Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Junior Honors

Today second period started work on the Commonplace Book. There are several handouts that go along with the assignment, so if your student was not here, he/she needs to come see me right away.

Here’s the time line for this:
Dec 1 &2, assignment given, time in class to get started
Dec 3&4, time in library to work as groups to identify literary devices and find examples of them
Dec 7&8, time in English writing lab to work on literary devices and poetry
If time is used well on those days, more time in class will be given. I will be out of the building for training at the District Offices December 7th and 8th and the substitute will monitor class progress.
11th and 14th of December, presentations on the Commonplace Books are due
15th and 16th of December, groups will present on different poems from the packet
17th and 18th of December, the Commonplace Books are due in class
21st and 22nd of December, the big test on all of the Commonplace Book terms. This is the only “regular” test I give. Students will know what is on the test and be given a chance to study for it.

Just a reminder that your student will need a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by January 12th. We will also be reading The Great Gatsby beginning in March. I don’t care if the book is used or new, but the student needs to be able to mark the book up in order to benefit the most from the reading experience.

The Sophomore Research Paper

Students are being assigned the research paper today in class. Basically, what it boils down to is this: Students are to find a social problem of some kind and research it. Since some topics are a little controversial, a parent needs to okay a topic by Thursday. Your student should have a signature on the cover page by then and it is worth points. We will then go down to the library and learn about citations and research.

Here’s the timeline:
3 December, topic is chosen, students will be taken to the media center to research
7 December, students will betaken to the English writing lab to research and write. I will not be here as I am expected to spend the day in training at the district offices. Depending on their behavior, they will be given more time after I am back. I will assume that if they use this time wisely, they need more time to write and research.
15 December, in-class peer review. The paper should be typed, double-spaced in traditional font and with citations and a bibliography. The paper should be about 6 pages long.
21 December, the paper is due. No papers will be accepted after December 22, since I do not want any student working on anything for my class over the break.

In addition to the research paper, which will take some time at home or after school here in the library, we will be working on test-taking skills and brushing up on writing.

Part of the expectation of this research paper is that students will find a problem that they can help solve. Each student is really a force that can make this world better. It is my hope that students will realize that one person can make an incredible difference in the world, and that they will find something they want to change for the better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Junior Honors

We will be starting work on the Commonplace Book next week. This will be done mostly in class, but there will be some finishing up that will need to be done at home. I’ll give you due dates after the classes have been able to talk about it.

On November 19th and 20th, the Portfolio Assessment is due. As part of that, students should have rewritten a previous assignment and made at least three major revisions to it. We will be glossing these in class (highlighting and explaining the revisions made). Please remind your student to get this done – we have had two back-to-back writing assignments and I don’t want them to forget.

Next week, we will be reviewing figures of speech – those metaphors, similes and other devices writers use to make their writing more readable. These will be part of the Commonplace Book. Part of the struggle with the Commonplace book is finding samples of figures of speech/poetic devices. I’ll do my best to make sure they have access to those examples here at school, but they may be searching through your old literature or poetry books to complete the project.

Today we had a timed write and we will be analyzing it next time in class. Students will give me samples of their writing to share with the rest of the class to get feedback. It’s always a lively discussion.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

We are now working on the science fiction part of our curriculum. In class, we are watching a sci-fi movie clip of the day to analyze the elements of science fiction and to get ideas about how others have done it in the past. The goal this quarter is to produce a script for a short film/TV series.

Friday, November 20th, the Story Seed Assignment is due. Students should have written a story using a “seed” I gave them. We will share these in class. If students wish to, they can use these as the catalyst for their scripts. We are working on designing a set for our stories, too.

For the reading part of class, we are reading a total of 10 short stories by Ray Bradbury. Of course, if students get really interested in his stories, they can read more, but they should have the stories completed and the assignment for this done by November 30th. On December 2nd, we will be having our test for this.

The last half of the quarter will be spent on Literature Circle books and more writing, of course. This time, however, the students will help me design the assignments for reading. As creative as these students are, I’m sure it will be quite exciting.

