English Department


Monroe County Board of Education

ELA-at-Home Activities



Dear High School Parents,

Here are some activities your child can complete at home. You may choose to ask your child to initial and date as they complete the activities. Please be aware that they will need access to reading material such as fiction and/or non-fiction text in order to complete the activities. Reading material can be found around the home in magazines, newspapers, children’s books, novels, or online. The Alabama Virtual Library(AVL) has books that are available for your children.  You can access the AVL at https://www.avl.lib.al.us/resources/elementary-school.  I am happy to provide you with these engaging reading activities, which are meant to help your child become an avid reader.





Melvin S. Preyer, Director

Curriculum and Instruction

Monroe County Board of Education


Fictional Novel Study Activities

Students will select a novel of their choosing and complete the following questions as they read.

1. What is the theme of _____ (text title)? How does the author develop this theme over the course of the text? Use examples from the text to support your analysis.

2. What is the central idea of _____ (text title)? How does the author develop this idea over the course of the text? Use examples from the text to support your analysis.

 3. How is the theme of the story/novel/drama/poem shaped and refined by specific details? Use examples from the text to support your analysis.

 4. Summarize the story/drama/poem objectively.

5. How does _____ (a character) develop over the course of the text? Use examples from the text in your analysis.

 6. How does the development of _____ (a character) over the course of the story advance the plot? Use examples from the story in your analysis.

7. How does the author use the actions of ____ (a character) over the course of the story to develop the theme? Use examples from the story in your analysis.

8. What is the overall tone of the text? How does the author create that tone? Use specific examples to support your analysis.

9. How does the author’s word choice impact the story? Use specific examples from the text to support your analysis.

10. How does the author’s word choice contribute to the text’s sense of time and place? Use specific examples from the text to support your analysis.

11. What is the impact of the author’s specific word choices on the story’s tone? Use specific examples from the text to support your analysis.

12. What is the impact of the author’s specific word choices on the story’s meaning? Use specific examples from the text to support your analysis.

13. How does the text structure the author chose contribute to the story? Use examples from the story in your analysis.

14. How does the order of events contribute to the action of the novel? Use examples from the drama in your analysis.

15. How does having parallel plots contribute to the action of the novel? Use examples from the drama in your analysis.

16. How does the manipulation of time contribute to the story? Use examples from the story in your analysis.

17. How does the author create mystery/tension/surprise in the story/drama? Use examples from the story/drama in your analysis.






Nonfiction Articles and Writing Prompt

Students should read the paired texts (Text 1 and Text 2) below and write an essay (suggestion: a brief introduction, three strong body paragraphs, and a short conclusion) responding to the prompt.

Text 1

Tens of Thousands Flee California Fires

By Ian Lovett

December 5, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- A series of large fires across Southern California continued to grow Wednesday, leading to the closure of schools and a major freeway and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

In Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, flames chewed through downtown Ventura and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. In Los Angeles, a fire sparked early Wednesday morning threatened some of the country's most expensive real estate.

Fire officials expected conditions to worsen over the next several days, with wind gusts expected to pick up dramatically -- up to 80 miles an hour.

The conditions would be so dire that state fire officials said they declared the fire danger at the highest level: extreme.

"These will be winds that there will be no abilities to fight fires," said Ken Pimlott director of CAL FIRE, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "This is about evacuations.

" Videos on social media showed motorists on the busy 405 freeway driving toward hillsides that were completely engulfed in flames. The freeway reopened Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local state of emergency as the fire near Bel Air grew to 125 acres.

A local state of emergency was still in effect for another fire burning further north in Los Angeles. This declaration requests state and federal assistance be provided quickly.

 "These are days that break your heart," Mr. Garcetti said. "We have four structures that we can confirm have been destroyed, four homes."

The Getty Center museum and Skirball Cultural Center both closed for the day, as did dozens of Los Angeles area schools, as thick plumes of smoke obscured the skyline.

Some residents of Bel Air, home to celebrities and millionaires such as Elon Musk, were ordered to evacuate. A Bel Air estate and winery owned by Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, was threatened.

Fires across Southern California this week have already consumed more than 80,000 acres, fueled by Santa Ana winds and months with little rain that left brush across the region dry and ready to burn.

More than 4,000 firefighters were working to control the blazes, but the major fires were still at little or no containment, and fire officials said the high winds and low humidity were likely to last at least until Friday.

The largest fire -- the Thomas Fire -- jumped the 101 freeway Tuesday night and reached all the way to the Pacific Ocean. That fire has burned into the city of Ventura and has destroyed at least 150 buildings, a total that fire officials expect will rise.

