English 8 students began a new unit practicing with the Moodle forum feature to discuss the following questions:

Imagine you cannot read: how would that change your life? List three to five things you would not be able to do that you would truly miss.

What would you be willing to do to learn to read?

We’ll be using this as a springboard into the new unit.

English I Honors students began learning how to incorporate quotes into their own writing. We’ll be applying this Monday.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • read “The Most Dangerous Game” and “Harrison Bergeron,” both online at the Moodle site;
    • complete the second CD we were working on in class;
    • complete the benchmark test.
Schaffer Analysis, Library, and Finishing Up Moodle

English 8 students went to the library to pick out a book for their first one pager, which will be due in several weeks. We also worked on replying to each others’ posts in Moodle forums and using the quiz module.

English I Honors students began their analytic Schaffer paragraph, working with the story “The Sniper” and the importance of setting. (The stories are available at the Moodle web site.

1-Fullscreen capture 8252016 35128 PM
Third period planning
2-Fullscreen capture 8252016 35136 PM
Fourth period planning
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete the planning of the paragraph begun in class.

Any English I students who have not yet turned in the first Schaffer paragraph assignment (there are eleven of you) need to do so by the end of school tomorrow (8/25). Afterward, I will not accept the work for credit. 2

Socratic Seminar and a Forum

English I Honors students began preparing for their first analytic Schaffer paragraph, which will deal with the short story “The Sniper.”



English 8 students used the Moodle forum feature for the first time. We walked through how to use it and how to write productive posts.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the benchmark test.

English I Honors students began the new unit on literary analysis. We looked at the difference between summary and analysis by examining a new poem, “The Gift.”

English 8 students returned to the article of the week and Moodle.

Students who need more help with the article of the week assignment would do well to review the examples from last year, available at the Moodle site.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 

All students got introduced to the Article of the Week assignment that was such a success last year. It’s time-consuming to explain it all, but since it’s a year-long assignment, I wanted to get started ASAP

For the second portion of class, English I Honors students finished their first solo Schaffer paragraphs. English 8 received an introduction to Moodle and accessed their accounts for the first time.

  • English 8 Studies: If you did not finish your homework (the story “Thank You, Ma’am,”) finish it tonight.

An amusing passage from Dostoyevski’s The Possessed. In this chapter, a group of underground socialist revolutionaries is meeting. Or are they?

“Gentlemen,” said Virginsky, suddenly lifting up his voice, “if anyone wishes to say anything more nearly connected with our business, or has any statement to make, I call upon him to do so without wasting time.”

“I’ll venture to ask one question,” said the lame teacher suavely. He had been sitting particularly decorously and had not spoken till then. “I should like to know, are we some sort of meeting, or are we simply a gathering of ordinary mortals paying a visit? I ask simply for the sake of order and so as not to remain in ignorance.”

This “sly” question made an impression. People looked at each other, every one expecting someone else to answer, and suddenly all, as though at a word of command, turned their eyes to Verhovensky and Stavrogin.

“I suggest our voting on the answer to the question whether we are a meeting or not,” said Madame Virginsky.

“I entirely agree with the suggestion,” Liputin chimed in, “though the question is rather vague.”

“I agree too.”

“And so do I,” cried voices. “I too think it would make our proceedings more in order,” confirmed Virginsky.

“To the vote then,” said his wife. “Lyamshin, please sit down to the piano; you can give your vote from there when the voting begins.”

“Again!” cried Lyamshin. “I’ve strummed enough for you.”

“I beg you most particularly, sit down and play. Don’t you care to do anything for the cause?”

“But I assure you, Arina Prohorovna, nobody is eavesdropping. It’s only your fancy. Besides, the windows are high, and people would not understand if they did hear.”

“We don’t understand ourselves,” someone muttered. “But I tell you one must always be on one’s guard. I mean in case there should be spies,” she explained to Verhovensky. “Let them hear from the street that we have music and a name-day party.”

