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    Hello students and caregivers!

    What historic times we are all living in.  I hope this message reaches you well and thinking positively.  As per Dr. Bonneville's and our interim Principal, Ms. Wood's messages have suggested, we are going to be working together from home.  I will be checking my school email each day and respond promptly to any questions or concerns you may have at this time.  Please check your SHHS email and my teacher website for updates as we move forward, together.

    My first suggestion for all of my students is to get outside and truly experience this beautiful time of year!  It's magical and ever changing!  Go for a walk, a hike, take a long bike ride and enjoy Mother Nature.  I spent the weekend hiking with my dog, Wiley and then sitting in my Adirondak chair reading a book for pleasure!!!   Later, we had some grilled food and had a backyard fire pit! 

    My second suggestion is to do some community service.  Today, I am going to stop complaining about the litter along the parking area of Mount Tom and I am going to do a volunteer litter cleanup!  What a great time to go out and lend a hand to help cleanup the litter and make Mother Nature more happy!  Perhaps, you can help a neighbor with an outdoor project.  My neighbors are in Florida until next week and Ms. Goelz and Camden and I are going to pick up some of their leaves and the pine cones that are all over their yard so they won't have to when they come home.

     As far as your academic paths go, I am posting a list of assignments below that will help you along on that journey.

    NEXT UPDATE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8th...stay tuned!!



    Hello everyone!  I hope you have been staying healthy and positive this past week.  I wanted to give a shout-out to all of my students who have taken the time to check-in with me this past week.  It's been wonderful to connect with each one of you individually and see how you have been progressing academically and personally.  Many students have been not only keeping up with their academicas, but also getting outside, going hiking, biking, walking as well as helping out their own community in various ways!  I am so proud of all of you for finding healthy, positive ways to cope with the current situation.  Tiger Pride!!

    Now for an academic update.....

    English 10: By next Monday, I would like you all to finish reading and carefully annotating with Post-it notes Fahrenheit 451. Complete the Burning Bright reading and Study Guide you were given on March 13th.  Be sure to respond in full, complete sentences. If you can answer all of these questions, you comprehend the reading on a surface level.  Next week, I will be providing you with an essay prompt that will help you demonstrate your deeper mastery of the text by providing literary analyisis for several given promps.  Stay tuned!  Also, take some extra time to review the Q3 vocabulary words I gave you all before the break.  Take 5, 10, or 15 minutes to review these each day.  Continue working on the Nazi Book Burning Questions and Project. By now, you should be finished with the questions portion and working on the project portion.  Nazi Book Burning Questions and Poster DUE FRIDAY, APRIL 10th.  Email me pictures of your work by FRIDAY, APRIL 10th. If you have ANY questions, please email me ASAP.  Also, keep reading your ORB books!

    English 9: By now, you should have completed Learning Journal entries 1-17 for Tuesdays With Morrie.  Now, continue reading and carefully annotating up to page 149.  Thoughtfully respond to Learning Journals 18, 19, 20, and 21 by next Wednesday. Remember that I can see your progress on the Googla.docs that you shared with me.  Also, continue to review the Q3 vocabulary that was assigned prior to 3/13. Review 5, 10, or 15 minutes per day. I will be providing you with a review activity next Wednesday that will incorporate these new high frequency, pre-SAT words. Also, keep reading your ORB books!

     Grade 9 Seminar: Continue checking in with CNN 10 for the latest current events and news.     cnn10.com


    UPDATE Monday, March 23rd 11:00am

    English 10:  I would highly suggest that each one of you finish carefully reading and annotating with Post-it notes pages 107-to the top of page 133 in Fahrenheit 451, "Burning Bright" by this Friday, March 27th. By now you should have finished defining the vocabulary words on the Study Guide and complete the literary terms section.  Once you finish reading and annotating this portion of the novel, begin answering the reading comprehension questions on lined paper. Be sure to answer in full, complete sentences.  If you can answer all of these questions, you have a good understand of the reading on a surface level. Please finish these corresponding questions by this Friday, March 27th.  Also, be sure to review the Q3 L2 vocabulary. Reviewing for 5, 10, or 15 minutes per day will help you master the meanings and parts of speech for each word.  Finish answering the Nazi Book Burning questions.  Finish these 5 questions by Monday, March 31st.  On Monday, I will assign the Nazi Book Burning Wanted Poster Project.  I will post the link to my website.  All of you have new Outside Reading Books. Find a comfortable place and lose yourself in your book.

