Friday, August 29, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 29, 2014

Focus: How can we use good questions to unlock tricky texts?

1.Warming up with establishing your own independent reading parameters

a. Books must be finished by Friday, October 10.

b. How many pages does your book have?  About how many pages do you need to read a week?

c. Are you planning to read mostly on weekends, or throughout the whole week?

d. Are you planning on reading more than one book?  This is optional.

e. Take a look at the chapters and overall set-up of the book; make sure you're sectioning the book logically into reading assignments (you don't want to end two pages before the end of a chapter).

f. Take out your student calendars and write down exactly which pages need to be finished by which precise dates.

2. Relaxing into your independent reading books (25 minutes)

3. Considering three levels of questioning, and using these questions to unlock "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1. FOR TUESDAY: Read the first half of "The Yellow Wallpaper" (you can stop at the horizontal line on page 10); fill in at least one side of the green reading chart as you read with specific Level 1 and 2 questions.

2. Complete whatever independent reading assignment you have given yourself for the weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 28, 2014

Focus: How can "chunking/sectioning the text" and asking great questions get us to great answers when we're reading tricky texts?

1. Warming up: Performing a physically close reading of the Auden poem, one section at a time

2. Drawing some larger conclusions about the poem together

a. Sectioning the text: In a word, this section of the poem is about...

For example: In a word, this poem is about falling.

b. Drawing conclusions: Looking at these words, form a full statement about each poem: On a deeper level, this poem is about...

For example: On a deeper level, this poem is about the world's indifference to tragedy.

(Turn in your green reading charts)

3. Sectioning/chunking your own poem and performing the same tasks as above

4. Trying out "great questions" with a tricky story, "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1. FOR TUESDAY: Read the first half of "The Yellow Wallpaper" (you can stop at the horizontal line on page 10); fill in at least one side of the green reading chart as you read.

2. Bring your independent reading book and permission slip to class tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 27, 2014

PLC: Shortened Class Today

Focus: How can we transfer our visual reading strategies to poetry?

1. Warming up: Return to your partner's song and song lyrics from yesterday
  • Circle/underline any words and phrases that seem significant.
  • Look over what you have marked up and try out each of the following in the margins:
    • Ask one good question about a specific line or phrase.
    • Make one inference about a specific line or phrase.
    • Research something to activate your background knowledge (look up the artist, or a reference to something that you don't understand).
    • Draw a larger conclusions/evaluations about what the song is really about.

2. Performing a physically close reading of a song that references Icarus and Daedalus; click HERE for the lyrics.

3. Partners: Applying your new reading powers to two challenging Icarus and Daedalus poems, which you can access by clicking HERE.

1. Bring in a HARD COPY of a poem that you like; please stay away from children's poetry (we're looking for a bit of a challenge), and make sure it's high school appropriate.  If you need some help, check out the "Helpful Websites" link on the class webpage.  I've linked some good poetry websites there for you.


2. Bring your independent reading book and permission slip/proposal to class on Friday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 26, 2014

Focus: How can we transfer our reading strategies for paintings to poems and song lyrics?

Click HERE for an electronic version of the reading journal.  Make a copy of it and put it inside your Reading Boot Camp folder.

1.  Rereading the myth of Daedalus and Icarus (which you can access by clicking HERE)

  • With a partner, work through the myth of Daedalus and Icarus using your reading journal to make inferences, draw conclusions, ask questions, etc.; make inferences about at least FIVE different parts of the story.
  • Try filling in the third column as well today; check out your green bookmarks to figure out which reading strategies you're using.
  • The painting you analyzed over the weekend is called "The Fall of Icarus"; how does the background knowledge on Daedalus and Icarus help you understand something new about the painting?  

2. Using yesterday's reading strategies to analyze each other's lyrics

  • As you listen to each song, read the lyrics and annotate them in the margins make inferences, draw conclusions, ask questions, and activate background knowledge.

