Skip to main content

Planning Year

One of my goals this year is to really get into purposeful teaching... I know, I know. If it doesn't have a purpose why are you teaching it? But let's be honest. Anything can have a purpose if the teacher is creative enough. My mentor teacher spent three days watching "Finding Nemo" and turned it into a really great spring board for an essay topic. The students really connected with the topic she drew a parallel to and it was probably the most worked on writing assignment the entire year. I am not that good.
I posted on the English Companion Ning, looking for a planning buddy. I actually got way more replies that I thought I would. However, I have yet to really figure out the Ning technology. (You cannot believe how hard it was for me to type that... I am disgusted with myself. The fact is, I just don't have the time.) So, I'm posting what I've done so far here.
I have a lot of great ideas. Many, many great ideas and materials from others, but it just feels so disjointed to me. I'm looking for that flow... as sense that what I'm doing is really building something, learning in the students. That they leave the classroom knowing more about rhetoric, analysis, literature, etc. and not the best ways to get rid of dead bodies for future murder mystery novels that their teacher may write.
AP Language
The first week, I had the students do an assignment where they examine quotes from famous people and write a response for each quote. We discuss the quotes and talk about the classroom atmosphere. I also did a lecture with a power point on what Rhetoric is – none of the students enter the room knowing what it is. I went through

  • · Argument
  • · Rhetorical Analysis
  • · Synthesis Argument
  • · Diction
  • · Imagery
  • · Syntax
  • · Tone
  • · Denotation
  • · Connotation

Student also wrote an essay where they described a person who influenced them and made a significant impact on their life. This gave me an insight into their writing and it can be used in upcoming scholarship essays.

In the second week, I went over what annotation is and how to do it with a sample. Students practiced with a short piece. I also introduced the Rhetorical Square. For homework, students were to read “Indian Education” by Sherman Alexie and fill out the square, including lines from the text that support their ideas. The following day, they wrote an essay about adversity building character and compare the information they came up with from the text with a quote from Horace.

The students also read the first chapter of Everyday Use and worked through one of the sample arguments.

Week Three, continued with learning basic rhetorical terms. We also went over thesis writing – what a thesis is (ie. not an 12 sentence paragraph, ), what it’s is and why it never contains the words “I am going write about”. Really nuts and bolts type of stuff. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but for students who have been taught to write for the WASL exclusively for the past 10 years there are few things they have to unlearn. Or at least stop doing for awhile until they can write without that particular crutch. We also got into what Syntax is with many examples of different types. We then spent a few days using the AP Style and Rhetorical Analysis Organizer on a narrative essay. The students worked in groups in filling out the organizer and creating a visual to present their findings to the class.

This coming week will be rinse and repeat with another narrative essay. I know they can’t analyze well enough for it to become boring, but I’m always afraid that will happen. Or that I’ll miss something.


Popular posts from this blog


OHMIGOSH! It is cold everywhere! And lucky me, I get a classroom with an air-blowing machine pretending to be a heater!   Student: Did you know this thing is blowing out COLD AIR!?!? Me: Um... yes, it always does. Student: We could freeze to death! Me: That's why I'm wearing longjohns. Aren't you?   Believe me sister, cold air is the least of our worries. On the docket as we speak is a plan in the legislature to cut about a million dollars in our budget next year. For a small school, that's enough to choke the proverbial horse. That's like the entire SpEd program, all the bus transportation, our entire paper budget, the electric bill, plus my salary. Yes, the funding for my job specifically will probably be cut.   Our illustrious superintendent has come up with a few cockamany schemes to save us all, but no one has saluted any of them. In fact, so far the only result has been photos of angry looking parents on the front page of the paper. Meanwhile, I'


Free Stuff! What a great way to start a week! A little somthin’-somthin’ for my peeps. (does sound hokey? ‘cause it sounds totally smooth in my head). is letting me hand out a little gift card to one lucky reader! And by little, I mean, a substantial amount. $50 smackers. 50 semoleons. 50 clams, baby. Which can buy you something very nice to make your January quite fun or your Valentine’s Day a little more romantic.  CSN is comprised of over 200 online stores, where you can find everything from Delsey luggage to Le Creuset cookware! How styling would I look with this set, while attending my first AP reading? This has a definite wow factor! Yes! I was asked… still waiting for my district to work out the details as it takes place while we are still in school. No one can make the decision at this point because, well… there is no more money anywhere. I’ll know for sure by next week. Enough of school politics! This will be one of those giveaways with fantastic odds! Unfortunately,

College Advice

If you teach seniors, Saturday’s Dear Abby may have caught your eye. Students get the message throughout their high school years that all they have to do is get good grades and the world is their oyster. Then in the final semester of their senior year reality dumps on them like a brick wall in a earthquake zone.  They don’t get accepted to college of their choice; they can’t afford the college of their choice; scholarship applications are denied… the real world is not a helping hand up. It’s a harsh competition for diminishing resources. When confronted with a student whose dreams are… umm… altered… because of money, I try to point out the positive. “ A large college may not be the right choice for you, but are you determined to get a college education? If so, I know that you can find like-minded students. I, too, attended a well known party school. It also had a strong Honors program, a multi-national student body and some of the most out there technology on the cusp of being w