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AHS Subject Guides: English: J. Chevan

This guide includes print and online resources for English: Courses include: English Literature, Communication, Expository Writing, Creative Writing, Journalism, Humanities, Reading, etc.

ELA Independent Reading: Finding a Book to Read

ELA Independent Reading

Find a Book in the Amity HS Library

Do you want to find a book in the Amity High School Library for a research project, or just to read for fun? Before you come in to browse our shelves, watch this video on how to search the library catalog, 

How to Find a Book in the Library Catalog: Introduction to Destiny

Next, get your book.

  • Find a book in the catalog or come in to browse.
  • Check it out with us.
  • Return it on to the library on time, OR...
  • Need more time? You MUST email Mr. Musco or Mrs. Hulse to avoid fines.

eBooks and audioBooks:

Currently digital books are available from two sources starting at the library database page:

  • eBooks from EBSCO eBooks
  • eBooks and AudioBooks from Public Libraries with SORA 


Get Book Recommendations

How to Find Book Recommendations Online: Book Recommendation Websites 

YALSA Booklists: compiled by the American Association of School Libraries.

School Library Journal: Check under the tabs for Awards and Books to search

RJ Julia Independent Book Sellers: Staff recommendations for teens

Common Sense Media Teen Booklists: There are several different broad categories.

GoodReads Teen Booklists: A great little summary, plus tons of reader reviews.

Barnes and Noble for Teens: Take a look at the “Teens” list to see what’s hot.

You can always just Google “lists of books for teens”.

Creating eBooks with Book Creator

Creative Writing (English)

Using BookCreator  (updated 4-2020)

Information literacy topics:

- Using technology tools


Objective: To effectively use the BookCreator platform to create an online eBook that takes advantage of the full possible range media content to present a narrative (children’s book).


Learning Expectations: 

Academic-Writing: “Students will produce and distribute a variety of writing designed to entertain, inform, or argue, as well build and present knowledge derived from research.“

Academic-Problem-solving: “Students will use appropriate tools strategically to solve problems.”


1. Discussion:

We are going to discover how to use the BookCreator platform together as you begin to produce your eBooks.


Look at these examples:

Girls Don't Play Basketball by Leah Ray

Graphic novel-style (narration included, no video)


The Magical Moustache by Mrs. Goodwin's 2nd Grade Class

Graphic novel-style (limited voice-over, some video, some sound effects)


2. Getting started

- Go to

- Sign in as a STUDENT

- In “LIBRARIES”, go to “Join a Library”. Use the join code below:


- Use the to start your book.

3. Add your text, images, and sound. (Hint: Write and refine all your text first in a Google doc so you don’t lose it.)


4. Learn how to do more by following:

- A short video from your librarians.

- These really good written  instructions from BookCreator.


5. Teachers should follow these instructions to sign up, and speak to the librarians to get their own class library.

Chevan: Online Sources for Shakespeare Article Analysis

Chevan: Shakespeare Article Analysis 2018-19

Information literacy topics:

- Determining best sources

- Searching strategies for information

- Evaluating sources

- Taking notes

- Using technology tools


Objective: To practice using search tools in the online Oxford English Dictionary to aid in a detailed reading of Shakespeare, considering word origins, meanings, and context.

Class Assignment: Search databases for relevant literary criticism about Othello.  

- Choose one complete article to read, between 6 and 20 pages.

- Annotate the main points.

- Answer questions about:

- the author

- the main claim and secondary points of the article

- the most interesting passages

- the effect the article had on your understanding of the play

- additional notable aspects of the article.

1.a. Multi-disciplinary Academic Database:

EBSCO's Academic Search Complete, : Information from many different fields, with a mix of periodicals, and lots of peer-review journals, and a college-level search functions.

Searching strategies...





1.b. Practice searching.

EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete, and find a relevant article that addresses their topic.


- Use tools to search for topic, play around for a few minutes.

- Take note of your surroundings:  

- Look for shortcuts or use Advanced Search

- Limit to Full Text if you are not desperate.

- Refine results with limiters for KIND of material.

- ALWAYS follow subject leads.

- Save results in Google.

- Choose an article, skim it.


2.a. Multi-disciplinary Academic Database:

JSTOR, another multidisciplinary database, but mostly in the Humanities.

