Tag Archive for impromptu writing



  • ELAGSE9-10RL2 Determine a theme or central idea of text and closely analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Learning Target: I will argue whether Dante’s law of symbolic retribution applies to the 9th circle of Hell and analyze how Dante develops the theme of symbolic retribution in the final portion of the text.

Opening Session: Let’s look at this video from Lady Gaga, a song you might know called “Judas.” I want to activate some prior knowledge here – do you guys know who Judas was? What did he do, who did he betray? Can you think of any other betrayal that was quite that important to history? Dante thought of one – can you guess who?

Work Session: Welcome to Circle 9: BETRAYAL. I know, you’ve been dying to get here, right? (ba-dum TISS!)

Today we delve into the deepest reaches of Hell – Circle 9, Canto XXXIV. We’re going to be reading it together out of the textbook today, closely working through the poetry as Dante surmounts the most difficult obstacle of all, Satan himself. And as we end our reading and Dante walks out of the cave and looks up at those beautiful stars, I want you to consider…. that’s it. You’re done. You’ve journeyed through a harrowing week, nay, a harrowing SEMESTER of World Lit, and now, we have but a mere three and a half weeks left before winter vacation.

Of course we do have another unit after this one, and and Dante’s test still to do – but right now, let’s talk about theme!

Now that we’ve finished Dante’s Inferno, discussing all along the way about the theme of symbolic retribution, I want you to consider how Dante has represented that theme throughout the story and specifically in circle 9 of Hell. Today I would like to see some writing from you. Compose a short essay – 3-4 paragraphs – on the theme of symbolic retribution in circle 9 of Hell. Specifically, I’d like you to consider your knowledge of Brutus and Cassius from our earlier reading of Julius Caesar as well as your knowledge of the story of Judas, and then I’d like you to answer the following prompt:

  • Did Brutus and Cassius deserve what they got?Was their sin of backstabbing Caesar as bad as Judas’s sin of backstabbing Jesus? Are they really the WORST people that have ever lived? Are the traitors against their masters really the worst sinners of all? Why did Dante choose to put these two people in the deepest depths of hell? Do you think Dante accurately represents his theme of symbolic retribution (the punishment fits the crime) in the 9th circle of Hell?

You guys will have a sheet to work on this essay with some framework on it, and you’ll have a pretty good chunk of class to write!

Finally, as we end the day, I want to ask for a little feedback for me. I taught this unit differently this semester than I have in the past, and I wonder if you guys liked it. Could you include what activities you liked and didn’t like in your writing today? I have a short survey for you!

Closing Session: Do your LAST poster activity!! WHOOOOOO!!!

Differentiation: Readiness (varied reading lengths); process (essay frameworks).

Assessment: Writing will be graded.

Impromptu Exit


  • ELAGSE9-10RL3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Learning Target: I will analyze Nora’s decision at the end of A Doll’s House and how her character develops the theme of the play regarding women’s changing roles in society.

Activator: A scene from Gilmore Girls when Christopher’s wife Sherry goes to Paris and leaves Chris and Gigi behind – Season 5, episode 6, starting at 22 minutes.

Work Session: Today we finish the play!!!!! YAY! I need readers for:


As we finish up reading and consider the ending of the play, I want to focus specifically on this quote:

Helmer. It’s shocking. This is how you would neglect your most sacred duties.

Nora. What do you consider my most sacred duties?

Helmer. Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your husband and your children?

Nora. I have other duties just as sacred.

Helmer. That you have not. What duties could those be?

Nora. Duties to myself.

Helmer. Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.

Nora. I don’t believe that any longer. I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are–or, at all events, that I must try and become one. I know quite well, Torvald, that most people would think you right, and that views of that kind are to be found in books; but I can no longer content myself with what most people say, or with what is found in books. I must think over things for myself and get to understand them.

And now I want to ask you what you think.

Nora made an incredible decision to leave her husband and her children. This is something that simply wasn’t done in her time period, and even today it’s rare that a mother will leave her kids behind. When it does happen, it’s generally frowned upon. Write a short impromptu essay of about 3-5 paragraphs: Why did Nora decide to leave/abandon her husband and children? Do you think she made the right decision?

This essay will be due at the end of class!

