Link for AZMerit practice tests:


Eric Susak teaches English 7, English 8, Liberal Studies, and Manifesting Success. He also is an advisor for NHS and the Magic: The Gathering Club. Outside his endeavor to develop his students into critical autodidacts, he performs music and Cyr Wheel. As a published author attempting to make his name in the literary world, Eric Susak is currently working on both his first novel and memoir.


  • Northern Arizona University, Masters of Fine Arts: Creative Writing
  • Northern Arizona University, Secondary Education: English BSED


  • Taught English 105 at NAU from 2013 to 2015
  • Began at FALA in 2015



Favorite Quote

There is only one kind of memoir that I can see to write and that’s a slippery, playful, impish, exasperating text, shaped, if it could be, like a question mark.

-Lauren Slater

English 7

5/2: 1B went to The Peaks to interview residents; 2B read a creative non-fiction piece, deconstructed it to see how facts can into a story, and discussed how to approach non-fiction writing.

4/27: Discussed how to interview; wrote interview questions for the Personal Histories Project.

Homework: Turn in the permission slip to travel to The Peaks.

4/25: Reflected on the vignettes; completed a journal check; had a vignette reading.

4/18: Prepared for Student Led Conferences; continued working on vignettes.

4/13: Warmed up with a writing exercise; discussed different organizational options for creative work; worked on outlining ideas for the personal vignettes.

4/11: Wrote a book review for HOMS; reviewed the motifs from the book and wrote a thesis statement based on one of those motifs; began thinking of writing territories in anticipation of writing a vignette based on personal experience.

4/6: Watched the documentary, Tiny, and completed a video guide that compares themes from The House on Mango Street.

3/30: Discussed escapism; read pages 88-100; reviewed figurative language and the Figurative Language Organizers; took a look at the writing portion of the AZMerit practice test while discussing strategies for completing the writing.

3/28: Discussed the purpose of stories; read pages 76-87; took notes on narrative leads; practiced writing three different narrative leads.

3/24: Found examples of motifs from House of Mango Street; read pages 65-75; found examples of figurative language.

3/23: Answered a question about what home means; read pages 43-64; looked at the sample AZ Merit test to prepare students for standardized testing.

3/21: Free write warm up; using figurative language, students wrote a short vignette that relates a physical trait of a person with their personality.

3/9: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test. No homework or assignments over spring break. Have fun!

3/7: Practiced vocabulary; took notes on figurative language; identified some examples of figurative language in The House on Mango Street; read pages 31-42.

Homework: Study for the vocabulary test on 3/9.

3/2: Practiced vocabulary; made predictions about vignettes based on chapter titles; read pages 21-30; identified motifs.

2/23: Practiced vocabulary; read pages 12-20; identified and quotes examples of motifs in HOMS.

2/21: Students had a guest teacher because Mr. Susak was absent. Reviewed vocab definitions; answered pre-reading questions for pages 1-11 in House on Mango Street; read pages 1-10; answered post reading questions for that section.

2/16: Turned in final drafts and books; completed and discussed an anticipation guide for House on Mango Street; began vocabulary homework.

Homework (Due Tuesday, February 21): Vocabulary for House on Mango Street.

2/14: Peer revision day.

Homework (Due Thursday, February 16): Final draft of Hobbit essay.

2/10: Wrote rough drafts.

Homework (Due Tuesday, February 14): Rough drafts for peer revision.

2/9: Continued working on essays. Students should be done with the outlining process. Rough draft due Tuesday.

2/7: Checked and graded journals; worked on essay prompts.

2/2: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test; started writing theses for an essay on The Hobbit.

1/31: Practice vocabulary; read Chapter 18; discussion questions about Bilbo’s heroic qualities; updated the Personal Hero’s Journey.

Homework (Due Thursday, February 2): Finish reading the book (Chapter 19); study for the vocabulary test, which is on Thursday.

1/27: Practiced vocabulary; answered questions on Chapter 15; read chapter 16.

Homework (Due Tuesday, 1/31): Read chapter 17.

1/26: Practiced vocabulary words; conducted a mock trial for Thorin and the destruction of lake-town.

Homework (Due Friday, January 27): Read Chapter 15.

1/19: Identified favorite moments from the book and how the ideas from those moments can be applied to every day life; finished the Hero’s Transformation which shows Bilbo’s growth; found quotes that support a specfic idea; reviewed vocabulary words.

Homework (Due Tuesday, January 24): Read Chapter 14.

