I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Thursday, 5/10 -- Day 24 of Quarter 4
We started class working on practice exercises for parallel structure. Each class is at a different point with this topic, so check with a classmate to find out which practice sentences we worked on today in class.
Next, students met with their research group to develop an introduction for their paper. The thesis statement in the introduction relies on individual topic sentences that students should have written for homework last night. Those who are behind or not doing homework related to the research paper are making it much more difficult for group members to collaborate and produce the writing that is required. Those who had homework completed were able to generate ideas and draft some writing of the introduction much more quickly -- kudos to them.
At the end of class, each group set up their research paper document in MLA format and shared it with all group members as well as me (email@example.com).
Homework: Book circle discussion tomorrow! Complete preparation for your role in the discussion -- print summary/historical documents that you need to share. For the research paper, finish outlining body paragraphs as needed and collaborate online to draft your introduction.
Wednesday, 5/9 -- Day 23 of Quarter 4
Today is the Quarter 4 Interim. Remember to check your grades in Power Schools and let me know if you see anything that looks amiss!
We started class with some practice of parallel structure using a Grammar Bytes exercise to practice recognizing and completing parallel structure by describing the grammatical pattern created. Next, students followed a process to help them organize their research notes into topics and then outline those topics as body paragraphs on our outline document:
1. Read over all 4 pages of notes and look for individual lines across multiple sources that have something in common.
2. Highlight those lines with a unique color.
3. Once you have at least 3 lines on at least 2 different pages (sources), you have a topic.
4. Identify with a word or a phrase what the common principle is that connects all of these lines you have highlighted in the same color (this is your topic).
5. Can you connect that topic to the definition of inhumanity? If so, it is a topic you can use for one of your body paragraphs.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 to find a 2nd topic. (Use a different highlight color).
7. Repeat as many times as you can to link notes from your sources with one another. Choose the 2-3 strongest topics (most notes) to include on your outline as body paragraph 1, 2, and 3 (optional).
Homework: Fill in the outline graphic organizer on paper or using the Google doc in Canvas for your body paragraphs. Include topic sentence and list of facts (at least 3, up to 5). Remember your facts must come from at least 2 sources in each paragraph and you must use at least 3 of your sources in your 2-3 body paragraphs. In addition, read and work on preparation for your role in your book circle discussion on Friday.
Tuesday, 5/8 -- Day 22 of Quarter 4
Today, class was dedicated to our last reading comprehension test (before the final exam). These tests are designed to reflect the higher level reading comprehension that we have worked on all semester and which is the level of comprehension needed for the End of Course test that serves as the final exam for this class. It's our hope that the tests both reflect student growth and learning over the course of the semester and serve as an indicator of how well students will do on the End of Course assessment. Students who finished during class then had time to read in their current novel, the WWII book. The next class discussion of that book will be this Friday, 5/11. Groups have set and recorded in their packet the page number goal for that meeting.
Homework: Tomorrow in class we will work on the outline for the research paper. I strongly recommend that students print their 4 notes pages to bring to class. As long as they have notes complete and accessible on a laptop or device, printing is not required, but experience shows that it is helpful. In addition, read towards your next page number goal and complete work for discussion director/summarizer/illuminator/historical researcher role for Friday.
Monday, 5/7/18 -- Day 21 of Quarter 4
Today's class was different for my 1st period than for my 3rd and 4th periods. The vast majority of students in my classes today were signed up to take the AP Psychology exam during 3rd and 4th periods today, which necessitated the different plans.
1st Period: We began learning about parallel structure for our next grammar unit: Writing Style. Students read a brief introduction to the concept and examined the 5 rules for parallel structure. I then challenged them to come up with a mnemonic to remember the 5 rules in the form of a sentence (akin to Every Good Boy and Girl Does Fine, or My Dear Aunt Sally ...). The "winning" (most liked) mnemonic was Fancy, Sneaky Cows Like Chocolate, but students could use any one of those created by the table groups to learn. Next, we held our first discussion group for the WWII books, followed by a written reflection on the book so far. Those who had time remaining read until near the end of class. The written reflection is material for students to post to the "What I'm Reading" discussion on Canvas. Students need to post and then respond to one another at least one time (each) before the next discussion date (5/11).
Homework: Read towards your page goal for our next book discussion meeting on 5/11. Contribute to the discussion on the books on Canvas before Friday.
Reminder: We have another Close Reading Skills test (benchmark) in class TOMORROW, TUESDAY, 5/8. There's nothing to study or to do to prepare, but the test is like an exam of reading skills we worked on this semester, especially from our Things Fall Apart unit (characterization, theme, textual evidence to support theme, summary, etc.).
