Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21

Only 1st and 2nd periods met today. We connected Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to popular culture.

Second period also spent time setting up their district-mandated ePortfolios. 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!

Baxter and Boomer visited Santa Claus!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 20

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Write about your favorite Christmas/holiday/family tradition.

We watched Act III of the 1953 version of Julius Caesar. I prefer this version over the 1970 version because I think Antony's speech comes across more strongly. And Marlon Brando is in it, so... . Students then analyzed Brutus and Antony's speeches for persuasive techniques. We will resume this work after the break!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19

Students completed the district-mandated Nelson-Denny Reading test today.

We went over the argument and persuasion test. Students who scored below 70% may retake the test after school (3:30) today (1st & 2nd periods only); before school (7:30), A block, B block, or after school (3:30) Tuesday; or before school (7:30) Wednesday. Students should complete the retest before we go on break.

We recapped Act I and I summarized Act II of Julius Caesar. Students should review the summary and background info packets for tomorrow.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16

WNB: Choose one statement and argue for or against it.

  • Too much ambition inevitably leads to disaster.
  • Politicians are more concerned with power than issues affecting people's lives.
  • Violence leads to more violence.
  • Crowds can be easily manipulated and moved to violence.

We started class with 30 minutes of blog time. This entry is due by 11pm tonight! (Due to the shortened 4th period today, 4th period students' blogs are due by 11pm Sunday, 12/18.)

To introduce Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, we moved to different corners of the room that reflected our opinion on four of the main themes of the play (the four statements from the notebook entry). Students received packets of summaries and background information (4th period will get these on Monday), and we watched a really great introductory video.

We watched Act I, Scenes 1 and 2 to set the stage. We will pick up where we left off on Monday. Don't forget to bring a device on Monday (preferably your district-issued iPad)!

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

December 15

Students took the argument and persuasion test today. All grades have been entered!

Tomorrow, we will have blog time before we begin our work with Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Coming up:
Friday, 12/16 - Blog due
Monday, 12/19 - Bring device & a scored article

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 14

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Outside entry: Check Classroom if you need inspiration!

I went over the test review in advance of tomorrow's argument and persuasion test. Students will be allowed to use their literary terms packet on the test. If you've lost yours, go to the library and print out a new one from Classroom!

After finishing their rhetorical analysis of their selected speech, students compared and contrasted the two speeches.

Coming up:
Tomorrow - Argument and Persuasion test
Friday, 12/16 - Blog due
Monday, 12/19 - Bring device!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: What's so "awkward" or "uncomfortable" about silence? (Inspired by student reflections on Friday's Socratic seminar.)

We read and analyzed Adlai Stevenson's "Cat Bill Veto" for elements of argument and persuasion.

We read excerpts from Antigone and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Students worked with a partner to analyze the pieces. We will continue this work tomorrow.

Coming Up:
Thursday, 12/15 - Argument and Persuasion test
Friday, 12/16 - Blog due
Monday, 12/19 - Bring device!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Article of the Week - "Could Humans Actually Live on Mars?"

We reviewed "On Nuclear Disarmament" from last week and recalled the repetition and parallelism that we found. Students analyzed those structures to determine why the author used them and how they impact the speech. We then looked at a definition of inductive reasoning and discovered examples in the speech.

Coming Up
Grades for Friday's Socratic seminar have been entered. Great work!
Thursday, 12/15 - Argument and Persuasion test
Friday, 12/16 - Blog due
Monday, 12/19 - bring iPad/device

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Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: What can be done to make the world safer?

Students participated in a socratic seminar to wrap up our work with Lord of the Flies. Lots of great conversations about the role of fear and the lack of females on the island!

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Coming Up:
Thursday, 12/15 - Argument and Persuasion Test
Friday, 12/16 - Blog due

Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 8

We used the first 30 minutes of class for blog time. The next blog entry is due Friday, December 16. Remember, at least one entry this 9 weeks must be about your AP book.

