English I Honors

First period, having a choice for the day’s writing workshop mini-lesson, decided to continue working on sentence variety

Second and sixth periods had a quiz on last night’s reading. We then went over the project: I introduced the Double-sided Journal format we’ll be using for notes (which students will use in conjunction with the reading skills list I provided a couple of weeks ago).

Fourth period finished up Romeo and Juliet 3.1. The screw tightens just a bit.

  • First period: final draft due next Thursday.
  • Second and sixth periods: none (significant homework coming tomorrow).
  • Fourth period:
    • read 3.1;
    • create a chain of events diagram/list to document the events that led up to the tragedy now facing Romeo and Juliet.

It’s that time of the year: all classes are doing drama in one way or another.

First period began working on The Diary of Anne Frank. We read a few passages from the original diary and worked on effective readers’ skills.

Second and sixth periods began working on the project: we acted out the beginning of 1.2 from Anne Frank to see just how much many elements students had to keep in mind once they start the acting project (which will begin Wednesday).

Fourth period had a quiz for act two and began reading act three.

  • First period: continue working on weekly writing assignment (final version of the first workshop piece is due 11 February.
  • Second and sixth periods:
    • complete reading Anne Frank act 1 scene 2;
    • study for quiz (on the same) tomorrow.
  • Fourth period: none (really!!?)

There are few things as rewarding as writing the update on a Friday after a good week. We’re all tired; we’re all ready to go home; we’ve all earned a bit of rest. For now…

First period switched over from the pure writing-based lessons we’ve been doing to a dual-plan format: Tuesdays and Thursdays will continue to be writing workshop days; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we’ll be working on Anne Frank.

Second and sixth began looking at the play. As they’ll be acting out a scene each, we took the time to look carefully and the staging instructions embedded in italics text throughout the play. We finished about four or five minutes early in both classes, so I did something I almost never do: I gave them a few minutes to relax. It’s a rarity, though: I hope no one got the idea that it would happen more than two or three times during the year!

Fourth period completed the second act of Romeo and Juliet. We’ll have the quiz on Monday.

  • First period: finish up weekend self-assessment.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period: quiz on Romeo and Juliet act 2.
One More Think-Aloud, Final Writing, and Horticulture

First period had a final day of the writing workshop, working on the STAR method of revision.

Fourth period looked at Friar Laurence’s opening lines to see how Shakespeare uses language tricks (also known as literary devices). There’s something in almost every line in the first few lines:

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night, Personification
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, Metaphor
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels Simile
From forth day’s path and Titan‘s fiery wheels: Classical allusion
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours Inverted word order
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb; Inverted thought
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind Inverted sentence
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain’d from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Second and sixth periods completed one more Think Aloud.

Second Period at Work
Second Period
Sixth Period
Sixth Period

It’s getting easier for the students, and the self-assessment showed as much. We’ll begin the play itself tomorrow.

  • First period: continue with writing.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete graphic organizer from today;
    • read 2.4;
    • complete study guide through 2.4.
Think-Aloud, Fragments, and the Balcony

The Anne Frank House alongside the Prinsengrac...
Anne Frank House

First period had a quick mini-lesson on sentence fragments — recognizing and correcting them — followed by some more writing. Now that the routine for a writing workshop has been established, we will move to a twice-weekly format: we agreed upon Tuesdays and Thursdays. This means that starting Friday, we’ll begin a new unit that will run concurrently with our writing work.

Second and sixth periods continued with a group Think-Aloud for Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. We continued working as a class like this because, as one student said, “Mr. Scott, this stuff is easy when you’re leading the whole class. When we get into partners, we don’t know what to say.”

Fourth period continued with 2.2. We went over the blocking from yesterday, performing quickly in class select portions, then watched a “professional” interpretation (via the BBC).