Search strategies...\





2.b. Practice searching.

JSTOR, another multidisciplinary database, but mostly in the Humanities.

- Use tools to search for topic, play around for a few minutes.

- Take note of your surroundings:  

- Look for shortcuts or use Advanced Search

- Limit to Full Text.

- Refine results with limiters for KIND of material.

- Follow subject leads.

- Save results in Google.

- Choose an article, skim it.

Chevan: Using the OED for Detailed Readings of Shakespeare



Using the OED for Detailed Readings of Shakespeare

Information literacy topics:

- Searching strategies for information

- In-text citations

- References

- Using technology tools


Objective: To practice using search tools in the online Oxford English Dictionary to aid in a detailed reading of Shakespeare, considering word origins, meanings, and context.


1: Find the activities for this class, at:

Amity website→High SchoolStudents→ARHS Library

(tab) Find Online Stuff→By Subject→English

(tab) Class Projects →Chevan→Using the OED for Shakespeare


2. Presentation of the OED: Background and history.


3. Practice and Student First Impressions

- Go to the Library Database link page, find the OED, and log on.

There are at least 6 ways to access the information in the OED besides a simple search.

- Click around, look at at least two of the different access points in the OED.

- Be prepared to explain something about the search function(s) you used works.


4. Search functions, techniques, and resources in the OED. (See Notes for more information.)

- Dictionary

- Categories

- Timelines

- Sources

- Historical Thesaurus


4.a. Additional Resources for the OED

Key to symbols used in the OED.

Key to abbreviations used in the OED.


4.b. Discussion and demonstration: Advanced search. (See Notes for more information.)


5.a. Explanation of strategy for individual student search practice:

In this exercise, and when you work alone, you will take notes on the following:

- 1. BEFORE you search

- the part of speech of the word in this context

- an initial GUESS as to what the word or word combination might mean in context.

- 2. From the OED, the best meaning in context OR best MULTIPLE meanings if word play is involved.

- 3. The quote from the OED of the earliest use of the word in that context.

- 4. The earliest date use of the word in that context.

- 5. The etymology (word origin), stating the earliest form of the word, and the root language.


5.b. Independent student search practice.

Use this data collection form (make your own Google or Word copy) to take notes. (see previous):


6. Wrap-up

Main message: An advanced search always gives you more search options, which you don’t HAVE to use, and there are lots of other ways to view information in the OED.

Macbeth Act I, Scene 7

Plot Background

Macbeth, a loyal subject and relative of the king, Duncan, has been plotting with his wife, Lady Macbeth, to kill the king, so that Macbeth can take his place.

In Act I, Scene 7, the king has arrived at Macbeth’s castle, and will be spending the night. This is Macbeth’s golden opportunity, but he begins to have second thoughts.

Lady Macbeth challenges him not to give up his plan, and explains how they will carry out the assassination.

Lady Macbeth’s speech

But screw1 your courage to the sticking-place2,

And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—

Whereto3 the rather4 shall his day's hard journey                

Soundly invite5 him--his two chamberlains6          

Will I with wine and wassail7 so convince8               

That memory, the warder9 of the brain,

Shall be a fume10, and the receipt11 of reason          

A limbeck12 only: when in swinish13 sleep

Their drenched14 natures15 lie as in a death,              

What cannot you and I perform upon    

The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon16       70          

His spongy17 officers, who shall bear the guilt                        

Of our great quell18?

Search terms (in bold) in context

1. screw your courage to the sticking-place

2. screw your courage to the sticking-place,

3. Whereto...shall his day's hard journey...invite him

4. Whereto the rather...shall his day's hard journey...invite him

5. Whereto...shall his day's hard journey...invite him

6. his two chamberlains

7. Will I with wine and wassail so convince

8. Will I with wine and wassail so convince              

9. memory, the warder of the brain    

10. shall be a fume

11. the receipt of reason [shall be] a limbeck    

12. the receipt of reason [shall be] a limbeck

13. swinish sleep    

14. their drenched natures

15. their drenched natures

16. What cannot you and I...put upon...his...officers             

17. his spongy officers

18. our great quell?


Children's Literature Analysis

Creative Writing

Children’s Books: Evaluation/Analysis

Objectives: To understand the creative process and elements included in successful picture books.To discuss and understand current trends in children’s literature.  Analysis and evaluation of picture book composition.

