Tag Archives: writing

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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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Regents, Visible Thinking

English 9 Enriched: Frankenstein and Paradise Lost

Paradise LostStudents read a synopsis of each chapter of John Milton’s Paradise Lost and RHA’d it for content relating to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  The class was then divided into three groups for this assignment.

Three groups: God, Satan, and Adam

SEE:

Each group has to find five pairs of quotations that correlate between the chosen character from Paradise Lost (God, Satan, or Adam) and either Victor or the Creature from Frankenstein.

THINK:

Groups each choose the strongest pair of quotations that act as a correlation and state what they think about that correlation.

WONDER:

For the same pair of lines, state what they wonder about the correlation.

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

Milton

WRITING:

Students will write a three chunk paragraph correlating God, Satan, or Adam to either Victor or the Creature.   They must use their pairs of lines as textual support for their claims.

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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Enriched

English 9 Enriched: Frankenstein and the Sublime in Art

This Visible Thinking activity is done with a twist.  Instead of merely sharing something simple that they see, think, or wonder, students must stretch to use adjective/noun combinations for what they see, similes for what they think, and metaphors for what they wonder… all relating to the sublime.

I let the classes select one of the following paintings:

800px-Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_The_Arcadian_or_Pastoral_State_1836

The Arcadian or Pastoral State by Thomas Cole

800px-Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_The_Savage_State_1836

The Savage State by Thomas Cole

il-penseroso-1845_jpg!Blog

Il Penseroso by Thomas Cole (inspired by “L’Allegro,” a poem by John Milton)

Peace%20at%20Sunset%20Thomas%20Cole

Peace at Sunset by Thomas Cole

Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits by Asher Brown Durand (depicting painter Thomas Cole and poet William Cullen Bryant)

 

SEE:

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 put three things they think about the painting represents the sublime.

WONDER:

Students put three things they wonder about the painting represents the sublime.

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

For those with the color for SEE, they have to use an adjective/adjective/noun combination to describe something they see that represents the sublime.

For those with the color for THINK, they have to create a simile about how they think something in the painting represents the sublime.

For those with the color for WONDER, they have to create a metaphor for what they wonder about how the artist created the sublime on canvas.

Students then share Post-It Notes on the front board.

2013-05-10 09.13.17

WRITING:

Students will write a three chunk paragraph about how the painting is a representation of the sublime, much like Victor’s escape to nature after the deaths of William and Justine.  Be sure to define and explain “sublime” as it relates to both the painting and the novel.

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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Enriched, Visible Thinking

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.

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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 Enriched: Parody- Young Frankenstein

How could I ignore Mel Brooks’ classic parody?

Similar to what we did with the creation scenes from the 1931 Universal film and the 1994 Kenneth Branagh version, we watched two video clips, did a SEE/THINK/WONDER for each one, discussed comparisons/contrasts, and then had a short writing assignment.

These are the two clips from Young Frankenstein (1974).

The first depicts Gene Wilder (as Victor Frankenstein) and Peter Boyle (as the Creature) doing a tap dance to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”  What I want the students to see is the parody of how people become afraid of the creature and also how the creature comes to loathe people who treat him badly.

The second clip is when the Creature (Peter Boyle) comes upon the house of a blind priest (Gene Hackman), and the priest unsuccessfully tries to offer his guest some hospitality.   I want students to make the connection to the blind man in the hovel where the creature has been spying on and learning from the family that lives there.

 

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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Enriched, Visible Thinking

English 9 Regents: Plato’s “Apology”

Odell LogoOdell Education has created model Making Evidence-Based Claims units for ELA grades 6-12.  For English 9, the chosen work of informational text is Plato’s “Apology.”  The link to the left will take you to the files for this particular unit, and I will be working with my English 9 Regents students on this piece in the 4th quarter.

