Thursday, October 31, 2019

Writing with specific word choices...

Goal: Using diction to describe a scene.

Describing a scene using specific diction.

Submit your winning description HERE.

While you are waiting for the judges decision, you should try this part-of-screech adventure. Or work on something you need to finish in your English Journal.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Novel Quiz and Practice with Connotation Denotation

Scrantrons are scary looking.  (We won't use them.)
Goal: Take a quiz about your group novel and practice your knowledge of connotation and denotation.

Novel Quiz

Novel Quiz: 
This quiz will assess your knowledge of the first 3/4 of your book.
You should be finished with your group novel by now anyway.
Ready? Take the QUIZ.

Done with your quiz? 

  • Open your English Journal
  • Write a six sentence summary of your group novel. It must be exactly six sentences. (No run-on sentences.) 

Practice with Connotation and Denotation: 
Even though you wrote about this yesterday we still think you need a little more practice.
Click HERE and wait for the code we will give you.

Finish reading your group novel ASAP
Make sure your English Journal is up to date.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Writing About Diction

Goal: Finding and writing about examples of diction with purpose in our group novels.

Selecting and writing about diction (We learned about diction yesterday.)

#1 Choose: (The hard part) 
  • Find a passage in your group novel that has a lot of description and sensory detail.
  • Figure out what the author is DOING in that passage. Why is it there? What is the purpose?
#2 Talk: (The easier part) 

  • Pick out three words that you think the author chose specifically because of the purpose of the paragraph.
  • Agree on those words with your group. If you disagree talk about why.
  • Don't pick boring words. These should be words with a connotation that fits the purpose of the passage.
#3 Write: (The easiest part) 
Open your English Journal and use the frame below to write a paragraph about the diction (word choices) the author uses in your chosen passage.

Frame: (Copy into your English Journal)

On page ___, of (book title) the author, (author) uses words such as “_____,” “_____,” and “_____” in order to (author’s purpose for choosing those words). The first word "_____" (shows/implies/demonstrates/give the impression) that ......... Then the author uses "_____" to....... The third word, "______" also supports the author's purpose because.........The use of this diction in this passage allows the author to....(specific impact on that part of the text).

  • This example uses the story we read on Friday. 
  • YOU are writing about your GROUP novel. 
  • Note that the words here have been changed slightly from the frame above to make the writing work for this specific example. You can make adjustments too. 
In paragraph 2, of "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" the author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, uses words such as “pitiful,” “dirty,” and “entangled,” to illustrate how vulnerable the angel is. When he calls him "pitiful" the reader gets the sense that we should feel sorry for the angel. The word "dirty" lets us know that the angel is not clean and maybe in need of care. The third word, "entangled," implies that the angel is trapped and vulnerable. The use of this diction in the passage allows the author to portray the angel as suffering, neglected, and in need of sympathy.


Keep reading your group novel to finish by 10/30, tomorrow.

Finish the work from today for HW if you didn't finish in class.
Check your English Journal for any work you need to finish.
Check the blog when you are absent. You are responsible for making up the work you missed. "I was absent," is not an acceptable excuse for missing work.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Connotation and Denotation

Goals: Understanding connotation and denotation and then applying that knowledge to some excerpts from the story we read yesterday. 


Connotation and Denotation Lesson
Application with a partner. 

Connotation and Denotation Lesson: 

DICTION refers to the specific word choices that authors make.
Often, authors choose specific words because of their CONNOTATION.
Words can be interpreted three different ways.

1. DENOTATION - This is the literal, dictionary definition of a word.

2. CONNOTATION (emotional charge) - Every word has a positive, neutral, or negative connotation or association. 

  • "Youth" = positive connotation (or association); "Juvenile" = negative connotation; "Adolescent" = neutral connotation.
  • "Request" or "Remind" = positive connotation; "Whine" or "Nag" = negative connotation; "Ask" = neutral connotation.
  • "Assertive" = positive; "Bossy" = negative; "Dominant" = neutral.
3. CONNOTATION (symbolic meaning) - Some words have a secondary figurative or cultural association with them. In this case, the word can take on a whole new meaning.
  • Snake: An evil, devious or immoral person.
  • Chicken: A coward.
  • Pig: A vulgar person or slob.
  • Sweet: Cool, awesome or fun.

With your partner: 
Complete THIS GOOGLE FORM to look more closely at some of the language from the story we read yesterday. (It's okay if you didn't finish reading it. There are paragraphs on the form of the parts you really need.)
Absent? You are still responsible for the work. You can do it on your own. 


