The Sieve and the Sand

Due to culture week, our class periods have been much shorter, and subsequently, I’ve had to condense the amount of activities we can accomplish each class session.

Students were given  an additional 10 minutes to answer the Fahrenheit 451, Section Two, questions (See previous update for the handout). We then reviewed the answers as a part of our whole group discussion. It seems that some people were not as prepared as I had hoped (and warned). Please keep up with the assigned reading. 

The answers for section two can be found in the link below. Students: make sure you have correct answers in your journal. I will be collecting and grading journals in the very near future.

F451 Section Two Answers


  • Read pages 113-130 in the novel.
  • In your journal, answer the Guided Reading Question: What is the symbolism of the mechanical hounds? What role does it play in the novel

Upcoming Project Due Dates: 

I moved the due date for the Book Cover Project to February 10th. The Book Preservation Speech will be due then as well.

Information for both of these assignments can be found in previous updates OR in the “Handouts” section.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.


William Milburn

Fahrenheit 451 & Farewell Semester One

Semester One:  Grades are completed and posted. They will be made visible to parents and students later this week. A majority of students demonstrated consistent growth through out this first semester and I applaud everyone’s hard work and effort.

Fahrenheit 451: 

Our class was shorter due to the opening festivities for ISB Culture Week.

Today we reviewed the previous Guided Reading Question (What danger is there in books?).

Students worked in groups and shared their answers before we came together as a class to go over our responses. We also added notes to our journals from today’s Prezi:

Then students continued to work in their groups to answer questions related to the second section of Fahrenheit 451. They will have an additional 10-15 minutes to complete these questions on Thursday (responses need to be in journals). The questions can be found below:

F451 Part Two Questions


  • Read pages 113-130 in the novel
  • Respond to today’s guided reading question: Why is the title of section two, The Sieve and the Sand?***
  • Create three potential discussion questions for your group
  • Book Cover Project and Speech (Only if students have “extra” time).

*** This was question number four in today’s group questions. The answers can count as both. 

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

-William Milburn


English Update: End of the Semester [Please Read All]

It’s hard to believe that the first semester is coming to an end. But alas, today marks the final day for students in this semester. I have seen some positive growth in our students (English and Resource Room) and I have truly enjoyed my transition to ISB.

For English:

Students have been asked to hold onto their summative assessments for the first semester. They will be including them in a writing portfolio that will be collected today. Items for the portfolio included:

  • Personal Narrative Essay
  • Short Story Unit Essay
  • Comparing Stories Essay
  • “This I Believe” Speech and Essay
  • Argumentative Essay***
  • Semester One Book Analysis

***Students were allowed to make revisions to improve their grade if they felt like doing so. The revisions need to be emailed to me ( no later than 11:59PM on Sunday, January 25. 

All of these assessments have been recorded in Synergy, but it helps for me to look at the growth in a students writing to help determine their grade for the semester. I have also asked students to select their best pieces of formative assessments (homework, in class work, etc.) that demonstrates their work ethic and production in class. This will also help factor into grading. I anticipate grades being finalized by Noon on Monday.

In class: 

I will be overviewing the Book Preservation Speech  assessment for Fahrenheit 451. Students will give a brief speech on the importance of books by making personal connections to reading. The  guidelines can be found below:

F451 Speech Guidelines

Also in class, we will read a non-fiction article that connects to the novel. The article, “Reading Books is Fundamental”, was published in the New York Times and has significant relevance to Fahrenheit 451. Students will read the article, “mark the text”, and the respond to prompts.  The prompts: Reading Books is Fundamental


  • Read pages 91-110 in the novel
  • Answer the Guided Reading Question: What danger is there in books?

As always, do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Enjoy your weekend.

William Milburn

Fahrenheit 451: Updates

Here are some updates from our past few class sessions. We have moved through the first section of Fahrenheit 451 and students have been responding to guided reading questions.

Below are links to two separate Prezis overviewing the responses for the guided reading questions:

GRQ on Technology:

GRQ on the meaning of, “The Hearth and the Salamander”:

Our class also analyzed and discussed the meaning and potential purposes of Bradbury writing Clarisse and Beatty’s monologues. Both characters have long dialogues with layers of meaning that are essential to our understanding of the story.

Book Cover Project: 

One of our summative assessments for the novel will be creating a book cover for Fahrenheit 451. Below are the guidelines for the assignment:

F451 BookCover

This assignment will be due February 4. 

