We finished up PARCC testing for the year today, which again took most of the class period. We continued reading Act III afterward.
SECOND SEMESTER, 2014–15
This class is an opportunity for students to develop and practice their skills in reading and analysis of literature as well as writing. Our various texts will be the vehicles through which they will hone their critical thinking abilities, and our writing exercises will be an outlet of expression for these abilities. We will be reading poetry, short fiction, novels, and dramatic texts. Our objectives are to master the elements of literature, practice the writing process, and improve organization of writing.
Our end-of-year PARCC testing started today, and it took most of the class. After everyone finished testing, we began reading Act III of Romeo and Juliet.
We finished reading Act II as a class and then watched Act II of the Zeffirelli film.
I returned the Act I review handouts from Monday, and we briefly talked through the summaries of each scene. We read II, i, took a brief break to discuss an article about suicide and mental illness in Longmont, and then read II, ii.
As it has been a while since we read Act I before spring break, we worked on a review of each scene in this act of Romeo and Juliet. The review also asked students to choose a key quote from each scene, which gave us an opportunity to discuss direct citation of quotes from Shakespeare (and review Roman numerals). Then we finished watching Act I of the film.
We began reading Romeo and Juliet in earnest today. Students volunteered to take parts and read each scene out loud. We got through scenes 1–2 today.
Today was our last work day on the poetry summative assessment over the Collins poem “The Lanyard”. Students worked on this for the first half of class, and then we switched over to Romeo and Juliet to begin by reading the Prologue. Homework: the poetry assessment is due in Google Classroom at 7:30 a.m. next Tuesday.
We continued working on the poetry summative assessment today. Students continued completing the worksheet for imagery, musicality, and figurative language by finding examples of poetic devices in “The Lanyard”. I also walked students through how to convert the information on the worksheet to power paragraphs. The goal by the end of class was to have the worksheet finished and two of the three power paragraphs finished. Homework: if you haven’t met the above goal, please get caught up before the start of Friday’s class.
The You Choose a Poem assignment in Google Classroom was due at 7:30 this morning. If you did not turn it in, you should absolutely turn it in late rather than taking a zero. We dove into our poetry unit summative assessment today by starting this worksheet — students had the option of completing it on paper or Classroom. Students received a copy of “The Lanyard” last class — they will need to identify poetic devices and analyze the effects of these devices on the tone and meaning of the poem. We will continue working on this essay throughout the week.
Students worked for about an hour on their You Choose a Poem assignment that they began last class in Google Classroom. The rest of class was spent introducing “The Lanyard”, the poem students will be writing about for their Poetry Summative Assessment next week. Homework: finish the You Choose a Poem assignment in Google Classroom if you didn’t get it done in class; it’s due at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, 3/23.
We got back into poetry today after spending a week on PARCC testing. We used this poem to talk about tone before using a second poem and our Poetry Terms handout to discuss the effect of different poetic devices. Students then began an assignment in Google Classroom where they choose their own poem to identify terms and describe their effect on the poem.
PARCC testing displaced normal instruction for this entire week of class. We will resume normal lessons next week.
After collecting the homework at the start of class and going over English course registration information for next year and beyond, I split students into groups and gave each of them one of four poems. Students paraphrased these poems and answered questions together. At the end of class, each group got up and read and presented their poems to the rest of us.
To start class today, we reviewed the schedule and procedure for PARCC testing next week. Then we shifted back to poetry with a Nikki Giovanni poem and handout where we looked at the concrete representation of abstract concepts through the accompanying discussion questions. Homework: using the second page of the handout, make a list of vivid imagery details about a place you love; write a poem in the same style as Giovanni’s on your own paper.
Following a journal prompt, I helped students work through a difficult poem by Audre Lorde. We discussed this poem and I answered student questions, and then I introduced notes on poetry terms that we will use for the rest of this unit. We looked for some examples of these terms in the Lorde poem to wrap up class.
At the very start of class, we went over the EasyBib export tutorial and students turned in their research papers via Google Classroom. Then, to bridge from our last unit into our next one on poetry, I read an interview with Sherman Alexie from The Atlantic in which he talks about how poetry made him want to be a writer. To end class, we read together the Billy Collins poem “Snow Day” and practiced paraphrasing as a close-reading skill.
I was away from school today. Students completed a test over The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian — a power paragraph they had to outline and write in class. Homework: finish your research paper by the start of class next Tuesday; we will spend the first bit of class making sure everyone’s Works Cited gets migrated from EasyBib into the assignment on Google Classroom.
We began class where we ended last Friday — working through some prompts and writing to help get to a concise thesis statement. We also talked about what will go into the introduction and conclusion paragraphs after students finish writing their body paragraphs. Students had a little bit of work time before we discussed the end of the novel in preparation for the test on Friday. Homework: you must have the novel finished by Friday; your research paper needs to be completely finished by the start of class next Tuesday, at which time I will walk everyone through how to move the Works Cited over from EasyBib to Google Classroom.
Today was our last reading day, with the goal for students to finish the novel if they hadn’t already. Then students had work time to continue typing Power Paragraphs from their research. We spent a few minutes at the end of class starting to talk about thesis statements; we didn’t get as far as I’d hoped, so we’ll continue this next week. Homework: finish the novel, if you haven’t yet; continue working on typing body paragraphs, but don’t worry about the intro or conclusion yet.
I gave students 30 more minutes of novel reading time at the start of class. After this, I returned the notecard evaluation handouts I collected last class. Then I walked students through choosing their most completely researched inquiry question so they could outline and begin typing their first (Power Paragraph) body paragraph of the research paper in Google Classroom. Homework: finish typing this body paragraph you should have started in class; if you still have research to finish, work on that as well.