I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Day 17, Sem. 1
With the start of a new unit (and a grammar unit), we moved seats today and formed new learning groups. This next literature unit requires strong collaboration, so I polled students during the test yesterday to learn whom they would prefer to work with; I also used the feedback they gave me on their student information surveys from the first day of school to determine team members and seating preferences. For our new grammar unit, we used the Plickers app to answer pretest questions on subject-verb agreement. Hopefully, most students are well-versed in this topic and we can move on as a class quickly. Those who need a bit of extra practice will have opportunities to meet with me during Smart Lunch next week to work together on that. Next, I gave the learning teams a group mini-research project to create their own "textbook" pages for Introduction to Greek Drama and Tragedy in advance of reading/performing Oedipus Rex next week.
Homework: Finish both ACES in process: The hero ACES needs to be revised based on the teacher feedback and entered into the portfolio by Friday (end of day). The Gilgamesh ACES needs to be written (draft) and entered into the portfolio by Friday (before class begins). No school tomorrow -- so plenty of time to knock these out. :-)
Day 16, Sem. 1
Today's Epic Hero Unit Test took the entire class. Before the test, students turned in several handouts we worked on in class during this unit that I graded for a Student Engagement grade: Elements of Fiction (front/back), Hero's Journey (front/back), graphic organizer comparing the two Flood Stories (student-created). I also checked the Archetypes Collaborative Document as part of this grade; students worked on this document in their groups in a Google Doc. You can see the Google Doc by going to Canvas>Epic Hero unit module.
Homework: Students are writing the draft of an ACES in response to one of three prompts based on the Epic of Gilgamesh. They are also revising their draft for the Hero ACES prompt. Both are due at the end of this week.
Day 15, Sem. 1
We changed our usual order of class today and started off with our final discussion relating to Gilgamesh and theme. I showed the class the video of former Panther Creek student Laura Rozo's TED Talk (see below) and asked them to take notes on all points of comparison/relation to Gilgamesh's story. Then, we reviewed the format of a theme statement and each student expressed a theme from Gilgamesh. Next, students reviewed the three prompt options for the ACES paragraph #2 in the ACES portfolio and selected one. I regrouped the students to tables by prompt choice, and gave them time to work together to figure out/write a claim statement in response to the prompt and time to find and write out textual evidence that supports the claim. They will be working on the draft of this ACES this week, mostly at home. The finished draft needs to be in the portfolio Thursday night to use in class on Friday. For the final 10 minutes of class, they had the choice to continue working on the ACES plan, check and update all Gilgamesh notes/classwork for the Student Engagement grade tomorrow, or read in their IRT novel.
Homework: Unit test on Epic Heroes tomorrow. Study Guide is posted on Canvas; completing/updating classwork for the Student Engagement grade is a great way to review. Draft copy of Gilgamesh ACES is due Thursday night to use in class on Friday. Revision to hero ACES due at the end of the day (midnight) Friday 9/22.
Day 14, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we briefly discussed ACES revisions and the instructions for how to complete that assignment by Friday (pm) of next week (9/22). I will be available for conferences to help those who have made an attempt at revision but have questions during both halves of Smart Lunch on Tuesday and Friday next week. I may also have limited time in class for conferences (during IRT time, etc.).
Next, students read pages 32-33 in the textbook, the final section of the Epic of Gilgamesh entitled "The Return." I then had students pair off to discuss four key questions about "The Return" after which they completed all the remaining steps on the hero's journey organizer with evidence from the text for each step. They also added archetypes from the flood stories and The Return to the Examples from Literature column in the archetypes document.
Homework: No assignments due on Monday, but students have a test on the Epic Hero Unit on Tuesday (study guide available on Canvas) and a due date to revise the hero ACES in the portfolio. Students should review feedback and begin revision over the weekend so they can know if they need to sign up for a teacher conference next week.
Day 13, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of independent reading time, we engaged in discussion about the two flood stories students read and prepared notes for. First, students taught each other the details of their respective flood stories and then we had a whole class discussion connecting the meaning of the archetypes to the points of comparison between the stories. Finally, we learned the difference between a topic and a theme, and students worked with their flood story partner to develop a theme statement about the flood story that followed this pattern: The __(title)___ is about ___(topic)____ and reveals that ____(central insight/truth/lesson)______.
Homework: No homework tonight, but we have a test coming up on the Gilgamesh/Flood story unit, so start to study!
Day 12, Sem. 1
We started class with our vocabulary quiz, and then students read independently while waiting for others to finish. Once everyone had finished the quiz and had time to read, we reviewed/graded the quizzes before turning to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Student groups divided up to read two flood stories, the one in Gilgamesh and the story of Noah and the Flood (also in the textbook). They took notes on four areas of comparison between the stories: the motivation of the gods in sending the flood, the number archetypes (symbols), the order and types of birds, and the actions of the gods after the flood. Once finished, students shared at their own tables about the similarities and differences bewteen the myths -- we will continue this tomorrow as needed.
Homework: Finish reading and noting answers to questions about the flood story you volunteered to read. Finish illustrations based on the imagery from the text describing the Man-Bird, the House of Dust, the Scorpions and their Home, and the Garden of the Gods.