Homework: Read pages 71-91 in novel.

Let me know if you have any questions.

-William Milburn

Fahrenheit 451: Day Two

Our class moved forward with our reading of Fahrenheit 451 today. First, we started with a PowerPoint over-viewing Ray Bradbury and his version of science fiction. This PowerPoint may be helpful in understanding the novel. I had to move quicker than I had hoped through some parts for the sake of time. To review and download the PowerPoint see the link below:

F451 Introduction

We discussed our guided reading question from last class session.

Today’s Questions:

Essential Question: What is science fiction? How is it different than what we expect?

Guided Reading Question: How has technology affected the society of the novel? Give at least one specific example.

Homework: Read pages 31-40 and answer the guided reading question.

For now…

– Milburn

Fahrenheit 451: Day One

Our class started Fahrenheit 451 yesterday and will be working through the novel over the next few weeks. I am very excited to teach Fahrenheit 451, as it’s a great novel that has truly stood the test time. In class we did a station activity discussing various aspects of censorship, and possible rationale behind censoring media. Students worked in small groups and rotated through different higher level questions. I was very pleased with the thoughtful answers our groups provided and the engaging conversation that followed. Well done Period 3! 

Students were asked to bring an academic journal to class and will need to continue doing so. Journals will be used for discussions, important pieces of information, as so forth.

Our Essential Question for the day: What is censorship?                                                   Our Guided Question for the assigned reading: What are the differences between the lives of Montag and Clarisse?

Homework:  Students are to read up to (and not beyond) page 31 in the novel. Then, they are to respond to the Guided Question  in their journals. I am looking for a paragraph or two per question.

Below is a list of the assigned readings, broken down by day, and their respective Guided Questions.

Unit Calendar for Fahrenheit 451

Please do not hesitate to email me with any questions,

William Milburn

Introduction to Ray Bradbury

Today our English class read a story by Ray Bradbury as an introduction to the author, his writing style, and  his take on the genre. We read, “There Will Come Soft Rains” as a class and did some follow up questions to analyze the story further.

If you haven’t read (or it’s been a while) “There Will Come Soft Rains”, it’s worth checking out: . The story was written in 1950 and foresees a dystopian future consumed by technology that survives a nuclear war. Some of the “imaginative” elements of the story are more real today than perhaps readers could have imagined in 1950.

We also watched a short video to accompany the classic story. An artist used animation to create the home of “There Will Come Soft Rains”.  You can access the video here :

Lastly, we concluded the class with questions and discussion. I was very pleased with the thoughtful and creative answers our class came up with.  A copy of the questions PowerPoint can be accessed here:  TWCSR Bradbury Questions 

For homework, students were to make sure they have a journal for English class only. We will be doing journal reflections and discussions through out this unit.  Many students already have one for English class and have been using it through the first part of the year. If obtaining a journal is any degree of difficulty, please let me know and I will try to secure one for your student.

Let me know if you have any questions!

William Milburn

New Year. New Unit

Welcome back!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Winter Break. I spent my two weeks visiting friends and family in Michigan. All though it was nice to see the people I had missed, I was excited to come back to Oregon.

This week will start our new unit. We will be reading and analyzing the classic novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I will attach a reading timeline but will also update this website as we move through the novel.

Please check back for further updates. Look for guidelines, handouts, and rubrics in the next day or so.

Take care,

William Milburn

This week in English

Notes for the week of December 15:



Peer edit and review of argumentative essay rough draft. Students were asked to go beyond fixing spelling and grammar errors. Students looked at clarity, organization, and overall effectiveness of their peer’s argumentative essay.


As a class we shared some of the proposed changes or additions to the amendments. I was pleased to hear a wide range of interesting ideas and perspectives. Then we started the film version of The Diary of Anne Frank.  Our class has worked exceptionally hard and put together three writing pieces over the past six weeks. We did not get to watch the film after we read the play and I figured this was a well deserved time to do so.


We will finish watching The Diary of Anne Frank.  There will be no homework assigned for Winter Break. Relax and stay safe!

– William Milburn


Grade Update

English Class:

Progress reports were sent home last week and reflected a collection of summative assessments at that time. Since then, grades from the “This I Believe” speech and essay were added. If you would like an updated grade, please feel free to email me and I will correspond accordingly.

– William Milburn