In English I, students finished up act three, looking at subtext in scenes two, three, four, and five. We also finished up the study guide in anticipation of tomorrow’s test on act three.

In English 8, students had a final day of preparation for their effective habits pretensions tomorrow.

  • English 8 Studies: 
    • work on presentation for tomorrow as necessary;
    • work on the article of the week as necessary.
  • English I Honors: 
    • prepare for tomorrow’s test on act three;
    • turn in the “Decoration Day” paragraphs by tomorrow (will be switching to assessment);
    • work on the article of the week as necessary.

English 8 students made good progress on their Seven Habits project, and we’re on track to finish the initial work before Thanksgiving break.

English I Honors students went through 3.1 by making tableau vivants. We’ll be adding a little bit of social media fun into it tomorrow.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: complete 3.1 study guide on Moodle.
Split Work and 5.1

English I Honors students looked at 5.1, the famous meeting scene in Romeo and Juliet. After a quiz, we looked at how 5.1 contains hidden stage directions in the opening lines.1-fullscreen-capture-1122016-115835-am-bmp

English 8 students did split work: fifth period students finished up the outlining work for their social studies book (by and large) and sixth period students looked at some habits of ineffective teens in preparation for our major reading assignment for this STEAM unit.

  • English 8 Studies: fifth period students who are not done with the outlining need to complete it and turn it in at Google Classroom. You have four options for completing it:
    • at home,
    • in the morning before school in the classroom,
    • during lunch in the classroom,
    • after school in the classroom.
  • English I Honors: look at the second portion of our handout and mark the text for further hidden/implied stage instructions.
Odd Day

Because of the situation with the buses, we had quite an odd day today. English 8 classes were missing a fair number of people, so we spent the day making up back work.

English I Honors had enough students that I felt comfortable moving ahead, so we began looking at Sonnet 29.


It’s a beast of a poem, but with some scaffolded help, most were able to pull through — the first half of the poem, anyway.

  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • be ready to turn in your short story project;
    • continue working on the solution portion of today’s sonnet.
The Bard and Finishing the Story

English I Honors students skipped some lessons — killed the sacred metrical cow — and moved ahead to the Bard. Billy. Shakespeare.


We finished by getting ready for the more difficult sonnet 29 by creating some insane sentences:

  • After the championship basketball game, where I scored one point and got ejected for throwing the ball at the ref because he said I had no buckets, I ate some of the delicious hot cheese and pepperoni pizza and grapes from my fridge and cheetos on Thursday night with my best friends, while watching Thursday night football when the Steelers won against all odds because everyone realizes how horrible they are.
  • Today my weird and strange friend, Christopher Bernard Smith, and I ate some really good cold slices of greasy, chewy barbeque chicken pot pie pizza with garlic sauce and blueberry poptarts blended up from Papa John’s after I got home from a long and tiring day at school at Hughes academy of science and technology in Greenville, south Carolina, and it was so delicious that I’m considering comparing it to a summer’s day because today at school we dabbed viciously in Mr. Scott’s class after we finished a test about Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet that was extremely difficult.

English 8 students finished the novel Nightjohn and will be preparing for a test later this week.


  • English 8 Studies: prepare for the three-part test on stems, reading skills, and Nightjohn.
  • English I Honors: continue working on the short story project.

In English I, we got back with our partners to discuss which of the five versions of the soliloquy was the best and which was the worst. Then every group got up and had 30 seconds to argue why they chose the ones they did. At the end of class we got out our sonnets and continued to work on them.

  • English I Honors: Work on your sonnets.
Drawing Mistress and Rules for Sonnet

Today in class we started off the day by getting with a partner and comparing last nights homework.We also started another sonnet; Sonnet 130.We got to do a fun activity which was to draw how we thought mistress looked like based on the sonnet.We also took notes on Rules for Sonnets.

Rules for Sonnet

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First Encounters with Shakespeare

Today in class we made an insanely long sentence by adding words after words to create it.We also made our first encounter with Shakespeare, we read Sonnet 29 and divided  up the sonnet by creating two lists to understand how each part modifies a certain thing.

Here are the sentences we made in Class today:

6th period:

When I, driving home from school in my new car, which I won for killing so many zombies at Zombie Fest 2015 because I’m a rick grimes impersonator (and no one else attended the event), eat five slices of warm pepperoni and ham pizza with anchovies and bull’s blood from Pizza Hut, I worry, perhaps needlessly, about the zombie apocalypse and that a zombie will come in front of my car and make me spill my large no ice Pepsi, which was of course Wild Cherry.

7th period:

Because I, in my scorn for all things carbonated, hate drinking not-very-delicious Pepsi, I drink something else, like hot, as in scalding hot, chocolate when I don’t get home from school as easily as I like on a damp, cold day after a seemingly vicious D— brutally attack me with a basketball-sized cupcake that happened to be made from inorganic flour and eggs from chickens that aren’t cage-free.

Here are today’s notes:

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  • English I Honors: Finish what we started in class for part A.
First Topics and Sonnets

English I Honors classes are working towards the Shakespeare unit, which we will begin next week, and we are accomplishing this through Shakespeare’s sonnets as a way to bring the poetry unit to the Romeo and Juliet unit. Today we finished up the complicated “Sonnet 29.”

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Afterward, students turned either to “Sonnet 18” or “Sonnet 130” (student-group choice) to examine for characteristics of sonnets after they complete a general analysis of the poem for basic understanding.

