Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Since "Fire and Ice"

Since Frost's poem, we have continued into analyzing poetry , as well as making connections to different poems and styles of poems. We read Shakespeare's "The Seven Stages of Man," (444)with "All the world's a stage....", Wordsworth's poem and sister's journal entry on the daffodils they experienced (457,459), and then "The Courage that my Mother Had" on page 461. Today students read and took notes on p 480-489 and were to bring an appropriate poem to class on Thursday to work on.
Some assignments have been:
444/5 PREREAD, Quickwrite and background;
446 (1-6)
460 (1-9) and both parts under 'Writing'
462 (1-7) and the writing part, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Wednesday's homework is Emily Dickinson's "Hope" (is a thing....), question 1-5 on p. 439. Tomorrow we will examine Carl Sandburg's "Fog", and students will examine Frost's "Fire and Ice". For this, watch two short youtube clips, the lecture one first, and the photostory one second. Total time on these is less than five minutes. Links are available on the 102 page link on my webpage, too. is the lecture is the "music video"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Poetry: from Writing to Analyzing and Back

This week started with a poetry terms quiz. With 31 words and a list of definitions, it was surprisingly long. After writing some imagery poem and a Catalog poem (modeled after either a Maya Angelou or Naomi Najib Nye example) last week, we moved into haikus today, both reading about them, analyzing them , and writing them (pages 418,419,421).
little bits of words
on the page, in the mind's eye
time to write haikus
Tuesday we progress on through some figures of speech us on pages 428-429; Wednesday we slide into 435-439 with Emily Dickinson's "Hope is a thing..."
For the rest of the week, we progress through more selections in the text book.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rhyme Time!

Yesterday we embarked on our poetry unit. After I demonstrated how the theme song to "Gilligan's Island" held and iambic pattern of unstressed/stressed syllables, students had a list of poetry terms to define and of which to provide examples. This week, we'll start reading and exploring poems in the textbook, really breaking down their use of poetic devices to create an effect. Students will also be writing some poems as we further sneak into poetry and what the poems all mean.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whoa, New Unit-"Raisin in the Sun"

Talking about dreams and limitations has guided some of our discussions through our reading of the play, "A Raisin in the Sun". We have also discussed roles, identity, and expectations. Beneatha tests out different aspects of who she thinks she may want to be; Walter forces his way into pushing toward who he wants to be; Ruth suffers through being a wife and mother, with peeks at loving joy she once held on to; Mama's pride helps anchor her and make her anchor for the family. Race issues like assimilation come up, and many more issues. Of course, as referenced in the title, we have discussed frustrations from unrealized dreams, and what that can do to a person.

Today, Tuesday, I assigned a RAFT paper that is due next Monday, December 1st; the test is December 2nd. The RAFT paper is less formal with spots demanding creativity, yet will be typed when turned in to me.

Students, feel free to post comments/thougts on the play and the RAFT here!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, Lennie, NO!

Can you believe it?!?!

What was it? A mercy killing? Vengeance? "Good Riddance"?...


Selfish? Unselfish?

Either way, it was a real tear-jerker. With the book now complete, we're wrapping up discussions and moving toward the test, which is currently scheduled for this Wednesday. Of course a paper is coming, too. Knew it had to happen, didn't you?

I suppose everyone is already making thematic connections between ALL of the short stories we read to OMM. They're there; you should make them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the Middle of Mice and Men

Yesterday, students discussed chapter 3, after a pop quiz on in, and read chapter 4 for homework, due today. Chapter 3 is the first chapter where HOPE rears its head. So many in the novel are lonely and isolated: Candy, Curley, his wife, George, Lennie, and all the men (migrant workers), .... So many have "nothing and nobody", except for George and Lennie (and those who have a dog to love.... ;) )
There is a chapter 4 and 5 quiz on Friday, and we will view some of the movie starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. Also, students will work on categorizing and defending their opinions with textual support on a worksheet or two.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vocab and Reading: Here We Go!

