persuasive writing


Sixth period finished Monster; first period finishes tomorrow. Fourth period had their final exam, a letter to next year’s E1 students. Second period worked on the final day of planning for the Great Expectations paper. Seventh period finished up persuasion.

  • Second and sixth periods: exam tomorrow.
  • Second and fourth periods: finish up the Great Expectations paper (due Tuesday).
  • First and seventh periods: exam Monday.


First and sixth periods are almost finished with their critical reading of Monster. We’ll soon be having a debate on the book and the protagonist’s guilt/innocence.

Second and fourth periods had the End of Course Exam for English I Honors today. This means that, for all intents and purposes[1. Remember when you thought that was, “For all intensive purposes”? Well, maybe that was just me.], the school year is over for them[2. I know that with that previous footnote, it should have read, “Well, maybe that was just I,” but it just doesn’t sound as good to modern ears.]. Perhaps not for all intents and purposes, but for the state of South Carolina’s intents and purposes, it certainly is.

Seventh period finished up working with persuasive writing.



First and sixth periods worked on Monster. Second and fourth periods worked on their “Works Cited” page for the final writing assignment. Seventh period continued with bias and persuasion.

  • First, sixth, and seventh periods: study for the coming final exam.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • Your final exam (a letter to next year’s English I Honors students) is now open-note. You can plan and prepare before the exam and bring in an outline to use in your writing.
    • A final draft of the Great Expectations paper (complete with a “Works Cited” page) is due on Tuesday 29 May. Make sure you use the OWL resource for your citation formatting.


First and sixth periods continued with Monster. We used our graphic organizers to make some notes about probable guilt/innocence: first period’s notes are a little different than sixth period’s notes, but we’re reaching the same ends.

Second and fourth spent a final day outlining. I realized they needed a day with me there to answer questions, so we spent the time finishing up the outlines. Most are finished, but those who are not will need to finish for tomorrow.

Seventh period reviewed the work from my absence and made sure persuasive techniques are clear. Notes from seventh period are available here.

  • First and sixth periods: prepare for the final exam.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • finish up term paper outlines;
    • prepare for the final exam.
  • Seventh period: prepare for the final exam.

First and sixth periods continued with the short story unit. Second and fourth period finished up Mockingbird and worked to complete the work that would otherwise be homework tomorrow. Seventh period went completed the introduction to poetic forms.

  • First period: work on final draft (with “Works Cited” page), due Friday.
  • Second and fourth periods: complete organizational activity from Friday (if not completed in class today).
  • Sixth period:
    • work on final draft (with “Works Cited” page), due Friday;
    • complete “Tears of Autumn” and setting work.
  • Seventh period: transform “Seal” or “The Rider” into a haiku.

First and sixth spent a final day working on the persuasive essay. We’re now a week behind, but I think in the end, it was worth it: it’s better to fall a bit behind and make sure everyone understands what’s going on than to rush ahead and leave a significant portion of the students behind.

Second and fourth continued reading and examining To Kill a Mockingbird. We looked at the use of the common racial epithet used for African Americans in the book and examined the question of whether it was racist or not. We were working toward the question of the effect of the historical context.

Seventh period practiced using the Moodle site that they will be taking tomorrow’s test on.

  • First and sixth periods: first draft of the persuasive essay due Monday.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • read chapters 13-15;
    • complete first draft of propaganda complaint letter.
  • Seventh period: study for tomorrow’s test on the short story unit.

First and sixth periods worked on organizing their persuasive essays. We used a graphic organizer to begin turning research into concrete details. Second and fourth periods continued working on Mockingbird.  Seventh period had a review for Friday’s small test.

  • First and sixth periods: continue working on persuasive essay.
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapters 9-12.
  • Seventh period: study for test.

First and sixth periods worked on Schaffer model paragraphs with persuasive topics.

Second and sixth periods worked on a quick overview of business letter formatting. We also went over the propaganda project. Students will begin a new unit Monday; the project due dates are on the calendar.

Seventh period looked at conflict — external and internal — in stories we’ve read, doing pair work to end the period.

  • First period: complete the commentary for the Schaffer paragraph.
  • Second and fourth periods:
  • Sixth period: work on additional research as necessary.
  • Seventh period: complete conflict chart for “Letters from Rifka.”
Schaffer Practice, Games, and Acting

First period spent some time working on materials for Red Ribbon Week at the beginning of class. Then we did peer evaluations of the Schaffer Model paragraphs that were classwork yesterday.

Second and fourth periods debriefed last night’s homework, discussing some of the technical problems so I could go back and fix them. Additionally, we went over the small letter-writing project we’ll conclude the propaganda unit with. Finally, since we’re a touch ahead of schedule, we spent one more day playing the Odyssey board games. The kids had enjoyed them and asked to play some other students’ games, so today I gave them the opportunity.

Sixth period worked on the same peer evaluations of the Schaffer paragraphs from yesterday. We began applying the model to persuasive writing. Notes from the mock-essay are below.

