I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 81, Sem. 1
I had a few administrative things to talk about at the beginning of class regarding parental permission forms for early dismissal on Jan. 17 after the English II Exam (EOC) and EOC practice classwork/homework due dates, etc. After getting that business out of the way, groups spent approximately 30 minutes in discussion for sections 3 and 4 of their WWII books. At the end of the discussion time, each group member completed a final reflection writing and a peer/self evaluation for today's discussion. Then, students compiled their body of work for this unit to submit for a classwork grade: 4 written prep documents, 3 reflections, and 2 evaluations. With the remaining time, groups discussed how to approach the book talk assignment and assigned parts and responsibilities.
Homework: Work on EOC Literary/Informational text packet and book talk assignment.
Day 30, Sem. 1
We began class with the Grammar Style unit quiz on parallel structure, active v. passive voice, and sentence variety. Students worked on that quiz for approximately 45 minutes. Those who finished more quickly had time to read or work on the EOC poetry packet due tomorrow. After the quiz, I went over the Book Talk assignment with the class. Students received the assignment sheet and rubric before the inclement weather, so they had time to familiarize themselves with the assignment the the grade expectations before today. However, I emphasized certain aspects of the assignment and answered questions. With just a few minutes remaining in class, they had a little time to discuss their ideas for the presentation today. They will have additional time on Tuesday for discussion and then most of the class on Wednesday to write the presentation and practice it. Presentations take place on Thursday in class (major assessment grade).
Homework: Prepare for tomorrow's discussion of sections 3-4 of your lit circle book. Complete the EOC poetry practice packet to turn in tomorrow (except for the ACES question on pg 1).
Day 79, Sem. 1
As I was typing up this post, we learned that school is dismissing 2 hours early today, which means that my first period class had time to accomplish most of what I had planned for today, and 3rd and 4th period classes had almost no time! Here's the main thing: Style quiz on parallel structure, active voice v. passive voice, and sentence beginning variety is scheduled for Friday, 1/5, but may be given any day after we return if we have a snow day(s). Book circle project was assigned and is due on 1/11 (last day of class before the exam schedule).
Homework: Prepare for book circle discussion #3 -- scheduled for tomorrow. Watch Remind for info about rescheduled discussion dates if we miss days for snow. Style quiz will be any day after Friday, so study -- especially sections you need to memorize/define.
Day 7_, Sem. 1
Short classes today due to the early release schedule. We started with grammar/sentence variety, revising a paragraph by first identifying sentences that could be combined and then applying different sentence beginnings to the combined and remaining sentences. Next, we reviewed the poem "Moonrise" by looking at the mutiple choice options given for the questions the students answered as open-ended questions in yesterday's class. For the final 25-30 minutes, groups conducted their discussions about the lit circle books and wrote a reflection on notable aspects of this section of the book and insights gained from the discussion.
Homework: Continue reading in lit circle book as needed over the break. Our next group discussion is on Jan. 4 (Thursday), so read as much as needed to be prepared.
Day 76, Sem. 1
After our 25 minutes of reading/prep work for tomorrow's book group discussion, we started our final topic in the grammar unit about Style: sentence variety (sentence beginnings). Students viewed a presentation and took notes about 5 different ways to begin a sentence other than with subject + verb and then practiced coming up with 5 different ways to write a single sentence (handout). Then, I gave students a poem from a previous EOC exam and asked them to read and complete the Observe/Analyze/Infer process for that poem before looking at the exam questions. We were able to read and discuss observations, but will have to complete the rest of the process along with the questions in class tomorrow.
Homework: Finish reading to the page # goal for tomorrow's book discussion and complete written prep for your role in the discussion.
Day 75, Sem. 1
As has been our pattern for the past few days, we started with 25 minutes for reading or working on written prep for lit circle group discussion meetings set for Thursday. Then, we practiced and discussed additional active voice exercises to reinforce what we learned yesterday. For the final part of class, each group chose one of the following poems in our packet: "Shema," "Heritage," or "Psalm" to analyze through collaborative discussion. My goal for each class is to discuss the writing prompt common to the poetry selections on the EOC exam and to show students how to use their notes from Observe/Analyze/Infer to write a succinct ACES response that will earn them high marks for those questions.
Homework: Continue reading and doing the written prep for your role in Thursday's group discussion of your lit circle book.
Day 74, Sem. 1
After 25 minutes of reading/preparing for next group discussion of the lit circle book, we began learning about active voice v. passive voice for our Style grammar unit. In addiiton to a page of notes and examples, we watched a helpful video and noted the 3 indicators of passive voice along with 4 situations in which passive voice might be a good choice, stylistically speaking. I gave the students five exercise sentences to add to the notes handout in which they identified active or passive voice and changed passive voice examples to active voice to improve the style.
Finally, we returned to our Holocaust poetry packet and worked to observe significant aspects of the second poem, "The Butterfly" and analyze the significance of those observed details.
Homework: Continue reading and preparing for Thursday's book discussion.
Day 73, Sem. 1
We started class with 25 minutes of independent reading in the WWII/Holocaust books. While they read, I asked them to find examples of parallel structure in their books and share them on our big screen by texting a response to a Poll Everywhere question. Before we completed more parallelism practice exercises, we discussed the merits of the examples they had found. We completed our 2nd page of parallel structure exercises, so we will move on to the second topic in the Style unit on Monday. Students should continue to rehearse their mnemonic and practice listing the rules for parallel structure for another 10-point quiz next week.
For the final 30 minutes of class, we used the Observe/Analyze/Infer process to study the first poem in our packet of Holocaust poems.
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.
Allison Houck, MAT