Honors English 9B

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.

End of the Semester

We finished Romeo and Juliet and students completed creative inquiry projects.

Tuesday, 5/3

We wrapped up reading Act II of R&J together today in class. Students then began reading III, i on their own. While/after reading, I asked students to choose two passages of at least 5 lines each and paraphrase them. I also asked students to write down 3-5 small questions, 2-3 medium questions, and 1-2 large questions raised for them by the scene. Homework: finish this reading activity if you didn’t get it done in class.

Friday, 4/29

Today was the due date for the independent reading assignment. In class, we watched the rest of Act II in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, and then we began reading this act.

Wednesday, 4/27

After finishing reading Act I of Romeo and Juliet, we watched the very end of I, v (where R & J first meet), and then watched through the beginning of Act II. Homework: finish your independent novel essays!

Monday, 4/25

We spent a good deal of time reading Act I of Romeo and Juliet, nearly finishing the act. Homework: independent reading essays are due on Friday.

Thursday, 4/21

Once again, I was absent from school today. The sub handed out the independent novel assignment, read it, and discussed it with the class. This is basically the same assignment you had in November. Students should have brought their independent novel today for reading time, which was the bulk of class today. Students who were finished with their novel could have started on the essay with the blue netbooks. Homework: work on your independent novel essay to make sure you get it done by next Friday.

Tuesday, 4/19

After collecting Lord of the Flies books and checking out lit textbooks, we recapped last week’s Shakespeare overview before starting our reading of Romeo and Juliet. Students paraphrased the Prologue, and then we assigned parts and read I, i. I also reminded students that they should be reading their independent novels, and that they need to bring them to class on Thursday. Homework: period 7 needs to read the last page of I, i and paraphrase it; period 8 needs to read all of I, ii, and bring a detailed summary to class.

4/11 - 4/15

I was in Michigan all week for my grandmother’s funeral. On Monday, students worked in class to convert outlines of their LOTF essays to drafts. The deadline for the final draft was pushed back to the end of class on Wednesday.

In class on Wednesday, students had time for peer editing and making final edits to their essays before the end-of-class due date.

On Friday, students read and reported out in groups on the three introductory sections of the textbook before the beginning of Romeo and Juliet. After discussing this introduction to Shakespeare, students began viewing the Franco Zeffirelli version (1968) of Romeo and Juliet.

Thursday, 4/7

I was out for English department meetings today. With the sub, students should have reviewed the rubric and due date for the LOTF Essay, reviewed introduce, explain, pertain on their own, completed step 10 on their outline document (collection of quotes), begun writing body paragraphs around quotes, and if finished, start working on intro/conclusion (we’ll do more with this on Monday). Homework: body paragraphs should be in rough draft form for next class.

Tuesday, 4/5

After reviewing theme, students started their Lord of the Flies essays today using this outline template which walks them through writing a statement of theme, turning it into a defendable thesis, and ultimately finding quotes and organizing the framework for the essay. Homework: complete the outline through step 9 for next class.

Friday, 3/25

We discussed the end of Lord of the Flies today — the nuts-and-bolts of ch. 9-12 as well as the escalation in violence of the boys (birthmark kid’s death, Simon’s death, Piggy’s death, Ralph’s near death), how quickly they were rescued once the built a proper signal fire, and masks/face paint. Students also completed an end-of-the-novel journal entry today: 

  • What was your reaction to the end of the novel? What did you think was going to happen? Compare that prediction with what actually happened.
  • Start thinking about the theme of the novel. What do you suppose Golding is trying to communicate to the reader through this text? Can you put it within the context of human nature and/or our Freudian lens from Monday?
Homework: This journal must be posted to the class blog by the end of spring break.

Wednesday, 3/23

My son was sick, so I was absent today. It was also a shortened period due to CSAP, so it was a reading day with the sub. Homework: finish LOTF if you didn’t get to the end in class.

Monday, 3/21

I asked students to come up with small/medium questions for LOTF ch. 8 to start off class. We answered those questions as a class and briefly discussed ch. 8 before launching into a discussion of literary analysis, lenses, and Sigmund Freud — and how one could read LOTF at a whole other level. Homework: read ch. 9-10 in LOTF.)

Thursday, 3/17

Another shortened class today. We spoke at length about the results of the 1984 essays and the revision option for those students eligible to do so. We discussed ch. 7 of LOTF, and then students had a little bit of reading time at the end of class. Homework: ch. 8.

Tuesday, 3/15

A short class today due to CSAP testing in the morning — we started with five new prefixes for the vocab list (ambi-, amphi-; cir-, circum-; dec-, deci-, deca-; inter-; and intra-, intro-) I checked that students had their independent novels. We also squeezed in some discussion of ch. 5 & 6 of LOTF. Homework: read ch. 7.

