English 8 Strategies began the final stages of preparation for the ACT-Aspire test. We learned how to use a form that will help us with peer evaluation. English I Honors students continued with Lord of the Flies (fourth period) and Mockingbird (sixth period).


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period:
      • complete chapters 1 and 2 of Lord of the Flies by tomorrow;
      • begin working on the vocabulary project (at the Moodle site).
    • sixth period: complete the final writing assignment on the conch shell by Monday. (All materials at the Moodle site.)
  • Journalism: none.

English 8 Strategies students had their weekly Friday writing session. We’re finishing up our argumentative writing review and will begin our ACT-Aspire test preparation shortly.

Fourth period and sixth period English I Honors students finished up different jig saw activities as they began two new units.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period:
      • read through chapter two of Lord of the Flies by Tuesday;
      • look for vocabulary words as you read (words are available at the Moodle site, and we’ll be learning how we’ll use them them Monday).
    • sixth period:
      • complete the assessment of the mob psychology piece by this evening (more likely tomorrow morning, for I will not stay up until midnight to switch it over).
      • complete the final writing assignment on the conch shell by Monday. (All materials at the Moodle site.)
  • Journalism: none.

For the first time in some weeks, fourth and sixth periods — both English I Honors classes — are working on the same material, but fourth period is at the beginning of Lord of the Flies while sixth period is finishing it up. English 8 Strategies students had their usual Tuesday writing day.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period students:
    • sixth period students:
    • (Sixth period students might want to install this extension to help with their Lord of the Flies evaluations. This is for the Chrome browser, and once you install it, you only have to highlight text and right click on it to get a word count and writing analysis.)
  • Journalism: none.

Every class was working on some sort of project or other. Four period English I Honors worked on their Mockingbird project, which is in fact six different options students chose from. Sixth period English I Honors students worked on one of two writing assignments for Lord of the Flies. Finally, English 8 Strategies students worked on their writing portfolios, with some students working to complete the three required first drafts and some students working on introductions.


English I Honors students in fourth period began a close examination of chapter twenty-four, a chapter that initially seems to have very little action but in fact is one of the most fascinating and critical chapters in the novel. We’ll continue our close look tomorrow.

Sixth period English I Honors students had split duty: students who failed to read through chapter eight of Lord of the Flies read. Those who had completed the homework started the work for the next writing assignment.

English 8 Strategies students had their usual Friday writing session, and I conferenced with as many students as possible during that time.


  • English 8 Strategies: anyone who has not completed three drafts is now behind and you need to catch up at home.
  • English I Honors: 
    • fourth period:
      • re-read chapter twenty-four by Monday and be prepared to answer these questions:
        • Who is J. Grimes Everett?
        • What did Miss Maudie mean when she said, “His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?” Who is the “his” in this passage?
        • What are the Mrunas?
      • complete the work from class today.
    • sixth period: turn in the third topic regarding authority, the conch, and Stanley Milgram’s experiment. (This was originally due tonight but will be actually due Saturday at midnight.)
  • Journalism: none.
Writing, Socratic Seminar, and Jig Saw Prep

English 8 Strategies students worked on their regular Tuesday writing schedule. We’re still working on our argumentative writing. Today, students were to complete the second of their three first drafts. The remaining deadlines are below:

  • Friday 6 March: 3 first drafts complete
  • Tuesday 10 March: 3 first drafts complete and one of those turned into a revised second draft

English I Honors fourth period completed yesterday’s moral hierarchy work for the minor characters of Mockingbird. It is the fourth possible project topic for the unit.

Sixth period English I Honors students had a bit of time to review their verbals before switching groups tomorrow for the completion of the jig saw work tomorrow. After their review work, they had a chance to begin preparing their third writing assignment for the Lord of the Flies unit.


Jigsaw Part Two, Writing, and the Chills

Fourth period English I Honors took the next step in their jigsaw activity by breaking into their smaller groups to share with their coworkers the fruits of the larger groups’ efforts. We’ll continue this Tuesday, with students finalizing their understanding of the author’s rather complicated argument.

Sixth period English I Honors students finished up the second discipline overview with which they will be examining Lord of the Flies. We’ll be using sociology to look at the nature of the boys’ predicament for the next couple of days. We finished by returning to a quote that I promised would give students chills when they understand it fully:

Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.

