Freshmen: Welcome to Semester 2!

Our goal for this first week of the second semester is to reengage in readers workshop and begin our study of William Shakespeare and his works.

We will start and end the week with readers workshop: students will report their winter break reading, do some writing about their reading, and engage in a one-on-one conference with me about their book. Students will also set a New Year’s “resolution” related to reading. For example, students might aim to read a certain number of books, tackle a new series, or step outside their genre comfort zone before the end of the school year.

Students will watch a documentary on what (little) we know about William Shakespeare and practice summary writing based on viewing. This summary writing will require that they play with grammatical structures such as compound and complex sentences. They will also be introduced to Shakespeare’s poetic form: the sonnet. Students will learn the features of the sonnet and will begin their practice paraphrasing the sonnets. Students will continue working on sonnets next week and will eventually be assessed on their ability to identify sonnet features, paraphrase lines of a sonnet, and identify the theme of a sonnet.

Parents, How Can You Help?

  • This week’s article of the week is a challenge. It’s an interview with a researcher who explores the relationship between language and emotion. This is a relevant article because we’ve been studying tone, and repeatedly students are realizing that identifying tone isn’t the challenge: Rather, having the vocabulary to identify the emotion behind the tone is a struggle. The better the vocabulary the more awareness people have of the feelings they (and others) are experiencing. Your child’s task is to read, annotate, and summarize the article. Consider having a discussion with them prior to the summarization to ensure comprehension and to make personal connections.
  • Do you remember your first encounter with Shakespeare? For many students, the difference in language is striking and, for some, overwhelming. In class, I promise students that with practice the reading will come easier. Encourage them of the same at home!

Need Extra Help?

  • Compass Learning is an online resource that allows you to practice skills and review information from class. I’ve added assignments to each student’s account in order to review learning about Shakespeare, his sonnets, and our upcoming play, Romeo and Juliet. Students can complete any assignment in any order. To access:
    • Visit Compass Learning.
    • Username: Student’s Graduation Year, then Student’s Last Name, then Student’s First Initial (i.e. 19sparksh)
    • Password: Student ID Number
    • School: OFHS
  • For a quick reference, check out this Sparknotes resource. This website also features interpretations of many sonnets. Students can practice by reading a sonnet, then reading someone else’s interpretation. This will prepare them for future analysis work by becoming familiar with models.