First period continued with “Flowers for Algernon.” We continued practicing with inferring, discussing the previous night’s homework.

Second and fourth periods finished Great Expectations. We saw three different endings: the published ending, Dickens’s original ending, and a highly altered film ending.

Sixth period had a test on The Giver.

Seventh period worked on connotation regarding bias. We examined the following word groups to order them according to connotation:

  1. student, apprentice, disciple, junior, learner, novice, scholar, undergraduate
  2. run, amble, bound, dart, dash, gallop, lope, scamper, sprint
  3. vacation, break, fiesta, furlough, holiday, intermission, layoff, recess, respite, sabbatical
  4. busy, active, diligent, employed, occupied, perservering, unavailable, employed
  5. fear, dread, apprehension, anxiety, panic, terror
  6. friend, companion, buddy, acquaintance, colleague, playmate
  • First period:
    • read the “Algernon” entry from May 20 (pg 331);
    • add one more inference from yesterday’s inference homework.
  • Second and sixth periods: none (unless you haven’t finished Great Expectations).
  • Sixth period: none.
  • Seventh period: define words agreed upon by your group.
Endings, Bias, and PASS

We’re beginning to wrap up a number of units — convenient since we’re nearing the end of the year. First period worked on “Flowers for Algernon” after a PASS review (page 402) and a bus evacuation drill. It amounted to little more than explaining the homework as the drill had taken a fair chunk of our time.

Second and fourth periods worked on Great Expectations, which we’re finishing tomorrow.  We began as we often do: analyzing sentences to determine sentence type:

  1. The second of the two meetings referred to in the last chapter, occurred about a week after the first.
  2. I had again left my boat at the wharf below Bridge; the time was an hour earlier in the afternoon; and, undecided where to dine, I had strolled up into Cheapside, and was strolling along it, surely the most unsettled person in all the busy concourse, when a large hand was laid upon my shoulder, by some one overtaking me.
  3. It was Mr. Jaggers’s hand, and he passed it through my arm.

We made our own web of characters to look at the inter-related nature of the novel’s various story lines.

Second Period's Web

Fourth period completed the task with fewer variables and the results were clearer.

Fourth Period's Web

(A simplified version from a previous is here, password “done”).

Sixth period went over potential essay questions as a summary of The Giver. Student-created notes are below:

Seventh period shifted from propaganda techniques to bias. We had a review of connotation and then began looking at how words can take on positive, negative, or neutral connotations. We ranked some near-synonyms to determine the range of different shades of meaning.

We also went over some extensive notes about bias, available here.

  • First period:read the next two journal entries from “Flowers for Algernon.” Make inferences (and write them down) at the following locations:
    • page 330, second half of page;
    • page 331, “May 18” entry
  • Second and fourth periods: read to chapter 59. Much of this can be quick-read. Make your own judgment.
  • Sixth period: study for test on The Giver tomorrow.
  • Seventh period: none.
Films and Group Work

First period continued with “Flowers for Algernon” after doing some more work with commas and apostrophes.

We also returned to our ABC-Rewrite of “Flowers.”

Second and fourth periods finished up the portion of the film of Great Expectations — the portion we’ll be watching, at any rate.

Sixth period finished up working on the “Most Important Word” engagement for The Giver. We’ll be using it Monday to review for a test on the novel Tuesday.

Seventh period finally got to do the propaganda technique identification work as intended.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: consult reading guide.
  • Sixth period: test on The Giver Tuesday.
  • Seventh period: none.
Inferring, Generalizing, and Identifying

First period began with more work on commas and apostrophes.

We also looked at more practice PASS tests, as did sixth period.

We made more progress on “Flowers for Algernon,” still focusing on inferring.

Second and fourth periods continued with Great Expectations. We’re dividing our time between reading and viewing the BBC presentation from 1999.

Sixth period finished The Giver. We looked at three options for interpreting the ending.