These kids are great! (In spite of the Yoda incident today…. )

Sophomore English

After looking at the Gilgamesh Projects, it became evident that the sophomores would need some intensive help with their writing skills. The Utah Basic Skills Competency Tests (UBSCT) are coming the first week of February and I want the students to be prepared. These are the tests they must pass in order to graduate from high school. The reading test will require some detailed reading that goes beyond the text. The writing test is a little more complicated – students will need to write a persuasive essay from a prompt that will have something to do with school. In addition, they will be reading passages and analyzing the usage and spelling errors in those passages.

So, this is what we are doing about it in class: Portfolio assessments are due tomorrow, November 19th. A rewrite of a previous writing assignment is also due. Students should have chosen one timed write and selected three revision options to improve the piece. The assignment should be typed, double-spaced, in standard (boring) font. We will be working on analyzing and improving student writing in class.

After the Thanksgiving break, count on some groaning because we will be doing a research project. The writing project is part of the inquiry requirement of the Utah State Core. Students will choose a social problem (world hunger, global warming or any other of a myriad of problems) to research. I’ll let you know when we have had a chance to talk about it as a class.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sophomore English

Today we finished reading Antigone. For our test review, each group wrote a song for a scene of the play. It may sound easy, but most students commented on how difficult it was to summarize the play and put it to music. I was really pleased with how immensely talented the students are. We will finish our performances of Antigone, the Musical on Monday and do a little writing. The test for the play will be on Wednesday.

Our next unit will focus on improving writing skills and preparation for the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test. Students will be tested the first week of February in the areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. These are the tests students must pass in order to earn a high school diploma.

After that, I will give the students a choice of what they want to learn. I’ll send you more information on that later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sophomore English

Antigone has been caught burying her brother in defiance of the laws of the king. Next week, we find out if Creon will go through with his plans to kill Antigone for this crime. This week, we have written on what kind of leader Creon really is. Next week, we will be writing about Antigone's pity party - she did the crime, but she doesn't want to do the time.

The Gilgamesh projects are in, and the grades should be posted by Friday at 3:00.

Sixth Period Presentations

Sixth Period students did Chapter Presentations for The Scarlet Letter. The projects and presentations will be on second quarter's grades since we weren't able to get through all of the presentations during one day. The purple vocabulary sheets will count on first quarter. Great job, guys!

A visit from J. Scott Savage

Far World author, J. Scott Savage, visited the Science Fiction/Fantasy class Wednesday, October 28. After encouraging students to keep writing, he signed posters for the students. Slade invited Mr. Savage to visit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where the Wild Things Were on Saturday

Members of the Science Fiction/Fantasy class enjoy a cultural experience at Where the Wild Things Are. And yes, we had a great time!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Junior Honors

This week, we have worked on Act One of The Crucible. Students have been completing reading journals to help them prepare for essays on this important play. Next week is the last week of the quarter and The Scarlet Letter Projects are due next week. Second period will be Presenting on Tuesday, and sixth and eighth periods will be showing off on Wednesday. Students, don't forget your starters; you will be handing them in next week. Be sure to check Skyward and make sure your grades are not a surprise.

Fourth Period - Hard at work

Today, sophomore classes wrote on Creon's leadership abilities and then we had a quick peer review. We have finished with Scene One and Ode One. Next week, it's the last week of the quarter and we will be handing in starters on Tuesday, October 27. We will be reading Scenes 2 and 3 of Antigone, too.

Second Period Snapshots

I had to take these off the blog a while ago. By popular request, they are back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Next week, students will be presenting on their magical creature research. Eventually, students will make their own "Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them" books.

Every class period students will need to report their reading. Just remind your student that they do not want to have the pink tulip of shame on their paper.

Saturday, October 23rd, we will be meeting to attend an afternoon showing of "Where the Wild Things Are". There will be details in class. If any family members want to come along, you are certainly welcome.

