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Imagery: Day 5 August 31, 2011

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Today was all about using description to activate the five senses, i.e. imagery. That’s why, as students walked in the door, they received a card with an eye, ear, nose, hand, or mouth on it.

1. Do now. Students reread the writing they did last night and underlined words and phrases they wrote that help readers see, hear, smell, feel, or taste the scene. Then, we passed in the writing. Ms. Fowler and Ms. Garvoille have looked at the writing to help place students into writing groups for tomorrow.

2. Imagery Notes. Students received L2: Imagery. First, we learned a catchy little tune to help students remember that imagery is more than images. It goes to the tune of “Jingle Bells”:

Im-a-gery, Im-a-gery:

taste, touch, hear, smell, see.

When you use description,

my five senses you must please!

Then, we reviewed Setting: time and place. We explored the different times of a story (season, day/night, hour, day of the week, era, decade, time period, century) and the different kinds of places (specific location, country, room, alternate dimension). Students came up with how they might hint at the setting by using imagery.

3. Applying Imagery Jigsaw. Students divided into groups based on the cards they got at the door. All the sight folks gathered, for instance. Then, these expert groups analyzed the example passage on L2, labeling all the imagery words related to their sense by underlining.

After sense groups worked for a few minutes, students then met with their color group, which had roughly one representative per sense. Students shared out their answers so that everyone had a key of all the imagery in the passage.

Here’s the passage we used from Sue William Silverman’s book Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir:

Drowsy, I recline on the terraço of a friend’s villa in Sintra, Portugal. Across the valley is another villa, owned by the Rothschilds, and beyond that, the Atlantic Ocean, currents flowing from the Gulf of Cádiz, azure and hot. I am writing an aerogram, the paper supported by a book, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Beside my lounge an oval table holds a pitcher of ice water. Slices of lemon circle a tray. I place a slice in a goblet, fill it with water, and sip. From the valley rise the spicy scents of eucalyptus and olive, lupine and poppy. Cerise bougainvillea etches whitewashed walls. I drift in sun, in shade from cork trees, sun and shade, pages of the book and the aerogram fluttering against my fingertips.

4. What’s the difference? Students were asked to read the first draft version of this same passage and compare:

Portugal is beautiful. The weather is warm; the days are sunny. Every afternoon I sit outside reading or writing letters, with the ocean in the distance. The air smells fresh and sweet. Sometimes, I feel as if I could fall asleep outside in the warm air. I never want to leave. It’s so vast and beautiful that I hope this moment lasts forever, that it never ends.

The original, students said, was more boring. You couldn’t imagine it very well. She just told you it was pretty instead of describing it. Your writing, too, should progress from being vague to being specific and full of imagery.

5. Making your own imagery. Students received a prewriting sheet to help them brainstorm what kind of setting they would like to describe for homework. Setting Piece Prewriting. The first chart is for Honors, the second is for Regular. Regular English I folks need to write a page-long description that uses imagery to make the reader feel like he or she is there. Honors English I peeps need to use imagery to convey their inner feelings about the setting without telling us directly. We spent some time filling out the prewriting sheet in class.

HW: Finish your Setting Piece Prewriting and then write a description of a significant place in your life. The description needs to be at least one page long (Regular). If you are in Honors, you need to keep writing until the description is finished. Rough draft due tomorrow.

It’s okay if you also tell a story along with the description. This place should have some symbolic, emotional, intellectual meaning to you or should have some element of conflict present in it.

 

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Connecting to the Text: Day 4 August 30, 2011

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1. Diagnostic Test results. Students saw how they did on the diagnostic test we took last week on Friday. They received both the test and their scantron with their answers. Then, students analyzed their strengths and weaknesses though breaking down how well they did on each set of questions using this sheet: Diagnostic Test Results. Students then determined which area they were superstars in and which area they needed work in. You can ask your child about this.

2. Storytime. Ms. Garvoille told a story about how much she hated English class in high school because she felt like she didn’t understand any of the readings, especially Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” in The Outsiders. Finally, when she was a junior in high school, Ms. Garvoille took an English class in which the novel Crime and Punishment was assigned. As she read the book, she felt suddenly that the character was just like her. It’s not that she wanted to kill an old woman like Raskolnikov did, nor was she a young Russian intellectual. It was much deeper than that: she felt like she though the same way as this character. Not just that, the minor characters in the novel reminded her of friends she had: this one was Rob, the other Jill, that one Jon. Finally, she began to like literature because she learned how to connect it to her life

3. Connecting to the Text. Students took a minute to describe the main character of their summer assignment book to their partners. Then, we started finding deep, not superficial, similarities between ourselves and the author of the memoir. We used this sheet to organize our thoughts: Reader Response. We first filled in the center boxes — what kind of similarity do you have to the author? a similar experience? outlook on life? similar values? Then, students filled in the left-hand boxes with details from the memoir and the right-hand boxes with a description of a specific moment in time from their own life that they felt showed that value, outlook, or experience. When we say moment in time, we mean this: if your life is one really, really long movie, a moment in time is a clip from that movie. It might be five minutes, fifteen, even an hour. But it’s not a month, a year, or a few years. This is something that happens in one instant. Finally, students chose one of the three events from their life to write about for one page. Tell the story of the event like I’m there, like it’s happening before my eyes, like you’re reliving it. This writing is due tomorrow and must be finished at home.