1/17: Answered questions about Chapter 12 and greed; read chapter 13; began working on vocabulary homework.

Homework (due Thursday, January 19): Finish vocabulary sheet.

1/13: Answered questions about correctly quoting a text; drew a map of the Mountain based on details from chapter 11, while quoting those details.

Homework (Due Tuesday, January 17): Read Chapter 12.

1/12: Chapter 9 Quiz; read chapter 10; updated our Hero’s Transformation sheet to reflect how Bilbo has changed.

Homework (Due Friday, January 13): Read Chapter 11.

1/10: Chapter 8 Quiz; analyzed Bilbo’s internal struggles by looking at concrete crises; wrote a plan for Personal Hero’s Journeys; began reading chapter 9.

Homework (Due Thursday, January 12): Read chapter 9.

1/5: Answered questions about asking for help; practiced writing with strong, specific, active verbs, third person, and present tense.

Homework (Due Tuesday, January 10): Read Chapter 8 of The Hobbit.

1/3: Wrote a free write in journals; began personal hero’s journey (in which students set out to accomplish something in a month; read chapter 7.

Homework (Due Thursday, January 5): Finish reading chapter 7.

12/13: Teacher was absent, had a guest teacher; wrote descriptive paragraphs using sensory details; reviewed thesis statements in preparation for the midterm; began reading chapter 6.

Homework (Due Friday, December 16): Finish reading chapter 6.

12/8: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test.

Homework (due Tuesday, December 13): Read chapter 6.

12/6: Wrote summaries of chapter 4 and found quotes to support those summaries; answered questions on decision making and anticipating significant consequences/results of decisions; read chapter 5.

Homework: Finish reading chapter 5; study for the vocabulary test, which happens on Thursday, December 8.

12/2: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 3.

Homework (Due Tuesday, December 6): Read chapter 4.

12/1: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 2; found quotes that demonstrate Bilbo’s character before his hero’s journey.

11/22: Practiced vocabulary; finished reading Chapter 1; completed a journal check.

11/17: Practice vocabulary; took notes on the Hero’s Journey; began reading The Hobbit.

11/15: Collected essays; finished watching The Outsiders; worked on vocabulary homework.

Homework (Due Thursday, November 17): Vocabulary for The Hobbit.

11/10: Peer revised essays; make corrections for a final draft.

Homework (Due Tuesday, November 15): Final draft, typed and printed.

11/8: Wrote essay rough drafts.

11/3: Reflected on the previous, graded essay, and wrote strategies to improve on future essays; worked on the essay for The Outsiders (due Tuesday, November 15).

11/1: Warmed up with practice writing context for a quote; continued working on the essay for The Outsiders. Students should be done with the Four Square today.

10/27: Warmed up with a sample thesis statement; continued working on Writing Prompts; began the argumentative essay Four Square organizer.

10/25: Took a chapter 12 quiz; reflected on the book; began writing theses for an essay on The Outsiders.

10/21: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test.

Homework (Due Tuesday, October 25): Finish reading The Outsiders.

10/20: Answers questions on chapter 10; finished disambiguating quotes; read chapter 11; practiced vocabulary (Vocab test tomorrow, October 21).

10/18: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 10; practiced disambiguating quotes taken out of context from the book.

10/13: (Proactively written.) There will be a guest teacher today. Students should practice vocabulary, read chapter 9 in The Outsiders, and work on their Mind Maps.

10/11: Answered questions on chapter 7; read chapter 8; discussed strong word choices and practiced revising for stronger sentences.

10/6: Answered questions about heroism; wrote a newspaper article about events from the book.

Homework (Due Tuesday, October 11): Read Chapter 7

10/4: Free write warm up; read chapters 5 and 6; began vocabulary homework.

Homework: Outsiders Vocabulary Chapters 9-12

9/30: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test.

9/29: Practiced vocabulary words; reviewed chapter 4 with discussion questions; did a graded journal check.

9/27: Practiced vocabulary words; created dramatic tableauxs of different scenes from the book; reflected on the tableauxs; began reading Chapter 4.

Homework (Due Thursday, September 29):Finish reading Chapter 4.

9/22: Had a substitute (teacher sick); practiced vocabulary words; read chapter 2; made Mind Maps of characters from the book.

Homework (Due Tuesday, September 27): Read Chapter 3 of The Outsiders.

9/20: Discussed conformity; reviewed vocabulary word definitions; read chapter 1.

9/16: Answered questions on identity; began reading The Outsiders (up to page 9); worked on vocabulary homework.

