point of view

Breakthrough and Chapter 2 -- Sort Of

English I Honors students had a breakthrough with “The Cask of Amontillado.” From these small points, which they determined with a bit of guidance,


students came to a whole new understanding of the story: it’s a confession to a priest! Tomorrow we’ll look at how point of view affects that and start our new paragraph.

English 8 students finished up chapter 2 of Nightjohn. We’ll be looking at theme tomorrow.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • review the online submissions and assessments from the first paragraph (about “Dangerous Game” or “Harrison “Bergeron”) and pay attention to the differences between my assessments and your assessments;
    • revisit the “Thank You, Ma’am” assessments to make final adjustments before we finalize the assignment.
Point of View

English I Honors students began working on the next analytic Schaffer paragraph, which will have to do with perspective and point of view. We began the segment by reading “In the Family,” which raises all sorts of questions about the narrator’s trustworthiness.

“What you see depends upon where you stand.”

English 8 students had their now-usual Friday: inferences work, article of the week completion, and today, a bit of time to make up missing work.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • come up with a TS and quotes for the CDs for a paragraph about “In the Family”
    • begin assessing the “character” analytic paragraph, which is located here at on the Moodle site. (If you have not turned this in, you have until about seven o’clock Friday evening to get it turned in.) This will need to be done by Monday evening.
Review, Point of View, Tense, Quick Reading, and Reading Day

First period did a PASS review today, and then learned how to quickly skim through Charles Dickens’ work, making Great Expectations easier to read.

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First period marked text
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First period marked text
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First period marked text

Fourth period worked on two PASS review worksheets, and then were given time to read Great Expectations.

Today second and seventh period worked on point of view.

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Students also went over verb tense in second and seventh periods.

  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • Have a good nights rest for the SCPASS test tomorrow!
  • English I Honors: 
    • Finish reading through chapter 30 of Great Expectations by Friday.
    • Add entries to the database as you are reading. You are expected to have 20 entries by Monday.
    • Get a good night’s sleep for the SCPASS test.

Today first period finished up learning about clauses by looking at new types of sentences: complex sentences.  In fourth, they learned how to quickly skim the “Mr. Scott way.”  This will help the students to read Great Expectations more easily and quickly.

Today second and seventh period were working on some PASS review and they also worked on point of view.

  • English 8 Strategies: Finish the point of view worksheet.
  • English I Honors: 
    • Read through chapter 30 by Friday
    • Add entries in the database

First period studied the first two types of sentences today, simple sentences, and compound sentences. We also did a PASS review assignment in preparation for the SCPASS test next week.

Fourth period finished up with the types of sentences today, learning about the last two types. Today, we learned about complex sentences and compound complex sentences, and then looked at some examples from the writing textbook.

Today second and seventh periods were working on point of view with the article they are reading in class and at home There Are No Children Here.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • finish through chapter 20 of Great Expectations by tomorrow;
    • have ten entries in the themes database by tomorrow.

Today in first and fourth periods we worked on using brackets and ellipses in quotes. Also we started a Shaffer Model paragraph based on “The Cask of Amontillado”.

Second and seventh periods began working on Nightjohn. We began by reading the first chapter and inferring a few things about Sarny, the narrator. Afterward, we looked closely at seven short passages (some as short as a single sentence) to determine non-standard grammatical and vocabulary items, things that indicate that the narrator is a slave.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • use this online forum to discuss your argument in the eventual paragraph about “Cask of Amontillado” (as necessary);
    • read “Peter and Rosa” from the literature book.
    • (Homework for tomorow night will be to complete the Schaffer paragraph about “Cask” and turn it in here. Students wanting to get a headstart can go ahead work on this assignment now.)
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.

