TED Talk of the Week:

Okay, so this isn't a TED Talk. However, it is very much worth watching. Writer and director Gary Turk urges everyone to put down their gadgets in his poem Look Up. The video is a touching montage of a lost young man falling in love with a woman who gives him directions, and their life together without the hindrance of social media.



  • 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!



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!

How Many Do You Know?

Visiting Authors

Three Authors Speak with Haverford High School Students

While it may have been gloomy outside Thursday afternoon, Haverford High School's library was a buzz with activity when three authors came to speak with students about the craft of writing and share their newest publications. Young adult authors E.C. MyersEllen Jensen Abbott, and Marie Lamba spoke with high school students in Ms. Ward's tenth grade English and Creative Writing courses on Thursday, November 6th as part of a program called Speak Up! for Pennsylvania Libraries. Organized with the help of Haverford Township Free Library, the three authors spent time speaking to students about their writing inspirations and experiences being published.

Students also had the opportunity to ask questions of the writers. The authors answered a variety of questions, on everything from their writing habits to advice for getting published, as well as questions about where each author found inspiration to which spice they would be.

The visit from the authors coincided with Ms. Ward's classes working on publications of their own. Earlier in the week, Ms. Ward's creative writing students used Skype to speak with Ms. Leah Nicholson, the book production manager at Jenkins Publishing as well as to speak with the founder and senior editor of Philadelphia Stories and Philadelphia Stories Jr., Ms. Christine Weiser. The students used the advice gained from these experiences connecting with writers and editors to write and produce their own digital magazine -  eXpress.

"Writing for an audience changes things," said ninth grade creative writing student Rhea Estenor reflecting on how producing her own work for a larger reading audience makes a difference to the writing process. "It was great to hear advice from published authors," shared fellow creative writing classmate Claire Burns. Following their presentation, all three authors commented on the wonderful quality and variety of questions asked by HHS students bringing to a close a fantastic afternoon focused on writing.

Connections to Reading NIGHT

On Monday, September 29th, Mr. Michael Herskovitz shared his story of survival with Haverford High School students. Mr. Herskovitz's life was forever changed when German soldiers walked into his hometown in Czechoslovakia one sleepy March morning in 1944. Within a month, Mr. Herskovitz's family along with other Jewish families living in Botfalva, Czechoslovakia, were kicked out of their homes and forced to live in a ghetto. Shortly after losing his home, 15 year old Michael and his entire family were forced onto cattle cars which transported them to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp. It is here that Michael lost his parents and his younger brother. In late 1944, as Russian troops advanced into Poland, Michael was transferred to two camps in Austria, Mauthhausen and Gunskirchen. It was in Gunskirchen that he heard shots ring out and saw British troops handing out food. He was freed.  

With the support of the Philadelphia Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center, Mr. Herskovitz has been a frequent visitor to the halls of Haverford High School. Mr. Herskovitz has been meeting with Haverford students each year since 2008, helping students connect the lessons of history with the voices of those who bore witness to the atrocities of World War II.  His harrowing personal tale, told with such grace and strength, never fails to move all those who hear it.



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:

  • Reflecting on our learning using blogs,
  • Contributing to our online discussions by posting responses and questions, and
  • 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


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, a former speech writer for Al Gore turned author, 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 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.

  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!

Our SSR Research Projects

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.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress:

Reading Schedule:


Part One (pages 3-41)

Monday, December 22nd 

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)

Monday, January 5th

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) 

Thursday, January 8th

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, January 13th

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?





There are no birthdays today

Literary Element of the Week:

Literary Element: INFERENCES

WEEK 15: Roots Words

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 pan meaning "all."

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