Category Archives: English 9 Regents

This is work done by my Regents students.

English 9 Regents: Analyzing Atmosphere in Film

I had my regents kids prepare for a Visible Thinking exercise in their journals with the heading “Creating Atmosphere in Film”.  My students then watched the following video, “Lovefield” by Mathieu Ratthe, and as they were doing so, I asked them to write down ten things they noticed in the film that created a specific atmosphere (they had to use “tone” words with the descriptions).

After the film, they shared what they noticed with a partner in the room.  They then had to return to their seats and write three things they thought about the film and three things they wondered.   We then shared ideas using the routine I’d set up during the year: a different colored Post-It note for See/Think/Wonder.

Lovefield STW

Their writing task was to explain in a three-chunk paragraph how director Mathieu Ratthe effectively created a misleading atmosphere which led to situational irony at the end of the piece.

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English 9 Regents: Interpretation of Imagery in “The Cask of Amontillado”

cask of amontillado

SEE:

Using adjective/adjective/noun combinations, students list ten very specific details they see in the painting, and then share their list with a partner.  Any details that they have in common are marked with a checkmark (so that less obvious details stand out to them for later).

THINK:

Students write three things they think about how the imagery of the painting re-creates a certain mood in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”

WONDER:

Students write three things they wonder about the painting represents some aspect of the short story.

Students each get one Post-It Note.  One color for each: See, Think, or Wonder.  Students then share Post-It Notes.

Cask of Amontillado

WRITING:

Students will write a three chunk paragraph about how the imagery in the painting helps to re-create a specific mood in the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.   Along with mentioning details from both paintings in their paragraphs, they must also cite correlating text from the short story as support for their claim.

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English 9 Regents: Art and “The Most Dangerous Game”

Look at both of the following paintings:

MostDangerousGameShipwreck

The Most Dangerous Game by Anonymous

sirens_cove

Sirens Cove found on deviantART (yet no artist attributed)

 

SEE:

Students list five very specific details they see in each painting, and then share their lists with a partner.  Any details that they have in common are marked with a checkmark (so that less obvious details stand out to them for later).

THINK:

Students put three things they think about the painting represents some aspect of “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

WONDER:

Students put three things they wonder about the painting represents some aspect of the short story.

Students each get one Post-It Note.  One color for each: See, Think, or Wonder.  Students then share Post-It Notes.

MDG

WRITING:

Students will write a three chunk paragraph about how the paintings are a representation of some aspect of the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.   Along with mentioning details from both paintings in their paragraphs, they must also cite correlating text from the short story as support for their claim.

The idea was to get the students to make a connection between the Sirens episode in The Odyssey and how General Zaroff lures ships–and subsequently sailors– to his island so that he might kill them.

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English 9 Regents: Part III- Organizing Evidence-Based Claims

The next part of the Evidence-Based Claims unit is Organizing Evidence-Based Claims.  As I looked over this particular worksheet, I noticed a similarity to work that I have done previously when we worked on the research papers.  The Organizing Evidence-Based Claims worksheet allows for an expanded claim that includes two points, and then the two points are separated out so that evidence may be given in support of each point.  This is like the thesis statements we created during the research project.  Students had to make a claim (take a position) about a topic, and then back it up with two reasons (signposts) why the reader should agree with them.

What I have here is the progression of two students from Forming EBCs, to Making EBCs, and finally Organizing EBCs.   You can see the growth in the train of thought as they worked through paragraphs 7-12 of Plato’s “Apology.”

Jessica’s progress: Forming EBCs

Jessie 1

I questioned Jess’s use of the word “unique” in her claim.  What was it she was really trying to say about Socrates at that point?  I also asked for pronoun clarification.  Who is the “they” she is referring to?

Jessica: Making EBCs

Jessie 2

While the first claim may be an improvement over “Socrates is unique…,”  the evidence she offers does not support her new claim.  Neither evidence #1 or #3 really support how people can “benefit from his teachings.”  I asked Jess to go back into the text to come up with stronger evidence if she still wanted to make that claim.  The second claim was confusing because of the spelling error (“believes” instead of “beliefs”).  I thought this was stronger than either of the original claims, so I asked her to think more deeply about Claim 2.

