Okay, so I get to teach English II for another year. This course includes Julius Caesar (YUCK), two novels (Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies), a research paper, and continued genre studies from English I.

My school is in a very rural area with several factories nearby. Most of our students work, and for many of them, paid work is a higher priority than school work. I tend to have a back-and-forth approach to lesson planning, so much of what I post here will be in draft format. I'll try to include my own comments and questions. Anything that I'm (mostly) satisfied with, I'll mark as a final copy.

I've revised my syllabus once again, and somehow I managed to get it on a front/back of a half-sheet so that students will be able to staple it inside the front cover of their composition books. After I've given them a few days to get a composition book, I'll have them take notes on my homework grading system on the first page of the notebook:
  • full page, with half a page answering the prompt and half a page freewrite: check, 100%
  • full page answering the prompt: check-plus, 110%
  • full page answering the prompt with examples from the current literary work: double-check, 200% <-- not all assignments will have this option
  • page not quite full: check-minus, 70% (can be finished for late credit)
  • page minimally complete or doesn't make sense: X, 10%
  • correctly completed, turned in late: L, 80%
  • page note quite full, turned in late: X, 10% (can be re-done for late credit)

I think I want to have them add a handwritten note to the bottom of the syllabus: I know that I am not allowed to answer phone calls or text messages during class - and have that signed or at least initialed by both the student and the parent/guardian.

English I

English II

Term theme: Leadership
  • Quarter 1 theme: The Many Faces of the Hero
  • Quarter 2 theme: Human Rights Around the World
  • Quarter 3 theme: Heroes, Villains, and Underdogs in Literature
  • Quarter 4 theme: Moral Courage and Endurance - the Need for Change
  • Research incorporated into one of the above units (as media center schedule allows)

I wrote a rationale for my preferred unit sequence over at Epic Adventures. Unfortunately, those sorts of decisions aren't always up to the teacher. :P

English IV


Ongoing Lessons / Activities

Homework - Quickwrites
SSR (Self-Selected Reading)

The following essay ideas are from a post on the English Companion Ning:
  • Essay question(s) for a work of FICTION read over the summer:
  • How does the main character change from the beginning of the story to the end? What do you think causes the change?
  • How did the plot develop and why?
  • How did the main character change? What words or actions showed this change?

  • Essay question(s) for a work of NON-FICTION read over the summer:
  • If this book was intended to teach the reader something, did it succeeded? Was something learned from reading this book, if so what? If not, why did the book fail as a teaching tool?Was there a specific passage that had left an impression, good or bad? Share the passage and its effect on the reader.

We transition from reading to lesson time by logging what we've read - name, date, title, author, pages read / total pages (87-133/265), and a brief summary. The daily page goal is usually 20 pages; when we're studying something more difficult (Julius Caesar, The Prince) I reduce it to 10 pages per day. Students will need to complete a book roughly every three weeks (the school says that one book = 100 pages; I have some low-level books that will only count half). We go to the computer lab and they type up a response that they present to the class. It then gets stapled to the wall by our bookshelves.

After reading Taylor Mali's wonderful poem "The the impotence of proofreading," I desperately wanted to use it with my classes. Alas, in the hyperconservative area I'm in, there's no way it would fly. :,( So, with the hope that he'll forgive me (if he ever even sees it!) I created the following: