Mr. Scott

First and seventh period finished up research today for the persuasive essay. They’ll begin writing them tomorrow.

We also began a new forum, based on bbPress. We’ll be using it occasionally to practice our written electronic communication. I hope to begin using Moodle with these classes after the break.

Second period used Moodle to discuss their persuasive arguments. They also began writing their persuasive essays.

Fourth period watched To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: none.
  • Fourth period: answer the two questions on the forum.

First and seventh periods concluded their research for the persuasive essay. Second period began planning and drafting their essays. Fourth period began watching the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.

A painless day.

  • Fourth period: answer discussion question on forum.
  • First, second, and seventh: continue planning persuasive essay.

The poetry portfolio was due for first, second, and seventh periods today.

First and seventh periods began researching for their persuasive essay assignment. We looked at the project resources and chose one article to read and take notes on. We’ll continue tomorrow on the project.

Second period completed a second day of research. Some began planning their essay; the rest of the class will spend tomorrow planning and completing additional research.

Fourth period finalized the planning of the compare/contrast essay on the Scottsboro boys trial and Tom Robinson’s trial in To Kill a Mockingbird. We’ll begin the essays tomorrow (though they won’t be due until after Christmas break).


None (unless you’re not caught up).

First and seventh periods completed notes about persuasive techniques. We’ll be applying those techniques next week as we begin our mini-project on persuasive writing.

Second period began researching for the project.

Fourth period looked at issues of organization for compare/contrast essays and began organizing their own essay.


First, second, and seventh periods spent most of the class in the library. It was a fairly successful day: I was able to consult with individual students about their poetry projects.

Fourth period continued research. Some students might need to do additional research as homework.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: work on poetry portfolio.
  • Fourth period: read materials about transitions.

First and seventh periods presented their persuasive presentations to see who would win the bit of free time at the end of their class on Monday. We also watched a clip of Derren Brown, the absolute master of persuasion.

Second period went over persuasive techniques.

Fourth period began researching the Scottsboro boy’s trial in preparation for a comparison/contrast essay on the trial and To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: continue working on poetry portfolio (due Monday); tomorrow will be a pr0gress check.
  • Fourth period: none (research optional).

First and seventh periods prepared persuasive presentations as part of a two-day anticipatory set for our very short persuasive writing unit. They prepared persuasive arguments in an effort to win a bit of free time at the end of class next week. Second period is one day ahead, having completed the contest today.

Fourth period worked on their Maycomb County News articles.


First and seventh periods finished up the poetry units with a look at imagery and a final poem.

Second period began a short unit on persuasive writing. First and seventh periods will start tomorrow.

Fourth period began a short writing project to wrap up To Kill a Mockingbird. We’ll begin researching materials for the comparison/contrast essay we’ll be writing for the book.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: work on poetry project (due Monday 14 December). (This includes the newly-assigned month poem.)
  • Second period: complete the “Persuasion is All Around You” handout.
  • Fourth period: use the Usage Glossary at the back of the textbook to determine the difference between “affect” and “effect.

Everyone was thankful it’s Friday — including me.

  • First and seventh periods: complete ballad.
  • Second period period:
    • complete ballad;
    • complete month poem.
  • Fourth period:
    • finish To Kill a Mockingbird;
    • evaluate poetry project according to the rubric.

First, second, and seventh periods are still working on ballads. They’re finding it more challenging than they initially assumed: the rigors of structured poetry, with a set meter and rhyme scheme, can be daunting at first.

Fourth period went over the missionary circle chapter in To Kill a Mockingbird. We ended with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

Mrs. Merriweather nodded wisely. Her voice soared over the clink of coffee cups and the soft bovine sounds of the ladies munching their dainties. “Gertrude,” she said, “I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town. Good but misguided. Folks in this town who think they’re doing right, I mean. Now far be it from me to say who , but some of ’em in this town thought they were doing the right thing a while back, but all they did was stir ’em up. That’s all they did. Might’ve looked like the right thing to do at the time, I’m sure I don’t know, I’m not read in that field, but sulky…dissatisfied. I tell you if my Sophy’d kept it up another day I’d have let her go. It’s never entered that wool of hers that the only reason I keep her is because the depression’s on and she needs her dollar every week she can get”

“His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?”

It’s a tricky phrase, that “His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?”. We spent a little time at the end of class teasing out possible literal meanings so that we could, for homework, figure out what Miss Maudie means.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: continue working on the ballad.
  • Fourth period:
    • determine the meaning of “His food doesn’t stick in your throat, does it?”;
    • read To Kill a Mockingbird chapters 24-28;
    • look at and participate in the wiki on the courses site.

First, second, and fourth periods began class by looking at the poetry project rubric. Afterward, we spent the period working on their ballads. With its strict structural demands, the ballad more of a challenge than they thought.

Additionally, second period is working to make sure their ballads have a proper metrical pattern. While we’re not using this terminology, it means their stanzas are alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.

Fourth period looked

  • First, second, and seventh periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • reread Atticus’s closing statement (chapter 20) and be able to summarize his main points;
    • reread chapter 22 about the jury deliberation and come up with two or three reasons why the jury took so long to deliver the inevitable verdict;
    • begin self-evaluation of poetry project. (We’ll go over this tomorrow.)

First, second, and seventh periods finished up the question of what a ballad is. We looked at a second ballad — “The Ballad of Birmingham” — and used with “Boots of Spanish Leather” to create a master list of ballad attributes. The fifth required poem in our poetry unit is a ballad. We began working on that today. We will finish them in class tomorrow.

Fourth period discussed the morality ranking from yesterday, then began reading/acting out Tom Robinson’s testimony.

  • First period:
    • complete the plot/story summary;
    • create the character list for the ballad.
  • Second period:
    • complete the plot/story summary for the ballad;
    • create the character list for the ballad;
    • create dialog summary for the ballad;
    • complete the first two stanzas of the ballad.
  • Fourth period: read chapters 19-23 of To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Seventh period:

First, second, and seventh began by adding a poem to the portfolio we’re creating. It was an effort to help the students understand a simple process of creating poems that involves brainstorming, organizing, and modifying to create sentences that can be shaped into a poem.

Afterward, the classes returned to the Bob Dylan ballad “Boots of Spanish Leather” to discern patterns and elements of language in an inductive reasoning exercise to determine the general elements of a ballad from specific ballads.

Fourth period began discussing the trial and the morality of various characters. In class, we began a writing assignment (that will morph into a discussion tomorrow).

  • Mr. Dolphus Raymond
  • Miss Maudie
  • Aunt Alexandra
  • Reverend Sykes
  • Judge Taylor
  • Bob Ewell
  • Mayella Ewell
  • Heck Tate
  1. Rank these characters order from the most moral to the least moral.
  2. For the two extremes, write a paragraph explanation of why you placed him/her in the two extreme positions.

Upon seeing some confusion about what “moral” and “morality” means, I decided to have students look at three normative ethics theories for homework.

  • First and second periods:
    • complete Thanksgiving poem;
    • complete ballad inductive reasoning graphic organizer.
  • Seventh period: complete Thanksgiving poem.
  • Fourth period: