poetry

Tone Review and a Test

English 8 students worked tone a bit more after going over another term from our article of the week.

English I Honors students worked on their poetry unit test. We were not quite able to finish it, so we’ll have a few more minutes tomorrow to work on it.

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.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: to prepare for the test (if you want extra practice), go to poets.org 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.)
Sonnets and Tone

English 8 students looked at the question of tone (the author’s/narrator’s opinion of the subject at hand) in “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Definition and framing question
Annotations

English I Honors students finished up their second sonnet, number twenty-nine.

Afterward, we began the final sonnet, number 130.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: do research necessary to complete the analysis of today’s sonnet.
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.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: parts of speech test tomorrow
Poetry and Chapter Four Complete

English 8 students finished chapter 4 in Nightjohn. We began a quiz that we’ll finish up tomorrow.

English I Honors students finished up “Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry” as our introduction to poetry.

Students should now have some idea of how we’ll be looking at these poems through the rest of the unit.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • finish determining the part of speech of each word of the rest of the poem;
    • finish your assessments by tomorrow;
    • continue working on the final short story project;
    • continue working on the extra credit opportunity as necessary.
Poetry and Motifs

English 8 students worked on their motif work for Nightjohn. We’ll be finishing up the novel shortly and using all the motif work to determine themes of the novel.

English I students worked on the new unit, which is an introduction to poetry. Many students had some misgivings. When completing a Pear Deck session on initial thoughts about poetry, students finished the sentence “When I think about reading and studying poetry, I…” with things like:

  • start to break down and cry as I realize that my grade is about to go the direction of the Titanic and hit the ground harder than a 747 that experienced an engine failure at 30,000 feet.
  • GET ME OUT OF HERE PLEASEEEE!!!!!
  • scream illiterately into a pillow while crying tears of poems, while Elmo’s World plays full-blast on my television.
  • want to die.
  • I want to slam my head against the wall.
  • get the need to shut my brain down.

Clearly, the students were apprehensive about starting.

We began by looking at some basic steps on how to understand a poem. We’ll be finishing it up tomorrow.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • write a summary of the poem on the back on the sheet, remembering that we’re just looking at what is happening in the poem, not what it means;
    • continue working on the short story final project;
    • begin working on the extra credit assignment (as needed).

English I Honors students worked with the Joseph Campbell text on the monomyth. We’ll be finishing it up tomorrow.

English 8 students began their final project for the poetry unit.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: continue working on the article of the week.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the article of the week.

English I Honors students began working on a look at the monomyth (i.e., Joseph Campbell) and how the Odyssey is an example of that. We’ll be finishing up the Odyssey shortly.

English 8 students are nearing the end of their studies of figurative language in poetry. We’ll be finishing up next week.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: 
    • finish the in-class work on figurative language interpretation;
    • continue working on the article of the week as necessary.
  • English I Honors: 
    • work on the text from class, annotating the text and preparing a Cornell outline of the material;
    • begin reading the next section of the Odyssey;
    • continue working on the article of the week as necessary.

English I Honors worked on mastering the Homeric simile, something that’s initially fairly but deceptively straightforward. Close reading, in other words.

English 8 students had a final day of practice with figurative language. We’ll finish up poetry in the next week or so.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: complete the article of the week as necessary.
  • English I Honors: 
    • re-read the Cyclops section, finding two ten- to fifteen-line segments that are challenging for comprehension (i.e., either you struggled to understand it the first time you read it, or you still don’t understand it);
    • complete the article of the week as necessary.
Figurative Language Practice and a Seminar

English 8 students had a second day of figurative language practice while finishing up the small poetry analysis assignment we’ve been working on. We went over yesterday’s practice before we got started, and we’ll do the same tomorrow as we get ready for a quiz on Friday.

English I Honors students had a Socratic Seminar/Fishbowl/Think-Group-Share session today about the various visions of Calypso we’ve seen over the last two days.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: re-read last night’s homework, this time looking closely for the Homeric simile that’s located somewhere in the text.

English I Honors students looked at one final version of Calypso, a song by Suzanne Vega:

We’ll be wrapping up Calypso tomorrow with a brief discussion — probably Socratic-seminar-ish.

English 8 students continued with figurative language by having some individual practice after reviewing some group work we recently finished.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: read 372-385 for tomorrow.
Calypso and Solo Interpretation

English I Honors began looking at the question of how various artists using various media over various centuries have re-imagined Calypso.

Westall, Richard, Telemachus Landing on the Isle of Calypso, Glasgow Museums

We looked at the etymology of Calypso’s name:

The etymology of Calypso’s name is from kalypto, meaning “to cover”, “to conceal”, “to hide”, or “to deceive”. According to Etymologicum Magnum her name means kalýptousa to dianooúmenon, i.e. “concealing the knowledge”, which combined with the Homeric epithet dolóessa, meaning subtle or wily, justifies the hermetic character of Calypso and her island. Kalypto is derived from Proto-Indo-European *kel-, making it cognate with the English word ‘hell.’

Then we took a look at two paintings depicting Calypso.

Samuel Palmer, Calypso’s Island, Departure of Ulysses, or Farewell to Calypso, 1848-1849

English 8 students examined a new poem, this time on their own, as we wind down our work on figurative language.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • re-read the “Calypso” reading you read for homework over the weekend;
    • complete the “think” part of the Think/Pair/Share we are doing for the second image from today (Samuel Palmer, Calypso’s Island, Departure of Ulysses, or Farewell to Calypso, 1848-1849 above)

After building some background knowledge, English I Honors students finally began reading the Odyssey.

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.

We’ll be working on the opening lines for a couple of days before we shift into a slightly higher gear and move through the epic.

English 8 students continued working on group analysis of “The Black Earth.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • define “appositive”;
    • find two appositives in today’s reading.

English I Honors finished up the background knowledge development for the Odyssey.

English 8 students continued with their group work of poetry analysis.

Figurative Language and Background Knowledge

English 8 students began looking at the EQ “What does figurative language add to a poem?” We did some schaffolded work with figurative language:

English I students looked at an informational text about archaeological studies of the city of Troy in order to build background knowledge for the Odyssey.

Homework

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • re-read the text from today;
    • make sure you  have four names, one date, and a few facts about Troy in the “L” section of today’s KWL;
    • look up the words in bold that we worked on determining context clues in class.