working on this semester.  To that purpose, it is not essential that you remember details of previously read stories. 

What is important is for you to be able to read a story and demonstrate that you understand it, that you can determine the conflicts, information about characters and character motivation, decide where the climax comes and talk about what you get from the story. 

It is also important that you understand the terms that we use to talk about literature and that you retain understanding of the vocabulary words we have worked on.  Being able to recognize basic errors in grammar and sentence structure and how to correct them in a piece of writing is also an important skill.

Section I of the exam will be based on questions for the story “The Gift of the Magi” by O’Henry  

  This section has both multiple choice and longer answer questions.  The long answer questions must be at least a full paragraph in length.  Your writing ability is being assessed in these questions, so organization of ideas and grammar count in these questions!

 Section II will consist of multiple choice questions testing your knowledge of literary terms

Section II will consist of error correction items for grammar and multiple choice questions on the vocabulary


Exam review sheet:  Lists of the terms you need to know, a vocabulary shortlist and a list of things to look for and consider in the short story, “The Gift of the Magi”   Grade 9-Sem I Exam Guide-2013

A copy of the story “The Gift of the Magi”  The story can also be found in your literature book on page 287.  You should look at the information in the pre-reading section and at the questions at the end of the story to help you consider important points about the story.  The Gift of the Magi-full

Practice materials:

Flashcards for Literary terms:

Flashcards for exam vocabulary

Monday, December 9: Vocabulary & Story Activities

Sorry to be so slow posting this lesson– my computer at home is not being very cooperative today.

I hope that you have read the story and answered the study guide questions already (the work assigned last week) Questions 1-9 were based on story comprehension.  The others deal with theme and other issues.  You should also try to answer those and we will discuss more about themes when we have class again on Thursday.  You MUST have completed all work before you come to class on Thursday.  We will finish this story this week.

There are 3 Assignments :

1.  Vocabulary practice

Practice vocabulary with the flashcards (link in previous post.)

Do the practice activity in the posted picture.  sniper vocab fill in


2.  Story Sequencing.

Sometimes putting the events in order can help a reader get a clearer picture of the story.  Look at the items in the image below and put them in chronological order.  You will need to re-write the sentences into a Google doc.

sniper sequence

3.  Suspense and conflict.

Look at the image below which gives definitions of suspense and conflict.  Writer’s use various techniques to add suspense to a story as the conflicts build and approach a climax.  Decide if the items given below the definitions she suspense, conflict, both or neither.

suspense conflict-sniper

Write your answers to all of today’s work and send it as a Google doc to

Important Information about Friday, Dec. 6

We do have school on Friday, December 6; however, since some classes have missed the entire week due to the closure, we will run a Tuesday class schedule.  So, Friday, come prepared with the books and materials you would normally use on a Tuesday.

Anyone who is absent from school this Friday will have to submit all the assignments that are listed in the previous entries for Monday’s  and  Tuesday’s work.  These can be sent as Google documents and are due by Friday afternoon.  No late work will be accepted!

Assignment for Tuesday, December 3

2 Assignments:  1)Reading and answering questions and 2) vocabulary journal

1.  Read the Sniper and begin answering the study guide questions. 

The links to both of these files are in the post for Monday, Dec 2. 

You should complete the reading of the story and answer questions 1-9.   Make and label a visual diagram of the story at the point when the sniper sees the old woman talking to the soldier on the street.  You must include both snipers and the buildings they are on, the old woman, the soldier, the tank, and the bridge in your diagram.

Send your answers to the questions as a Google Doc to 

Answers are due by Friday, December 6.  I will be looking at these over the weekend.

2.  Vocabulary Journal Assignment

1) Is it good or bad to be a fanatic?  Describe the actions of someone who is a fanatic about football or about a particular pop singer.

2) Talk about something you have done for which you feel remorse and why.

3) Have you ever tricked someone into doing something?  Has someone tricked you?  Explain the ruse that you or the other person used. (If you answered NO to those questions, then make up a ruse that you think would work to trick someone.)

4) What is the opposite of an ascetic?  Are you more like an ascetic or the opposite?  Explain.

5) Use as many of our words as you can to describe the situation in Thailand over the past week concerning the protests.  Underline the words you have used.

Submit this as a google doc to


School closure for Monday, December 2

Dear students,

Remember to check your school e-mail for up-dates on school.  If we do have closure for more than one day, you will need to check back here for assignments.


Here is an electronic copy of the story we are starting, “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty.  The Sniper – -Story text

Here is the handout of questions you need to answer on the story: Sniper-questions sheet-07


As a reminder, here are the vocabulary for the story and a link to flashcards for practice.

Flashcards to practice the vocabulary:

Vocabulary for Sniper   (2010)

  • Beleaguered—to surround with troops; besiege
  • Ascetic—extremely self-disciplined
  • Fanatic —motivated by irrational or excessive enthusiasm  
  • Parapet —a low protective wall along the edge of a roof, bridge , or balcony
  • Turret —a high part on a military ship or vehicle where guns are attached.
  • Ruse —a trick intended to deceive someone
  • Paroxysm —a sudden uncontrollable attack , especially an emotion or action – a paroxysm of coughing 
  • Silhouetted —outline of an object  seen as a dark shape on a light back ground
  • Remorse —a strong feeling of sorrow and regret about something you have done

Personal Narrative Due

Remember that your personal narrative assignment is due on Monday, Sept. 30.  Remember also that I told you you had to turn in printed hard copies of the final essay.

I will only grade printed out copies.

My purpose for this is that you must learn how to polish a document and pay attention to formatting and appearance of a final piece of work.

You need to have your name, the subject, and the date in the top right corner.  In the top left corner you should put what the assignment was.  In this case you will put “Personal Narrative.”

Make sure you have a title.

Use a standard font and size for the body.