I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 37, Sem. 1
We started class with self-evaluation of the ACES portfolio as a whole. I gave students a self-evaluation handout, and they used the ACES portfolio rubric and the WCPSS Writing Continuum to complete the self-evaluation during the first 25 minutes of class. Those who finished quickly had time to read independently. I collected the self-evaluation from those who finished, but some students could choose to take the handout home and turn it in tomorrow.
Next, we began talking about the two funeral speeches from Julius Caesar as model texts for the art of persuasion. Today we began discussing and preparing for a writing assignment (5-paragraph essay) that analyzes the rhetorical techniques used by one of the two speakers in the funeral scene of Julius Caesar. Students previewed the two speeches and chose one to use as the basis of their essay (I think Antony is the favored speaker). Then, reviewed the essentials for a five paragraph essay: introduction (hook, bridge, and thesis), body paragraphs (follow ACES structure), and conclusion (reverse introduction).
Finally, I gave students the reading schedule for Part I of Things Fall Apart. They have approximately 3 chapters a day to read starting tonight.
Ch. 1-3 by Friday
Ch. 4-6 by Monday
Ch. 7-9 by Tuesday
Ch. 10-13 by Wed. (seminar on Wed.)
Homework: ACES portfolio due in Turnitin.com by 11:59 pm on Friday. It should be ready to submit now. Self-evaluation and blank rubric for ACES portfolio due in class on Friday. Read chapters 1-3 of Things Fall Apart by tomorrow.
Day 36, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we went over the punctuation of compound sentences (homework worksheet) and began to learn about complex sentences, specifically the different types of dependent clauses that create complex sentences. Next, students worked again on annotating and understanding the two scenes from Julius Caesar that contain examples of persuasive speech. Once those two scenes were completely annotated, students worked to find examples of persuasion using each of the three appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos.
Homework: Complete the rhetorical devices worksheet by finding one additional example of persuasive speech using ethos, logs, and pathos in either of the two scenes you have annotated. In addition, today is the final day to add a revised version of ACES #3 to the Google portfolio.
Day 35, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we spent about 15 minutes reviewing simple and compound sentences. After today, students should be able to define both simple and compound sentences and explain the three correct ways to combine simple sentences to create compound sentences. Students completed the practice exercises on page 5 of the unit 2 packet and have a page of compound sentences to punctuate correctly for homework.
Next, I had students work either in pairs or individually to complete a close reading and rhetorical analysis of Cassius' speech to Brutus in Act I of Julius Caesar. Once finished with Cassius's speech, I asked them to follow the same steps for close reading/analysis of Brutus' soliloquy in which he debates (with himself) whether or not to join the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Finally, students had to choose one example of each appeal (ethos, logos, and pathos) from either of these two scenes to add to a rhetorical handout.
The purpose of today's work on the two scenes from Julius Caesar is to give them an understanding of Brutus' state of mind and to gain experience comprehending a Shakespeare text while applying their understanding of rhetorical appeals to such a text. Tomorrow we will do similar work on Brutus' and Mark Antony's funeral speeches from Act III, and that will form the basis for a rhetorical analysis essay we will write in the next few days.
Homework: Finalize ACES prompt #3 revisions in the Google portfolio
Day 34 , Sem. 1
We started with our regular 10 minutes of independent reading. By the way, we are getting several new books for our classroom library later this week, which is very exciting! This is thanks to the donations from our Panther Creek community off the wish list on Amazon created in memory of Julie Cogburn. It's not too late to donate -- feel free to contact me if you would like to do so.
After reading time, I briefly introduced our new grammar unit, which is about types of sentences. As a review, we defined and discussed the building blocks of all sentences -- clauses. At this point, everyone should be able to define clause, independent clause, and dependent clause. Tonight, everyone should take the types of sentences pretest, which can be found on Canvas (start on the Calendar and click on today's date to open the assignment, find the link, and submit the results).
Next, I introduced them to the concept of rhetoric and rhetorical appeals using this TED talk video and then asked each group to find/share examples of persuasion in commercials based on logos, ethos, and pathos (it's easiest to find pathos, but all of them are common in advertising, of course). We had fun watching and identifying the type of appeal in each commercial. I then gave them excerpts from three speeches to read. For each one, they had to identify which type of appeal was prominent in the speech and highlight/annotate textual evidence to support their conclusions.
Finally, we watched a video summary of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar is a tragedy with many of the same themes as Oedipus Rex. We are going to examine speeches within that play that use the rhetorical appeals, and students ultimately will write an analysis essay on one of the speeches (from either Brutus or Antony).
Homework tonight: Complete the sentence type pretest and copy/paste the results into the assignment submission box on Canvas. Read the conversation between Cassius and Brutus and identify the claims (arguments) made in each "chunk" (step 2 in the instructions). Remember that the third ACES (modern tragic hero) REVISION is due in the Google Portfolio by the end of the day on Wednesday.
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Day 33, Sem. 1
Today was a miscellaneous kind of day ...We read for 20 minutes (making up lost independent reading time from yesterday and seminar days) and then students had 30 minutes to work on either drafting the ACES paragraph (#3 -- modern tragic hero prompt) or peer reviewing the completed draft with a partner. After that, we took a look back at the first benchmark exam and examined commonly missed questions to find the textual evidence needed to choose the correct answer.
