Activities, strategies, lessons, and planning pertaining to my tenth grade English/Language Art Honors classes.
Saying Goodbye to My Honors Classes - Friday was my last day at Mason City High School, bittersweet to say the least. Saying goodbye to my Honors 10 group was tough. I had become particularly fond of them.
Unit Planning – Honors 10 - I was extremely nervous about teaching tenth grade Honors English at first, but once I started planning out what I was going to do, I felt a lot better.
Journal – Community and Justice System - My sophomore Honors English students had just finished reading Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird, and as a transition activity, I had them journal for the first 10-15 minutes of class about these two topics: community influence and the country's justice system.
My Kids Say the Darndest Things, Part 3 - Being a teacher means there's no shortage of laughs. This is the latest, written in a formal essay about Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Quiz – Ch. 9 & 10 - Time for another pop quiz! This time it's over chapters 9 & 10 in TKAM.
Relationships in TKAM - "Who the heck is related to who?" This is what one of my students said to me as we reached one of the final chapters of Part II and were introduced to the Christmas scene. I took a pause out of my lecture/discussion and drew a goofy map on the board.
Discussion – Let’s Get Moving! - "How can I make teaching this book interesting?" I said to myself aloud, in the middle of the library, like a crazy person. It was a Sunday night and I was putting together my teaching plans for Monday. My Honors 10 students were just starting Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird and I wanted them to have fun. I needed some inspiration.
Point of View Paper - To change up activities for To Kill a Mockingbird, I had the students write the scene at the Radley House (where Jem, Scout, and Dill try to peer through the window and Jem loses his pants) through the eyes of one of the characters.
Seeing Through My Students’ Eyes - In my sophomore Honors English class, I assigned a pop quiz over chapters 3 and 4 in To Kill a Mockingbird. As I went to grade the quizzes, I saw that one of my students didn't hand in a quiz--and she was in class! I chalked it up to the fact that she probably hadn't read, and when I saw her next, I told her I didn't get a quiz from her. "I couldn't see the board," she said simply.
Pop Quiz – Ch. 3-4 - Four chapters in to the book? Pop quiz time! Call me a mean teacher, but I wanted to check that my students were reading, so I gave them a quiz over chapters 3 and 4 in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Today’s Goals - In my classroom, I have my "I Can" board which states the classroom standards and 'I Can' statements pertaining to those standards. However, I wanted to branch out from the classroom standards and make something specific, for each day. So I created "Today's Goals".
TKAM – Ch. 1 & 2 - There's a lot going on in the first few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. To help my students with their comprehension and understanding, I had them use a study guide to help with note-taking.
Vocab Terms: Part I - Vocabulary in To Kill a Mockingbird is difficult! Even as a college grad, I found myself struggling not only to understand some words, but even how to pronounce them!
TKAM – Character Maps - To Kill a Mockingbird can be a challenging text, just due to the fact that there are so many characters! I wanted to help my students organize and keep the characters straight, so I created a character map.
Peer Editing - Peer editing is a wonderful tool...if done effectively. When students read one another's work, they are able to see and fix errors in their peer's papers, as well as translate those changes to their own papers. They also are able to take a critical eye and put themselves in a teacher's seat for a moment, hopefully looking at their work from a flipped perspective.
Intro to To Kill a Mockingbird - I haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird in ages. But I knew I loved the book and I wanted my students to feel the same. To begin working with the novel, I set up a classroom activity. I split the class into groups with several topics to help preview some of the essential background information.
Old Man and the Sea Outline - My Honors kids have been struggling with thesis statements. They have great ideas, they just aren't articulating them into arguments. And thus their papers (and grades) are suffering. So I decided to do something a little different for their Old Man and the Sea papers. I wanted to help them out.
Old Man and the Sea Thesis Statements - The next objective for my Honors 10 students was to write a thesis statement. In the class before, they had (on their own) brainstormed topics to write their research papers on. Now they were told to pick a topic/question and bring a thesis statement to class.
Old Man and the Sea – Paper Topics - Now that my students have presented on the Old Man and the Sea, their next objective was to write a paper on the book...but just like with the projects, I wanted the students to have ownership--they were going to pick their own topics.
Old Man and the Sea Projects - For today's lesson, I wanted to spice things up a bit. Over the past few days, the students in my Honors 10 classes had read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The book is small, easy to read, but packed with symbolism and author influences. I wanted to see how much the students had comprehended, but I also wanted to challenge them to think deeply about the book--going beyond the simple plot line.
What’s Wrong with My Summer Essay? - Okay, this sounds a lot harsher than it actually was...sort of.
Creating a Syllabus - The first step in getting ready for my classes was to create a syllabus.