I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 62, Sem. 1
We started class with our vocabulary quiz from our study of Night. Next, we created research paper groups (3 students per group) and identified areas of strength in the group's notes. Those areas with multiple answers and ideas became the basis for an overall outline of the paper. Once groups identified three topics, each with two subtopics, they each chose one topic to write about for the overall paper. Next, each group needed to choose three different tricksters whose tales could serve as examples for the topic of each body paragraph. (Most classes really did not get too far in this process today! Consider this explanation as a roadmap for the next day or two.)
Homework: Finish analysis packet for Night to submit tomorrow for a minor assessment grade.
Day 61, Sem. 1
We started class with a review game for vocabulary (quiz is tomorrow). After that, students worked on reading and taking guided notes on the trickster archetype for the third (and final) day. Students who were able to finish today's notes with time remaining in class had me check off their work on all three and note corrections to MLA citations, then began looking through the options for tricksters from various world cultures to use as the literary source for the paper. Tomorrow we will form research paper groups (3 students per paper) and organize the information they have learned into an outline for the paper. Once they have a working outline, we will return to the media center on Friday to fill in the gaps in our informational notes, esp. direct quotes, and find a trickster's story for each member of the group.
Homework: Study for the vocabulary quiz tomorrow; remember to write some practice sentences so that you know how to use the words for the writing section of the quiz. Continue working on Night analysis packet (due Friday). Make plans NOW to get a copy of the book you've been assigned to read for the Holocaust book circles coming soon! Begin reading as soon as possible, esp. if you've chosen one of our longer texts like Unbroken and All the Light We Cannot See.
Day 60, Sem. 1
Today was our second day in the media center working on the trickster research project. Before beginning today's article/notes, everyone took the punctuation quiz on Canvas. As they finished, students were then able to switch to reading a second article about the trickster archetype, taking guided notes on the research questions as they worked. Towards the end of class, I asked everyone to list their top 3 choices of books for our upcoming Holocaust/WWII book circles. I will assign everyone a specific book, based on their choices, tomorrow. They will need to have the book to begin reading as soon as possible.
Homework: Continue reading Chapters 7-9 in Night and working on the analysis packet (due Friday). Continue reviewing vocabulary definitions, synonyms, and antonyms for the quiz on Thursday as well as writing sentences to practice using each word.
Day 59, Sem. 1
We started class by taking notes on the last 5 words on the current vocabulary list (from Night). Vocab. quiz will be Thursday this week. Next, we review the 2 rules for title punctuation (italicize titles for long texts; use quotation marks for short texts). I provided students a website (on Canvas) with a table for examples of long and short texts. Then, we reviewed the research process and located resources on Canvas for students to use during class (links to articles and the document for guided note taking). The students then used the remainder of the class period to read one article about the trickster archetype and take notes. We will repeat this process for the next 2 days; they will read a total of three articles and create three separate note documents by Wednesday. Students who are absent any of these three days (Mon-Wed. this week) should work on these notes at home in addition to the homework in Night/studying for quizzes. All three notes documents are due by Friday (I will start checking notes on Thursday for those who are finished).
Homework: Study comma rules, semi-colon/colon rules, and review capitalization and title punctuation rules for quiz tomorrow. Read chapters 7-9 in Night by Wed. (Analysis packet is due Friday.)
Day 58, Sem. 1
We had a short class today due to the Early Release bell schedule, which meant that we changed things around from our normal routine. First, we reviewed vocabulary words 6-10 on the list from Night. Next, I showed everyone how to access the resources on Canvas to complete 2 grammar related assignments over the break: Khan Academy practice for semi-colon and colon use and an refresher course on capitalization rules.
For the next 30+ minutes, students had time to read in Night, chapter 3 (if needed -- at least up to p34) and work on the analysis of the passage included in the analysis packet. I wanted them to have time to work on the analysis while they could ask me questions if the questions posed any difficulty. I reminded them to keep in mind that the packet counted as a minor assessment grade and to read/follow the directions carefully.
Homework: Continue reading in Night, through chapter 6. Complete analysis pages for chapters 4 and 5. Use the Khan Academy link on Canvas to review semi-colon and colon rules and practice exercises (do at least 2x). Answer the capitalization questions and use the Google Slides presentation on Canvas to review unfamiliar or unknown rules and check answers for the questions.