    English 9:  Continue reading and annotating with Post-it notes Tuesdays With Morrie pages 88-113 (The Fifth Tuesday, We Talk About Family to The Professor, Part Two) By Monday, March 31st finish Learning Journal Entries 13-17. As you read and annotate each portion, respond to the corresponding journal prompts in your Learning Journal on Google.docs.  I will check your Learning Journals every few days to make sure your are working diligently.  Remember to put forth the extra effort needed to do well on these learning journal entries!  I have really enjoyed reading your responses thus far!! Keep up the good work!!!  All of you have new Outside Reading Books.  Find a comfortable place and lose yourself in your book.

    Grade 9 Seminar: Continue to check-in with CNN 10. This is a great source of news and information that is reliable and fact based. CNN10.com.

    Above all else, take care of yourselves and adhear to the CDC guidelines when it comes to good hand washing and social distancing.  Together we can all get through this unusual time in our history.  It will take courage, lots of patience, and a lot of kindness and understanding.  Maybe this will turn out to make us all better people in the long run.

    Be well, do good!

    ~ Ms. Ellis




    Welcome to Room 521's Web Site.

     "Live the life you have imagined."

    ~Henry David Thoreau

     "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write

    poetry because we are members of the human race."

    ~John Keating (as played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society)

     Ms. Ellis has been teaching English for 17 years and is proud to be part of the faculty at South Hadley High School, home of the Tigers!  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Literature, and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Colorado - Boulder with a M.A. in Secondary Education - English.  Currently, she is teaching English 9, English 10, and 9th Grade Seminar.

    Parents and students are encouraged to check PowerSchool often.

     Ms. Ellis has a passion for the environment, literature, and the arts. She is an avid hiker, cyclist, reader, writer, and artist.  She enjoys camping, kayaking and walking with her Siberian husky, Wiley, her partner, Leslie, and their daughter, Camden-Scout. In 2014, she was honored to accept a fellowship to The Walden Woods Institute in Concord, Mass.

     Ms. Ellis's Mission Statement 

    Today's students must be able to read, write, think critically, speak, and be an effective listener in order to be successful in society. Each young person has an obligation to learn more about the world around them. To know others is to know yourself, and your place in the world.

    Ms. Ellis is currently reading:
    A Long Way Gone


    Course Description:

    Welcome to College Prep. English 9 and College Prep. 10 English! 

     **If your student is not reading or writing at grade-level—do not be concerned with the above description. We will work diligently throughout the year to remediate weaknesses and build upon existing strengths through a variety of academic and instructional supports***

     As students, you will spend the next several years learning with your friends and teachers, exploring subjects that interest you, participating in the school community, and finally four short years from now, taking the first steps toward being an adult. While math, science, social studies, and art are all worthy and fascinating pursuits, it is literature that helps us make sense of the world around us.

    Literature provides a “rehearsal” for the real-life experiences that confront you every day. C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” The books that we read will deal with all of the themes that you deal with every day – friendship, struggle, love, courage, and all the other events, emotions, and struggles that make our lives interesting.  As you read, you should be thinking about how you would respond in the situations presented, and why you feel that way.  It will make the stories far more interesting and help prepare you for what you will encounter later on in life.

    Focus Points:

    A major goal of class this year will be developing more than just your English language arts skills.  We will also be developing the skills and capacities you need be successful in school in general and your academic courses in particular.  You will learn how to:

    • Read more strategically
    • Write more effectively
    • Think more critically
    • Take notes more successfully
    • Express yourself through both oral and written expression
    • Develop and effectively use a variety of organizational skills
    • Develop and effectively use a variety of study strategies

    (While the last two focus points are not specific to ELA, they are important to incorporate within all subject areas.)

