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!

Today's Board
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!

Today's Board