Freshmen: Language in Romeo and Juliet

The Freshmen in Room G17 will continue their work with Romeo and Juliet this week, focusing on close reading. Specifically, students will consider how the language particular characters use impacts their characterization. On Monday and Tuesday, students will work in small groups to finish reading Act II and identify lines from the text that reveal character traits of Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, and the Nurse. Wednesday, students will independently read and study Act III, Scene 1 in preparation for a quiz on Thursday. For this quiz, students will answer comprehension questions and analysis questions regarding characterizations. All questions will require careful and independent reading of lines from the text–not memorization of events.

Freshmen: Welcome to 2017!

We’ll begin and end our first week back to school with some reflection about 2016 and goal setting for 2017. First, we’ll read a news article about successful business men and women who see significance in sharing their resolutions, then we’ll write our own. We’ll end the week by discussing the most significant events of 2016, and students will choose the event that they think is MOST significant, providing specific reasons to support their claim.

In addition to this personal reflection, we’ll pick back up with Romeo and Juliet, reading and studying Act II, Scene 3. Specifically, we’ll consider how a person’s diction (word choice) reflects their character. Students will also be given time for readers workshop, during which they will engage in one-on-one conferences with me about their winter break reading.

Parents, how can you help?

  • If you use my daily lesson plans, I started a new document for the second semester. Just as a reminder, parents, students and tutors can find the daily agenda, hyperlinks to all handouts and slideshows, and homework expectations on this document.
  • Ask your child about his or her resolution. How can you support them on their quest for self-improvement in 2017?

Freshmen: Group Film Analysis Paper Due This Wednesday

After watching Luhrmann and Zeffirelli’s film versions of the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, students will compose a group essay comparing how the directors represented Romeo, Juliet, or young love. Each individual student will choose a technique to compare (i.e. lighting, angles, costume, music, etc.) and explain how that technique contributes to each director’s representation. Students will receive a group grade (10 points) and an individual grade (40 points) for their work on this essay. Students can access portions of the clips on YouTube for a second watch or can schedule to watch again in my room before school, after school, during homeroom, or during a study hall period.

This week, students will be given two periods to compose the essay. They will bring a complete essay to class on Wednesday for peer review that focuses on editing, specifically run-ons, fragments, and comma use. On Wednesday, students will make final revisions to their essays and submit to for grading.

Freshmen Midterm Exam Information

Students will take midterm exams Friday, December 16 through Tuesday, December 20.

Students received a midterm exam study guide today that listed concepts and skills they might encounter on the exam. The exam is half multiple choice and half short essay. For the multiple choice section, students will receive texts they’ve not encountered before (a sonnet, a poem, a short story, a nonfiction piece) and answer questions based on skills and concepts we’ve practiced this semester. For the short essay section, students will be given a prompt to write based off a short story that they will take home in advance. Students can prepare for this section by annotating the story. They will receive this story in class on Monday.

Please encourage your child to approach me with any questions about the exam!

Freshmen: Using Film to Study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Last week, the freshmen in Room G17 were introduced to basic film terminology and practiced applying that terminology to a commercial and a scene in Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet. This study was informal practice for the work we will continue this week. Students also continued to practice their reading and comprehension of Shakespeare, specifically working to understand his use of figurative language and the effect of figurative language on tone and characterization.

This week, students will continue their film work. Students will watch the beginning of the Luhrmann’s 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet and will compose a practice paragraph applying their film analysis skills to the movie. Students will write about their choice: the impact of cinematography on mood, the characterization of Romeo, or the characterization of Juliet.

Students will then work with groups to study Act II, Scene 2 of the text before watching both film versions of this scene. With groups, students will compose a film analysis essay analyzing and comparing the impact of cinematography on theme, the characterization of Romeo, or the characterization of Juliet.  This short essay will be the final major grade of the quarter. The assignment description and both group and individual rubrics are available on my lesson plans.

