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