Homework (Due Tuesday, September 20): Vocabulary (copy of the vocab words under “Handouts”).

9/15: Turned in final drafts of essays and wrote a short self-reflection; answered anticipatory questions for The Outsiders; discussed answers as a class.

9/13: Discussed proper MLA format for essays (MLA guide under “Handouts”); peer-reviewed each others’ essays.

Homework (Due Thursday, September 15): Final draft of essay.

9/8: Practiced using active voice; continued working on rough drafts for Harrison Bergeron essay.

Homework (Due Tuesday, September 13): Essay rough draft.

9/6: Learned about active voice and passive voice; practiced turning passive voice sentences into active voice.

9/2: Practiced using academic language.

9/1: Discussed students’ successes and difficulties in writing this essay; continued working on Outline and began typing rough drafts.

8/30: Continued working on the Four Square and finding quotes that support a thesis; began outlining essay.

8/25: Practiced citing in MLA format; began outlining the essay on a Four Square.

8/23: Discussed writing and its effect on the world; reviewed and practiced writing thesis statements; looked at three different prompts for an essay on “Harrison Bergeron.”

8/19: Took notes on Thesis statements; practiced revising unarguable statements into theses.

8/18: Answered questions about diversity and handicaps; read “Harrison Bergeron.”

8/16: Organized and set-up Journals; wrote a sample essay to establish what skills the class needs to focus on.

8/11: Went over classroom rules and procedures; reviewed syllabus and discipline policy; discussed FALA culture.

Homework (Due Tuesday, August 16): Get parent/guardian signature on syllabus; bring Composition notebook.

English 8

5/1: Wrote an in-class essay comparing themes between TKAM and the poem, Strange Fruit.

4/28: Completed a journal check.

4/26: Took a reading quiz on chapters 28-29; identified and explained symbolism in TKAM.

Homework (Due Friday, April 28): Finish reading TKAM.

4/24: Answered questions on community; read chapters 27 and 28.

Homework (Due Wednesday, April 26): Read chapter 29.

4/17: Summarized chapters 25 and 26; prepared for the Student Led Conferences by annotating assignments; did an activity that fosters and examines empathy.

4/14: Answered questions on individuality vs collective identity; read chapter 24.

Homework (Due Monday, April 17): Read chapters 25 and 26.

4/12: Updated plot diagrams; answered questions on chapters 19-21; read chapter 22.

Homework (Due Friday, April 14): Read chapter 23.

4/10: Reading quiz on chapter 20; confronted stereotypes of certain demographics and discussed how to move past prejudice and toward treating individuals as humans; read chapter 21.

3/31: Played vocabulary game; took vocab test.

Homework (Due Monday, April 10, after the AZ Merit Test week): Read chapters 18, 19, and 20.

3/29: Practiced vocabulary (test on Friday); reviewed strategies for the writing portion of the AZ Merit and examined the practice test; read chapter 17.

Homework (Due Monday, April 10): Read chapters 18, 19, and 20. Because AZ Merit testing takes up both A days next week, these chapters are not due until I see A-day students again on the 10th.

3/27: Added to plot diagrams; practiced vocabulary (test on Friday); read chapter 16; answered questions about chapters 15 and 16.

3/22: Practiced vocabulary; answered a few practice questions for the AZMerit, as well as reviewed test-taking strategies; read chapter 13.

Homework (Due Monday, March 27): Read chapters 14-15.

3/20: Answered questions on chapters 10 and 11; practiced vocabulary; read chapter 12 while identifying examples of prejudice.

3/10: Discussed empathy; reviewed vocabulary definitions; added to plot diagrams.

Homework (Due Monday, March 20): Read Chapters 10 and 11.

3/8: Warm up stories about personal adventures; read chapter 9; discussed the inherent racism in Scout’s life.

Homework (Due Friday, March 10): Vocabulary 2 for TKAM.

3/6: Summarized chapters 5-7; answered questions about the curiosity with Boo Radley; read chapter 8; identified main events and plotted them on a plot diagram.

3/3: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test.

Homework (Due Monday, March 6): Read chapters 5-7.

3/1: Practiced vocabulary (Vocab test on Friday, March 3); drew portraits of characters based on textual evidence.

Homework (Due Monday, March 6): Read chapters 5-7.

2/27: Quiz on chapters 2 and 3; practiced vocabulary; drew a plot diagram in journals and documented the first 3 chapters; read chapter 4.

