English 12 — Period 1 — Feb. 13

Idiot box notes_Page_10

Today: We continued the brainstorming that we began last week on the topic of imagination. Adding to what we “know” about the topic and brainstorming what we “wonder” about the topic.

We also took a look at a classic Spongebob Squarepants episode called “Idiot Box.” Yes, it may be juvenile, but let’s apply our advanced analytical prowess to it nonetheless! We will use it as the basis of a discussion tomorrow, examining both its themes relevant to imagination as well as certain formal qualities that help to convey its ideas including:

  • Character
  • Conflict
  • Symbolism
  • Visual style
  • Sound effects
  • The title
  • Irony

Homework: Keep reading and making journal entries!


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 12 — Friday, Feb. 9

Today: We read examples of Student Analyses of “The Dumka” and scored them according to the rubric used on the English 12 Provincial exam, AKA “the 6-point scale”. We then discussed them in groups, reaching consensus on what marks each paragraph should get. Hint: one is a “6”, one is a “5”, one is a “4”, one is “3” and one is a “2”.

We then compared what we thought as groups to the Assessments given with the exam prep material.

We then discussed as a class what we can infer about good and bad characteristics of analyses; i.e., the do’s and don’ts.

Also today: We were informed that our grades for the first composition we wrote are now available in the online gradebook.

  • If you want to know how you can improve your mark, see the email I sent to you. Note that you may have also gotten an email notification from Google if I made any comments on your document but that is not the email I’m referring to. I emailed you directly, four paragraphs, probably beginning with “Good work” and ending with “thanks.”) If you still don’t the praise and advice I give you in that email, come and see me.
  • You may, if you choose, submit a revision and I will add that to the gradebook (not replacing the original mark which.)
  • Note that I expect revisions to be your sole work; not the work of tutors or any other helpers.
  • I reserve the right to discount work that is inconsistent with what you can do in class.

You should have received an email from Google with a link to a shared folder containing examples of high-scoring student work for this assignment, shared anonymously, with the students’ permission. One of them scored higher than the other two. See if you can guess which one. I hope you read and enjoy them!

Next week: We begin reading and analyzing work in our chosen themes: imagination for period one and crime for period two.

Homework: Keep reading your silent reading book over the weekend! Have a good one!

English 9 — Thursday, Feb. 8


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 12 — Thursday, Feb. 8


Jarema’s dumka (1879), a painting by Stanisław Masłowski in the National Museum in Warsaw.

Today: we continued to discuss the poem “The Dumka,” focusing on “contrast” as the topic for analysis. We worked in groups to find as many examples of contrast as possible, discussed them in detail, and ultimately related that topic to the poem’s themes as a whole.

Tomorrow: we will look at examples of student analyses of this poem, working in small groups again to evaluate those analyses according to the 6-point scale.

Homework: Continue reading your SR book for at least 30 minutes today and everyday; make a new entry in your reading journal.

English 9 — Wednesday, Feb. 7


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 12 — Wednesday, Feb. 7


Today: In order to better understand literary analysis and the criteria used to evaluate it, we started working through some of the English 12 Provincial Exam materials available from the Ministry of Education. Specifically, we read the poem, “The Dumka,” practicing poetry reading and analysis strategies and answering multiple choice questions.

Tomorrow we will continue to discuss the poem, focusing on the topic of “contrast”.

Homework: Today and everyday, continue reading your silent reading book for at least 30 minutes.