Honors English 9A

Class info

Thematically, first semester of Honors English 9 is about defining what it means to be a hero; second semester is about exploring the complexities of power. We will study mythology, the Hero’s Journey, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, poetry, and several novels, including: 1984 or Animal Farm by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Students will research, debate and discuss issues that connect to our studies and the world today, write, and create and perform speeches. They will work in small and large groups as well as individually and will be required to do extra independent reading.

Monday, 12/13

I checked the Old Man Power Paragraphs today and returned them in class with some comments. Students worked on one last practice Power Paragraph regarding cell phones in schools, and we wrapped up any remaining loose ends regarding the novel. Homework: make sure you’re prepared to write two Power Paragraphs — one on Old Man, with quotes, and another from your choice of a couple different prompts — for the final. Good luck!

Thursday, 12/9

Today was more discussion of Old Man (particularly how the novel as an allegory) and more practice with Power Paragraphs in preparation for the final. Homework: please write the Power Paragraph on Old Man that you should have brainstormed/outlined today in class.

Tuesday, 12/7

We practiced another power paragraph today, completing this one entirely in-class to try and get a sense for how long they will take to write on the final. With the time remaining we continued discussing The Old Man and the Sea. Homework: please finish the novel for Thursday.

Friday, 12/3

I checked reading notes for The Old Man and the Sea today as well as the brainstorming and outline for the Power Paragraphs on honesty. Students wrote their paragraphs from their outlines, traded them for peer editing, and we discussed what everyone did well and needed to work on. We spent the last part of class discussing perseverance and nature in Old Man. Homework: please read through p. 90 for next class.

Wednesday, 12/1

Short period today due to Late Start. We spent a little bit of time discussing the beginning of The Old Man and the Sea — mainly how it’s seemingly only about fishing so far, and that actually it’s in no way only about fishing. As you read, try to figure out how the book could be about more than just fishing and how you can make it relevant to your own life. We also started studying the Power Paragraph and began brainstorming paragraphs about honesty. Homework: finish the Power Paragraph handout, front and back, for class on Friday; for Tuesday, please read through p. 90 in Old Man (and try to read a little bit further for Friday, if you can).

Monday, 11/29

Essays for the Independent Novel Project were due at the start of class today. We then introduced Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. The last part of class was reading time to begin the book. Homework: read through p. 40, and make sure to take notes as directed in today’s slide deck.

Thursday, 11/18

I was called away from school during lunch today to pick up my son from day care. The entire class period was available to continue/finish your independent novel, begin work on the independent novel essay, or work on revisions for your Hero’s Journey story. Homework: your independent novel essay is due the first day back from Thanksgiving break.

Tuesday, 11/16

Today we wrapped up the Greek Council speeches and debates. This took up most of the period. The last part of class was spent discussing the details of the Independent Reading Essay. This essay is due the day we return from Thanksgiving break. Homework: please bring your novel to class on Thursday as you will have at least part of the period to read and/or begin your essay.

Friday, 11/12

Day two of our Greek Council speeches. We made good progress today, though there are still several remaining speeches in both classes that we will finish up next Tuesday.

Wednesday, 11/10

The first day of our Greek Council speeches was today. I collected the annotated works cited pages for those that printed them, and we eased into things with time at the start of class to make name tents with students’ god/goddess name on them as well as a run-down of how each speech and the following debate/vote would go. Then we jumped into things with volunteers to go first. We will continue these speeches next class.

Monday, 11/8

I started class today talking about the independent reading assignment. Students will have some sort of written assignment to complete over Thanksgiving break, so I’m suggesting that everyone have their novel finished by the end of next week. We then switched back to the Greek Council Speech Assignment — students submitted their resolutions (many already had), and then worked on their speeches. Part-way through class, I talked for a little bit about the introductions and conclusions to your speeches. Homework: come to class on Wednesday prepared to give your speech and hand in your annotated Works Cited.

Thursday, 11/4

More work on the Greek Council Research/Speech Project today. I went over the rubric for the speech component, which will be presented next Wednesday. I also introduced the idea of using Logical, Ethical, and Emotional Appeals in speeches. The rest of class was work time to continue developing your resolutions, doing research, and organizing speeches. We will have one more work day, next Monday, before the speeches must be presented. Homework: continue research and speech writing; also, please bring your independent novels to class on Monday.

Tuesday, 11/2

I was away from school today. With the sub, students took Galileo writing tests and then continued research for the Greek Council Speech/Presentation project. Homework: have your resolution written for class on Thursday.