  • Did you finish all the work in your English Journal? Are you sure? (Especially your theme paragraph and your characterization paragraph, and your most recent article of the week?)
  • Did you finish reading (questions) for A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. 
  • Finish reading your group novel by Wednesday 10/30. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Reading a new text

Goal: First read of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

First read of a new text

You know about these things:
  • Direct and indirect characterization
  • Theme
  • Setting
  • Using text evidence
  • A new text has been assigned to you in GoFormative. 
  • You can find the text HERE
  • Choose "Sign in with Google."
  • Read and answer the questions as you read. 
  • Not seeing the story? Check to see that you are in our Google Classroom for this period. Then ask for assistance. 
  • We are going to use this text to learn some more skills related to reading novels, but first you need to know what it says. 
  • Keep reading. You need to finish your group novel by 10/30/19.
  • Be sure all your work is up to date in your English Journal.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Article of the Week

Goals: Read about how the things we believe about the world shape our lives, write an objective summary, and reflect on your own opinion. 

Reading Progress Update
Article of the Week
Catch up in your EJ

Read: You should be almost done with your group novel by now. You need to finish by 10/30/19. 

1. Reading Progress Update
Complete THIS FORM about your recent reading.
Be sure to use the last question to let us know about other books you've finished recently.

2. Article of the Week: 

  • Read this ARTICLE and write two paragraphs in your English Journal. 
  • In the first paragraph summarize the article. (Use the summary frame below if you need to.)
  • In the second paragraph share your thoughts/opinions
  • Newsela Tip: Choose Sign in with Google!
Be sure your work in your English Journal is up to date. 
Keep reading your group novel. 
Start thinking about your next book choice. 

Standard we are practicing today: 
RI 9.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the
course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by
specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Writing About Theme with Support

Goal: Explain how evidence supports the theme.

Explain how your evidence supports the theme

Explain your Evidence: 
  1. Open your English Journal, add today's date at the top. 
  2. Open the Theme Organizer document your team was working with on Tuesday. 
  3. Copy and paste in ONE theme and one set of quotes from your book. 
  4. Write a paragraph in which you explain/defend how this theme is relevant to your book. Use the evidence/quotes you found on Tuesday to support your points. Explain how that evidence supports the theme. 
Theme Paragraph Frame: (You can change this to fit what you are trying to say.)
An important theme in ...(book title)... is that (....................theme..............) The events of the novel support this theme because............ For example on page ..... it says that ".......(quote from the book)......" This shows that....... because....... Another moment from the book that reveals the theme is when....... Which is why ...... says/does....  ".....(quote)....." This also shows the theme because..... All of this means that.... 
Example of a theme paragraph:
An important theme in Lord of the Flies is that betrayal is a part of human nature. The events of the novel support this theme because trust begins to erode between the characters in small ways from the moment they arrive on the island, and eventually this lack of trust reaches a homicidal level. For example on page (10) Ralph betrays Piggy and tells the other kids his nickname, which Ralph wasn't supposed to share. It says that “"His real name isn't fatty” cried Ralph “it's Piggy.”” This shows that from the beginning of the book the other boys were betraying each other's trust and that is when things started to go down hill.  Another moment from the book that reveals the theme is when Jack turns on Ralph saying, “There isn’t a tribe for you anymore,” and then throws a spear at him with vicious intent (165).  All of this means that when you can't trust each other, you can't live together, and that is why the boys’ society fell apart.
Finish reading your group novel before October 30th.
Be sure all your work is up to date in your English Journal.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Getting motivated about theme

Goal: Learn a bit about character motivation and apply what you learned in your last lesson on theme to the book you are reading as a group.

Character Motivation
Review Theme
Theme work with your group

Character motivation: 
Get motivated to learn more about character motivation.

Theme work with your group:
  • Have ONE person in your group get a copy of your theme organizer
  • That person needs to rename it correctly, share it with everyone in the group, and share it with Mrs. Roberts. Periods 2 and 3, please add Ms. Love as well. 
  • Work as a group to complete the organizer. Divide the work evenly. 
  • Remember you need evidence to go with your themes. (Quotes from your book.) 
  • We will look at the revision history to see who completed what.
Keep reading. 
Look for what your character wants and see how he/she is/or is not achieving those short and long term goals. 
Keep thinking about how all of this supports the theme(s) you worked on today. 

Key standard: 
RL 9.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Your LAST Lesson on Theme

Goal: Finally understanding theme so well you will never forget it again.

Last lesson on theme.

Low tech day:
You will not need your computer today. Get out a pen.

