Conspiracy and Ballads

school days left

English 8 students continued with the ballad work, which will culminate in a re-connection to The Glory Field.

1-Fullscreen capture 542016 122714 PM

English I Honors students finished up the conspiracy between Heck Tate and Atticus.

1-Fullscreen capture 542016 33930 PM


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete the practice test on Moodle.

English I students went over the great cover-up in Mockingbird, teasing out the actual story, what Atticus thinks happened, and what Heck Tate is going to say happened.

English 8 students went over the ballad from yesterday in order to get ready for the ballad we will be applying to the Glory Field project we’ll be working on next week.


  • English 8 Strategies: continue working on the article of the week.
  • English 8 Studies: continue working on the article of the week.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • complete the practice test for the EOC, available here.

First and fourth periods studied another ballad titled the “Ballad of Birmingham,” which is about the Sixteenth Street bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. We compared the “Ballad of Birmingham” to yesterday’s ballad, “Boots of Spanish Leather” using a chart to determine what makes up a ballad. On Monday, we will resume with Great Expectations. Mr. Scott encourages students to use the free online audiobook to assist them with reading the first ten chapters of Great Expectations. A link to the audiobook can be found on the Moodle site here.

Today second and seventh periods did a “scenario debate” on different types of scenarios.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • Finish chapters 1-10 of Great Expectations by Monday.
    • Complete your assessments for the chapter 11 workshop by Tuesday.
Ballads and PASS Practice/Discussions

First and fourth periods learned about ballads today. We looked at a ballad called the “Boots of Spanish Leather,” and got to listen to Mr. Scott play the guitar and sing the ballad in class. We rewrote the ballad stanza by stanza in our own words, and identified the gender of the speaking party in each stanza. However, the final stanza of the ballad has been left blank for students to create their own ending, following the rhyme scheme and meter of the ballad as best they can for homework.

Second and seventh periods worked on some PASS practice  they also worked in group they also got there rubric for their discussion.

1-Fullscreen capture 4242014 31616 PM


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • Finish your ending for the ballad we read in class today, due tomorrow.
    • Assess for the chapter 11 workshop, due Tuesday.
    • Continue reading chapters 1-10 of Great Expectations, which must be completed by Monday.
Notes from second and fourth periods

First and fifth periods finished up some practice with adding quotes to concrete details to make intermediate-level CDs. We ended up with a few good examples from each class:

  • Fifth Period
    • For example, Anne is talking about Miep running their errands for them and Mr. Van Daan interrupts her and says, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking.”
    • For example, when Anne picked up his pipe and hid it behind her back, Mr. Van Daan said “what you need is a good old-fashioned spanking.”
    • For instance, Mr. VD is arguing about Peter having the cat, so he says, “What’s the matter with you? Haven’t you any sense? Get that cat out of here.”
  • Fifth Period
    • For example when Mr. Van Daan says to Anne “You’re the most aggravating…the trouble with you is you’ve been spoiled”
    • For instance, Mr. VD and Anne get into an argument during which MVD proclaims her to be “aggravating” and “spoiled.”

Second and fourth periods finished up — more or less — a two-day examination of the ballad form by looking at “The Ballad of Birmingham.” However, the copy provided students was a bit incomplete: the stanzas were out of sequence and missing one line.

Notes from second and fourth periods
Notes from second and fourth periods

We’ll be finishing up briefly tomorrow by making some generalizations about the form before

  • First and fifth periods: read act two, scene one in its entirety. (There will likely be a quiz on it tomorrow.)
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • using the graphic organizer from class, determine four characteristics of a ballad;
    • continue with the anthology project.

KB, here’s your work.

FIrst and fifth periods both worked with incorporating quotes into concrete details in their writing. The class notes for each class are available here.

Second and fourth periods continued their exploration of various poetic forms, turning their attention from villanelles to ballads.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: write the final two stanzas of the ballad, making sure to follow the rules you determined in class.
  • Fifth period: choose one more characteristic for Mr. Van Daan and write the concrete details for it.

We’ll do a quick homework update today — it’s Friday and we’re all tired.

  • First and sixth periods: begin working on first draft of ballad essay.
  • Second and fourth periods: read 2.4 from Romeo and Juliet.
  • Seventh period: study for vocab quiz Monday.

First and sixth periods worked on the introduction to their ballad essay. We’ll be finishing up the project tomorrow, with the final draft due January 30.

Second period went over 2.2 — the famous balcony scene. We had written conversations to prepare us for group discussions about Romeo and Juliet as people — would we like to be friends with them? What type of people do they seem to be?

