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Welcome to 8th grade English.

This is your summer reading assignment for English. A link to your World Studies assignment is at the end of this web lesson.

Together, this year, we will explore 19th century American literature through reading and research,  write persuasively for The Great Debates and our novel studies, create plays about slavery and the underground railroad, and . . . write some more to hone your skills.               

    So let's get moving...                                                 

The first piece of writing will reflect your reading of Time and Again in preparation for our "New York frame of mind" (Billy Joel).

Line 1    First name of the character or person

Line 2     Four traits that describe the character

Line 3    Relative(s) {brother, sister daughter, father, etc.} of __________

Line 4    Lover of  _____________________ (three items)

Line 5    Who feels ____________________ (three items)

Line 6    Who needs ___________________  (three items)

Line 7    Who fears ___________________   (three items)

Line 8     Who gives __________________    (three items)

Line 9     Who would like to see __________ (three items)

Line 10    Resident of _________________

Line 11    Last name of character or person

Here is an example:


Aging, nurturing, fun-loving, volatile.

Daughter of Janet and Sante, Sister of Janie and Stephen.

Lover of our family, my dog, Nikki, and the beach.

Who feels renewed after a week at the beach, refreshed spending time outdoors, lonely in the middle of the night.

Who needs love and support, less than eight hours of sleep, time to be creative.

Who fears snakes, getting older and the monsters my brother said are under my bed.

Who gives a helping hand to anyone who asks, silly presents for Christmas and one hundred percent of my time to projects.

Who would like to see religious wars stopped, Australia and my children healthy for always.

Resident of Bethesda, MD, Native of N.J., East Coast, USA


Here is an example:

           Vivacious, very ready to start the school year.

    Identifies with children better than adults

            Can't quite manage to get organized.

            Keeps to herself when she gets angry or upset.

            Imagines herself in the novels she reads.

This form is not as restrictive as that of the biopoem but is equally as challenging since you must work to find a phrase and thought that begins with the letter that starts each line.


Write a total of two poems.  The first is to be about yourself.  Consider it an introduction.  Tell things that aren't obvious.  Push yourself to include as much information into the form as possible.  We will "re-visit" these poems at a later date so avoid including any information that you do not want your peers to consider.  You may write using either the biopoem or title poem form.

Part two of the assignment is a bit more difficult and will be your opportunity to show what you can do.  You are to write either a biopoem or title poem about a character (first and last name) from Time and Again.  Use text to find the data and remember that moments will most likely arise where you need to make some deductions in order to really get into the minds of the characters. 

 Both poems are due on the first day of class.  Each is worth a maximum of 10 points and will be scored on a 10-7-5-0 basis.  A poem receiving a 10 will correctly follow the form while including rich vocabulary as well as accurate and detailed information about its subject.  A poem receiving a 7 will either have a flaw in the form or in the information that is presented or  mundane vocabulary. A score of 5 shows weakness in word choice and textural proof. Not completing the assignment will result in a 0.

Enjoy your summer!

pictures available online  



Mrs. V. Seed

last updated 4/28/04


World Studies Assignment

Summer, 2004


Dear Eighth Grade Student,


As seventh grade recedes into the corner of your mind, you may have forgotten all the idiosyncrasies of Mr. Johnson.  Well, wait until you get a load of the bald guy who will be teaching you eighth grade world studies!   In addition to talking with his hands, this nut encourages students to scream and has a truly bizarre laugh.


        As exciting or scary as this all sounds, it is still summer vacation.  Even crazy bald teachers enjoy this time to sleep beyond the crack of dawn, spend time with family and relax.  I hope you have been having fun swimming, traveling, hanging out with friends and reading.


        To truly enjoy your reading, I suggest that you curl up with Jack Finney's Time and Again.  If you have not started this novel because it is "school work," please consider that this engaging story will be a chore only if you wait until the last minute.  Moreover, this novel will whet your appetite for the ultimate learning experience - our trip to New York!


        Starting with New York, world studies will bridge the past to the present by exploring how America has changed.  How have immigrants shaped the land?  How did slaveholding colonies transform into a free, united country? How is our so seemingly different society rooted in the past?  Most importantly, will the questions ever end?  Do not count on it.  As we search for answers, even more mysteries will arise.  However, our questioning will sharpen the focus as we study how the United States started & grew, tore itself apart via Civil War & tried to put itself back together again.


        Cool stuff to ponder, but there is a little catch called homework.  Doh!  Furthermore, you have to complete your first assignment before school starts.  Doh!  As a silver lining, this will be fun because you get to choose the questions.  Here are your instructions:


As you read Time and Again, a piece of historical fiction, consider how much you are learning about history.  While in 1882, Si experiences many things that are different than today.   Some of these are historical events; others are just the way people lived then.  How accurate are these experiences or, rather, which are accurate and which are fictitious?  You will complete three pieces of this puzzle for the second day of school. (Do not try doing all this the night before because I will not accept sloppy work or sleeping in class.):


1.  Pick four 19th Century events or ways of life described in Time and Again; however, you may not choose any that are revealed on the footnote page.  Write the excerpt from the book down and cite the page and paragraph.


2.Research whether each of these events did occur or if that was a way of life at the time.  Explain your research in one paragraph under each excerpt.  Cite your sources!  You do not need a formal IDRIP style works cited. Simply provide enough information for me to find the sources if I need to check on their reliability.  Subsequently, I will hold you accountable for utilizing reputable sources.  For instance, if some random person created a website with rumors or opinions about New York City, it is not reliable. (I recommend an encyclopedia, especially one that focuses upon New York, and governmental or educational internet sites related to the city of New York.)


3.Write a concluding paragraph about how reliable Time and Again is as an historical source about late 19th Century New York.


This assignment will be worth 30 points.


        If you have any questions, concerns or cute jokes, feel free to contact me via e-mail: Otherwise, I look forward to meeting you at the end of August.



                                                                                             Brad Goldberg

                                                                                 Bald eighth grade world studies teacher