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Day 5: Vocabulary extravaganza and the name piece August 31, 2010

Posted by garvoille in Homework.
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Today we started our vocabulary program, Wordskills! Students will learn hundreds of word parts, which will unlock thousands of vocabulary words.

  1. Do now: Choose three bullet points from your Name Chart that best reveal your personality or view of the world. Circle them.
  2. WordSkills Notes. We learned three word parts today and one SAT word. We also learned a fancy name for black lung disease: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Notes can be found for each lesson here. Today we took notes on Lesson 1, #1-3. We also took notes on the SAT word ambivalent (ambivalence, to be ambivalent about, ambivalently).  Absent students need to pick up the handout from me and come in at lunch/before school to get the notes! We also reviewed our three word parts with hand motions. (Remember? Without, lacking! Both! Against!)
  3. Begin name piece. Based on their name charts, students began telling a story about their name. The goal is to reveal your identity little by little by telling your reader about your name. Use Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name” chapter from The House on Mango Street as a guide (it’s on the back of your name chart).

HW: Finish name piece rough draft for tomorrow. Standard, that means at least one page (handwritten). Honors, that means more than one page until you feel you’re finished.

Announcement: Meetings for the memoir editing staff will begin tomorrow, Wednesday, after school. They will last until 5:00. These students will help publish the memoirs of this year’s and last year’s students.


Day 4: Do our names make us? August 30, 2010

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We began preparing to write our own memoirs by completing more brainstorming. Today, students (except 2nd) received their Weekly Syllabus.

  1. Do now: Which of these four statements best describes you? Answer on p. L2. Explain your answer in a paragraph using an example.
    1. I am my name.
    2. I am my body.
    3. I am my mind.
    4. I am my spirit.
  2. Binder check. As students worked, I checked to see that their binders were organized into five sections and that they had separate homework folders.
  3. Name chart head start. Students received their homework, a Name Chart (download here: My Name Chart). After seeing how many people defined themselves by their names versus their bodies, minds, or spirits, we began to explore how sometimes our name suits us, and sometimes it doesn’t. More specifically, we brainstormed the different memories, feelings, sights, sounds, thoughts, etc. that come along with each of our many names. We all have many names: our full name, our petnames, our home name, our name our friends call us. In the name chart students write down whatever they know, think, or feel about each of their names. Here is an example:

Students worked on their name charts for two minutes to get them hooked on the homework. Ideally, students should be able to connect their name to some element of their brainstorming from over the weekend, which we turned in.

4. “My Name” from The House on Mango Street. Students read this excerpt from the novel (which is in the style of a memoir): My Name Sandra Cisneros. We read as a class using expressive voices, discussing along the way whether changing one’s name can change one’s identity. In some classes we discussed the theme of the piece: You can change your family’s reputation in the future, but you cannot change their past.

5. Esperanza’s Name Chart. In small groups, students filled out a quote-response activity related to one topic in the piece: family, culture, generational divide, name as identity, gender roles, or the view of self.

HW: Finish My Name Chart for tomorrow.

Day 3: Writing theme statements August 27, 2010

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Today we continued to discuss theme and students wrote theme sentences for the memoirs they read over the summer. All students received a Table of Contents for their binder today. We filled in our table of contents and organized our papers in order. If you need an example, come see the Example Binder in the classroom. All students need a homework folder and a binder divided into five sections! Pronto! (I have these materials if you don’t!)

  1. Do now: On a piece of notebook paper (titled “Notes on Theme” with L2 in the upper-right corner), students wrote down five ideas central to their summer reading. These need to be abstract topics, not specific topics. For instance, illness is an abstract topic, while cancer is specific. Some other examples are pride, betrayal, willingness to try new things, love, and jealousy. After about three minutes, we shared topics.
  2. Pass in Signed Syllabus and Personal Profile. Any students who did not turn these in today can put them in the “turn in” basket on the table by the window when they return on Monday. Put page 1 of your syllabus (labeled C1) in your Calendar section.
  3. Finish theme notes. On sheet L1, “Theme in Memoir,” we finished our notes on theme. But first, we did a quick review of the definition of theme and the people who could experience theme (the reader and the protagonist). Here are the new notes if you missed them (please fill in at home):
  • A word of warning for experienced readers:
    • A theme does not have to be a cliché (corny, expected, overused; example: “Home is where the heart is,” “Friendship is important,” “Don’t judge a book by its cover”).
    • A theme can sound like a contradiction (two opposites put together). Ex: The ones we love the most can hurt us the most.
  • Steps to find the theme: Look at T2C2:
    • Title: How does it relate to the meaning? (We discussed with partners.)
    • Topic (Students picked the abstract topic written for their Do Now that they felt most applied to their lives to write as an example.)
    • Climax: What is the breaking point for the protagonist? When does everything change for him/her? That’s probably the climax and it can tell you a lot about the lesson of the book (theme). We discussed in partners.
    • Change: Specifically, how does the protagonist change? This is not a superficial change like going from eating breakfast at McDonalds to eating it at Hardees. This is a deep change in personality or outlook that occurs after an epiphany or realization. For instance, I used to be proud, now I am humble. We discussed in partners.

