I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Semester 2, Day 17
Students took the vocabulary quiz at the beginning of class, followed by independent reading time. Those who finished early had extra reading time, which means that most students read close to an hour in class this week! Next, I introduced the topic of complex sentences created with ADVERB dependent clauses. Students practiced creating and punctuating this type of complex sentence using pairs of main clauses and a variety of subordinate conjunctions (pg 6 in the Grammar Packet picked up in Monday's class). For the final part of class, groups worked to complete their Tragic Hero illustrations. During this time, I invited students to check in with me to get answers to questions they may have from the feedback I gave them on the Gilgamesh ACES paragraph. Revisions to those paragraphs are due (in the Google Portfolio document) on Monday.
Homework: Finish revisions to Gilgamesh ACES paragraph in Google Portfolio. Format all changes from the draft paragraph in bold. Read the 2nd "hero" article you selected from the 3 offered in class on Friday. Annotate evidence that suppports claims/definitions from the Zimbardo article.
Semester 2, Day 16
After 10 minutes of reading time, 1st and 4th period used Quizlet Live and a crossword puzzle to review vocabulary in advance of tomorrow's vocabulary quiz. 3rd Period needed more time to finalize Greek Drama notes after yesterday's class, so they chose to review vocabulary on their own and use class time to finish the project. After vocabulary review, we began our discussion about the qualities of a tragic hero (according to Aristotle's Poetics). First, students read about the six qualities on our notes handout. Then, we watched a video that summarized the basic story of Oedipus Rex and reviewed the tragic hero characteristics using Oedipus as an example. I asked students to take notes from both the video and my explanations on the handout to help explain and understand Aristotle's writing on the topic. Finally, each group brainstormed and began drawing an illustration that represented characteristics 1-5 without the use of words. They will finish their illustration in class tomorrow.
Homework: Study for vocabulary quiz (there will be a word bank but you need to know definitions, synonyms and antonyms this time and once again figure out how the word fits into a sentence using context clues). Read the "What Makes a Hero?" article and annotate for 3+ definitions of a hero and the supporting evidence for each definition/quality.
Coming Soon: Gilgamesh ACES draft and revisions entered into Portfolio Doc and shared with me -- due Monday. All changes made for the revision paragraph should be in bold type font.
Semester 2, Day 15
In addition to 10 minutes of independent reading, we reviewed the final 5 words on our vocabulary list and punctuation rules for compound sentences. We also discussed the two errors in compound sentence punctuation that result in run-on sentences: comma splices (only a comma between the 2 main clauses) and fused sentences (no punctuation). Students who need additional practice with compound sentence punctuation can use the Grammar Bytes website to complete 2 exercises and turn them in for an extra Smart Lunch credit.* In the remaining class time (35-40 min .) students worked with their groups to create the "textbook pages" for the Introduction to Greek Drama research project. These are due tomorrow (no class time to work on them tomorrow) for a quiz grade.
Homework: Finalize "your" part of the textbook pages (due tomorrow). Recheck instruction #4 on the assignment sheet to make sure you have met expectations.
Semester 2, Day 14
We started off, as usual, with 10 minutes of independent reading time. There is such a great diversity in what students are reading during this time: graphic novels, historical fiction, young adult literature, popular fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy -- you name it!
Next, we defined and discussed the next 5 words on our current vocabulary list, followed by a brief discussion of correct punctuation of compound sentences. Most students demonstrated understanding of the structure of compound sentences on our pretest for the grammar unit, but in their writing, students still punctuate their compound sentences incorrectly more than correctly. Our goal is to reverse that to more correct than incorrect!
For the final third of class, students worked in their groups on the research project for the Introduction to Greek Drama and Oedipus. Today's goal was to take notes/write the answers to all of the questions and to identify each source that answered each question (most questions are answered in multiple sources). Since this is a mini-research project, they must NOT ONLY find the answers BUT ALSO must find ALL sources that address the question and include in the answer information from each source.
Homework: 5-minute compound sentence punctuation worksheet (comma or semicolon?). Finish writing answers for each of YOUR allotted questions from the Greek Drama research so that tomorrow you can start inputting information into Google Doc and then adding design elements to create "textbook" pages.
Semester 2, Day 13
After 10 minutes of reading, we started class by moving to new seating groups as we begin a new literature unit this week. We are also beginning our first unit of systematic grammar instruction this week, so students took notes today on terminology and definitions for clauses, main/independent clause, subordinate/dependent clause, dependent signals (words that begin dependent clauses), simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. Next, we reviewed and took notes on the first 5 vocabulary words from Oedipus Rex. Finally, I introduced a group research project on the history of Greek drama that we will work on this week in class and at home. We did not have time to truly begin the project today, but students did some planning in their groups at the end of class so they will know how to approach the project starting tomorrow.
