I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 72, Sem. 1
We started class with a review of parallel structure and more practice exercises. Students should be rehearsing their mnemonic and the 5 rules of parallel structure as we go further into this unit. Next, we had our first group discussion for the World War II Lit Circle books (for the 1st 50 pages, or more per group decision). I'm writing this update after first period, but my overall impression was that the discussions went very well! This all depends, of course, on student preparation through reading the book and completing the written activities in advance. For the final 25 minutes of class, we started a poetry analysis unit that goes along with the lit circle books, Night, and Life is Beautiful. Today we mostly focused on the process of analysis: Observe, Analyze, and Infer. Keeping it simple, we practiced these steps on a painting that was inspired by a Holocaust poem. Tomorrow, we will apply these same steps to the poem.
Homework: Rehearse (memorize) the 5 rules of parallel structure using your mnemonic. If desired, complete any 2 Parallel Structure Exercises at the Grammar Bytes website (www.chompchomp.com) for an extra Smart Lunch or replacement homework credit.
Day 71, Sem. 1
At the beginning of class, students looked over their research paper document for a final time. I reminded them to look for comments from me on the Works Cited page or other pages in certain circumstances and to make sure there were no blank spaces or blank pages that tend to happen when working on a shared document. Then, I required each student to highlight on his/her notes pages the paraphrases or direct quotes used in the final paper. After doing so, they were ready to staple together the rubric, outline, and 4 pages of notes to turn in. Groups who were ready also uploaded the final paper to Turnitin.com. Those who wanted to still do revisions today have until 11:59 pm to submit the paper to Turnitin, but that will require excellent communication skills and trust/responsibility to the group to get that accomplished.
Next, we worked more to read about and understand the concept of parallel structure, including selecting sentences with correct parallel structure and the correct parallel structure to complete a sentence.
Finally, students had the rest of the class period to read in their lit circle books and prepare for tomorrow's group meeting/discussion.
Homework: Finish reading to group page # goal in lit circle book and complete written preparation for tomorrow's group discussion.
Day 70, Sem. 1
Our independent reading time is expanding: today students read for 25 minutes at the beginning of class. They could also work on preparation assignments for their lit circle discussion that is coming up on Thursday during this reading time. Next, we worked on revisions for the research paper. All classes worked on fine-tuning their topic sentence transitions to reflect each paragraph's place in the overall paper. In addition, I notified students of formatting or other issues in each team's paper that need to be revised/fixed before tomorrow's due date. 1st Period was able to begin our new Grammar Unit (4: Style) with an overview of parallel structure and developing mnemonics to learn the 5 rules of parallelism. 3rd and 4th period needed to finalize notes on Life is Beautiful at the end of class and will begin the grammar instruction tomorrow.
Homework: Final research papers are due TOMORROW! Complete revisions by using peer review feedback AND the SAS Writing Reviser website (instructions on Canvas). Bring printed notes (4 separate pages), outline, and rubric to submit in class tomorrow.
Day 69, Sem. 1
We started off with 15 minutes of independent reading. We will be increasing our in-class reading time over the course of the week to provide time in class for students to read the novel/biography selected for the Literature Circles. In addition to reading, we also discussed the requirements for the research paper's conclusion paragraph and did some planning for our Literature Circle reading/discussion schedule. Each group selected a goal of total pages read (50 is the minimum) for the first discussion meeting on Thursday (12/14) and assigned group roles for that first meeting as well. Finally, with time we had remaining, we held a short discussion of Night and Life is Beautiful, especially with regard to common motifs in both texts.
Homework: Complete peer review (if not done over the weekend). Write assigned section of conclusion. Read/work on assigned role for Thursday's literature circle discussion.
Day 68, Sem. 1
For the first part of class, students reviewed one another's parenthetical documentation in the group paper. After verifying their documentation, I gave them some time to submit body paragraphs to Turnitin.com for peer review. If their paragraphs are not complete or otherwise not ready for peer review, they have until 11:59pm tonight to submit. Homework over the weekend is to login to Turnitin on Saturday or Sunday and complete the peer review assigned to them.
For the second half of class, we finished watching our trickster/Holocaust movie, Life is Beautiful. The ending is both inspiring and devastating, and we had little time to process that before getting pushed out by the bell. We will finish our discussion of the movie and its relationship to Night on Monday, and students will turn in their notes on the movie then.
Homework: Submit body paragraphs (your 2 only) to Turnitin.com by 11:59 pm tonight if not done during class today. On Saturday or Sunday, login to Turnitin.com and complete the peer review assignment for the anonymous paragraphs you have been assigned to review.