Your last lesson on THEME:
This lesson is so good you will never need another lesson about what THEME is or how to figure out the theme of a book. Most teachers instruct about theme slowly, one boring story at a time. Today we are going to learn about THEME by going FAST and in REVERSE!

You will never forget this lesson and if you should somehow happen to forget what THEME is you will remember that you should come back to this post and relearn it from the slides I will post below later today.

Keep reading your group book.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Writing about complex characters

Goal: Applying direct and indirect characterization together with setting to know characters better.

Writing about a character

Let's remember some things:
Do you remember the STEAL chart you made about the character in your group novel? You used it to look closely at the character's speech, thoughts, effect on others, actions, and looks.

Do you remember looking at setting and then finding a setting in your book that told you something about one of the characters. (Together we looked at what the house in Great Expectations told us about the lady who lived there.)

You may even remember that we talked about the difference between direct and indirect characterization.

Direct and Indirect Characterization: 
Authors use direct and indirect characterization to tell readers about the character's in the book.

Consider your group novel. Where does the author tell you about characters?
This could include information about:
-their setting

Open your English Journal
Use this paragraph frame to write about direct and indirect characterization in your group novel.
The author of (book title), (author name), shows that  (character name) is  (character description)  using both direct and indirect characterization. For example on page (#) (the author) writes that (evidence from the text). Which shows that.... This is an example of direct characterization. The reader also knows that (character name) is (character description) because (author) writes...(text evidence)...(page #). In this case the author is using indirect characterization because.... Through this evidence we can see that (character name) is....
The author of Lord of the Flies, William Golding, shows that Ralph is fair haired, agile and selfish using both direct and indirect characterization. For example on page 7 Golding writes that, "The boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock..." Which states directly that Ralph has blonde hair and he is able to climb rocks. The reader can see that Ralph is selfish because he leaves Piggy behind when they first arrive on the island. "Ralph disentangled himself cautiously and stole away through the branches. In a few seconds the fat boys grunts were behind him and he was hurrying toward the screen that still lay between him and the lagoon." (9) This is an example of indirect characterization because the reader must interpret Ralph's actions and decide for themselves what leaving Piggy behind says about Ralph. Through direct evidence we know that Ralph has light hair and is athletic, and through indirect evidence we can surmise that he is selfish, or at least uninterested in the struggles of others.
Keep reading according to your group's reading schedule. 
Revise and request a regrade on your memoir or visual memoir.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Understanding how setting contributes to mood.

Goals: Understanding how setting contributes to mood. Looking at what the settings are telling us in our group novels. 

Setting and Mood
Review Great Expectations
Setting and Mood in Your Novels

#1 Learn about mood: 
  • The term MOOD in literature refers to how the setting of the story makes the reader feel.
  • It is the emotional feeling of the place where the events are taking place. 
  • Sometimes the mood of the place matches the characters mood and sometimes it is in contrast to it.
  • Word choice and the details an author includes help to create the mood of a setting.

#2 Setting and Mood:
Let's Look at Great Expectations Again:
#1. Watch Great Expectations clip
#2. Check out these passages

We went into the house by a side door, the great front entrance had two chains across it outside,--and the first thing I noticed was, that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up, and we went through more passages and up a staircase, and still it was all dark, and only the candle lighted us.

She had not quite finished dressing, for she had but one shoe on,--the other was on the table near her hand,--her veil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers, and a Prayer-Book all confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.

#3 Setting and Mood in Your Novels: 
1. Find a description of setting that creates a specific mood in your novel. 
2. Create a table (2 wide by 4 down) in your English Journal
3. In the left column, describe the setting using text evidence.
4. In the right column, explain what mood the setting creates and why.

Keep reading

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Welcome to PSAT Day

All of our 10th and 11th graders are taking the PSAT, so freshmen have been divided alphabetically and sent to specific teachers to spend the morning.

If you are spending part of your morning with me we have some fun digital activities to try out.

Creating an Infographic in Google Drawings: 

  1. Go to Applied Digital Skills and sign in with Google (use your school account)
  2. Choose "I am a student."
  3. Use the class join code I will give you in class. 
  4. At your own pace, work through the process of creating an infographic. 
  5. The videos will guide you through the process, but ask me if you have questions. 
Additional Activities: 
  • We may also have time to try out Google Expeditions, but you will need to use the app on your own phone. 
  • If you don't have the Google Expeditions App you should be able to find it in the app store. 
We return to our normal classic schedule on Thursday. 
If you are in my class be sure to keep reading your group novel. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What can setting tell us about character?

Art by: Cate Simmons
Goal: Understanding how setting helps us understand characters.