Google Amity Library, select first resultFind Online StuffBy SubjectEnglishClass ProjectsChevan

1. Initiation - Discussion: What is your favorite children’s book or What is a memorable book from your childhood?  Why?


2. Read Aloud: Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak, 1963.


3. Discussion of book--using analysis worksheet as a guide for the discussion.

    Additional questions: What about the book is engaging to children?

Would you consider this to be a controversial book?


4. Transition to activity: You will be rotating through stations and reviewing children’s books. The books at each station share a commonality and with your group, you’ll need to determine what that is. Review the books--you won’t need to read them in their entirety. Skim, make observations. Pay attention to the following: themes, lessons, topics, authors, etc. You will have three minutes at each station. Jot down a few notes on the graphic organizer. We will discuss your findings when we reconvene.


5. Share out: What commonalities did you notice at the stations?


6. Group project introduction: Now that you’ve viewed many picture books, you need to choose one book with your group to read aloud and analyze. There’s additional books as well that were not included in the stations so feel free to look at those. If there’s a book your group would like to analyze and it isn’t here, please let Mrs. Hulse or Mr. Musco know. We may have it in our library.

Online Research Resources

Online Research Resources

Expository Writing

Objective: To understand and practice how to access and search online sources for research.

Go to activity guide online at:

Amity website→ High SchoolAHS LibraryFind Online StuffBy SubjectEnglishClass Projects Chevan


School Product Database Sites:


*mix of periodicals


* includes scholarship published in more than 1,400 of the highest-quality academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.

C. Science in Context

*includes journals, magazines, etc. in the field of science research.


Scholarly Product Database Sites:

A. researchIT CT

*formerly known as  iCONN, database from the State Library of Connecticut, allows you to read full-text articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, journals).

B. Academic Search Complete

*covers a wide range of academic disciplines, from the behavioral and technical sciences, through education, theatre, and many more. It includes some popular magazines as well as scholarly journals.

Open Web Research:

*With any of these search engines, be sure to verify credibility/reliability of search results.



*Functions like Google, but does a better job with regards to finding reliable, credible articles.  

Chevan: Creative Writing Children's Book Analysis

J. Chevan

Creative Writing

Children’s Books: Evaluation/Analysis


Objective: To understand the creative process and elements included in successful picture books.  Analysis and evaluation of picture book composition and production of an original work.


Amity website→High SchoolAHS Library Information Center

Find Online Stuff→By Subject→English→Class Projects →Chevan


The Library has a collection of children's books found here under resource lists (Chevan). Books have been selected and placed on a cart.



Consider the following when evaluating picture books:


Who created the book?

  • Author

  • Illustrator

  • Is it the same?  What are the pro/con(s) of that?


Artistic Method/Medium Used - Technique

  • Mood/tone

  • Is it appealing?

  • Watercolor

  • Photography

  • Torn paper

  • Aesthetics

  • Exposure to art


Does the book incorporate

  • Historical perspectives

  • An imaginary place

  • Message / Theme


Writing Method Used

  • The impetus to reading

  • Use of sight words

  • few words used

  • Use of funny words/ rhyming

  • Point of view/perspective - positive? negative? from a child? adult?

  • Pacing - are you drawn into the story? Do you want to linger on a page?


Suitability?  Would you make that choice for a children’s book?

Variety - does it maintain interest?

Consistent illustrations or change with the demands of the text?



Video interviews with children's authors and illustrators from Reading Rockets


Please complete the Evaluation / Analysis Form Handout now.

Rubric and additional handouts here.

Additional Reading:

Bang, Molly. Picture This: How Pictures Work. New York: SeaStar, 2000. Print.

Carle, Eric. The Art of Eric Carle. New York: Philomel, 1996. Print.

Feaver, William. When We Were Young: Two Centuries of Children's Book Illustration. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1977. Print.

Hands, Nancy S. Illustrating Children's Books: A Guide to Drawing, Printing, and Publishing. New York: Prentice Hall, 1986. Print.

Lanes, Selma G. The Art of Maurice Sendak. New York: Abradale, 1984. Print.

Amity High School, Amity Region 5 School District, Woodbridge, CT 06525, 203-397-4844 Librarians: Robert F. Musco and Victoria Hulse Copyright 2017