PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 3/20/17 Theme to Thesis


Dear Families,

Now that the work of getting into a rigorous high school is behind us, the work towards being a reflective and disciplined high school student is upon us. To that end, all of our discussions have centered around writing this week. Our current essay on The Great Gatsby is good stomping ground for this task! There are many themes to choose from in the novel: Time, Social Class, Reinvention, and The American Dream are just a few. But how do you turn a theme into a thesis? We started by looking at some of the themes and asking questions about them. What did we already understand about these aspects of the novel? What really interested us about this character? What deserved our further exploration? What held particular meaning for us? We would need to take the “big idea” that we decided on and turn it into a statement or question that we could then prove and answer with reasoning, analysis, and evidence. As writers, we all start in different ways. Some begin with lists or charts, some with notes, and others dive right into drafting . . .

Here, Clyde pondered location as a potent symbol for a larger idea . . .

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Jasper Shepard started drafting immediately as he had been thinking about this thesis statement since chapter 1 . . .

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Maddie was taken with the scene about Gatsby’s shirt collection (such beautiful shirts!) and wanted to think about other symbols of materialism before she settled on her thesis . . .

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Katy has a meticulous way of organizing information that allowed her to choose the best ideas for the current assignment and save the “leftovers” for a possible future piece . . .

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Kika was inspired by the idea of reinvention and how it was at the heart of The American Dream . . .

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Concurrently, students are working on book covers for The Great Gatsby in Media Lit. Covers will compete in a contest for “Best Cover Art.” Judging (please refer to the book cover rubric distributed in Media Lit.) will take place after March 24th and the lucky, hard-working winner will receive the following prizes:



A beautiful shirt!

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Before finishing The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald saw this cover art and loved it so much he told his publisher that he had “written it into the story.” From the 1925 first edition jacket by Francis Cugat.

  • Cotton/poly fitted tee (size L)
  • Distressed, softened print
  • Color: royal blue



A beautiful book!

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A sumptuous  hardback edition to mark the 70th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s death. Encompassing the very best of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short fiction, this collection spans his career, from the early stories of the glittering Jazz Age, through the lost hopes of the thirties, to the last, twilight decade of his life. It brings together his most famous stories, including ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,’ a fairy tale of unlimited wealth; the sad and hilarious stories of Hollywood hack Pat Hobby; and ‘The Lost Decade,’ written in Fitzgerald’s last years.


Ms. Sacilotto



“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald