Ideas for 2015-16

This school year isn’t quite finished, and already my mind is thinking of next year based on what worked and what didn’t this year.


First unit:  Start with the Jhumpa Lahiri piece, but more specific personal essay instruction using it as a model.  The point of this unit is to find out what type of readers and writers students think they are and to reflect on the ideas that have created that construct.  This unit should lead nicely into the independent reading for the quarter.

Quarter reading assignments:

Instead of the semester reads with blog posting, changing this unit to a quarter assignment will hold students and me accountable for their reading.  It will allow more time for formative assessments, such as the bookmark assessment, tweeting, blogging, and discussion.  For the final assessment, offer a variety of ways (with the book trailer being one option) students can demonstrate their understanding.  Going into quarter reading assignments, students should set their reading goal and track progress as they continue their independent reading and short stories.

Short stories:

  • More focus on lit devices, stronger videos on lit essay techniques using models
  • RTLs on each of the questions on the benchmark-
  • Provide questions for each story for essay to focus on
  • Set writing goal at beginning of unit to follow through with in lit-essay.  A reflection of how they did on their goal should also be included with the essay.
  • Assign writing center webpage so students familiarize themselves with resources available
  • Assign writing center visit with the process
  • In assigning the lit-essay, approach with mindset of discovery; students shouldn’t have all the answers when they write, but instead, use writing as a way to continue to think about the story, the character’s change, the symbols, and the author’s purpose.


  • Work on flipping some of the close reading lessons
  • Change Faith Cavendish writing assignment to creating a script with responses of how/why she is responding in that manner

Poetry unit:  needs total revamp

Lord of the Flies:  using quote carousel: post pics online so students have access to quotes for responses and final essay outside of class.  Students could also tweet out lines with hashtags of the symbol so we can connect.

Midterm:  students reflect on goals and create flipped video on their goals.  After the midterm, have students set or revise goals.

Short story: “A Mistake” with Favorite Mistake assignment

Lit Circle: tighten formative assessments to align with concept of the journey.  Reconsider book choices.  The metacognitive questions from Oakland Schools Curriculum Plan for Independent Reading-Fiction has great questions to help students as they read:

  • Do you have to re-read constantly?
  • Do you frequently find yourself confused about what’s going on?
  • Are you imagining yourself being right there with the characters and a part of the story?
  • Do you care about the narrator/main character(s) as a person?

Research: revisit with PLC the requirement that it needs to be an essay

Macbeth:  start earlier!  Include Word Trace assignment, so students are more closely examining language.  Also, by starting earlier, will leave more time for Night.

Night: continue with image response and found poem.

Final: Love that we ended the final with their performances for Macbeth.  Should the order be reversed?  End with the Scottish play and do Night beforehand?  Need to think about the goal for the final and what students are taking away from sophomore year as they walk out the door.

Next up: Senior English & Film

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