I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
My apologies for the "lost" week of blog posts. Please email me or send me a message in Remind if you need to know anything about a day from the previous week.
Day 52 of Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we did a quick overview of our next grammar unit: punctuation and capitalization. The only work we did in the unit today was to read over the 7 comma rules for understanding. I then assigned them to memorize the acronym for the 7 rules and what each letter stands for. They will have a 10% quiz one day this week on which they will have to write the acronym and the meaning of each letter (each rule). The final quiz for this unit will also require them to provide the acronym and meaning for each letter.
Next, we had a 15 minute discussion about author's purpose and how to "read" the author's purpose in Things Fall Apart, especially in part 3. Everyone should have read chapters 20-22 already (20 pages total), and they need to finish the book by reading/annotating chapters 23-25 tonight (17 pages total). Then, I gave students the Found/Blackout poem assignment that focuses on a crucial conversation in Chapter 21 between Akunna and Mr. Brown. This conversation is a perfect example of the author's purpose for this text, so students are practicing close reading skills by analyzing one character's point of view as a step in seeing the author's purpose. We will finish the found poem part of the process in class tomorrow (steps 1-5) to turn in. Students have the option to complete step 6 after I evaluate the found poem as an extra Smart Lunch or homework replacement assignment.
At the end of class, I pointed students to the Study Guide on Canvas for our unit test on Wednesday on our reading and discussion of Things Fall Apart. Students will need the book for our next unit, Night, in class starting on Thursday.
Homework: Finish reading/annotating Part 3 (chapters 23-25 if on schedule). Begin studying for the unit test by using one or more of the active study strategies on the Study Guide.
Day 6, Sem. 1
Today, I previewed the novel Berlin Boxing Club for students before we began our independent reading time. This historical fiction stems from the story of Max Schmeling, the German boxer who Hitler used to promote the superiority of the Aryan race. Schmeling did in fact rescue two young boys from Nazi Germany and got them safely to America. This story imagines how he would have gotten involved, and the plot focuses on the boy's experience in pre-war Germany as a Jew.
After reading, we discussed the next five vocabulary words on our list from Things Fall Apart and then reviewed definitions and examples of sentence fragments and run-on sentences. We will spend one more day on those topics for our second grammar unit and then take a quiz on sentence types and punctuation of compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences on Monday.
The rest of the class period (~30 min.) was time for groups to work on the group project along with individual projects for Part I (all due on Friday, end of class).
Homework: Work as needed on Part I chapter annotations and individual projects. Read chapters 14-15 in Part II. Annotate as you go, or wait to annotate by skimming next week.
Wed., Nov. 1
Day 45, Sem. 1 (Quarter 2)
At the beginning of class, I reminded students about Smart Lunch and late work policies. I also previewed one book, Salt to the Sea, that is one of the choices for our Holocaust/World War II unit coming up later in the quarter. I'm encouraging everyone to pick up each one of the book choices for that unit and read for 10 minutes to see if it's of interest. I will introduce each of the seven books that are options for that unit over the next several days in class. After these introductory comments, everyone read for 10 minutes.
Next, we discussed the first 5 vocabulary words on our List 1 from Things Fall Apart. We will cover 5 words per day and then review the words before scheduling a vocabulary quiz for next week (around Wed. or Thurs.). Then, we worked on creating complex and compound-complex sentences in our grammar unit packet.
For the final ~30 minutes of class, groups worked together on group and individual projects from Part I of Things Fall Apart that are due on Friday. We will have additional class time to work on these projects on Thursday and Friday this week.
Homework: Continue annotating each chapter in Part I for character name/identity details, vocabulary words (robust and Igbo words), writing summary chapter titles, and highlighting 2 significant lines/quotes from each chapter. Students should finish Part I annotations by Friday.
Day 44, Sem. 1
Last Day of Quarter 1!
We started with independent reading and then quickly went over the fourth type of sentence structure, compound-complex sentences, practicing writing a few and noting punctuation rules for each. We will conclude this grammar unit by reviewing fragments and run-on sentences, which are often punctuation errors, and how to correct them.
After grammar, we spent a good bit of time on the annotation requirements for Part I of Things Fall Apart. Students have read all 13 chapters of Part I already, so I am asking them to now GO BACK through the chapters to find and annotate the following: important characters (underline name and margin notes of important details to know about the character), robust and Igbo vocabulary words (note meanings in the margin), chapter titles (one per chapter to practice summary skills), and significant quotes (highlight 1-2 per chapter and margin notes about reason for significance).
We also looked very briefly at a few literary techniques that Achebe uses throughout the novel: allusion, figurative language, proverbs, and folk tales. I then gave out the project options for Part I, which students will work on starting tonight and in class through Thursday. Each table group will choose one group project, and each group member will choose one individual project (no duplication within the group).
Homework: Work on Part I annotations and begin individual project (due Thursday).
I was so busy grading ACES portfolios this week that I negelected my daily posts. My apologies. Here's a quick look back at the rest of the week:
1st/3rd: Independent reading (20 min.). Things Fall Apart seminar discussion for Part I, writing reflection.
4th: Midterm Benchmark assessment
Homework: Complete essay, engage in peer review, revise essay. Submit to Ms. Houck via Google doc share by Friday pm
1st/3rd: Midterm Benchmark assessment
4th: Things Fall Apart seminar discussion for Part I, writing reflection, notes on author's claims (from video interview of Chinua Achebe)
Homework: Complete essay, engage in peer review, revise essay. Submit to Ms. Houck via Google doc share by Friday pm.
Grammar lesson: Adjective and noun clauses (dependent clauses; complex sentences), work time on Rhetorical Analysis essay in media center
Homework: Cont. reading Things Fall Apart, Part I, seminar preparation
Review of introduction and conclusion requirements, work time on Rhetorical Analysis in media center
Homework: Cont. reading Things Fall Apart, Part I, seminar preparation
Day 39, Sem. 1
We spent most of the class today in the media center working on the rhetorical analysis essay. Before we left the classroom, I gave them a quick tutorial and assignment on adjective clauses (2nd type of dependent clause) and went over the instructions for the upcoming seminar on Part I of Things Fall Apart. For this seminar, each student has a different short reading selection from Part I and the discussion will allow students to compare/contrast their individual pieces to put together an understanding of the Igbo tribal culture presented in this first part of the novel. This is an introductory seminar, instead of a concluding seminar like we had after studying Oedipus Rex. Therefore, the seminar prep and participation are classwork and homework grades instead of assessment grades.
The goal in writing for the seminar today was to complete AT LEAST two paragraphs of the overall essay, in order to finish drafting the other three paragraphs during class tomorrow.
Friday, 10/20 Early Release
Day 38, Sem. 1
Since all classes were short today and our 3rd period attended an assembly instead of coming to class, I treated 1st and 4th periods as time to work on homework assignments, primarily annotating and finding evidence of rhetorical appeals in the student's chosen funeral speech from Julius Caesar (this will provide the necessary prewriting for the analysis essay we will compose in class next week). Students could also read in Things Fall Apart to stay on track with the assigned reading schedule (chapters 1-3 by today/Friday, chapters 4-6 by Monday).
Homework: Finish speech annotation, finding examples of rhetoric in the funeral speech. Read through chapter 6 in Things Fall Apart.
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
Allison Houck, MAT