I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 7, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we worked with both articles students read and annotated yesterday by writing summary sentences from our annotations that focus on the author's definition (claim) of heroism and highlighting high quality textual evidence in the articles that support those claims. Students then selected a third (final) article to read about heroism and began the process again: skim, determine four subtopics, set up a notes using the quadrant system, taking notes using method(s) of choice, summarizing how each section contributes to the author's claim about heroes, and highlighting supporting textual evidence. They also could use that time in class to work on their peer editing of a classmates ACES paragraph. Finally, we began to define and learn vocabulary specific to our upcoming literature text, The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Homework: Tonight: Read, annotate, summarize, and highlight evidence supporting the claim in the third article about heroes (reminder: you can find all articles on Canvas in the What is a Hero? module). Peer editing of Harry Potter ACES is due on Friday.
Day 6, Semester 1
We started class with independent reading time as usual and then began to focus on our question of the week, "What is the definition of a hero?" To address this question, students completed brainstorming their own ideas about this concept and sharing their ideas with their table groups. Then, I gave them an article to read, "What Makes a Hero?" by Phillip Zimbardo. While reading, I asked them to follow a structured annotation method (see Canvas in "What Is a Hero?" module). I modeled the annotation method on the board for students to see/compare their own work to. Finally, students chose a second essay on the topic to read (You can find all article options on Canvas in the same module). Their homework assignment is to read the article and annotate it using the same annotation method we practiced in class today. In addition, some students were assigned ONE vocabulary word from our Gilgamesh vocabulary list to look up and present to the class this week.
Due Thursday: Peer review/editing of classmates' Harry Potter ACES
We made it to the end of our first week! I told all my classes today that I think having a 5-day week for the first week of school is criminal. So, kudos to all of us who made it all 5 days. Of course, if you're checking this blog entry, it's probably because you did not -- so here's what you need to know.
After 10 min. of reading (do this at home if you were absent!), we spent most of the class working on ACES analysis. First, we discussed transitions and where they are most needed in the ACES paragraphs: to begin each C sentence and to begin the S sentence. We looked at the various transitions listed in the Writer's Reference handbook (pages 8-9) and which ones would work best for cited evidence. I gave everyone a chance then to add or revise transitions in their ACES written to turn in today. Next, we looked at two student example ACES paragraphs (responding to a different prompt from our homework assignment) and evaluated them by labeling the ACES elements, identifying successful elements and those that needed improvement. Finally, students each revised one of the two sample paragraphs to demonstrate their understanding of what we had discussed. I collected the homework ACES and the classwork ACES analysis before the end of class.
Right at the end of class, I played either a song or a video (see below) to get everyone thinking about our topic for next week: heroes. While listening to the song/video, they did some brainstorming about what associations/definitions they have for the concept of hero and recorded those on a brainstorming handout.
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After much consideration and downright dithering, I have decided to return to blogging about my daily class plans in this space again for the 2017-18 school year. I hope this daily exercise will be beneficial for my students and parents and possibly even other teachers; I learned in my first year of blogging that this daily reflection helped me to become a better teacher. And so, in no small part in my own self-interest, I am returning.
August 31, 2017
Semester 1, Day 4
We started class again today with 10 minutes of independent reading. I am excited that my classroom library is getting good use already (thanks to the donations from many parents last year). Ten minutes always feels too short, but I am sticking with good research that touts the benefits of keeping the time short but consistent (most every day). Those who already enjoy reading will find time to read more each day, and those who have lost the joy of reading are willing to engage for 10 minutes, while longer stretches feel more challenging.
After reading, we continued to work on skills to help students master some formal writing standards in the ACES paragraph format. Today's focus was introducing quotes. After reviewing four methods of introducing quotations in the Writer's Reference Handbook (page 10), I asked students to practice each method using the space provided on page 11 of the handbook, but using the quotes they selected from "Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter" instead.
Once students finished that practice activity, they could complete the ACES planning sheet for the current prompt and then begin writing their response to the prompt. Each student must bring a complete paragraph response to class tomorrow. The guidelines for the paragraph are:
1. Hand write or type in paragraph format
2. Double space (skip lines if hand writing)
3. Follow ACES guidelines on page 2 of the handbook
4. Put a username (NOT a real name) on the paper to allow for anonymous peer editing
Homework: Complete the paragraph response to the prompt on the ACES planning guide and bring a paper copy to class tomorrow.
Awards Day! Congratulations to all Student Choice and English II Honors award winners!
After celebrating our accomplishments, we got back to work with the Part II vocabulary Quiz on Quizlet. Once they had finished the quiz, students worked on their Ebook projects for the remainder of the class period. They will submit the final group project in class tomorrow. By the way, they look terrific!
Homework: Complete all content for the Ebooks. We will only have a short time to do final tweaks to the pages in class tomorrow, with only one laptop per group. Upload all content to the Ebook pages tonight!
Classes met in the media center today. We started with the grammar quiz. As students finished the quiz, they were able to get a laptop and begin working on the Ebook project that is due on Friday.
Homework: Prepare for Quizlet quiz on Part 2 vocab. (group Quizlet). Finish writing journal entry and work on letter paragraph.
We started class with Student Choice Award nominations, and then moved quickly into grammar review of sentence variety. Our quiz on Grammar Unit 4 on Style (parallel structure, active sentences, and sentence variety) is tomorrow. Next, we completed our final EOC poetry practice with the poem "The Market-Place." Students submitted answers via PollEverywhere.com (text messaging). After the poetry Q&A, the entire class watched the NC Test video tutorial which shows students the computer-based format of the online test and how to use the various tools. As time permitted, I went over the requirements of this week's final project on the Comparative Literature unit. Students will complete writing in the form of a journal entry and one paragraph in a letter to the author of their lit circle book and publish the writing in an Ebook created in Google Slides. We will begin working on the project in class starting tomorrow.
Homework: Prepare for tomorrow's grammar quiz: Review rules for Parallel structure and creating active sentences, practice parallel structure on Grammar Bytes website, complete exercise on handout from class for active voice and sentence variety. As time permits, write or begin journal entry for Part 3 of lit circle book.
At the beginning of class, we reviewed the sentences in the Active Voice/Sentence Variety exercise to correct for active voice. This review will help us prepare for next week's quiz on Grammar Unit 4 (Style: Parallel Structure, Active Voice, and Sentence Variety). Next, we read the EOC poem "Ithaka" and went through the questions and answers as part of our EOC review prep. Finally, students worked in Lit Circle groups to create their vocabulary Quizlet for Part 2 and to engage in the group discussion of the three topics for this section: narrative structure, cultural background, and research documents.
We started with vocabulary and grammar practice today. Students took the Quizlet Test on their group's vocabulary words from Part I and submitted the results to me on Canvas. Then, we worked on our Active Voice and Sentence Variety practice for about 15 minutes. We will continue to work on this same practice for the next couple of days to prepare for the unit quiz. Next, we read an EOC poem and answered the practice questions. Students were then able to use the last 30 minutes (approx.) to read and prepare for tomorrow's deadline for Part 2 reading/written work in the WWII book.
Homework: Complete Part 2 vocabulary, journals, and group discussion notes/article.
Allison Houck, MAT