November 2017

English I students finished up the first act of Romeo and Juliet. We had a practice test today to see what the actual test tomorrow will look like.

English 8 students began combining skills, using outlining to summarize their current social studies chapter. (The handout is below.)


  • English 8 Studies: complete the article of the week.
  • English I Honors: prepare for tomorrow’s test; begin working on the first forum question.
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.

English 8 students had a stems quiz today followed by an overview of outlining, which we will use in our current unit to apply our newly-minted summarizing skills.

English I Honors students went over 1.5, in particular, the meeting of Romeo and Juliet.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: prepare for the act 1 test on Friday.
Hidden Stage Directions and Summarizing

English I Honors students began 1.5 by looking at all the various stage directions that Shakespeare embeds in his text.

We finished up with the tirade Tybalt goes on when he discovers Romeo’s presence.

English 8 students continued with the new unit, which will focus on summarizing and outlining, which in turn relies on determining the main idea of texts. To this end, we reviewed and practiced summarizing.


  • English 8 Studies: complete the final summarizing practice.
  • English I Honors: re-read 1.5 from “She doth teach the torches to burn bright” to the end.

English I students worked on the Queen Mab passage in Romeo and Juliet.

“O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lies asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone; the lash of film;
Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid:
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plaits the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she—”

We were looking at the following issues:

  • Indicate where the soliloquy changes from a description of appearance to a description of actions.
  • Find three uses of repetition in the soliloquy and make an inference about why Shakespeare includes them.
  • Number the actions that Mab performs.
  • Find a common thread in all of Mab’s actions.
  • On the back, draw Mab’s carriage.

We determined that Shakespeare included this as one of the passages for the upper-class, educated audience members and not the uneducated groundlings.

English 8 students began a STEAM unit on effective habits that can lead to success. Today we looked at some bad habits that will most definitely not lead to success.


  • English 8 Studies: stems test tomorrow.
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete the drawing of Mab;
    • annotate the drawing with the lines from the play that provide support for the details of the drawing.

Today was career day, so our academic portion of the day was shortened to the time of a two-hour snow delay.

English I Honors had a project overview for the Romeo and Juliet unit project. They’ll have a chance to begin picking songs now that they know what the project is about.

English 8 students practiced their critical thinking with a half-hour of chess.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • by Monday, read 1.4;
    • re-read the Queen Mab speech an additional two times (three times in total);
    • complete the Love Connection graphic organizer;
    • begin thinking about which easy and which hard song to use for the project.

English I Honors students worked on 1.3, looking a little at the hidden stage directions Shakespeare embeds in his work as well as the new characters’ views of love and marriage, finishing up from Friday.

English 8 had a Socratic Seminar to conclude “The Lottery.” I would have posted some pictures, but I didn’t take any because we were all so busy discussing the issues at hand.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • by Monday, read 1.4;
    • re-read the Queen Mab speech an additional two times (three times in total);
    • complete the Love Connection graphic organizer.
Friday Work and Love Connections

English I Honors students looked at a few passages in Romeo and Juliet to determine various characters’ views of love. Working in groups, students examined Capulet’s, Benvolio’s, and Romeo’s views on love in the first act.

English 8 students began with their 100% club pictures.

Fifth period
Sixth period

Afterward, we did our typical first-semester Friday work (lesson plan at right) on inferences and article of the week, with the added bonus of a bit of gamified stems practice


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: read 1.3.

English I Honors went over 1.1 of Romeo and Juliet, working in Quizlet to see how well they’re understanding the text and then acting out a few select sections.

English 8 students began preparing for a discussion of “The Lottery” by going over some discussion and comprehension questions in their lit groups.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • read 1.2;
    • reread this passage from 1.1 and determine what literary device is being used repeatedly here: Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first create! O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
Lottery and a Brawl

English I Honors students,  after going over the end of yesterday’s lesson and why it was so vulgar compared to what they were expecting (it has something to do with the audience gathering in the Globe Theater),

The Globe Theater

went over the next portion of 1.1, with the brawl and the prince’s proclamation about the consequences for further disruptions.

English 8 students, after going over the article of the week a bit,

finished “The Lottery” and discovered how the mood was setting them up for a little surprise ending.


  • English 8 Studies: complete “The Lottery” as necessary.
  • English I Honors: re-read 1.1, making sure you can answer the following  questions:
    • Where exactly was Romeo when all of this was happening?
    • Why was he there?
    • How do we find out? (What are the mechanics involved in the discovery?)
Mood and Shakespeare

English 8 students began a second story in which we look at irony, tone, and mood: Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” We began by looking at all the items that establish the setting (circled in red) and the mood (underlined in blue).

English I Honors began Romeo and Juliet, focusing on the prologue.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: students who have not yet turned in their poetry test need to do so by tomorrow morning.
Donaldson Center

All students went to the Donaldson Center today, which threw English I Honors off a bit: third period didn’t meet at all, so fourth period did some critical thinking exercises instead of getting ahead.

Students learn how to roll fire hoses

English 8 students, having done such fantastic work this week, will have a surprise tomorrow, so we did our Friday work today.

Tone Review and a Test

English 8 students worked tone a bit more after going over another term from our article of the week.

English I Honors students worked on their poetry unit test. We were not quite able to finish it, so we’ll have a few more minutes tomorrow to work on it.