4. Theme writing. On the back of sheet L1, students filled in the funny shapes along the left side, indicating T2C2. They wrote the title (underlined!) in 1, the topic they related to in 2, a description of the climax in 3, and the protagonist’s change in 4. In the box labeled Theme, students wrote a sentence using their topic word that explained what the protagonist or reader learned about the topic.

5. Theme revision. Finally, students (in periods 4-7) received the Theme in Memoir Help Sheet, which contains example sentence structures for complex, specific, non-cliché, contradictory-seeming themes. (This is L2.5 for Standard students; Honors just looked at it and gave it back). If you were absent or if you want it, download it here: Theme in Memoir Help Sheet. Periods 1-2 will receive this handout on Monday.

6. Exit Slip. Students wrote their most successful theme sentence on a slip of paper they gave me on their way out.

HW: Standard – Stones in the River. DUE MONDAY. Here’s an example of what yours might look like:

Let me explain: I’ve lived in four places (red stones): Wisconsin, Carrboro, Paris, and Norwalk. Next to each place I wrote the people that were important there (green stones). Then, I added sensory memories in light purple and dark blue. I added good and bad memories in light blue.

Honors: My Life Theme (Example is on the handout.) DUE MONDAY. Think about what’s important to you on the deepest level you know.What do you really believe in? That should be connected to your theme

Email me with questions.

Absentees: Complete Do Now (1). Turn in your syllabus and profile to the homework basket on Monday. Complete the Theme in Memoir notes (L1) using the information in 3 and 4. We did not do the “Examples of Themes” section or the “Theme of my partner’s summer reading” section. Ignore them. Download and print out (if you can) the Theme in Memoir Help Sheet and fill in the blanks in one sentence. Download and complete the homework. Email me with questions.

Day 2: Diagnostic test August 26, 2010

Posted by garvoille in Homework.
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  1. Students took a diagnostic test today on literary terms, reading comprehension, grammar, and homophones. It does not count as a grade, but will help me assign students to groups and challenge them on their own level.
  2. After they finished the 60-question test, they worked on filling out a Personal Profile, which tells me a bit about them.

It should also be mentioned the 4th period passed in papers in a whopping 9 seconds (it usually takes about a minute!) and 7th period passed them out in 22 (that’s only 2 seconds away from our goal!). Passing papers quickly allows students more time for testing, working, and thinking in school.

HW: Bring back the signed Syllabus and Policies and your completed Personal Profile. Both due tomorrow (Friday).

Day 1: Practicing procedures and a bit on theme August 25, 2010

Posted by garvoille in Homework.
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Hello parents, students, and families! The first day of school was glorious in room T103. Here’s what happened:

  1. Procedures: We reviewed the class Syllabus and Procedures (download available). Everyone should read over the handout carefully. You will find it in the left-hand pocket of your English homework folder.
  2. Race to save time: Throughout the year in all your classes, you will waste countless minutes passing papers, staplers, and forms willy-nilly. If we cut down on the time it takes to do these mundane but necessary tasks, we will have more time to discuss great literature, ask and answer questions, and learn. The time we invest in practicing these routines in the first weeks of school will pay us back tenfold in time saved later in the year. At the end of the day, 4th period English only took 35 seconds to pass out papers, and 18 seconds to pass them in. Typically it takes at least 1-2 minutes if you’re not thinking about it. But, let’s not forget 7th period won the stapler-passing race, having stapled all their summer assignments with only two staplers, all in just 39 seconds. Congrats! Looks like we’ve got some work to do to beat those times! One of the things we passed out was the Weekly Syllabus (Honors and Standard ). This tells students all the homework and class topics for the week. It also includes a handy checklist. Keep this in the left pocket of your homework folder, checking off homework as you go.
  3. Notes on Theme. We began a review of theme so students can begin thinking about what life lessons they would like to impart to readers in their own memoirs. We took notes on the Theme in Memoir (download available) graphic organizer. (There are drawings in the blank spaces in the .doc, so it’s best to pick up an extra from me if you need one.) Most classes got through the basic definition and parts A and B. We will pick up with this on Friday.

HW: Return signed and completed Syllabus and Policies by Friday.

Make sure you have all the English supplies: a binder (which you can leave at school), a homework folder (which you take home each night), looseleaf paper, and index cards (which you can leave at home until I tell you).

Any student who received the Summer Assignment over the summer but has not turned it in yet will lose three points for each day it is overdue.

Tomorrow we will be taking a Diagnostic Test, which does not count as a grade. You do not need to bring your memoir reading book to class.

Open House August 23, 2010

Posted by garvoille in Annoucements.
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Welcome to Open House!

  1. We will review the materials and expectations of English I in the Welcome Letter for Families.
  2. We reviewed DSA Policies important for Freshman in Freshman Year at DSA, A Quick Reference for Parents.
  3. Ms. Garvoille answered parent questions.

HW: All students should bring their summer assignment and the book that they read on the first day of school. Parents, please read over carefully the Welcome Letter and Quick Reference.