Seventh period continued with Hatchet.

  • First and sixth periods:continue working on ballad essay.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • study for quiz on act one;
    • read 2.3.
  • Seventh period: review vocabulary for chapters 1-9.

First and sixth periods continued working on their Schaffer model essay on ballads. We’ll finish them up on Wednesday. Second and fourth periods finished 1.3, looking at various ways in which characters view love. Seventh period reviewed chapters 1-4 of Hatchet by looking at cause and effect in the text before moving on to chapter five.

  • First, second, fourth, and sixth periods: study for tomorrow’s midterm.
  • Seventh period: none.


First and sixth periods worked on ballads some more, looking at Dudley Randall’s “The Ballad of Birmingham” to see another example of the primary characteristics of a ballad.

Second and fourth periods worked on Romeo and Juliet 1.1. I also shared with them an example song for the soundtrack project.

Seventh periods worked on descriptive language in Hatchet.

  • First and sixth periods: make sure you’ve completed the three body paragraphs for the ballad essay.
  • Second and fourth periods: read act one, scene two.
  • Seventh period:
    • read chapters three and four;
    • complete one reader’s journal entry for chapter three and two entries for chapter four.
Schaffer Ballads, 1.1, and C2 Say Something

First and sixth periods returned to using the Schaffer model to organize writing about literature, specifically ballads. We’re going to be writing a fairly impressive essay about ballads, and we began planning and writing that today. First period’s notes are below, and sixth period’s notes were virtually identical.

Second and fourth periods looked at act one, scene one from Romeo and Juliet. We examined Shakespeare’s use of puns, and we focused on the EQ, dealing with the bawdiness of the play’s opening and speculating on Shakespeare’s motivation for writing something so relatively crass.

Seventh period continued with Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, using the Say Something engagement to work through chapter two in groups.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • complete 1.1 from Romeo and Juliet;
    • continue working on the Shakespearean language lesson (on the courses site).
  • Sixth period: write the third paragraph (only the first Schaffer chunk) for the ballad essay.
  • Seventh period:
    • complete chapter two of Hatchet;
    • write one reader’s journal entry.

First and sixth periods worked on the ballad, determining some of the qualities of a ballad. We’ll be using this information to begin an extended writing using the Schaffer model.

Second and fourth periods went over the prologue to Romeo and Juliet.

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

We made a few observations, including the fact that this is a sonnet.

Seventh period used the “Say Something” engagement with the first chapter of Hatchet.

  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
  • Seventh period:
    • finish chapter one of Hatchet;
    • complete one reader’s journal entry for the chapter.

First and sixth periods continued working on the poetry unit. We looked at ballads, specifically “Boots of Spanish Leather.” We’ll be finishing it up in the next couple of weeks.

Second and fourth periods began Romeo and Juliet by watching a brief biographic video on Shakespeare. We’ll begin the play proper tomorrow.

  • First and sixth periods: finish ballads (final two lines of seventh stanza and the full four lines of the eighth stanza).
  • Second and fourth periods:
  • Seventh period: none.
Schaffer Writing, a Ballad, and a Test

First Period at Work

First and sixth periods worked on using the Schaffer model to help organize and plan our writing about alliteration in the poem “Silver.”

First Period Partner Work

Sixth period, not having read it before, had to spend a bit of time going through the steps we’ve been using to understand poems, but by the end of the respective class periods, the two groups came up with something rather similar.

First Period's Work
Sixth Period's Work

We’ll complete the work tomorrow.

Second and fourth periods worked on ballads, doing inductive reasoning from the ballad “Boots of Spanish Leather.”

Seventh period had a test on the poetry unit.


First and sixth periods continued working with short stories. We’ll be finishing up the unit tomorrow and preparing for Tuesday’s test on Monday.

Second and fourth periods began looking at the musicality of poetry, specifically be examining sound devices.

Seventh period completed the four-day (though it was supposed to be only three-day) ballad lesson.

  • First period:
    • read “Thank You, M’am”;
    • complete six “Say Something” annotations in writing using four of the five skills.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • re-read “The Gift” and find two examples of consonance and two examples of assonance;
    • read “Possum Crossing” (697) and fine one example of consonance and one example of assonance.
  • Sixth period:
    • complete questions 1-5 at the end of “Thank You, M’am”;
    • write a brief description of what you think the theme of the story is.
  • Seventh period: write a letter about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing (the subject of “The Ballad of Birmingham”). Address your letter either to one of the mothers of the victims or one of the perpetrators.

To the parent that was asking about the organization of the binder: you’ll find that material here.