After several days working with vocabulary words, students took the vocabulary quiz today. It will go on quarter 2, as grades are complete for the term. Thursday, I am at a conference and a sub will walk students through the day. I'm sure they will all cooperate and succeed with the day.
Wednesday's homework is to read chapter 1 and complete the corresponding study guide portions (as always). Earlier in the week, I read the opening pages by Steinbeck so that students could draw what they 'saw'. Steinbeck's imagery was "huge"! And every mental picture while reading only aids in the reading and comprehension itself. Seeing the mental movie creates the pallette for the discussions of ideas.
Thursday, students will have some time for a small group activity , followed by reading time for chapter 2 (homework). Friday, we will have a chance to clarify and discuss the first two chapters. Monday, there is a quiz on chapters 1 and 2.
By far, this is one of my favorite books to teach. When Tom D. asked me, "What's it about?" I thought for a moment and said, "Two men and their friendship." If you've already read the book, so much more happens to affect the men and there friendship that it could be about "so much more". Dreams for the future, loneliness, hope, human cruelty, loss of friendship.....and a dog to boot! A cute little puppy dog. And an old dog.With all the symbolism in between. We will enjoy this novel together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


With the broken week we're in, and moving into our next unit, Of Mice and Men, students have been working with vocabulary words. They have created 4 Square for five of the words, 10 image flashcards, and wrote out 12 definitions; by this they engage with each of the words prior us developing meaningful sentences utilizing them. THEN, they can take the vocab. quiz.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Test is Coming

Spaz Next Tuesday, the 14th, is the short story test. It will include the stories, "Dog Star," "Thank You, M'am," "Interlopers," "The Necklace," "The Gift of the Magi," " The Lady, or the Tiger," "The Scarlet Ibis," "The Sound of Thunder," and "Beware the Dog;" other parts of the test include elements such as Irony and Inference, as well as basic story parts (conflicts, character types, etc.), and the non-fiction pieces from the storytelling article and "Separate Spheres".
Vocabulary from "Interlopers" and "The Necklace" is on the exam as well.
REMEMBER TO STUDY! With the upcoming weekend predicted to have spectacular weather, be wary - - plan to study, and then study. Tuesday's exam is the final major grade of the quarter, your final opportunity to change your grade, one way or the other.
1. interact with the information...make flash cards for the rest of the vocabulary that you didn't finish Friday in class
2. ask someone to quiz you from the worksheets and homework questions
3. SWBS the stories; list out all possible internal and external conflicts
4. WRITE a complete paragraph about what we learn from the story (repeat for all stories)
5. review the worksheet from the storytelling article
6. Be Active with the material instead of simply head-bobbling through the pages

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Short Stories, the Final Few

Yesterday, students read "The Scarlet Ibis" and completed questions in the textbook that followed it. It is a sad story, not about the bird, but about a boy called "Doodle." The poignancy of the ending reminds me much of the novel, The Mighty, or "Freak, the Mighty," the movie version of the same novel. So sad, but full of symbolism for us to study.
Today, the assignment is Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder" and the questions that follow in the textbook. While "Jurassic Park" was much more popular and set men and dinosaurs together. Bradbury presents a few hidden catches that provoke our considerations. And, the sound of thunder is NOT just the T-Rex! Again, some symbolism, but a great deal of cause-effect details, and we will analyze his style and use of figurative language, particularly his imagery.
"Beware the Dog" is our final short story and takes the biographical/historical approach, unlike the others we've read to date.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The paper is done! After an exciting time on blog comments (you know who you are!), papers were collected on Thursday, after doing 'sharable drafts', which I collected on Friday. Also on Friday we finished the final touches with an in class bibliography for the two sources each student used in his or her paper. NEXT WEEK, final short stories and upcoming quiz/test on short stories!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Write On!!

Cheerleader Toss 1 Great work! Be sure you spell and grammar check! And be sure to read your paper aloud to yourself to catch those nasty little errors that spell and grammar check miss. Ideally, you've had time to comb through the paragraphs to make sure you have transition phrases and sentence(s) in each paragraph that tie back to your thesis.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ASK your paper question NOW!

Click on 'comments' to leave your question for me to answer.

The Big Paper

This week, students are working on a major paper assignment on a short story. I am taking them through the four stages: prewriting, drafting, editing, publishing. First students had to make choices about which story and which aspect of humanity is revealed in it on which to write. Developing a thesis with 1. the story, 2. the one, specific aspect of humanity revealed in the story he or she will write about, and 3. how it is shown/revealed.
Meeting I provided a detailed structure for the paper. The introduction is drafted and should be revised for the final draft, same , too, for the conclusion (complete with the "final thought"). The body paragraphs will need specific, concrete examples. For any and each quote used (be it from the story or from the storytelling article), correct citation is required. Students can refer to the media website for more assistance, as well as the English Department's website page for student resources. Both provide strong links for more help after students leave the classroom.
The final 'published' draft is due Thursday in class.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Not Quite Friday Time...

