Test, The Highwayman, and Tone Shifts

First and sixth periods took a test on the short stories unit. We’ll begin the poetry unit tomorrow.

Second and fourth periods looked at tonal shifts in poetry. We examined two poems by Billy Collins (“Forgetfulness,” available here, and “The Lanyard,” available here) and “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (available here).

Seventh period completed “The Highwayman” (available here), looking at all the ways the poem is similar to a short story. We’ll read one more narrative poem tomorrow.

The Highwayman Inn - - 353180
The Highwayman Inn - (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth: read “The Road Not Taken” and determine the location of the tonal shift and identify the contrasted tones.
  • Seventh period: none.
Seventh Period's Notes

First and sixth periods had a review for the test. We used the “Someone Wanted But So” engagement as a way both to review select stories and to provide a gauge of understanding for tonight’s studying.

Second and fourth periods worked on tone in poetry. We went over a few tone words and then re-examined some poems from earlier in the unit to determine their tone.

Seventh period began reading the famous “The Highwayman” after doing some vocabulary review and an anticipatory exercise for this famous poem. As we read it, we were keeping track of the elements of the piece that were like poetry and the elements that were more like a short story.

Seventh Period's Notes
Seventh Period's Notes
  • First and sixth periods: study for tomorrow’s test.
  • Second and fourth:
    • complete the tone exercise for Billy Collin’s “Forgetfulness”;
    • begin reviewing tone words for quiz next Monday.
  • Seventh period: make two predictions about “The Highwayman” based on what we’ve read so far.

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.

First and sixth periods continued with the short story unit, practicing effective reader’s skills with a Say Something engagement. We’ll be finishing the unit on short stories this week and having a test on the unit next Tuesday, December 6.

Second and fourth periods began a unit on poetry. We will be spending these last three weeks before winter break working on verse in anticipation of Romeo and Juliet, which we will begin when we return in January.

Seventh period began  working on narrative poetry. We were looking at a ballad in class, figuring out as we worked what a ballad is and how it works.

  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • write a three to four sentence summary of the poem “Introduction to poetry”;
    • complete the anthology survey;
    • prepare the anthology (as able).
  • Seventh period: complete the two-sentence stanza summaries we worked on in class for stanzas five and six.

First and sixth periods continued with short stories: first period looked at the importance of setting while sixth period looked at the importance of point of view. Second and fourth periods continued working on the Scottsboro research. Seventh period looked at figurative language and began vocabulary for the next batch of poems.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • propaganda business letter due tomorrow;
    • continue researching as necessary for Scottsboro paper;
    • complete the following survey.
  • Sixth period: write about your selected incident from “Charles” from the point of view of another character.
  • Seventh period:
    • vocabulary quiz tomorrow (List A words);
    • complete exercise B (List B words).

First period began “Tears of Autumn,” looking at the importance of setting. Second and fourth periods continued their research for the Scottsboro Boys trial paper. SIxth period read “Charles” while thinking about the effect point of view has on a narrative. Seventh period continued working with figurative language, reading “The Courage That My Mother Had” and “Loo-Wit.”

  • First period: complete “Tears of Autumn.”
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • continue with research;
    • prepare final draft of propaganda business letter.
  • Sixth period:
    • finish reading “Charles”;
    • locate three more places in the narrative that the narrator seems unreliable or biased (giving only one side of the story).
  • Seventh period:
    • re-read “Loo Wit” (page 539);
    • find one simile, one metaphor, and one example of personification.

First and sixth periods continued with the short story unit. Second and fourth period finished up Mockingbird and worked to complete the work that would otherwise be homework tomorrow. Seventh period went completed the introduction to poetic forms.

  • First period: work on final draft (with “Works Cited” page), due Friday.
  • Second and fourth periods: complete organizational activity from Friday (if not completed in class today).
  • Sixth period:
    • work on final draft (with “Works Cited” page), due Friday;
    • complete “Tears of Autumn” and setting work.
  • Seventh period: transform “Seal” or “The Rider” into a haiku.

First and sixth periods began a unit on the short story. We’ll be reading several short stories as well as looking at the construction and elements of short stories. Today we worked on a general review (for the students)/pre-unit-assessment (for me) in the form of Jeopardy.

Second and fourth periods began going over the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird. We reviewed direct and indirect characterization before looking at the character of Mayella Ewell.

Seventh period went over the homework from yesterday, looked at some specialized poetry vocabulary, and began reading the first poem.



