Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

What I’m Teaching This Week: 9/14-9/18

I’m starting to fall in love with Quarter Trios. The kids were enthusiastic about this past week’s challenge to snap a group selfie with our campus supervisors and we ended up turning the photos into posterboard-sized “thank you” cards, one for Vicki and one for Cameron. The challenge helped the new trio teams bond, the photos are a super-cute addition to my classroom wall, and we made two of the hardest working people on campus feel some love from the Class of 2019. (Seriously, those two have been running around campus in 100-degree weather all week. Oof.)

The teams also were rather creative with their name selections, as you can see. “The Fellowship of the Bling” and “Olive Garden’s Mother-in-Law” are among my favorites.

We started Personal Narrative writing last week, but I need to hit the pause button on that work because my school’s librarian has set up a once-in-a-lifetime T.E.D. Talk experience for the 700+ freshmen on our campus this week. He’s combined professional speakers and hand-selected students from our school to present a full day of presentations (click here to check out the talent) under the theme of “Embracing Obstacles.”

For my classes, this means we’ll take a short break from the foundations of writing to focus more of public speaking. Gotta seize those teachable moments, right?

Here’s what the week will look like:

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

Finish our discussion from last week about how to handle dialogue and how to add meaningful sensory details to our Personal Narrative writing. (Essays are due Sept. 23)

Using the Write Like a Pro lesson, I’ll show how professional writers such as John Green and J.K. Rowling seamlessly stitch participles, absolutes, appositives, adjectives shifted out of order, vivid verbs, and similes/metaphors into their writing. Then, we’ll practice these six techniques in small groups and individually.

For HW, students will need to finish their six writing techniques assignment, if not completed in class.

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

Explain Thursday’s on-campus TEDx event and present my How to Give a Powerful Speech lesson, where students identify and analyze the elements of powerful public speaking. This lesson uses an informational text article written by Chris Anderson, TED Talks’ curator, and examples of weak and powerful speeches I found on YouTube.

For HW, students need only to remember to bring earbuds because we’ll be listening to speeches tomorrow in the computer lab.

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

Then, we’re traveling to the computer lab, where students will enjoy a Choose-Your-Own-TED-Talk Adventure by going to, choosing whichever TED Talk they want, and completing this worksheet (free in my shop!).

If time remains after finishing the written assignment, students may watch another TED Talk or read their S.S.R. books.

For HW, students should continue reading their S.S.R. books.

It’s showtime! After a quick check-in for attendance, students will join all of the other freshman-level classes that period for viewing of our TEDx event. Different speakers will be presented every hour. So even if a student sees the program twice in the school day, the content will be different each time.

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

We’ll debrief students’ experiences from yesterday, talking about what worked and what didn’t work in the presentations. We’ll play a couple of rounds of Brain Teasers to keep the Quarter Trios on their toes. And then we’ll finish with an abbreviated session of S.S.R.

For HW, students will finish writing the first drafts of their Personal Narrative essays because it’s back to work on our writing next week.

I’m especially looking forward to Thursday’s program, which our tireless librarian has been working on with his student volunteer team for nearly a year. Oh, this is gonna be good…

Hope you have a great week, too. Teach on, everyone!

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