English 8 students did their usual Friday inference and article of the week work. Any student that didn’t complete inference practice four need to do so this week or over the weekend.

English I Honors students worked on their project by assessing students’ articles in the workshop on Moodle. We also debriefed our new and apparently popular form of test which uses confidence-based marking.


  • English 8 Studies: complete inference practice four as needed.
  • English I Honors: 
    • assess “Decoration Day” paragraphs on Moodle;
    • read 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 from Romeo and Juliet.
Split Work and 5.1

English I Honors students looked at 5.1, the famous meeting scene in Romeo and Juliet. After a quiz, we looked at how 5.1 contains hidden stage directions in the opening lines.1-fullscreen-capture-1122016-115835-am-bmp

English 8 students did split work: fifth period students finished up the outlining work for their social studies book (by and large) and sixth period students looked at some habits of ineffective teens in preparation for our major reading assignment for this STEAM unit.


  • English 8 Studies: fifth period students who are not done with the outlining need to complete it and turn it in at Google Classroom. You have four options for completing it:
    • at home,
    • in the morning before school in the classroom,
    • during lunch in the classroom,
    • after school in the classroom.
  • English I Honors: look at the second portion of our handout and mark the text for further hidden/implied stage instructions.
Sentence Types and Inferring Word Meaning

First period learned about clauses. Students learned about the two types of clauses, independent and dependent, and then looked at some practice exercises from the writing textbook.

Today, fourth period began with a PASS review, and then began our study of the types of sentences. Today, we covered the first two types of sentences, simple sentences and compound sentences. Tomorrow, we will finish up with types of sentences, learning about the last two types of sentences, complex and compound complex. Towards the beginning of class, students were also informed of the themes database that they are to work on. The database covers the themes we discussed in class yesterday, and will help students with their final project on Great Expectations.

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Sentence from fourth period
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Sentence from fourth period

Today second and seventh made a short summary about the little article that they are reading in class and at home the article is called There are no Children Here.

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  • English 8 Strategies: Summarize all the chunks (groups of paragraphs) of There are no Children Here.
  • English I Honors: 
    • Finish reading through chapter 20 by Friday.
    • While you are reading, begin to fill in the database for Great Expectations on Moodle. Students are expected to have 10 by Friday.
Inferring Word Meaning and Motifs

Today in first, they discussed chapters 1-10 of Great Expectations. Included in this discussion, are different aspects of the book and how they will use these aspects to create the final project using three sources. Information from the Moodle site about the project summarizes the work clearly:

The unit will culminate in a research paper. This is something students can do (and are encouraged to do, and will probably be encouraged to do with graded milestone checks) during the reading of the whole novel.

Possible topics:

  1. Economics
  2. Family units
  3. Education
  4. Housing
  5. The penal system and law enforcement
  6. Social classes
  7. Gender roles

Students will be required to :

  1. Research the selected topic in the Victorian period (i.e., Victorian economics; the family in Victorian England; education in Victorian England; etc.);
  2. Illustrate how Dickens included this material in Great Expectations;
  3. Discuss how factually accurate Dickens’ depictions are.

In fourth, they watched a few scenes from Great Expectations (a BBC production). They also learned and practiced with two types of clauses, which are Independent and Dependent clauses.

Today second and seventh period finished there last discussions from yesterday and they also read a little of There Are No Children Here.

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We worked to infer the meaning of unknown words from context clues.


  • English 8 Strategies: Finish the bold, underline words from the text There are no children Here.
  • English I Honors: 
    • Finish assessments of chapter 11 workshop, due today at midnight
    • Read through chapter 20 by Friday
Inferring Schaffer

First and fourth periods worked on the Schaffer model for body paragraphs. We began by looking at an example paragraph from a couple of years ago, looking for claims and evidence.

The class can be hard but it’ll teach you so many things you can use in the future. For example, you’ll learn about prepositional phrases, Schaffer model, participles, iambic pentameter, and a lot more. To you these things all may seem useless but it’s good to know how to use them effectively. These things can help you in high school and college for sure. Also if you use them successfully you future teachers and professors will be not only grateful that you know the proper way to use them, but they’ll also be impressed. Everything he teaches can help you in the long run.

From there, we looked at an introduction to the Schaffer model for writing body paragraphs.

Second and seventh periods continued working on the skill of inferring, focusing on pictures to gather evidence and make logical conclusions (i.e., to infer).

We’ll be applying the skill to texts shortly.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
First Day Inferences

All students, regardless of the class, worked on the same skill today: inferring. It’s such a basic skill in any class (but especially English), and it’s critical to hit those important skills early.

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Students worked to make inferences based on evidence I presented by acting the tough-as-nails, take-no-nonsense, always-serious teacher.

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This gave everyone an opportunity to practice pair work as well as working on the very fundamental skill of infering.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete the 500 word introductory essay, not forgetting to print a copy for tomorrow and to turn it in here (please note that if you are having trouble getting into the web site this first time, it will not be held against you);
    • begin working on the benchmark test available here.