3. Performing a physically close reading of a song that references Icarus and Daedalus; click HERE for the lyrics.

4. Small groups: Applying your new reading powers to two challenging Icarus and Daedalus poems, which you can access by clicking HERE.


1. On your own, please complete the tasks you started with your small groups today.  Remember that you need to do the following for EACH poem:

Using the hard copy of the reading journal given out in class today, fill in at least five rows for each poem; in other words, fill in one side for one poem, one side for the other poem. These you will turn in tomorrow.

2. Bring your independent reading book and permission slip to class on Friday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 25, 2014

Focus: How can we activate background knowledge to improve as readers?

1. Warming up: Happy Monday journaling and celebrating a few A+ blogs!

1. The first thing that caught my eye was the sunset or sunrise in the background. That caught my eye first because it is the brightest and biggest part of the painting.
2. If I could ask the author anything I would ask him why he made a rock on the island in the shape of a castle or house.
3. I think the painting is trying to show us how people have changed their lifestyles over time. The part that is the "closest" to you could be people that lived right when they found this land because they have old clothes on and the close ship is an older looking ship. As you move in to the background you can see a nice town or city that people could live in today and more modern ships. Then sunset or sunrise could represent the future.

1. The first part of the painting that I saw was the man in the apron and red shirt. I believe I saw him first because the artist painted him to be in the middle and up front, so most people would look to him first. He is basically the central character of the painting.

2. Why are objects scaled to make some look bigger than they actually are? Why is one side nice, lush, and full of life while the other side looks like a frozen wasteland? The reasoning behind the second question is that the painting looks like a bay. The island in the middle reminds me of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which spans about 4.5 miles. So it does not make sense that one part of the bay is nice and sunny, while the other is frozen tundra.

3. If you look closely at the city, the buildings look like those you find in Greece or Italy. The painting itself looks like it was painted using oil. I compared the painting style to the Mona Lisa, and noticed the styles look exactly the same, and in art class a few years ago, I learned most paintings in the Renaissance were painted using oil. Renaissance painters usually used Ancient Greece, Roman, and Christianity as the basis of their paintings; a couple of these are School of Athens and Virgin on the Rocks. So with the setting known about this painting due to the time period it was painted in, the landscape in the form of islands and mountains, and the man drowning in the water, it is safe to assume this is about a Greek Myth. Based on the knowledge I have about it, I would assume this to be about Icarus and Daedalus. The myth goes that Daedalus made wings out of feathers and wax to escape Minos who was the King of Crete, which is an island off the coast of Greece, and surrounded by more islands. They flew out and Icarus flew too close to the sun which caused the wax holding his wings to melt and he plummeted to his death into the sea below him. In the painting, there are some factors that point to this being not true, for example, as the sun is too far away and is setting, which means it is probably too cool for the wax to melt. Another example is the clothing that the people wear; this is fitting for working class men to wear during the Renaissance. The ships also prove that the time zone could be different because these are merchant ships used during the 1500’s and beyond. So besides the data proving otherwise, I still believe this is a painting of Icarus and Daedalus.

2. Recapping Friday's reading strategy and trying out background knowledge with some tougher paintings

3. Reading the myth of Daedalus and Icarus (which you can access by clicking HERE)

Making sense of the myth with your reading chart; if you prefer to type, please click HERE for an online version of the chart.

Please use an entire side of paper to analyze this story by doing the following:
  • Isolating the significant little pieces of the story (just as you did with the paintings on Friday).
  • Drawing inferences/larger conclusions from those pieces.
  • Don't worry about the third column yet.
4. Returning to last night's painting armed with background knowledge

5. Composing your "exit ticket": Go back to the painting you analyzed over the weekend.  Employing at least one of the reading strategies we've talked about so far, add something to your original comment that you didn't understand or notice the first time around.

1. Bring a HARD COPY of meaningful and appropriate song lyrics to class tomorrow (in other words, there needs to be something of substance in there to analyze; avoid lyrics that may offend others).