We finished up our argument and persuasion notes with logical fallacies (available on Classroom).

We read "On Nuclear Disarmament," a speech from 1988 by Carl Sagan. We discovered examples of repetition and parallelism as we read, and we will discuss these more on Monday. (Absent students can find the speech and reading guide on Classroom.)

Students received a copy of the argument and persuasion test review (also on Classroom). The test is Thursday, December 15.

I reminded students to be sure their questions are ready for tomorrow's socratic seminar on Lord of the Flies.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 7

Students took the STAAR English II EOC test today!

Coming Up:
Friday, 12/9 - Lord of the Flies socratic seminar (major grade)
Thursday, 12/15 - argument and persuasion test (major grade)
Friday, 12/16 - blog due

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 6

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Outside of class entry--see prompts on Classroom if you need ideas.

We went over the Anna Quindlen commencement speech, marking examples of repetition, parallelism, analogy, and allusion and discussing their effectiveness.

I handed out the prep packet the Lord of the Flies socratic seminar that students will participate in on Friday.

Tomorrow is the STAAR English II EOC! Good luck!

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Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: "Fidel Castro, Cuba's Communist Leader, Dies at Age 90" - Students read, annotated, and responded to the article.

I returned students' first STAAR persuasive essay. We discussed writing a clear thesis and providing specific support and examples. We also looked at our use of pronouns and talked about revising vague sentences.
Essay scoring explanation & strategy for discovering examples

An example of a vague sentence that would benefit from revision. 

We took notes over rhetorical devices and persuasive techniques. These notes will be tested on the argument and persuasion test that is scheduled for Thursday, 12/15. Students will receive a review for the test this week. (Notes posted on Classroom. Come to tutorials A block Tuesday or Thursday if you're confused!)

I handed out copies of Anna Quindlen's commencement speech. Students should read it and look for examples of rhetorical techniques. We will look at the speech more closely tomorrow.

Today's Agenda

Important dates in red.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Horror movies or comedy movies? Write a half page response presenting a claim with reasons and evidence for support.

For the notebook check, students counted their entries (beginning with Monday, 10/24) and wrote that number on a post-it. Then they flagged their best example of writing for this 9 weeks (any entry since 10/24) and handed in the notebook.

We watched one more speech and finished our logos, ethos, pathos chart from yesterday.

William Wallace in Braveheart (apologies for the foreign subtitles)

I shared a handout of sample persuasive essay openings and closings on Classroom. Students chose one of their "this or that" notebook entries from this week and wrote an opening for that topic. We read our writing out loud and discussed ways to improve. They then wrote a closing to go along with their opening.

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Have a good weekend, and be careful out there!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Pick a superpower: flight or invisibility? Write a half page response presenting a claim with reasons and evidence for support.

After reviewing the STAAR test with students yesterday, I determined that there are four areas of grammar that we can easily improve. Students worked in groups to curate lessons and quizzes that effectively teach those skills and shared the links on collaborative Slides. After sharing their own findings, they looked at the other lessons and quizzes. We also talked about what makes a reputable website--students did a good job of selecting good sites! (Absent students should read through each lesson and complete at least one quiz.)

To further our understanding of logos, ethos, and pathos, we watched two speeches and evaluated them for effectiveness in each of those areas using a chart like the one below.

Speech 1 - Ashton Kutcher at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards

Speech 2 - Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 2

Notebook check tomorrow! Make sure yours is up to date!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Netflix or YouTube? Write a half page response presenting a claim with reasons and evidence for support.

We reviewed the multiple choice and short answer questions on the practice STAAR test that students recently completed, focusing on commonly-missed questions and test taking strategies. We will discuss the essay portion of the test on Monday.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: "Students Have 'Dismaying' Inability To Tell Fake News from Real, Study Finds" - Students read and responded to the article.

