English Strategies students began working on the heavy-lifting portion of the STEAM unit we’re currently working on, comparing a poem and a portion of a novel.

English Studies students took the comparison a bit further.

English I Honors students looked at a ballad in preparation for a Mockingbird-connected ballad later.


  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • read the next section of The Glory Field;
    • complete the article of the week.
  • English 8 Studies: complete the article of the week.
  • English I Honors: 
    • determine two rules of a ballad from today’s ballad;
    • complete the article of the week.
Figurative Language, Poetry, and Calypso

English I Honors finished up a bit of work on Calypso, looking at two additional renditions and a short informational text about the etymology of her name.

(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Afterward, students did a bit of comparing too see how different sources provide different insights into the character of Calypso (or “Kalypso” as in our translation).

One version was the Suzanne Vega song “Calypso.”

Eighties gold!

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Sixth period’s notes

Seventh period noticed a few different elements.

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Seventh period’s notes

English 8 Strategies students (fourth period) continued their MAP preparation by having a refresher about figurative language today and getting a little practice with it.

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Fourth period’s work
Homework for fourth
Homework for fourth

English 8 Studies (fifth periods) returned to their lit circles to finish up the poem “Runagate Runagate” before turning back to The Glory Field.


  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • complete the figurative language work from today, including the examples of figurative language above.
  • English 8 Studies: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • read the amount decided by our lit circle for tomorrow.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • prepare a 3-5 point list of qualities of Calypso that you can back from two sources from today (and make sure actually to back them within the list, i.e., put some kind of note in parenthesis regarding the source);
    • continue working on the Romeo and Juliet project, due Friday.
Preparing and Transitioning

English I Honors students worked again transitions between paragraphs as well as their Romeo and Juliet projects. Remember: we have a quiz on Tuesday when we come back on acts four and five.

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English 8 students split up a little today: they did essentially the same thing, but scaled a bit to students’ experience. Strategies students began practicing a writing assignment that emulates what they will be doing soon in writing class, and Studies students did the same but added an organizational element — the Schaffer model — that they use also in their writing class.

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Journalism students will begin working on their first radio reportage project tomorrow.


  • English 8 Strategies: continue working on your article of the week.
  • English 8 Studies: continue working on your article of the week.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on your article of the week;
    • continue working on your Romeo and Juliet project.
Planning and Comparing

English 8 students finished note taking about the differences between a film version of The Diary of Anne Frank and the play we read in class. We’ll be using the notes tomorrow to plan a short essay.

Journalism students began shifting to audio stories today. We’ll be learning how to create NPR-style stories during the third quarter.

English I Honors students had some practice planning a fairly complicated paragraph on a fairly complicated topic: How does Shakespeare use imagery of light and dark to highlight the role of fate in the play?

As an aside, there is now a repository of classroom instruction available at the Moodle site.


  • 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: 
    • complete today’s planning;
    • continue working on the article of the week.
  • Journalism: make sure you have listened to one of the sample audio stories by tomorrow.

English Strategies students (fourth period) read through the first scene of The Diary of Anne Frank, marking it a couple of things and going over the annotations as a class.

English Studies students (fifth period) finished up the first scene by looking at some other summaries (to compare with their own) and then began examining and annotating the original diary entry on which the first scene was based.

English Studies had their first of two debate preparations. They worked on claims, reasons, counterclaims, and rebuttals. We’ll have the debate on Friday, and it should be exciting.

English Strategies (fourth period) finished up the film version of Nightjohn. We’ll have a quick, short application of the work tomorrow and Friday and then move on to the next unit on Monday.

English I Honors students continued with yesterday’s work, determining what a lyric moment is and how it relates to a poem’s tonal shift. We went over several poems we’d looked at earlier in order to determine the tonal shift and lyric moment before heading off to apply it ourselves to “The Lanyard” by Billy Collins.


Sound Devices, Argument, and Comparison

English I Honors students worked on sound devices with poetry. We focused on a couple of poems, including the famous “My Papa’s Waltz.”

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We’ll finish up tomorrow before moving on to tone.

English Studies (fifth period) began a final activity that involves argument combined with the film and book version of Nightjohn. We will be having a debate — using actual debate rules, which means no one will know the side they are arguing until the day of the debate itself — as a culminating project.

English Strategies (fourth period) began the film comparison that English Studies just finished up.

RL.9-10.7. Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

English I Honors students compared two versions of 1.1 from Romeo and Juliet to determine how modern directors can try to make the opening scene of the play, which is supposed to have a great deal of humor in it, actually funny to modern audiences. Sometimes the directors fail, sometimes they succeed. We looked at two versions to see what works and what doesn’t when compared to the original text.

W2. Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

English 8 Strategies students continued working on their informational texts. We’re using Google Drive to create our work and then will use it next week to start peer editing our work. Having now completed two days in the lab for the work, students are now responsible for completed the work, detailed below, on their own.