English 8 Strategies students continued with yesterday’s work, creating initial drafts we will begin peer editing.

  • English 8 Strategies: complete today’s first draft as necessary.
  • English I Honors: complete the poetry project if you haven’t already (see the Moodle site for details).
  • Journalism: none.
Puns and Tempers

First and fourth periods looked at how and why Shakespeare used questionable humor in his plays. We looked at the first 30 lines to determine how Shakespeare uses puns to create an opening that appealed to the groundlings in the Globe Theater.

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Second and seventh periods continued their examination of Mrs. Van Daan, seeing a whole new side to her character. We did some character description and whittled the adjectives down to three, finding supporting evidence for each afterward.

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Second period
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Seventh period

We’ll be using today’s planning to try our hand again at writing a Schaffer paragraph about the play.

  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • Students who didn’t turn in the paragraph comparing the diary and scene two from the play need to complete this and turn it in for late partial credit before lunch tomorrow. (Students who fail to do so will do the work during lunch.)
    • Students who didn’t turn in the individual project planning guide need to complete this and turn it in for late partial credit before lunch tomorrow. (Students who fail to do so will do the work during lunch.)
    • All students need to continue working on their project presentation parts. Students will begin presenting on Monday.
  • English I Honors: 
    • finish reading 1.1;
    • begin working on scene-specific questions from study guide;
    • sonnet due date has been moved to Monday.
Examining Organization and Drafting Paragraphs

First and fourth periods began the unit on Romeo and Juliet by reading an informational text about why Shakespeare still resonates with today’s readers. We were working  with standard RI.9-10.3: “Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.”

Second and fourth periods continued work with with standard RL5: “Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.” We took the graphic organizers from last week and began using these as a foundation for a Schaffer model paragraph.

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Second period’s paragraph, with me guiding/modeling and students provide input, was as follows:

The original plan was always to go into hiding with the Van Daans, but there are some small differences in the descriptions. In the play, Anne writes in her diary that “three other people are coming with us” (780). These three other people are the Van Daans, including their son Peter. In the play version, in fact, they arrive at the hiding place first. In the actual diary, she writes that “the Van Daans are coming with us” (13). In the diary, Anne’s mother goes to the Van Daans house to ask if they can go into hiding. This makes it sound like the Van Daans are in charge. Though there are some minor differences, the plan for hiding is the same in both texts.

Seventh period’s was similar:

In both the play and the diary, the original plan is to have the Van Daans join the Franks in hiding, but there are minor differences. In the diary, Anne writes that the “Van Daans are coming with us” (13). Anne’s mother has just gone to the Van Daans to ask if they can go into hiding. It seems like the Van Daans are the ones in charge. In the play, Anne says that “three other people are coming” to the hiding place with them (780). The Van Daans are already hiding, waiting for the Franks to arrive. The Van Daans don’t seem like they’re in charge in this scene. Though there are some differences, the accounts of going into hiding are generally the same in the play and the diary.

Afterward, students worked in pairs to begin creating second paragraphs in an identical manner.

  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • continue preparing/practicing your part in the play;
    • continue working on the individual project preparation guide.
  • English I Honors: complete the work on “All the World’s a Stage, Ruled by Guess Who: Why Shakespeare Resonates With the Modern Age,” the article we read in class. This is partially online (available at this link) and partially pencil-and-paper.
    • Each group should start one discussion, title it “Group #” (obviously 1, 2, or 3 according to your group number), and include all discussion in that one thread.
    • Each student/group should enter their summary of the paragraph they worked on in class.
    • On a piece of paper (to be checked tomorrow), write a 3-5 sentence summary of the whole section, using your group’s previously shared summaries (see step two above) as a guideline. (In other words, it’s a summary of the summaries.)
Analyzing and Comparing

First and Fourth periods continued working on their projects by analyzing and dividing, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. We’ll take a bit more time tomorrow to finish this up

Second and seventh periods compared the original diary Anne Frank wrote with the dramatized version we’ve been acting out in class.

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We’ll do the same tomorrow, slowly progressing toward an informal comparison paragraph.

  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • begin working on the individual planning guide for the Anne Frank acting project;
    • practice reading (aloud) your part for the project.
  • English I Honors: continue working, as necessary, on the quarter’s stems reading/identification project.
Slips of Understanding and Play Prep

First and fourth periods looked at Shakespeare’s Sonnet number twenty-nine.

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

They divided into groups and wrote one line on a strip of paper. The students wrote their questions on the back of the slips of paper. The slips were cut up to be reorganized, so the students could understand the sonnet more.

Second and seventh periods began a week of dual-work lessons: first halves of lessons this week will be devoted to comparing the text of the play with Anne’s original diary. Today we began looking at an extended passage by marking the original diary entry about going into hiding.

Afterward, students received their group and selection assignments and began working on their acting/presentation projects.

  • English 8 Strategies: read your play project selection.
  • English I Honors: none.

First and fourth period students had a relatively relaxing day, playing with incredibly long sentences that we took apart or created, all in anticipation of parsing some of Shakespeare’s long sentences (beginning next week).

Second and fourth periods learned to apply the CRAP_test for evaluating web sites. We spent the last half of the class in the computer lab practicing.

  • English 8 Strategies: None.
  • English I Honors: Review sonnet 29. Make sure you understand all the words (several of the words have changed meaning over the last 400 years, so check into that).