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AHS Subject Guides: English: J. Bonaldo

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”.

Bonaldo: eBooks with BookCreator

Creative Writing (English)

Using BookCreator  (updated 5-2021)

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 contect 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.


Understanding Propaganda

Bonaldo: English 1 (updated 3-2021)

How to Understand and Analyze Propaganda

Information literacy topics:

- Determining best sources

- Searching strategies for information

- Using technology tools


Objective: To identify the basic qualities of current-day propaganda, and find examples of propaganda. 



AHS 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.”


ISTE Student Standard

Knowledge Constructor - 3d: Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.


1. What is “propaganda”?


How do you define propaganda? Try on your own (no dictionary).


2. Discuss:


History of Propaganda

3. Question:

What were some Pre-Industrial Age forms of propaganda? (think no electricity)


What were some Post-Industrial Age, but Pre-digital forms of propaganda?


What are some forms of Propaganda made possible by digital communication?


4: Discuss:


5. Question:

What are some qualities of this article that justify characterizing it as propaganda? 


Bill Gates Will Use Microchip Implants to Fight Coronavirus, published in BioHackInfo, March 19, 2020. 

Think of WHO is involved in the communication, WHAT is being communicated, HOW it is being communicated, and WHY it it is communicated.


6. Discussion:


Elements of Propaganda


1. Communication of Message

Propaganda is based on communication of a message from the sender to the receiver, though the communication can be two-way, as when the receiver reacts by  agreeing, criticising, disagreeing.


2. Message of Persuasion

The basic message contains an “argument,” meant to persuade people to reach a new belief, or to reinforce an existing belief, using words, sound, or images. Cultural “symbols” which hold special meaning may be used (think flags, statues, or even babies.)


3. One-sided Argument

Propaganda does not try to persuade by a careful examination of an issue from different points of view. It promotes a single position on an issue.


3. Action-oriented Goal

The real goal of propaganda is to get people to DO something specific (as opposed to just believe something), like vote, not vote, buy, etc.. There is also often a broader goal, like offering continued support for a leader, party, religion, country.


4. Involvement of Social Groups

The sender of the persuasive message might be an individual, but the interests of that person always represent the interests of a larger group in society, and the audience is always a larger group, not just one or a few people.


5. Not Dependent on Logical Reasoning

The argument being promoted MIGHT be supported by evidence, facts, and logical reasoning, but it doesn’t HAVE to be. Propaganda must appeal on a basic level to easily-accessible human EMOTIONAL responses, so if an emotional appeal works better than a logical appeal, that will be used.


6. Justified by Beneficial Social Goal

What propaganda may give up in terms of an evidence-based conversation with alternative ideas, it justifies by how GOOD the results will be for society, promising some great social gain, or avoidance of social danger.


7. Appeal to Emotion

Since emotional attachment to beliefs can be stronger than beliefs based in reasoning, propaganda will use all the tools needed to affect emotional involvement, including strong language used to describe and DEFINE people and ideas. Emotions may be manipulated with music, strong images, symbols, repetition, group power, etc.. 


7. Independent Search:

Find your own examples;

Strategy A:

Do a search for a “hot-button” topic, and look at lots of results to find articles, memes, web sites, etc.


Strategy B:

Do a search for a topic, together with the word “propaganda” to get leads on what other people are reporting as propaganda.


Strategy C:

Visit a web site whose goal is to compile and refute examples of propaganda, like:




Additional Examples of Propaganda:


Vaccine Video Information: See Chilling Statistics on Human Vaccine Reactions, published in The Dog Place.


Works Cited


Walton, Douglas. "What Is Propaganda, and What Exactly Is Wrong with It." 

     Public Affairs Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 4, Oct. 1997, pp. 338-413. 



Really complete article about theory.


Additional Resources to Understand Propaganda

Mind over Media:


Propaganda Critic


Weed Out Propaganda Lesson Plan


Disinformation Nation: Is it propaganda?


Teaching Materials on Propaganda by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Propaganda Today

Intro to Online Sources

Introduction to Online Sources (updated 2-2020)

  • Information literacy topics covered
  • Determining the best sources
  • Searching strategies for information
  • Evaluating sources
  • Using technology tools

1. Explain objective: To distinguish between different formats of research materials available online and determine the level of authority of the information, and to develop and practice searching strategies for relevant information.


2. Discussion:

Research Project about a social issue. Students will write a short speech arguing a point of view about a local or social issue.

  • What is a social issue?
  • Social Issues:
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

How do you start to find information for your research?

  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

What kind of information will you find online?

  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

3. Discuss:

What is a periodical?

Can you name 4 different types of periodicals?

Types of periodicals: Learn about the criteria that defines each type

  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

4. Discuss: :

Where will you look for online information?

Let’s start with some online databases. (See lesson plan for notes):


5. School Product Database Sites (paid subscription $$$):


ProQuest: SIRS


5.a. Discussion: School Product Database:

Picture SIRS

Main points: (See lesson plan for notes)


6. Multi-disciplinary Academic Database: (paid subscription $$$):  


ESBCO:  ResearchIT CT OneSearch



6.a. Discussion:  Multi-disciplinary Academic Database:

EBSCO’s ResearchIT CT OneSearch

Main points: (See lesson plan for notes)


7. Search SIRS to start browsing topics.

- Search SIRSView all Issues” to look at topics that might interest you.

- Complete the form “Step 1 - Pick a Topic”.

- Choose 2 topics of interest.

- Answer questions about your interests, the purpose of the project, and the intended audience.

