First period continued looking at mood and author’s purpose with the selection from A. Dillard’s An American Childhood.

Second period continued working on their dialogues.

Fourth and sixth periods began reading the selection from An American Childhood and started looking at how Dillard creates a mood of fear in the piece.

Homework
  • First period: complete mood chart (classwork)
  • Second period:
    • continue working on Caged Bird/”Annabelle” essay (as applies)
    • vocabulary quizzes.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: study for vocabulary quiz tomorrow.

First period read a passage from An American Childhood by Annie Dillard.

Second period continued with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Fourth and sixth periods worked on vocabulary in preparation for the next selection.

Homework
  • First period:
    • Questions 1-7 on page 142;
    • Vocabulary builder on page 143;
    • Selection test coming Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • Second period:
    • Read chapters 28-30;
    • Complete essay on the Depression, Caged Bird, and “Annabelle.”
  • Fourth and sixth periods: finish vocabulary exercises.

First, fourth, and sixth periods began a new selection that will focus on mood. Our first task: determine what mood is and how writers create it. And to do that, we … listened to music and watched movie trailers. We did this to see what mood is: an atmosphere created by a work of art. We watched a trailer for a romantic comedy, then watched a re-cut version of the trailer that made the film appear to be a horror film. We then transitioned to mood in writing, looking at three ways writers create mood.

Second period continued I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We looked at the continuing theme of displacement and how that theme is manifested in the dentist episode and Bailey’s encounter with a dead body.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: “Mood” handout, exercise A, numbers 1-3.
  • Second period: Read chapters 26, 27.

First, fourth, and sixth periods had a selection test on “Cub Pilot,” conflict, and prediction. Hopefully everyone did well. After the test, we began the next selection by talking about mood, which is the feeling that a piece of writing creates in a reader.

Second period had something of a catch-up day. We went over indirect objects and in doing so, determined we needed to have a general parts of speech review. We’re going to have an individualized review, starting tomorrow. Students will review at home on their own, and we’ll devote a little class time to questions they might have. Hopefully, before the end of the month, we’ll have a good understanding of the parts of speech.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: none.
  • Second period: chapters 24 and 25.

First, fourth, and sixth periods completed a review of “Cub Pilot”, discussed some grammar (the formation of plural nouns), and reviewed some vocabulary. We’ll be having a selection test tomorrow.

Second period discussed the eight chapters (!!) they had to read for today. We worked in small groups, then shared one epiphany with the class.

Homework
  • Second period:
    • Complete the direct/indirect object review and quiz assignment;
    • Read chapters 20-23;
    • Create two of each QAR question type;
    • Find one figurative language example from each chapter.
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods:
    • Prepare for selection test tomorrow;
    • Complete classwork.

First, fourth, and sixth periods finished “Cub Pilot,” and everyone was relieved to see Brown get his just dues.

Second period watched a short clip about the Great Depression, listened to a song about a share cropper, and, running out of time, prepared for an essay question that should have been a class discussion.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods:
    • Finish conflict graphic organizer;
    • Finish prediction graphic organizer;
    • Review vocabulary (52);
    • Prepare for selection test on Wednesday.
  • Second period:
    • Read chapters 11-19 of Caged Bird;
    • Complete quizzes online;
    • Complete essay question concerning the Depression and Caged Bird.

First, fourth, and sixth periods continued working on “Cub Pilot.” We practiced prediction skills and continued reading the memoir.

Second period worked on characterization. We discussed the ways in which writers present characters, then began examining specific characters in pairs to see how Angelou uses characterization. We used a chart to analyze charaters. Students looked at

  • What the character says;
  • How the character looks;
  • The character’s inner thoughts and feelings;
  • What others think of the character;
  • What the character does; and
  • What the author says about the character.

As the unit progresses, students will work on creating a character study of one character in Caged Bird.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods:
    • Read through page 66 (To the paragraph that beings “Two trips later”);
    • Write a summary of the episode;
    • Be prepared to answer the Literary Analysis questions.
  • Second period:
    • Chapters 8-10 (finally!);
    • Two think and search questions.

All classes went to the media center for the yearly orientation. Additionally, students had an opportunity to check out books.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth: none (other than having the newsletter signed).
  • Second:
    • Read chapters 8-10;
    • Take the vocabulary quiz online.

First, fourth, and sixth periods began “Cub Pilot on the Mississippi”, an autobiographical account of Mark Twain’s first days on a riverboat. We looked at the setting (the Mississippi River) and we began reading.

Second period looked at four discussion questions about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:

  1. Why did Angelou include the episode in chapter six?
  2. Discuss the relationship between the group Angelou refers to as “powhitetrash,” African Americans, and whites.
  3. Why was canning and preserving so important? Why is it less important now?
  4. Do you think Momma was proud of her singing? Support it from the text.

We also discussed a few elements of the website.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods
    • Literature in Context (pg 64): answer the question in a 150-200 word essay.
    • Prepare for skit with Twain’s first meeting with Brown.
  • Second period (due Thursday)
    • Read chapters 8-10
    • Vocabulary quiz (chapters 1-5)

First, fourth, and sixth periods began working on unit 1: the memoir. We’ll be reading Mark Twain’s “Cub Pilot on the Mississippi”, which is actually a chapter from his memoir Life on the Mississippi. We began today by looking at conflict and prediction. We discussed methods to predict and why it’s an important reading skill, we looked at the major forms of conflict.

Second period went over chapters 1-3 from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We began by looking at a sonnet Angelou mentioned in her memoir: Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

After taking the time to tease out the meaning — Billy is not the easiest writer to comprehend — we discussed how this sonnet might have appealed to a young Angelou. We concluded by working in groups to determine which, if any, of the characters in the memoir might play the same role as the “thee” of Shakespeare’s sonnet

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods:
    • Read “Meet the Author” (pg 60);
    • Answer the question on page 61 (under picture) in a 200 word (2/3 page) entry in your response journal.
  • Second period
    • Read chapters 4-7;
    • Write two “Right there” questions for each chapter

First, fourth, and sixth periods finished up their work on the Raise Responsibility system we use in class for behavior management. Students perpared skits illustrating particular behavior levels, then shared them with the class.

Second period began reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We discussed the notion of beauty and what it is, specifically how society’s view of beauty changes through time.

Homework
  • First, four, and sixth periods: None.
  • Second period:
    • Read chapters 1-3 in Caged Bird.
    • Begin working on the figurative language list.

First, fourth, and sixth periods worked on the levels of behavior that will be recognized in our classroom. Students are to explain to parents these levels and then summarize that conversation. Second period began the unit on memoirs, doing some pre-reading activities for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We looked at Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy” from which Angelou took the title of her book. We compared it to “Still I Rise,” a poem Angelou wrote later in life.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth: Describe behavior levels to parents; write a summary of that conversation.
  • Second: continue working on research project.

First, fourth, and sixth periods talked about situations, stimuli and impulses, and how they can effect a class’s effectiveness. We discussed how we always have a choice and how being a slave to impulses makes one a robot.

Second period began looking at the year’s essential question: How is the theme of journey developed throughout literature? We’re using Frost’s “The Road not Taken” as a model for the rest of the year.

Homework
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: A 100-word essay about stimuli and impulses one might experience in class.
  • Second period: Journey Forum on courses.ourenglishclass.net

Our first day went fine, but as I write this, I see it could be going better!

English I students

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