Today first and fourth periods did a Socratic Seminar on “The Cask of Amontillado” discussing if the story had to be in first person and if the narrator can be trusted. Notes from the discussion follow:

First Period Big Board Notes
  • First person P.O.V.
  • Makes story more detailed
  • Doesn’t show reason of killing
  • Biased opinion
  • Narrator
  • Narrator can’t be trusted because we don’t know what he did
  • Narrator can be trusted because he is said to have no reason to lie
  • Left out key information
Fourth Period Big Board Notes
  • any thing other than 1st would reveal others opinions
  • feel like your in the story when in 1st person
  • cant trust the narrator
  • could not be telling the full story
  • could be blackmailing
  • has to be in 1st person
  • in 1st person the narrator always wants to look good
  • we don’t know why this happened
  • what did Fortunado do to Montresor

Second and seventh periods finished up the introductory work to “Effective Readers’ Skills” before moving onto the main selection of the quarter, Nightjohn.

  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: reread “The Cask of Amontillado” if needed.

First and fourth periods began looking at the question of point of view and reliable/unreliable narrators. We read “In the Family” as our initial model text and we’ll be applying what we discovered to a famous Poe story tomorrow.

Second and seventh period students continued working on identifying and applying effective readers’ skills to a text on slave codes (see below for download).

  • English 8 Strategies: complete the Slave Codes effective readers’ skills text (through number 14).
  • English I Honors: 
    • finish reading “In the Family” (fourth period only);
    • determine and write three quotes from the story to support the claim that the narrator is not reliable;
    • read Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” (available here if you left your book at home).
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.

Continuing Trial and Final Point of View

First and fifth periods began by transforming a screenplay-style bit of dialogue into narrative dialogue. The passage in question was from Monster:

The maximum sentence for the assault was how long? Do you know?

I wasn’t convicted.

There were several possible results, with each class having a handful of students creating each of the possibilities.

  1. “The maximum sentence for the assault was how long?” Briggs asked. “Do you know?”“I wasn’t convicted,” Bolden growled.
  2. “The maximum sentence for the assault was how long? Do you know?” Briggs asked.”I wasn’t convicted,” Bolden replied.
  3. Briggs asked, “The maximum sentence for the assault was how long? Do you know?”Bolden replied, “I wasn’t convicted.”

Afterward, we continued with Monster, working thorugh a large amount of the text that is relatively low-density so we can get to the “good” parts that will produce evidence for our end-of-unit debate.

Second and fourth periods of course began by looking at a sentence from Great Expectations and determining its type. Today’s sentence led us to a quick overview of compound predicates.

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Second and fourth period starter

Once that was done, students returned to yesterday’s work with shifting point of view.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • complete the shifting point of view work (from class) as necessary, then put your pair’s work on the Estella point of view wiki;
    • continue with Great Expectations, completing through chapter 58 (next to last chapter) by next Friday (but do not read the final chapter);
    • continue with the Lord of the Flies self-study project.
Dialogue and Point of View Shifts

First and fifth periods worked on the EQ, “How do writers show dialogue in narratives.” We worked on punctuated dialogue and converting screen-play dialogue into narrative dialogue.

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Practice from First Period

Second and fourth periods continued with their work on point of view in Great Expectations. We reviewed the issues at stake when changing point of view and then chose an episode from the book that includes Pip and Estella and re-write it from Estella’s point of view. Yesterday’s similar work was merely practice for this important step in understanding one of the most complex characters Dickens ever created.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
Point of View and Signs of Guilt

First and fifth periods continued with Monster. We got the first indications of guilt in a flash back that included such colorful characters as Peaches and Johnny.

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Second and fourth periods began with a sentence-type-identification starter: the first simple sentence of the quarter.

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Afterward, we continued with Great Expectations and the question of how point of view impacts a narrative.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • read through chapter 44 of Great Expectations by tomorrow;
    • read through chapter 50 by Friday.
Opening Statements and Point of View

First and fifth periods began with a choice journal topic. After presenting and discussing rebuttals, we turned to the anchor text of this fourth quarter, Monster. We made it through all lawyers’ opening statements and began working on our guilty/not guilty graphic organizer:

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First and fourth period graphic organizer/notes

In addition, we worked out a character web to make sure everyone keeps track of who is who and who allegedly did what to whom.

