English 4: Q2 Materials, Resources, Assignments, Deadlines and More

Welcome to Q2, young writers! This quarter we’ll be focused on sharpening our skills in crafting different elements of a strong expository essay, starting at the beginning with writing quality introductory paragraphs that include a well-developed, clear and debatable thesis. We’ll move on to the presentation of your argument and evidence in your body paragraphs and finishing with a strong conclusion. Below you’ll find links to all the deadlines, materials and resources you’ll need to succeed this quarters. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Kratz!

Upcoming Schedule and Deadlines

*Mid-term is Wednesday and Thursday, 1/18 – 1/19


*First submissions for Introductory Paragraphs on Butler (“What Broke My Father’s Heart?”) and Chua (“Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”) will no longer be accepted. If you failed to submit either of these major assessments (test grades = 60% of overall grade), then you must write an Introduction on Lisa Belkin’s “Made-to-Order Savior” and submit it via turnitin.com. Click for the Belkin Intro prompt and guidelines. You can also submit the Belkin Intro for extra credit. The last day to submit Intros (revised Chua/Butler or Belkin) is Friday, Jan. 20 at 11:59 pm.


“Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” by Amy Chua

“What Broke My Father’s Heart” by Katy Butler

“Made-to-Order Savior” by Lisa Belkin

“Strange Creatures” by Susan Blackmore

“Dr. Daedalus” by Lauren Slater

“On Habit” by Alain de Botton

“Bumping into Mr. Ravioli” by Adam Gopnik


*De Botton/Gopnik Prompt

*”Dr. Daedalus” Essay – Thesis Options and Detailed Outline Included

*Belkin Expository Essay Introductory Paragraph “Made-to-Order Savior” (Alternative if you failed to submit Chua or Butler Intros or Extra Credit)

*Chua Expository Essay Introductory Paragraph “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”

*Butler Expository Essay Introductory Paragraph “What Broke My Father’s Heart?”

Note: All process-writing assignments must be submitted via turnitin.com. Click here for a step-by-step guide on submitting your work on turnitin.com as well as a sample introductory paragraph.

*Late writing assessment policy: Major writing assessments will be marked down 10% for each day it is submitted after the original deadline. After 5 business days (not including weekends or holidays), Mr. Kratz will not accept late writing assignments.

*Late text annotations: Text annotations make up almost the entirety of your homework grade in English 4 and are due on the final day of Socratic Seminar for any given text(s) we’re working through as a class. If you fail to turn in annotations by the end of seminar, you have until the start of the next seminar to submit annotations for up to 80% of full credit (basically, a 50/50 becomes a 40/50, a 40/50 becomes a 30/50, and so on).

 Vocabulary Work

*The 15 “Strange Creatures Vocab Quiz” words must be mastered by Tuesday, Jan. 3, for Quiz credit. Find the words in one of your class assignments on vocabulary.com. 

*Master the 22 on your “Dr. Daedalus” assignment for Extra Credit by Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Find the words in one of your class assignments on vocabulary.com. 

*Your first vocabulary quiz will be based on your ability to “master” the words in the assignment labeled “What Broke My Father’s Heart? Quiz” on vocabulary.com. You have until Nov. 29 to “master” these words, which means you need to practice them until you answer the words multiple (probably 4 or more) times in a row. Mastering 20 words should take you between 45-60 minutes.


Much of our vocabulary work this year will be done online on Vocabulary.com, either during or outside of class. Your goal when using this site is to practice using the given words in several different ways in order to lock it into your mind and make it a part of your writing toolbox.

In your KIPP gmail account, Mr. Kratz sent you an invitation to join our class on Vocabulary.com. You can easily find it by searching “vocabulary.com” in the search bar at the top of your gmail inbox. After clicking on the link to join the class, follow the instructions and get started!

You can also enroll by clicking on this link associated with your class:

2nd Period: http://vocab.com/join/16CEJQ2

3rd Period: http://vocab.com/join/32MSACH

6th Period: http://vocab.com/join/11QKHNY

8th Period: http://vocab.com/join/1YTWCVN

Short-Response Reading Quizzes

“Made-to-Order Savior”

“Strange Creatures”

“Dr. Daedalus”

Outside Resources

Purdue OWL Writing Lab (tips and help for any part of the writing process)


English 4: 4th Quarter Resources and Assignments

[Updated 5/30]

Hello English 4 Writers! We’ve reached the 4th Quarter, the final chapter of our journey together toward preparing you to succeed with any writing task you encounter in college. At the same time, we’ll continue to develop our voice as writers, build our vocabularies and gain confidence in being able to complete a well-developed research paper! Below are all of the materials and resources you’ll need to access this quarter in order to complete your reading writing assignments. I’ll also also include due dates and other important information in this space as the quarter continues.