October 28th, J.Scott Savage, author of the Farworld series of fantasy novels, will be visiting us. Special thanks to Slade who suggested that we invite him.

Sophomore English

The Gilgamesh projects are due on Wednesday the 21st. We have gone over everything in class, so most of the homework is just finishing everything up. This isn't an assignment that can be done in an hour, however. Since it is the only homework I have given my sophomores this year so far, I'm expecting fantastic work.

Next up, we will be talking about standing up for what you believe in as we study Antigone.

Junior Honors

We are now proving how incredibly capable we all are. Students should be working on their Scarlet Letter chapter presentations. Students are encouraged to read Spark Notes before attempting the book itself. The presentations are the 27th and 28th of October.

We will be starting The Crucible in class next week. These two great works of literature have a lot in common. We will be doing reading journals that deal with characters, themes, plots and analysis. And of course, the discussions and timed writes will be intense.

We have been working in groups this week, too. Groups produced a comparison/contrast essay on Jonathan Edwards, the fiery Puritan minister, and Patrick Henry, a Patriot of the Revolution. If you weren't here, please get that in to me as soon as you can.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sophomore English

We are working on The Epic of Gilgamesh. Today, students read "The Story of the Flood" and we compared Gilgamesh's story to that of Noah. We also went over Freytag's pyramid - something that will be part of the Literature Experience assignment. There is no due date for that yet - we will decide together when it will be due.

On Friday, October 9th, we will finish reading Gilgamesh, peer review the writing we did today on the ups and downs of immortality, and work on a Theme Essay for the Literature Experience assignment.

On Tuesday, October 13th, we will be having a test on Gilgamesh. On the 15th, I will be out of the building for a district meeting, but students will start working on Antigone, the classic play by Sophocles. It's a tale of family loyalty and putting the will of the gods ahead of the will of man. Very dramatic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class - presentations

Fold-A-Book for Junior honors due!

Just a friendly reminder that the Fold-A-Book, the worst and most complicated thing we do all year, is due in class next time. For A day students, you need to have it here at the FIRST of second period so it can be evaluated. For B day students, you need to have them here at the first of your class.

I realize that there are some who will be on field trips, out for surgery and so on. If this applies to you, bring your project to me early and I can get someone to evaluate it. If you have an excused absence, I will excuse you from the FAB evaluation. You will need to write an essay on material in the FAB. I would suggest that you find a question from the FAB of a friend ( the field trip attendees are going to exchange essay prompts) and spend no more than 30 minutes hand-writing an essay for evaluation either on the 9th (A day students) or the 12th (B Day students).

Also, don’t forget that we will be starting The Scarlet Letter on the 9th and 12th . Be sure to have a copy you can mark up in class. It is worth points.

Parents, thanks for your patience and support as your student learns to do something difficult well. I’m really pleased with what I have seen so far. If your student doesn’t quite finish it, please send him/her to school with it anyway. I would rather have something here than nothing. The students told me that 4 weeks was plenty of time to get this done, but I realize that many of them will put this off until the last minute. I apologize for any chaos this may cause in your home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Junior Honors English

There are lots of things going on. Starters are due, along with a "gut check." Tell me how you are doing in the class and what you need help with.

Get busy on your Fold-a-Book or you will be hating life. Remember that those are due Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

You have a timed write on social commentary and a McQuizzie, too. That's what you do while I'm recording scores. See me if you need to catch up.

Sophomore English

Today was a big day. We handed in our starters - those were worth 150 points, we handed in a "gut check" - a paragraph about how we are doing in the class. We also read "The Battle with Humbaba" in the Epic of Gilgamesh and drew a mural depicting the story. Then, we wrote on whether or not Humbaba should have been spared death. If you missed today, that's what you need to make up. Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday, October 5th. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Junior Honors

You have your materials for the Fold-a-Book now. We are still working on presentations. They will be done by the end of the next class period. The books are due on October 7th and 8th. If you know you won't be there, please make arrangements to make sure your book does show up on time. We will be evaluating them in class that day. Please, no Honors Flu...

