English 10A

Class info

We will analyze two themes through World Literature — Individual vs. Society and Choices and Consequences — while you explore and begin to answer: Where do you fit in the world today?

While exploring these themes, will follow Colorado’s Oral Expression and Listening, Reading for All Purposes, Writing and Composition, and Research and Reasoning standards.


End of the Semester

To finish out the semester, students completed and presented the graphic adaptations of their second independent novels. We also reviewed for and took a final consisting of a power paragraph dealing with the universal theme of Individual vs. Society as seen in Persepolis.

Tuesday, 12/6

Today we finished reading Persepolis and wrote and discussed a brief journal prompt about the end of the book. Students then began working on their graphic adaptations of their second independent novels. Homework: make sure you are finished with your drawings and reflection by next Monday.

Friday, 12/2

Students read “The Passport” and “Kim Wilde” in Persepolis today and also got some time to continue reading in their independent novels. After a journal prompt, we discussed the last four chapters from Persepolis (some which were read on Wednesday). Homework: complete your independent novel by next Tuesday.

Wednesday, 11/30

At the beginning of class, we went over the assignment details and rubric for the Graphic Excerpts of the Second Independent Novel. As students finish their independent novels, they need to be thinking about which scene they’d like to depict in graphic novel format. We will be working on this in class next week, and the entire project is due on Monday, December 12. Next we discussed more questions from Monday’s Persepolis reading as well as students’ answers to my journal prompt. The second half of class was time to read “The Wine” p. 103 and “The Cigarette” p. 111, complete graphic summaries for these two chapters, reading in independent novels, and getting caught up on or ahead in Persepolis if absent previously or novel-less today. Homework: keep making progress in independent novels and consider which scene to choose for graphic excerpts next week.

Monday, 11/28

With only three weeks left in the semester, we need to get finished with Persepolis. Students read “The Trip” p. 72, “The F-14s” p. 80, “The Jewels” p. 87, and “The Key” p. 94, wrote small and medium questions, and then answered a journal prompt (How have things changed for Marji since her uncle died? What’s different in her life? What’s different for the people of Iran?). This took most of class. We did briefly discuss the project for the second independent novel as well as a few of the questions students wrote. Homework: keep reading your independent novel; you need to finish it by the beginning of next week.

Thursday, 11/17

Half of our class time today was eaten up by Galileo testing. Those students who finished the test early had some time to read their new independent novels. After testing was over, we talked a little bit more about Tuesday’s reading in Persepolis, in which we focused specifically on reading the facial expressions and other visual representations of Marji’s emotional responses to the things she experienced in those chapters. Homework: make some significant progress on your independent novels over Thanksgiving break — your goal is to have it at least half-way finished when you return.

Tuesday, 11/15

After visiting the library to check a second independent novel for the semester, students got back into Persepolis by reviewing the first third of the book and then reading “Moscow” and “The Sheep” and asking small and medium questions. Homework: begin reading the new independent novel; you need to have it about half finished upon returning from Thanksgiving Break.

Friday, 11/11

Today was the last work day for the Inquiry Research project. I reviewed the requirements of the project and the due date (before midnight tonight/tomorrow morning). And I showed students how to move their completed bibliographies from Easybib to Google Docs. Additionally, students received this third reflection prompt for the research journal:

  • What was the easiest part of the project for you? Why?
  • What was the most difficult? Why?
  • How can you apply what you learned, in terms of research skills, to your non-academic life?

Homework: finish up your research project tonight!

Wednesday, 11/9

Today was our fourth research day. Students had basically the entire class to work on research, and my recommendation was to have 5-6 sources finished by the end of class. About half-way through class, I asked everyone to check and make sure their research folder was correctly sharedI also posted this reflection prompt: 

  • How has your research question changed from the very beginning of the project? A little? A lot? Compare your question at the beginning to how you’d phrase it now.
  • Think about and describe how the process of researching has changed your question and how you approach it. Identify which sources in particular were crucial in changing your question.

Homework: try to get set up to finish he project in class on Friday, and don’t forget to write up your research reflection for today.

Monday, 11/7

Today was our third research day in the Library. After Ms. Cope spent about 15 minutes reviewing the research databases you can access through the Skyline library’s site, students had time to continue their research. Please remember to complete the entries in the research notebook as thoroughly as possible and also to be adding sources to Easybib. Toward the end of class, I posted the following research reflection prompt:

  • What has gone well for you so far with this project? What frustrations or difficulties do you have?
  • Where have you had better luck in finding information to answer your large question — Google search and webpages or the research databases? Write about why you think this is.
  • (Please type your response to these questions in your iSearch Journal document.)