  • English 8 Strategies: complete the work begun in class by next Tuesday. You will need to have one paragraph done at a bare minimum.
  • English I Honors: 
    • read scenes two and three for tomorrow;
    • rough draft of full sonnet is due tomorrow;
    • quiz on tone vocabulary words tomorrow;
  • Journalism: none.
Calypso Redux and Main Idea/Text Structure Combo

First and fourth periods worked on Calypso again and comparing the song to the poem. We worked with partners to identify differences in the relationships and Calypso herself, looking Samuel Palmer’s 1848–9 painting The Departure of Ulysses from the Isle of Calypso in the conclusion.

Samuel Palmer (1805–1881) The Departure of Ulysses from the Isle of Calypso, 1848–9
Samuel Palmer (1805–1881)
The Departure of Ulysses from the Isle of Calypso, 1848–9

We finished up looking at the work we’d done and completing some informal writing planning based on the notes we’d created.

First and fourth period notes
First and fourth period notes

Second and seventh periods combined the last two skills and worked on determining both the main idea of a text and its text structure.







  • English 8 Strategies: complete the text structure identification work we began in class (available here for download).
  • English I Honors: read 1043-1059 of the Odyssey. (Students without a book will need to do the reading in the morning.)
Calypso and Main Ideas

First and fourth periods worked on Homeric Similes and compared a Calypso song to her part in the Odyssey. We broke off into groups and analyzed the two pieces.

Homeric similes thus far
Homeric similes thus far

Second and seventh periods worked on determining the main idea of a text.

The Rorschach inkblot test is a psychological test to determine a person’s personality by the person’s interpretations of ten abstract designs. The test is named after Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922) who developed the inkblots, although he did not use them for personality analysis.

The test is considered “projective” because the patient is supposed to project his or her real personality into the inkblot through the interpretation. The inkblots are purportedly ambiguous, structureless entities. The patient is supposed to give a clear structure by explaining what he or she “sees” in the ink blots. Those who believe in the effectiveness of such tests think that they are a way of getting into the deepest recesses of the patient’s subconscious mind. Those who give such tests believe themselves to be experts at interpreting their patients’ interpretations.

Rorschach testing is inherently problematic. The patient provides an interpretation of the ink blot, but the therapist is going to make her own interpretation for the ink blot. This means that the therapist is interpreting himself as well as the patient. But who is going to interpret the therapist’s interpretation to make sure it’s true?

The Rorschach enthusiast should recognize that inkblots or dreams or drawings or handwriting may be no different in structure than spoken words or gestures. Each is capable of many interpretations, some true, some false, some meaningful, some meaningless. It is an unprovable assumption that dreams or inkblot interpretations issue from a source deep in the subconscious which wants to reveal the “real” self.

Adapted from


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: reread the Calypso part of the Odyssey looking for differences between the poem and the song “Calypso” regarding the relationship between Odysseus and Calypso and regarding Calypso’s personality.

Today in first and fourth periods we looked back at our edited and cut versions of Romeo and Juliet. Then we looked at the Leonardo DiCaprio version of 3.2-3.5 only to discover radical, deep cuts in the text that went well beyond what the students considered.

Second and seventh periods looked at Diary of Anne Frank act two scene four, in which the inhabitants of the Secret Annex are discovered and captured. We did some compare-contrast work and also worked on parenthetical citations.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: study for act 3 quiz.
The Death of Mercutio and Tybalt and Implication/Inference

First and fourth Periods looked at 3.1 and worked on the first song of the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project.

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Second and seventh periods worked on implication and inference through act two scene two of The Diary of Anne Frank.

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  • English 8 Strategies: complete the implication/inference work we began in class by finding one more example on page 850 and another on page 853.
  • English I Honors: read act 3 scenes 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Tableaux Vivants and Changing Relationships

Today in first and fourth periods we took the Act 2 quiz in the computer lab. Then we returned to class to present our tableaux vivants in our groups from yesterday. The “audience” analyzed the presentations, determining which students represented which characters and determining which lines the presentation most relied upon.

Second and fourth periods finished up their analysis of how Anne’s and Peter’s relationship is changing. We ended the class by looking at how we could use the graphic organizer we’d completed as prewriting for a short essay about how the relationship changed. Students worked in groups first to determine how we could organize the ideas into paragraphs

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  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: reread 3.1 from Romeo and Juliet.
Prompt Books and Comparison Cubed

First and fourth periods had a short quiz on act one of Romeo and Juliet and then worked on making a prompt book of the first few lines of 2.1. We first determined what a prompt book is and includes:

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Notes from first and fourth periods

We then tried our hand at creating mini-prompt books for 2.1:

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Notes from first period
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Notes from fourth period

Second and fourth periods looked at three versions of the same episode in the original diary, the dramatized version, and a made-for-TV version.

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Second period’s notes
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Seventh period’s notes


Arguments and Terror

First and fourth periods worked with 1.5 of Romeo and Juliet, examining two passages when the young couple first meet each other.

Second and seventh periods completed the first act of The Diary of Anne Frank. After starting with a short informational text about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (which appears in the scene itself), we looked at the significance the gifts Anne gave her family and co-conspirators.

It is also the scene in which the conspirators hear a thief rummaging around in the lower floors, adding to the play a new element of terror about potential discovery.


  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • complete the “Insights” column for the final three gifts (see above);
    • complete the comparison/contrast homework from Friday (as needed; I will be taking this up tomorrow).
  • English I Honors: none.