memoir

First and sixth periods continued working with the memoir. With the completion of tonight’s homework, we will have first drafts ready to begin revising tomorrow.

Second and fourth periods began the Odyssey. We looked at the opening passages — an invocation of the Muses to help the poet — and practiced reading aloud (for poetry is not meant to end at line breaks).

Seventh period also worked on first drafts of their first writing assignment. I’ve had them write about several different topics so that they have some choices when we begin revising.

Homework
  • First and sixth periods: complete first draft.
  • Second and fourth periods: read “Calypso” (1038-1042)
  • Seventh period: complete third first draft (three first drafts on three different subjects should be completed).

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.

Homework
  • 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.

First and sixth periods worked on the memoir form, looking at an example excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We’ll continue examining it tomorrow before starting our own memoirs.

Second and fourth periods worked on the final writing assignment in the short story unit. We looked again at what an effective thesis statement does, and we began planning our first draft. We’ll spend a little more time working on it tomorrow before its final due date on Wednesday.

Seventh period began working on narrowing topics for the writing process unit we’re working on.

Homework
  • First and sixth periods: questions 1-4 on page 470.
  • Second and fourth periods: complete the outline we began today in preparation for the final draft (due Wednesday).
  • Seventh period: none.

Sometimes it’s hard to bat close to a thousand. I’ve updated this site daily for so long that it’s a habit which follows me home. I arrive home and think, “Oh my, I forgot to update.” And while the temptation to skip a day is strong, a nearly overwhelming urge forces me to sit down and recount the day — and keep up the almost-perfect record.

First period evaluated and revised their literacy memoir. It’s the first of many self-assessments. I’d planned to bring them all home and get started evaluating them myself — and I promptly forgot them. So, note to first period: don’t ask if I graded the papers. I was absentminded.

Second and sixth periods are getting ready for a final draft.

Fourth period went over Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy as an introduction to infinitive phrases and as a practice for the approaching study of Romeo and Juliet.

Homework

None. (“Really?! Two days in a row?” asks fourth period…)

First period looked at their first drafts and began narrowing down their topics. (Often students have multiple topics in one first draft.) We’ll be writing a second draft in class tomorrow, as well as doing additional revision.

Second and sixth periods worked on free writing for the same memoir as first period.

Fourth period did some project planning after we went over a review of prepositional phrases. We’ll be working on phrases through the week as we work on the Odyssey board game project.

Homework
  • First period: revise the first draft, adding notes in the margin beside each paragraph indicating the topic(s) of the paragraph.
  • Second and sixth periods: choose one of the topics discussed in your free writing and do another free write on it (five minutes long).
  • Fourth period:

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.

Homework
  • 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 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.

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

This is my second draft for my memoir.

It was in the days of smoke-filled teachers’ lounges, and he hurried to class reeking of cigarette smoke. Rick Watson was a short, wiry, balding, mustachioed English teacher who moved and talked quickly. He seemed to know a little something about everything, and he was so eager to teach that he did it as if his existence depended upon it.

As we worked, Mr. Watson would circle around the room, not so much walking as pivoting on his famously unevenly worn shoes. When he bent over to assist a student, his swinging tie would interrupt the conversation, and his coffee-cigarette breath would make it difficult to concentrate, but earnest desire to help somehow made those quirks bearable.

One day we were working in groups, and as he walked away from my side of the classroom, the group to the left asked question. He spun around, answered the question, and then continued to his original destination. As he spun around, though, everything seemed to slow down; I had what could only be called an epiphany: he loved what he was doing, and it seemed like something that might be fun.

It is from that moment that I date my own desire to be an English teacher. As it was, I brushed aside the idea immediately. I was, after all, only a junior in high school. Thinking about being a high school teacher while in high school seemed somehow unseemly. It was as if, by thinking about being a teacher, I was suggesting I was somehow intellectually superior to my peers. But I knew what he did helped people—daily—and the thought of helping people every single day appealed to me.

Available for help at all times, Mr. Watson taught everywhere and anywhere, and constantly. The world was his classroom, and he never drew a line between his “teacher” self and his “personal” self. He had no down time; he was always a teacher, always willing to show, to help, to discuss. One evening, my friend and I bumped into him at the public library. We were doing research for a presentation in his class, and he ended up helping us for well over half an hour that evening, on his personal time.

Mr. Watson was the first male teacher to really instill in me a sense of passion about one’s work. He was the first male teacher who seemed to have an absolute love affair with his job. He showed me that being in love with language and with teaching was not masculine or feminine—it was simply human passion. A calling. In short, I might never have even considered teaching if I’d never been in Rick Watson’s classroom.

This is my first draft for my memoir. It represents an attempt to write without self-editing, a habit that I try to discourage in students but indulge in myself. As such, it is not something I would normally publish. However,I felt it was more important to show how even experienced writers create inadequate first drafts.