Seventh period finished up the visualization exercise from yesterday.

  • First period: continue research as necessary for persuasive writing.
  • Second and sixth periods: have selected by Tuesday your advertisements for the propaganda unit.
  • Sixth period: write a Schaffer paragraph from the materials we worked on in class.
  • Seventh period: none.

First and sixth periods did some work with the Schaffer model of organization. Together we wrote an example Schaffer model paragraph; I’ve put one of the paragraphs online as an example for others.

For second and fourth periods, it was the big day: students turned in and played the Odyssey board games they’ve been working on. Pictures are available here.

Seventh period had a split day: those students who didn’t do the homework went to one side of the room to do yesterday’s homework. The remaining students did group work, reviewing plot organization and analyzing the plot from “The Amigo Brothers.” We finished up by creating foldables of the major elements of the plot.

  • First and sixth periods:
    • begin planning your persuasive essay;
    • complete any additional research as necessary. (You can come in early and use the library’s computers for this.)
  • Second and fourth periods: wait for it… no homework.
    The second time this year. (Are you feeling okay, Mr. Scott?)
  • Seventh period:
    • students who didn’t complete the homework yesterday (those reading in class today) are to complete the questions for “The Amigo Brothers;”
    • students who did homework yesterday are to finish their illustrated foldables.

First and second periods were spent at the Donaldson Career Center. Students had an opportunity to see some of the courses offered and talk with current students.

Fourth period worked on the Odyssey project.

Sixth period completed the source evaluation practice and began researching for their persuasive writing assignment.

  • Second and fourth periods:
    • work on project;
    • study for test on Monday.
  • First, sixth, and seventh periods: none.
Infinitives, Persuasion, and a Story

First and sixth periods went over yesterday’s quiz and continued looking at persuasive techniques in action.

Second and fourth periods went through a lightening-quick overview of infinitive phrases. Afterward, we spent time planning our Odyssey project.

Planning the Game Board
The Joy of Group Work

Seventh period began a new story, “The Bear Boy,” and began looking at predicting as a reading skill.

  • First period: define the vocabulary words
    • deject
    • inject
    • project (2 definitions)
  • Second and fourth period
    • Use each of the following infinitive phrases in a sentence of your own.
      • to give the right answers
      • to go home after school
      • to run after the bus
      • to read the entire book over the weekend
      • to spend the night at my cousin’s house
    • Continue planning project
  • Sixth period: none.
  • Seventh period: questions 1-5 on page 196.

First, sixth, and seventh periods all had a stems quiz today. First and sixth continued working on the persuasive techniques unit. Seventh period worked on using our pre-writing from Friday to create an essay.

Second and fourth periods spent literally ten minutes going over gerunds and gerund phrases before spending the majority of the class planning their project, tentatively due Friday 21 October.

  • First and sixth periods: decide on a topic of national importance (death penalty, illegal immigration, balancing the budget) that can be used for your coming persuasive writing sample.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • Use each of the following gerund phrases in a sentence of your own. You must use one phrase as a sentence subject, one as a sentence object (direct or indirect), and one as the object of a preposition. Underline the gerund phrase.
      • getting up in the morning
      • arguing among themselves
      • refusing any help with the job
      • sharpening my pencil
      • listening to Scott Joplin’s ragtime music
    • Additionally, continue planning for the Odyssey project. I’ve created two new tools for you to use.
      • A planning forum (for writing your instructions — I wanted to make a wiki, but that would be too much work to make it separate for each group).
      • An online chat (for corresponding in real time — I’m not sure how well it will work, so someone needs to try it and see how well it works.)
  • Seventh period: none.

First and sixth periods went over persuasive techniques. Things went better in sixth period, and we were able to get a bit more accomplished. We’ll continue working on persuasion for the next couple of weeks.

Second and sixth periods began a whirlwind overview of phrases. Today we looked at prepositional phrases and how they can be used as adjectives and adverbs.

Seventh period did some more work with the story “Papa’s Parrot” and context clues.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: complete the exercises on pages 510 and 511 (a scan of those pages is available here).
  • Sixth period: Use a make-believe study looking at the effect eating breakfast has on test scores (it raises them) to create an argument from authority to support the need for students to eat breakfast..
  • Seventh period: none.

First and sixth periods learned about persuasive techniques.

Second and sixth periods continued working on the Odyssey project. Today was one of the final days of full in-class preparation. The project will likely be due 21 October (but no earlier).

Seventh period read “Papa’s Parrot” as we continue working on context clues for words and narrative structure.

  • First and sixth periods: find an opinion piece (either online or in a newspaper) and find one example of one persuasive technique. Copy the sentence, identify the technique, and bring it to class tomorrow.
  • Second and fourth periods: read “Odysseus’s Bed” (in other words, complete the Odyssey).
  • Seventh period: answer questions 1-5 on page 31.