Friday, 3/11

I was absent today. The sub had students complete a journal on ch. 5 of Lord of the Flies. Afterwards, he took the class up to the library to choose a book for this semester’s Independent Novel assignment. Everyone must have a book selected for the next time we meet. The rest of the class was reading time for either LOTF ch. 6 or beginning the independent novels. Homework: finish ch. 6.

Wednesday, 3/9

Class started today with an introduction to the Independent Novel project for this semester — basically the same as last semester’s. We will spend about 20 minutes in the Skyline Library on Friday to allow students to peruse and possibly check out books. You must have your book with you for the following class (Tuesday). Next, students wrote to this prompt on the blog:

  • Ch. 4 is all about success and tragedy. Describe these successes and tragedies and label which you think are individual and which belong to the entire tribe. How would you feel if you were Ralph? If you were Jack? Whom do you think is right?

After this we discussed symbolism in ch. 4, how characters have changed, and how all of this along with the big conflict of ch. 4 are starting to lead us to the theme of the novel. Homework: read ch. 5 of LOTF.

Monday, 3/7

As I was feeling quite under the weather today, we had a modest work day. I assigned 10 more roots:

  • ann, enn
  • anthro
  • chron
  • flam
  • ign
  • mar, mer
  • micro
  • pac
  • pyro
  • soph

I also checked the homework from last class. Students then had time to either read ch. 4 (and possibly 5) or else complete the homework that wasn’t done in time for the start of class — they received partial credit. Homework: finish at least ch. 4 in LOTF.

Wednesday, 3/2

After checking to see if students had any small questions about ch. 2-3 in LOTF, we talked about theme, human nature, and big questions that are starting to appear in our reading of the novel. Students started compiling 3-5 examples from each chapter where Golding seems to be bringing up human nature and this experiment he has set up of kids stuck to fend for themselves on an isolated island. Homework: no reading (unless you’re behind), but finish writing down quotes from each chapter that seem to indicate the beginnings of this discussion of human nature.

Monday, 2/28

I was absent today. The sub asked you to answer the following journal prompt to turn in:

  • What do we presume has happened to the boy with the mulberry birth mark on his face by the end of ch. 2? If you’ve not read the book before, please speculate on the significance of his death. If you have, please tell me what you remember about the symbolic significance of his death.

Afterwards, everyone should have received a copy of the suffixes vocab handout and attached them to their existing prefixes/root words packets. The first five suffixes from the list we’re going to use are: 

  • -cracy
  • -ery (both!)
  • -hood
  • -ist
  • -some

As before, everyone needed to come up with 3-5 examples of words using these roots and add them to their packet. Last, everyone had reading time to read ch. 3 of Lord of the Flies, which is due next class. If they have finished ch. 3, they should read ahead or work on other school work quietly. Homework: finish LOTF ch. 3.

Thursday, 2/24

We couldn’t fit in reading time last class, so I started with it today to make sure everyone had read ch. 1 of Lord of the Flies (and to allow those who had done the homework to get ahead on tonight’s assignment). I answered small questions students had about ch. 1, and then we discussed the heavy symbolism throughout the first chapter — objects like the conch shell and Piggy’s glasses as well as characters themselves. Homework: read ch.2 for next class.

Tuesday, 2/22

The 1984 papers were due today. I briefly conferenced with every student to collect 1984 texts and to make sure papers were turned in (and to discuss when I would receive late papers for those who didn’t have it finished). Students worked on their first set of prefixes — coming up with example words for these prefixes, then combining them with our existing roots:

  • arch-
  • for-
  • hemi-
  • mal-, male--
  • mega-
  • neo-
  • poly-
The last part of class included some agree/disagree statements to get students thinking about Lord of the Flies. After responding to these statements, students chose one to expand on and post to the blog. Homework: read ch. 1 in Lord of the Flies.

Thursday, 2/17

We tried to accomplish a lot today, the last work day before the 1984 essay is due, and we accomplished nearly all of it. First I reviewed a list of miscellaneous notes regarding the essay, its due date, formatting, late/revision policy, etc. I then dove back into the extensive slide deck to try and help everyone visualize the way their quotes and main ideas work to support the thesis. We also reviewed punctuation of quotes before students began work on a detailed outline for the essay. After a chunk of work time for the outline, we returned to the slides to talk about order of details; introduce, explain, pertain; and more on introductions and conclusions. Homework: finish the 1984 essay so you can turn it in at the start of class on Tuesday; e-mail me if you have questions or difficulties in the meantime.

Tuesday, 2/15

Today was our first of two work days for the 1984 essay. After reviewing essay organization, students had work time to begin organizing their ideas and finding evidence to support them. I suggested the following steps:

  • Clearly understand prompt
    • In this case, choose which variation of the prompt you will be answering
  • Decide three broad, main ideas you will use to answer the prompt
  • Write thesis with preview of main ideas
  • Find evidence (quotes) to support each main idea
At the end of class, we worked on writing/clarifying thesis statements. Homework: continue finding evidence in the text to make sure your main ideas can be sufficiently supported; try and find the bulk of your evidence (9 quotes min. for a B) before coming to class on Thursday.