First and sixth periods began an odd week of overlapping units: we’ll still work on some of the materials for the persuasive essay, but we’ll also be working from the other end on a short stories unit. Today, we began said unit by reading one of the greatest horror stories of all time, “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Second and sixth periods began one of the most memorable selections of the year, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Additionally, the ad for the propaganda project is due tomorrow.

Seventh period finished up the lesson on conflict type and began the final lessons in the short story unit. We’re looking at inferences and theme.

  • First and sixth periods: work on persuasive essay.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • complete chapters 1-4 in Mockingbird;
    • work on the study guide for Mockingbird (you might need to print it out);
    • finish any of the propaganda work from Friday not completed (You’re getting some slack cut here, ladies and gentlemen!);
    • find an ad for the propaganda project (if you haven’t already).
  • Seventh period: none.
Research, a Test, and a Short Story

First and sixth periods had a final day of research in the media center.

Second and fourth periods had a phrase test and a final day of project work during the last twenty minutes of class.

Seventh period started a new story. We’ll be working with conflict on this story.

  • First and sixth periods: complete research as necessary for persuasive writing project.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • Log into the courses site.
    • Go back to the phrases test.
    • Click on any of the numbers (attempt, marks, or grade). This will take you back to the test in order to review your answers.
    • Copy the questions you got incorrect. (Just the questions; don’t copy the answers.)
    • Paste the questions into a word processing document.
    • Correct your answer, writing an explanation of how you determined what type of phrase it is (your thinking behind your answer).
    • Print this out and bring it to class for up to 40% of your missed points returned.
  • Seventh period: finish “The Amigo Brothers” (page 283).


First and sixth periods worked on evaluating web sources as we move the the research phase of our unit on persuasive writing. We’ll be spending a bit more time in the lab this week, researching our topics.

Second and fourth periods went over appositives and appositive phrases in a flash before spending the rest of the period working on the Odyssey project. We’ll be having a small test on phrases next Monday.

Seventh period used Freytag diagrams to examine the plot of a couple of short stories.

  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth period:
    • continue working on project;
    • study for phrase test next Monday.
  • Seventh period:complete a Freytag plot diagram for “The Three Little Pigs.”

First and sixth periods turned in their memoirs and began a new unit today. We’re working on persuasion, and we’ll be creating a persuasive piece of writing after learning about persuasive techniques.

Second and sixth periods reviewed the weekend’s reading before heading to groups to do some more planning for the board game Odyssey project.

Seventh period began a short story unit, looking at context clues and working on an anticipation guide for the first story we will read tomorrow.

  • Second and fourth periods: Read “Death at the Palace” from Odyssey.
  • All other classes: none.

First and sixth periods practiced taking notes (and we debriefed the process at the end of the period) for the memoir. We’ll begin writing it in earnest tomorrow.

Second and fourth periods finished up the unit on short stories and writing about literature. We began the unit on the Odyssey. We’re already behind and I didn’t want to get further behind, so I skipped three units that we’ll return to later. (We skipped Mockingbird because of inadequate copies in the library: another class is using them!)

Seventh period began working on a first draft. We went over some guidelines for a first draft in an effort to decrease worries about the “rightness” of an initial draft and thereby increase the quality of writing.

  • First and sixth periods: do some free writing about the memoir topic (it must be connected to reading or writing, but that is the only requirement.
  • Second and fourth period:
    • complete notes begun in class by reading pages 1025-1031 and taking notes;
    • complete and turn in the final essay by Thursday (note: this a day later than initially stated).
  • Seventh period: none.
Workshop and Characters

First and sixth periods had writing workshop today. We worked on improving sentence variety.

Second and fourth periods finished up plot, setting, and conflict and moved on to characterization.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • read the following short stories:
      • “Thank You, M’am” (134)
      • “A Christmas Memory” (174)
    • select a character and write a brief description (both personality and appearance).
  • Sixth period: add five more items to your expert inventory by next Friday.

First and sixth began a new unit in which we read the book Nightjohn and culminate with a literacy memoir. To that end, we began thinking, writing, and talking about literacy by using Patricia Polacco’s Thank You, Mr. Falker.

Second and fourth periods began a brief introductory unit on the basics of writing about literature. It will also include a review of literary terms that we will be using throughout the year. Today we read a short story entitled “The Sniper” and worked on how we would respond to the question, “How does the setting contribute to the conflict.” Second period’s notes are here; fourth period’s notes are here.

  • First and sixth periods: complete a Sneeze on the question, “How would your life change if you could not read or write?”
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • using notes from class, write a one-paragraph response to the question, “How does the setting contribute to the conflict.”
    • read the following stories from the purple text book:
      • “The Most Dangerous Game”
      • “Harrison Bergeron”