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  • "There is only one good—knowledge, and one evil—ignorance."  —Socrates
    The classes I will be teaching this year are:
    English 11 SC with Mrs. Natoli-Burns
    English 11 R-ICT with Mrs. Natoli-Burns
    English 11 H
    Advanced Placement Language and Composition
    I teach periods 1, 2, 4, 5, 7. Please see me if you would like to make an appointment outside of those times.

    My philosophy (or at least part of it):
    High school is the time for students to develop the kind of independence required for success in the world that awaits them upon graduation. To that end, I expect my students to develop an understanding of personal responsibility and accountability. I encourage my students to be proactive in their educational needs and to consult with me at any time if they need help meeting their goals. There are no shortcuts to meaningful intellectual and personal development. A student who doesn't make a true attempt at completing the work and struggling through it, robs him or herself of the experiences that initiate and sustain growth. Expect the most of yourself.

Related Files

  • Revision Plan

    You may revise any of your papers unless I state otherwise, but only under the following conditions: 1) I must find that your original submission reflects a conscientious effort on your part to complete the assignment, 2) you must make an appointment with me for a revision conference, and 3) you must complete a Revision Plan (model attached) and bring it to your appointment.

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  • Pre-Submission Checklist for Writing

    Good writing can be elusive, but there is much that is within our control. One of the most common mistakes that struggling writers make is that they do not adequately edit their work. This checklist matches the rubric that I use for grading most writing assignments. If you use it conscientiously before submitting any of your work, you will significantly improve your chances for a good grade. Incidentally, you will also be taking a proactive role in becoming a better writer.
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  • Creating a Thesis Statement

    It may seem like a simple thing but creating a thesis statement may be the most important task in preparing your position paper. This document will give you some guidelines as you begin this process.
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  • Sample Opening

    The first page of this file shows the proper format for an MLA-formatted paper. The second page deconstructs the opening paragraph, showing the component parts. There are many ways to start a paper, but regardless of how you begin, you must invite your reader into your paper. This sample demonstrates just one way to do this.

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  • Strategies for Ending Your Paper

    The ending of a paper can sometimes be the most difficult part of a paper to write. This document will help you to construct an effective ending without falling into the trap of merely summarizing what you've already written.
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  • Sutherland High School Agreement for Academic Honesty

    This document explains our expectations at Sutherland regarding academic honesty. Read it, make sure you understand it, and see me if you have any questions. You, as well as at least one parent/guardian, must sign the agreement and then return it to me.
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  • Procedure for Addressing Violations of the Academic Honesty Agreement

    This file outlines the basic procedure for addressing a violation of the Academic Honesty Agreement. It also provides a description of The Honor Council and its role in the process.
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  • A Few Words on Plagiarism

    Newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. takes a few public shots at a dishonest writer.
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  • Journal Writing Strategies

    There are many ways to intelligently interact with a text. Here are some strategies that may help.
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  • Literary Devices

    Many people don't understand the difference between literary elements and techniques. This document explains the difference and then has a glossary for those that are most commonly used. The definitions and examples come from various sources in order to represent a variety of literary philosophies.

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  • It's Not Only About the Grades

    Colleges want good students, but they also want good people. Here are some things to ALWAYS be working on.
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  • Personal Narrative Guidelines

    As important as it is for our students to be able to write effectively, it is equally important to have something of substance to say. There is no better way for one to improve in both of these respects than to consistently practice the art of written self-expression. All of my students, therefore, with the exception of those enrolled in my AP Language and Composition class, must write a Personal Narrative that will be due each Monday. This file explains the guidelines for these narratives and exhibits the correct heading format.

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  • The One-Pager

    I often give writing prompts to which I want a one-page response. The formatting for these writing assignments differs from that of other writing assignments. This document shows you the guidelines for these assignments.
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  • The Metacognitive Essay

    Sometimes I will ask you to write a metacognitive essay. This is an essay that reflects your thoughts on the learning process as it impacts you. This file shows a sample of a very simple metacognitive essay.
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  • Composing an Analytical Essay

    Too often writers who are charged with composing an analytical essay either misinterpret what it means to be analytical or lose their discipline somewhere in the process and revert to summary. This document will remind you of what we mean when we talk about analytical essays and provide strategies for staying on task.
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  • Contrasting Essays

    This file provides a sample of a student essay that relies largely upon summary to convey a point. In contrast, there is a sample of a student essay that utilizes analysis to respond to the same prompt. The contrast is obvious and striking.
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  • Levels of Inquiry

    We have long understood that learning begins with questioning. We cannot grow, intellectually, if we don't begin with inquiry. Mortimer Adler theorized that questioning is how we most effectively interact with a text. He developed three levels of inquiry. This file explains what these three levels are and demonstrates how one might construct questions from each level.
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  • QuickMarks Glossary

    When you're using to view a paper that I've scored, you will see my comments simply by hovering the cursor over the QuickMark. However, it would be beneficial for you to know ahead of time what specific things I look for when reading your work.

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  • Writing a Better College Essay

    Parke Muth, senior assistant admission dean at the University of Virginia, has a few ideas about what it takes to write a good college essay. Keep these tips in mind when composing yours. By the way, his advice works well for nearly all kinds of writing.
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  • Identifying Key Passages

    Sometimes I will ask you to identify key passages in a text that we're studying. This is a fairly intuitive process as long as you're conscientious and reflective. This file shows you how to identify a key passage and how to record its importance in your notes or reading log.
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  • Entering Vocabulary Into Your Notebook

    Please be consistent with the way you enter terms into your vocabulary notebook. This file provides a sample of how I expect to see your vocabulary entries.
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  • Annotating a Text

    As you build your own library by owning books, you have the opportunity to become an active reader. As a student, it is not always enough to simply read the assigned text and hope for understanding. Annotating a text is an excellent way to practice active reading. This file explains some of the ways to be an active reader.
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  • Freewriting Ideas

    Freewriting is a great way to clarify our thoughts. We can use it in multiple ways. This document provides some methods and guidelines for the freewriting we may do in class.
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  • Updating Your Turnitin User Name

    You must now use your Office 365 email address as your user name for This file will show you how.
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  • Academic Honesty PowerPoint

    This PowerPoint file takes you through some of the basic points that we like to make to our students regarding the Sutherland High School Academic Honesty Policy. I encourage you to play the presentation and contact me if you have any questions.
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