Lottery and a Brawl

English I Honors students,  after going over the end of yesterday’s lesson and why it was so vulgar compared to what they were expecting (it has something to do with the audience gathering in the Globe Theater),

The Globe Theater

went over the next portion of 1.1, with the brawl and the prince’s proclamation about the consequences for further disruptions.

English 8 students, after going over the article of the week a bit,

finished “The Lottery” and discovered how the mood was setting them up for a little surprise ending.


  • English 8 Studies: complete “The Lottery” as necessary.
  • English I Honors: re-read 1.1, making sure you can answer the following  questions:
    • Where exactly was Romeo when all of this was happening?
    • Why was he there?
    • How do we find out? (What are the mechanics involved in the discovery?)
Mood and Shakespeare

English 8 students began a second story in which we look at irony, tone, and mood: Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” We began by looking at all the items that establish the setting (circled in red) and the mood (underlined in blue).

English I Honors began Romeo and Juliet, focusing on the prologue.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: students who have not yet turned in their poetry test need to do so by tomorrow morning.
Mood and the End of the Unit

English 8 students began reviewing some of the thinking behind the vocabulary in the Article of the Week.

Afterward, we finished up tone in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and worked on mood.

English I students finished up the last sonnet (130), determining what the couplet brought to the poem.

Finally, English I students had a practice session for tomorrow’s essay test on poetry.

We’ll be having our culminating test tomorrow, though students today received the questions:

  1. Identify tone and tonal shift of each poem. Make sure you quote specific passages of each poem in order to provide evidence.
  2. What is the lyric moment of each poem? What epiphany does the speaker have in each poem?
  3. Compare and contrast the two poems. How are the topics, tones, and lyric moments similar? How are they different?
  4. The author of these poems was an early writer of what’s called “confessional poetry,” in which the “I” in the poem is very often the poet himself/herself. It involves writing not about what’s going on in the world but what’s going on in the heart and mind of the poet. What can you infer about the author if we assume that the “I” in each poem is the poet himself?

Students will receive the two poems tomorrow and have the period to answer those four questions.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: to prepare for the test (if you want extra practice), go to and choose two poems with the same theme (look for the “Theme” menu on the right) and work to answer the questions above for those two poems. (Bear in mind that it might not always work: the poems I’ve chosen for the test work perfectly for these questions, but not all poems about the same theme will work.)

All classes were engaged today in lit circles in one form or another. The only exception was English Studies, which went over briefly how to determine tone in a poem:

  1. Look for repetitions.
  2. Determine the positive or negative nature of the repetitions.
  3. Look for more examples of the positive or negative images or words.
  4. Determine a descriptive category to fit all the words or image into.



  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • read the portion of the class novel decided upon by your literature circle;
    • continue working on the article of the week.
  • English 8 Studies: 
    • read the portion of the class novel decided upon by your literature circle;
    • continue working on the article of the week.
  • English I Honors: 
    • continue with the Mockingbird allusions work (on Moodle);
    • read chapters 5-8 of Mockingbird;
    • continue working on the article of the week.

I thought about trying to make this a prank post, but I’m too tired.

  • First period:
    • read chapters eight and nine;
    • be ready for a brief presentation of symbol project.
  • Second and sixth periods: none.
  • Fourth period:
    • see yesterday;
    • add: finish chapter one;
    • continue working on newsletter project.

First, second, and seventh periods practiced their parts from Anne Frank.  First and seventh periods also worked on using context to determine a word’s meaning.

Fourth period completed work with tone. After writing a description of walking a dog with a prescribed tone, students read their work to the class and the audience had to identify the tone. We wrapped everything up by looking at the specific details that indicated the writer’s tone.

  • First and seventh periods:
    • complete the pre-reading exercise (from class);
    • review your part.
  • Second period: complete character/conflict chart.
  • Fourth period: read through the “Tone” side of the “Tone/Mood Words” handout and make a list of all the stems you recognize. (It’s not necessary to know the meaning in order to list the stem; you simply have to recognize it as a stem, perhaps thinking to yourself, “What does that mean?”)

Fourth period continued working on mood and tone. We watched a few trailers for films in which the genre had been switched through skillful editing.

  • Dumb and Dumber was turned into a horror film, Lurk and Lurker;
  • The Shining was transformed from horror film into a feel-good romantic comedy; and
  • Mary Poppins edited as a horror film, Scary Mary.

After examining the elements of tone and mood in the trailers (music, sound effects, lighting, scene sequence), we tried our hand at writing the same thing (an account of taking a dog for a walk) with different examples of tone and mood.

All other classes worked on Diary of Anne Frank.