Homework: I’d recommend having at least three sources complete by next class, along with the research reflection.

Thursday, 11/3

We started class by creating the research notebook and journal documents from templates (see the research resources page for links). Ms. Cope then went over some information on source validity help students learn how to evaluate their own sources. The last part of class was research time, with the goal of getting one source found, evaluated, and notes taken by the end of class.

Tuesday, 11/1

We dove into the iSearch project today. Students refined their large questions and then tried them all out, choosing the best one to carry forward into the research project. I introduced Easybib, talked about sources, and briefly touched on keywords and search terms — all things we will go over in more depth through the next week and a half.

Friday, 10/28

Today students read “The Party” and “The Heroes” from Persepolis, again writing their own small and medium questions, which we discussed. Then we started talking about the iSearch project we’ll be starting next week, including the importance of knowing how to do research. Homework: Think about the society in your independent novel. What are three major characteristics? Write three large questions about the society. Consider: “How do a society’s social issues affect its people?”

Wednesday, 10/26

Students read the Persepolis chapters “Persepolis” and “The Letter” today. I asked them to write down any small questions they needed answering to understand these chapters as well as “The Water Cell” from last class. I also asked students to answer a few discussion questions. We discussed everyone’s questions and did some journalling as well to prepare for the research project we’ll be starting soon.

Monday, 10/24

Students practiced writing small and medium questions while reading “The Bicycle” in Persepolis. I answered many of the small questions to help everyone with background knowledge. Students then read “The Water Cell” and completed graphic summaries to summarize the chapter and show off some of the reading strategies for visual texts.

Thursday, 10/22

Today students worked on their in-class summative power paragraph over their independent novels, answering this question:

Looking at the protagonist in your novel, how does he/she go against the norms of his/her society or community?

Students first completed a power paragraph outline, and then they typed a full power paragraph in Google docs. Many students did not finish this in class, so I gave everyone until the end of school on Friday to turn it in without counting it as late. Homework: finish and submit your power paragraph by 2:53 p.m. on Friday.

Tuesday, 10/18

Students should be mostly (or completely) done with their independent novels today. I gave a short amount of reading time at the start of class for those that aren’t. For those that are, I provided the prompt for the power paragraph you will start next class:

Looking at the protagonist in your novel, how does he/she go against the norms of his/her society or community?

I asked students to a.) copy this down, b.) identify their protagonist, usually the main character, and c.) begin a list of norms in the society or community of the protagonist. After talking about independent novels, we switched back to graphic novels. I reviewed a little bit the material we covered a week ago, and I also passed out a handout with some additional information about reading visual texts. We finished talking about the chapter from Maus we started last week. And then students practiced using all of these reading strategies while trying to reconstruct a cut-up copy of the second chapter of Persepolis — “The Bicycle” — which we briefly discussed at the end of class. Homework: please finish your novel and prepare for writing the power paragraph next class.

Thursday, 10/13

I was out sick today. Students received about half of the period to make some more progress on their independent novels. The second half of class was spent (re-) reading “The Veil,” the first chapter of Persepolis. Students were to answer the following questions and turn them in before leaving class:

  • What was the main idea of the chapter?
  • What was the author’s perspective on wearing the veil?
  • How does her account help you understand more about the Islamic Revolution in Iran?
  • What did you understand better this time a.) having read it before, and b.) after discussing the tips last class for how to read a graphic novel.

Homework: finish your independent novel.

Tuesday, 10/11

We went over the particulars of reading graphic novels in a lot more depth today, primarily using this slide deck. Using what they learned, students read and analyzed for style a chapter of Maus towards the end of class. Homework: keep making progress on your independent novel.

Friday, 10/7

After collecting the homework from Wednesday, a significant portion of today’s class was given over to reading independent novels. We also took a quick trip up to the library so students who’d checked out books there could renew them. At the end of class, we very briefly introduced the next in-class novel we’ll be reading — Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Homework: you will need to finish your independent novel by the middle or end of next week.

Wednesday, 10/5

Today we finished (in one class) and discussed (in all three classes) the film Offside. Students wrote small and medium questions to drive our discussion. Then everyone was asked to outline a power paragraph that explained similarities or differences between Iranian culture, as depicted in the film, and their own culture. Homework: finish your PP outline if you didn’t turn it in at the end of class.

Monday, 10/3

We spent about 10 minutes at the start of class on independent reading. The rest of class was for finishing our viewing of Offside. Homework: finish the viewing guide for the film.