Students considered 9 different statements about popular psychology and determined whether they were truths or myths. Students talked at their tables about the myths to decide which could be applied to Lord of the Flies. Then each student chose 2 myths to analyze more closely, finding evidence from the novel and a second resource that was provided (full resource posted on Classroom). Tomorrow (or Thursday), we will use this information to begin a writing a brief essay on our discoveries.

Students who need to complete the STAAR practice from before the break should attend tutorials Wednesday during B block lunch or after school.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28

Welcome back!

We used class time to finish up the STAAR Practice test. When students were done with the work, they had time to read, work on their writer's notebook (today's entry is an outside entry), or blog (next entry due 12/16).

Tomorrow, we will resume our usual routine with independent reading time and a writer's notebook entry--an article of the week. We will also begin our final assignment over Lord of the Flies. 

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 18

I'm in Atlanta for a convention, so here's what students are working on today.

November 17

I'm in Atlanta for a convention, so here's what students are working on today.

November 16

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: What are you thankful for? (A list is acceptable for this entry.)

Students had 10 minutes to complete the allegory handout and slides from yesterday. They handed in the allegory chart when finished.

I introduced the persuasive essay that students will write for the STAAR test. We looked at the rubric and scored sample student essays. The notes and rubrics are available on Classroom.

I am attending the NCTE Convention in Atlanta, so I will be absent tomorrow and Friday. Students will be completing a practice STAAR test those two days, and we will score it when we return from Thanksgiving break.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: What does it mean to be human?

We watched "Das Bus,"  an episode of The Simpsons that is a parody of Lord of the Flies. We discussed the parallels between the show and the book.

Students collaborated on Google Slides to share their information from the allegory and names chart that we have been working on. We will finish this up tomorrow.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14

Second period completed this work in addition to Friday's work.

I passed back short answer work from last week. Here's how they were graded:
Students who scored a 1 on either of the short answers should plan to attend tutorials to get more practice.

Today's WNB:

Students used the remaining time to work on the allegory chart from Friday. We will finish this work tomorrow.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11

Second period will complete this work on Monday due to the Veteran's Day assembly.

WNB: Why is it important to recognize Veteran's Day?

Students handed in the short answers from yesterday. We went over the SAT Writing Practice 3 handout.

I introduced the idea of allegory, and we discussed different examples of allegory in literature (see notes on Classroom). We watched a video retelling Terrible Things by Eve Bunting and talked about how the story is an example of allegory.

We began working on the "Allegory and Names" chart for Lord of the Flies. We will continue this work on Monday.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 10

Students used the first 30 minutes of class to work on their blogs. I wrote an example on my personal blog for students to use as a model.

We recapped the paired short response work from yesterday, then students independently completed a single and paired short answer that will be turned in for a grade. Students who did not finish before the end of class should complete the work tonight and hand it in at the beginning of class tomorrow.

Students also received an SAT writing multiple choice handout that we will discuss tomorrow (2nd period will discuss on Monday due to the Veteran's Day assembly).

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November 9

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Outside of class entry - Check Classroom for writing ideas!

We went over the answers to the chapter 12 multiple choice questions.

We recapped the short answer work from yesterday. I shared the rubric for the paired selections short response, and students practiced with their groups to write an answer. We will start with this tomorrow!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 8

IRT: ~20 minutes in the library
WNB: If you could vote in today's election, which presidential candidate would you choose? Why?

We continued our discussion of the 3 essays and practiced a short response. Students shared their answers, and we worked together to improve and strengthen them. Students used the remaining class time to work on chapter 12 multiple choice (we'll start with this tomorrow).

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Definition for Ch 12 multiple choice question

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Article of the Week - "Instead of detention, these students get meditation" (Band students read a different article.)

We recapped our short response work from Friday and looked at the scoring rubric. Students wrote a response to a question about Lord of the Flies and turned it in.

We went over the chapter 8-9 multiple choice questions from Friday.

