I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Monday, 5/21 -- Day 30 of Quarter 4
We started class with a quick review of changing passive voice to active voice using a handout that contains clusters of sentences about the infamous "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" incident from the University of Florida in 2007. Tomorrow we will combine sentences on that same handout and create a single paragraph with a variety of sentence beginnings.
The next part of class was time for research groups to work together on final details in the research paper, which is due tomorrow. Groups that were missing members on Friday needed time to finish the conclusion and add paragraph transitions. Everyone needed to add a title and section headings to the paper and check that all spacing is correct (no extra spaces between paragraphs or at the end of the paper before or after the Works Cited page. For the last 30 minutes, students had a choice to either work on their individual parts of the research paper or to read/work on written prep for our novel discussion groups on Wednesday.
Homework: Print all notes pages and outline to turn in with rubric tomorrow in class. Papers will be submitted to Turnitin during class tomorrow. Read in novel and work on written prep for Wednesday.
Friday, 5/18 -- Day 29 of Quarter 4
We started class today with notes (included in current grammar packet and on a presentation in Canvas) on creating sentence variety by varying sentence beginnings. Once we reviewed the various ways to begin sentences, students practiced a little on a handout.
Next, we watched the video on paragraph transitions for a second time (they were supposed to watch it individually in the media center when working on the Julius Caesar essay, but several did not seem to have done so). Students worked in their research groups to add paragraph transitions to all body paragraphs in the group paper and then had time to work on writing the conclusion.
With so many students missing class today for AP testing and the unexpected loss of an instructional day on Wednesday, I am moving the due date of the research paper to Tuesday, 5/22. Students will have time in class on Monday, 5/21 to work on conclusions and details like Title and Subtitles. They will submit the paper to Turnitin in class on Tuesday, 5/22.
Homework: Finish revisions to body paragraphs. Read towards page goal for Wednesday's discussion of the WWII book and work on written requirements for your discussion role.
Thursday, 5/17 -- Day 28 of Quarter 4
We started class today with book circle discussions followed by written reflection on the book and the discussion. Group members also selected one person to post his/her reflection to the class discussion board; other group members must read the various posts and respond to at least one by 5/22.
Next, students regrouped into their research groups and used the laptops to finalize their Works Cited page and append it to their group paper document. With the time they had remaining, students could work on revisions to their body paragraphs or on the active voice homework assignment (revising a paragraph written in passive voice).
Homework: 1) Finish active voice practice assignment by revising the paragraph from passive to active voice. 2) Read WWII book towards page goal for next meeting on 5/23. 3) Revise at least one body paragraph based on feedback from me/peer reviews.
Tuesday, 5/15 -- Day 27 of Quarter 4
At the beginning of class, we reviewed passive voice with the remaining 5 sentences on our practice exercise handout. Then, we looked at examples of passive voice that I have found in the students' research paper writing and discussed how to fix those. I also talked to the class about another prime weakness I have noticed in their research body paragraphs so far: lack of specific details. We talked about how they need details that answer when, where, why, and how questions for the facts that they have included in their paragraphs. The other main problem is paragraph organization/structure. Students are not using their experience with the ACES structure to help them organize their writing for this assignment. Paragraphs are written more in a chronological, narrative structure instead of presenting and explaining facts that support a topic sentence. This happens primarily because the sources they read are structured in this way. Fixing this kind of paragraph structural problem can involve significant rewriting at the revision stage.
Armed with these ideas, students then used the remaining class time to read and write peer reviews for the 2 paragraphs randomly assigned to them in Turnitin.com. Most students used the majority of the remaining time to complete that assignment; however, some were able to finish more quickly and then chose to either work on their own revisions or to read in their WWII book.
Homework: Finish peer reviews if necessary. Read/complete written prep for group discussion of WWII book on Thursday (our next class). Begin revising body paragraph 2 based on peer review; body paragraph 1 based on my feedback as it becomes available.
Monday, 5/14 -- Day 26 of Quarter 4
We started class today by learning about active sentences, active voice, and passive voice. Students have a page of notes in their grammar unit packet that explains active voice, but I also showed them 2 videos that help better explain the concepts (see videos below). Next, students opened up their Google docs for the research paper draft and their Works Cited page and we reviewed basics of in-text parenthetical citations. I provided them a link to a comprehensive resource with guidelines and examples for all different kinds of sources (Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Format In-text Citations), and then they spent class time adding citations to their body paragraphs for ALL INFORMATION PARAPHRASED OR DIRECTLY QUOTED from their research sources. They used the website to find out how to cite sources with no author or sources with otherwise unusual exceptions to the basic author/page number format. At the very end of class, each student uploaded their 2nd body paragraph from their draft to Turnitin.com so that we can spend time in class tomorrow peer reviewing each other's paragraphs.
Homework: Read in WWII book for next discussion on 5/17 (Thurs.). If behind in research process work, spend additional time tonight to catch up by writing body paragraphs. Turnitin.com WILL accept submissions up to midnight without a late penalty. Submissions made after midnight or during class tomorrow will also be accepted but late penalties (no credit for HW assignment) apply.
Friday, 5/11 -- Day 25 of Quarter 4
Today was a book circle discussion day! Students discussed their WWII books in groups during the first 25 minutes of class and then wrote a 5 minute reflection on the book so far. While they enjoyed talking and writing about what they've been reading, I collected and checked handwritten outlines that I didn't get to see yesterday in class.
After they had written for 5 minutes about their responses to the book, I explained to them what I wanted to see in the Canvas Discussion board for this first section of the book. Each group is to designate one person after each meeting to post about the book (using their reflection). Other group members must respond to ANY post on the discussion board about any of the books. The deadline for this is before the next discussion meeting (5/17).
Finally, groups confirmed their page number reading goal for the next meeting (5/17) and the discussion role assignments.
For the remaining time in class, students worked on their research paper. If their group needed time to finish their introduction, they could meet and work together. If they have a complete introduction, each person could work on their individual body paragraphs. Body paragraph #1 should have been written last night, so this time enabled them to start working on body paragraph #2. I will begin reading and providing feedback on all first body paragraphs this weekend and into the beginning of next week. On Monday, students will copy/paste their second body paragraph into Turnitin.com for peer review.
Homework: Read in WWII novel and begin working on your role for the next discussion. Write body paragraph #2 for the research paper (after completing body paragraph #1).
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.).
Allison Houck, MAT