Archive for January, 2014


Happy second semester, young ones! Lots to do this week, including some time in the computer lab for essay revision. Take a look below:

Monday: We’ll be starting this week together in the computer lab. I want to review a couple of very common errors that were made in your Into The Wild essays. I would like to give you the chance to examine your own work, my feedback, and figure out what you would like to revise. I’ll even count the revisions towards last semesters grade. All you have to do is provide me with a written explanation, approximately 1 paragraph, detailing what you learned and how that helped you make changes.

Tuesday: We will be starting our next novel of the year on Tuesday, and I couldn’t be more excited. We will be diving in to Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. This is the novel which Hemingway called the novel that all other American novels are built upon. I will be lecturing on the geography of the novel, the historical milieu in which it sits, and the form of the novel. You’ll be responsible for showing that you learn these things when you leave.

Wednesday: I’ll be reading chapter 1 aloud in class and stopping periodically to look at some specific words and phrases. I want very much to show you how I read this text and what I do when I run into tricky bits. I like to think of this as a modified KWL chart.

Homework: Read chapter 1. During your reading, I would like you to apply the During Reading strategy we discuss in class.

Thursday: During class on Thursday you’ll be working in small groups to respond to the work you finished while reading.

Friday: This will be a reading day. Bring a blanket, get comfy, and read through chapter 3.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Happy beginning of semester two, young ones! Take a quick look at your week, as there are quite a number of things that we’re going to be working on this week.

Monday + Tuesday: We’ll be in the library for the first two days of the semester taking a closer look at your Siddhartha essays. While many of them were quite good, there are a number of general comments that I have which I would like to make before having you make revisions and resubmit, if you would like. Resubmissions will affect the first semester grade (only for the better), so if this sounds like a good deal to y’all, it only has a tiny price: you need to include a written reflection detailing, specifically, how feedback helped you revise and what you learned from the revision process.

Wednesday: We’ll be starting our next novel of the year on Wednesday, and it is one that I am quite excited for. We’ll be reading Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and looking closely at some of the cultural values of Victorian England. And we’ll be talking about zombies. And Gothic literature. No joke. If you miss Wednesday, check back with me to get the lecture notes.

Thursday: I will be doing two things for y’all on Thursday: first, I’ll read the first chapter aloud and explain serial publication. Second, I’ll be having you craft the first vocabulary installment of the novel with your neighbors, and then ultimately as a class. Third (I know, I know), we’ll be discussing the literary device of anaphora.

Friday: Friday will be a reading day. I need you to have read through chapter 4 for Monday.

Homework: Read through chapter 4 for Monday.

Category : Honors 10 | Blog

Howdy, young ones! In a rare post I’m combining our two classes this week into a singular post. Here’s what finals week looks like but first, here’s a visual:

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 4.28.18 PM

Tuesday: As you can see, juniors will have class 1st and 3rd. Both classes should use the day to review, based on the notes that we took last week. Similarly, sophomores should be reviewing for their final exam as well. Here’s the rubric, in case you still need it.

Please note, some students may elect/may be required to use this time to work on their final essays of the semester.

Wednesday: First and fifth period will be taking their finals on Wednesday. Please show up with a #2 pencil and whatever texts you’ll be using on the exams. Remember, the exams are open text, but not open note.

Thursday: Third period will have their exam on Thursday. Please see the notes above regarding what you’ll need.

Category : 11th Grade | Honors 10 | Blog

Hey s’mores! Here’s the review guide for the final exam. Enjoy!

Category : Honors 10 | Blog

Howdy, juniors! Here’s the skinny on our second-to-last week of the semester. There are a couple of things happening this week, so be sure to make sure that you know when work is going to be due. It is difficult for me (nearly impossible, actually) to deal with late work at this point in the semester.

Monday: Like last Friday we will be in the library, working on the laptops. The intent for the day is to be a peer editing day, but I have a short presentation for you dealing with some examples of successful student writing that you can apply to your peer editing. Remember, you must be checked off for the rough draft and thesis before I will accept a final copy of your essay. If I have not entered your thesis into Skyward yet, please check in with me after the presentation.

Tuesday: Tuesday is play preview day. Of course, if there is additional time it will be dedicated to working on your essays.

Wednesday: We’ll be back in the library for one last day of writing before your essays come due on Friday.

Thursday: I will be distributing the final review sheet on Thursday. While I will not be collecting this, you will find that it should help you prepare for the final.

Friday + Monday: Both days will be dedicated to reviewing for the final. I will be available to answer questions, but it is primarily an opportunity for you to work with your peers to prepare for the final exam. Note: Your essays are due Friday at 11:59:59.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Hey s’mores! It’s the last week before we start finals week, and there’s still quite a lot to get done. Here’s the schedule:

Monday: I’ll be introducing your final essay of the semester. It is a much more open prompt than previous essays, largely because I want to allow you the opportunity to discuss the novel in whatever ways you see fit. I will be offering a few lines of inquiry that you can explore during class on Monday. We’ll spend most of the week working on this essay in class, so if you use your time wisely you may be able to complete the work during class.

