TED TALK of the Week




  • When you post, it is important to be respectful; be respectful of other people posting and respect yourself. This means that personal attacks, inappropriate language and content, insults and harassment of any kind are strictly forbidden. Consider this an online classroom and ask yourself if your comments would be acceptable in our physical classroom setting.


  • You will need to be sure that your comments and posts are adding to the discussion of the book or text. Before posting a comment, question, or blog entry, ask yourself, "will this forward the discussion we are having?" Your thoughts and ideas should be supported, and you should be using specific details to illustrate your ideas. Your posts should build on the discussion by responding to comments other students have made on a particular subject.


  • Yes, you will be graded on some of your contributions to this site. What does this mean? Your blog entries and forum posts should be thoughtful reflections, interesting ideas, and discussion provoking comments related to our texts. You will be told in advance which posts will be graded and how they will be assessed. Be sure to proofread before you post.

Good luck, have fun, and happy posting!


Our SSR Projects

Click HERE to see enlarged ThingLink of our SSR projects


There are a number of ways to earn extra credit in our English class. Let's start with grammar.

It is surprising just how many grammar mistakes we pass by every day. Signs that are missing their apostrophes (or have apostrophes when they shouldn't). Newspaper articles with obvious misspellings. Advertisements littered with dangling modifiers and prepositions left to fend for themselves at the end of sentences. So why not point out these mistakes and get some extra credit in the process!


See a sign with a grammar mistake? Take a picture, email Ms. Ward with an explanation of the mistake, and she will post your pic here. We're looking for local examples here, not pictures that you pull off of a Google search or random websites. Keep it local. 

Every day there will be a new word of the day posted on our board. Use it in a sentence, find it in song lyrics, find it in a book and you'll earn a point of extra credit. Write down the sentence where you found our used the words of the day and bring it for the next class period to earn a point of extra credit.

Finally, you can earn extra credit by using our unit vocabulary words outside of class.  So head into World Cultures and use our vocabulary words when you talk with Mr. McCauley. If you do, write down the sentence you said, have your teacher sign it, and you earn a point of extra credit. Find your vocabulary words in books or lyrics, and it is extra credit!



This is our space to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and reflect on the themes of our 10th grade honors English course. Adding content and sharing has never been easier! We will build the knowledge on this site together by contributing to our online discussions by posting responses and questions, and through customizing a personal page (My Page).

Overall, this site should help us reflect on the themes and goals of the 10th grade English course, celebrate our accomplishments, and streamline how we share and learn information.

OUR #HavPassion Projects

Preparing your TED Talk-style Speech:

#HavPassion Inquiry Projects

The basic premise of our #HavPassion project is that it is student-driven, passion-based inquiry research. The idea behind this project started with Daniel Pink’s book Drive.  Pink cites an idea that started with the 3M company and was expanded by Google. Google encourages its employees to spend one day each work week, 20 percent of their work time, focusing on their own projects. Why? It turns out that when people have autonomy over their work, time to master their skills, and a clear purpose, they are more motivated to learn. And scientific studies and research supports this claim. In fact, Google’s philosophy of 20 percent time is how we have Gmail!



What do you want to learn? Each Friday during the second quarter, 20 percent of our class week, we will be using our time to research the topic of your choice, an idea you are passionate about. Your goal is to become an expert on that topic. But this project is not just about researching…it is about doing something with what you learn. To complete this project successfully you will:

  1. Pick a topic you are passionate about, something you want to learn. You may work alone or in small groups of no more than four students.

  2. Find a book on your topic to guide your learning. This will become your mentor text.

  3. Pitch your project idea in a project proposal to the class for topic approval. You will submit both a written proposal and produce a video proposal to be posted to our class site for our community of learners to vote on.

  4. Connect with an expert on your topic to interview.

  5. Blog each Friday reflecting on your progress. Each post should also incorporate reflections on how your selected book is guiding your research.

  6. Produce something – a presentation, a writing piece, a show, something tangible – that you share with people outside of our classroom.

  7. Reflect on what you have learned in a TED-style talk.

  8. Share all of your work on your online portfolio.


This is not simply a research project.  Once you’ve finished the research phase of this project, you must do something with your new found knowledge.  Students will be creating products and presentations (either individually or in small groups) that will extend beyond the classroom, such as documentary videos for H-Vision, web pages, pamphlets, newspaper or magazine editorials, an article for the Fordian, letters, public speaking presentations, fund raising, music, plays…or whatever you can think of to best make our community aware of your research topic.  The idea is to reach an audience outside the doors of our classroom in order to share your research.  Need some inspiration? Here you go!

Other students blogging. Take some time to comment.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Reading Schedule:

Part One (pages 3-41)                                         Thursday, May 14th

Early in the novel, the narrator says, "The only thing Luo was really good at was telling stories. A pleasing talent to be sure, but a marginal one, with little future in it... modern societies everywhere, whether socialist or capitalist, have done away with the old storytellers..." (18). Is storytelling a dying art?  If so, what does this mean for literature and the boys' love of books?