***Important Note: From now on, when you complete any essay or want to re-submit a revision, YOU MUST EMAIL ME at akratz@kippnyccp.org with the subject telling me the name of the essay you’re submitting for evaluation.

Important Dates and Deadlines:

*Final Examination: Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3. You’ll write a fully-developed essay based on a short passage of non-fiction text over the course of two days or 100 minutes (longer for those with an IEP). One final test of your ability to decipher any text thrown your way and respond to it by crafting a compelling, well-developed argument. You’re ready!  (But we’ll do a little practice on Tuesday to make sure we’re in fighting shape.)

*Prose/Fallows Essay, Due Monday, June 6

*Gladwell/LeDuff revisions, Due Monday, June 6

*Research Paper revisions, Due Monday, June 6

*Extra Credit Research Paper, Due Monday, June 6

*#Hashtag Activism Essay, Due Monday, June 6

*Unit 5 and Unit 6 vocab quiz re-takes (Monday-Friday, after school in 408, through Friday, June 9; explore and build your writing tool set at vocabtest.com.)

*Q4 Calendar (updated 5/17) Includes our schedule, goals and deadlines, through the end of the year.

*Prose and Fallows Quizzes: Due June 6

*Annotated Texts: Due June 6

Materials for Gladwell/LeDuff Essay: “Diagnose Detroit” (Due: April 22, 4:30 pm)

— Text: “Power of Context” by Malcolm Gladwell

— Text: “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?” by Charlie LeDuff

— Quiz: “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?”

— Gladwell/LeDuff Essay Prompt: “Diagnose Detroit” (Due: April 22, 4:30 pm)

Detailed Essay Outline and Organizer Tool


Research Paper Resources (evolving, checking back for updates here):

— Research Paper Checklist (Everything you should be thinking about as write and finalize your research paper!)

— Works Cited Guide

— EBSCO address (check your gmail for log-in info): search.ebscohost.com.

— EBSCO Research Guide

— Alternative (or Extra Credit) Research Paper Seed Text Options (Plus Inquiry Question worksheet)

Detailed Essay Outline and Organizer Tool

Note: Extra Credit (or alternative) Research Papers must include 4 valid source from EBSCO, including the seed text article.


Materials for Prose/Fallows

— Text: Francine Prose’s “Voting Democracy Off the Island”

Quiz: “Voting Democracy Off the Island”

Text: James Fallows’ “Win in China”

Quiz: “Win in China”

Prose/Fallows Essay Topic and Assignment (Due June 6)

*Detailed Essay Outline and Organizer Tool


Materials for Cobb/Gladwell (#hashtag activism)

— Text: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”

— Text: Jelani Cobb’s “The Matter of Black Lives”

— Essay Topic: #hashtag activism (Will the Black Lives Matter movement succeed?)

*Detailed Essay Outline and Organizer ToolDetailed Essay Outline and Organizer Tool

English 4: Q3 Assignments, Materials and Resources

English 4 Writers! Below are all of the assignments, due dates and materials you’ll need to access in order to successfully complete your work the 3rd Quarter.



“Power of Context” by Malcolm Gladwell

“Power of Context” Quiz (extra credit)


“Dr. Daedalus” by Lauren Slater

“Dr. Daedalus” Essay (Body Paragraphs) Prompt and Introductions (must choose one and insert it into your essay) (Past Due; Complete ASAP)

— NY Times Video supplement for Dr. Daedalus reading:



Extra Source Analysis Sheets (Past Due; Complete ASAP)

— Research Paper (Past Due; Complete ASAP)

Research Paper Checklist

Works Cited Guide


Malcolm Gladwell’s “Thresholds of Violence” (the first essay we read as a sample research essay)


Adam Gopnik’s “Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli”

“Ravioli” Quiz

Alain de Botton’s “On Habit” 

“On Habit” Quiz

Gopnik/de Botton Essay Prompt  (Due Monday, March 21)

English 4: 2nd Quarter Assignments and Materials

Greetings English 4 Writers! As we enter winter break, we are also coming to the end of the 2nd Quarter. Essentially, we will have two weeks of class before midterms and the end of the grading period, so this is crunch time. The only work assigned for break is the “Dr. Daedalus” essay, which we’ll be discussing in Socratic Seminar on the Monday (1/4) and Tuesday (1/5) when we return. But many of you are still missing back work and this break is a tremendous opportunity to get caught up. I will have Belkin Intros and all Chua revisions graded by the time we come back on Jan. 4. You’ll be able to revise Butler and/or Belkin up until Jan. 15.

