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.