Friday, 10/29

Today we were in the library for research on topics for the Greek Council speech/presentation project. Ms. Cope helped out in getting students signed up for EasyBib accounts and learning how to evaluate the research sources students are finding (evaluation worksheet, questions to help evaluate sources).

Wednesday, 10/27

The Hero’s Journey short stories were due today. Those that were turned in on-time will be eligible for revision once I get them graded. Any that were not turned in will be a zero until I get them, and they will not be eligible for revision. We discussed the next project — our Greek Council speech/presentation project. Every student has been assigned a Greek god or goddess, and everyone spent time researching their god/goddess today. On Friday, everyone will come up with and research a current cultural issue that their god/goddess would feel passionately about. Students will then create a resolution that they will deliver in character as the assigned god/goddess, and the rest of the class (Greek Council) will debate and vote on it. Half-way through class, we stopped researching gods and goddesses while Ms. Cope, Skyline’s teacher librarian, spoke to the class about research — particularly about evaluating sources and using online research databases.

Monday, 10/25

We started today with a research survey for Ms. Cope in preparation for the research project we will start in earnest on Wednesday. We then switched gears to the short story, talking about and practicing MLA formatting. Students got some time to work on cleaning up their drafts for the final draft deadline on Wednesday. We then switched back to the next project, with students drawing names of gods/goddesses from a hat, and then doing some very basic research into who they had picked. We will do more with these gods/goddesses on Wednesday. Homework: finish your short story final draft by the start of class on Wednesday.

Thursday, 10/21

Today the entire English department was in meetings all day, so I had a sub. Students were to spend the first half of class peer editing their Hero’s Journey short stories. The second half of class was for getting a good start on independent novels. Homework: your rough draft of your Hero’s Journey story needs to be completely finished on Monday.

Tuesday, 10/19

A little more than half the class today was spent reviewing the timeline for the Hero’s Journey short story project as well as going over some tips for writing and punctuating dialogue

After reviewing and making suggestions on a partner’s dialogue, students spent the rest of class working on their rough drafts. Homework: your rough draft needs to be about 90% finished for next class; also please bring your independent reading novel to class on Thursday.

Thursday, 10/14

We examined and practiced good word choice today as students began drafts of their Hero’s Journey short stories. As you work on your draft, please make sure it is typed in Google Docs and shared with me. Your final draft, when finished, should be between 1500 and 5,000 words. Homework: complete half of your rough draft for class on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 10/12

We started class by briefly reviewing the steps of the writing process. We then dove into brainstorming/planning for the Hero’s Journey short stories. Using this handout, students developed and established details for their hero, his or her strengths, his or her flaws, where he or she felt at home, and what kind of journey he or she would take. After exchanging papers and giving each other feedback and suggestions, students were to use the back of the same handout to write down a complete Hero’s Journey outline that maps out the entire plot of their stories. Not everyone finished this, but most had plenty of time to get most of it done. Homework: finish today’s in-class work, if it’s not yet done; additionally, write up a one-page character history for your hero leading right up to the beginning of your story (or up to The Call).

Friday, 10/8

We (finally) finished watching The Odyssey today, and we finished our ongoing discussion about how it fits the pattern of The Hero’s Journey. Afterwards, I reviewed the two assignments from last class, due Tuesday — the independent film assignment and the novel choice for the independent reading assignment. Then I introduced the next project — writing a short story that fits the pattern of The Hero’s Journey. We only had time to discuss the specifics of the project, and since students already have two assignments due Tuesday, none of this project is homework over the weekend. However, I urged students to start thinking about who their hero would be and what kind of journey he or she would embark on. Homework: as assigned last class, please watch a movie of your own choosing and also research and choose a novel for independent reading; both are due Tuesday.

Wednesday, 10/6

Today was a shorted class due to late start. I returned the Mockingbird essay tests and discussed the results with the class. I then reviewed two assignments, both due next Tuesday. The first is to watch any movie of your choosing and map it onto the Hero’s Journey. The second is to choose a book from this list for your first independent reading assignment. Homework: by Tuesday complete the Hero’s Journey independent film assignment and bring your independent reading novel to class.

Monday, 10/4

We continued watching The Odyssey today in class and taking notes on how it fits the pattern of The Hero’s Journey.