Homework: Revisions to the ACES #3 are due in the Google portfolio by Wednesday, 10/18. Students who did not have a chance to peer review in class today must have evidence of a review of the paragraph by another student, a peer tutor in the writing center, or another third party.
Day 32, Sem. 1
Students had two quizzes to complete today -- a vocabulary quiz (list 2 from Oedipus) and a Unit 2 reading comprehension quiz on Oedipus that included questions about Greek drama. Those who finished before the end of class had time to work on the Seismograph poster (also due today), their ACES writing assignment due tomorrow, or read independently.
Homework: Modern day tragic hero ACES draft due on Google Doc Portfolio by the end of class tomorrow. We will have ~30 min. to work on this writing in class. By the end of next week, all students need their own copy of the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. If not already purchased, please buy a copy ASAP.
Day 31, Sem. 1
We had an odd schedule today because of the PSAT testing that ran from 7:25-11:25 am. First period was 2 hours long, while third and fourth periods were a bit less than an hour. Regardless, we managed to complete the second day of Socratic seminar about Oedipus. All students have now received the third ACES prompt for the ACES portfolio. The draft of this paragraph is due in the portfolio by the end of class on Friday. Students will have some time in class on Thursday (after quizzes) and Friday (~30 min.) to complete that writing -- but I can't guarantee a laptop for every student. They are advised to bring a device (phone, tablet, or laptop) of their own if they want to use class time to input the draft into the portfolio.
Homework: 2 quizzes tomorrow: Vocabulary List 2 and a comprehension quiz on Oedipus that includes questions about Greek drama. The Study Guide on Canvas has links to Quizlets and a practice quiz for both assessments.
Day 30, Sem. 1
We started class with vocabulary review, using the following techniques: creating a vocab jingle, a word play sentence, a motion that shows the definition, and/or a word category using other vocabulary terms (previous lists). Each group was assigned a word and created a review activity for that word to share with the class. This is a study strategy that can/should be used for our vocabulary as well as learning terms for any class. The different activities work for different learning styles, but all are ACTIVE strategies that require more thinking and creativity than looking at a list. I try to incorporate many different types of study strategies into my lesson plans to help students find/choose ones that work for them. Sophomore year is often a year when gifted, straight A students find that they must study to be as successful as they have been in the past. This is one more tool for their toolbox to help with that.
The rest of class involved half of the group participating in a Socratic seminar to discuss the big ideas and questions from Oedipus while the other half worked on our new ACES prompt/writing assignment. Socratic seminar is one of my favorite class activities and a fantastic alternative assessment tool. Students talk to one another in response to open-ended questions that get at the core issues of a text. I am not involved in the discussion; I only pose questions to get them started and a good group will really take it from there.
Students who did not participate in the seminar today will do so tomorrow. All students will work on the ACES #3 writing assignment between now and Friday -- both in and out of class.
On Thursday, we will have a double quiz: vocabulary and an overall quiz on Oedipus and the specific content we learned for this unit (characteristics of Greek drama and tragedy, including Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero, motifs and symbols and examples of irony from the text, etc.) I have posted a study guide for the quiz on Canvas.
Homework: Study vocab. and review relevant items for the double quiz on Thursday. Draft of ACES #3 due on Friday in ACES Portfolio (Google doc).
Day 29, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of independent reading time, students worked in their groups on the Literary Seismograph assignment (handout not on Canvas -- sorry!). For this project, each group member selected a line from its Oedipus scene that had a significant impact on the deeper meaning. They wrote out two inferences for those lines, and identified what literary technique Sophocles used to create that impact. The group then created a poster with all the lines charted on peaks as if for a seismograph (impact on the text, get it?). The final poster for this project is due on Thursday. Today's class was the day with the most class time to work on the poster. Students may come to Smart Lunch on Wednesday to work or may take the poster home to finish it between now and Thursday. They may have some limited time on our seminar days to work on the poster as well. We finished class with some vocabulary review using a crossword puzzle.
Homework: Finish crossword to review vocabulary (quiz on Thursday). Complete Tracking Evidence chart to use during the seminar on Tuesday/Wed.
Day 28, Sem. 1
We had extended independent reading time at the beginning of class (to make up for some missed time on Wed/Thur) and then finished going over the words for the current vocabulary list (11-15 on Oedipus List 2). My 3rd and 4th period classes had two scenes left to present from the play -- students noted evidence on our tracking evidence handouts and answered comprehension questions through class discussion. After that, we went over the Socratic Seminar assessment and preparation assignment for next week. To prepare, students need to watch the Crash Course Oedipus video on YouTube and then create three core questions that are open-ended, thought-provoking, and clear. My first period class was able to begin the Seismograph assignment in the final 10-15 minutes of class, but 3rd and 4th did not have time because of the extra scene presentation.
Homework: Watch the Crash Course Oedipus video and create three core seminar questions. Submit to the Google Form (link on Canvas assignment and sent out through Remind).
Allison Houck, MAT