Below are all the materials and assignments that you can still make up and receive credit for (there are also a couple of supplemental videos at the bottom of the post). If you haven’t completed Chua revisions yet, it’s now too late, so you should focus on Butler and Belkin. I want to encourage everyone to revise their Intros. Nothing else will have a bigger impact on your grade this quarter than your scores on those assignments. If you do revise your work, all you need to do is email me — akratz@kippnyccp.org — with a simple: “Butler revisions are complete” or, after they’re graded, “Belkin revisions are complete”. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me during break. I’ll be checking email periodically, so have patience if I don’t respond right away. Good luck and happy writing!

Extra Source Analysis Sheets (1, 2, 3 and 4 were due by 12/18; 5 and 6 will be due Friday, Jan. 8)


“What Broke My Father’s Heart” by Katy Butler

Copy of the text for annotations

Introductory Paragraph Assignment and Prompt


“The Made-to-Order Savior” by Lisa Belkin

Copy of the text for annotations

Introductory Paragraph Assignment and Prompt


“Strange Creatures” by Susan Blackmore

Copy of the text for annotations


“Dr. Daedalus” by Lauren Slater

Copy of the text for annotations

“Dr. Daedalus” Essay (Body Paragraphs) Prompt and Introductions (must choose one and insert it into your essay) (Due Tuesday, Jan. 19, 5:30 pm)

NY Times Video supplement for Dr. Daedalus reading:


Learned Optimism Video:

English 4: Kamber/Schlosser Socratic Seminar Prompts Preview

We will be conducting  a Socratic Seminar on Monday, September 28 and Tuesday, September 29 to dig into central ideas and arguments being made in our new pair of essays, “Toil and Temptation” and “In the Strawberry Fields”.  To prepare, you should read through both essays and annotate them generously. If you want to prep further for the seminar prompts, you can take a look at the them here by clicking here. If, for whatever reason, you misplaced your essay packet, you can download them here.

Also, here’s a link to the Bronx Documentary Center, which was founded by “Toil and Temptation” author and photojournalist Michael Kamber. There’s always something cool going on there. I encourage everyone to check it out!

English 4: Rose/Postrel (Shopping Essays) Resources and Notes

Below you’ll find the essays, prompts and important schedule notes about our first official reading of the year. Click on the links to access the materials on your computer or to print them out to bring home with you.

The reading Quiz will be on Monday, Sept. 21. It’s an open-note quiz, which means you can use your seminar notes, annotated texts and the book “Overdressed”.

Final Note: If you haven’t done so already, please turn in your Rose/Postrel annotations and your signed (by you and your parent/guardian) Commitment to Excellence pledge.

Any questions, please contact Mr. Kratz!

English 4: Counter Claim Paragraph Tips and Examples

The final draft of your essay must include a counter claim paragraph. This paragraph serves to acknowledge the other side of your argument and then should be repudiated in order to reinforce your own thesis. (Note: If you can’t figure out what the other side of your argument is, then that probably means your thesis needs to be more debatable.)

Your counter claim paragraph:

1) Explains the other side of the argument with at least one piece of evidence.

2) Repudiates (denies the validity of) that counter argument with at least one piece of evidence that also helps prove your POV/Thesis.

3) Should be placed either at the beginning of your essay (think about Gladwell’s Small Change argument structure) or at the end.

4) Either way, you need to follow up the counter claim with repudiation of that claim in a way that proves your thesis.  

Examples for each essay prompt:

Media: If you’re arguing that media helps create positive change, then you’re counter claim should include how it also creates negative change (think about the reality shows in “Voting Democracy Off the Island”). You can acknowledge the validity of this claim, but then make sure to point out that, ultimately, media is creating positive change.

