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Friday, Monday, and Tuesday: Hoop Dreams! November 21, 2014

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We will be watching a wonderful, moving, award-winning documentary by Steve James, Hoop Dreams. It connects to Fences in its complicated relationships between failed parent athletes and their children, the ongoing problem of institutionalized racism in America, and how to break with traditions of the past (history does not have to repeat itself). Additionally, this film will set us up with a framework for thinking about Great Expectations, which we will begin after Thanksgiving.

Each day, students have a viewing guide to complete. If you were absent, you need to at least complete the “Do now” for the day.

You also need to turn in your “My Fences” homework on Friday! If you were absent, turn it in on Monday.

Here is the viewing guide: Hoop Dreams Viewing Guide.

HW: None! Optional Thanksgiving homework: buy yourself a copy of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Pick whichever edition you like best!

P.S. Here I am at my nerdy English teacher conference.

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Thursday, November 20: Finishing Fences November 21, 2014

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1. We took a few minutes to look at our orange reading guides and add anything to them from the reading.

2. Then, we had an oral quiz/class discussion to cover the last two scenes of Fences. We discussed the symbolism of Troy’s fence, Cory’s refusal to beat his father, Troy’s death, and the ending.

3. Students handed in their reading guides. If you weren’t here, you need to turn in your orange sheet!

HW: My Fences brainstorming. Here is a link to the full play.

Wednesday, November 19: Vocab and Gabriel Allusions November 19, 2014

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1. Students took notes on vocab roots #16-18.

2. Next, we played some Simon Says to review!

3. We then learned a little more about the Archangel Gabriel in order to prepare to read the end of the play, which ALL STUDENTS NEED TO READ TONIGHT! Here are the Gabriel notes we took: Gabriel Allusion Notes (L6).

Here are links to the pieces we examined:

“Blow, Gabriel, Blow” by Cole Porter from Anything Goes! (1938)

“When Gabriel Blows That Horn” by Cornell Tassey and Herbert Mandell

0:50-1:50

The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo (1536-1541)

Annunciation by Jan van Eyck (circa 1434)

In the image, Gabriel says, “AVE GRÃ. PLENA” or “Hail, full of grace…”. Mary responds, “ECCE ANCILLA DÑI” or “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord”. The artist writes Mary’s response upside down, suggesting that it is directed to God (who is apparently reading it from above!).

HW: Finish reading Fences tonight! Quiz tomorrow! Here is the play if you were absent. You should also fill out the reading guide as you go.

Tuesday, November 18: Reading Act II and Pipe Cleaners November 18, 2014

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1. Students wrote down a barrier fence and a protector fence for as many characters as they could on their orange sheet or a graphic organizer. For example, Troy’s barrier fence might be race (or is it?) and his protector fence might be women.

2. Next, everyone got a pipe cleaner, color associated with a character. They shaped their pipe cleaners into pickets of a fence which looked like the barrier or protector for each character. We then worked in groups to share out our ideas and link our fence pickets together.

3. We read Act II, scenes 1, 2, and part of scene 3.

HW: None tonight. By Thursday, you should finish reading Fences.

Here’s some cool stuff:

watch through 3:00

watch 7:00-9:00

November 17: Oral Quiz November 17, 2014

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Today, we had an oral quiz over the scenes we read at home. If you weren’t here, make sure you get a question on the next oral quiz on Wednesday!

HW: None. You will have reading homework tomorrow!

Friday, November 14: Reading Guide November 14, 2014

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1. Students received a Reading Guide: Fences Family Tree/Timeline Fences. We filled out everything we knew about the characters, the scenes we’ve read so far, and the timeline, focusing on both US history and Troy’s life.

2. We continued reading!

HW: By Monday, you need to finish reading through the end of Act II, scene 1. Here is the play if you were absent. You should also fill out the reading guide as you go.

Thursday, November 13 November 13, 2014

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1. Today, we started with a writing prompt: Describe the fences Troy puts up for himself and the fences society has put up for him.

2. Next, we read scenes 1 and 2 of the play and continued our discussion. There will be reading homework this weekend!

HW: Tonight none!

Wednesday, November 12: Vocab and Fences November 12, 2014

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1. Students finished their tragedy notes (L4: Elements of Tragedy Teacher Notes)

2. Paragraph practice. All students wrote a paragraph that described the plot of Fences so far using . . .

3 words from the tragedy notes, and

5 SAT vocab words

3. Next, we continued reading Scene 1.

HW: None

Monday, November 10: Day 1 of reading Fences November 10, 2014

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1. Students got out their homework (Baseball Poems/Baseball Termsto turn in. A few students read their poems aloud for the class.

2. Next, we read the first 10 pages of the play Fences together.

HW: None!

Friday, November 7: Playing Ball November 7, 2014

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1. Students discussed the Robert Frost poem we read for homework and turned it in.

2. We started brainstorming about the second key metaphor in the play: baseball. Students first filled out an inventory about their own experiences, and then we tried to connect them to baseball terminology. Here are the handouts: Baseball Terms (L5).

3. Next, we went out to play an inning of baseball so everyone would have a (cursory) understanding of the game.

4. We came back in to reflect on our experience on the field, how it could be metaphorical, and students received their homework.

Homework: Annotate one of the Baseball Poems and then write your own poem about a life experience you brainstormed in your pre-game inventory. The poem must use as many baseball terms as possible, but it cannot actually be about a literal game of baseball. (And it must be school appropriate, so don’t go putting your minds in the gutter when you think about “bases”!) Due Monday.