Friday, 5/4 -- Day 20 of Quarter 4
We returned to the library for one last time today, but did little work on the research project there. First, students took the punctuation quiz. Then, I checked Day 4 notes for anyone who did not share them with me on Thursday. Our book circle groups met for the first time today to do some planning and organizational tasks before the first book discussion meeting next week.
For those who will miss class on Monday for an AP test, please note that we will have our final reading comprehension skills test (equivalent to a benchmark) on Tuesday during class.
Homework: Determine how many pages you need to read to meet your book circle's first goal by the day of your first meeting. Read that number of pages each day this weekend.
Thursday, 5/3 -- Day 19 of Quarter 4
Today was our 4th day of research. Students found and took notes from their final source for the research paper -- a primary source, eyewitness account, or other source of their choice (all found from the pathfinder/curated databases and web browsers). If they finished during class, they had punctuation review activities to help them prepare for tomorrow's punctuation quiz on commas, semicolons, and colons. They also had access to our WWII books to read in advance of their first book group meeting tomorrow.
Homework: Finish Day 4/Primary/Other source notes as needed. Bring WWII book to class. Continue to prepare for the punctuation quiz.
Wednesday, 5/2 -- Day 18 of Quarter 4
Day 3 of Library Week! Today's goal was to find a web-based source, read it closely, and take notes (using Notes Google Doc from Canvas). Students might be able to finish today's goal more quickly than yesterday's book/ebook goal, which gives them time to go back to yesterday's source to continue reading and taking notes. I will check notes for both days 2 and 3 tomorrow. Additionally, those who finished early could do some web-based review activities for our upcoming punctuation quiz (comma review via Grammar Bytes website, semicolon and colon review via links on Canvas to Khan Academy and Grammar Book websites). They could also read in their assigned book for the WWII literature circle unit; I brought my copies of all the books to the media center for anyone to use during class as needed).
Homework: Prepare for Friday's punctuation quiz with online review resources. Finish day 2 or day 3 notes as needed for note check tomorrow.
Tuesday, 5/1 -- Day 17 of Quarter 4
The first item on our agenda today was punctuation -- reviewing semicolon and colon rules by discussion example sentences that need those 2 types of punctuation to be correctly written. I also gave students a 10-point quiz on the comma rules: they had to write the acronym for remembering the comma rules and what each letter stands for. The full quiz for this unit takes place on Friday, and students will need to do the same memorization and recall for that quiz as well.
Today was Day 2 of our research in the media center. Today's research goal was to find a book or ebook, read at least one chapter, and take notes from on the specific time frame of your assigned topic (background, event, or aftermath). Today's goal is a struggle; there are many roadblocks and dead ends to finding and using books and ebooks. This is a normal part of the research process, and one students need to learn to struggle through instead of finding an easy way around.
Homework: Continue practicing with comma rules and semicolons/colons with Grammar Bytes or other resources one Canvas to prepare for the punctuation quiz on Friday. Also continue reading and taking notes from the book/ebook resource you located during class today.
4/30, Day 16 of Quarter 4
Today marks the beginning of Library Week! We will spend most classes this week in the Media Center to complete our research on the various topics in our Man's Inhumanity to Man unit. There are many essential resources for this project on our Canvas site, and the Canvas calendar and syllabus both show due dates for each step in this project, which is a major assessment grade. Today's goal was to find and take notes from an online encyclopedia to gain a solid general understanding of the topic. Every student found an online encyclopedia article, created a Works Cited entry for the article, and took notes on at least 10 important facts/ideas/statements about the topic from that article. If necessary, they should finish for homework so that they are ready to proceed tomorrow to find a book/ebook and take notes from it on their specific section of the overall paper.
I also assigned a brief reading on semi-colon and colon rules and a page of sentence exercises where they can practice using those punctuation marks in sentences as needed. Those exercises are due tomorrow.
Homework: Finish Day 1 notes from online encyclopedia as needed. Read/study the semi-colon and colon rules in the punctuation unit packet and complete the sentence exercises on the half sheet provided in class.
FRIDAY, 4/27 -- Day 15 of Quarter 4
Today was seminar day! Our main work during class today was a student-led discussion of the novel, Things Fall Apart This is our major assessment activity for this unit. Grades will be posted in Power Schools by the end of the weekend for this assessment of speaking/listening skills as well as critical thinking skills about the novel and its meaning.
I also informed students today about their research topic assignment (we begin research on Monday) and their literature circle book assignment (we begin reading and discussing the book on May 7). Students need to acquire a copy of the book ASAP. I have a few copies in the classroom of the books, which students can use on an emergency basis (in-class only) until May 9. However, they have large sections to read by then, so it's important for them to get a personal copy to use. We are not annotating in the book for this unit, so student may use library copies, e books, borrowed books, etc.
Homework: (1st/3rd only): Finish comma exercise 4 on handout by class on Monday. Order or otherwise find a copy of your WWII book and start reading asap.
Allison Houck, MAT