2. Bring in the song itself and headphones.

3. You need your independent reading book and blue permission slip this Friday.

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 22, 2014

Focus: What strategies do we use to understand visual texts?

1. Warm-up: Rating the parts of your critical reading boot camp pre-test

2. Establishing your main reading strategy with a card trick from Ms. Leclaire: Using little clues to develop the larger picture

3. Applying your new reading strategy to a few paintings by Norman Rockwell

1. Please complete the NEW homework blog by THIS MONDAY ("Feast Your Eyes on This!"); try the reading strategies we practiced in class today.

2. Remember that you need a physical copy of your independent reading book and your signed permission form in class on Friday, August 29.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Feast Your Eyes on This!

In class on Friday we will discuss how to use small but significant clues to sneak your way into a painting. Please peruse the painting below and respond to the questions that follow it.

Important notes:
  • Please do NOT Google this painting or use any other outside help; I only want to know what this class makes of the painting.  
  • Also, be sure to read others' responses before you post your own and include whether you agree or disagree with some of their interpretations.

1. Which part of the painting is your eye drawn to first?  Why do you think this is?

2. As you let your eyes wander all over the painting (up to down, left to right, corner to corner), which details of the painting do you have questions about?  In other words, if you could ask the artist one question about a specific detail in this painting, what would it be?  Post that question here.

3.  Let your mind attempt to draw together the details and make sense of the painting as a whole.  What do you think this painting is trying to convey to us?  Defend your thinking.

Please remember to proofread your answers carefully before posting.  Your response should reflect your professionalism.

All Boys, All Blogged: August 21, 2014

Focus: What strategies do you currently use as a reader?  What are your strengths and weaknesses as a reader?

1. Warm-up: Quickly recapping independent reading and explaining tonight's homework
  • Your book should be one that you haven't yet read.
  • Your book should be at your reading level (remember the "five finger" rule).
  • You should really, really like your book; take your time picking it out.
  • You need both your book and your signed permission form on Friday, August 29.
2. Taking the Critical Reading Boot Camp pre-test!

"Roll Away Your Stone"

Visa Commercial

3. Turning in your pre-tests OR taking them home to finish

1. Finish your pre-test if you did not do so in class.

2. Please complete the NEW homework blog by THIS MONDAY ("Feast Your Eyes on This!") 

3. Remember that you need a physical copy of your independent reading book and your signed permission form in class on Friday, August 29.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 20, 2014

Focus: What are this class's policies and expectations of technology and independent reading?

If you have not done so yet, please turn in your signed class policies at the beginning of class.

1. Warm-up: Taking the technology oath! (And a surprise!)

2. Perusing and commenting on each other's "If You Really Knew Me" posts; please comment on at least TEN people's posts (feel free to include me); taking the blank seating chart challenge

3. Browsing books and understanding the purpose and focus of independent reading this semester

     a. Please click HERE to join Goodreads; click HERE to preview the Goodreads app for your phone.

     b. Take some time to browse Goodreads and figure out how it works.

     c. Use Goodreads and the list on the independent reading letter/overview to help you start to determine        what you'd like to read for independent reading this semester.

Click HERE for an overview of independent reading (also distributed in class as a handout).

4. Working on your independent reading proposal

1. If you're going to check out your book from the library, go ahead and check it out.  If you're going to purchase it, go ahead and order it or figure out when you're going to get to the bookstore.  The first day you will need your book is Friday, August 29.

2. Once you have decided on your book, ask your parents to sign the letter distributed in class today.  This letter is also due Friday, August 29 (note: you will not be able to start your independent reading book until I have your parents' permission unless you selected a school-approved book).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Your First Blogging Task

Thanks for stopping by!

