Back Again

I’ve not been updating this web site all week because of a simple fact: I’ve been moving it to a new host, with three-times the resources. Things should be clicking along very well on the site now.

Today, English I Honors looked closely at the first eight lines of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 29.”

English 8 students looked at the questions of irony and point of view in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: figure out what the answer to the question “What?!” is in today’s lesson.
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.

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.

In English I we continued working on the sonnets we started yesterday. We struggled a bit with the whole meter issue, but the rubric helped ease our minds a bit.

(Additional detail provided by Mr. Scott.)


  • English I Honors: Work on your sonnet.

Today English I started writing a sonnet as a class to learn the correct steps. Then, we partnered up and started writing our own sonnets.


  • English I Honors: Work on your sonnet.
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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Today in English I class we finished up paraphrasing Sonnet 29. We also began working on Sonnet 18 and figured out what it meant and started paraphrasing it with a partner.


  • English I Honors: You will need to finish up figuring out what Sonnet 18 was about and you will need to paraphrase the whole Sonnet
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.

First and fourth periods finished up the poetry mini-unit by looking at how to write a sonnet. There’s substantial planning involved, and we went through the steps as a class.

First period’s initial effort:

This poem can’t write itself so I despair.
My head is full of mindless, aimless thoughts

  1. that leave my sheet of paper very bare.
  2. The sheet can’t bare from all these tears
  3. of all the useless thoughts I could have shared.

Fourth period’s first effort:

This stuff will kick the sense right from my head.
I can’t believe that it is due next week
When I wake up I feel like I am dead.

Second and seventh periods finished up evaluating web sites as the first step in our major project for the second quarter unit.


  • English 8 Strategies: continue preparing for the Anne Frank project, including the individual project preparation sheet.
  • English I Honors: begin working on the sonnet, which is due next Friday (15 November). Materials are available here.
Sonnets and Close Reading

First and fourth periods finished up their in-depth analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29.

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First period’s notes
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Fourth period’s notes

After analyzing the sonnet, we moved on to Sonnet 18 to start piecing together the elements of a sonnet.

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Second and seventh periods, after doing some comparative reading with Anne’s original diary and the dramatized version, worked on their presentation projects.


  • English 8 Strategies: 
    • continue working on your individual project planning guide;
    • practice your lines for your project.
  • English I Honors: read Sonnet 130 (available here) and be prepared tomorrow for an open-note quiz on the vocabulary in the poem.
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.
Shakespearean sonnet with scansion

First and fifth periods finished and abbreviated viewing of The Diary of Anne Frank. Probably not the most uplifting way to finish out the week before a long break, but hopefully students return home thankful for their freedom and admiring those who fought to keep their own.

Second and fourth periods had a second and final day of working on their sonnets. When we return from break, we’ll be doing the heavy lifting, so to speak: we’ll be starting Romeo and Juliet.


Please be aware, second and fourth period students, that in the sonnet template above, there is one element missing: scansion. Remember that the second version of your sonnet needs to have scansion added, as in the example below.

Shakespearean sonnet with scansion
Shakespearean sonnet with scansion

First and fifth periods watched some of a television version of The Diary of Anne Frank. Second and fourth periods continued working on their sonnets.

Heroes and Sonnets

First and fifth periods took a practice test to acclimate them to the Moodle testing system. Afterward, they returned to the topic of heroes and heroism, looking at two contemporary issues to see if the actors are heroes or not.

Second and fourth periods began working on their sonnets.

Additionally, we altered the poetry anthology project so that students only have to read and write about eight poems.

  • First and fifth periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: continue working with the anthology project.