Friday, 9/15 (B7); Monday, 9/18 (A2)

We spent a significant amount of time today with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, which students had annotated last class. We reviewed some of the components that make pre-20th Century texts like these so hard to read, and practiced chunking the text and paraphrasing portions of it. Then I defined rhetoric and introduced the first components of our study of rhetoric — the rhetorical triangle and the rhetorical situation. We went back to Lincoln to attempt to find all four components of the rhetorical situation and practice synthesizing that information into a 1–2 sentence thesis for a hypothetical essayHomework: keep reading and annotating Part 1 of your independent novel!

Thursday, 9/14 (A2)

At the start of class, students divided their novels up into four roughly equal chunks before beginning some reading time on Part 1.

  • Read Part 1 by the start of class on 9/22
  • Part 2 for 9/28
  • Part 3 for 10/6
  • Part 4 for 10/12

We will set due dates for the first current events topic soon, probably next class.

Then we returned to the Mary Sherry essay from last time to begin looking at author/audience/purpose and to practice a dispassionate analysis of a text independent from whatever feelings the text may evoke in us. After discussing this for a bit, we began working with a more difficult text by doing a slow read-aloud and annotation. We’ll continue working with this text next time.

Homework: make some progress every night on those Part 1 annotations.

Wednesday, 9/13 (B7)

I started class by checking everyone’s independent novel for a grade. Students divided their novels up into four roughly equal chunks before beginning some reading time on Part 1.

  • Read Part 1 by the start of class on 9/21
  • Part 2 for 9/27
  • Part 3 for 10/5
  • Part 4 for 10/11

We will set due dates for the first current events topic soon, probably next class.

Then we returned to the Mary Sherry essay from last time to begin looking at author/audience/purpose and to practice a dispassionate analysis of a text independent from whatever feelings the text may evoke in us. After discussing this for a bit, we began working with a more difficult text by doing a slow read-aloud and annotation. We’ll continue working with this text next time.

Homework: make some progress every night on those Part 1 annotations.

Tuesday, 9/12 (A2)

We wrapped up our discussion of Mice today. I then checked everyone’s independent novel for a grade. Students divided their novels up into four roughly equal chunks before beginning some reading time on Part 1. We will set due dates for the novels next class and current events…soon.

Monday, 9/11 (B7)

We wrapped up our discussion of Mice today. We then began laying the groundwork for our ongoing discussion of current events this year.

Students started some preliminary current events reading before turning to our first formal study of rhetoric for the semester.

Homework: have your independent novel in class, ready to read, by Wednesday, 9/13.

Friday, 9/8 (A2)

Today was our first Socratic seminar of the year. After discussing the rationale and some norms around Socratic seminar in my classroom, everyone wrote some more questions before beginning a student-led discussion of Of Mice and Men. Students turned in a reflection on their evolving thoughts about the novel before leaving. Homework: have your independent novel in class ready to read next Tuesday.

Thursday, 9/7 (B7)

Today was our first Socratic seminar of the year. After discussing the rationale and some norms around Socratic seminar in my classroom, everyone wrote some more questions before beginning a student-led discussion of Of Mice and Men. Students turned in a reflection on their evolving thoughts about the novel before leaving. Homework: have your independent novel in class ready to read next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 8/30; Thursday, 8/31

I reminded students of their need to find an independent novel by the week after next, and then we dove into annotations in more depth. We reviewed the why and how of annotation before talking about some of the items students annotated in Steinbeck’s first chapter for homework. We also talked about how to ask good questions, and students practiced by writing questions from Of Mice and Men, either from their first reading or their re-read of ch. 1. Homework: read and annotate the last chapter in the novel for next class.

Monday, 8/28; Tuesday, 8/29

After collecting syllabus slips from last class, we returned to Claim, Data, Commentary and the year-round school topic today for a little more practice. Then we switched gears to talk about fiction. Students received the Independent Novel List and we talked a bit about the expectations around procuring a book. Then we began discussing Of Mice and Men, talking plot, characters, setting, and then doing a close read of the first page and a half of the novel. We briefly discussed annotation before the end of class. Homework: re-read and annotate ch. 1 of the novel for next class.

Beginning of year in AP Lang

We started the year in AP Lang with a number of writing samples. Students turned in their Of Mice and Men summer essays, or spent the first week getting caught up if they hadn’t done them yet. I gave three timed writings for pre-assessment, one for each type of essay on the AP Lang exam. We discussed different school calendars using two texts I provided (Time Magazine and the Daily Times-Call) as well as students own experiences from this past summer, and we began using this topic to review and practice Claim, Data, Commentary structure for paragraphs — the foundation of good arguments and academic writing. I also introduced the syllabus for the course.

Homework: Review the syllabus with your parents and bring back the syllabus signature slip; finish the Mice essay if you’re still working on it!