 Jessica: Organizing EBCs

Jessie 3

By the time Jessica got to this page, she had re-thought her claim and was able to come up with an expanded version that had to clear points that she could defend.   Her textual evidence is also stronger than it had been in the Forming EBC stage.  She is now ready to write.

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Lauren’s Progression:  Forming EBCs

Lauren 1

Lauren’s claim is confusing because of the pronoun usage (“them” and “they”) and wordiness.   Her thinking and evidence are fine, but she needs to be more concise and precise in her claim.

Lauren: Making EBCs

Lauren 2

Lauren amended her claim in the first set, yet I encouraged her to use stronger diction than “killing him would not be a good idea.”   She obviously put a lot of thought into her second claim because you can see that she used WhiteOut to make changes.   This demonstrates that she is thinking and making adjustments as she is working.

Lauren: Organizing EBCs

Lauren 3

Lauren went a bit overboard and tried to incorporate everything from the Making EBC worksheet.  The result is a confusing, wordy claim.  I am asking her to trim down the wordiness and get to the heart of what it is that she wants to say.  I would still like her to rephrase “killing him would not be a good idea.”  Once she does that, then Lauren will be ready to write.

___________________________________________________________

Once they have completed the Organizing EBC worksheets and revised them a bit from my feedback, the students went head-to-head with their partners in a dry run of what they intend to write in a paragraph.  I asked them to work in pairs, giving impromptu “speeches” to their partners using their claims as the thesis, and the points as signposts.  They had to attempt to convince their partner to agree with their claim.

The partners, while they were listening, had to decide whether or not they were convinced to agree with the speaker and then back that up with reasons why (or why not).  They had to refer to the textual evidence given as support for the argument to determine its strength and clarity.  They also had to critique the speaker’s argument for its logic and progression.  Finally, the listener had to write down three clarifying questions for the speaker.  The homework for the speaker , then, was to write a response to the three questions while also revisiting his/her argument in preparation for an essay.

The partners then reversed roles so that everyone left the room with three questions to answer.  When they come in next class, they will be permitted to use the worksheets, their question responses, and their text to write an essay in support of their chosen claim.

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English 9 Regents: Part II- Making Evidence Based Claims

After having the kids repeat the steps for paragraphs 3-6 of Plato’s “Apology” that they’d done for the first two paragraphs (RHA, paraphrase, answer questions, form EBC), we moved on to the next step in the process: MAKING Evidence Based Claims.

At first I struggled with how this was different from the FORMING Evidence Based Claims worksheet.  It seemed as if the whole thing was redundant, but it’s actually not.

In the first worksheet, students must come to a conclusion AFTER examining the text closely (“I see this; therefore, I am able to claim that.”)  The second worksheet asks the students to make two claims about what they have read first, and THEN go back to look for evidence to support the claims (“I claim this, and this supports what I think.”)   It’s a different type of thinking.

Here are two student examples:

Alyssa Making EBC Paragraph 3-6

Before Alyssa could fill in the claim section of the sheet, she had to think about what she had read.  Since we had done a Forming EBC sheet, she already had one claim in mind to work with.  However, by the time we got to this sheet, she had changed her claims.  These two claims are stronger than her original on her Forming EBC sheet (“Socrates trusts the Gods but finds himself questioning him in terms of him being the wisest or how his devotion to him limits him in life.  He is not most in repute but those who are happen to be way to full of themselves.”)  Her original claim was too wordy, and it was full of confusing pronoun usage.  I asked her to be more concise and precise in making her claims.  As you can see, she did make changes, and the claims are easier to support.

____________________________________________________________

Ethan Making EBC Paragraph 3-6

Before Ethan filled out this sheet, he had not made a claim on his Forming EBC worksheet; the sheet was blank.  Therefore, it gave him no starting point when attempting to make an EBC.  As a result, it is evident that he did not clearly understand what he’d read in those four paragraphs because Ethan claims that “Socrates is the wisest man.”  When pressed to support this claim, Ethan cites the Oracle’s response to the question of whether or not Socrates is the wisest man: “There is no man wiser” (Plato, line 43).  This is where both Ethan AND Socrates got confused.

