What I’m Teaching This Week: 11/9-11/13

Last week’s Instagram Challenge was a moderate success (more details to follow in a separate blog post later this week), and my freshmen are connecting nicely with Lennie and George from John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men. They’re getting to know Crooks this weekend and will hate Curley’s Wife when I see them Monday morning.

This week, we celebrate Veterans’ Day on Wednesday, so there’ll be a mid-week break in the action. We’re moving at a pretty fast clip this week and next in order to finish all of our Of Mice and Men-related activities and writing assignments before we leave for Thanksgiving break on Nov. 20. (My district takes the full week of Thanksgiving off – yet one more reason to be thankful.) Honors kids can handle this week’s heavy reading load, but I would’ve definitely slowed the pace/planned my November calendar differently if I were teaching my regular college-prep freshmen this year.

Okay, here’s the plan:

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

Review answers from this weekend’s Analogies worksheet.

Quiz on this past weekend’s reading of ch. 4 from Of Mice and Men and full-class discussion of the chapter.

Begin reading ch. 5 aloud to the students (great tension will build in that barn) and assign them to finish the book on their own.

For HW, students need to finish reading ch. 5 and 6 of the novella.

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

Group grief counseling class discussion of the end of the novel.

Team of two activity where students will analyze Robert Burns’ poem, “To a Mouse,” the source material from which Steinbeck borrowed his title.

Begin viewing the 1992 film version of Of Mice and Men, as time allows.

No HW tonight in observation of tomorrow’s federal holiday.

Wednesday – Veterans’ Day
No classes

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

Continue viewing the Of Mice and Men film.

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

Finish viewing the Of Mice and Men film and catalog the differences between the film and the novella. Discuss the different tones and messages created by the filmmaker’s choices.

Students will use any remaining class time to read their S.S.R. books.

For HW, students will be assigned to complete a Common Core-style test prep assignment, which we’ll go over on Monday.

And that’ll leave just one more week until Thanksgiving vacation, but who’s counting? Oh, that’s right, we all are. Stay strong, everyone, and teach on!

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8 years ago

I love Steinbeck- teaching 8th grade we read The Pearl. I spent many years taking my kids to Monterey and Salinas for deep study- have you ever been there? Fascinating for Steinbeck buffs.

Sarah Eaton
8 years ago

I love having my students read Ch.6 silently in class. It is fascinating to watch their reactions to the end of the story and to hear the buzz amongst them as they leave class. It’s also great insight into my students to see their reactions – for example who tears up or even sheds a tear. Of course, I preface the reading with firm instructions not to reveal/ruin the ending for my later classes.

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  mamawolfeto2

Oh yeah, Mamawolfeto2, I teach in a suburb of San Francisco, so we’re only about 90 minutes away. I’ve had lunch at the Steinbeck House in Salinas (there’s a bookstore in the basement and a museum nearby, as you know but others might not) and Monterey is just awesome. Definitely worth the drive. 🙂

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Eaton

Yes, Sarah, I prefer to read ch. 6 aloud and, with voices and pacing, I sometimes can get tears from my tenderhearts. Those are the best teaching days, no? Many of my kids start the book thinking that they don’t like Steinbeck, but this is always counted as one of their favorites at our end-of-year reflection. My calendar was thrown off this year because I forgot about the Veterans’ Day break (duh!) and had to scramble and slide to fit everything in. Next year, I’ll do it right and stock up on tissues.

8 years ago
Reply to  Laura Randazzo

We’re almost neighbors! I’m in Davis. So glad you’ve been there. One of my fave places.

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  mamawolfeto2

Small world, Mamawolfeto2. My oldest just graduated from UCDavis in June and I teach in Pleasanton. Definitely jealous of your downtown.

8 years ago

Reading your posts always recharges my batteries. You give me a weekly sense of purpose. Sometimes just getting by day-by-day is all I can muster, but your energy and creativity are contagious. Thanks!

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Ah, Michelle, I’m so glad. We really need each other in this crazy gig. This blog and my readers are definitely a source of strength and relief for me, too, because we ALL feel drained sometimes – me, included.

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