English I Honors

Today was the day: PASS testing! Everyone was thrilled, I’m sure. The students I spoke with said they were so excited about today that they could hardly get to sleep last night. “I must have texted 100 of my friends about it,” one girl said. “I was like, ‘Can you believe it!? After all this waiting, it’s tomorrow!’ And she was like, ‘I know!'”

Other classes relaxed, watching film adaptations for selections we’ve been reading.


Even if I had some, I couldn’t assign it: it’s a violation of district policy! (However, fourth period could start reading the next chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird to get ahead for tomorrow’s homework.)

First, second, and sixth periods worked on writing in preparation for the PASS test coming Tuesday.

Fourth period continued with To Kill a Mockingbird, creating a morality hierarchy of the characters. We didn’t quite finish, but here’s what we determined:

  1. Reverend Sykes
  2. Miss Maudie
  3. Mr. Dolphus Raymond || Aunt Alexandra || Judge Taylor
  4. Mayella Ewell   ||   Heck Tate
  5. Bob Ewell
PASS Preparation and Say Something

To Kill a Mockingbird
Image via Wikipedia

First period took a very individualized approach to class today. We’re trying to clear up any loose ends before Tuesday’s test. Each student worked on something specific to his/her needs and deficits. I tried to conference with as many students as possible about those deficits, but I was unable to get through all 29 in the class. We’ll continue tomorrow, adding a peer-editing element toward the end of the day.

Second and sixth periods looked again at using specific details to pump up writing. Many of the practice PASS test responses from last week demonstrated a real need in this area. Hopefully, I’ll be able to re-teach just enough in order to maximize their PASS scores.

Fourth period continued with To Kill a Mockingbird. We worked on the Say Something strategy in anticipation of our most challenging work, which still lies before us: Dickens’s Great Expectations.

  • First period: continue on the work we started in class.
  • Second and sixth period: take one of your drafts from the Anne Frank writing last week and use the wh- question format to add enough details to quadruple the length of the paragraph. (Ah! That’s what all those drafts are for!)
  • Fourth period: read through chapter 19. (I’ll assign through chapter 23 tomorrow, so ambitious students might want to read ahead.)

We had a quick day: book fair and self-evaluations of our practice PASS test from yesterday. Simple, relatively painless.

  • First, second, and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period: read through chapter 15.

All classes worked on PASS preparation in one form or another.

Fourth period also worked on the PASS test in a sense: we didn’t have time to do a practice test but we went over the requirements briefly and students will complete it for homework.

  • First, second, and sixth periods: students who didn’t complete the PASS practice today need to complete it at home.
  • Fourth period:
    • read chapters 13-15 (due Wednesday);
    • complete the PASS practice (log-in required for linked site).

First period had a short session of peer editing in preparation for next week’s four days of second-drafting.

Second and sixth period continued working with paragraphs, looking at paragraph unity.

Finally, sixth period began preparing for short presentations on three topics from To Kill a Mockingbird. In three groups, students looked at three questions that bridge the gap between literature and social/political issues.

  • Calpurnia and the First Purchase African M.E. Church: What is Calpurnia’s purpose in the novel?
  • Lady Is as Lady Does: What is Aunt Alexandra’s perfect Southern lady? Does it correspond with Southern society in the 1930’s?
  • No Man is an Island: Did Atticus make a poor decision to represent Tom in such an emotionally charged trial? Was it the right decision?

Students will present their information Monday.

Tomorrow, all students have MAP testing.

  • First, second, and sixth periods: all ten drafts need to be completed on Monday.
  • Fourth period:
    • read chapters 12 and 13;
    • complete the presentations for Monday.
Details 2, Transitions, and Reliable Narrators

To Kill a Mockingbird
Image via Wikipedia

First, second, and sixth periods all continued working on their portfolios. First period looked briefly at transitions; second and sixth periods continued working with details.

Fourth period discussed the point of view of the novel and looked at the question of the reliability of the narrator.

  • First, second, and sixth periods: if you are behind in your portfolio work, you need to do some of the first drafts at home.
  • Fourth period:
    • read chapters 5-8 of To Kill a Mockingbird;
    • begin working on the allusions database project (two required entries for the book; you may use chapters 1-4 as well as what we’re reading from now on).

Second and sixth periods touched briefly on that eternal teaching topic: adding details. We’re in the midst of a three-week writing workshop to review materials for the PASS test and wrap up the unit on The Diary of Anne Frank.

First period is working on the same, but their topic was a little different: effective beginnings.

Fourth period took a class period to share their best song selections from their Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project: lots of different styles and connections.

  • First, second, and sixth: remember that you have ten pieces to write before next Friday. We’re working in class, but you should be working at home as necessary.
  • Fourth period: read through chapter four of To Kill a Mockingbird.

First period did research for Anne Frank project. We’ll be working next week on the biography/report based on the research.

Fourth period began To Kill a Mockingbird. I simply read the first chapter aloud to give students an opportunity to become acquainted with the language of the text. Students’ ticket out the door was to provide two words that describe their view of the book after the first chapter. “Southern” was one that seemed to hit the target  square on.

  • First period: complete any research as necessary.
  • Fourth period: complete the Romeo and Juliet project and turn it in Monday.

It was a long day. I’m exhausted. Pardon me for merely sharing the fact that the only homework for anyone is fourth period’s project, due Monday.

Additionally, here’s the updated rubric for the project.

Second and sixth periods continued with their writing portfolios for The Diary of Anne Frank. We’ll be doing research the last two days of class for the minor research element required in the project.

Fourth period spent a few minutes at the end of class going over the final details of the project after beginning a lightening-quick unit on To Kill a Mockingbird.

All periods worked on writing today: First period began their project for The Diary of Anne Frank. Second and sixth continued working on the same projects. Fourth period continued working on their Romeo and Juliet soundtrack projects. (Organization guide available here.)

  • First, second, and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period: complete final draft of third song.