Closing Session: Share Out! First with a partner, then with the class – what’s your opinion on the ending of the play?

Differentiation: Process (Varied length reading parts); product (essay length modification)

Assessment: Impromptu essays may be graded.


Act V: The Grand Finale


  • ELAGSE9-10RL6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.

Learning Target: Students will finish reading Julius Caesar by reading Act V together.

Opening Session: This video is about the conspiracy against Caesar, and how his assassination had great political ramifications for centuries to come.


Work Session: Today we’re finishing up reading Julius Caesar by reading Act V! Yay! After this we’ve read the entire play! Which, personally, I think is pretty cool :)

As we read Act V,

Closing Session:

When we finish reading the play and it’s all said and done, I want you guys to write a little paragraph for me:

Have you ever felt like you’re unable to do something and it’s completely out of your control? What was it, and how did you feel?


Different length reading parts based on readiness and interest.


Closing paragraph will be graded.

Oedipus Part II, Second Half!


RL.9-10.10 By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9—10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.<br/><br/>By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9—10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


More figurative language…

Learning Target

Scholars will finish Oedipus and then compose a letter of speech about the play.

Work Session

Welcome back to class, everyone! I hope your week has started off well 🙂

Today we’re going to finish reading Oedipus the King, the same way we’ve been reading it so far. Afterwards, I’d like you guys to do a short writing assignment before we review our figurative language. Here’s the deal, and… guess what! You have a choice!!

Option A: Pretend you are Oedipus. Before you blind yourself, write a letter to the people of Thebes explaining what has happened. Do you feel guilty? Should you have listened to the prophet? What advice do you have for the people you used to rule? How are you going to punish yourself for what you’ve done and why? Give me 2-4 paragraphs, and don’t forget to put it in letter format!

Option B: We talked several times about the tragic flaw (hamartia) in Oedipus, which, in this case, was hubris. Hubris is an extreme pride and way of thinking that you’re better than everyone else or exempt from the same restraints as everyone else. How would the story of Oedipus differed if he had not had this tragic flaw? Write a summary in 2-4 paragraphs where you explain how Oedipus the King would have turned out if he had not had this tragic flaw.

Closing Session

A man is pushing his car along the road when he comes to a hotel. He shouts, “I’m bankrupt!” Why?


Letters will be graded for RL.9-10.2: Analysis


Length can be varied, student choice in the letter/speech assignment.

Welcome Back! Vocab Time!

Welcome back from break, everyone! I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving and maybe scored some Black Friday deals 🙂 I know I did!

Standard: L.9-10.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Learning Target: Students will expand their vocabulary and review Animal Farm from last week.

Activator: We have FOUR videos today – each a minute long 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzQTsbSMsI0 60 second recap of context

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXhi0eaR0-c 60 second recap of characters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbE2wugE1GM 60 second recap symbols

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dI1YO3EGYs 60 second recap summary/overview

Ok, before we get into things this week, let me outline what the schedule is. Today I want to start off easy with a bit of review, and some vocabulary, and I think a couple of groups still need to do finishing touches on their picture books. Tomorrow we will do some more analysis of Animal Farm. Wednesday we will review for your test, which will be Thursday, and Friday… well, I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. We will take to the skinny bell to work on your books, and for you to do your group member evaluations. After that… VOCAB!!!

I would like each of you to define these 30 words…you may work with your table to find definitions 🙂

Vocabulary List

  1. Bourgeoisie
  2. Communism
  3. Capitalism
  4. Fable
  5. Ensconced
  6. Benevolent
  7. Plait
  8. Comrade
  9. Tyranny
  10. Knacker
  11. Porker
  12. Gambol
  13. Shirk
  14. Obstinate
  15. Maxim
  16. Windfall
  17. Whelp
  18. Laborious
  19. Repose
  20. Malignity
  21. Ignominious
  22. Capitulated
  23. Gnaw
  24. Menacing
  25. Countenance
  26. Gilded
  27. Lamentation
  28. Contemptible
  29. Superannuated
  30. Bon mot

After you find the 30 definitions, I want you to write a paragraph that summarizes Animal Farm. In this paragraph, I want you to use at least 5 of the vocabulary words above. Be creative!!

We will end class on that today. Good luck, and I’ll see ya tomorro!