Part Two (pages 45-105)                                      Wednesday, May 20th

When the narrator first reads Balzac, even though he's heard "nothing but revolutionary blather about patriotism, Communism, ideology and propaganda all his life," he is transformed by Balzac's story of "awakening desire, passion, impulsive action. . . . In spite of my complete ignorance of that distant land called France . . . Ursule's story rang as true as if it had been about my neighbours" (57). What is it that enables him to identify so strongly with characters and situations he has never experienced? What does his experience suggest about the power of literature? In what ways does Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress exert a similar power on its readers?

Part Three, 1st section (pages 109-134)                 Tuesday, May 26th 

As readers of Dai Sijie's novel, we know that the author has stated that the story is loosely autobiographical, with Dai Sijie's life experiences mirroring some of what the narrator experiences.  If this is so, how does this complicate our reading of the story?  How does this change the way we read and understand the relationship between Luo and the seamstress? Who ends up "winning" the seamstress - Luo or the narrator/author? Do you think he portrays the seamstress in a positive or negative way?


Part Three, Miller's Story - end (pages 135-184)      Tuesday, June 2nd

Throughout the novel, the repression of Western literature and culture is presented as something that is detrimental. Yet at the end of the story, when the Little Seamstress sets off for the city, she tells Luo that "she had learnt one thing from Balzac: that a woman's beauty is a treasure beyond price" (184). How does this ending complicate the novel's apparent endorsement of cosmopolitan Western culture and literature over rural Chinese culture?

Test: June 4th

Speaker Series

Check out all the speakers and authors who have visited with our classes during the 2014-2015 school year:

Click on the images below to watch each presentation.

Donna Nordmark Aviles visits with 2nd block students on Monday, March 2nd. 

  • On a Monday morning, Donna Nordmark Aviles came to speak with our tenth grade class about the history of the orphan train movement in the United States. Ms. Aviles shared the story of her grandfather, sent to ride the orphan train to Kansas in 1919 along with his brother. Inspired by her grandfather's story, Ms. Aviles spent a number of years researching the history of the orphan train movement, one of the first social welfare programs introduced in the United States. Orphans from the large east coast cities, like New York City and Philadelphia where immigration populations exploded, were taken from orphanages and placed onto trains headed west where Midwestern families would either adopt the children or use them as extra labor on farms.

Christopher McDougall,  journalist and author of the best-selling author of Born to Run visited students on Thursday, February 26th.

  • What an amazing experience hearing writer Christopher McDougall speak on his experiences as a journalist in Angola and Rwanda in addition to his time spent with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons. These experiences lead to his research on barefoot running and what can make run pleasurably rather than painful.

Zachariah OHora, author and illustrator, visited with students on February 10, 2015.

  • Students learned more about the inspiration for Zach OHora's illustrations and children's book. From music to daily experiences, Mr. OHora taught students to keep their eyes open for the inspiration around them.

Elise Juska, author of the recent fiction novel The Blessings, visited on January 15, 2015

  • The Philadelipia Inquirer described Ms. Juska's book, The Blessings as a "bighearted novel... Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family." Join our creative writing class as we listen to the author and question her about her process.

Cameron Conaway, mixed martial arts fighter and poet, spoke with students on January 13, 2015

  • Cameron Conaway, author of The Malaria Poems, shares his experiences and process, including mindfulness, with students from our creative writing and 10th grade English classes.

Dave Patten, singer/song writer, novelist, actor, and Haverford High alum, met with students on December 22, 2014.

  • Dave Patten, author of the recently published Run of the Mill, spoke with creative writing and 10th grade English students about what it takes to succeed in creative fields and shared some advice for aspiring creative types.

Three young adult novelists speak with students on November 6, 2014.

  • Young adult (YA) genre authors, E.C. Myers, Ellen Jensen Abbott and Marie Lamba introduce their new work, discuss their writing process and answer questions from high school creative writing classes.

Holocaust survivor Mr. Michael Herskovitz speaks with students about his experiences in three death camps on September 29, 2014.

  • Michael Herskovitz was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929 to hard working parents and a happy family. In March 1944 he noticed German soldiers in the village and learned that Germany had invaded his country. Mr. Herskovitz shares experiences inside Auschwitz and other "work camps", through to liberation and finally realizing a successful family life and business in the USA. An earlier recording of his presentation can be found here.



Our Daily Agenda:

Please use the arrows in the lower left corner to scroll through our daily schedule. You can enlarge this presentation to full-screen making it easier to read by clicking on the X with arrows.


Birthdays Tomorrow

Rhetorical Element of the Week:


crafting your thesis


Each week our "Words of the Day" will all come from the same Latin or Greek root. This week's words all share a common root from the Latin lev meaning "light" (as in weight).

Connect on Twitter

Latest Activity

Josh McLaughlin is now a member of Ward's World
Apr 5
Nina S posted a video

Nina S - This I Believe - Video

I believe in the power of Netflix.
Mar 25
Jesse Fronczak is now a member of Ward's World
Mar 24
Dana K posted a video

Kaufhold This I Believe

I believe in the power of the teenage girl.
Mar 3


You are visitor

Hit Counter

© 2015   Created by Ms. Ward.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service