2/22: Practiced vocab; answered questions about urban legends; read chapter 2.

Homework (Monday, February 27): Read through Chapter 3.

2/17: Reviewed vocab definitions; read chapter 1 in To Kill a Mockingbird.

2/15: Turned in final drafts; completed a journal check; worked on vocabulary homework.

Homework (Due Friday, February 17): TKAM Vocabulary 1-5.

2/13: Worked on peer revisions.

Homework (Due Wednesday, February 15): Final drafts.

2/8: Worked on essays.

Homework (Due Monday, February 13): Rough draft of Ender’s Game essay.

2/6: Continued working on Statements of Theme; started essay 4-square to organize ideas.

2/3: Began working on the Statement of Theme for an essay on Ender’s Game.

2/1: Found a motif from Chapter 14; practiced disambiguating quotes; began reading Chapter 15.

Homework (Due Friday, February 3): Finish reading Ender’s Game (Chapter 15).

1/31: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocabulary test.

Homework (Due Wednesday, February 2): Read Chapter 14.

1/18: Practiced vocabulary (vocab test is Friday, January 20); read chapter 13; updated our Motif worksheet.

Homework (Due Monday, January 23): Read Chapter 14.

1/11: Practiced vocabulary; answered questions on chapter 11; read chapter 12.

1/9: Took a Chapter 10 Reading “Quiz;” practiced vocabulary with sentences; began reading chapter 11; identified a few motifs from the book.

Homework (Due Wednesday, January 11): Finish reading Chapter 11.

1/6: Answered questions on Chapter 9; reviewed vocabulary definitions.

Homework (Due Monday, January 9): Read Chapter 10 of Ender’s Game.

1/4: Warmed up with a free write, began reading Chapter 9; worked on vocabulary.

Homework (Due Friday, January 6): Finish reading Chapter 9; finish vocabulary.

12/14: Took midterm.

12/12: Wrote from a perspective of a character in Ender’s Game; wrote summaries of the book thus far in preparation of winter break.

12/9: Played vocabulary game; took vocabulary test.

12/5: Chapters 5 and 6 reading quiz; answered questions on the Giant’s game that Ender defeats; began reading chapter 7.

Homework (Due Wednesday, December 7): Finish reading chapter 7.

11/30: Practiced vocabulary; identified motifs in Ender’s Game; read chapter 5.

Homework (Due Monday, December 5): Finish reading Chapter 5, read Chapter 6.

11/28: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 4 in Ender’s Game.

11/21: Practiced vocabulary; answered questions on Chapter 3; completed a journal check.

11/18: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 2; answered questions on Peter’s character.

Homework (Due Monday, November 21): Read Chapter 3.

11/16: Reviewed Vocabulary definitions; read chapter 1 of Ender’s Game and wrote questions that the section raised.

11/14: Collected projects and had presentations; concluded discussion of Animal Farm; worked on vocabulary.

Homework (Due Wednesday, November 16): Vocabulary for Ender’s Game.

11/9: Continued working on projects.

Homework (Due Monday, November 14): Finish projects. Don’t forget the 1-paragraph explanatory essay that shows how your project demonstrates the statement of theme, if you made a project other than an essay.

11/7: Continued working on projects.

11/2: Began working on the final project for Animal Farm.

10/31: Wrote scary stories for Halloween; introduced Animal Farm final project; began writing statements of theme for the project.

10/28: Played a vocabulary game; took the vocab test.

Homework (Due Monday, October 31): Finish reading Animal Farm.

10/26: Warmed up with questions about social responsibility; compared two songs from Animal Farm with each other based on audience, tone, and theme. (Vocab test this Friday, 10/28.)

10/24: Warmed up with questions about the ethics of the animals; wrote letters from the animals’ perspectives; read chapter 9.

Homework (Due Wednesday, Oct. 26): Finish reading Chapter 9.

10/19: Warmed up with questions about free speech; presented Propaganda projects; read chapter 8.

10/17: Warm up question about the execution scene in Animal Farm; worked on propaganda projects.

Homework (Due Wednesday, October 19): Propaganda projects (including the 2-paragraph explanatory essay).

10/12: Practiced vocabulary; worked on propaganda projects (due Wednesday, October 19).

10/10: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 7; continued working on propaganda projects.

10/7: Practiced vocabulary; began outlining for propaganda projects.

10/5: Took a quiz on chapter 6; discussed manipulation; looked at examples of propaganda and analyzed the tactics used; reviewed vocabulary words.

