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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. We may or may not read some of the additional texts listed (outside of the required readings) depending on time and other factors.

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 (online only)

Collection 1: Ourselves and Others

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


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


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

Paper Assignment

Collection 3: Responses to Change

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


  • from Rivers and Tides (video) – by Thomas Riedelsheimer
  • from “The Metamorphosis” – by Franz Kafka*
  • from “Simplexity” – by Jeffrey Kluger
  • “Magic Island” – by Cathy Song
  • “Life After People” – by Dolores Vasquez**

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” – by Neil deGrasse Tyson*
  • ”The Trouble with Poetry” & “Today” – poems by Billy Collins**
  • Poetry Analysis (Exemplification) Essay Prompt — With this essay, students will be choosing a poem of their choice (from the Poetry Out Loud website) that has a minimum of 15 lines. After practicing annotation skills in class together, students will put these skills to practice by annotating the poem they choose.
    • Outline Template — Students need to use this template to help guide them as they construct their outline, and ultimately their essay.
    • ***Example Thesis Statement — Through his effective use of meter and rhyme, strong diction, and extended metaphor, William Blake explores the toxic nature of holding a grudge in his poem “A Poison Tree”.
    • To review how to embed or integrate quotes into a body paragraph, review the revised link below (courtesy of Mrs. O’Connor and Ms. Clark).
  • SOAPSTone Notes — Students should use this presentation to help them analyze their poem of choice before beginning their essay (courtesy of Ms. Clark and adapted from AP Central).
  • SOAPSTone Handout — Students can use this handout (in addition to the presentation) to help guide them by using this strategy to annotate their poems (courtesy of Ms. Clark).
    • How to Annotate Poem (video)
    • How to Annotate Poem (handout)
    • Annotation Example — Here is an example of an annotation that I did of William Blake’s poem “A Poison Tree”. It is meant to provide some guidance on how to go about this process.
    • Purpose — This is a link to Purdue OWL to help students try to figure out the author’s purpose for writing the poem.
  • Poetry Terms Handout — This handout is a resource for students to use in order to review poetic terms and devices to help guide them as they read and analyze poetry (courtesy of Ms. Clark).
  • Tone and Mood words — Here is  list of words that authors can use to help convey a variety of tones and moods. This handout is a resource to help guide students in deciphering different poems’ tones and/or moods (courtesy of Ms. Clark).
  • Peer Review Checklist — Students will use this as a guide to help them comment on their peers’ papers. Students need to make comments throughout the papers they are reviewing and provide strong and constructive feedback.

Collection 5: Absolute Power

“Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn / The power of man.” ~Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1

  • *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** (NOT required)