First and seventh periods had a final day of work on the memoir final draft. It is due tomorrow, along with several other documents:

  1. First draft
  2. Peer editing form
  3. Second draft
  4. Final draft
  5. Rubric

Fourth period worked on the nonfiction form and will continue tomorrow. We’ve begun a short unit on the memoir and we will be focusing on the relationship tone, mood, and diction have with author’s purpose and audience.

Second period began Diary of Anne Frank by looking at the Holocaust and setting the stage for the Frank’s dramatic hideout in Amsterdam.

  • First and seventh periods: finish final draft of memoir.
  • Second period: three questions students might have about the information presented today.
  • Fourth period:
    • complete the final draft of the Antigone essay (rubric available here);
    • read page 435 (on tone, mood, and diction).

We had a day of testing, but the upside is that the Explore test — a two-and-a-half hour, four-subject marathon test — is over. As a result, we didn’t have first or second period.

Fourth period worked on revising their Antigone analysis papers. We looked at run-on sentences, and had a bit of practice.


Fourth period:

  • complete run-on sentence practice;
  • edit Antigone draft for run-on sentences.

We completed the final day of group work for the memoir today. We’ll be spending two more days polishing it up, and then turn it in Monday.

English I began verbs today. We’ll finish up tomorrow, testing willing.

The testing in question is the Explore test. We’ll be taking that test Thursday and Friday.

  • First and seventh periods: none.
  • Second period: complete second draft.
  • Fourth period: none (if second draft of Antigone analysis is complete).

First and seventh periods had a great: Ms. Woods, our District Instructional Facilitator (DIF) and a former English teacher herself, came into the classroom today to model with me what peer conferencing looks like. We’ve been trying to do it for the past couple of days, but I realized that it’s something that really needs to be shown. Her observations about my own first draft were spot-on. Afterward, the students returned to their partners and tried to emulate what Ms. Woods and I did.

Second period worked on stems and completed the first round of peer conferencing.

Fourth period discussed the Antigone project, drafting a rubric and getting started with peer conferencing. We looked at the following points.

  • Did you explain the examples well?
  • Did you put the correct number of examples?
  • Did you explain in depth?
  • Are there any examples that are merely summarized and are not analyzed?
  • Do my paragraphs show unity?
  • Are my topic sentences clear?
  • Are the sentences fluent and make sense?
  • Do I leave any content gaps? (Are there any spots where the readers are asking questions?)

Second and fourth periods: second draft of memoir/Antigone analysis (respectively) due tomorrow.

First and seventh period: none (study for Friday’s stem’s quiz).

All classes are now working on composition in one form or another.

First, second, and seventh periods are working on peer revision for their first draft of their memoir. We will be finishing that up tomorrow and completing the second draft shortly. The memoir will be due the following Monday (October 5).

These periods also got the new stems list. We will have a quiz on them this Friday (October 2) and a test the following Friday (October 9).

English I began working on the formal analysis of Antigone. Using the four basic principles of sociology we applied to Lord of the Flies, students will be looking at the social aspects of the play. We spent today going over the requirements, deciding as a group just how the project would look.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: complete the definitions of the stem vocabulary. (Use only the information provided by the stem to make a reasonable guess as to what the word means.)
  • Fourth period: complete the first draft of the essay.

First, second, and seventh periods all worked in pairs on revising their memoirs, using the Memoir Assessment tool.

Tomorrow, first, second, and seventh periods have the test on stems list 21.

Fourth period is almost done with Antigone. We’ll finish up tomorrow. The day closed for English I students with a quick review of prepositions. The easiest part of speech, prepositions also play an important part in our Comprehension Tips page, and we added the seventh step today.

  • First, second, and seventh periods:
    • finish memoir rough draft (if not completed already);
    • study for stems test.
  • Fourth period:

First, second, and seventh periods began working on memoir revision. We used the memoir peer revision graphic organizer to begin working with a partner to improve our writing.

Fourth period continued with Antigone.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: none.
  • Fourth period: outline two examples of how Antigone illustrates the four basic premises of sociology that we looked at while reading Lord of the Flies.
Specific Verbs and Antigone

First, second, and fourth periods added one more element to on-going memoir assignment: specific verbs.

Specific verbs (also called “action verbs”) add vitality to writing.  They not only tell what’s going on but also give indications of how.

“Walk” is a boring verb. It could be used to describe any number of movements. “Shuffled” is a specific action verb. Someone who shuffles is someone who is tired, perhaps bored.

We define two elements in class. Specific verbs:

  • show a specific (not general) action;
  • include information about how the action is completed.