English 8 Strategies had their second writing and conferencing day of the week, always a Tuesday and a Friday. Both classes did excellent work today, with students all working on their various drafts and staying focused through the whole period.

It was, in short, a great day to be a teacher.


We had a three-hour late start due to weather, so things were a little off-kilter as far as the schedule goes. Only three classes met today, and of those, only two had their full time. English I Honors students spent the time preparing for tomorrow’s semester exam while the one group of English 8 Strategies students continued working on their final drafts of the earthquake essays.


English I Honors students acted their passages from 4.1 and 4.2, presenting afterward the passages with strong subtext and explaining what the subtext was.

English 8 Strategies students spent half of the class working on participation self-evaluations for the quarter and an evaluation of me as a teacher for the semester. Afterward, students had the remaining time to work their earthquake cause/effect revisions.


English 8 Strategies students had another day of revising their cause/effect earthquake essays. Tomorrow we’ll spend a little time working on it, and Thursday we will spend most of the period working on it. After that, any additional work students wish to complete on the revisions will be homework: no more class time will be spent.

English I Honors students began applying yesterday’s work with subtext to 4.1 and 4.2 from Romeo and Juliet. Each group of students were given a passage and character to examine for subtext:

  • Group 1: 4.1 Juliet
  • Group 2: 4.1 Friar Laurence
  • Group 3: 4.1 Paris
  • Group 4: 4.2 Juliet
  • Group 5: 4.2 Capulet

Students tomorrow will be presenting their passages tomorrow, endeavoring to express the subtext through body language and tone of voice.

Creative writing students continued working on their audio projects and existing writing projects.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • evaluate “Decoration Day” work at the Moodle site;
    • practice for subtext presentations tomorrowl
  • Journalism: none.

English I Honors began act four of Romeo and Juliet by looking at subtext and connotation in a unique short story called “Conversation Piece” by Ned Guymon. Students were able to discern the characters, plot, back-story, and the hints of what happens after the events of the story, all of which are hidden in the subtext.

English 8 Strategies worked on revising their earthquake cause-effect essay. We’ll be doing one more day of work with this before it becomes homework.


  • English 8 Strategies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • read 4.1 and 4.2 from Romeo and Juliet;
    • complete the assessment for the “Decoration Day” essay at the Moodle site.
  • Journalism: none.

school days left

First and fifth periods had split classes: those who had completed their first drafts of the choice narrative began evaluating them before moving on to the second draft; those who still hadn’t completed the first draft continued working on that draft.

Second and fourth periods continued working on Monster.


  • English 8 Strategies: complete first draft as necessary.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the Lord of the Flies self-study.

First period completed the Explore Test. Second period didn’t meet due to an overlap in scheduling with the Explore Test.

Fourth period simply reviewed the now-completed first half of the Odyssey. We’ll finish the epic next week.

Sixth period had a sentence fragment review. We’ll be adding this to the rubric for the memoir project.

Seventh period practiced finding content gaps and plugging them, so to speak.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • answer questions 1-4 and 6-12 on page 1075;
    • read 1078-1083.
  • Sixth period: none.
  • Seventh period: complete second draft.

First period had the Explore test today. We finished with enough time to go over the day’s stem word before finishing with some silent reading.

Sixth and seventh periods worked on revision as well. Sixth period went over the entire STAR revision system while seventh period (my seventh grade class) went over only the “A” portion, “adding.”

Second and fourth periods went over the Scylla and Charybdis section of the Odyssey, looking at “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” a song by “The Police,” to study allusion.

  • First and sixth period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: read “Sun God’s Cattle” (i.e., finish the first section of the Odyssey).
  • Seventh period: take chosen sentence and expand by adding two more sentences of description (working on the “A” from STAR).
More Monomyth, First Drafts, and a Sentence Finale

First period worked on turning all the planning we’ve done for a memoir into a first draft. It’s to be completed by tomorrow.

Second and fourth periods went over two films to see how closely they follow the monomyth developed by Joseph Campbell. We’ll return to our myth — the Odyssey — tomorrow.

Sixth period did group work, looking for content gaps in our first drafts.

Seventh period completed work with sentence fragments.

  • First period: complete first draft.
  • Second and sixth periods: read “The Sirens” and “Scylla and Charybdis” for tomorrow.
  • Sixth period: none (if first draft is complete).
  • Seventh period:
    • choose one of our four drafts for further development;
    • re-read the draft;
    • write five questions you would have if you were a stranger reading this draft.