“Hang it all!” Lyamshin swore, and sitting down to the piano, began strumming a valse, banging on the keys almost with his fists, at random.

“I propose that those who want it to be a meeting should put up their right hands,” Madame Virginsky proposed.

Some put them up, others did not. Some held them up and then put them down again and then held them up again. “Foo! I don’t understand it at all,” one officer shouted. “I don’t either,” cried the other.

“Oh, I understand,” cried a third. “If it’s yes, you hold your hand up.”

“But what does ‘yes’ mean?”

“Means a meeting.”

“No, it means not a meeting.”

“I voted for a meeting,” cried the schoolboy to Madame Virginsky.

“Then why didn’t you hold up your hand?”

“I was looking at you. You didn’t hold up yours, so I didn’t hold up mine.”

“How stupid! I didn’t hold up my hand because I proposed it. Gentlemen, now I propose the contrary. Those who want a meeting, sit still and do nothing; those who don’t, hold up their right hands.”

“Those who don’t want it?” inquired the schoolboy. “Are you doing it on purpose?” cried Madame Virginsky wrathfully.

“No. Excuse me, those who want it, or those who don’t want it? For one must know that definitely,” cried two or three voices.

“Those who don’t want it–those who _don’t_ want it.”

“Yes, but what is one to do, hold up one’s hand or not hold it up if one doesn’t want it?” cried an officer.

“Ech, we are not accustomed to constitutional methods yet!” remarked the major.

“Mr. Lyamshin, excuse me, but you are thumping so that no one can hear anything,” observed the lame teacher.

It reminds me of a scene in a fantastic Polish comedy called Rejs.

English I Honors tried working on their first full solo Schaffer model paragraph today. The topic sentence was the same for everyone: X is Y, where X is someone the students know and Y is some characteristic of that person.

English 8 students continued working on a model text annotation for later reference, finishing up also our kindness ROCK unit.

  • English 8 Studies: complete the text marking from today (the whole story).
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete the Schaffer planning begun in school;
    • begin working on the benchmark test on the Moodle site.

English 8 students began creating a model of text annotation that will serve as the goal for the rest of the year, combining the work with our kindness review for the ROCK mini-unit we’re working through this week.

English I students worked with the Schaffer model for the first time, seeing that it is, in fact, not all that difficult at all. Students created the following examples:

Third Period

TS Schaffer will make it much easier to write.
CD Helps with planning
CM Focus on ideas not organization
CM Can freely move about paragraph while planning
CD Helps with organization
CM (Has a job)
CM Each ____has own spot
CD Tells you what to write next
CM Each sentence has job
CM Know job = know what next

Fourth Period

TS Schaffer will make it easier to write.
CD Help with planning
CM Separates content from organization
CM Can move freely between ideas
CD organized
CM The model contains order of sentences
CM (Know what the order is)
CD Help you know what to write
CM Each sentence = job
CM Know what job it has to do

Afterward, students began working on their first Schaffer paragraphs with a partner.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete one whole chunk from today’s planning by yourself. (If you and your partner completed everything in class, create another chunk — CD/CM/CM — for additional practice.)

English 8 students began a short assessment of their reading and annotating abilities today that will be completed for homework.

English I Honors students began learning what the Schaffer model looks like and how its constituent parts work.

  • English 8 Studies: complete the questions from today’s reading (on the back).
  • English I Honors: complete the “Expectations” forum on the Moodle site.

I’m not in teaching for the income but for the outcome.

Everything went quite well during our first day of school. All classes went over some basic housekeeping items, with English I Honors students focusing on the academic expectations for the class.

  • English 8 Studies: Think of at least one positive behavior you’d like to see rewarded in the class.
  • English I Honors: Complete the 500 word introductory essay by tomorrow. You will need to turn it in at the Moodle site and bring a hardcopy tomorrow.

I enjoyed meeting all of my new students this evening. We had a good turn out, and I’m eager to get started tomorrow. Hope you are, too! 0