  • First period:
    • continue weekly writing;
    • begin selecting and preparing a first draft for eventual completion (probably due 11 February)
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • re-read 3.3;
    • revise today’s starter: “How does Friar Laurence compare people and plants?
Think-Aloud, Sentence Variety, and the Most Famous Scene in the World

Title page of the second quarto edition (Q2) o...
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First period started a three-part mini-lesson series on various sentence structures we can use to provide variety in our writing. We covered the first two of six before continuing our writing.

Fourth period began a day-and-a-half look at the most famous scene in all dramatic history: act two, scene two of Romeo and Juliet. The balcony scene. So many famous passages in that scene:

  • But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
    Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
    Who is already sick and pale with grief,
    That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
    Be not her maid, since she is envious;
    Her vestal livery is but sick and green
    And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
    It is my lady, O, it is my love!
    O, that she knew she were!
  • O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
  • ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
    Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
    What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
    Retain that dear perfection which he owes
    Without that title.
  • Good night, good night! parting is such
    sweet sorrow,
    That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

We read through the scene in class, the divided into groups to block the scene for a brief repeated performance tomorrow.

Second and sixth periods began reading Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. I handed out the “Effective Readers’ Skills” sheet and did a Think-Aloud with the first entry in Anne’s diary. We continued the Think-Aloud as a class, then as pairs.

  • First period: continue with weekly writing.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • practice blocking passage;
    • read 3.1.
Prompt Books, More Writing, and A Start to Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959 film)
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First period continued working on the writing project. We’ll begin the first of several lessons on revision tomorrow. By the end of the week, we’ll be working on joining sentences and examining specific types of sentence.

Second and sixth periods completed the anticipation guide for The Diary of Anne Frank. We’ll begin reading tomorrow, and I’ll introduce students to the Think-Aloud.

Fourth period completed a quick examination of opposites in the prologue to act two of Romeo and Juliet. We’ll be working on the most famous scene in history tomorrow: the balcony scene.

  • First period: complete weekly writing assignment.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete prompt book for 2.1;
    • complete study guide through 2.1.

Today, quick homework overview only.

  • First period: complete the weekend writing assessment.
  • Fourth period:
    • read the prologue and first scene from Romeo and Juliet, act two;
    • complete the paraphrase of the prologue (remember: extra credit for making the paraphrase a sonnet as well).
Addendum: Note to fourth period

I can be so absentminded and downright silly sometimes. Act two scene one is not when we meet the new character, and it has nothing to do with plants! (I know that’s a disappointment.) So the homework stands, but it’s suddenly become a lot shorter: 2.1 is one of the shortest scenes in the play. (Again, I know that’s a disappointment).

Anticipation, 1.5, and Paragraphs

Cover of "The Diary of Anne Frank"
Cover of The Diary of Anne Frank

First period continued working on the writing workshop. We had a quick review of the components of an effective paragraph and how to find loaded paragraphs that should be expanded into multiple paragraphs.

Second and sixth periods began a unit on The Diary of Anne Frank. We had an anticipatory lesson to get students thinking about some of the themes. We’ll continue building background knowledge tomorrow before starting the play on Monday.

Fourth period finished up the first act of Romeo and Juliet. We’ll be having a quiz on it tomorrow.

  • First period: take the loaded paragraph you discovered in class today and expand it: each change in topic should produce a new paragraph. (Do this on the right-hand side of the notebook — that’s what we’ve been saving those pages for!)
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period: study for quiz.
Setting Goals, 1.5, and Addresses

Balakirev was instrumental in creating Romeo a...
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First period dove back into the writing focus workshops. We had a mini-lesson — which, it turned out, was hardly “mini” — about setting goals for writing. As part of the weekly self-assessment, students are to set individual goals for their writing. As time progresses, that will come with input from me. For now, we’re practicing setting goals.

Second and sixth periods went over a number of things today. We did our participation self-assessment. We generally do this online, but since tomorrow we’ll be taking the test online, I wanted to make sure students didn’t have to rush to get to the participation self-assessment.

We also went over the letters we wrote before the long break. Several students, I noticed, had some trouble with address formatting, so we spent the last fifteen minutes of class clearing up any confusion with that.

