informational text

Figurative Language and Background Knowledge

English 8 students began looking at the EQ “What does figurative language add to a poem?” We did some schaffolded work with figurative language:

English I students looked at an informational text about archaeological studies of the city of Troy in order to build background knowledge for the Odyssey.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • re-read the text from today;
    • make sure you  have four names, one date, and a few facts about Troy in the “L” section of today’s KWL;
    • look up the words in bold that we worked on determining context clues in class.

Everyone on the eighth-grade hall took the reading MAP test today, which resulted in shorted class periods — thirty minutes to be exact. All classes went over the first article of the week that they received back.

English I Honors students looked at their first analytic Schaffer paragraph and the assessment thereof.

English 8 students used Moodle for comprehension questions about an informational text we read in class. We had short periods, so we had short focused work.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: have TS and CDs completed for the piece on “Thank You, Ma’am.”
Temptation, Mrunas, and Argument Consolidation

English 8 Strategies students, having completed five Mondays of argument analysis, spent the first part of the class consolidating their work into a graphic organizer as we begin to use the work for a larger project regarding the boundary between childhood and adulthood.

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Fourth period English I Honors students continued with To Kill A Mockingbird, finishing up our day-and-a-half look at the curious chapter twenty four.

Sixth period English I Honors students began working on their fourth writing assignment for Lord of the Flies, this time looking at Simon’s odd encounter at the end of chapter eight.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period: read chapters 25-28 for tomorrow.
    • sixth period:
      • evaluate the paragraph on authority;
      • read chapter 9 and 10 by Wednesday.
  • Journalism: none.

English 8 Strategies began working on the fifth and final argument example in their project concerning when kids become adults. We used a modified version of this New York Times article and examined it for the claim and evidence provided.

Fourth period English I Honors students continued working on To Kill a Mockingbird and the accompanying work on the argument in the unit. Students worked to create a moral ranking of various characters before sharing and arguing with other students about their various rankings. We’ll be finishing this up tomorrow.

Sixth period students, who are working on Lord of the Flies, began the third topic we will be using to examine the book, in this case, Milgram’s famous Stanford experiment regarding authority and moral autonomy.


English 8 Strategies students returned to informational texts today, looking at the fourth of five argumentative articles and examining it for claim and evidence.

Fourth period English I students continued with To Kill a Mockingbird by practicing argumentative thinking and writing with a short mini-project based on the case of Emmett Till and the role his brutal murder played in the Civil Rights movement. We’ll be continuing this tomorrow.

Sixth period English I students continued working on Lord of the Flies. We had a vocabulary quiz before looking at the rubric for the on-going writing project we’ll be doing for the unit. In addition, we went briefly over the sentence variety element of the rubric and a couple of the sentence types within that.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period: read through chapter 8 by Wednesday;
    • sixth period: read through chapter 4 by Wednesday;
    • all students: continue working on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project (due 17 February).
  • Journalism: none.

English I Honors students split in two today, with fourth period beginning To Kill a Mockingbird and sixth period beginning Lord of the Flies. We’ll be switching selections in a few weeks when both classes are done, so for the next few weeks, I will be updating English I Honors classes by the period instead of the class.

English 8 Strategies students received their third argument in the series “When Does an Adolescent Become an Adult?” We marked the text and analyzed it for the claim and evidence. We’ll continue working on this tomorrow. We will also be having a short quiz based on selected vocabulary in the article as well as vocabulary for the article of last week.

  • English 8 Strategies: study for the vocabulary quiz tomorrow.
  • English I Honors: continue working on your Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project.
  • Journalism: none.

English I Honors students turned the final moments of Romeo and Juliet to finish the examination of the play for references in any way to fate. We’ll be using these copious notes from Friday and today when we look at tomorrow’s work, which will deal with a rather tough essay prompt similar to the one they will get regularly in high school. It’s time they learn how to make heads and tails of such prompts, so we’ll be doing that tomorrow.

English 8 Strategies students returned to the argument, as it is Monday, and looked at a second argumentative informational text about the line between adulthood and adolescence. This text is based on a New York Times article that I simplified a bit. We’ll continue working with the text, but tomorrow, we’ll begin with a quiz on the vocabulary terms at the bottom of the text.

