First, second, and seventh period began working on stems list 21. We looked at the individual stems and how they relate to the words. We will be having a quiz on the first ten words on Friday; the test on all words will be the following Friday.
Afterward, we discussed the important of specific nouns in writing. As our initial example, we explored the various possibilities of a single sentence: “Last night, I ate meat, vegetables, and dessert.”
“What’s wrong with that sentence?” I asked.
“We don’t know what kind of meat,” students responded. We looked at possibilities, and tomorrow we will begin applying it to our own writing.
Fourth period continued with Antigone. Beginning with the prompt, “It is justifiable for a citizen to break the law when…”, we asked the question of when it’s morally permissible to break the law.
re-examine writing and make five nouns more specific.
We added some examples of sensory language from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. For one passage, I showed instead of telling:
I looked around the room that I had never in my wildest fantasies imagined I would see. Browned photographs leered or threatened from the walls.
I took some pictures while students worked, and then transformed them into sepia images for them to see what “browned photographs” look like.
We then worked on creating some sensory imagery ourselves, using “In the Hallway” as our theme. “What do you see in the hallway changing classes? What do you hear? Smell? Touch?” Students made short lists, then I modeled a first draft by using my own details to write a short description.
For second period, I wrote the following:
The bell rings and off we go. It’s like a race — everyone is pushing and pushing and I feel like a sardine. The nasty taste of dry mouth is all I can think about as the BANG BANG SLAM of lockers closing echoes down the hall. All I want is a drink of water to get this taste out of my mouth, but the students are rushing around me and the bright lights blind me. And then there’s Mrs. Copeland, standing at the end of the hall. If she sees me sneaking around – but no matter. There’s no room for me to sneak, the hall is so crowded.
First and second periods, afterward, developed sensory imagery for their own settings. Some chose their room; some chose sports practice; some even chose the classroom we were in.
Fourth period (English I Honors) began the last part of speech for our first group: nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. We’ll review the work tomorrow and then have a small test on it next week.
After completing the grammar work, I covered some basic introductory elements about Sophocles and Greek drama before beginning Antigone tomorrow.
Second period: use the list from your chosen setting to write a description, including all the sensory details you developed for the list.
Fourth period: complete the Lord of the Flies project (due tomorrow).
All classes completed the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test today.
The MAP test is an adaptable academic test intended to determine where, on a nationally-normed scale, a student’s present academic abilities lie. It is not a test of potential; it is a test of current understanding.
Northwest Evaluation Association, the developers of the MAP assessment, explain it thus:
Created by educators for educators, MAP assessments provide detailed, actionable data about where each child is on their unique learning path. Because student engagement is essential to any testing experience, NWEA works with educators to create test items that interest children and help to capture detail about what they know and what they’re ready to learn. It’s information teachers can use in the classroom to help every child, every day. (NEA Website)
Teachers in Greenville County generally use the MAP data to measure yearly progress and determine individual needs.
First, second, and seventh periods worked on sensory language in the excerpt from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We paid special attention to the following passage:
“It was the best of times and the worst of times . . .” Her voice slid in and curved down through and over the words. She was nearly singing. I wanted to look at the pages. Were they the same that I had read? Or were there notes, music, lined on the pages, as in a hymn book? Her sounds began cascading gently. I knew from listening to a thousand preachers that she was nearing the end of her reading, and I hadn’t really heard, heard to understand, a single word.
This was an example for our examination of how to use sensory language. In particular, we looked at how Angelou described sounds in this passage. (I have highlighted the phrases we focused on.) Notes from today are available here.
Fourth period completed the rubric for the Lord of the Flies project, which is due next Friday. I have created a template for the project. Both the Microsoft Word and Openoffice.org Writer version are included in this zip file (Lord of the Flies Project Template).
First, second, and seventh periods began the selection from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We read about Maya’s grandmother’s general store and how it was like a private fun park for Maya growing up. We closed the lesson writing about our own special places.
Fourth period finished up working on pronouns in our review of the parts of speech. We also discussed the journal project (three entries a week, each at least 300 words); I tried to impress upon them the simplicity of the assignment. Here is a sample entry.
First, second, and seventh periods: complete “My Special Place” topic.
Fourth period: draft/notes of the three examples students will use in the Lord of the Flies project (which will be due next Friday).
We will be reading a selection from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings tomorrow as part of our memoir unit. As the selection is set in the Depression, we looked at the Depression a bit today and began thinking about what to expect from the piece.
Second period began wrapping up the symbolism of Lord of the Flies. We determined a few things:
The beast represents the evil, selfish urges in all of us.
The conch symbolizes civil society.
The fire is a measure of how connected they are to the civilization they left behind.
Piggy symbolizes the rational drive of humanity.
Jack represents the selfish, impulsively selfish side of humans.
Ralph represents the rule of law by common consent.
We will be finishing up the selection this week.
First, second, and seventh periods: finish the “Letter to Maya.”
First, second, and seventh periods began looking at specific ways to elevate their writing. Our first step was to ensure paragraph unity: all sentences in a paragraph need to point back to the paragraph’s topic.
Often, we have to write about topics that, quite frankly, bore us. It’s not just in school, either. Seemingly boring topics are trying because we don’t know what to write — nothing comes to mind at first.
Enter: today’s lesson with English Strategies and English Studies (first, second, and seventh periods). As part of our on-going lesson about finding topics for an assigned paper, we explored today the mysterious Myth of the Boring Paper.
We looked at a single dollar bill; as a class and in groups, we looked closely at it and tried to notice as many little, odd details as possible. (For example, have you ever noticed that there is an owl or an eagle in the upper-right corner of the dollar bill?) Once we shared our details and converted them into questions, it became obvious that a seemingly boring topic like a dollar bill can be full of possibilities.
Afterward, students in groups created questions for an assortment of “boring” topics: a stapler, a pack of Post-It notes, and a dry-erase marker were among the items.
In the end, everyone wrote an affirmation in their writing notebook: “I can write about anything if I look at it carefully enough.”
First, second, and seventh periods (English Strategies and English Studies classes) continued working on writing. We made a short list of pet peeves as a basis for our writing. Afterward, we compared our lists to expand them — “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that! That drives me crazy, too!” — and did some writing on the topics we’d just come up with.
Next week we’ll begin working on revising, focusing on organization to begin with.