Homework: No official homework, but I did recommend that students use the links on Canvas in the Grammar Unit 2 module to practice recognizing independent and dependent clauses.
Semester 2, Day 12
Early Release + Pep Rally = short (50 min) class
For our very short class today, I had 3 main objectives:
1 -- Return and review the Gilgamesh quiz
2 -- Have the students take and submit (on Canvas) a short pretest for our first grammar unit about sentence types.
3 -- Have students analyze student ACES (handout) to rehearse elements of the paragraph and of each sentence and revise one by rewriting sentences correctly, correcting spelling, grammar, etc.
*4 -- Those who finished all of the above quickly enough had the remaining class time to read independently!!!
Homework: Finish ACES analysis/revision handout if needed
Semester 2, Day 11
After our 10 minutes of reading (40+ minutes this week -- no reading tomorrow), I gave students a few minutes to discuss their peer editing with the recipients of their feedback. Next, I introduced the ACES portfolio assignment (big picture -- major assessment at the end of the quarter) and showed everyone how to access the Google template for the portfolio. We then reviewed the three prompts students can choose from in writing their first portfolio ACES about the Epic of Gilgamesh. With the remaining 45 minutes, students worked on the draft of their paragraph, set up the portfolio, and used the textbooks to find an correctly cite textual evidence. The draft of the paragraph is due tomorrow; students should submit either a handwritten draft OR a printed copy of one typed into the portfolio. Either type of submission should be double spaced to provide room for feedback.
Homework: Finish Gilgamesh ACES draft to turn in to for a homework grade.
Semester 2, Day 10
We started off class with the quiz on The Epic of Gilgamesh, after which students had time for independent reading. Once everyone finished the quiz, I gave each table an ACES paragraph that had been cut up and scrambled. Their job was to use their understanding of yesterday's notes on the ACES to unscramble and assemble the ACES paragraph in its correct order by carefully reading the sentences and looking for elements such as transition words, quote introductions, explanations, etc. that indicate where each element should go. This activity was harder than it looked! In fact, some students were unable to finish by the end of class. We will return to this activity tomorrow to review the paragraph format and then begin working on the first "official" ACES paragraph for their portfolio.
Homework: Read and provide written feedback on your group member's practice ACES. Instructions are included in the Remind text.
Semester 2, Day 9
After 10 minutes of reading, I gave some direct instruction, with the help of a succinct video (see below), on the first structured writing style we need to master this quarter -- the ACES paragraph. The paragraph's acronym and name make it sound fairly simple, but this is a somewhat complex structure with many individual elements that students need to combine into fluent, cohesive writing that feels too formal and stiff to many of them at the beginning. We studied the component parts today and practiced each part by writing an ACES about the article from last Friday, "Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter" by Bret Stetka.
At the end of class, I directed students towards some Study Resources for the Gilgamesh quiz tomorrow. This quiz has 30 multiple choice questions that require understanding of the steps in the hero's journey and symbolic archetypes, and how both of these function in the text. Some of the multiple choice questions also ask about what happens in the plot and why. There are 2 short answer questions at the end of the quiz that require students to demonstrate their knowledge of the theme statement format and topics and themes that we discussed in class on Monday.
Homework: Finish practice ACES if needed. Prepare for the Gilgamesh quiz.
Semester 2, Day 8
After 10 minutes of reading, we picked up where we left off on Friday, writing theme statements and demonstrating how texts deal with multiple topics and themes. I then asked students to check the universality of their themes by watching a TED talk given by a former PCHS student (see video below). Finally, I introduced them to the first kind of structured writing we will work on this semester, the ACES paragraph. I asked everyone to read a brief definition of the ACES organizational structure in the Writer's Reference guide packet they picked up at the beginning of class (p. 2). Then, I asked them to evaluate themselves against the WCPSS Writing Continuum for Argumentative writing (9th-10th grade). The continuum also helps to define what's expected in this kind of structured writing and helps students to see the goal line for this particular set of skills (note the Super Bowl allusion there). We will continue to learn more about the ACES paragraph tomorrow and continue with it throughout this week.
Homework: Write an answer to the question: How does the writer of "Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter" prove that there is a benefit to reading Harry Potter and other kinds of literary fiction? The answer should be just ONE sentence long and will be the basis (argument statement) for our practice ACES writing assignment tomorrow. Also, begin to study for a quiz on The Epic of Gilgamesh (now scheduled for Wed.) by rehearsing the steps in the hero's journey and the meanings of archetypes found in the story.
Allison Houck, MAT