Writing about setting
Reading a setting
Reading specifically for setting

#1: Open your English Journal
Start a new entry at the top.
Describe a place you like to be. What does this place say about you as a person? 
#2: Look closely at a setting
CLICK THIS LINK: to view a description of a setting from Great Expectations. We will look closely at what this setting tells us about the characters.

#3: Talk to your group
  1. Talk to your group about what's happening in your novel.
  2. What is confusing you about the events or characters in your novel? 
  3. How has setting played a role so far?
  4. What do the settings tell you about the characters? 
  5. MARK the places in your book where the setting informs you about the characters.

  • Finish your article of the week assignment from 10/14 in your English Journal.
  • Keep up with your reading. Be prepared to meet your reading goal for Friday. 
  • You can still revise your memoir or your visual memoir and request a regrade. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Reading progress and article of the week

Goals: Reading progress update and your next Article of the Week. 

Read: Reading your group novel is recommended.
Reading Progress Update
Article of the Week

1. Reading Progress Update
Complete THIS FORM about your recent reading.
Be sure to use the last question to let us know about other books you've finished recently.

2. Article of the Week: 
Read this ARTICLE and write two paragraphs in your English Journal. 
In the first paragraph summarize the article. (Use the summary frame below if you need to.)
In the second paragraph share your thoughts/opinions
Newsela Tip: Choose Sign in with Google!

Done already? 
Finish you STEAL chart about character from last week? It's in your EJ. 


  • Keep reading your group novel. 
  • Progress reports go home on Friday. 
  • You can still work on your memoir and request a regrade.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Mastering Short Answer Responses

Goal: Learning about expectations for short answer questions and taking a quiz on the first part of your group novel.

Expectations for short answer questions

Expectations for short answer responses:
  • Often teachers will ask you to write short written responses. 
  • Short answers are just as important as long answers and most teachers have high expectations for your answers.
  • We will review these expectations in class.

Keeping in mind what you know about expectations for short answer responses show us your best work on this QUIZ about your group novel. (The quiz has an entry code. I will give it to you in class.)

Today is the last day of the grading period. If you think I made a mistake entering one of your grades talk to me today.

  • The grading period ends today. Your grade is probably going to be what you see now in power school, unless you and I have discussed a change. 
  • Don't panic! This is just a progress report grade. It is NOT your semester grade. 
  • Keep reading your group novel, unless you are already 1/2 way done, then read another book.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

More work on characterization

Goal: Further explorations of direct and indirect characterization supported by selected text evidence.

Reading your group novel is highly recommended.

Memoir Presentations:
A few people would still like to present their memoirs.

Direct and Indirect Characterization:

  • When an author specifically tells you something about a character that is direct characterization. 
  • When an author expects you to infer something about a character that is indirect characterization. 

Back to the STEAL chart you started yesterday:

  • As you add more examples notice if they are direct or indirect characterization. 
  • Use a direct sentence from the book for each part of the chart. 
  • Explain what that sentence tells you about the character.

Quiz Tomorrow, Study Tips: 

  • Read up to the place you should be in your group novel. (That's important.)
  • Finish your STEAL chart. That will help you with at least one question. 
  • Know what your main character WANTS most, their motivation. 
  • Know about the other characters your character has relationships with and what those relationships are like. (See your EJ entry from Tuesday!) 
  • Add any new characters to the character web you started on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Exploring Complex Characters

Goal: Begin looking more closely at the complex characters in novels.

Characters are awesome lesson
Looking closely at one of the characters in your group novel.

Characters are Awesome Lesson: Exploring direct and indirect characterization through textual evidence in group selected novels in a ninth grade English class.

Looking closely at one of the characters in your group novel. 
  • Open your English Journal
  • Make a STEAL chart about one of the main characters in your group novel. (See the last slide in the deck above.)
  • Be sure to use evidence (quotations) from the novel to support your answers.
Keep reading in your group novel. Bring it to class daily. 
Make sure your English Journal is caught up. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Character Motivation

Goals: Talk to your book group, and listen to some memoir presentations.

Book Group Conversation
English Journal Entry
Memoir Presentations

1. Talk to your book group: 
  • There are several questions your group needs to be able to answer today. Discuss these questions and be sure you can explain them. 
  • Write your answer to these questions in your English Journal AFTER you talk about them with your group.
1. What does your main character want more than anything? What obstacles stand in his/her way?
2. Who does your character have relationships with? What are those relationships like? 
2. Memoir Presentations
Several of your classmates are presenting today. Please give them your attention.