Thursday, 9/29

After some independent reading time, we discussed the video on Iran and started viewing the film Offside. Homework: have at least a third of your book read by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, 9/27

Most of class today was taken up by the first round of Galileo testing for the year. Students also read in their independent novels, and then we watched a video on Iran in preparation for reading Persepolis starting next week.

Friday, 9/23

I started class by checking everyone’s independent novels. Students then spent the bulk of class finishing the immigration power paragraph outlines and then writing the paragraphs themselves. Afterwards, students began reading their novels in class. Homework: read at least the first 20 pages of your independent novel for Tuesday.

Wednesday, 9/21

Today was a slightly-shortened period due to a special assembly schedule. We spent most of the class in the library hearing book talks from Ms. Cope and reviewing possible titles for the independent novel assignment. We then came back to the classroom and worked some more on the “Geraldo No Last Name”/immigration power paragraph outlines. Homework: have your independent novel with you in class on Friday.

Monday, 9/19

Today we combined elements of the last several days of class — students practiced taking questions from “Geraldo No Last Name” and turning them into claims suitable for topic sentences in power paragraphs. Students then wrote their own large questions about an article we read in class, and then chose one to become the claim for an actual power paragraph. The outline was started in class, and we will type the actual paragraph in class on Wednesday. Homework: finish the outline for this power paragraph.

Thursday, 9/15

I introduced Costa’s Levels of Questioning today. We reviewed small, medium, and large questions, and practiced writing them with “Where the Wild Things Are.” Students then read “Geraldo No Last Name” (p. 559 in the lit text book) and practiced additional small, medium, and large questions with this text — these questions were turned in at the end of class.

Tuesday, 9/13

After collecting the homework due today (a second introduce/explain/pertain paragraph), I introduced some new vocabulary, asked students to think and write about a painting, and went over the format of a Power Paragraph. Students then started outlining their own Power Paragraphs about the effect a particular form of media has on their understanding or engagement with a text. Homework: finish this Power Paragraph for class on Thursday.

Friday, 9/9

We continued using the first chapter of The Help today in discussing societal norms. We reviewed questions and predictions students had for the text, and we talked about the norms and quotes students identified last class. I introduced new vocabulary — ”medium,” ”primary source,” and “secondary source.” Then I played for the class an NPR/Story Corps recording regarding “The Kissing Case”; students read the transcript of the recording while listening (a primary source), and then I read the accompanying article (a secondary source) out loud while they read along quietly. Students wrote down norms evident in these texts as well as quotes that show the norms in action. Then I helped students begin a new introduce/explain/pertain paragraph using just one quote from one of these three texts. I gave everyone a fill-in-the-blank claim/topic sentence, reviewed the pattern (introduce the quote, write the quote, explain the quote, show how the quote pertains to and supports the claim), and even provided a fill-in-the-blank pertain sentence. Homework: finish these introduce/explain/pertain paragraphs for next class.

Wednesday, 9/7

In our abbreviated class today, we talked about societal norms while I read out loud the first chapter of the novel The Help. Students identified norms in the society portrayed by the text and recorded quotes that show these norms in action.

Friday, 9/2

After checking the homework from last class (two rough-draft paragraphs), we spent time talking about Google Docs. Most students had used it in the past, but many had not yet logged in to the new district-wide Google Docs. Once there we reviewed some of the features and how to use them, and then students chose one of their two paragraphs to polish, type, and submit electronically. Students that finished this early started reading our next text, an excerpt from The Help. Homework: finish typing this more polished paragraph in Google Docs if you didn’t finish it during class.

Wednesday, 8/31

We continued our use of The Uglies today to start to explore using textual evidence to support a claim and the introduce/explain/pertain pattern to do that effectively. We also went over some vocabulary terms, and then wrote two practice paragraphs tying all of this together. Homework: finish your two practice paragraphs for Friday.

Monday, 8/29

Students began class by reviewing/finishing the reading from The Uglies from last week. We discussed the reading — first, just basic questions of plot, character, and setting, and then connecting it to our universal theme of Individual vs. Society.

Thursday, 8/25

Today I introduced the universal themes for our course. We talked more about this semester’s theme of Individual vs. Society, and then students read an excerpt from The Uglies. We will discuss this reading next class.

Tuesday, 8/23

After visiting the auditorium for yearbook/ID photos, we reviewed the course guidelines as well as the Billy Collins poem, Introduction to Poetry. We discussed paraphrases that students attempted last Friday with the sub


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