______________________________________________________________

Socrates

I drew the little picture on the board (no artist am I), and then I asked the students, “Which of these do you suppose the Oracle really meant?”  and I let them argue a bit about it.  Then I told them what I thought it meant.  By interpreting the Oracle’s words to mean that since “there is no man wiser” (Plato, line 43), then Socrates must be the wisest man on earth, that is jumping to conclusions.  What both Socrates and Ethan need to learn is to really pay attention to the words that the Oracle used.   What Socrates later learned after going around and questioning different people and testing their wisdom against his and coming to the conclusion that these so-called wise people were no wiser than he was, and he did not consider himself at all wise, then there IS no man wiser than Socrates or any other man for that matter.   This kind of “taking things literally” and jumping to conclusions is actually the kind of thinking that this whole “Evidence Based Claims” unit is all about addressing.  I may not have been very pleased when I first saw the choice for this unit because I really thought that it was going to be too far above the heads of 9th graders.  After beginning to work with it, I am very happy to report that I do think this is an appropriate piece, and I will use it again in the future.

_________________________________________________________________

After the students finished their Making Evidence Based Claims worksheets, the next class I gave each student two Post-It notes using two colors (one for “Claim” and one for “Evidence”).  I asked them to look over the Making EBC worksheet, and choose the stronger of the two claims they had made and write that claim on their pink Post-It.   Then they had to examine the three pieces of evidence they had found to support that claim, and choose the strongest piece of evidence they had and write that on the yellow Post-It.  Once they had both Post-Its filled out, we were ready to start.

I started by pulling one students name from the deck of 3×5 cards that I used throughout the year (These cards have their names, contact info, textbook numbers, and I keep track of who worked in what group and also what topics they had for research, what Shakespearean speech they memorized, etc).  This is an effective way for me to call on kids so that nobody zones out.  It’s also how I call on “volunteers” when no one raises a hand to answer a question.  Anyhow, after I called on the first student, he/she read the claim on their pink Post-It and stuck it under “Claim” on the front board.  I then asked, “OK, who has the same claim as ___?”  Those with the same claim came forward and put their Post-Its next to the one already on the board.  I then pulled another card, that claim was stuck below the last one.  I once again asked who had the same claim, and the entire process was repeated until everyone had a claim on the board.

Then it was time to deal with the evidence.  I read out loud Claim #1 and asked all those who’d made that claim to come forward with their evidence to support the claim (for the first one, five people made that claim, so I had there ended up being five pieces of evidence brought forward).  I had the students read their evidence to the class and post it on the board.  Once we heard all five pieces of evidence (two of them were repeats, so it actually boiled down to three different quotations), I asked the students to decide which of the evidence provided BEST supported the claim.  All those who believed that quote 1 was the best were sent to one corner of the room, those who voted for #2 went to another corner, and the same for quote 3.   I then began with group 1 and asked them to support WHY they thought that particular quotation was stronger than the other two.  Once I had two responses, I turned to the other groups and said, “Ok, go ahead and tell those folks why YOUR choice of quotation is stronger than theirs.”

For several of the claims, I noticed that we had huge crowds in the corners that had selected the most obvious statements as the strongest support.  For example, five students claimed that “Socrates believes he is not the wisest man.”   Of the evidence, one of the quotations was, “I know that I have no wisdom,” and most students voted that as the strongest piece of textual evidence.  When I asked them how they would expand on the quote to explain how it supports the claim, the best they could come up with was that Socrates came right out and said it.  When I told them that it does not leave much room for analysis to go with the obvious, it led to a pretty good argument… and it ended up being between students, not between me and students.   As we shared evidence, we also drew lines to connect particular quotes that could support one or more of the given claims.  By the time we finished, the board looked like this:

Making EBC Par 3-6

Ultimately what I am trying to do is to get kids to think before they choose quotes to add to their writing as support.  I have been telling them since September about the differences between grades of ground beef.  You can buy 70/30, 80/20, or 95/5.   All can be used to make meatloaf; however, when all is said and done, which pan of meatloaf is really going to end up more of a soggy mess from all the fat?  Everyone agreed that using 70/30 ground beef was going to produce more grease and a smaller meatloaf dinner for the family.   It’s still meatloaf, it’s still edible, but it just isn’t going to be the same, or as healthy, as the 95/5 variety.   That’s how I feel about how they go about choosing supporting evidence for their writing.  I have been saying all year, “Give me the meat, not the fat!”

