Planning, Inferences, Book Fair, and Chess

English I Honors students worked on their planning for their third Schaffer paragraph. We’ll be finishing up in class Monday, so make sure you are done with your regular planning and writing and just need to put the finishing touches and complete some editing. They also went to the book fair.

English 8 students worked on their regular Friday work and went to the book fair.

Journalism students took a break and played (or learned) chess.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete the first draft of your paragraph on “Thank You, Ma’am.”

English I Honors students completed the parts of speech presentations. They’ve now covered all eight parts of speech:

  • nouns
  • pronouns
  • adjectives
  • verbs
  • adverbs
  • prepositions
  • conjunctions
  • interjections

We’ll begin practicing and quizzing on it next week.

They also began planning their third analytic Schaffer model paragraph, this time on “Thank You, Ma’am.”

English 8 students worked through chapter three of Nightjohn. We’re working toward mastery of effective reader’s skills by implementing a modified “It Says/I Say” strategy.

  • English 8 Studies: complete today’s work on chapter three.
  • English I Honors: 
    • determine a TS and quotes for a CD from today’s Schaffer planning work;
    • determine the part of speech for each of these sentences:
      • All people should ask themselves if they are doing the best they can with the talents they have.
      • All gave some; some gave all.
      • It seems unlikely that anyone could hold their breath for such a very long time, but the world record is over twenty-four minutes.

English 8 students began looking at what a motif is (a repeating image or idea that appears throughout a literary work) as we began moving toward the question of what a theme is and how to determine it.

English I Honors students went through verbs today after going over the homework.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete assessments on Moodle (see yesterday’s homework for a direct link);
    • read “Thank You, Ma’am.”

English I students began working on their third topic in the short stories unit, this time on characterization. English 8 students, after some technical difficulties that I think I’ve finally solved, worked on their comprehension questions for Nightjohn after the article of the week.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • assess your assigned paragraphs;
    • complete the TS and get quote ideas for the CD for the paragraph we’re planning for “The Old Man on  the Bridge” (see class notes below).
Class Notes

Notes for the day's classes are available here.

Please note that this is a composite file including notes from all classes, though occasionally it might only be one or two classes. I don't differentiate in the file; that is up to you to do.

Pronouns and Voice

English 8 students went over the final part of the voice and diction lesson, learning how diction (word choice) contributes to voice (the distinctive sound of an author or text).

We looked at passages in Nightjohn in which Sarny, the narrator, “sounds like a slave,” as one student suggested.

English I Honors students focused on the part of speech project today, going over pronouns. I did a little re-teaching at the end, making sure indefinite and demonstrative pronouns were clearer.

Class Notes

Notes for the day's classes are available here.

Please note that this is a composite file including notes from all classes, though occasionally it might only be one or two classes. I don't differentiate in the file; that is up to you to do.

These are notes that apply to everyone though not necessarily everyone did these things:

  1. Never say “I think” or “I believe” in argumentative writing. It’s obvious you think that, else you wouldn’t say it. Saying “I think” is a way of soft-pedaling your argument, providing yourself an out if someone disagrees. “I think” is followed by the implicit “but I could be wrong.”
  2. Avoid “you” in formal writing. Period. If you can’t think of a way to reword it, say “one.” In other words, instead of “you would think” write “one would think.” (That’s a terrible example, though: you could write “it appears” instead of both of them.)


Quotes and Diction

English 8 students worked on diction and voice.

We examined some passages from Nightjohn in which the narrator, Sarny, “sounds like a slave,” as one student aptly described.

We looked at the author’s use of non-standard grammar and non-standard vocabulary to create the voice of a slave.

English I Honors students continued working on their narrator and voice paragraph before beginning their jigsaw review of the parts of speech.

Quote Integration and the Start of the Novel

English I Honors students worked on their quote integration skills with topics and quotes from “The Sniper,” a story we read earlier in the year.

Students worked on developing the skills necessary to selecting good passages to quote in support of a thesis and effective integration with one’s on writing. Afterward, they had final minutes to prepare for tomorrow’s group teaching efforts with the parts of speech project they have been working on.

English 8 students began Nightjohn and looked for evidence in Sarny’s words that indicate she is a slave. We’ll be using this tomorrow to explore voice and diction, determining what those words mean and how to analyze a piece of writing in those terms.

Journalism students worked on their articles and went on walkabout with me to take a look at how easy it is to find a topic for articles.


This is the entrance to a public bathroom in the main train station in Krakow, Poland. That turnstile is there to prevent people from entering without paying.

“Enter without paying?!” you might be thinking.

That’s right: many of the public bathrooms in Poland are accessible only after paying a fee, usually two zloty, which would be about $0.60. When I first arrived in 1996, all public bathrooms were fee-based. There was a little window by the bathroom door where a janitor sat and collected money.

These days, most public restrooms are more Westernized, i.e., free. Most of the restrooms I saw in Warsaw, for example, were free. (The one pay restroom I saw was in Warszawa Centralna, the main train station — must be a train station thing.) Still, it was a little jarring to see a pay toilets again.

A Cloud

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.