We also began an short culminating activity that attempts to encapsulate the whole of the novel in a single word — much more difficult than one might think, especially when I precluded some key words and ideas.

  • First period: add five items to the ABC Rewrite for “Algernon.”
  • Second and fourth periods: consult reading schedule.
  • Sixth period: read Lowery’s Newberry Award acceptance speech (pg 170 in book).
  • Seventh period: none.
Inferring, Visualizing, and Identifying

First period had a brief review of commas and apostrophes as the starter.

Afterward, we worked on a PASS prep (as the test is coming up shortly) and turned our attention back to “Flowers for Algernon.”

Second and fourth periods had time in class to read. Additionally, we watched a bit of the BBC version of Great Expectations.

Sixth period continued with The Giver.

Seventh period reviewed the work we’d done in the lab the past two days, going over propaganda techniques and identifying a few examples as a class. (The class notes are available here.)

  • First period: read pages 325-327.
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapters 43-45 (see reading schedule for details).
  • Sixth period: read chapters 21 and 22.
  • Seventh period: none.
Commas, Research, History, and Propaganda

First period finished up the comma review based on “Flowers for Algernon.” We looked at commas to set off items in a series,

commas with appositives, and

commas to set off introductory clauses/phrases.

Second and sixth periods presented the information that they’ve collected over the last 300 pages of Great Expectations about common motifs. We used this information to chose topics for our coming research blitz.

Sixth period read the most shocking chapter in The Giver, and we discussed as a class the choices the authors made about that chapter.

Seventh period finished up an online lesson on propaganda.

  • First and seventh periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: consult reading guide.
  • Sixth period: find two examples of euthanasia. The first example must be historical; the second example must be contemporary.
The Big Chapter, Commas, Role Playing, and Propaganda

After a starter that reviewed apostrophes,

first period began covering one of the problems Charlie has with his writing: commas. We’ll continue with it briefly tomorrow. (Notes from today are here.) Second and fourth periods had a quiz then went over chapter thirty-nine. Sixth period worked on The Giver. Seventh period began a unit on bias and propaganda.

  • First and seventh periods: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: refer to reading guide.
  • Sixth period: read chapters 16, 17, and 18 from The Giver.

Homework only today.

  • First period: read through April 28 in “Flowers for Algernon”
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapter to chapter 39 but don’t read chapter 39.
  • Sixth period: read chapters 14 and 15 of The Giver.
  • Seventh period: none.
ABCs, Reading, Debate, a Test

First period continued with “Flowers for Alternon.” We began a during-reading comprehension check engagement designed to help students think critically about the development of Charlie’s character.

After settling on a legend for our chart, we began filling it out.

We’ll continue working on it as we work our way through the novella.

Second and fourth periods had a reading day after spending some time practicing effective skimming/scanning of Great Expectations. We looked at the first paragraphs of chapter twenty-eight:

It was clear that I must repair to our town next day, and in the first flow of my repentance it was equally clear that I must stay at Joe’s. But, when I had secured my box-place by to-morrow’s coach and had been down to Mr. Pocket’s and back, I was not by any means convinced on the last point, and began to invent reasons and make excuses for putting up at the Blue Boar. I should be an inconvenience at Joe’s; I was not expected, and my bed would not be ready; I should be too far from Miss Havisham’s, and she was exacting and mightn’t like it. All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else’s manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make, as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security’s sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as notes!

Having settled that I must go to the Blue Boar, my mind was much disturbed by indecision whether or not to take the Avenger. It was tempting to think of that expensive Mercenary publicly airing his boots in the archway of the Blue Boar’s posting-yard; it was almost solemn to imagine him casually produced in the tailor’s shop and confounding the disrespectful senses of Trabb’s boy. On the other hand, Trabb’s boy might worm himself into his intimacy and tell him things; or, reckless and desperate wretch as I knew he could be, might hoot him in the High-street, My patroness, too, might hear of him, and not approve. On the whole, I resolved to leave the Avenger behind.