Friday, 2/11

Today was our fishbowl discussion of 1984. Before the discussion, students took a comprehension quiz as their ticket into the fishbowl. Then, both classes had really good, really thorough discussions of the novel. At the end of class, I gave out the assignment for the 1984 paper. Homework: start working on choosing your prompt and finding evidence in the text to support your answer.

Wednesday, 2/9

The first part of class today was set aside for typing up journals and posting them to the blog (B7B8). See Monday’s agenda to review the details of which journals must be posted. Next, we worked on medium and large questions for Friday’s fishbowl discussion of 1984. Lastly, I gave everyone 10 new roots to add to your root packets: acou; ceed, cede; dyna, dynamo; graph, gram; hydr; loc, log, loqu; ora; phon; scrib, scrip; vali, valu. Homework: be ready for the fishbowl — and a comprehension quiz over 1984 — on Friday.

Monday, 2/7

After briefly presenting information on course registration and the standard course progression within the English department, I got students started on our latest round of Galileo testing. As students finished up their testing, they began their final journal entry on 1984. I also explained that students will have to post 6 journal entries to the class blog (B7B8) for later this week. All students should have already posted journals 1, 2, and 3. After posting today’s final journal, students may choose any two of these remaining, hand-written journals to type and post: 4, 5 & 6, 7, 8.

Thursday, 2/3

Students wrote to this journal prompt to start class. We discussed a large portion of the novel that we had read since my absence last Friday and over our weather-related days off this week. We also began discussing some of our comma-related grammar instruction coming up. Homework: please finish 1984 for next class.

Friday, 1/28

I had to miss class today because my kids were sick. The sub should have passed a copy of the vocab (root words) packet to each student. Everyone will need this with them every day and will not be given another copy, though you can print your own blank one from here. Tell students that the first five roots from the list we are going to use are: 

  • crac, cracy
  • jud, jur, jus
  • leg
  • mori, mort
  • vinc, vict

For these five, students were asked to come up with 3-5 examples of words using these roots and add them to their packet. In coming up with examples, try and use words that either appear in 1984 or could be used to describe the plot, characters, topics, setting, or theme of the novel.

Next, everyone should have received a copy of the journal handout for today. The journal was due at the end of class.

Homework: please read to p. 262 in 1984 for next class.

Wednesday, 1/26

Two journal entries, punctuated by discussion of yesterday’s reading, comprised the bulk of class today. 

Students also had some time to get started on tonight’s sizable reading assignment. Homework: read to p. 239 in 1984.

Monday, 1/24

We got caught up on our 1984 discussions today covering students’ small/medium questions through ch. 2 of part 2, and also considering a medium/large question about Orwell’s choice to make sex Winston’s rebellion of choice. Homework: read through p. 174 for next class.

Thursday, 1/20

Today I was gone for English department meetings all day. It was a reading day for making progress on the large chunk of reading due Monday. Please remember to also post your journal from Tuesday to your class’s blog by tomorrow. Homework: 1.) Post the journal you wrote in class today to the blog for your class (B7B8) by Friday; 2.) read through p. 138 and find small/medium questions for these chapters by Monday.

Tuesday, 1/18

Today we started our study of vocabulary through Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. I used the slide deck below to introduce this as well as help you through an introductory activity and a journal entry for today.


Homework: 1.) Please post the journal you wrote in class today to the blog for your class (B7B8) by Friday; 2.) read through p. 138 and find small/medium questions for these chapters by Monday.

Thursday, 1/13

I grouped students today for a seating chart and also small-group discussions of the novel for the next week or so. In these groups, students discussed and tried to answer each others’ small and medium questions from ch. 2-3 of 1984. Any questions that remained for each group were then entered into these forms (B7, B8). I projected the questions on the screen, we discussed and tried to answer them as a class, and used them to drive our general discussion of these chapters. Homework: read ch. 4 & 5 for next Tuesday; pay particular attention to the discussions of Newspeak.

Tuesday, 1/11

We worked on getting everyone up to speed on the class blogs today (B7, B8) by posting the journals from last week, a new journal for today, and the small/medium questions from ch. 1 and 2. 

Students also practiced commenting on each others’s posts. Homework: read ch. 3 in 1984 and again come up with small/medium questions.

Friday, 1/7

Students spent time today getting logged into Google Docs (some for the first time) and typing up their journals and questions from last class. We then signed out copies of 1984 and discussed everyone’s small questions from this chapter. Homework: read ch. 2 and write down your small questions again.

Wednesday, 1/5

For the first day of the semester, I asked students to write and turn in a journal entry about fear (see slide deck below). We also reviewed small/medium/large questions from last semester. Students then had time in class to read ch. 1 of 1984 and come up with at least five small questions and at least one medium question from the chapter. Homework: I wasn’t ready to sign out the novels today, so none yet; students will likely have reading homework over the weekend.




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