Reading Vietnam

ALL sections, please read and annotate the poems in the packet provided in class (pdf also below) by Monday 6/5. Please remember, no late work will be accepted, and reassessment is not an option. More important, though, I will be sharing your work with Professor McCloud.

Please be prepared to spend about 60 minutes total broken up over several days on this work before Monday 6/5.


PDF of poetry packet: Vietnam Poetry by Professor Bill McCloud


Reactions and Responses – Please be sure to respond and react to the poems as you read them. You can just make quick annotations, notes, and bullet points; you don’t have to write in complete sentences or anything like that! You can ask yourself questions like…

  • What does the poem make you think or feel?
  • How does the poem relate to what we’ve learned about in American Studies?
  • How do the poems relate to one another?
  • What do you like or find interesting about the poem? What do you dislike about it?
  • What surprised you, confused you, made you stop and think, made you see from a different perspective?

Questions – As you read the poems, be sure to jot down any questions that come to mind so that we can ask them on Monday!

  • What questions do you have for the poet, Professor Bill McCloud?



Notice and Note Signposts – If you happen to notice a signpost, feel free to note it!

  • Contrasts & Contradictions: Why is the character doing that?
  • Aha Moment: How might this change things?
  • Tough Questions: What does this question make ME wonder about?
  • Words of the Wiser: What’s the life lesson and how might it affect the character?
  • Again & Again: Why does this keep happening or coming up?
  • Memory Moment: Why might this memory be important?

Word Gaps – You might need to look up some words or abbreviations.

  • Look up words or abbreviations you don’t know.

Memorial Day Reading



This week and weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day and complete our March to the Memorials service learning project, please take the time to read one or more of these important stories of the Vietnam War Era. You can find more context for each of these stories here.

On the creation of the “The Wall,” the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall —

Jan Scruggs and Joel L. Swerdlow’s To Heal a Nation: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

adapted by Swerdlow into an article for Syracuse University Magazine in 1985

On one of the worst ambushes of American troops in the war —

Death in the Ia Drang Valley, November 13-18, 1965

by Private 1st Class Jack P. Smith, published in The Saturday Evening Post on January 28, 1967

Note: Jack P. Smith is NOT the USM alumnus whose name appears on The Wall.

On protesting the Vietnam War —

Born on the Fourth of July 

by Ron Kovic

Reading at least one of the above is required. Here is another optional reading you may want to check out… Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? from the National Museum of American History.

Also check out’s page on Memorial Day.

Omg, this is awesome…

Check this out right now!

This program offers two free audiobook downloads per week all summer long! This week’s books are both AWESOME and perfect for fans of Ready Player One, sci-fi, dystopia, and — humor!

Check out the program and download Feed and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. They are both among my favorite books of all time. Feed is amazing, and Hitchhiker’s Guide is super funny, too — they’re both perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ready Player One.

Audiobooks absolutely count toward your 40 Book Challenge!

You need the Overdrive app on your laptop or device.

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Power Passages!

Here are the Power Passages you chose from To Kill a Mockingbird:

  • Page 33
  • Page 103
  • Pages 109-112
  • Page 128
  • Page 175
  • Page 221
  • Page 228
  • Pages 232-233
  • Pages 269-270
  • Pages 322-323

We will be closely reading and analyzing these passages together over the next several days. To prepare to do so, you may want to mark them in your book and even reread them, looking for signposts! Remember, the signposts are…

  • Contrasts and Contradictions — Why is the character doing that?
  • Aha Moment — How might this change things?
  • Tough Questions — What does this question make ME wonder about?
  • Words of the Wiser — What’s the life lesson and how might it affect the character?
  • Again and Again — Why does this keep happening or coming up?
  • Memory Moment — Why might this memory be important?

For more help with signposts, see Notice and Note on the Reading page!

Close Reading and Analysis of Dolphus Raymond

Learning Targets ~ I can:

  • comprehend and demonstrate my understanding of certain key passages of a novel.
  • find and use specific evidence and examples to support my ideas.
  • define the meaning of words and phrases, not just literal meaning but more metaphorical and symbolic meaning.
  • use Notice and Note signposts.



Dolphus Raymond

Complete a close reading and analysis if the passage where Scout and Dill encounter Dolphus Raymond outside the Courthouse on pages 228-229. Utilize the Close Reading and Analysis of Power Passages form.

Then, closely read pages 179, 243, and 251. What on these pages relates to scene with Scout, Dill, and Dolphus Raymond? Continue your work on a separate sheet of paper.

Are there any other passages or lines in the novel that relate to what we learn about Scout, Dill, Dolphus Raymond, and Maycomb on pages 228-229? Continue writing on the separate sheet of paper you started 

Think not just literally but also more symbolically and metaphorically. Go beyond the obvious.

And we’re back!


We’re back from DC!

First, let’s take a few minutes to provide our feedback on the DC trip. Complete the survey Taft posted on myUSM.

For English…

Today, we begin our deep dive into To Kill a Mockingbird!

For those of us who have not done so, we will work on choosing our Power Passages and Power Lines.

Click here for a few sample Power Passages selected by students in case you need some inspiration!

Then, we’ll begin our Close Reading and Analysis of Power Passages and Power Lines. We’ll handwrite our work; I have copies of the handout in my classroom, but you can also print it from GoogleDocs.

We will also study for our upcoming vocabulary test! Remember, it covers Lists #4, 5, and 6. You can find all the lists on the vocabulary page.

Don’t forget our newly added word: COMPLICITY.

COMPLICITY – noun (complicit = adjective form)

the state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing

As we learned from “Some Were Neighbors — Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, those who did not actively prevent the persecution of Jewish people were complicit with the Nazi Party.

For History…

Explore Life on the WWI Home Front with the handout and the resources on Taft’s website (which can also be found on myUSM).


Summer Reading for 9th Grade


University School of Milwaukee Upper School Summer Reading 2017

All School Read

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

In addition to the All School Read, students are expected to read at least one additional book from the departmental choices below

Departmental Selections


Trash by Andy Mulligan

Physical Education

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath

Fine Arts  

Beethoven’s Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved by Russell Martin


Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World by Philip Plait Ph.D.

World Language

The Alchemist by Paulo Coechlo


Scammed By Statistics by Edward Zaccaro


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Students participating in the Global Scholars program will also read

Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon

8th graders will choose their books in English class on Monday 5/1 or Tuesday 5/2. All orders must be submitted by Wednesday 5/3.

Questions? You can always find Ms. Klein in the Upper School Library!