Freshmen: Act I of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

This week, the Freshmen in Room G17 will continue to build their comprehension skills as they read Act I, Scenes 2 and 3 of Romeo and Juliet. Through teacher modeling, independent comprehension checks, and small group paraphrases, students will look carefully at the language the characters use. In addition to comprehending the language, we’ll also analyze it. Specifically, we’ll consider how word choice (especially figurative language) contributes to tone and characterization. Near the near the end of the week, students will learn about film terminology and will view both Zeffirelli and Luhrmann versions of Act I, Scenes 4 and 5 of the play. As a class, we’ll consider how cinematic techniques impact mood and characterization.

Students will also continue their study of nonfiction this week with a challenging set of articles on fake news. Students scored an average of 79% on last week’s nonfiction quiz which asked them to identify SOAPSTone and CER of a nonfiction article. We’ll continue this work with increasingly challenging texts throughout the quarter. This week, students should read and annotate the first two articles in the packet, paying particular attention to claims, reasons, and evidence and defining vocabulary using context clues.

Freshmen: Non-Fiction Assessment on Tuesday

During this short week, the Freshmen in Room G17 will review the sonnet and paraphrasing quiz from last Thursday, review the article of the week analysis due on Friday, and finish reading Act I Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet. On Tuesday, students will be given a non-fiction assessment for which they will identify the features and analyze the argument style of a non-fiction argument essay. Students should review notes on SOAPSTone and C-E-R in preparation for this assessment.

Over Thanksgiving break, students should continue to read for readers workshop. Though there is no specific homework due relating to our study of Shakespeare, students who are struggling with comprehension should consider practicing on their time off. To practice, students could look up additional sonnets, practice paraphrasing, then come their work with paraphrases that can be found online. Or, students might read ahead in Act I, enabling them to hear and read the words once before we begin to study them in class.

Freshmen: Introducing Shakespeare!

Last week, the Freshmen in Room G17 began their work with Shakespeare by learning about Shakespearean sonnets and practicing paraphrasing his sonnets. This week, we will continue that work as we begin Romeo and Juliet.

After reviewing sonnets on Monday, students will be quizzed on the characteristics of a sonnet, the purpose of iambic pentameter, and a sonnet paraphrase. Students will then begin their study of Romeo and Juliet as a whole class on Wednesday. We will review the format of a play and also literary devices and how those devices contribute to tone and characterization.

While students are working their way through Romeo and Juliet, they will also be continuing their study of non-fiction. Last week, students practiced SOAPSTone, an acronym for identifying the speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone of a non-fiction article. This week, students will study CRE, an acronym for identifying the claim, reasons and evidence of an article. They will continue this practice as their article of the week assignment.

Freshmen: Readers Workshop and Argument Analysis

Having completed their literature unit on Lord of the Flies, the students in Room G17 will change gears this week to focus on readers workshop and non-fiction study.

Students will have more time in class this week to read, as I will be conferencing with each student about their book over the course of the week. In addition, each student will give a brief (30 seconds-1 minute) book talk to the class. They will sign up on Monday for a day to present.

In addition, students will begin their formal study of non-fiction. They will be given four articles this week to annotate as their article of the week and will have some class time to work on this task. Next week, we will use these articles to begin our argument analysis work of identifying claims, reasons, and evidence and studying the rhetorical situation of a piece. Students will also watch two TED talks this week, studying how these speakers present their ideas.

Freshmen: Major Essay Due This Thursday

For the past two weeks, students have worked to first develop an outline and then to compose a draft based on their outline. The task is to choose a theme from Lord of the Flies and defend it, using character, symbol, and conflict analysis. This week students will revise their essays in preparation for submission.

NOTE. In order for an essay to be considered “on time,” the following must be complete by the start of class on Thursday, October 27:

  • Student has shared their Google Doc with me. Students can do this by clicking the blue “Share” button on the upper right corner and typing my e-mail address (
  • Student has uploaded their paper to Students are responsible for knowing their log-in and password.
  • Student has completed the self-assessment column on the Essay Scoring Guide.

If all three criteria are not met by the start of class on the due date, the student will receive a late penalty of 10% each day late. There are no exceptions to this policy. In order to provide clear communication about the status of your child’s essay, I will indicate “Collected” using the green check mark on Powerschool by 3pm on Thursday. If a “0” and “Missing” appears, you will know the essay was not received that day.