Thursday, 9/30

I was absent today. The sub should have started class with a departmental 9th grade literature pre-assessment. Afterwards, students should have used their copies of the Hero’s Journey notes from Tuesday’s class to help them take notes on the film version of The Odyssey. The idea was to take notes on components of the film that fit with the Hero’s Journey pattern. I will check these notes next class.

Tuesday, 9/28

We finished watching To Kill a Mockingbird today. We then went over the notes on the Hero’s Journey, which everyone will need for class on Thursday.

Friday, 9/24

Today we began watching the Academy Award-winning film version of To Kill a Mockingbird. We will finish it next class.

Wednesday, 9/22

Today was the in-class essay test over To Kill a Mockingbird. If you were absent, please come talk to me ASAP.

Monday, 9/20

Today we wrapped up To Kill a Mockingbird with a discussion of the end of the novel. I also gave some more information on the in-class essay on Wednesday, including the rubric for this assessment. Students had time the last half-hour of class to work on improving their notes for the test (which is open-book and open-note). Homework: show up Wednesday ready to write the essay.

Thursday, 9/16

Our Mockingbird fishbowl was today, this time with some new online tools to make the technology part go a little more smoothly (period 7 fishbowl, period 8 fishbowl). Overall, I thought the discussions went much better as well. Homework: 1.) please briefly reflect on how and why your understanding of the novel changed due to our discussion today, and 2.) work on augmenting your notes from Part 2 of the novel in preparation for the in-class essay test next Wednesday.

Tuesday, 9/14

Today we discussed the Tom Robinson trial, and particularly Mayella Ewell’s role in it. We also went over review notes on symbolism, theme, irony, and ambiguity. The rest of class was reading time to try and help students finish the novel by Thursday. Homework: finish the novel, and bring a total of five medium-large questions to class for our Mockingbird fishbowl discussion.

Friday, 9/10

Today we held our first, practice fishbowl/Socratic seminar discussion on Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” The online components of these discussions can be found here (period 7) and here (period 8). The fishbowl and its debrief took most of class. Homework: please read through p. 217 in Mockingbird and bring in three “big” questions from the trial for our (more traditional) discussion.

Wednesday, 9/8

Today we took a quiz on Mockingbird through p. 189. We discussed the quiz and this part of the novel, and now we’ll take a brief hiatus from it. We ran through some slides and exercises about writing small/medium/large questions, practiced these questions with “Where The Wild Things Are”, and then discussed our practice fishbowl discussion on Friday. Homework: please read “The Cask of Amontillado” on p. 174 in the textbook, and come up with three medium-to-large questions in preparation for our discussion next class.

Friday, 9/3

Today was primarily a day to get logged in and practice using Google Docs and the Honors 9 class blogs (7th period, 8th period). We will start using both of these tools very soon, so please let me know if you have any questions. Anyone who was absent needs to meet with me, briefly, to get a quick tutorial. I also asked you to do some writing about the racism, and racist language, in Mockingbird. Both classes had a pretty good discussion afterwards. Homework: read through p. 189 in Mockingbird for Wednesday, the next time we meet; continue taking notes as before — character in particular, more for plot, and also more for setting (get specific about locations in Maycomb).

Wednesday, 9/1

A shortened day today because of our late start schedule — I checked the Mockingbird notes everyone was supposed to be taking over the Part One reading. Then we finished discussing our small-group study of the five characters we started on Monday. Homework: none for next class, but I will ask you to read through p. 189 over the weekend; get a head start now if you’re so inclined.

Monday, 8/30

Today we took an open note, open-ended quiz over however much students had finished — and taken notes on — of Mockingbird. After this, we all tried to discuss and answer students’ questions about the novel. And then I split the class into groups; each group was assigned a character (Atticus, Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, or Boo Radley) and had to find examples of indirect characterization for their character. We began discussing these and will continue on Wednesday. Homework: finish Part One of Mockingbird.

Thursday, 8/26

I collected the signed portion of the course guidelines from students who had them — those that did not may still turn them in Friday without them being counted late. We finished going over our review of our elements of fiction (part 1) and then started our note-taking activity with Mockingbird. The last part of class included a discussion of the novel’s setting and characters. Homework: keep plugging away at Part 1 of Mockingbird which is due next Wednesday (not Monday, as originally stated).

Tuesday, 8/24

Picture day ate up the first part of class. We then reviewed the course guidelines, signed out copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, and began discussing the elements of fiction we’ll be reviewing while reading the novel. Homework: please complete Part 1 of Mockingbird by next Monday Wednesday (through p. 112); also, please have the bottom half of the second page of the course guidelines signed for next class.


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