First and fifth periods continued with “Algernon” after correcting yesterday’s quiz. Second and fourth periods looked at subtext in Romeo and Juliet 4.1.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: read 4.2 of Romeo and Juliet.
The Friar's Soliloquy and Inferences about Charlie

First and fifth periods began the focus selection for the third quarter, “Flowers for Algernon.” We reviewed point of view as we’ll be looking at it quickly throughout the selection.

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Notes from first and fifth periods

Afterward, we returned to observations and inferences by making them about Charlie Gordon’s first progress report individually and discussing them as a group.

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Notes from first and fifth periods

Second and fourth periods returned to the friar’s soliloquy from 2.3, making a close reading of the text to determine its meaning and themes. We then looked at language tricks (i.e., figurative language and altered syntax) Shakespeare uses in this particular passage.

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Notes from second and fourth periods

We’ll continue tomorrow sharing our findings before moving on to the final three scenes of act two.

  • First and fifth periods: vocabulary words are due tomorrow (see yesterday’s update).
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • complete close reading of Friar Laurence’s soliloquy for the language trick you chose while concluding group work:
      • Personification
      • Metaphor
      • Simile
      • Allusion
      • Reversals
        • Words
        • Thoughts
        • Sentence construction
    • complete act two of Romeo and Juliet.
Inferring, Schaffer, and the Sonnet

First and fifth period continued working on inferring. We practiced making inferences with various photos, inferring what came before and after, what motivated the actors, etc. For each inference, students then had to provide evidence from the photos and evaluate each others’ evidence.

Second and fourth periods continued working with sonnets. We looked one more of Shakespeare’s sonnets, “Sonnet 130,”

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before broadening our scope to include Frost’s  “Once By the Pacific.”

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last Put out the Light was spoken.

Additionally, we examined William Merrideth’s “The Illiterate,” certainly one of the most original sonnets ever written.

  • First period: complete Shaffer planning in which you take the three pieces of evidence from the graphic organizer from class and consolidate them into two CDs (concrete details).
  • Second and fourth:
    • research sonnets and determine what are the names of the two types of sonnets;
    • take notes on the characteristics of the two sonnet types; and
    • classify the five sonnets according to the types of sonnets from research (see above).
  • Fifth period: none.
Inferring, Body Language, and Shakespeare

First and fifth periods worked on a specific application of inference: body language. We began with a starter, which we wrote in our Anne Frank diary:

Write about one of the following

  • What is body language? If you don’t know what it is, make an educated guess.
  • Make a list of things you need to look at when reading body language.

We also covered a bit more about textual elements of nonfiction texts such as headings, subheadings, bullet lists, and quotes.


Second and fourth periods continued working with Shakespeare, both as a conclusion to the poetry unit and in preparation of reading Romeo and Juliet. We practiced the dizzying and hard work of untangling some of Shakespeare’s really long sentences, including the single-sentence “Sonnet 29.”

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To reverse-engineer the long sentence, fourth period first engineered the following monstrosity:

When, as the sun sinks into the tired horizon after a day of warming hearts and providing light for the world, both the good and the evil, she, about to collapse from exhaustion, goes home after a very long, stressful day of work as a sanitation engineer, she, barely able to make her way into the house, stumbles into the living room, watches television for two hours and, thinking of her friend who is on vacation in Hawaii, checks her Instagram.

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  • First and fifth period: make note of two times before the next class period that you make an inference about someone’s body language.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • paraphrase “Sonnet 29”
    • continue working on poetry project.
Notes from first and fifth

First and fifth periods began by looking at the Anne first/later impression homework from Friday.

First and fifth period notes
First and fifth period notes

Afterward, we went over the relationship between implying and inferring, performing a close reading of four passages of The Diary of Anne Frank, act two, scene two.

Notes from first and fifth
Notes from first and fifth

We recorded the information on a graphic organizers available here.

First and fifth period graphic organizer
First and fifth period graphic organizer

Second and fourth periods wound up meter to switch over to sonnets, an exacting application of iambic pentameter. We looked at the famous “Sonnet 18” from Shakespeare:

Second and fourth period's annotations
Second and fourth period’s annotations
  • First and fifth periods: complete the implication/inference graphic organizer with one implication/inference from page 853.
  • Second and fourth periods: continue with poetry anthology project.
Notes from Second Period

First period had one of those “go with the moment” moments this morning. The students have an essay due Wednesday, and they said some class time with me helping would be useful. We spent a very productive half hour working with partners on first drafts.

Second and fourth periods began looking at how to analyze characters. We specifically practiced making inferences from specific elements of the text and the reverse.

Notes from Second Period
Notes from Second Period

Fifth period slowly began the Nightjohn unit with a word splash, determining what the following elements might have to do with the novel:

  • “A”
  • bag
  • big house
  • chisel
  • cut
  • eat
  • forbidden
  • harness
  • lard
  • learn
  • Mammy
  • pit
  • pork fat
  • punishment
  • read
  • salt
  • school
  • slave
  • spring house
  • thumb
  • tobacco
  • toe
  • trade
  • trough
  • whip

Students combined two or three elements to make predictions about the story.