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English 9 Regents: Part I- Forming Evidence-Based Claims

Days 1-3 (Part I of the Odell unit):

Students independently read/highlighted/annotated (RHA-ed), and I had them paraphrase sentence-by-sentence,  the first two paragraphs of “Apology” by Plato.   I then posed three questions that they had to respond to using only information from the eleven sentences that they’d read.  All responses had to have textual evidence appropriately embedded and cited within them, and students had to explain their answers.  The questions asked were:

1.  What is Socrates accused of?

2.  How does Socrates make it clear that he is innocent?

3.  How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?

After rating their responses (each question was out of 10 points), I returned their papers so that they could use them for the next activity.

We first went over a model of a Forming Evidence-Based Claims worksheet that related to question 2 (the claim made on the model is: Socrates believes that he is innocent).   We looked at how the responder chose three pieces of textual evidence that seemed to go together, explained what he/she thought about each quotation, briefly discussed the connection, and then- finally- made a definite claim about the textual evidence.  I then had the students go head-to-head with a partner, and instructed half the class to work with the claims made in question 1 (above) and the other half to work with question 3.   This way, everyone had something tangible to work with that they had already put some thought into.

Using their paraphrases and responses to the questions, the students then filled out a Forming Evidence-Based Claims worksheet.

Brandon Forming EBC Paragraph 1-2

 

This is Brandon’s response to question three (How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?).  He needs to work on making a stronger claim by telling us HOW, not just THAT Socrates is different.  However, his first two “thoughts” show promise for some decent support.  The third “thought” shows that he didn’t really get what Socrates was saying about teachers and being paid.  I will give Brandon this feedback that I am putting here, and then I will look for growth in his next Forming EBC worksheet for paragraphs 3-6.

________________________________________________________

 

Robby Forming EBC Paragraph 1-2

This is Robby’s response to question 1 (What is Socrates accused of?).  In this claim, you can see that Robby takes the extra step of giving more than one thing that Socrates is accused of.   His claim has more “meat” to it than Brandon’s; however, his first choice of details to support the claim is taken out of context.  I will suggest that he stick to stronger textual evidence to better back up his claim.

_________________________________________________________

Just before they began work, I asked the students to examine the language in the left-hand column of the worksheet.  The first box tells them to “Find details” in the text.  This is something I have asked them to do all year, except that I used different phrasing.  In previous textual exercises (such as with Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech in Act I, scene iv of Romeo and Juliet), I had asked them to write down ten things they SEE in his speech (quotations) that reveal something about Mercutio’s character.  This is the same exercise using a preformed worksheet instead of just a list from 1-10 (I usually make them come up with ten details, share their ideas with a partner, and check off the things they have in common because those are usually the obvious details).  This worksheet asks for three.

The second box tells them to “Connect the details” and explain what they think about what they have selected.  I have also asked students to come up with three things they THINK about what they have seen/heard/read in any of the activities.   For the Romeo and Juliet exercise mentioned above, students had to come up with three things they thought about Mercutio’s character based on the text they selected.

The last box asks students to “Make a claim” about what they have written.  This is a variation of the final piece of a Visible Thinking activity that we have worked with all year… what the student WONDERS based on what he has read and thought.

Once I explained the worksheet as a SEE/THINK/WONDER exercise, the students had a much easier time determining what it was that they were supposed to put in the boxes.   Also, because we have done this exercise routinely throughout the year, I saw fairly strong responses as opposed to the ones in the model provided by Odell.