3. Counseling Survey: 
Please take this survey for the people planning one of your activities next week.

PS: We are talking about characters because of this standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Reminders: Keep reading your group novel. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Groups Select Novels

Goal: Getting started on our reading the novel unit. Choosing books, checking them out, getting organized with a calendar etc.

Memoir Presentations
Book Selection

Memoir Presentations:
Some people have opted to present their memoir in class.
Please give them your polite attention.

Reading the Novel:
Today we start a new unit called "Reading the Novel." You have a new group to work with.

The novel you read with your group "counts" as one of your two books for this six weeks. You still need to read another one on your own.

If you are absent your assigned group will be picking a book without your input. Don't miss school.

Read according to your group's first goal.
Make sure you are caught up on work in your English Journal.
Request a regrade if you have revised your written memoir.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Writing about books...

Goals: Write about the books you've been reading and self evaluate your visual memoir. 

Six Week Book Form
Visual Memoir Evaluation

Six Week Book Form
Complete THIS FORM about the books you read this six weeks. 

Visual Memoir Evaluation:
Even if you are not done yet, please complete this VISUAL MEMOIR EVALUATION FORM

MONDAY: (Don't read this yet!)

  • On Monday we will be going on an adventure. You will need your student ID. 
  • Under no circumstances can you beg, or even bribe us to tell you where we are going. 
  • Even if you bring us cookies we still won't tell.
  • What do you need to bring?

The grading period ends next week.
Keep reading.
If you are presenting your memoir next week be sure to practice.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Finishing Visual Memoirs

Goal: Make progress on your digital memoir slides.

Books out

A helpful extension: 
Some students like this font better. 
If it helps you read you can use it. 

Reading Progress Update: 
Lets see how your reading is going.
CLICK HERE to tell me about your reading.

Quick Write:
  • Open your English Journal.
  • Describe a character in the book you are reading.
  • Include a physical description, but also consider personality, speech, thoughts, etc. 
  • Use interesting, specific, adjectives. 
  • Use figurative language. Similes work really well here. 

Work on Visual Memoirs: 

  • By the end of class today you should have all the pictures  in your slides and your script. 
  • Remember to use pictures from or your own images. 
  • Use the slide notes section to write the words you would say to go with the pictures. Don't put words on your slides. 
  • Finish your visual memoir. Slides are due tomorrow. If you opted to make the video version, that is due tomorrow too. 
  • Read. You should be finishing book #2 this week. Its fine if you are starting book #3. 
  • Open house is tonight. Remind your parents to come. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Self-scoring and screen-casting

Goals: Self scoring your English Journals and trying our screencasting

You are almost done with book #2 right? 

English Journal Self Score:
Research shows that students who evaluate their own work improve faster than those who don't.
  1. Open your English Journal
  2. Review the English Journal Scoring Guide
  3. Determine how you would score your English Journal. 
  4. PASTE this sentence below into the TOP of your English Journal and be sure it is complete. 
October 2, 2019 Self Score:        
I believe I have earned a ______ <<(Your score 1-5) on my English Journal because_______________________ _______________ <<(Your reasons you think you earned that score.) 

  • If you want to make a movie of your visual memoir you could try screencasting today. 
  • Recording your screen and adding your voice is not hard. 
  • There are several free sites and apps that do this. 
  • We will try Screencast-o-matic.
  • Today we just want you to try it. You won't be making a perfect recording today, just a little practice. 
  • Don't practice too much because the free version limits you to 15 minutes of recording. 
  • Remember you can find DETAILED DIRECTIONS for your screencast on the tab above about visual memoirs. 

Visual Memoirs are due Friday 10/4 (You should be almost done anyway.) 
Keep reading. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Working on Visual Memoirs

Note the visible black bar of attribution. 
Goal: Continue working on your visual memoir.

Because we always read.
Get out your book.

1. 9th Grade Reading Survey

2. Things to be working on: 

  • Visual Memoir (Due Friday)
  • Do you need a presentation date?
  • Did you finish your AOW from Friday in your EJ?

Copyright free images:
  • For your visual memoir you can only use pictures from or personal pictures you or someone you know took. 
  • All pictures must have a visible black attribution bar OR be listed on the credits slide of your visual memoir. 
  • You may also use Creative Commons licensed images from other sources, but you must provide a link to that source in on the credits slide. (Use correct citation format.)
  • Citation format for images is:  Creator's Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, retrieval date. URL.
  • Note: Providing a citation DOES NOT mean you are allowed to use the image. If you are in doubt about image rights ask a teacher. 

  • Read
  • Work on your visual memoir
  • Open House is Thursday 10/3
  • Finish reading book #2 by Friday.