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First and fifth period character web

Second and fourth periods began looking at a central question in Great Expectations: how does point of view affect a narrative? (This was, coincidentally, was our day’s EQ.)

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  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • read through chapter 50 by Friday (for chapters 41-45, pay closest attention to chapters 42 and 44);
    • continue working on Lord of the Flies self-study.
Changes in Point of View and Characterization

First and fifth periods began with another choice journal topic (number five) continued looking at point of view, examining the differences between a text originally in third person that they had transformed for homework into a first person text.

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First and fifth period notes

We finished up by working on Magic_Squares vocabulary work for Monster, our anchor text for the fourth quarter.

Second and fourth periods, with so many students out for the Beta Club field trip, continued with a more-relaxed-than-usual pace. We returned to the question of characterization, looking additionally at topics we first covered in the first quarter about methods of characterization and types of characters.

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Second and fourth period review notes

Students worked in groups to create and re-create/revise word splashes from yesterday, adding today the question of characterization method and character type.

  • First and fifth periods: complete the Magic_Squares vocabulary work from class.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • continue reading Great Expectations (you’ll need to be through chapter 40 by Tuesday);
    • continue working on the Lord of the Flies self-study.
Point of View in Narratives and Characterization

First and fifth periods looked at an excerpt from There Are No Children Here by Alex Kolowitz. We began by examining it for elements that seem to indicate it’s a fictional piece (the presence of characters, dialogue, setting, and a problem/plot) to see how a nonfiction narrative can be structurally like a fiction narrative.

Notes from First and Fifth Periods
Notes from First and Fifth Periods

Afterward, we switched to an examination of the point of view, shifting at the end to an exploration of how a change in point of view might affect a narrative. We began working in class on switching the following passage from third person to first person:

The muscles in Lafeyette’s face tensed. He had his hands full, watching over Pharoah and the triplets. The young ones knew enough to stay in the windowless corridor away from possible stray bullets, but they chattered and fought until Tiffany, too restless to sit still for long, stood up. Lafeyette shoved her back down.

“We wanna go,” whined Tiffany.

“Be quiet,” admonished her brother. “You crazy?”

The narrow hall of their four-bedroom apartment had become their fallout shelter. Stray bullets had zipped through their apartment before, once leaving two holes the size of nickels in the olive-green living room curtains. Another time a bullet found its way into the hallway; it had traveled through a bedroom window and the bedroom door, missing Terence by inches. The children now knew enough to sit away from the doorways.

The five children squatted on the musty floor long after the shooting subsided. LaJoe, who huddled with them, could sit still no longer. Wearing a T-shirt that read WIPE OUT GRAFFITI, she walked into the kitchen and began to sweep the floors. Cleaning house was the only way she could clear her mind, to avoid thinking about what might happen or what might have been. It was cathartic in demanding focus and concentration. She scrubbed and washed and rearranged furniture, particularly when things got tense—with family problems, shootings, and deaths. The kids knew to stay out of her way, except for Lafeyette, who, like his mother, also found cleaning a useful distraction.

“Lemme help you,” he begged, still sitting by the wall. “You figuring to start cleaning up ’cause you upset. You figuring to start cleaning up.” LaJoe didn’t hear him. “Mama, let me help you. Ain’t nobody gonna get killed out there today.”

“Stay there, Lafie. Someone’s gotta watch the triplets,” LaJoe said.

Students were to choose on of the characters — Lafeyette, Pharoh, Tiffany, or LJoe, their mother — and write a new version of it in first person from their chosen character’s point of view.

Second and fourth periods began a two-day lesson on characterization. We began by looking carefully at eight characters:

  • Pip 
  • Joe 
  • Mrs. Joe
  • Estella 
  • Mrs. Havisham
  • Uncle Pumblechook
  • Jaggers

Each student chose one character and created a word splash for the character, with the style of the script for the character’s name somehow reflecting aspects of the character’s personality.

  • First and fifth periods: complete the first-person rewrites begun in class.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • complete the word splash from class;
    • read Great Expectations through chapter 30.