     In order to improve your skills you will be expected to:

    1. Participate appropriately in in-class discussions.
    2. Read selected novels, poems, essays, and texts.
    3. Write longer, analytical essays about literature.
    4. Present oral reports to the class about topics you select.

    Materials Needed:

    You will need to bring the following to class every day:

    • A pen (blue or black) or pencil – every day!
    • A 3 subject notebook or binder with loose leaf for class notes & activities
    • A homework planner for copying down homework/projects
    • A yellow and pink highlighter
    • The book, play, text, or story that has been assigned
    • A year-long supply of Post It Notes
    • A year-long supply of notecards (I suggest four packs)
    • A durable folder with pockets to store handouts

    If you are unable to purchase any of these items, please let me know.

    Note – if you walk into class without these items, you are unprepared for class, and therefore unable to fully benefit from what we will be doing. It is critical to come to class prepared.

    Class Procedures:

    1. Please go to the bathroom before you come to class. 
    2. Please sit down immediately upon entering the class and begin the “Warm Up” assignment. 
    3. After completing your “Warm Up”, please write the day’s HW assignment into your planner.
    4. The last 5 minutes will be time for us to summarize what we have accomplished and to write any additional notes or comments about that night’s homework.
    1. Cell phones, iPads, Food – As these are all forbidden by the school, they are forbidden in class unless I designate permission to use them (learning tool etc.). If I see them (during an undesignated time), I will ask you to hand them over to me and the device will be turned into the administration. If you refuse, you will be sent to the Planning Room.


    Your grade will be calculated in the following manner:

    • Assessment 80 % (Writing, Tests, Quizzes)
    • Practice 20% (Classwork, Homework)


    Make-up & Late Policy:

    Part of becoming a successful adult is learning to manage and meet deadlines.  For that reason, I expect that you will hand in homework, projects, and other assignments on the day that they are due. 

    • For major assignments & in-class projects: If you do not hand in the assignment on time, you will have three days to complete it and hand it in.  You will lose 15% for each day it is late. For example, an assignment handed in three days late will have 45% subtracted from the real score.  Assignments will not be accepted after the three days. 
    • For homework assignments: In English class, homework is assigned to either practice a skill or concept we covered in class, or prepare for an upcoming lesson.  For that purpose, homework is due on the indicated date.  Homework may be handed in a day late for ½ credit, after that it will not be accepted for credit.
    • You are responsible for getting any and all make-up work. If you are absent for one day, you will have 3 school days to make up missed work. If you are absent for two or more days, you will need to discuss the due dates with me.
    • If you have a conflict with another class, sporting event, work commitment, or other family function, please see me before the assignment is due.  I will be more than willing to work out an arrangement. 

    Students with IEPs and 504 plans who have “extended time” accommodations are expected to meet with me - before the established due date - to discuss when the assignment will be handed in.


    Re-Take Policy:

    • Long-term writing - no revisions
    • Timed, one-class writing (not on a test) - if the score is lower than 80, then a student may revise within one week of it being returned after meeting with the teacher. Take higher grade up to 80.
    • Tests/quizzes: if the score is lower than 80, then a student may retake within one week of the test/quiz being returned after the student comes for extra help. Take higher grade up to 80.


    Discipline Policy:

    Our goal is to have an interesting, lively class.  However, it is critical that we are respectful of each other as we try to work each day in class.  If I have to ask you to stop talking or discontinue a distracting behavior more than two times in a class, you will be asked to stay after school with me and/or sent to the Planning Room. I hope to avoid these steps, but it is important that we have a respectful class so that everyone has the opportunity to learn.

    Contact Information:

    I am available every day at 7 AM in room 521.  My designated extra help day is Wednesday. I am generally after school until 2:30 Monday through Thursday. Please feel free to stop by if you have a question or concern.  You may also email me at any time with any question or concern. My email address is hellis@shschools.com  or you can leave a message for me on my school line at 413- 538-5063 ext. 3521.

     I look forward to working with you this year.  I hope to learn a lot this year and I’m sure you do too!