He spun on his unevenly worn heel and answered the question. I don’t remember who asked Mr. Watson the question, and I don’t even remember what the question was about. As he spun around, though, everything seemed to slow down and I had what could only be called an epiphany: he loved what he was doing, and it seemed like something that might be fun.

It is from that moment that I date my own desire to be an English teacher. As it was, I brushed aside the idea immediately. I was, after all, only a junior in high school. Thinking about being a high school teacher while in high school seemed somehow unseemly. But I knew what he did helped people—daily—and the thought of helping people every single day appealed to me.

Other teachers fostered my interest in reading and writing, but it was Mr. Watson who gave me the first idea that I might actually be good at it. At the time, I fancied myself a poet, and Mr. Watson read page after page of my adolescent pathos and made detailed comments about what I was doing well.

Mr. Watson was the first male teacher to really instill in me a sense of passion about one’s work. He was available for help at all times. The world was his classroom, and he never drew a line between his “teacher” self and his “personal” self. One evening, my friend and I bumped into him at the public library. We were doing research for a presentation in his class, and he ended up helping us for well over half an hour that evening, on his personal time.

The biggest regret in my life is that I never had the opportunity to tell him, “I am a teacher because of you.”

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.

Homework
  • 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 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.

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

First period worked on leads. We looked at six examples:

  • The Dramatic Lead: I wouldn’t make it through the night without it.
  • Starting In the Middle Of a Scene: I was sure we’d find the blanket ripped and dirty.
  • Leisurely Lead: When I looked into my Grandma’s linen closet, I was amazed by the patchwork of color. Never had I seen so many different blankets. There were soft, fluffy chenille ones and old worn brown ones. Tucked in the middle, barely visible, with just a faded yellow corner sticking out, was the one I wanted.
  • Beginning At the Ending: I joyfully pulled the tattered corners around me and sighed as I settled into the corner of the chair.
  • Introducing the Narrator: I used to think I was different from everyone else – that I had a secret friend that no one else had. But I’ve come to realize that lots of people had special relationships with inanimate objects. Yes, I admit it. I had a “blankie.”
  • Dialogue Lead: “Only insecure, immature babies need to drag their blankets around with them!”

Students then worked in pairs to create similar leads for the memoirs.

Second period finished preparing for their oral presentations and gave the actual presentations. How many of them figured out that the point of the activity was the preparation and not the presentation itself? I’m not sure.

Fourth and sixth periods worked on diction, particularly improving diction by using specific nouns and action verbs.

Homework
  • First period: two full-paragraph leads for the memoir using two different lead types.
  • Second period:
    • read chapters 16-18;
    • finish online forum discussions;
    • prepare for part of speech test (next week);
    • work on grammar topics at courses.ourenglishclass.net.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: third draft.

First period worked on revising their initial memoir drafts. We looked for content holes and/or loaded content–places where the writer didn’t give as much detail as he/she could.

Second period discussed the use of a socially offensive word in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Fourth and sixth periods began the first drafts of their memoirs, crafting thesis statements and digging into the work of writing a memoir.

Homework
  • First period: complete second draft.
  • Second period:
    • read chapters 12-15;
    • answer discussion questions on web site.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: finish first draft.

First period began working on their first drafts. We looked at the nature of a thesis statement and how it can guide writing. We also talked about how it can change. Then we began writing!

Second period worked on the beginnings of a graphic organizer that will show how much Scout has changed over the course of the novel. We also examined the legends surrounding Boo Radley. We did this in divided small groups and then shared the findings with the class.

Fourth and sixth looked at the same question as first period yesterday: how is writing an essay (especially a memoir) like a treasure hunt? We used a graphic organizer to work out our thoughts, working in pairs and then as a class. We then addressed three pre-writing strategies:

  1. Free writing
  2. Brainstorming
  3. Clustering
Homework
  • First period:
    • first draft;
    • memoir planning guide filled out.
  • Second period:
    • chapters 9-11;
    • three instances of the repeated racial slur in Mockingbird that seem to have different conntations.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: use each of the three pre-writing strategies to explore three of the topics from yesterday’s homework.

First period worked on a simple question: how is writing an essay (especially a memoir) like a treasure hunt? We used a graphic organizer to work out our thoughts, working in pairs and then as a class. We then addressed three pre-writing strategies:

  1. Free writing
  2. Brainstorming
  3. Clustering

Second period looked at the question of point of view and its affect on a reader. We discussed whether or not Scout is a reliable narrator in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Fourth and sixth periods looked at the memoir form and compared it to other forms of writing.

Homework
  • First period: use each of the three pre-writing strategies to explore three of the topics from yesterday’s homework.
  • Second period:
  • Fourth and sixth periods: a list of 10-15 events/relationships that could serve as a topic for a memoir (in other words, has a high “so what?” value).