Day 57, Sem. 1
Today, I gave everyone a little extra reading to do during the first 15 minutes of independent reading. Each table had a couple of picture books or story collections on the table for students to read. Each one was an example of a trickster story from somewhere in the world other than the U.S. I wanted them to see some examples of these trickster tales to introduce the topic of our research project, which begins immediately after the Thanksgiving break. I also gave everyone an assignment handout for the research project to review tonight. Tomorrow I will answer questions and then on Monday, 11/27, we will begin!
After independent reading and a brief discussion of the trickster research project, we turned our attention to Night vocabulary and the next topic in our grammar unit: colon and semicolon use (#seewhatididthere). Students learned the two rules governing the rules of semicolons (compound sentences and supercommas) and the two rules governing the use of colons (after a complete sentence introduction and in other writing conventions such as time, titles/subtitles, etc.). Then we practiced with a set of sentences; each sentence needed either a colon or semicolon and students decided what to add and why.
Finally, we had just a few minutes left to discuss the first couple of chapters of Night and identify some ideas that seem to be setting precedents for certain motifs in the text. We'll continue this tomorrow, along with spending some class time reading chapter 3 and writing analysis responses to the topics in the independent study packet.
Homework: Continue reading in Night ... you should be ready to begin Chapter 3, if following the reading schedule. Review the research project packet and note any questions you have for tomorrow.
Day 56, Sem. 1
The primary focus of class today was a visit from Mr. Gross, a counselor from our award winning Student Services department, who provided the annual sophomore guidance information about everything from driver's permit qualifications, to course registration information, to college planning, and everything in between. If you would like to see the Power Point of his presentation, you can visit the Student Services weebly Sophomore section here. After he left, we had just a short time to discuss reading schedule and expectations for Night, assign vocabulary words, and preview the independent study packet that is the main grade for reading this text. More on those things Monday.
Homework: The Night reading schedule is for students to have read chapters 1-2 for class discussion on Monday. Chapter 3-6 need to be read over the Thanksgiving break, and the final chapters, 7-9, are due on Wednesday 11/29.
Day 55, Sem. 1
We started with 10 minutes of independent reading. Since today is the first day of our Holocaust comparative literature unit, students could read our assigned novel, Night, or one of our book club choices in addition to any other book of their choice. Next, we reviewed comma rules by going over the answers to the 2 comma exercises students have done for homework since Tuesday night.
Finally, I introduced some of the essential questions and critical issues for the Holocaust unit with a "silent discussion" activity. First, we watched a video slide show about Children in the Holocaust and then students held a silent discussion by responding in writing only to 5 questions on big poster paper around the room. They also responded to each other's responses. For most classes, that activity went very well and took us up to the end of class. I asked them all to read chapter 1 of Night for homework to prepare for tomorrow's class, but they will be able to get caught up over the weekend if necessary.
Day 54, Sem. 1
As usual, on a test day, we start with the test to ensure that everyone has plenty of time to finish. Today's test was on the novel Things Fall Apart plus a new reading comprehension skills assessment (reading a short story with similar setting, characters, and themes from the novel). Most students finished in about 45 minutes and then had time to read independently. Once everyone finished (usually within an hour), we reviewed the comma exercise handout that was yesterday's homework.
Homework: Complete 2nd comma exercise practice on the back of Tuesday's handout. Finish adding self-selected robust vocabulary words to the back of the Things Fall Apart vocabulary notes sheet to turn in on Thursday. Bring the next book, Night, with you to class tomorrow also.
Coming up: A school counselor, Mr. James Gross, will meet with our classes on Friday for a group academic counseling session. He will discuss transcripts, GPAs, planning for course registration in February, and what sophomores should be doing about college planning.
Day 53, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we returned to our discussion of the author's purpose, how to discover it, and what it looks like in our novel, Things Fall Apart. We discussed how characterization, patterns (motifs), and archetypes (tragic hero and epic hero) help us to see the author's purpose. Lastly, we talked about the connection between theme and author's purpose, and how if theme is a universal truth, then we should be able to compare the themes of this novel to a completely different text to find common themes. To practice, we compared the novel to a Smarter Every Day YouTube video about riding a backwards bicycle. See video below.
For the final 15-20 minutes of class, students had time to finish their found poem assignment from yesterday. Those who finished early worked on a comma rules practice handout that is due tomorrow.
Homework: Finish found poem if necessary, study for unit test using Study Guide on Canvas, and complete comma rules handout (Practice 1 side only).
Allison Houck, MAT