Daily classwork and homework updates.

English I Honors students began the grammar portion of the To Kill a Mockingbird unit. We’ll be focusing on phrases: prepositional, participial, gerund, infinitive, and appositive. Today’s focus was prepositional phrases, including an examination how they act as adjectives or adverbs. (See the notes section for a downloadable copy of what we did on the Promethean Board.)

English 8 students had Friday work on Thursday.


  • English 8 Studies: continue working on the vocab work on Quizlet (see previous days’ updates for the link).
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete the Romeo and Juliet project, making sure you have an electronic copy on Google Drive for turn-in on Tuesday;
    • check that I assessed all of your responses to the Romeo and Juliet discussion forum (linked there);
    • continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird, completing chapters 5-8 by next Thursday (February 22);
    • continue working on the vocab work on Quizlet (see previous days’ updates for the link);
    • complete the prepositional phrase practice by Wednesday (you can work on it over the long weekend if you wish).
Wrapping Up Douglass and the First Discussion

English 8 students finished up the Frederick Douglass text, going over the work from yesterday

before having one last session with the text: a series of questions that, had they not done the amazing work they completed yesterday, would have been quite difficult to answer.

English I Honors students finished the first discussion cycle for To Kill a Mockingbird. We’ll be moving through the novel relatively quickly.


English I Honors finished up — more or less — the work with voice in the opening pages of Mockingbird. We’ll conclude it on Thursday.

English 8 students finished the third and final excerpt from Frederick Douglass’s autobiography and did a little practice with vocabulary.


English I Honors students continued working through the opening pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, determining how Harper Lee creates such a convincing Southern voice.

English 8 students worked on their final text segment from the Frederick Douglass text.


English I students worked on voice and tone in the opening pages of To Kill a Mockingbird. We began examing the first pages to determine the presence of certain stylistic characteristics:

  1. Long sentences
  2. Diversions
  3. Dated language
  4. Folksy-sounding language
  5. Exaggeration/embellishment
  6. Understatement/deprecation

We also looked at several topical issues:

  1. Importance of family
  2. Sense of community
  3. Importance of religion
  4. Importance of time, place, and the past

English 8 students picked up their Friday work again, with this quarter’s minimum word count increasing to 150 words.


Almost everyone was taking or finishing a test today.

English I Honors students finished up the Romeo and Juliet test — the final one of the unit. We also began working on the next unit by reading about Jim Crow laws in the south.

English 8 students took their test on antecedents, subordinate clauses, and vocabulary from the Frederick Douglass unit.


English I Honors students worked again on their Romeo and Juliet projects. We’ll be having our act four/five test tomorrow, and then we’re starting a new unit Thursday.

English 8 students finished up the second of three excerpts from Frederick Douglass’s autobiography. We also went over the new type of test questions we’ll be having on our short test Thursday on vocabulary (on Quizlet), subordinate clause identification, and pronoun/antecedent identification.


  • English 8 Studies: study vocab words on Quizlet for the test on vocabulary (on Quizlet), subordinate clause identification, and pronoun/antecedent identification.
  • English I Honors: prepare for tomorrow’s test, including vocab on Quizlet.

English 8 students finished up their second close reading portion of Frederick Douglass’s autobiography. We worked in groups and will be debriefing/correcting tomorrow. We’ll have a small test on subordinate clauses, pronouns and antecedents, and vocabulary on Wednesday or Thursday.

English I Honors students had their first of two days of group work to work on their Romeo and Juliet projects.


  • English 8 Studies: prepare for test on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on the project at home;
    • study for the act four/five test Wednesday.
Transitions and Chess

Today was reward day, so all classes were shorter.

English I Honors finished up the work on transitioning in writing.

English 8 students, since it was reward day, had their third chess day of the year.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: come to class Monday with one TS and the accompanying CDs for each song. In other words, one connection should be about half-way done.

English 8 took the day to work with vocabulary. They did this because of the shortened sixth period, which lost twenty minutes of class time for the student-faculty basketball game.

English I Honors students began working on a tricky topic indeed: transitioning between major and minor divisions in a paper.


  • English 8 Studies: complete Quizlet for Frederick Douglass 2 vocab list by Monday.
  • English I Honors: complete today’s work on transitioning between paragraphs in the Romeo and Juliet project.
Annotation and Extra Credit

English I students finished up yesterday’s work by looking at how to interpret and answer extended essay prompts.

Actually writing this composition will be the extra credit assignment for the third quarter. Students are receiving this now in order to have a jump-start on the quarter.

English 8 students worked on their articles of the week for a while,

before spending some time reviewing subordinate clauses.

They ended spending more time to work on their second part of the Frederick Douglass text.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • work on soundtrack essay;
    • work on extra credit as desired.
Socratic Review

English I students worked on a revised Socratic Seminar, repeating Friday’s discussion with some additional preparation completed over the weekend.

English 8 students finished up the first portion of the Frederick Douglass text by going over annotations and creating an objective summary of the text. We also reviewed vocabulary and subordinate clauses.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: read act 5 in its entirety.

Third and fourth periods had Socratic Seminars to discuss the question of who is responsible for Juliet’s “death” (i.e., her faked death). Fifth and sixth periods worked on Quizlet, getting accounts set up for class sets.


  • English 8 Studies: use Quizlet to review the first set of Frederick Douglass words.
  • English I Honors: 
    • review the Socratic Seminar;
    • revise your argument to include specific textual evidence.
Figurative Language, Mood, and Subordinate Clauses

English I Honors students worked on the EQ “How does Shakespeare use figurative language to set the mood in a scene?” when examining Juliet’s soliloquy in 4.3, just before she takes the potion:

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I’ll call them back again to comfort me:
Nurse! What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.
Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, no: this shall forbid it: lie t`hou there.

Laying down her dagger

What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath minister’d to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour’d,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there’s a fearful point!
Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,–
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort;–
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:–
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?
And madly play with my forefather’s joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier’s point: stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.

She falls upon her bed, within the curtains

Students determined the eight concerns she has with taking the potion and then examined the text for the use of figurative language.

English 8 students added a new skill for reading tough texts like Frederick Douglass’s autobiography: finding subordinate clauses. We’ll be using this skill to simplify sentences.

We finished up with some practice identifying them.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: read 4.5 again.