Medical Technology: If you’re arguing that medical technology should be trusted and relied upon, then you need to point that we can’t rely on these technologies for all of our health problems (think about the robots in “Alone Together”). The point being: there are problems medical technology should not be relied upon to cure, but, for the most part, it can be used to fix human beings.

English 4: Expository Essay Introduction Tips

The introduction of your expository essay should include three main components: an opening hook, a set-up of the problem or controversy you’re exploring and your thesis. Below are some tips and questions you should be asking yourself as you write your introduction and to evaluate it after you’ve finished your first draft.

Hook: Should be compelling and provocative to grab the readers attention and get them interested in the topic you’re writing about.This is your opportunity to be creative and add your own voice into the essay. Use vivid description and active verbs to make your language colorful and interesting.

Context/Problem/Controversy: Here you’re getting more specifically into the subject and controversy you’re going to be exploring in your essay. This is also the place to introduce the primary texts you’re going to use in your essay. Some questions you should be answering here: What are you talking about, specifically? What are the opposing view points that are creating the controversy? What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Thesis: Here’s where you take your stand on one side of the controversy. Which side are you on and, based on evidence in the text, why are you right? It should be specific, arguable and preview your the argument you’ll lay out in the body of your essay.

English 4: Sample Outline for Q4 Essay

Below is a sample outline of an essay using either of the prompt options we’ve discussed in class. Please only use this as a guide for organizing the structure of your essay. Your thesis and claims for each body paragraph should be more detailed and nuanced than what you see here.


Thesis Summary 1: Technology should be used to treat people, but there needs to be limits to protect it from being abused.

Thesis Summary 2: Media is a powerful way to affect positive change in society.

BP1: Detailing the problem or controversy you’re exploring in your essay.

Example 1: Explaining benefits and ethical problems with using advanced technology to cure health problems.

Example 2: Explaining how effective media — reality TV and social media — is at effecting change, whether it’s positive or negative.


BP2: Making the first major point that helps prove your thesis.

Example 1: Medical technology should be used to save a loved one’s life.

Example 2: Reality TV can be used to promote positive values.

BP3: Second point that proves your thesis.

Example 1: Medical technology should be used to alleviate severe symptoms that can’t be helped in any other way.

Example 2: Social media can produce positive change.


BP4: Counter argument.

Example 1: We should use medical technology, but there needs to be limits to how we use it so it doesn’t get abused.

Example 2: Media can also produce negative change, but ultimately it is doing more good than bad.

Conclusion: Re-stating Thesis, summarizing argument points and showing broader relevance (why is this important to the world/society?)

Comparing Two Intros

Read these two Intros and then, on your Google Doc, answer these questions: Which hook did you like best and why? Which introduction do you think was strongest overall and why?

Intro #1

30 mph train speeding through the dark hallways, electric light’s flashing from the tracks and soda cans, tissue and candy wrappers move on the train carts floor. Having a Corrupt and unstable government results in a downfall and an unsecure community to live in. In “The Power Of Contexts” by Malcolm Gladwell his essay gives a psychological viewpoint explaining how little changes make a difference in society. During the 1980’s in NYC seeing graffiti on trains and unkempt neighborhoods are predicted as an unsecure community. This influences Gladwells possession to find different tactics to help make the NYC community better, a small change at a time. On the other hand in “What killed Aiyana Jones” Charlie LeDuff’s analysis of Detroit believes there should be a big change in such a critically perilous society, he disagrees that a small change at a time would not save the poor Detroit community. In fact in many instances Gladwell’s theory are actually really effective, as shown in NYC today, it shows how making the community well-kempt by changing the little things does matter.


Intro #2

Faith Baldwin once stated “Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.” Throughout life, a person comes across many changes, some directly affecting an individual and others passively attack a community. When witnessing, over time, the occurrences of change within one’s community, the issue becomes the negative impact this change has created. Now people start questioning whether a small change, like Gladwell addresses in “The Power of Context”, would have a more significant beneficial impact than LeDuff concept addressed in “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones”. LeDuff’s essay argues that if people fix the big social issues that result to people being in poverty than there would be a reduction in crime rates. On the other hand, Gladwell’s essay argues that by increasing the strictness on little crimes, communities would see a reduction in the major crimes. Through the successes of Gladwell’s “The Power of Context” and the broken window theory in providing life back to New York, the importance of starting with the small changes in an environment will have a much more high rate of improvement in Detroit than LeDuff’s idea on blaming the institutions for the damage amongst their environment.