Blizzard Bag Assignments

For the “Blizzard Bag” assignments – the assignments required to compensate for snow days that will be cut from the end of the school year – the English Department has come up with two tiers of assignments. The first list below is the standard assignment that is common to every freshmen or sophomore or junior, regardless of class level. The second list is a series of options for students that would replace the standard assignment, which we feel might allow students to select an assignment that would closer match their personal interests.

Two important notices:
1) The range of acceptable assignments is entirely up to each individual English teacher – some teachers may accept work beyond this list, others may wish to have a more uniform response, or might have students complete an assignment that is not listed here. Teachers will inform their students of the specific assignments that they will or will not accept. This list is meant to exhibit both the standard assignment and the range of options that we are offering our students.
2) The list of the non-standard assignments is a work in progress – we may add more to the list as we develop them, or remove some from the list if we find they are not useful.

Grade 9 Annotate & respond to short stories
Our freshmen curriculum includes a short story unit. The standard assignment for freshmen involves the close reading and response to one or two short stories, which ought to be a familiar task to them. The story or stories will be selected by the teacher.

Grade 10: Annotate and respond to poetry
Our sophomore curriculum includes a unit on poetry, including poetic devices, tips for annotating and deciphering poems, and poetry essays. The standard assignment for sophomores is the annotation and written response to a packet of 5 or 6 poems. The poems will be selected by the teacher.

Grade 11: Assignment from the American Literature Textbook
Each American Literature teacher has selected a section or two from the self-published American Literature textbook that he or she will assign to the class. These assignments will differ, as not every American Literature teacher covers the same assignments in the textbook, but we created this text by selecting stories, essays, and poems that work well together. The selections for the snow day assignment will easily correlate to the other reading assignments that the students have done in their classes already.

Electives and AP Courses
These assignments will be given out at the teacher’s discretion.


Recording audio files of poems from the Poetry Out Loud website, to create a library of recordings that we would keep on our website for future reference, to help students select and memorize a poem. Poems would also require annotation.

Recording a podcast where students define and explain literary devices. The resulting videos would be kept on our website as a resource for BHS students.

Visiting a historical site with literary connections (e.g. Walden Pond, the Longfellow House, the Robert Frost House) and creating a presentation or poster about the location and its significance.

Participation in the Favorite Poem Project – the student will record him or herself reciting a poem and explaining what it means to him or her. These videos would also be kept on our website.

Selecting and annotating a song that thematically relates to the material that the class has covered up to that point.

Participation in (or attendance of) the annual Open Mic Night for Collab, the BHS Literary Magazine, or events created by the Poetry Slam Team.

Creative writing exercises matching the material covered in the class that year (e.g. a poem in Anglo-Saxon verse, a story matching the style of Jhumpa Lahiri or Ernest Hemingway, a Shakespearean sonnet).

[More to come]

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