Fire officials compared the Thomas Fire with the Tubbs Fire, which tore through Santa Rosa in Northern California in October. That fire killed 22 people and burned more than 5,000 acres, making it the most destructive fire in the state's recorded history.


Text 2

Urban Damage Raises Questions About California's Wildfire Strategy

By Chris Kirkham and Jim Carlton

October 18, 2017

SANTA ROSA, Calif.—Coffey Park, a neighborhood now an ashen expanse of melted automobiles and charred foundations, has come to symbolize the destructive power of the fires ravaging Northern California.

And yet the neighborhood wasn’t designated at the highest risk for wildfires, pointing to the challenges in predicting fire behavior and the limitations of California’s system for pinpointing wildfire danger in dense, urbanized areas.

“We just learned a wildfire can plow through a city,” said Lynda Hopkins, a supervisor for Sonoma County, which includes Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 about 60 miles north of San Francisco.

Crews continued to battle 13 large wildfires Wednesday that have charred more than 200,000 acres, state officials said, and the death toll climbed to 42. Cooler temperatures and more humidity this week were helping those on the fire line.

California has the most extensive statewide system in the U.S. for mapping wildfire risk. The program, which dates to the 1980s, looks at past wildfire behavior, weather patterns, terrain and the presence of fire-prone vegetation.

 In the highest-risk areas, the state lays out requirements for any new construction: fire-resistant building codes; wider roads for emergency access; and mandatory disclosures of fire risk in real-estate transactions.

Wildfire researchers who have studied the state’s system, administered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, say the maps don’t reflect the risks posed by specific types of development in the path of wildfire, such as older homes with flammable shingles.

Dave Sapsis, a research scientist with Cal Fire’s mapping program, acknowledged the maps have some limitations. He said it is difficult to collect extremely localized data on a statewide scale for risk models often used for years. Neighborhoods constantly grow and change, he said, and it is challenging to collect exact data on the quality of construction for every home.

Mr. Sapsis said the state is in the process of updating its maps to include much more localized data on wind patterns, and he said information from the most recent fires will help the state improve its modeling of how wildfires affect urban areas.

“This is a bit of a wake-up call,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire researcher with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “What we had here is something that very rarely happens, but it’s happening more often.”

A 2012 study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin and elsewhere found that many structures burned in California wildfires since 2001 weren’t in areas determined to be most susceptible, based on the state’s wildfire-risk maps. The study concluded the maps were “unable to predict which structures were burned by fire” and “the majority of property loss occurred in areas not designated as at-risk.”

Alexandra Syphard, who worked on the study, said wildfire-risk analysis should also take into account on-the-ground conditions such as the density and location of homes or the age of the housing stock.

“You can’t do it in isolation,” said Ms. Syphard, a researcher at the nonprofit Conservation Biology Institute. “You have to figure out where the homes are at the time they’re making the maps, because they factor into the risk.”

Mr. Sapsis, of Cal Fire, said the agency had some questions about the 2012 study, with an internal review finding that most of the destroyed homes in the period studied were in fire-hazard areas. He said that homes are generally lost in “extreme fire weather that is difficult to predict.”

U.S. Forest Service research into a series of fires in Colorado in recent years found extensive rebuilding in areas damaged by fires, and only modest changes to building codes and land-use planning.

California’s wildfire-mapping systems require new construction, including rebuilding, at a higher standard for the highest-risk wildfire zones.

But there is uncertainty on what the requirements will be for Coffey Park because it isn’t designated as one of the riskiest areas by either the state or local government.

Many homes in the subdivision were built in the 1980s, before more stringent building codes, and experts said the outdated construction standards likely meant the neighborhood was more prone to ignite.

Ms. Hopkins, the Sonoma County supervisor, said she expects new building rules that would require the use of more fire-resistant materials—particularly rooftops. Such safeguards weren’t considered so important in a city like Santa Rosa before, she said, but now people who live there are adapting to the new reality of more urban fires started by wildfires.

“This fire moved through a commercial business park, through hotels, through gas stations, Kmart,” said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal at the Santa Rosa Fire Department. “You had a six-lane firebreak, Highway 101, that wasn’t going to stop it.”

Alice Plichcik, who had lived in Coffey Park for more than two decades and lost her home in the fire, said she had assumed the chances of her home burning down were “very, very slim in this area.”

A local fire station is just a few blocks away, she said, allowing she and her sister get a discount on their homeowner’s insurance.

She said she intends to rebuild, but add a sprinkler system and emergency lighting to the house. “I would love to just rebuild,” she said. “I would do it tomorrow if they let me.”

Writing Prompt: Based on the information in both of the texts, determine the impact of the California wildfires. Use details from both texts to support your ideas.