The unit includes day-by-day lesson plans for close reading and is broken into five parts, each with a suggested number of classes for implementation:

Part I:  “Understanding Evidence-Based Claims”  (1-3 classes)

– Activity 1: Introduction to the unit

– Activity 2: Independent reading

– Activity 3: Read Aloud and Class Discussion

– Activity 4: Model Forming EBCs

Part II:  “Making Evidence-Based Claims” (1-3 classes)

– Activity 1: Independent reading and finding supportive evidence

– Activity 2: Read aloud and class discussion

– Activity 3: Find supporting evidence in pairs

– Activity 4: Class discussion of EBCs

– Activity 5: Forming EBCs in pairs

Part III:  “Organizing Evidence-Based Claims”  (1-3 classes)

– Activity 1: Independent reading and forming EBCs

– Activity 2: Read aloud

– Activity 3: Model organizing EBCs

– Activity 4: Organizing EBCs in pairs

– Activity 5: Class discussion of student EBCs

Part IV:  “Writing Evidence-Based Claims”   (1-3 classes)

– Activity 1:  Independent reading and making EBCs

– Activity 2:  Model writing EBCs

– Activity 3:  Writing EBCs in pairs

– Activity 4:  Class discussion of written EBCs

– Activity 5:  Read aloud and class discussion

– Activity 6:  Independent writing of EBCs

Part V:  “Evidence-Based Writing” (1-2 classes)

– Activity 1:  Independent reading and making EBCs

– Activity 2:  Class discussion of global EBCs

– Activity 3:  Pairs discuss their EBCs

– Activity 4:  Independent writing of the final piece

– Activity 5:  Class discussion of the final writing pieces

In all, the suggested unit length is 5-14 full classes focusing on a 17 paragraph passage.    I think this unit would be better served at the beginning of the year when I am targeting particular writing skills overall.  The skills are the key here, not this particular text selection.

One issue that I would like to address is that of spending 5-14 classes on one particular short passage.   While close reading is key and students need to pay attention to what they read, standardized testing does not reflect this practice.

According to test previews that we have been allowed to peruse, the upcoming exams look like they will be given in 90 minute increments over a three day period.  If the high school tests are going to be anything like the middle school tests being administered April 16-18, 2013, then the format looks as if it will be as follows:

Day 1:  (Test Book 1) reading followed by 42 multiple choice questions (I have heard, but it has not yet been confirmed, that the readings will be an excerpt from a novel, a poem, and an informational piece);

Day 2:  (Test Book 2) reading followed by 21 multiple choice questions AND (Test Book 3) reading and writing with three short-response questions and one extended-response question (I have not heard yet what the day 2 readings will be);

Day 3:  (Test Book 4) reading and writing five short-response questions and one extended response question (again, I have heard that the students will read five articles, respond to each, and then use information from the articles to write an essay… in other words, a Document Based Question (DBQ).

My concern is that with all the time being asked for close reading in the classroom (5-14 DAYS for “Apology”… I think 4-5 DAYS were set aside for Lincoln’s 278-word “Gettysburg Address” in the earlier model units), the students will come to expect that kind of time to spend on reading.  When they are faced with multiple passages in a 90 minute time frame, I am wondering how they will handle the time-added pressure on an already high stakes test.  While it is important to read closely, students also need to learn to read and comprehend in shorter time periods, mirroring testing situations.  To consistently do close reading at a snail’s pace gives students a false sense of how long they will have to complete tasks on standardized tests.   It seems as if we are sending mixed messages, and the students will be the ones who suffer from it.

Just my opinion.

However, I will try Odell’s unit and work with my Regents students on Plato’s “Apology” in an effort to enhance evidence-based writing skills.

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English 9 Regents: Critical Lens Essay- Irrational Hate (Romeo and Juliet)

Irrational Hate

In both William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet and Jerome Robbins’ musical West Side Story, two feuding groups display irrational hatred toward one another.  While all hatred may be considered “irrational”, there seems to be no known cause for the animosity other than one group simply does not like the other.

Your Task:  Provide a valid interpretation of the critical lens below, and demonstrate how both Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet and Jerome Robbins’ musical West Side Story support the main idea of the critical lens. How does the universal theme of irrational hate play an important role in the plot of both the tragedy and the musical?  How does Robbins carry this theme further in his presentation? How does irrational hate still play a role in real-life events today?

Critical Lens:            

“Always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”      — Richard M. Nixon

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