Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Week: 8/31-9/4

After an initial stumble, Week 1 was a success, filled with meme-inspired rule setting and assigning of the summer work essay for my freshmen. This year, I had to say goodbye to my junior-level American Lit., so I’m now all-freshmen-all-the-time. Several folks have messaged me wondering about my pacing of the class. I don’t have a full semester calendar available to share, but today I’m happily borrowing an idea from Adventures in Kinder and Beyond (thanks so much for the permission, Carrie!) to share what’s coming up each week in my classroom. Carrie’s blog is a visual feast and makes me (almost) wish I spent more time with the littles. Check her out because ideas that work in kindergarten can sometimes still be a good fit for our high school kiddos.

Here’s what’s happening in Room H-9 this week:

Open with a five-minute M.U.G. Shot (Mechanics, Usage, Grammar) Monday mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

This summer, students were assigned to read Gary Soto’s A Summer Life and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. Last week, they were assigned to write a 400-to-500-word literary analysis essay on one of the works (their choice), explaining the author’s theme and how the author uses various literary devices to support that theme. I imagine this may have been a challenging weekend as students built their first-ever high school essay. On Monday, we’ll debrief their writing experiences and I’ll cover the basics of M.L.A. with a light-hearted Prezi lecture and reference handout.

Also, I’ll model front-page M.L.A. format submission, since many of them haven’t ever seen this before and they’re a little too in love with slick report covers and colorful clip art.

Some students may need class time to dig up their page numbers, so I’ll have copies of both books available.

Finally, if time allows, I’ll talk about the economy of language (they shouldn’t use ten words when three will do the job), show this adorable Friends clip, and put them in teams of two to complete this Thesaurus Abuse activity.

For HW, students need to finish their essay rough drafts.

Open with a five-minute Lit. Term Tuesday mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Then, I’ll present this overview of lit. analysis essay pitfalls and we’ll complete two rounds of Peer Editing.

For HW, students will revise their essay rough drafts and print their final drafts. The essay packet, including an annotation journal they kept this summer as they read, their edited rough draft, their two completed peer edit sheets, and their final draft, will be due at the beginning of class on Wednesday.

Open with a ten-minute Words on Wednesday vocabulary mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Collect the summer work essay packets.

Present the How to Write an Email Prezi and writing activity where students learn the netiquette of email correspondence with adults. (I’ve already had a few doozies this year, so this lesson can’t come too early in the year!)

For HW, students may need to finish writing their practice emails seeking a (fictional) internship at a law firm.

Introduce the qualities of Personal Narrative writing with a quick PowerPoint presentation.

Re-read “The Pie,” a wonderful vignette from Gary Soto’s A Summer Life and complete a series of close-reading questions (included in the Personal Narrative writing unit).

When individuals are finished writing their responses, they’ll share their answers in groups of three before I lead a full-class discussion of the story.

For HW, students only need to remember to bring their S.S.R. books to class tomorrow.

Introduce my new Quarter Trios game plan and assign teams. After students name their teams and complete our first Brain Teaser, then we’ll have S.S.R. reading time for the remainder of the hour.

For HW, students should continue reading their S.S.R. books. Book talks are due by the end of the first quarter, sometime near the end of October.

That’s it for this week, certainly enough to keep everyone busy. And, yes, I’m about to receive an avalanche of student papers to grade over the Labor Day weekend, but that’s okay – my batteries are still fresh from summer vacation.

Have a great week and teach on, everyone!

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