Additional Tips:

Practice searching our databases:

  • SIRS
  • Research IT CT/Resources for High Schools/ (all the databases for journals)

You are MORE likely to find something useful for school FASTER from a paid database than from a web search.

Everything that ISN’T useful has NOT been included.

Everything you find in a full-text search is really available, as opposed to just being a summary (abstract).

You can avoid “pseudo-authoritative” sources written by people who confuse opinion with science, and beliefs with objective facts.

Embedding/Blending Quotations and MLA Format

Student Instructions

English I

Embedding/Blending Quotations and MLA Citations (updated 9-2019)

Information Literacy Topics:

  • Creating/Writing a research-based product
  • In-text citations
  • Using technology tools

Objective: To understand how to effectively embed/blend quotations into writing, to cite evidence (direct quotes) using MLA citation style.


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.“
  • Civic: “Students will exhibit personal integrity and ethical decision-making.”

During class:

Objective: To understand how to effectively embed/blend quotations into literary analysis, to use MLA style 8 in formal essays and papers.

1.Go to  Enter class code


2.  Type your first name and click join session.

3. Today's slideshow will appear on your screen.  Follow along!

Part II: MLA Citation Style-title page

1. Rules

Rules for MLA formatting rules for writing papers/essays.

  • 12 point Times New Roman/Arial font.
  • Double spaced
  • Last name and page number in right upper corner of EACH page.  (Open a blank google doc and show students how to insert a header.  Directions: From the “Insert” menu click on “Header & page number” select “Page number” and select the option that shows a page number on pages 1 and 2.  The page function will automatically number the pages for you. Place your space bar before the number 1 and type in your last name, followed by a single space.  Click outside of the Header box to return to the main document.)
  • Format for top of first page: review with students.  Emphasize the date format.
  • Titles of papers/essays should not be italicized or in bold (unless the title of your book appears in your title--then italicize that only.)

2. Sample papers

Take a look at the sample papers: OWL Sample MLA Paper and To Kill a Mockingbird Sample Paper


3. Review Mrs. Hulse’s sample paper

    What's wrong with Mrs. Hulse's sample paper?


4. Today's class: Respond using Nearpod to the following question: “What’s one thing you learned from today’s class?

5. Create a template following the MLA citation guidelines.

Searching Strategies for Online Databases

Jennifer Bonaldo

English I

Database Searching and the Power of Limiters: Leaders (updated 11-2018)

Information literacy topics:

-Determining best sources

-Searching strategies for information

-Evaluating sources

-Using technology tools


1: Find the activities for this class, at:

Amity websiteHigh SchoolAHS Library Information Center

Find Online StuffBy SubjectEnglishClass ProjectsBonaldoDatabase Searching and the Power of Limiters


2. Objective: What do we want to accomplish today?

To perform an efficient search for peer-reviewed academic journal articles, and/or magazine and newspaper articles on a given topic, using limiters in a college-level database (EBSCO’s MasterFILE Premier)


3. Discussion: Choosing the best resource:

MasterFILE Premier: From the publisher EBSCO, provides full text for magazines, reference books, and primary source documents in business, health, education, general science, multicultural issues and much more, as well as an Image Collection containing photos, maps, and flags.


MasterFILE Premier



Databases on other topics:        

Academic Search Complete

All Topics, All Formats, 9000 Academic Journals



Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)

Education Topics, All Formats



4. Discussion:  Searching strategies (Search Terms)

ESBCO:  MasterFILE Premier:

Main points:


-Take note of your surroundings:  Look at main menus, search options, etc..

-Search box:

-Always give yourself more options with an “Advanced Search”.

Consider what you are searching for: Title? Author? Subject? Word in text?

-Start simple. (e.g. “leaders”) You can always add more words to narrow down.

-Too many results and not really relevant? Add more words to narrow down. Try “Leaders manipulate population”.

-Too few results? Broaden your search again, but with fewer words.

-Use more advanced techniques:

-Try with synonyms or related words (dictator, autocrate, authoritarian, authorit*, influence, coerce, manipulate etc.).

-Use commands (“operators”) to narrow down: AND (to get both terms), OR (for one OR the other), NOT (to filter out the word), apostrophes around several words like “authoritarian leaders” to get the exact phrase.

-Always limit to full-text, if it is what you need.

-Notice what appears when you start to type “authoritarian”. How many results do you get? How does it change when you add “leader”. How about “authorit*”?

-Focus on results, and LEFT sidebar

-Notice the number of hits for each Source Type.

-Notice other “limiters”. Which are useful for our search?



-Notice the number of hits for each Source Type.

-Use checkbox “limiters” on the LEFT sidebar to LIMIT your search by:


-Publication Date

-Source Type (only Academic Journals? Magazines? Newspapers?)


Use related SUBJECTS

-When you identify a good source/article:

-Choose a relevant article, and notice the related SUBJECTS.

-Follow up on subject leads that appear in relevant articles. Remember, hey were chosen by humans: (how about “AUTHORITARIANISM”, “DICTATORSHIP”, or “LEGITIMACY of governments”)?

SAVE your search, SAVE your files

- Sign into the database to search results to avoid losing stuff (use personal lists, email, notes/citation tools, etc.).

- Link to Google Drive, save to Google folder

Creative Writing Children's Book Analysis

J. Bonaldo

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 →Bonaldo


The Library has a collection of children's books found here under resource lists (English - Children's Books). 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


Children's Book Analysis Questions Page here.

Children's Book Assignment Document/Rubric 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