parts of speech

Tonal Exception and Test Prep

English I Honors students worked on the poem “My Papa’s Waltz,” learning that sometimes you can over-analyze a poem, especially when it comes to connotation.

English 8 students prepared for their unit test tomorrow.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: parts of speech test tomorrow

English 8 students worked on their Friday inference work and English I Honors students worked on their parts of speech review. It was a short day due to the reward day, so that was about all we had time for.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete assessments as necessary (on Moodle).
Symbolism, Group Work Practice, and a Benchmark

English I Honors students worked on symbolism in “The Necklace” and “Gift of the Magi” as well as a bit of work with parts of speech identification.

English 8 students practiced effective group work skills (fifth period) and completed a benchmark test (sixth period).


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete the parts of speech identification work through number 25 (see above).

English 8 students began looking at what a motif is (a repeating image or idea that appears throughout a literary work) as we began moving toward the question of what a theme is and how to determine it.

English I Honors students went through verbs today after going over the homework.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • complete assessments on Moodle (see yesterday’s homework for a direct link);
    • read “Thank You, Ma’am.”
Pronouns and Voice

English 8 students went over the final part of the voice and diction lesson, learning how diction (word choice) contributes to voice (the distinctive sound of an author or text).

We looked at passages in Nightjohn in which Sarny, the narrator, “sounds like a slave,” as one student suggested.

English I Honors students focused on the part of speech project today, going over pronouns. I did a little re-teaching at the end, making sure indefinite and demonstrative pronouns were clearer.


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.

English 8 Strategies students did the usual Tuesday routine: they wrote, and I consulted. Students are finishing up first drafts of argumentative writing pieces. They’ll soon be deciding whether to move to another topic or stick with this one for a second draft.

English I Honors did double duty again: fourth period had some time to do some planning for the Emmett Till mini-project. Students will be doing approximately four mini-projects as we read the novel before choosing one to expand and complete. Sixth period began the grammar sub-unit that always accompanies Lord of the Flies. We’re doing a quick part of speech review before heading to phrases and clauses in an effort to improve sentence variety.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period:
      • complete the planning of your Emmett Till argument as necessary;
      • read through chapter 8 of Mockingbird by tomorrow (possible quiz).
    • sixth period:
      • extra practice for identification of pronouns is available here and here;
      • complete the Maslow paragraph and turn it in here;
    • all students: complete the first draft of all three songs with the two connecting paragraphs for the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack project by 17 February and turn it in here.
  • Journalism: none.
Schaffer Planning and a Test

First and fifth periods worked on using the Schaffer model to plan a final culminating essay for this year’s first unit. Notes for each class follow:

We’ll do group work tomorrow for the second paragraph.

Sixth period working on paragraph planning

Second and fourth periods had a test on the parts of speech, including the following essay question:

Write a brief essay in which you explore the ambiguities inherent in labeling parts of speech. Provide clear examples. For extra credit (5-10 pts), use the Schaffer model for organization.

We’ll continue Schaffer work tomorrow in all classes.


No homework for any classes today. Fifth period can finish the commentary for the first paragraph, but we’ll have time to do so in class tomorrow.

First Schaffer Paragraphs

All classes continued working on the Schaffer model, completing their first Schaffer paragraphs. A proud moment for us all!

Finally, as a reward for a week of hard work, we spent the last ten minutes of class working on a logic puzzle to improve critical thinking skills.

Additionally, second and fourth periods did some work preparing for the parts of speech test. Specifically, we looked at a few made up words in a sentence to determine how we might categorize them according to the traditional eight-unit parts of speech division: In the flibygd night, a quaidkc esxed frioded fribpsally.

  • First and fifth periods: complete the second concrete detail with commentary (chunk) and add the concluding sentence.
  • Second and fourth periods: study for test (now postponed to Wednesday).

First and fifth periods had their first encounter with the “Say Something” reading engagement. We read a text about a traditional Chinese school as part of our introductory unit regarding tradition in the classroom.

Second and sixth periods completed the parts of speech review. We’ll be having a test Friday or Monday. It depends on how tomorrow’s review goes.

Today’s review before starting the final three parts of speech was as follows:

Determine the parts of speech of the bold words below. Find at least one that exhibits some kind of ambiguity.

1) Within a few years, 2)’s creative destruction of 3) both traditional book publishing and retailing 4) may be footnotes 5) to 6) the company’s larger and more 7) secretive goal: giving 8) anyone on the planet 9) access to an almost unimaginable amount of 10) computing power.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: study for the parts of speech test using online resources.
Verbs and Rules

First and sixth periods created the rules for the classroom.

Below are the notes from the classwork/group work. We’re working this first week to create a positive atmosphere and practice some of the skills we will be using all year.

Second and fourth periods worked on verbs, including the distinction between transitive and intransitive, action and linking.

During flex time, we began SSR, going over the Reader’s Journals we’ll be keeping. Our first entry is as follows:

8/27/08 The Big Wave Pearl S. Buck 3-5
The author’s writing style is very simple. She’s using small, everyday words. Most of them have only two or three syllables. Her sentences are short, too.Why is she using easy language. I think it’s because the story is set in a village with simple people, and she wants the language to reflect the people in the story. They aren’t fancy; she shouldn’t be.
  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • identify the verbs in the following sentences;
    • classify them as action verbs or linking verbs.

First and fifth periods worked on metaphorical versus literal language while developing classroom rules and procedures, continuing to lay the foundation for a good classroom atmosphere throughout the year. We practiced a couple of engagements we’ll be using throughout the year (Think-Pair-Share and general small group discussion) while looking at Portia Nelson’s “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.”

Second and fourth periods continued with the parts of speech review. Things began getting a little trickier today as we saw how ambiguity permeates an apparently cut-and-dried topic like grammar. Promethean Board notes are available here:

Students also learned that there will be an essay question about the ambiguity of the parts of speech test, which will be in one week.


First and fifth periods continued working on community building and the class meeting program we will be implementing this year. We completed the period with an engagement similar to the line game in the film Freedom Writers.

Second and fourth periods continued the whirlwind review of the parts of speech, covering pronouns in their entirety today, including personal, reflexive, intensive, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, and indefinite varieties.

  • First and fifth periods: complete the writing assignment about the line game today, answering four questions:
    • How did you feel with you were standing at the line with a large group of people?
    • How did you feel when you were almost alone at the line?
    • What kinds of questions drew most people to stand at the line?
    • What kinds of questions drew the fewest people to stand at the line?
  • Second and fourth periods:

Second and fourth periods had their parts of speech review test. The glazed eyes and moans suggested students felt they’d done poorly on the test, but my initial evaluations indicate they may be exaggerating a bit.

First and sixth periods had a bit more work with the writing workshop format and teacher-student conferencing.

  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • read pages 4, 5, 8, and 9 in the textbook;
    • take notes on handout (download here — login required).
Review and Pre-writing

First and sixth went over prewriting. We went over and practiced free-writing (click here for more information) and looping (click here for more information), then we briefly touched on brainstorming.

Second and fourth prepared for their parts of speech test tomorrow.

  • First and sixth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: study for test tomorrow.

First and sixth periods continued with the writing workshop introductory lessons. We went over three ways to get ideas for our experiential writing:

  1. The Expert Inventory
  2. The Life Line
  3. The Inquiry List

Second and fourth periods completed the parts of speech review unit. We’ll be doing some additional practice tomorrow before the test Friday.

  • First and sixth periods: add to your lists today:
    • three items to the Expert Inventory;
    • two items to the Life Line;
    • one item to the Inquiry List.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • find five prepositions in the New York Times article;
    • prepare for test on Friday.