Next up, we will be working on a comparison/contrast essay for "The Speech to the Virginia Convention" and Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Delightful! There won't be any homework until after the FAB is done. I'm sure that will be more than enough to keep you busy.

Just remember, after this, everything else will seem easy! (You're brilliant! You'll be fine as long as you don't put it off!)

Sophomore English

We have started The Epic of Gilgamesh - just a story or two of course. Our theme is discovering what a hero is. We will be doing some writing in class and then working furiously on reading strategies to help make difficult texts more doable. There is a project that will be due with Gilgamesh. When I assign it next week, I will post more information.

Gilgamesh will take a week or two, and then it is Antigone, Classic Greek Theater at its finest. We will talk about having the courage to stand up for what you believe in, along with reading and writing.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class - a schedule

Today we worked on in our groups. The presentations to the rest of the class will be on September 30th.

We are working on Phillip "Big Dog" Jones' challenge to read the rough draft of his book. We are working to give him feedback on his writing. Shayla S. has already emailed him about a change and he has made it! The final edition of the book will have Shayla's suggestion! Hooray! This is NOT an assignment. No one is required to read the book.

So, here's the schedule for the rest of the quarter for this class:
9/28, The Rules of Magic is due. I have handouts if you need them.You will get the chance to work in your groups to get ready for presentations
9/30, The Once and Future King presentations will be in class.
10/6, you will get your Literature Circle Books
10/8, we are headed to go to the library to research Mythical/Magical Beasts
10/26 Literature Circle Presentations - each group will advertise their book
10/28 We are hoping to have another author come to our class. We're still working on it.
11/2 We start on Science Fiction. I'm not sure where in the universe this quarter will lead us, but I do know that we will be building a rocket ship of some kind.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Junior Honors

I've tried to make sure that you have all the skills you will need for your presentations. Be sure to ask if there is something you don't understand. We will all be happier if you are able to do a good job on your presentations.

SRI's are coming up. Those are the tests that measure your reading power. I will also give you time in class to work with your group to prepare for your presentation.

Just a reminder that group presentations are the 22nd and 23rd, and that the Fold-A-Book is due on October 7th and 8th.

Be looking for a copy of The Scarlet Letter - you need it as soon as we are done with the FAB.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

The magic kingdoms were really impressive! Next up, you need to decide on the rules of magic for your kingdom. Those will be due on September 28th.

We will be working on some mythology in class to give you some background knowledge on the 17th, and on Monday, we will be hearing from Phillip Jones, the author.

The Once and Future King is due in class on the 23rd - be sure to get your reading done and the assignment prepared.

Sophomore News

Today we had the chance to check out the Media Center. We have great resources available for students.

We have read three short stories, "The Bet", "The Pedestrian", and "Everyday Use". We will be having a test on those three stories on Friday, September 18th. Be sure to be here. The tests aren't that bad, but they are difficult to make up.

Next week, we will be taking the Scholastic Reading Inventory - designed to test your reading power. We are also going to be starting "The Epic of Gilgamesh."

Parent/Teacher Conferences and other opportunities...

Parent/Teacher conferences are next week, September 22 and 23rd. On Tuesday, the hours are from 4:00-8:00 p.m. On Wednesday, teachers are available from 4:00-6:30 p.m. For those of you who don't really enjoy surprises, I would encourage you to check Skyward - you can click on the link on the upper right hand side of this blog - and see what your student is up to.

For those students who are craving a way to do something great as well as to raise their grade, here are three opportunities: If you went to Silverwolf Pride Day, write a one page response to the experience. Be sure to type it, double-spaced, and give it to me by September 24th. I'll give you a pat on the back and 25 points.

For those of you who want to be prize winners, I encourage you to prepare and submit something for the PTA Reflections Contest. This year, the theme is "Beauty is..." Give your completed entry to me, I will submit it for you and give you 25 points. You may win a great prize, too! Check the Library Media Center for more information.