Fourth period went over Romeo and Juliet 1.5 in which Romeo and Juliet finally meet for the first time and realize who they’ve fallen in love with.

  • All classes: study for exam tomorrow.
  • Fourth period: complete paraphrase of Romeo’s words (due Thursday)
Test Overview and 1.4

First, second, and sixth periods all went over briefly the material covered on Monday’s test. I’d mentioned it all before, but I wanted to make sure everyone had a definitive list of topics and poems to be covered.

Second and sixth finished up the short mini-unit on formal letters by using a word processing program to formalize the format. Students also had a chance to take a quick mini-quiz to see what Monday’s test would be like: we’ll be taking it in the computer lab.

Fourth period looked at 1.4, which includes Mercutio’s famous speech on Queen Mab. We worked in groups on graphic representations of Queen Mab as described by Mercutio.

Fourth period’s exam will be next Thursday. A study guide is available at the courses site.

  • First, second, and sixth periods: test Monday.
  • Fourth period:
    • read 1.5;
    • study for exam.
Formal Letters, Spelling Demons, and Views on Marriage

Romeo and Juliet, Act I-Scene_3. Lady Capulet ...
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First period worked on easily confused words like “there/their/they’re,” “to/too/two,” “accept/except” and the like. We also began our Spelling Demons list, a list of words that consistently gives us spelling trouble.

Second and sixth periods worked on formal letters in connection to the lesson we did on “The Ballad of Birmingham.” Students wrote letters to individuals involved in the event.

Fourth period did a blitz of 1.3 and compared the various characters’ views of love and marriage in the first few scenes:

  • Capulet
  • Lady Capulet
  • Juliet
  • Nurse
  • Romeo
  • Benvolio

Fourth period will have a semester exam on Thursday 13 January 2011. It will be on all material we have covered so far, excluding the opening scenes of Romeo and Juliet.

  • First period: continue writing and editing.
  • Second and sixth periods: complete letter as needed.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete love/marriage graphic organizer;
    • complete evaluation of poetry presentation;
    • read 1.4;
    • add Mercutio to love/marriage graphic organizer.
Birmingham, Sharing, and 1.1

Photograph of the building used by 16th Street...
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First period  continued with the writing focus experiment. We added sharing into our daily writing workshop focus. It was the first peer conferencing session, so it was far from perfect, but we did well: Students got feedback and had an opportunity to perform a traditionally non-student role.

Second and sixth periods went over “The Ballad of Birmingham,” Dudley Randall’s poem about the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was also the subject of a book most students read last year, The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Fourth period finished acting out Romeo and Juliet act one, scene one.

Ballad Characteristics, T-Charts, and a Brawl

Charlotte and Susan Cushman (the Cushman siste...
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First period continued working on how to find ideas for writing. We looked at T-charts.

Second and sixth periods completed the ballad “Boots of Spanish Leather” and began working on the second ballad, “The Ballad of Birmingham.”

Fourth period went over the first half of Romeo and Juliet 1.1. We did some acting, some discussing, and wrestled with a few of the lines.

  • First period:
    • continue working on required number of entries in writer’s notebook;
    • edit entry completed in class today.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period: reread 1.1.74-238.
First Day Back

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
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Welcome back! I’m thrilled to get back to work, and I know everyone else is, too. (And I am not being sarcastic: I wouldn’t joke about my commitment to education.)

First period began a several-week experimental writing workshop model. We went over how class will work, spending a fair amount of time on the new Weekend Writing Assessment document. We also had a mini-lesson on getting ideas for writing by using/creating an Expert Inventory.

Second and sixth periods began the final activities of the poetry unit, looking at ballads.

Fourth period began Romeo and Juliet (R&J), examining the prologue to receive a quick overview of the plot.

  • First period: write first entry from “Expert Inventory”
  • Second and sixth periods: complete four lines of poem explaining what the letter said.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete the light/darkness, two-example work from class;
    • complete the Shakespearean language lesson;
    • read 1.1; and
    • complete the study guide for 1.1 (print out the whole study guide if your are able)