Here’s an example of the beginning of your writing. I told students about this story in class. Here’s how I would write it:

Under the dim blanket of clouds, we crunched across the gravel path between the Phoenix and Mott. I held the slim volume with one hand––The Interpreter of Maladies––swiping the stifling air with it as I spoke, slapping it against the palm of my left hand as if I could beat the stupid out of it. For our English class, we were supposed to be leading a discussion on one of the stories. But I couldn’t get over how dumb this one was. The Michigan pines towered over me. I glanced over at Jon. We had been talking about the story for a while now–how to lead the class, how to interpret it–but I was still hung up on Twinkle.

NEXT, I would add some dialogue here and then maybe explain what I was thinking about as I looked around and we walked. Perhaps I’d describe how my puffy vest jacket felt against my arms, what Jon looked like at the time. Finally, I’d get to a point in my inner thought process that I throw the book on the ground and walk off. Then I might explain how I really felt about the character, Twinkle, and why I hated her in the first place (she reminded me of cheerleaders, who I didn’t like in high school, but I knew that I should like everyone because I was a better person than that). I would end the piece with that moment of internal conflict.

HW: Write one page (or more for Honors) telling the story of one of the three experiences you wrote about on your Reader Response sheet. Tell it in your own voice, using description, dialogue, slang, whatever you want. There are no rules. This is just about you and your past, so do not mention the author of the memoir you read. This can be handwritten on notebook paper or you can type it.

Vocabulary and Conflict: Day 3 August 29, 2011

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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. Housekeeping. Students passed in their signed Policies and their Info Sheet (aka Personal Profile).
  2. WordSkills Notes. We learned two word parts today and one SAT word. We also learned a fancy name for black lung disease: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Notes can be found for each vocabulary lesson here, but students also take notes during class. Today we took notes on Lesson 1, #1-2. 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!
  3. Conflict Notes. We continued taking notes on L1: Conflict Notes. Some classes got far enough in the notes to get homework, others did not.
HW: 2nd, 5th, and 6th periods only. Conflict in the Summer Assignment. Honors and Regular English have slightly different assignments, so beware when you download the document.

Diagnostic Test: Day 2 August 26, 2011

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  1. We reviewed procedures for the bathroom, pencil sharpening, and other excitingly mundane tasks. Students can tell you about Ms. Garvoille and Ms. Fowler’s sometimes humorous classroom demo of the procedures.
  2. 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.
  3. After they finished the 60-question test, they worked on filling out a Personal Profile (click to download the Info Sheet), which tells me a bit about them.

HW: Due Monday: Bring back the signed Policies and your completed Personal Profile. Bring your memoir/autobiography summer reading book to class as well.

Have a great weekend!

Procedures: Day 1 August 25, 2011

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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. Students received the memoir unit calendar (download here: Memoir Calendar) for the next six weeks. We also reviewed the syllabus and grading policies for the class (download here: English I Syllabus 2011).
  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, 6th period English only took 23 seconds to pass out papers, and 5th period took a mere 8 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 1st period won the stapler-passing race, having stapled all their summer assignments with only two staplers, all in just 58 seconds. Congrats! Looks like we’ve got some work to do to beat those times!
  3. People Search. In order to meet classmates and begin thinking about how experience can shape identity, students completed a people search.  18 questions were given and we had to find which classmates paired with each question. We learned that almost everyone went to the beach, but it was more difficult to find someone who has moved more than five times.  Just answering one little question can lead into deeper exploration of identity.
  4. Notes on Conflict. In some classes, we reviewed the five types of conflict (download here: L1: Conflict Notes). Do you remember those five types of conflict? Man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, man vs. society, man vs. technology/supernatural/machine.
HW: Return signed policies by Monday (English I Syllabus 2011)

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 seven points. Any student who just got the summer assignment today, it will be due Thursday, 9/8.

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, 2011

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Welcome to Open House!

Click here to give your contact info.

  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.

Summer assignment due on Thursday 8/25 August 20, 2011

Posted by garvoille in Annoucements.
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All students enrolled in English I or Honors English I should be ready to turn in their summer assignment on the first day of school.

Here is a link to download the assignment if you need it: Summer Reading Assignment for English I and Honors English I.

Also, everyone is invited to attend the ninth grade open house on Tuesday, August 23rd, starting at 5:00.