Day 67, Sem. 1
Today in class we reviewed the rules and requirements for a Works Cited page of a research paper and created the Works Cited in each groups' Google Document using the Google Add-on that collaborates with the EasyBib Bibliography Creator. We only used the EasyBib Add-on for our trickster tale books and website, and for the Joseph Campbell video for the informational sources. The artificial intelligence behind EasyBib does not generate good results for the other four informational sources students used, so I reviewed with them how to create a Works Cited entry in MLA style (version 8.0). The "cheat sheet" for this process is on Canvas and in the student's Writer's Reference Guide (p. 7). After all the groups had created a Works Cited page for all literary and informational sources used in the paper, we also reviewed the rules for parenthetical documentation. Tonight's homework is to add CORRECT parenthetical documentation to the body paragraphs in the shared document. We will check all documentation tomorrow in class to make sure everyone is doing it right.
For the last 30 minutes of class, we watched the second part of Life Is Beautiful and completed a Venn diagram of similarities and differences of the Jewish experience before and during the concentration camp in Night and the movie.
Homework: Add parenthetical documentation for all C sentences in the body paragraphs of the research paper.
Day 66, Sem. 1
After independent reading time, we started watching the film Life Is Beautiful. During today's section of the movie, students used a graphic organizer to note how the main character, Guido, exhibits aspects of the trickster archetype. In the following days, our focus will shift to comparing how the film shares the setting and multiple motifs with the Holocaust memoir Night. Those shared concepts of setting and motifs are important as students begin to read their chosen book for the literature circle unit we will begin next week.
While we did not work on the research paper in class today, students are still working on that project at home. For tonight, students should write the second body paragraph from their own outline into the shared Google Doc. We will spend class time in the next couple of days to work on the Works Cited page, parenthetical documentation, and the conclusion. I will have students peer edit their body paragraphs through the Turn It In website over the weekend. Complete papers will be due by the middle of next week (12/13).
Homework: Write the draft of your second body paragraph into the shared Google Doc for the trickster research paper.
Day 65, Sem. 1
We started with 15 minutes of independent reading (most students are reading in the Holocaust/WWII lit circle book now). Next, I had each research group create a shared Google Doc for the research paper that is now shared with all group members and me. They added the heading and header to the document, and then I gave them time to draft an introduction to the paper in the document. We reviewed the elements of an introduction (hook, bridge, and thesis) and what needs to appear in each element. While students worked on this paragraph, I continued to check off students' notes from the informational and literary sources. Finally, we returned to our long-paused discussion of Night to consider the various motifs in the memoir, define them, and cite examples of each one. Groups worked with one assigned motif for the definition and first example and then rotated around to other tables to add examples to other motifs.
Homework: Write draft of one body paragraph in the shared Google Doc.
This post also contains Friday's update. Scroll down to view class activity for Friday.
Day 64, Sem. 1
Today we started class with a 30-minute window for students to catch up (and finish) any notes from last week's research that were incomplete for any reason. Students who were finished with all notes were able to use that time to read independently (all students should have or have ordered the Holocaust/WWII book for lit circles by now). After filling in all the notes, we were ready to begin the process of planning the body paragraphs. I guided students through the planning guide/outline for the body paragraphs (handout on Canvas) and gave them additional time to write out as much of their paragraph plan as they could in class. The rest of the outline is due for homework.
Homework: Finish outline/planning guide for both body paragraphs
Day 63, Sem. 1
We started class where we left off on Thursday, following the process of analyzing our notes to create claims for the body paragraphs of the research paper. Each research group was responsible for creating at least six claims from their three strongest areas of notes. I demonstrated the process using information that answered the research questions about a trickster's motivation/call to action. Once the groups had their claims written out, they needed to choose a trickster tale that could support two of the claims. Each group member must have a unique trickster from a different world (non European-American) culture. I explained that they could choose a story first and then decide which two claims to pair with the story or they could choose their claims and then skim multiple stories until they found a compatible one. In either case, once they found the story, they needed to read it and take notes on the story using the Literary Source Note Card guided notes page (handout available on Canvas). By the end of class, each student should have two claims to use as topic sentences in their body paragraphs and notes on a trickster tale. Anything unfinished must be finished for homework.
Homework: Complete trickster tale notes on Literary Source note card and write your two claims on your outline/planning guide for the body paragraphs.
Allison Houck, MAT