It was the afternoon coach by which I had taken my place, and, as winter had now come round, I should not arrive at my destination until two or three hours after dark. Our time of starting from the Cross Keys was two o’clock. I arrived on the ground with a quarter of an hour to spare, attended by the Avenger – if I may connect that expression with one who never attended on me if he could possibly help it.

At that time it was customary to carry Convicts down to the dockyards by stage-coach. As I had often heard of them in the capacity of outside passengers, and had more than once seen them on the high road dangling their ironed legs over the coach roof, I had no cause to be surprised when Herbert, meeting me in the yard, came up and told me there were two convicts going down with me. But I had a reason that was an old reason now, for constitutionally faltering whenever I heard the word convict.

Sixth period had a quiz and then had the debate we prepared yesterday.

Seventh period had a test.

  • First period: read pages 321-323.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • Read quickly chapter 30;
    • Skip chapter 31 (Gasp! The horror!);
    • Quick-skim chapter 32;
    • Read chapter 33.
  • Sixth period: read chapters 12 and 13 of The Giver.
  • Seventh period: none.
Inferences, Reading Help, Debate and Test Prep

First period worked on inferring again after doing some review work on the use of apostrophes as a starter

Second and fourth periods began by looking at an incredibly long sentence from last night’s homework.

I found out within a few hours, and may mention at once, that Mrs. Pocket was the only daughter of a certain quite accidental deceased Knight, who had invented for himself a conviction that his deceased father would have been made a Baronet but for somebody’s determined opposition arising out of entirely personal motives – I forget whose, if I ever knew – the Sovereign’s, the Prime Minister’s, the Lord Chancellor’s, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s, anybody’s – and had tacked himself on to the nobles of the earth in right of this quite supposititious fact.

After some analysis, we determined it was a complex sentence, literally and figuratively. (Well, a compound-complex sentence — slightly off, second period.)

Sixth period prepared for a debate tomorrow and seventh period reviewed for a test tomorrow.

  • First period: read to page 321 (through page 320).
  • Second and fourth periods: complete chapter 27 of Great Expectations.
  • Sixth period: prepare counter-statements for debate.
  • Seventh period: study for test tomorrow.
Apostrophes, Foreshadowing, Symbols, and Word Processing

Today’s class notes from the Promethean Board.

First period went over a review of the use of apostrophes, a common error in Charlie’s writing in “Flowers for Algernon” and a surprisingly common error in students’ writing. (Notes from the board available below.)

Second and fourth periods went over homework, covering foreshadowing and how it works. We discovered three basic principles of foreshadowing.

Sixth period went over symbolism in The Giver (see class notes above).

Seventh period worked on a critical-thinking exercise designed to imitate a potential work situation while formatting the work from yesterday.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapters 23-26 in Great Expectations (pages 199-230)
  • Sixth period: read chapters eight and nine in The Giver.
  • Seventh period:
Point of View, Foreshadowing, and Publishing

First period examined the EQ, “How does a story’s medium affect the point of view?” We were specifically considering how the change from book to film makes a first-person point of view virtually impossible.

Second and fourth periods continued working on Great Expectations, with starters designed to force students to think analytically about sentences. Today, we turned the tables: instead of analyzing sentences, we created them:

My humble effort: My bad opinion of the young lady stemming from the harsh and violent end to the affair she had with my closest friend, I found myself very wary of conversing with Susan when I first met her.

Afterward, we went over the characters thus far in the book, dividing them into major and minor classifications. The seven to ten minutes we took doing so seemed to clear up a few misunderstandings among students.

Second Period’s Work

Major Minor



Mrs. Joe

OrlickSarah PocketBiddyconvict

file guy


pale boy


Matthew Pocket


Fourth Period’s Work

Major Minor



PumblechookMrs. JoeWopsleSarah Pocket

Matthew Pocket

pale young man


Orlick (journeyman)



file man

convict 2

Finally, we looked at foreshadowing in the book.