If you have the soul of a poet, seriously consider writing something for Tabula Rasa, our literary magazine. They are going to have a contest again this year, and you can submit your pearls of wisdom as early as November 30. Again, this is worth 25 points, and you may end up being famous!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Junior Honors English

Well, today was the big day! Students were assigned the Dreaded Fold-A-Book. This is the hardest, most complicated thing we do all year. No worries. If you pace yourself and don't procrastinate, you will be fine! I'm emailing parents with a copy of the assignment so they can commiserate with you. If you need a copy, email me and I will send it to you as an attachment.
Second period: You need to be ready to present on September 22nd. Remember that you owe me a summary of the poetry collection you have read at that time, too (that's the one with the asterisk). The Fold-A-Book itself is due on October 7th. That's the day that YOU MUST BE HERE in order to help evaluate books.
Sixth and eighth periods: Your due dates are September 23rd for the presentations and October 8th for the books.

Avoid the honors flu! Get started right away and do your best! You will survive this and feel like a superhero for doing something difficult well.

By the way, if you know you will be absent (wedding, vacation, operation, etc.) be sure to send the book so it can be evaluated.

Let me know if you have questions.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Your magic kingdoms are due on Tuesday, September 15. Next week we will be working on creating your rules of magic for your kingdom.

Today we worked on researching myths from various cultures. In many stories, mythical creatures, characters and events are used to move a plot along or provide substance and credibility to a story. We also talked about the various kinds of conflict found in stories. You can't have a real story without a conflict or two.

On Monday, September 21st, we will be having a special speaker, Phillip Jones. He is the author of Crystal Moon- World of Grayham. He will be giving a reading, leading a discussion about writing and will be giving a t-shirt and book to each student. The book is in rough draft form. Mr. Jones is giving books to students and asking for feedback on his writing so he can make revisions. If you are interested in finding out more about Mr. Jones or his book, you can visit his website at www.phillipjones.com or www.worldsofthecrystalmoon.com . Reviews of his book are also on amazon.com.

Don't forget! September 23rd, you need to have your reading done for Once and Future King.

Sophomore English

We just finished with "The Pedestrian", a short story by Ray Bradbury. Students compared "The Bet" and "The Pedestrian" in groups. If you weren't here, come see me and I will give you the instructions so you can catch up on this assignment.

With each story we study, students have written a short piece to share with a peer. We have been practicing both writing and peer reviewing skills. You can check Skyward for the assignment names - they are pretty self-explanitory. If you have questions, please email me.

Next week, we will be reading "Everyday Use" and visiting the Media Center to check out all the resources available.

We have Scholastic Reading Inventory testing coming up on September 22. The test is designed to assess how strong your reading skills are. This assessment will give me important information to help me help you strengthen your reading skills.We will be taking them again in the Spring to see how much you have improved.

Be sure to check your grades - they are updated!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Today students turned in their hero paper. Each student wrote a paper describing their own character. Next up, we will be working on a map of our Kingdoms. This should be interesting! Students are also reading Once and Future King. The assignment for that is due in class on September 23.

Students are planning to get together to attend the movie Where the Wild Things Are in October. More details will be in class.

Junior Honors English

We have finished our first timed writing assignment on Of Mice and Men. In spite of the stress, everyone survived and then went on to take a test on a passage from Frankenstein. I know, it sounds like a lot, but everyone who tried will get an A on the assignment because my goal is to have them learn from the process of writing and taking a multiple choice test. That's what we will be doing next week.

Just a warning: Next week I will be assigning the most difficult assignment of the entire year. Don't worry! Others have survived the Dreaded Fold-a-Book and so can you!

Sophomore English

We finished "The Bet" yesterday (Sept 3). Students were to sketch a diagram of the place they could stay if they had to live 15 years in solitude. They also created a reading response sheet and wrote about things they would be willing to give up three years of their life for. If you (or your student) were absent and you need more details about how to catch up, please email me.

