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Note: Last year, district English teachers selected four of the units from Collections to do during the 2015-16 school year. All 6 units are listed here, but I have crossed out the two that were not selected.

Key: The texts listed below are from the Collections textbook. We are required by the district to do all “Anchor Texts” and the “Close Readers,” but we will also read a few additional pieces from these units as noted below. Please note that the Close Readers include online annotation activities and reading questions (see login information at the top of this page).
*= Anchor Text
**= Close Reader (not in textbook)
Title = Not read this year

Collection 1: Ourselves and Others

“We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.” ~Barbara Jordan

Study Focus


  • *”What, of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?”
  • *”Texas v.Johnson Majority Opinion”
  • *”American Flag Stands for Tolerance”
  • “The Lottery”
  • **”The Wife’s Tale”


  • Essay Prompt
    • Venn Diagram Maker
      • When done, click finish and print or email to yourself.  You will need a paper copy to turn in.
      • To save from a chromebook, click save and then choose the “send” option to e-mail to yourself. You will be able to open it in the Venn Diagram Maker again next time.
      • Note: you are welcome to work by hand instead if it is more comfortable to you!
    • Outline Template
    • “Skeleton” Thesis Statements: The “training wheels” for compare/contrast thesis statements.


Collection 2: The Natural World

“Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” ~Terry Tempest Williams

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.” ~ Kahlil Gibran


  • *“Called Out”: Science Essay by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Selection from Hope for Animals and Their World: Argument by Jane Goodall
  • **“Starfish”: Poem by Lorna Dee Cervantes
  • **“Sea Stars”: Essay by Barbara Hurd
  • “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”: Poem by Walt Whitman
  • “Carry”: Poem by Linda Hogan
  • *“My Life as a Bat”: Short Story by Margaret Atwood

Other Materials

Essay Prompt–Related materials below:

  • Outline Template: You may print this template, or make a copy in your Google Drive. To make a copy, first make sure you’re signed in to Google, then open the link, click “File” and “Make a Copy,” give your outline a new title, and begin working.
  • Common Language Handout from Ms. Walker: This handout gives some details about essay-related vocabulary that might help you identify what you need for your essay. It is an optional, but potentially very helpful tool.
  • Additional Info about the Collection 2 Essay:
    –Here is how to access the library databases:
    1. (Go to
              A. (Click on “Library”)
              B. (Click on “Student Resources”)
              C. Click on “Science in Context” (<– Begin here if using the above link)
    2. Begin doing research using ideas we came up with as a class
    3. Remember to search for one positive AND one negative

–Sample thesis statement: Despite conservation efforts, humans negatively impact the natural world by merely taking what benefits them.

The above thesis statement:
-Has a tension word (Despite)
-Acknowledges the other side (mentions positive impact with conservation efforts)
-Clearly indicates side of argument (human impact is negative – people just take what they want)

–Here is the link for the Natural World Research Self-Checklist. Use this to go over your paper before submitting your final draft to make sure that you have all of the necessary parts and pieces, and correct formatting.

–Here is a copy of the HHS Librarians’ Citation Presentation, which will help guide you with the Works Cited page and in-text citations. Also, be sure to use the Research Guidebook to help you with it as well.

Collection 3: Responses to Change

“When the wind of change blows, some build walls while others build windmills.” ~Chinese Proverb


  • Rivers and Tides (video)
  • “The Metamorphosis”
  • “Simplexity”
  • “Magic Island” (poem)
  • “Life After People”

Essay Prompt

Collection 4: How We See Things
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

  • *”We grow accustomed to the Dark” & “Before I got my eye put out”: poems by Emily Dickinson
  • * “Coming to our Senses”: Science essay by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • **”The Trouble with Poetry” & “Today”: poems by Billy Collins

In class activity #1 (Wed. 1/27/16): Listen to “Love Armed” and “How Do I Love Thee?…”. Take notes on and discuss the Tone, Diction, form, and use of Poetic elements in each poem.  Followed by 8min. Free Write while viewing Edmund Blair Leighton’s painting, “Lady in a Garden.”

In class activity #2 (Fri. 2/12/16): Review biographies and poem, annotate, and answer questions from the assignment sheet. View the painting here.  (Note: you can make the image of the painting full screen by clicking the icon with the two arrows in the upper right.)

Collection 5: Absolute Power
“Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man.” ~Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare

  • *The Tragedy of Macbeth: play by William Shakespeare

Collection 6: Hard Won Liberty
“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” ~Nelson Mandela



  • “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” ~Ursula K. LeGuin (NOT in the textbook)
  • *”Letter from Birmingham Jail” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • **”Speech at the March on Washington”: Speech by Josephine Baker
  • **”Bile”: short story by Christine Lee Zilka