Mr. Scott

First and seventh periods began a slow overview of the eight parts of speech, beginning with nouns today. We’ve neglected grammar this year, and now we’re going to remedy that. We’re continuing with the literature circles tomorrow.

Second period went over act three from Much Ado About Nothing. We’ll finish the play by the end of next week.

Fourth period finished Romeo and Juliet II.ii. We’ll slowly begin picking up the pace: we’ve become more comfortable with the text, and I’ve decided we’ll do some of it through home readings.

(New pictures of second and fourth periods at the gallery.)

  • First and seventh periods: continue reading your book (you’ll need to have all the work completed next Wednesday).
  • Second period: complete the study guide for act three.
  • Fourth period: answer the essay question on the R&J discussion forum.

First and seventh periods continued with the Bluford literature circles. Because of less-than-stellar performance Friday, seventh period continued the project by working alone.

Second period is almost done with the second act of Much Ado About Nothing.

Fourth period began the secene from R&J: act 2, scene 2 — the balcony scene. We’ll finish up Wednesday by watching a version of the balcony scene after we’ve blocked out and performed our own version.

  • First and seventh periods: we need to be done with the first six chapters of the Bluford books by the end of tomorrow’s lesson: read as necessary.
  • Second period: revise study guide questions for act two.
  • Fourth period:
    • finish reading II.ii at home;
    • complete act I review activity (if not completed already) for reduced credit.

Advancing yesterday’s improvement: first and seventh period were to complete the first unit for their literature circles. While most students in first period completed the work, many in seventh period chose to spend their class time engaging in less productive activities. Therefore, the majority of seventh period will take a break from the literature circle format and return to full class activities.

Second and fourth periods are continuing with the Bard: Second period completed its first reading of Much Ado About Nothing‘s second act. Fourth period completed the prologue to act two.

  • First and seventh periods: depends on group decisions.
  • Second period: complete study guide for act two.
  • Fourth period:
    • read II.ii;
    • go through the first act summary activity (treat it as a quiz: closed book, closed cell phone, closed everything — open mind).

First and seventh periods are still working on literature circles. We’re about to finish the first group of chapters and activities. We’ll be focusing on determining a text’s main idea as we work.

Second period continued with Much Ado About Nothing. We began the second act today, though we didn’t quite finish it. We also went through a quick, unplanned review of perspectiving, using Billy Collins’ “Forgetfulness.”

Fourth period began act two from Romeo and Juliet.

  • First and seventh periods: depends on the groups’ decisions.
  • Second period: none.
  • Fourth period: practice the prologue for act two.

Two of the four classes are now working on Shakespeare: second period (Much Ado About Nothing) and fourth period (Romeo and Juliet).

Second period finished up act I.

I also added a new assignment to second period’s plate: journals. The requirements:

  1. Write daily.
  2. Write about “Why” questions: Don’t simply write, “I went to school and had a math test. I don’t think I did well on it.” Explain why you think that.

I will check five of the entries and expect four of them to have the deeper “why” element.

Fourth period spent much of the period going over PSAT results with guideance. We finished up questions for I.v and will give the scene one last reading tomorrow before starting the second act.

  • First and seventh periods: literature circle decision.
  • Second period:
    • finish Act I questions;
    • begin journal (suggested topic: questions and thoughts about Much Ado About Nothing).
  • Fourth period: re-read parts.

In fourth period, we worked on the famous Queen Mab passage:

I dream’d a dream to-night.
And so did I.
Well, what was yours?
That dreamers often lie.
In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
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 lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
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 plats 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–
Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk’st of nothing.
True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.

It’s all about dreams, and that’s where our discussion led us.

First, second, and seventh periods finished their quarterly starters and participation evaluation.

  • All periods: study for exam.
  • Fourth period: complete the annotated drawing of Queen Mab’s coach.

First and seventh periods selected their books for the literature circle. We’ll be working on books from the Bluford Series:

  • Blood is Thicker
  • Brothers in Arms
  • The Fallen
  • Shattered
  • Someone to Love Me
  • Until We Meet Again

Tomorrow, the groups will be deciding how to pace their reading and the activities (discussion and writing) they’ll be doing.