Sixth period continued with The Giver.

Seventh period began two days in the computer lab, publishing their reports.


  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth periods:
    • find three examples of foreshadowing in various books you’ve read in the past and determine what they have in common (i.e., what makes foreshadowing work);
    • read chapters 20-22 (three chapters) in Great Expectations.
  • Sixth period: read chapters six and seven from The Giver.
  • Seventh period: none.
Media, Foreshadowing, Symbols, and Second Drafts

First period continued with “Flowers for Algernon.” We presented the sketches students prepared yesterday and began watching a bit of the film Charly in pursuit of the answer to our Essential Question: “How does a story’s medium affect the point of view?”

Second period continued with Great Exectations. We began as usual with sentence work:

Afterward, we continued looking at the same motifs we’ve been examining throughout the novel.

Sixth period started with a fire drill before looking at symbolism in The Giver.

Seventh period worked on incorporating concerns about audience and purpose into a second draft of their report.

  • First period: read 314-317.
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapters 14-19 in Great Expectations (pages 112-170)
  • Sixth period: read chapters 4 and 5 of The Giver.
    • Seventh period:
    • complete second draft;
    • study for test on drama Wednesday.
Charlie, Review, and Audience

First period began with a vocabulary starter, using the verb “obscure” in a sentence. Example sentences included:

  • The teacher was standing in front of me and was obscuring the board.
  • I tried to obscure the broken lamp, but my mother found it anyway.

Afterward, we continued working on “Flowers for Algernon,” focusing on inferring.

Second and fourth period continued with Great Expectations, looking at the EQ, “How does a Dickens novel reflect the Victorian Period in England?” We began with an examination of the first two sentences in chapter ten:

The bulk of the class was spent looking at the motifs we will examine throughout the book.

Sixth period continued with The Giver, working to extrapolate details about the setting from the things that strike us odd in the initial chapters. We used the “Inferring about Setting from Initial Strangeness Graphic Organizer (Ch1-3)” materials to help.

Seventh period looked at the question of audience and purpose in writing. We examined how they’re connected and how one often influences the other. We then applied it to our current writing project.

We’ll be applying this information tomorrow to write a second draft.

  • First period: none.
  • Second and fourth: read chapters 11-13 in Great Expectations.
  • Sixth period:
    • read chapters two and three of The Giver;
    • complete the graphic organizer begun in class.
  • Seventh period: none (if you have already completed your first draft).
Roarschach, Miss Havisham, Introductions, and Revising

First period continued working with “Flowers for Algernon,” focusing on inferring and increasing textual comprehension through informational texts. We read about Charlie taking the Roarschach test and took the test ourselves, using an informational text to help understand the test and our responses.

Second and fourth periods began the day with some more work with sentence types:

They also met Miss Havisham, one of the most famous characters in all literature.

Whether I should have made out this object so soon, if there had been no fine lady sitting at it, I cannot say. In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.

She was dressed in rich materials – satins, and lace, and silks – all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, and half-packed trunks, were scattered about. She had not quite finished dressing, for she had but one shoe on – the other was on the table near her hand – her veil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers, and a prayer-book, all confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.

It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things, though I saw more of them in the first moments than might be supposed. But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could. (Source: Online version of Great Expectations)

We paid careful attention to the description and made some inferences about Miss Havisham’s character based on her physical description.

Seventh period worked with the first drafts of their reports associated with the drama unit. Because most people chose not to complete the homework and future work depends on having a first draft (which was homework) completed, we spent the day doing what should have been done for homework, with students who decided not to do the homework receiving zeroes and students who did receiving some additional one-on-one work to prepare for the second draft.

  • First period: read progress reports three and four (pages 311-313).
  • Second and fourth periods: read chapters 8-10 in Great Expectations.
  • Sixth period: finish reading chapter one of The Giver.
  • Seventh period: complete the first draft of the report (begun in class).