  • First period:
    • complete the “Slave Codes” effective reader’s skills work (from class);
    • continue working on goals essay (due Wednesday).
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • turn in homework from Friday (this is a one shot opportunity; all other online assignments will need to be turned in before coming to class);
    • complete character analysis for “Old Man at the Bridge”.
  • Fifth period: complete the goals essay (due Wednesday).


First and sixth periods continued with Monster. We used our graphic organizers to make some notes about probable guilt/innocence: first period’s notes are a little different than sixth period’s notes, but we’re reaching the same ends.

Second and fourth spent a final day outlining. I realized they needed a day with me there to answer questions, so we spent the time finishing up the outlines. Most are finished, but those who are not will need to finish for tomorrow.

Seventh period reviewed the work from my absence and made sure persuasive techniques are clear. Notes from seventh period are available here.

  • First and sixth periods: prepare for the final exam.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • finish up term paper outlines;
    • prepare for the final exam.
  • Seventh period: prepare for the final exam.
ABCs, Reading, Debate, a Test

First period continued with “Flowers for Alternon.” We began a during-reading comprehension check engagement designed to help students think critically about the development of Charlie’s character.

After settling on a legend for our chart, we began filling it out.

We’ll continue working on it as we work our way through the novella.

Second and fourth periods had a reading day after spending some time practicing effective skimming/scanning of Great Expectations. We looked at the first paragraphs of chapter twenty-eight:

It was clear that I must repair to our town next day, and in the first flow of my repentance it was equally clear that I must stay at Joe’s. But, when I had secured my box-place by to-morrow’s coach and had been down to Mr. Pocket’s and back, I was not by any means convinced on the last point, and began to invent reasons and make excuses for putting up at the Blue Boar. I should be an inconvenience at Joe’s; I was not expected, and my bed would not be ready; I should be too far from Miss Havisham’s, and she was exacting and mightn’t like it. All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else’s manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make, as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security’s sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as notes!

Having settled that I must go to the Blue Boar, my mind was much disturbed by indecision whether or not to take the Avenger. It was tempting to think of that expensive Mercenary publicly airing his boots in the archway of the Blue Boar’s posting-yard; it was almost solemn to imagine him casually produced in the tailor’s shop and confounding the disrespectful senses of Trabb’s boy. On the other hand, Trabb’s boy might worm himself into his intimacy and tell him things; or, reckless and desperate wretch as I knew he could be, might hoot him in the High-street, My patroness, too, might hear of him, and not approve. On the whole, I resolved to leave the Avenger behind.

It was the afternoon coach by which I had taken my place, and, as winter had now come round, I should not arrive at my destination until two or three hours after dark. Our time of starting from the Cross Keys was two o’clock. I arrived on the ground with a quarter of an hour to spare, attended by the Avenger – if I may connect that expression with one who never attended on me if he could possibly help it.

At that time it was customary to carry Convicts down to the dockyards by stage-coach. As I had often heard of them in the capacity of outside passengers, and had more than once seen them on the high road dangling their ironed legs over the coach roof, I had no cause to be surprised when Herbert, meeting me in the yard, came up and told me there were two convicts going down with me. But I had a reason that was an old reason now, for constitutionally faltering whenever I heard the word convict.

Sixth period had a quiz and then had the debate we prepared yesterday.

Seventh period had a test.

  • First period: read pages 321-323.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • Read quickly chapter 30;
    • Skip chapter 31 (Gasp! The horror!);
    • Quick-skim chapter 32;
    • Read chapter 33.
  • Sixth period: read chapters 12 and 13 of The Giver.
  • Seventh period: none.
Inferences, Reading Help, Debate and Test Prep

First period worked on inferring again after doing some review work on the use of apostrophes as a starter

Second and fourth periods began by looking at an incredibly long sentence from last night’s homework.

I found out within a few hours, and may mention at once, that Mrs. Pocket was the only daughter of a certain quite accidental deceased Knight, who had invented for himself a conviction that his deceased father would have been made a Baronet but for somebody’s determined opposition arising out of entirely personal motives – I forget whose, if I ever knew – the Sovereign’s, the Prime Minister’s, the Lord Chancellor’s, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s, anybody’s – and had tacked himself on to the nobles of the earth in right of this quite supposititious fact.

After some analysis, we determined it was a complex sentence, literally and figuratively. (Well, a compound-complex sentence — slightly off, second period.)

Sixth period prepared for a debate tomorrow and seventh period reviewed for a test tomorrow.

  • First period: read to page 321 (through page 320).
  • Second and fourth periods: complete chapter 27 of Great Expectations.
  • Sixth period: prepare counter-statements for debate.
  • Seventh period: study for test tomorrow.