  • First, second, and seventh periods: continue reviewing parts at home.
  • Fourth period: none.
Preparations and Presentations

First, second, and seventh periods spend the day preparing for the in-class performance/reading of Diary of Anne Frank.

Seventh Period
Seventh Period
Second Period
Second Period
Seventh Period
Seventh Period
Second Period
Second Period
Seventh Period
Seventh Period

Each group had a chance to practice as a group and discuss the text. I also shared with students the grading criteria:

  1. Preparedness: I am familiar with my lines (not necessarily memorized) and I understand the meaning of my words.
  2. Awareness: As I’m performing, I am aware of what others are doing and what I should do in response. I am also aware of where we are in the play and know when my character will be speaking again.
  3. Expression: The tone of my voice and my gestures reflect my character’s emotional state.
  4. Volume: Peers can hear me at all times.
  5. Enthusiasm: It’s obvious that I’m doing my very best, and I’m taking it seriously.

Fourth period completed the presentations/class discussions for “Cub Pilot on the Mississippi” that we began yesterday.

Fourth Period
Fourth Period

It was an informal practice for the coming poetry unit, during which students will be teaching small mini-lessons on topics and/or poems.

Additional pictures are available at the gallery.

  • First and second periods: review your individual roles.
  • Fourth period: analyze the tone/mood sheet; determine the mood of the three major pieces we’ve read in class thus far.
  • Seventh period:
    • review your individual roles;
    • study for stems test.
Initial and Final Thoughts

First, second, and seventh periods finished the anticipatory lesson for a unit on The Diary of Anne Frank. As such, we had an today, drawing on students’ prior knowledge of the Holocaust and making it personal through a series of reflective writing exercises. To do this, we looked at a slide show I created about the Holocaust, starting from the rise of the Nazis and ending with some photos I took in 2005 during my own visit to Auschwitz.

Walling up the Ghetto


Leaving the Ghetto

Electrified Barbed Wire

Fourth period went over “Cub Pilot on the Mississippi”, paying close attention to how Twain uses formal diction to create a playful mood in the memoir. We simply prepared in groups today for the main presentation and discussion tomorrow.

  • First and seventh periods: none.
  • Second period: complete vocabulary preparation for Anne Frank.
  • Fourth period: none.

Fourth period worked on three elements of an author’s (and individual selection’s) style:

  • diction
  • tone, and
  • mood.

We looked at an example selection to see how the author manipulated words and phrases to create a specific mood and tone.

First, second, and seventh periods  began a couple of days of lessons dealing with the Holocaust in preparation for reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

All periods turned in the final draft of one or another projects.


Fourth period: read “Cub Pilot on the Mississippi”

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.

  • 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).

First period had a quick review of nominative and objective case personal pronounse.

Second period finished up the dialogues combining characters from Journey Home and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Some students took grammar handbooks for the self-study parts of speech review.

Fourth and sixth periods finished up reading the excerpt from An American Childhood. They also had a quiz on the vocabulary.

  • First period: page 144 (bottom).
  • Second period: read chapters 31-34.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: questions 6-9 on page 142.

First period continued looking at mood and author’s purpose with the selection from A. Dillard’s An American Childhood.

Second period continued working on their dialogues.

Fourth and sixth periods began reading the selection from An American Childhood and started looking at how Dillard creates a mood of fear in the piece.

  • First period: complete mood chart (classwork)
  • Second period:
    • continue working on Caged Bird/”Annabelle” essay (as applies)
    • vocabulary quizzes.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: study for vocabulary quiz tomorrow.

First, fourth, and sixth periods began a new selection that will focus on mood. Our first task: determine what mood is and how writers create it. And to do that, we … listened to music and watched movie trailers. We did this to see what mood is: an atmosphere created by a work of art. We watched a trailer for a romantic comedy, then watched a re-cut version of the trailer that made the film appear to be a horror film. We then transitioned to mood in writing, looking at three ways writers create mood.

Second period continued I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We looked at the continuing theme of displacement and how that theme is manifested in the dentist episode and Bailey’s encounter with a dead body.

  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: “Mood” handout, exercise A, numbers 1-3.
  • Second period: Read chapters 26, 27.

First, fourth, and sixth periods had a selection test on “Cub Pilot,” conflict, and prediction. Hopefully everyone did well. After the test, we began the next selection by talking about mood, which is the feeling that a piece of writing creates in a reader.

Second period had something of a catch-up day. We went over indirect objects and in doing so, determined we needed to have a general parts of speech review. We’re going to have an individualized review, starting tomorrow. Students will review at home on their own, and we’ll devote a little class time to questions they might have. Hopefully, before the end of the month, we’ll have a good understanding of the parts of speech.

  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: none.
  • Second period: chapters 24 and 25.