We began our discussion of the 3 essays. We will continue this work tomorrow.

The next blog entry is due by 11pm Thursday, 11/10.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Vocab entry - As they read their choice books, students identified interesting or unfamiliar words then selected 4 words to define in their notebooks.

Here's how today's notebook entry should look.

We discussed short answer strategies, then students worked together to plan answers to 3 different questions about chapters 8-9 of Lord of the Flies. Students chose one of their plans to turn into a full short answer response. This took up most of our time! We'll pick up where we left off on Monday.

Also on Monday, we will go over the answers to the multiple choice handouts and discuss the 3 essays (Fear, Boys, Compact). Don't forget to write 5 questions/ah-ha moments based on the essays.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3

Students had the first 30 minutes of class to work on their blogs. The next entry is due on Thursday, 11/10.

We recapped the instructions for the archetypes activity, and students continued working. We then shared the 5 examples and their connections to Lord of the Flies.

Students completed AP-style multiple choice questions over chapter 6 then checked their answers with their table.

Students began reading 3 essays connected to Lord of the Flies. By Monday, they should have compiled 5 questions and "ah-ha" moments from their reading.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November 2

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: "A Walk in the Woods" (make up in tutorials)

Students took about 15 minutes to finish up the hero's journey charts with their partners. They then discussed their findings with other tables, and we determined which character best reflects the ideal hero's journey.

We then talked about archetypes. Students worked with their groups to find evidence for 4 different archetypes in Lord of the Flies. They also selected 5 other archetypes and explained how they fit the book. We will finish this work tomorrow.

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November 1

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: Outside of class entry - Ideas and prompts available under the Writer's Notebook section of the About page on Classroom.

Students completed SAT writing practice questions, and we discussed the answers.

We reviewed the concept of the hero's journey (see video), then students worked in pairs to track either Ralph's or Jack's journey through Lord of the Flies.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31

Happy Halloween! Students from 2nd period decorated my door for the StuCo contest.

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: "You can now compete to spend one terrifying night in Dracula's castle" - students read the article and circled unfamiliar words. Students chose 4 words from the reading, looked up the definition, and copied it onto the article. They then wrote in their notebooks about whether or not they would want to win this contest.

Students used the remaining class time to finish and turn in the figurative language chart and visuals.

We will be looking at Ralph and Jack as heroes tomorrow (really!), so be sure to read the hero's journey notes on Classroom before then.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28

IRT: ~20 minutes (1st and 4th)
WNB: What does it mean to be civilized?

Students continued working on the figurative language chart. We will spend a little time on Monday finishing this up. We didn't get to talk about Ralph and Jack as heroes today, so we will do that on Monday. Be sure to read the hero's journey notes on Classroom before then.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27

Students used the first 30 minutes of class to read and work on their next blog entry, due Friday, 11/11.

Students completed practice AP and SAT multiple choice questions for chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies.

Students began searching for examples of figurative language. We will continue this work tomorrow.

Students should read the "Hero's Journey" notes that are posted on Classroom before class tomorrow.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 26

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: vocab and foreshadowing in Lord of the Flies

We checked our answers on the SAT Writing Practice 1 sheet. This is similar to what students will see on the SAT and STAAR tests.

Students completed AP and SAT multiple choice questions over chapter 3. After working independently, they collaborated with their groups to come up with the correct answer.

Students should read chapter 4 in preparation for tomorrow's work.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25

IRT: ~20 minutes
WNB: "My idea of paradise is..."

Students worked in groups to develop the perfect survival kit. We then discussed which items were most necessary in the kit.

Students read background information on the author and novel and shared new or surprising details that connected to the book.

We focused on chapters 1 and 2 of Lord of the Flies today, looking at imagery and figures of speech that connect to the idea of paradise.

Tomorrow, we will discuss chapter 3. We will also check answers to the SAT writing practice 1 handout that students received at the end of class.

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