English 9 — Feb. 15, 2018

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Today: We did an exercise on the difference between plot summary and interpretation/analysis. Then students had a chance today to review my comments on their analyses of “A Mountain Journey” and ask for clarification. Please email me if you have further questions.

If you want to submit a revision of your analysis, please re-share the document with me so I get an email notification from Google. I hope to receive this before Monday.

We then continued our discussion of Odysseus and the Cyclops. In small groups, students created concept maps brainstorming the characteristics of Odysseus that are apparent here. Groups chose their “top 3” traits for him. We then looked for textual evidence to support those traits. Finally, students were asked to come up with an overall thesis statement: what can we say about Odysseus? More specifically:

  • What characteristics (positive or negative) does Odysseus display in this story?
  • What can we infer about the values of the ancient Greeks from this?

We will write a response on this topic in class on Monday, focusing on improving on the work we did on our previous response, based on the constructive feedback we received.

If you would like to work on your own computer, please bring it on Monday.

Homework: Continue reading your silent reading book. You may also want to re-read “Odysseus and the Cyclops” and make sure you have selected enough good evidence for your paragraph response on Monday. Please do not do any other “research” for this topic. I expect that the ideas in your writing will be 100% your ideas–not based on something you read online.

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English 9 — Wednesday, Feb. 14

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Today: We were given an assignment to create Feedback Log, collecting and organizing the feedback we receive on our assignments in this class. The first entry should contain the feedback you received on your response to “A Mountain Journey”.

We then went on to read “Odysseus and the Cyclops,” working independently to find and highlight or underline evidence we can use to write on the following topic:

  • What characteristics (positive or negative) does Odysseus display in this story?
  • What can we infer about the values of the ancient Greeks from this?

Tomorrow: We will discuss the topic in small groups and start planning a written response.

Homework: Please review the comments you got on your analysis of “A Mountain Journey” and add one positive comment and one suggestion for the future to you feedback log. If time permits, read your silent reading book, too!

English 9 — Feb. 13

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Today: I returned rubrics and first draft grades for our response to “A Mountain Journey.” Students may the feedback they received (both on the rubric and in comments on the Google Doc) to revise their work and improve their grade. If you do choose to revise your work, please re-submit it by sharing it with me again on Google Docs within one week. Although you have already shared it with me, doing so again will send me an email notification so I know to take a second look. Remember that revisions must be the sole work of you, the student. I reserve the right to discount work if it does not seem to reflect what you can do when I observe your writing in class.

We also had a brief introduction to Epic Poetry, looking at the first half of this presentation. We then started to read an excerpt from Homer’s epic, The Odyssey: the episode with the Cyclops. Please email me if you need a copy of this handout.

Homework: Today and everyday: keep reading your silent reading material for 30 minutes a day.

English 9 — Friday, Feb. 9

Today: we finished the paragraph assignment begun yesterday. If you weren’t able to finish during class time, please take the time you need to complete it and share it with me on Google Docs when it is done. (Before Monday please.)

Homework: keep making progress through your silent reading book! At least 30 minutes a day, continuing to make entries in your reading journal.

English 9 — Thursday, Feb. 8

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Today: we started to write paragraph responses to “A Mountain Journey.” Students were to select one of the following topics. But watch out! We need to be able to use the evidence we found in the story to help develop our ideas.

What does this story tell us about… (pick one)

  • Risks
  • Decisions
  • Nature
  • Cold weather survival

While this assignment can be completed on paper, I am trying to get as many students as possible working on Google Docs. We had 24 computers available today and everyone present was using Google Docs. (While the school district has made Office 365 available, and I will accept assignments submitted through Office 365, I believe students will find Google Docs more user friendly for our purposes in this class, so I am strongly encouraging its use.)

Students were instructed in how to format their documents according to MLA formatting. (However, no “works cited” page is required for this assignment.)

Tomorrow: we will continue working on this paragraph assignment.

Homework: please continue reading your silent reading book today and everyday for at least 30 minutes. Make a new entry in your reading journal as you go.

English 9 — Wednesday, Feb. 7

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Today: we finished reading “A Mountain Journey” and shared the evidence we found relevant to the question: what mistakes did the protagonist make?

We then discussed what the overall theme of the story might be. In other words, what can we say this story implies about life, adventure, risk, or any other important topic it discusses?

Tomorrow: we will write a paragraph analyzing and discussing the story on the same topics above, and integrating our evidence.

Homework: today and everyday, please continue reading your silent reading book for at least 30 minutes. Add an entry into your reading journal.

English 9 — Tuesday, February 6

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Today: We went over some of our answers on yesterday’s integrating quotations worksheet, then used quotes from our reading journals for more practice integrating quotations. Student responses included:

  • The abolitionists “call [her] their equal,” but their actions do not reflect this statement.
  • Some people still look at the zoo “as a giant animal prison” (p. 50).
  • The character seems to like deep, dark and morbid music “like songs about letting go, saying goodbye” (p. 61).
  • Dwarves “have no use” for “nasty, disturbing” things.
  • The character was surprised of “[how] much food [there was]” (p. 41).
  • The suit saw this problem and moved into an emergency mode the engineers call, “bloodletting.”

Our next application of this skill will be in a paragraph response to the short story, “A Mountain Journey” by Howard O’Hagan, focusing on the question, “What did the protagonist do wrong?” We read most of that story in class, highlighting quotes that we can use as evidence for the topic.

Homework: Continue reading your silent reading book for at least 30 minutes. If you had a hard time following the story in class, please reread it at home. It will be much more clear the second time.