Source: Class Notes: Specific Verbs

To look at the differences between “boring” verbs and specific action verbs, one thing we did was show each other how “walk” can describe radically different actions. The students who did the strutting generally had the most fun:

Strutting Out


Strutting In

Fourth period continued with Antigone. We’ve come to the conclusion that Creon feels leaders should be obeyed without hesitation or question; we’ve discovered that Haemon has some views about the relationship between rulers and the ruled that might have been somewhat unorthodox during that time.

  • First and seventh periods: ten synonyms for “talk” and/or “say.
  • Second period: none.
  • Fourth period: correct and evaluate tests.
Quizzes, Drafts, and a Test

First, second, and seventh periods had their first stems quiz. We will have a test on the full list (list 21) next Friday.

Afterward, we began writing our formal first draft.

After hours (Photo by G. Scott)

Fourth period had a test on the first half of our parts of speech review. It seemed very difficult for many, and there were concerns about the grades. I reminded them that an assessment is just that: a device to assess students’ understanding. “The test might be on a level higher than I really think your knowledge and proficiency should be,” I told them.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: complete first draft of memoir.
  • Fourth period: none (!!)

First, second, and seventh periods all began their outlines for their memoirs.

Fourth period continued preparing Antigone. We also had a quick review for tomorrow’s test on nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: complete outline.
  • Fourth period: study for parts of speech
Nouns and Antigone

First, second, and seventh periods finished up working with specific nouns. We used a couple of examples to see the importance of and practice using specific nouns.

Fourth period continued with Antigone.

The Antigone Chorus
The Antigone Chorus

We also added a new point to the comprehension tips list we’re making. (I added one more to the list that we didn’t go over in class.)

  • First: none.
  • Second and seventh: complete birthday dinner descriptive writing.
  • Fourth:
    • study for parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, and adjectives) test tomorrow;
    • read

First, second, and seventh period began working on stems list 21. We looked at the individual stems and how they relate to the words. We will be having a quiz on the first ten words on Friday; the test on all words will be the following Friday.

Afterward, we discussed the important of specific nouns in writing. As our initial example, we explored the various possibilities of a single sentence: “Last night, I ate meat, vegetables, and dessert.”

“What’s wrong with that sentence?” I asked.

“We don’t know what kind of meat,” students responded. We looked at possibilities, and tomorrow we will begin applying it to our own writing.

Fourth period continued with Antigone. Beginning with the prompt, “It is justifiable for a citizen to break the law when…”, we asked the question of when it’s morally permissible to break the law.

  • First period:
    • flash cards;
    • re-examine writing and make five nouns more specific.
  • Second and seventh periods:
    • flash cards;
    • alphabetical listing of specific nouns.
  • Fourth period:
    • read through page 125;
    • continue working on list of allusions (proper nouns and proper adjectives).

Second period (English I) went over the material from the first half of our parts of speech review (nouns, pronouns, and adjectives). We began reading Antigone.

First and seventh periods worked on sensory language a little more. We’ll start applying that to our memoirs on Monday.

Second period didn’t have class due to the magazine sales fund raiser kick off.

  • First and seventh periods: questions 1-4, 7 on page 470 (for the selection from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings).
  • Fourth period:
    • read Antigone through the bottom of page 120;
    • look up any proper nouns/adjectives (i.e., “Argives” on page 115);
    • evaluate Lord of the Flies project according to the modified rubric.
Adjectival Sepia Details

We added some examples of sensory language from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. For one passage, I showed instead of telling:

I looked around the room that I had never in my wildest fantasies imagined I would see. Browned photographs leered or threatened from the walls.

I took some pictures while students worked, and then transformed them into sepia images for them to see what “browned photographs” look like.

[nggallery id=15]

We then worked on creating some sensory imagery ourselves, using “In the Hallway” as our theme. “What do you see in the hallway changing classes? What do you hear? Smell? Touch?” Students made short lists, then I modeled a first draft by using my own details to write a short description.

For second period, I wrote the following:

The bell rings and off we go. It’s like a race — everyone is pushing and pushing and I feel like a sardine. The nasty taste of dry mouth is all I can think about as the BANG BANG SLAM of lockers closing echoes down the hall. All I want is a drink of water to get this taste out of my mouth, but the students are rushing around me and the bright lights blind me. And then there’s Mrs. Copeland, standing at the end of the hall. If she sees me sneaking around – but no matter. There’s no room for me to sneak, the hall is so crowded.

First and second periods, afterward, developed sensory imagery for their own settings. Some chose their room; some chose sports practice; some even chose the classroom we were in.

Fourth period (English I Honors) began the last part of speech for our first group: nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. We’ll review the work tomorrow and then have a small test on it next week.

After completing the grammar work, I covered some basic introductory elements about Sophocles and Greek drama before beginning Antigone tomorrow.

  • Second period: use the list from your chosen setting to write a description, including all the sensory details you developed for the list.
  • Fourth period: complete the Lord of the Flies project (due tomorrow).