Based on the correlations above, it is my claim that whoever created this worksheet has some training or background in Visible Thinking activities.

 

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English 9 Regents: Lesson Plan Breakdown for Plato’s “Apology”

Based on the unit created by Odell Education (see link in a previous post), I outlined a breakdown of the lessons and activities relating to Evidence Based Claims (EBCs):

Plato’s “Apology”- daily lesson plans

(Broken down from the on-line unit from Odell Education)

 

 Day 1- Part I (activities 1 and 2):

  • Intro to materials and the unit (10-15 min)
  • Independent reading paragraphs 1 and 2 ONLY (RHA) and then PARAPHRASE the two paragraphs sentence by sentence (P1=9, P2=2).  To demonstrate understanding, students must put Plato’s words into their own.  Any new/unfamiliar words go in the boxes at the bottom with definitions.
  • Once paraphrased, answer the question:  What is Socrates accused of?  Determine specific parts of the text that make you think so and add embedded quotations to your response.  Citation will be (Plato, line ___).
  • Finish for homework: will be collected

 

Day 2-Part I (activity 3):

  • Teacher reads aloud paragraphs 1 and 2 that students have already paraphrased.

Comprehension Quiz:

      1.   What is Socrates being accused of? (already written in the homework)

2.  How does Socrates make it clear that he is innocent?

3.  How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?

 

  • Students may use homework to complete the questions.  All muse be based on specific textual evidence as support and include embedded quotations.
  • Choose two students and place their paraphrases on the ELMO.  Discuss paraphrases: did students get it in an independent read?
  • Collect and grade (falls under “Reading” in the grade book)

 

Day 3-Part I (activities I-4 and II-1):

  • Pass out Forming Evidence Based Claims Handout and go over (point out similarities to See/Think/ Wonder that we have done in Visible Thinking exercises).  Point out the “thinking” details; they will need to come up with others that support the same claim (work with partner)
  • Independent reading paragraphs 3-6 (RHA) and then PARAPHRASE the paragraphs sentence by sentence.   To demonstrate understanding, students must put Plato’s words into their own.  Any new/unfamiliar words go in the boxes at the bottom with definitions.
  • Pass out blank Forming Evidence Based Claims worksheets; students complete for paragraphs 3-6
  • Finish for homework; to be collected.

 

Day 4-Part II (activity 2):

  • Teacher reads aloud paragraphs 3-6 that students have already paraphrased.
  • In partners, students will discuss and write responses to the following questions:
    • 1. What does the oracle say about Socrates?
    • 2. What does Socrates do in an attempt to test the truth of the oracle’s prophecy?
    • 3.  Why do Socrates’ actions incite the anger of his peers?
    • All responses must include embedded quotations as supportive evidence (taken from the Forming EBC sheets)
    • Collect paraphrases and Forming EBC worksheets (reading grade) and answers to questions (analysis grade)
    • Choose two students and place their paraphrases on the ELMO.  Discuss paraphrases: did students get it in an independent read?

 

Day 5-Part II (activity 3):

  • Briefly discuss responses to questions from previous day (use ELMO)
  • Pass out Making Evidence Based Claims handout and go over
  • Go over Clarity Checklist (in packet)
  • Students must make claims about what they have read so far (paragraphs 1-6)
  • Pass out blank Making EBC worksheet for them to fill out
  • Making EBC worksheet due for homework; to be collected (analysis grade)

 

Day 6-Part II (activities 4 and 5):

  • Check HW for completion and pass out 2 Post-It notes (different colors) for a Visible Thinking exercise
  • First color Post-It: one claim that they made (from HW)
  • Second color Post-It: best piece of evidence that supports the claim (from HW)
  • Face partners: exchange Making EBC worksheets.  Make notes (on clean sheet of paper) of how well the worksheet stands up to the checklist, being sure to comment on each of the criteria.  When finished, verbally share the critique with partner.
  •  Collect Making EBC worksheets and critiques (analysis grade)

 

Day 7-Part III (activity 1):

  • Read paragraphs 7-11 independently.  RHA and put the paragraphs into your own words; not a summary, but a rephrasing (does not have to be sentence by sentence this time).
  • Fill out Forming EBC and Making EBC worksheets for paragraphs 7-11
  • Complete for homework

 

 

Day 8- Part III (activities 3 and 4):

  • Check homework for completion-  Forming EBC (reading grade)and Making EBC (analysis) for paragraphs 7-11; students will use the HW to do today’s work
  • On the overhead, ask students to copy questions to ponder about making claims:

–          1. What do I mean when I make this claim?  What am I trying to communicate?