Next up is "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury. We will be writing and discussing themes from the story.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Today we discussed some of the characteristics of a hero. The typed write-up for the hero assignment is due Friday, September 4th. It needs to be typed, double-spaced. I'm only expecting one page, but I have a feeling that some will go over. Just keep it to two pages max.

The Once and Future King Assignment was given out today. Read your section of the book and complete the assignment by September 23. We will be doing presentations in class on these, too, but we will decide the due date for that in September.

Next week, we will work on our Magical Kingdoms and the rules of Magic in the worlds we will be creating.

Junior Honors

We discussed Of Mice and Men in class yesterday and today. While most of us agree that we don't like the ending, we have to admit that there weren't many choices for George. Next up, we will be doing our first timed write in class. The object of this assignment is not to do an amazing job, though that would be lovely. What I will be looking for is evidence of the writing process - especially organization. More than likely, this will cause a brain ache, but that is a very good sign.

Since I really do want to improve reading and reasoning skills, we are also going to be taking a portion of an AP Literature Multiple Choice test. No worries. Everyone passes this one. I just want students to read the passage and the questions carefully and find words they don't understand. When they answer the questions, I just want them to write down the reason why they chose that answer. We'll work on them in class together to figure out the "right" answers.

Just a reminder that students should have a copy of The Scarlet Letter in class on October 5th and 6th.

Sophomore English

We are working on reading strategies now. The first short story we are reading is "The Bet" by Anton Chekov. Students will finish reading this September 3rd, along with choosing words from the story that they want to know forever - or at least until June. They will also be creating their own "solitary confinement" situation. If they were to be in total solitude for 15 years as the main character in the book, what would their lodge look like? What kind of books would they ask for? What kind of music would they listen to?

Next up: The Pedestrian. A story by Ray Bradbury

Monday, August 31, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Today we assigned "We Need a Hero". This is due Friday, September 4 in class. I can't accept late papers because we will be sharing and you will get points for giving feedback to your peers. Next time in class, we will be learning more about the Arthurian legend.

The Once and Future King was issued to students. They will have about three weeks to read their section of the book. I have an assignment they will get on Wednesday and we will decide in class when it is due.

Junior Honors Update

Congratulations on surviving your Three Cups of Tea test. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get on with Of Mice and Men. If you haven't turned in your summer assignment, please talk to me. There will be a timed write and a brief multiple choice test next time in class.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Class

Today we discussed what makes Science Fiction and Fantasy unique. We did a brief assignment and turned it in. Next time, please bring the materials you will need for the class and your signed disclosure statement.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sophomore English Information

First and Fourth Periods - Your test on Three Cups of Tea is on Friday. The best way to study for the test is to take about two minutes and quickly review each chapter with a friend. You don't need to know picky details, but you should have a general ideal of what went on in the book and what message the book has for humanity.

Don't forget to bring back your disclosure and a spiral notebook for starters, too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome Back to School!

Mrs. Hunter's Schedule:

A- Day

1st - Language Arts 10

2nd - Language Arts 11H

3rd - ESL Skills (with Miss James)

4rh - Language Arts 10

B- Day

5th - Science Fiction/Fantasy

6th - Language Arts 11H

7th - Conference

8th - Language Arts 11H

Just a little general information...

I'm excited to be your teacher this year. I am a National Board Certified Teacher and have earned my Master’s of Arts in Teaching. This is my eighth year teaching Language Arts at Riverton High School and if I have taught a sister, brother, cousin or neighbor of yours in the past, I promise not to hold it against you. There are honestly days that I can’t believe I get paid for what I do. Of course, there are other days that make up for that, but that is the beauty of teaching.

This year, if you are absent, you can check the blog for information on what you have missed and what is coming up. If you need information, you can check the blog. If you need more information, please email me.

As I get a little more experienced with blogging, I hope to put pictures of class activities here so you can show your parents what you have done in school. This is the year I embrace technology!

Welcome back to school. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009