literary criticism

The Bard and Finishing the Story

English I Honors students skipped some lessons — killed the sacred metrical cow — and moved ahead to the Bard. Billy. Shakespeare.

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We finished by getting ready for the more difficult sonnet 29 by creating some insane sentences:

  • After the championship basketball game, where I scored one point and got ejected for throwing the ball at the ref because he said I had no buckets, I ate some of the delicious hot cheese and pepperoni pizza and grapes from my fridge and cheetos on Thursday night with my best friends, while watching Thursday night football when the Steelers won against all odds because everyone realizes how horrible they are.
  • Today my weird and strange friend, Christopher Bernard Smith, and I ate some really good cold slices of greasy, chewy barbeque chicken pot pie pizza with garlic sauce and blueberry poptarts blended up from Papa John’s after I got home from a long and tiring day at school at Hughes academy of science and technology in Greenville, south Carolina, and it was so delicious that I’m considering comparing it to a summer’s day because today at school we dabbed viciously in Mr. Scott’s class after we finished a test about Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet that was extremely difficult.

English 8 students finished the novel Nightjohn and will be preparing for a test later this week.

 

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: prepare for the three-part test on stems, reading skills, and Nightjohn.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the short story project.
Socratic Planning and Effective Readers' Skills

English 8 students continued with their effective readers’ skills work for chapter three of Nightjohn.

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English I Honors students had a Socratic Seminar to discuss the two stories students have to choose from for their final writing in the short story unit.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: write the final paragraph about irony or symbolism in either “The Necklace” or “The Gift of the Magi.”

English I Honors students had a final opportunity to do some in-class writing about “The Cask of Amontillado,” which is due tonight (for those who didn’t finish in class) at midnight.

English 8 students continued with their Friday individual work regarding the article of the week and our inference work.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • turn in the “Amontillado” paragraph (if you haven’t already);
    • begin assessing the paragraph (due Monday).
Point of View

English I Honors students began working on the next analytic Schaffer paragraph, which will have to do with perspective and point of view. We began the segment by reading “In the Family,” which raises all sorts of questions about the narrator’s trustworthiness.

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“What you see depends upon where you stand.”

English 8 students had their now-usual Friday: inferences work, article of the week completion, and today, a bit of time to make up missing work.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • come up with a TS and quotes for the CDs for a paragraph about “In the Family”
    • begin assessing the “character” analytic paragraph, which is located here at on the Moodle site. (If you have not turned this in, you have until about seven o’clock Friday evening to get it turned in.) This will need to be done by Monday evening.
Character and Effective Readers

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Photo by The U.S. National Archives

English I Honors continued with their short stories unit by looking at the next story, “The Old Man on the Bridge” by Hemingway. English 8 students worked with effective readers’ skills.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: complete today’s in-class work on slave codes and effective readers’ skills.
  • English I Honors: find three pieces of evidence in the text (download here) that the old man has lost his family and is caring for the animals because they’re all that’s left him.

English 8 students began a text on slave codes (available here) in anticipation of our first novel, Nightjohn. We also began our year-long use of effective readers’ skills (download here) with the slave codes text.

English I Honors students began their first online workshop experience via Moodle. Students will be assessing each other in order to provide future feedback.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: work on the article of the week, due tomorrow, as necessary.
  • English I Honors: 
    • turn in your piece on “Harrison Bergeron” or “The Most Dangerous Game” at the Moodle site if you have not already (you have only until 5:00-ish this evening as it was to be done for class);
    • begin assessing (after 5:00 when the workshop phase has been switched back to “Assess”).

English 8 students worked on their first Socratic Seminar today. We’ll be trying it later in the quarter for real, but today was simply a chance for everyone to get used to the protocol.

English I Honors students worked on their first analytic paragraphs. These paragraphs are for “The Most Dangerous Game” or “Harrison Bergeron,” stories which are available on the Moodle site or easily searchable on the internet. They are due tomorrow.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: finish the analytic paragraph.
Literacy and Analysis

English I Honors began the first of several Schaffer analytic paragraphs on short stories. Students had an option to work on “The Most Dangerous Game” or “Harrison Bergeron.”

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English 8 continued the start of our short unit on Nightjohn and literacy, but first we did a little more work on the article of the week — the running assignment we have for the entire year.

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Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: re-read the story you’ve chosen to work with in order to look for concrete detail quotes.
Schaffer Analysis, Library, and Finishing Up Moodle

English 8 students went to the library to pick out a book for their first one pager, which will be due in several weeks. We also worked on replying to each others’ posts in Moodle forums and using the quiz module.

English I Honors students began their analytic Schaffer paragraph, working with the story “The Sniper” and the importance of setting. (The stories are available at the Moodle web site.

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Third period planning
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Fourth period planning
Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete the planning of the paragraph begun in class.
Socratic Seminar and a Forum

English I Honors students began preparing for their first analytic Schaffer paragraph, which will deal with the short story “The Sniper.”

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English 8 students used the Moodle forum feature for the first time. We walked through how to use it and how to write productive posts.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the benchmark test.

English I Honors students began the new unit on literary analysis. We looked at the difference between summary and analysis by examining a new poem, “The Gift.”

English 8 students returned to the article of the week and Moodle.

Students who need more help with the article of the week assignment would do well to review the examples from last year, available at the Moodle site.

Homework
  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
Poetry, Point of View, and Calypso

English 8 Strategies (fourth period) students continued their pre-MAP review with a bit of practice with point of view and the narrator.

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Fourth period notes
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Fourth period notes
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Fourth period notes

English 8 Studies began the second part of our lit circles/Glory Field unit which will include selected reading of poetry and informational texts that tie into the unit we’re working on. Groups will then connect it to their given portion of the novel and explain the connections to other groups.

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Fifth period notes
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Fifth period notes

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English I Honors continued with the Odyssey, meeting Calypso (or “Kalypso” as our translation transliterates it). We will continue with a twentieth-century view of Calypso tomorrow.

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Sixth and seventh period notes (And yes, I know I wrote “somethink” — I could say it was because I wanted to see who noticed, but the truth is, often my head and my hand go their separate ways…
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Sixth and seventh period notes indicating that perhaps Odysseus wasn’t such a captive as he portrays himself.
Homework
  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • finish today’s point of view/narrator practice.
  • English 8 Studies: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • complete the reading you and your group decided upon.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on the Romeo and Juliet project, which will be due (six paragraphs and transitions) on Friday;
    • finish the Calypso excerpt and be ready to answer the question, “How does Odysseus salvage the situation at the end?”;
    • continue working on the article of the week.
Writing and More Writing

All classes were writing today. English I was working on their Romeo and Juliet projects while English 8 students worked on a short writing assignment designed to preview what they’ll be doing in their own writing class next week.writing photo

Homework
  • English 8 Strategies: continue working on the article of the week.
  • English 8 Studies: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • read the final scene of Diary of Anne Frank (act 2 scene 5).
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue working on the article of the week;
    • continue working on R&J 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.

Homework
  • 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.
  • Creative Writing: make sure you have listened to one of the sample audio stories by tomorrow.
Comparing and Analyzing

English 8 students worked on comparing a film version of The Diary of Anne Frank with the play we’ve read in class. We’ll finish tomorrow.

English I Honors students continued yesterday’s work by breaking into new groups that shared yesterday’s findings and began working to answer a rather tough question: How does Shakespeare use imagery of light and dark to develop the idea of fate in the play?

Homework
  • 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 work;
    • continue working on the article of the week.