Sunday, October 17, 2010

Feathers on the Fly

It's times like this when I am just horribly sure that someone's going to realize that I don't really know exactly what I'm doing. AURGH!

I have a love-hate relationship with change. I love the idea of doing new things. I mean, change is good, right? Isn't it?

Except when it isn't, of course. *Sigh*

ANYWAY. My next unit is coming up in a matter of DAYS and I am not DONE with it. AURGH. So frustrating. So I'm dedicating this weekend to hammering out the details.

At least, that's the plan. Of course, there's piles of dishes and laundry to do, plus I left the Atwell stuff at the school and maybe I need to go get that to help and if I'm heading that way I probably should take the drill and put the table together while I'm there so that it doesn't get destroyed on Monday because it's still in pieces and ... everything else.

Oo, I wonder if the library has my books in...

Yeah, I pretty much suck.

So after some time off I'm returning :)

First of all, unit goals:

  • Students will read out loud fluently and with appropriate inflection. Most students' presentation skills SUCK. I want to minimize my suffering during our Julius Caesar unit.
  • Students will correctly identify literary elements and poetic techniques. Hopefully these will be review. We've looked at some of them before, but fairly briefly.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding of script format. One of the challenges (opportunities?) in studying Shakespeare is that his scripts rely almost entirely on dialogue. This allows producers a great deal of freedom in set design, staging, and stage direction, but it also means more work for the student reading the play, since those details aren't provided for you. A strong understanding of how scripts work will help students make sense of the play.

Formative assessments: (These will be entered as quiz grades)
  • Book talks - Each student will describe an SSR book in front of the class. These should be fairly short; hopefully we can do three per day.
  • Technique quizzes - Given a list of techniques and a set of short passages, students will identify and explain examples of each technique.
  • Sonnet reading - This will have to be later in the unit. Students will have a weekend to look over the sonnets if they choose to and time in class to practice.

Summative assessments: (These will be entered as test grades)
  • Monologue - Each student will perform an individual dramatic reading in front of the class. I need to find passages to offer; students may also choose passages of their own as long as they're approved by me.
  • Script - Each student will choose a scene from an SSR book and put it into script format.
  • Persuasive essay - This will actually be the first test grade of the unit because it'll build on the 1984 unit. Students will propose and defend a major change to national policy based on the idea 'the way the world SHOULD be.'

What they can do on their own:
  • Read their SSR books. I need to make sure I leave time for this at the end of every class period.
  • Quickwrites. This is how we start every class period. I'm going to use some instrumental "Story Music" to look at tone; might also use the Harris Burdick pieces as prompts.
  • Grammar homework for each class period, using their SSR books as example texts for sentence combining exercises.
  • Blog commenting, once I get them started. Not quite sure what I want to do with this. I'll also need to make sure that I make some kind of arrangement with students who don't have an internet connection at home.

What instruction they'll need: This is the part I need to finish working on. I know I'm going to be doing some choral reading, and I'll need to walk them through commenting on the blog. We'll read some short stories and create at least one script together.

We'll be finishing up the 1984 unit this week, so I've got a little bit more time to work the kinks and create or edit the handouts I plan to use. I need to look through the files on my laptop to see what I've already got.

Image thanks to


Karen LaBonte said...

Hi Clix,

My immediate response: there's a lot going on in a lot of different directions in this unit. Do you have a unifying thread that will connect it all, get everything into a context that will make each activity build to the Great Aha? (OK, that's a little dramatic, but I wanted to make a point.) Some folks call it a Big idea, big question,enduring understanding, whatever you want to call it.

FWIW, I'm seeing a lot here that relates in some way to the power of voice: speaking, self-expression, standing and declaiming about virtue, loyalty, etc. while stabbing your buddy in the back (I'm sure none of your kids can relate to that.)

Hope this is in some way useful. I'll try to think on it some more, but I'm pretty likely to forget.... Mostly I hope you simplify everything so you can have some moments of peace & quiet in your own life. (Yes, that's an important and *valid* objective for any unit plan.)

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