Day 11, Sem. 1
After 10 minutes of reading, we got right into our analysis of The Epic of Gilgamesh (EoG). First, we used close reading skills to debate Gilgamesh's encounter with the lions, and then we detailed each conversation he had with those he had to pass to continue on his journey to find Utnapishtim (Scorpions and gods like Shamash and Siduri). Students also found and listed the imagery used to describe two important settings in "The Search": the Scorpions' home and the Garden of the Gods. They also need to sketch those settings on the Elements of Fiction handout they've been using for notes on these sections of the tale. In the final 15-20 minutes of class, students logged onto a Google document where they recorded information they learned through quick research about a particular archetype (I assigned each table one archetype to research). This document is available on our Canvas page, and students will add to this document in the next couple of classes. All students can see/access the document when it is completed to use as a study tool for our unit test.
Homework tonight: Finish the ACES paragraph about the best definition of a hero in the Google document. I will check them all for completion tomorrow and then begin adding feedback. Once I have given everyone feedback, I will assign a due date for the revised paragraph to be added to the same Google document (ACES portfolio). In addition, students have a vocabulary quiz tomorrow, so they need to be prepared for that by studying definitions, synonyms, and antonyms.
Day 10, Sem. 1
My apologies for posting today's blog a bit late. I was working all throughout the day to make sure everyone who turned in a peer edited ACES paragraph received credit and that all students could have access to feedback on their practice ACES before working on the first "official" writing assignment of the quarter this week. In class today, students read independently for 10 minutes, and then we completed going over this unit's vocabulary list. I really enjoy discussing the shades of meaning for each of our words and the history behind many of the vocabulary. Parents, get in on the fun! Ask your student to tell you more about the words on our list and see how much they picked up on in class. I use visuals to get students to talk about words, so ask about the pictures I chose for each word. After vocabulary, we reviewed our reading of "The Death of Enkidu" from Friday (4th period had to actually read the text -- we ran out of time on Friday) and worked on the deeper comprehension skills that English II is so famous for. :-) Specifically, we looked at the internal conflicts of Enkidu and Gilgamesh and what those struggles contributed to the theme/deeper meaning of the text. We also analyzed the imagery from this section describing the Man-bird and the House of Dust so that students could understand Gilgamesh's fear and despair that drives him to leave his home country and begin a journey/adventure. Students had 15-20 minutes at the end of class to read the following section, "The Search for Everlasting Life." I also asked them to write answers (or notes for answers) to four questions about this passage so they would be prepared to discuss it's deeper meaning in class tomorrow. For those who did not finish the reading in class or those who were absent, the PDF of the textbook pages is available on Canvas as are the discussion questions.
HW: 1. Continue working on hero definition ACES (due Tuesday pm). Ideally, students should be finished with planning the paragraph (deciding on claim and finding best textual evidence, esp.) and are ready to write the paragraph itself. Writing must be completed in the Google doc (docs.google.com/a/wcpss.net/document/d/1jdIfmG1o3jKS-bibuSaW81DhmUJXnohuyT3HKpGzZno/edit?usp=copy) students copied to their Google Drive on Friday.
2. Finish reading/answering discussion questions in prep for tomorrow's class.
3. Remember you have a vocabulary quiz coming up on Wednesday. Use the Quizlet if you'd like to help you study.
Day 9, Sem 1
Happy Friday! This short week has gone by fast. Today we had extra independent reading time in class (15-20 minutes depending on the class), and then I introduced students to the first short-term writing assignment of a long-term portfolio project. Over the course of first quarter, students will practice and refine their writing skills using the ACES paragraph format with a variety of prompts/topics. They will keep all writing and revision in a single Google document, shared with me, that will become their complete portfolio by the end of the quarter. Today, students downloaded the portfolio template (a Google document), renamed it and shared it with me to get everything set up. I then gave them the writing prompt, based on our reading of three essays about heroism over the course of this week. I assigned them the planning of the paragraph for this weekend, with the ACES paragraph to be completed in the portfolio document by the end of Tuesday, 9/12.
After solving all technological problems and setting up all portfolios, we then moved on to vocabulary, with students presenting the definitions and discussing meanings, synonyms, and antonyms. By the end of class, we had just enough time to read the first section of The Epic of Gilgamesh, "The Death of Enkidu." They had one question to answer on our reading guide for the beginning of the epic. Those who did not finish can access the text PDF on Canvas and answer the question by Monday's class.
HW: Complete the planning for the Hero Definition ACES on the planning guide. Begin writing the paragraph in the portfolio once planning is complete. Full paragraph due in portfolio document by midnight on 9/12.
Day 8, Sem. 1
Most of our class time today was devoted to the beginning of our first literature unit. Students presented vocabulary words to the class from our list of words in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Then, I presented background information to students while they took notes, including notes on the Hero's Journey cycle as defined by Joseph Campbell and explained in the video below. Finally, we read the introduction to the epic (p. 23 of text -- copy of textbook pages available on Canvas) and outlined the various conflicts that helped to define Gilgamesh's character and status quo. I tried to save 10 minutes at the end of class for independent reading, but some classes were cut a little short. I'll give them extra time for reading tomorrow to make up for it.
Homework: Finish peer editing of classmate's ACES paragraph about the benefits of reading literary fiction. Due tomorrow, 9/8, at the beginning of class.
Allison Houck, MAT