Your first mission: To familiar yourself with Ms. Leclaire's new webpage

1. Browse Ms. Leclaire's webpage by clicking HERE or by visiting the "Teacher Pages" link on the AHS website.  Then, click around on the different pages (some are still under construction) and peruse the items that may be of use or interest to you.

2. In the comment section underneath this post, please do one (or both) of the following):

  • Post ONE item from the webpage that you find useful or interesting.
  • Offer ONE suggestion for improvement.  What would you like to see on this website? What would help you in terms of layout and content?

3. Be sure to read the other comments first because you may not repeat anything that has already been posted. (Hint: As you may have already figured out, it's easier to be one of the first people to post than one of the last.)

4. This is due before the start of class on Wednesday.

If You Really Knew Me...

In an effort to get to know each other and trust each other, I'd like you to take a little risk and post five things that you'd like other people in the class to know about you. The quirkier/more unique and personal, the better.

Here are my five:

1. I am a terrible sport and throw a fit when I lose--especially when it comes to board and card games.

2. I have a phobia of people throwing up.

3. I refuse to eat fruit when it's suspended in gelatinous substances.

4. Every night before I go to bed, I go into Sam's room and quietly thank the universe that he and Henry are alive.

5. I'm going to try to write a book this year.

All Boys, All Blogged: August 19, 2014

Focus: What do I need to know about the people and the technology in this class?

1. Enjoying a student scavenger hunt to learn a little about each other

2. Trying out your "I Like People" grids with your 26 questions; collecting your 26 questions from last night

3. Exploring blogs of the past and using "I Like People" grids to establish blogging policies for this class.

a. Please peruse the post and the comments for the two blogs linked below.  As you read quietly, think about which ones are strong and which ones are weak.  What makes the strong ones strong, and what makes the weak ones weak?

Click HERE for a sample homework blog.

Click here for a sample fishbowl blog.

b. In your grid groups, first fill out your names across the top.  Please fill in your second topic: "Blogging Expectations."  

c. As a group, decide on FIVE specific blogging policies for this class that will help keep our blogs strong.

d. I will compile your answers and print them out for the class to sign.

1. Complete the first TWO blogging assignments tonight (due tomorrow). Please follow the blogging expectations you discussed with your group today.

2. Signed class policies are also due tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All Boys, All Blogged: August 18, 2014

Focus: What would we like to know about each other and about this class?

1. Happy Monday journaling: Send a text to someone thanking them for something

Did you know...

  • When your mind is in a happy state (as opposed to a negative or neutral state), you're significantly more efficient, competitive, and successful?
    • "Doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster." (Achor The Happiness Advantage 15)
    • "Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent." (15)
    • Students in a happy mood before taking a match achievement test receive significantly better scores on average than students in a neutral state of mind. (15)
  • You can rewire your brain to become happier by performing certain tasks on a regular basis?

2. Telling you a little bit about my journey

3. Telling me a little bit about yourself through "Wordless Introductions"

4. Investigating the syllabus and your new student calendars
         Write your name and my name inside your calendar.
          Look carefully at the table of contentsFind five different pages/sections of your student calendar (aside from the pages where you record your assignments) that you think could be useful to you. Use the tabs in the back to mark these pages.
         Please record my off hours on page 20. I am off 3rd each day and usually stick around for the first part of 4th. I'm also easy to find before school.

5. Explaining your first English 10 assignment (26 questions)

6. Enjoying a brief student scavenger hunt!

1. For TOMORROW (Tuesday): Please respond to the 26 question document handed out in class today.  You may also access it by clicking HERE.  I prefer this particular assignment to be handwritten, but you may type it if you wish (just bring a hard copy to class, please).

2. Bring your laptop class starting tomorrow (and every day thereafter); if you do not have one, please see Mr. Fisch TOMORROW (Tuesday); he will be in the trophy hallway the first 10 minutes of every period, plus the entirety of both lunches.
3. Signed class policies due Wednesday, August 20.
4. Make sure you have a functioning Google account/Blogger account (and that you remember your password!).