Homework: Craft a thesis for class on Wednesday.

Tuesday: Tuesday will be play preview day! Naturally, whatever extra time we have will be dedicated to helping you with your thesis.

Wednesday: We’ll have an activity in class on Wednesday during which you will be defending your thesis in class to your peers. You’ll be asked to read your thesis to a small group and then receive feedback based on a number of questions that I have to guide your groups.

Thursday + Friday: Both of these will be writing days. I have reserved the desktop computers in the library for your use, but feel free to bring your own machines to class. I will also be distributing your final review sheet during class on Friday. Next Tuesday will be a day dedicated to working through the review. While I will not be collecting the review sheets, you may find them useful. Remember that your final is on Wednesday the 22nd. Your essays will be due the same day and I will be collecting your Siddhartha journals at the same time.

Category : Honors 10 | Blog

Hola, juniors! Welcome to 2014. We have a short two weeks before the start of finals, and quite a lot to do between now and then. Naturally, we will be tossing out the final exam for Into The Wild. It seems a touch silly to spend two days reviewing what we read before the break, so instead we’ll be shifting our focus to our final piece of writing for the year. Before we launch into this essay, however, we will be spending some time in class looking at the Common Core rubrics for Argumentative Writing at the 11th grade level. Like it or not, these standards will be quickly reshaping the way that students are taught, and what you’ll be expected to know. As a result, we’ll be looking at what success looks like, and what you need to do in order to be successful in your writing.

Monday+Tuesday: We will be looking the rubric for Argumentative Writing in class, and talking through what some of the differences are between each of the levels. I have a chart that you’ll be filling out and that we’ll be sharing during class as we complete it which I hope will help you understand more deeply what these standards mean.

Wednesday: I will be introducing your final essay of the semester on Wednesday. Before you leave you will need to select a prompt and begin working on your thesis. Additionally, you will be asked to set a concrete goal for improving your writing which will be part of your grade.

Homework: Complete your thesis for class on Thursday. You will be defending your thesis to a panel of your peers who will be asking as many questions as possible to help you solidify your claims.

Thursday: I’ll be stamping your thesis right at the start of class, and we’ll be breaking into small groups to walk through our thesis panels. The stamp is required for credit.

Friday: Friday will be a writing day. We will be in the Library on the laptops. You are eligible for a laptop only if your thesis has been stamped.

Homework: Complete your first draft for class on Monday.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Hey s’mores! This looks like it is going to be a very, very busy two weeks leading up to finals during the week of January 20th. I’ll do my best to lay out exactly what we’ll be doing between now and then. Check out this week below, and then the rough outline for the remainder of the semester.

Monday: There are two things that will be happening in class on Monday. First, I will be handing back your essay goals for our previous work on Macbeth. I have provided feedback for each of you, and I ask that you keep this feedback somewhere safe. You will need it later, when we sit down to write our essay on Siddhartha. It is important that you are aware of what you are doing well, and what you need to improve upon. We’ll be sitting down in the library during the second half of class, and I will ask you to use this feedback to draft a set of goals which you will be using to improve your previous writing.

Homework: You’ll need to complete the journal questions for chapters 3 and 4, as well as review the first installment of vocabulary for the novel for homework. Then, read chapters 5 and 6.

Tuesday: I have a set of discussion questions for chapters 5-6 that we will spend the first part of class working with, and discussing during the second half of class.

Homework: Read chapters 7 and 8.

Wednesday: Class will begin with a journal entry dealing with one of the significant metaphors at the start of chapter 8, and then the rest of the period will be for you to work through a set of discussion questions dealing with chapters 7-8.

Homework: Read chapters 9-10.

Thursday: Naturally, we will be working with a set of discussion questions for chapters 9-10 during class. Here is chapter 9. Here is chapter 10.

Homework: Finish the novel.

Friday: We’ll be having a short seminar on Friday dealing with the end of the novel, discussing some of the significant metaphors, and, most importantly, looking at several different readings of the text. During my grading of your Macbeth essays one common trouble area was looking at possible biases in your claims and counterclaims. This is technically a standard at the 11th and 12th grade level, but, to be fair, this is an honors class. Some of you are ready for this sort of writing, but I believe that you are all capable of this kind of thinking (which is, of course, the first step towards writing well). I’ll also be introducing your final essay of the semester on the novel Siddhartha (sort of).

Homework: Arrive Monday with a clear, defensible thesis. We’ll be doing an activity in which you’ll be asked to justify your thesis to a small panel of your peers.

Category : Honors 10 | Blog