Monday, June 1, 2020

Made You Look!

Read the following passage from We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach:

Peter had been to state twice and nationals once. Been given a sweet Jeep for his sixteenth birthday, and ended up good and wasted at about a hundred crazy-fun parties. And now he was eighteen. In the fall, he’d be off to sunny California. And seriously, how sick was college going to be? Pledging some frat and playing ball all over the country and partying with his teammates and frat brothers every weekend. Then he’d go pro if he were lucky, or else get into coaching or something, and he and Stacy would get married and raise some kids and hit up Baja or TJ on Christmas breaks and buy a sweet summer place on Lake Chelan with a Jacuzzi. 

What is the author’s attitude toward Peter?

a. Scornful
b. Disdainful
c. Mocking
d. Aggravated

Scroll down for the answer.


Answer: c. The author realizes that Peter's goals are shallow and rather insignificant.

Thanks to Ms. Parsons for this question!  You know, a good tip for the state test is to look up.  After you've finished the questions and before you start the next passage, look up and give your poor eyes a break!

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Lesson on the Birds and the Bees Part 2

Read the following passage:

     It would be a never-ending if not hopeless task to try to assemble into anything less than several volumes all the misinformation regarding pregnancy.  But certainly some of the most common myths can be exploded.  Old wives' tales abound, of course: that eating ice cream will cause the baby to "catch cold"; that the baby may be "marked" if the mother is frightened; that getting the feet wet will flood the baby with "water"; that reaching for something on a top shelf will wrap the umbilical cord around the baby's neck, and so on and so on.
     None of the above is true.  Nor is it so that broad-hipped women necessarily have easier births than the narrow-hipped -- it's internal, not external, measurements that count.  Nor will wearing high heel cause cross-eyed children, though some actually believe this.
Based on the above passage, what is the author's tone toward those who believe the old wives' tales?

a. incredulous
b. he feels it is all good fun
c. he feels it is harmful for the baby
d. it is a part of the pregnancy culture and should be embraced, but not taken too seriously

Scroll down for the answer.

There are a few words and phrases that really clue us in on the author's tone (or point of view as the MSL may (incorrectly) call it).  He says these myths can be exploded, he calls them old wives' tales, he refers the many myths as "so on and so on," and, the most telling of all, he says, "though some actually believe this."

This lets us know that the author really does not like these myths and does not understand why anyone would believe them.  That rules out b. and even d.  Since he doesn't mention any harmful effects of this belief, we can rule out c.  That leaves us with the correct answer - a. incredulous, which, by the way, means hard to believe.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Take a Shot at This One

Look at the following image:

This is an example of which literary term?

a. pun
b. situational irony
c. metaphor
d. alliteration

Scroll down for the answer.

The correct answer is:
   a. pun

See teachers, this is why you should consider creating some questions yourself or having your students do it as a project and send them to me.  Otherwise, you're in for a lot of these corny ones.  Fair warning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I Wish I Was at the Beach...

Read "Sea­Wash" by Carl Sandburg:

The sea­wash never ends.
The sea­wash repeats, repeats.
    Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows?
    Only the old strong songs?
    Is that all?
The sea­wash repeats, repeats.

Read the short poem three times. What is the effect of the rhythm and sounds?

a.­ Alliteration is used to put the reader to sleep.
b­. Alliteration, Consonance, Repetition, and Rhythm are used to mimic the crashing waves.
c­. Personification is used to give the ocean human-­like qualities.
d­. All of the above.

Scroll down for the answer.

a­ INCORRECT­ Alliteration is used, but the intended effect is not to put the reader to sleep.
b­ CORRECT­ All four devices are used to mimic the sound of crashing waves.
c INCORRECT­ Personification is used, but the question addresses RHYTHM and SOUNDS.
d­ INCORRECT­ You should be able to eliminate “C” quickly, which lets you know that you can eliminate “D” as well.

Poem is from from:

Thanks to Ms. Brookshire for the question!   

Friday, May 22, 2020


Read the description of this book as found on the back cover:

They are the world's greatest super heroes, fighting endlessly against corruption and injustice. Each of them alone is a formidable opponent of evil, but banded together their powers are unmatched. Ever ready, they stand united as the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. Ancient pyramids awakened by the blood of a treacherous murder have unleashed death and destruction over Gotham. The harder the Superheroes try to fight the pyramids the more the neolithic stones react like a negative battery, draining the heroes of their powers and descending them into their own personal hell, to that which they fear most. Batman is the only one who manages to escape this wrath. As he strives to save his friends and Gotham, he embarks on a journey filled with black magic, shamans, and ancient rituals of terror and sacrifice. With a triumphant and explosive ending, this is a book that anyone who enjoys a great tale of sorcery will enjoy.

Based on the above passage, what is the best definition for the word "neolithic"?

a. electrified
b. very old
c. futuristic
d. radioactive

Scroll down for the answer.

This could be tricky since the prefix neo (which means new) might lead you to think futuristic and the power draining effect they have might lead you to think radioactive.  However, the references to the pyramids was the hint that "neolithic" means one of the stone ages, so the best answer is b. very old.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

“I mean, maybe I am crazy. I mean, maybe. But if this is all there is, then I don't want to be sane.”

Read this passage from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and answer the question.

"It's a bit small," said the woman.

"Compact," corrected the camel-hair coat, smoothly. "Easy to take care of."

Based on context clues provided in the passage, which word best describes the meaning of the word compact?

a. spacious
b. decorous
c. tight
d. abundant

Scroll down for the answer.


Correct Answer: C. 

Thanks to Ms. Parsons for this question!  I have it on good authority from one of her students whose first name starts with the letter S that Ms. Parsons is the best teacher in all of East Duplin High!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A Fable

Read the following fable by Aesop:

TWO neighbours came before Jupiter and prayed him to grant their hearts’ desire. Now the one was full of avarice, and the other eaten up with envy. So to punish them both, Jupiter granted that each might have whatever he wished for himself, but only on condition that his neighbour had twice as much. The Avaricious man prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner said than done; but all his joy was turned to grief when he found that his neighbour had two rooms full of the precious metal. Then came the turn of the Envious man, who could not bear to think that his neighbour had any joy at all. So he prayed that he might have one of his own eyes put out, by which means his companion would become totally blind.

What is most likely the moral of this story?

a. Be careful what you wish for.
b. Vices are their own punishment.
c. To be envious is better than to be greedy.
d. It is better to give than to receive.

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  The first man gets his wish for a room full of gold .  There is nothing wrong with it.  He can't enjoy it because he is so greedy that he can't stand for his neighbor to have more.  This is the best wrong answer.
b. is correct.  See above.  The greedy man can't enjoy his own wish because somebody has more.  The envious man wastes his wish on losing an eye so that his neighbor would lose both.  It was their own vices that led to their unhappiness.
c. is incorrect.  This is completely wrong.  Both are bad and neither is praised over the other.
d. is incorrect.  It is nice, but the only giving here is punishments.