As class rolls into Friday, We are entering full swing into a major writing project. I am challenging students to apply information text (essay) to literature (one of our recent short stories) to discuss how the story reveals some specific aspect of humanity/human nature. Quite a mouth full, I know.
On Thursday, I handout out the starter packet for the writing assignment and began to review it with the class. First hour had a more thoroughly overview with the time we had. They were to complete the typed introductory paragraph for me to go through thoroughly over the weekend. Introductions set the tone of expectations for the rest of the paper, so they are very important, like a first impression. Fifth hour students, due to time restraints, had a briefer overview and were to complete the pre-writing stage, as indicated in their packet with making choices for their content examples. These examples will have to be concrete, specific, so a chance to help students make them more specific and exact is important.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So far this week, and to come...

So far this week, we have had some very active discussions regarding the value of gifts, the social value of some products, and irony. All of these discussions stemmed from our short stories, including "The Necklace," "The Gift of the Magi," and "The Lady, and the Tiger." In fact, tonight's homework was to read the latter story, and complete the assigned work.
Tomorrow, we will read an information article regarding storytelling. We will discuss it after students take notes ON it and after reading it. From there, students will begin work on a paper on a short story.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Today was the invigorating discussion concerning last night's reading, "The Interlopers". Who actually are the interlopers, and what, then, does that mean for us? Are they the wolves, or, the men....??? In 5th hour, we compared themes to "Grizzly Man" , the movie. For homework, student are to complete the pre-reading activity for "The Necklace" and then to read it and complete the rest of the packet I handed out. Irony will be discussed tomorrow from the stories.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


After some tight discussion on "Dog Star" and "Thank You , M'am," students ran off with homework in hand for "The Interlopers." Part of our discussion included skill set for reading short stories, such as: characterization, phrases to help clarify, comparing and contrasting with SPECIFIC supporting details, and thematic connections. The thought provoking question we ended class with was, "Do our actions determine who we are?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tomorrow is Open House! I look forward to meeting many parents tomorrow night in our classroom. With only ten minutes of "class" time, I hope to provide some resources, such as this blog, for continued communication.
For class today, we checked out the Book Fair (also open tomorrow evening), I checked homework, and students read "Dog Star" in class while completing the corresponding questions. The short story, "Thank You, M'am," by Langston Hughes, is homework, with the corresponding questions. These both are great starter stories to identify how authors convey a sense of time with their word and phrase choice (rather than a reader becoming confused) and for how we will seek to understand characterization.
These short stories are just the start to our new unit on short stories. Yesterday we began with a review of literary terms we will use, and students identified movies as examples per each term on a worksheet.

Friday, September 12, 2008


After yesterday's in class small group work on test taking strategies, students continued to prepare for today's test by writing with a MEL-Con. Today's test took the entire period. Hopefully, all of their knowledge and insights will come out in the results! A+

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In class, student groups worked together to discuss and answer student generated questions on test taking strategies. We discussed commonly misspelled words as well as study habits and strategies (a.k.a. tricks). This all follows the notion that the brain is like a muscle: the more it is exercised, the more efficient and stronger it becomes. We also laughed a lot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday, Sept. 8, 2008

Today, students brought their completed notes on "Test Taking Strategies" from the back of the text book. Using them, they created 3 t/f question, 2 multiple choice, recall questions, 2multiple choice, inference questions; 2 vocabulary questions, one of which must be context clues, and 2 essay questions. All but the essay questions must have had answers on a separate sheet. This was due in class. For homework, students have an assignment to correct and reflect upon the errors each made on the Reading and Writing Strategies Quiz (returned today with the assignment). This is due tomorrow.

# ____ Question re-written:

Correct Answer written out:

Reflection about why the student missed the question:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

WEEK 3 (Sept. 2-5)

ReadingThis week we are in the media center learning about how to utilize available resources at Fremd for information, as well as judging appropriate data and determining validity of websites (hugely important skill). Students have a scavenger hunt packet to complete by Friday in class. We will also finish up the test taking strategies we began last week. The reading and writing strategies quiz grades are posted, but I won't hand them back until Friday or next week.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Last week, we finished reading strategies and moved into writing and test taking strategies. On Friday, students took a big quiz on reading and writing strategies.


Day 1:
1. overview, books, parent signature slip for homework.
Rest of the Week:
Study Skills Unit with Reading Strategies (back of text book)