10/3: Free write in journal; checked and reviewed Vocabulary 2; summarized chapter 5; created tableauxs of the first 5 chapters.

Homework (Due Wednesday, Oct. 5): Read chapter 6.

9/28: Journal check; started vocabulary homework; read chapter 5.

Homework (Due Monday, October 3): Vocabulary 2 for Animal Farm. (1A needs to finish reading Chapter 5 as well.)

9/26: Discussed questions on revolutions; read chapter 4; learned about allegory as it applies to Animal Farm.

9/23: Played a vocab game; took the vocab test.

9/21: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 2; updated Symbolic Character Chart.

9/19: Had a substitute teacher; practiced vocab; answered questions on Chapter 1; began reading chapter 2.

9/14: Practiced vocabulary; read chapter 1 of Animal Farm; drew the barn scene in which Old Major gives a speech advocating rebellion.

9/12: Discussed revolutions; practiced vocabulary; read and annotated a brief history of Russian communism; took notes on the reading.

9/9: Turned in final drafts; answered anticipation questions for Animal Farm; began vocabulary table.

Homework (Due Monday, September 12): Finish vocab table.

9/7: Revised each others’ essays.

Homework (Due Friday, September 9): Final draft of essay, typed. Check “Handouts” for a guide on MLA format.

8/31: Wrote rough drafts

Homework (Due Wednesday, September 7): Rough draft in hard copy.

8/29: Discussed strong Leads; continued outlining essays; some students began typing rough drafts (which are due on Wednesday, September 7th).

8/26: Continued working on Four Square; some students began the outline.

8/24: Reflected on the pre-reading questions; began outline the essay in a four-square. (Four Square and the full short story are under “Handouts” if any student feels they need more time to work on the essay.)

8/22: Warmed up with a question about relieving the feeling of being wronged; wrote statements of theme for five motifs in the short story; wrote a thesis statement for an essay on TUPM.

8/17: Answered pre-reading questions about revenge; read “The Utterly Perfect Murder”

8/15: Organized Journals; reviewed Thesis and Theme; set goals for the year.

8/12: Went over syllabus; got to know each other; completed an Eye Spy game to get connected with FALA culture and campus.

Homework (Due Monday, August 15): Have parent/guardian sign syllabus; bring Composition notebook.

Liberal Studies 8

4/28: Completed a study guide for the Rhetoric Unit Test (which is on Monday, May 1)

4/26: Finished rhetoric presentations; started the rhetoric test study guide (test is on Monday, May 1).

4/24: Began rhetoric project presentations.

4/17: Finished working on speeches and completed the Speech Rationalization;

Homework (Due Monday, April 24): Finish speeches and be prepared to present.

4/12: Watched some examples of speeches from popular movies to identify good oration techniques; continued working on projects.

4/10: Began outlining speeches for the rhetoric project.

3/31: Played Superfight while identifying rhetorical appeals.

3/29: Read a speech by Robert Kennedy and identified examples of rhetorical appeals.

3/27: Rhetorically analyzed advertisements and determined their efficacy.

3/22: Reviewed Context; took notes on rhetorical appeals; wrote examples for each rhetorical appeal.

3/20: Began learning about and taking notes on context and rhetoric.

3/8: Finished presentations; played games as a reward for projects.

3/6: Presented projects.

3/3: Teacher was absent. Played logic games; worked on projects.

3/1: Due to the snow day and absences, the project due date will be Monday, March 6.

2/27: Continued working on logical fallacy projects.

2/22: Finished research; began outlining and preparing presentations.

2/17: Continued research for projects.

2/15: Chose partners and topics for the logical fallacy project; began research.

2/13: Answered reflection questions about the debate we watched; played an argumentation game that involved convincing people to join your side.

2/8: Finished watching the debate in search for logical fallacies; prepared for playing an game of arguments.

2/6: Watched a primary debate in search for logical fallacies.

2/3: Matched comics that used logical fallacies with their respective fallacy names; students drew their own logical fallacy comic.

2/1: Took notes on Logical Fallacies; watched a video on logical fallacies while completing a video guide.

1/31: Solved a complicated puzzle using a series of syllogisms.

1/18: Practiced finding conclusions from given premises.

1/11: Learned more about syllogisms; played a syllogism game.

1/9: Began learning about syllogisms and basic forms of logic.

1/6: Warmed up with questions about why argument is vital; impromptu debates; reflection on debates.

1/4: Reviewed and established course goals; watched a video from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and discussed syllogisms and basic arguments.

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