–          2. How did I arrive at this claim?

–          3. Can I point to the specific words and sentences in the text from which the claim arises?

–          4. What do I need to explain so that an audience can understand what I mean and where my claim comes from?

–          5. What evidence (quotations) might I use to illustrate my claim?  In what order would I use them?

–          6.  When my claim contains several parts (signposts), how can I break it down. organize the parts, and organize the evidence that goes with them?

–          If my claim involves a comparison or a relationship, how might I present, clarify, and organize my discussion between parts or between texts?

  • Pass out Organizing Evidence Based Claims handout and go over.  Be sure to point out that each claim has more than one part (signpost)
  • Pass out Organizing Evidence Based Claims worksheets.  Students use claims from their homework, expanding upon them to include more than one point (see model in handout) and complete the worksheet.
  • Finish worksheet for homework

 

Day 9- Part III (Activity 5):

  • Check Organizing EBC worksheet for paragraphs 7-11 homework for completion
  • Go over the Checklist (in packet) before pairing up
  • Each student must verbally present his/her claims and evidence to a partner, attempting to convince the partner that their claim is correct.  Partners listen and then formulate (in writing) three questions about the claim, based on what they have heard.   Partners then switch roles.
  • After both partners have spoken, and they have handed over their written questions to the other, each will then write a written answer to each of his/her partner’s questions.   Students must use citations from the text to support their clarifications.
  • Written responses to questions will be finished for homework; to be collected with Organizing EBC worksheet

 

 Day 10- Part IV (activity 1):

  • Collect Organizing EBC for paragraphs 7-11 along with the responses to partner questions  (analysis)
  • Read paragraphs 12-17 (end) independently.  RHA and put the paragraphs into your own words; not a summary, but a rephrasing (does not have to be sentence by sentence this time).
  • Fill out Forming EBC and Making EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17; complete for homework

 

Day 11- Part IV (activities 2 and 3):

  • Check homework (two worksheets): Forming EBC (reading) and Making EBC (analysis) for paragraphs 12-17
  • Complete Organizing EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17, using HW as help
  • Turning Organizing EBC sheets into a written response:
    • Read through Writing EBC criteria handout (in packet)
    • Pass out the model for Writing EBC and compare to the model for Organizing EBC handout.  Note how the worksheet lent itself to creating the writing piece.
    • In pairs, students will create a three paragraph piece based on the model (paragraph one makes the claim with two points, while paragraphs two and three explain the points with textual evidence respectively)
    • Must finish for homework; to be collected

 

Day 12- Part IV (activities 4 and 5):

  • Collect Organizing EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17 and written responses
  • Using the ELMO, place student responses on the overhead for class discussion.  Class will then use the criteria for Writing EBC from their packets to critique student work.
  • Students will then turn to the rubric in the packet, and rate each piece that they have seen on the overhead.

 

Day 13- Part V (activities 1 and 2):

  • Students will go through all notes and completed worksheets for the entire piece.  They will review the text and make a new claim based on the overall piece (cannot be a claim they have previously made).
  • Students will complete a new Organizing EBC worksheet for the entire piece using the THREE POINT claim worksheet instead of the TWO POINT claim sheet they had used earlier.  This worksheet is in the packet.
  • Students will now be using three points (signposts) to support their new claim
  • Finish worksheet for homework

 

 

Day 14- Part V (activity 4):

  • Check Organizing EBC worksheet for completion for the entire text
  • Students will use the Organizing EBC worksheet in order to create their final written responses.  These must now be four paragraphs and will follow the criteria listed on the checklists (in packet)
  • Collect written responses at end of class.

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