  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • study for tomorrow’s short vocabulary quiz;
    • complete the sentence fragment work from last week by Wednesday.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on your practice test evaluation, which will be due tomorrow;
    • continue working on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project, which will be due in approximately three weeks.

English I Honors students completed their Socratic Seminars for the question of who was responsible for Juliet’s faked death. Students also turned in their planning sheets for this discussion.

English 8 Strategies students finished up tracing the argument put forth in a text about brain development and adulthood.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: any student who has not do so thus far needs to use the Act-Aspire rubric to score your practice test from last Thursday (I’m giving everyone a bit more time on this).
  • Journalism: none.

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.

English 8 Strategies students looked at last week’s readings examining them for text elements and specific text structures. We re-marked the text and analyzed it.

English I Honors students looked at a long exchange between Benvolio and Montague as an initial effort to read with effective tone. We also covered the quizzes and study guide we’ll be using throughout the whole Romeo and Juliet unit.

  • English 8 Strategies: complete the analysis of the second text we read from last week entitled “How Humans Shape the Earth.” You need to add two headings and underline three domain-specific vocabulary terms to the text.
  • English I Honors: 
    • students who have the materials to do so need to download the Romeo and Juliet study guide and begin working on it;
    • continue working on the sonnet.
  • Journalism: none.
2.2 Finalized and Denial Arguments Analyzed

Today in first and fourth periods we acted out our own balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. We then watched two different versions done by professionals. This concludes our extensive look at 2.2.

Second and seventh periods completed the work with the Holocaust denial informational text. We used the second text to come up with a list of criteria by which to evaluate the first text.

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  • English 8 Strategies: complete work begun in class.
  • English I Honors: finish study guide for 2.3.
The Balcony Scene and Holocaust Denial

Today in first and fourth periods we took another look at 2.1 and 2.2 of Romeo and Juliet.

Annotations for prompt book
Annotations for prompt book

We worked on identifying hidden stage directions in the text and got into groups to investigate a set of dialogue even further.

Second and seventh periods finished up yesterday’s comparison work by planning out a Schaffer-modeled writing assignment.

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Second period’s notes
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Seventh period’s notes

Afterward, we switched to the second lesson of the week that covers three informational text standards:

  • RI6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • RI8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
  • RI9. Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

We began the two-day lesson looking at a text presenting a Holocaust denial argument. We marked it for evidence and will continue working on it tomorrow.

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  • English 8 Strategies: on the back of the Holocaust denial document, list the three strongest pieces of evidence in the denial argument and the three weakest.
  • English I Honors: complete the study guide for 2.2.
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

First and fourth periods continued their Socratic Seminars on the n-word, with the coaches and speakers switching roles. Second and seventh periods had Socratic Seminars looking at the question of tradition.

Participles and Arguments

Today in first and fourth periods we got into groups and constructed arguments on the topic of Emmett Till and the Civil Rights Movement. Students used the three sources from yesterday to begin planning an argument with claim, reasons, and evidence, all with an eye on adding an eventual counterclaim/rebuttal to it.

Second and seventh periods used Nightjohn to look at how we can use participles to join sentences and make more substantial, better-sounding sentences. (See notes for more details.)

(The image below is concerning the E1 homework.)

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  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • complete the self-correction form for the Sarny non-standard English paragraphs (returned to students today);
    • using the participles we learned about today, join these two pairs of sentences into single sentences: 1.I finished my homework. Then I watched some television. 2. We ate some old, stale chips. We made some really nasty expressions.
  • English I Honors: One person from each of today’s groups is to start a discussion on the forum. Other members of the group are to add replies to that discussion, sharing the arguments from class with your group. It is a place to begin fleshing out the exact reasons and matching them with facts garnered from the three sources today. (Link to forum: This needs to be completed by Monday. (If you access it directly from the Moodle site, it’s the highlighted forum in the “To Kill a Mockingbird Unit.”)
Class Notes

Notes for the day's classes are available here.

Please note that this is a composite file including notes from all classes, though occasionally it might only be one or two classes. I don't differentiate in the file; that is up to you to do.