Second period began a short unit on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing by looking at Shakespeare’s life in Elizabethan England.

Fourth period completed I.ii and began I.ii from Romeo and Juliet. We examined how different characters view love and marriage.

  • First and seventh periods: none.
  • Second period: complete viewing guide.
  • Fourth period: finish reading I.iii from Romeo and Juliet.

First and seventh periods began working on their literature circles. We looked at the invididual roles they’ll be playing and brainstormed what a good discussion looks like.

Second period completed their peer evaluations of their persuasive essays. We’ll begin Much Ado About Nothing tomorrow.

Fourth period completed the first scene of Romeo and Juliet.

  • First and seventh periods: choose three of the roles from the literature circle role sheet and write one way it might be challenging for you to perform that role.
  • Second period: none.
  • Fourth period: complete study guide for I.i.

Fourth period began Romeo and Juliet, looking at the prologue in detail.

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

The students read it aloud, in a variety of ways, probably close to ten times, with the obvious effect: the language doesn’t feel so foreign in their mouth. After a little group work, we also had the meaning worked out fairly clearly.

First, second, and seventh periods worked on their persuasive essays. Second period will be turning their essays in tomorrow, and they will be evaluating their essays according to the rubric.

  • First period: complete persuasive essay.
  • Second period: complete persuasive essay and have it in electronic form for turn-in and evaluation tomorrow (Friday 8 January 2010).
  • Fourth period: answer question 1 from the “Romeo and Juliet Discussion Forum.”
  • Seventh period: complete persuasive essay.

First period worked in pairs to begin revising their persuasive essays (rubric available here). We’ll finish that up tomorrow.

Second period looked at persuasive techniques at use in editorials. We’ll be revising their papers tomorrow and turning them in Friday.

Fourth period began a long unit on Romeo and Juliet. We started by talking about our assumptions and fears regarding the Bard. We finished by working on issues of linguistic difficulty with Shakespeare.

Seventh period almost completed the first draft.

  • First period: revise your paper to add at least one transition and one persuasive device.
  • Second period: complete the first draft; bring it in electronic form tomorrow.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete the language lesson;
    • read pages 797-803 in textbook.
  • Seventh period: none.

First, second, and seventh periods are all at various stages of the persuasive essay development process.

First period will be done with the first draft today (once students complete homework). Those who did not turn in their work today can get 90% credit for completing the first draft by tomorrow.

Seventh period will be done with the outlining (once students complete homework). Those who did not turn in their work today can get 90% credit for completing the outlining by tomorrow.

Second period is, by and large, done with the first draft. We spent some time going over transitions in class. I will assess the persuasive writing assignment for use of transitions. (Rubric to be posted later today.)

Fourth period completed their work on citations. The final works cited page will be turned in with the rest of their essay, due Friday.


  • First period: complete first draft (if not complete already) for 90% credit.
  • Second period: complete first draft (if not already complete).
  • Fourth period: complete all bibliographic entries for works cited page.
  • Seventh period: complete outlining (if not complete already) for 90% credit.

First period worked on completing their persuasive essay organizational graphic organizer.

Second period should be done with their first draft. We worked on the first draft to day, and we began discussing (or rather, reading about and practicing) transitions.

Fourth period worked on the MLA style of citations.

Seventh period worked on completing their persuasive essay organizational graphic organizer.

  • First period: complete first draft of persuasive essay about television.
  • Second period: none.
  • Fourth period: complete one citation for the “Works Cited” page.
  • Seventh period: complete the organizational graphic organizer for the persuasive essay about television.

Below are the links we will be using for the persuasive essay research.

Anti-Television Articles
Pro-Television Articles

Click this link to access additional project resources.

Last Day Before Holiday

Last day — not much more to say than that. Well, in fact, there is more to say.

First period continued working on the forum and their persuasive argument planning. Second period did basically the same thing. Fourth period finished watching To Kill a Mockingbird.

Fourth period’s compare/contrast essay will be due at the end of the week of our return: students might want to get a head start on it over the break. I’ll be posting information at the courses site regarding this assignment.

Happy holidays!

Christmas in Poland (Photo: G. Scott)