Tag Archive for new unit

Welcome to Caesar!


  • 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: I can understand the historical and cultural context of Julius Caesar and how it relates to the modern day.

Opening Session: Sparknotes Summary video: This will give everyone a good overview of Julius Caesar with a pretty detailed but basic explanation of the plot.

Work Session: Today we’re going to start off with a little bit of background info. I have a powerpoint that goes over some background information on Julius Caesar, to give you guys some historical context, and I would like you all to take notes while we talk about it. YES, I know, that notes are BORING and you HATE them, but it really is true that if you write something down you’re more likely to remember it. Reading this play requires some knowledge of Roman culture and customs, and since our standard is to analyze a cultural experience from outside the United States, I think it’s important that you know what that culture is all about. I have guided notes if anyone needs them J

After we finish our notes, we’re going to assign characters in the play, Julius Caesar. You will keep your character for the entire play and you should be ready to read as soon as your name comes up, so you should be following along! I know not everyone likes to read aloud, so I will try and make sure that you get a shorter or smaller part if being dramatic just ain’t yo thang.

After we all have our parts, we’re going to get right into it and read Act I scene i!

Closing session:

Ticket out the door: 3-2-1: 3 things that are still relevant about Julius Caesar today (hint: think of theme), 2 things you are excited to learn, 1 goal you have for this unit.

Assessment: TOTD can be assessed formatively, participation grades for readers.

Differentiation: Process, Interest, Readiness (varied length reading parts chosen by students); process (guided notes).

The F Word

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a NEW UNIT!!!!


  • ELAGSE9-10RI2 Determine a central idea of a text and 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 analyze how two articles develop the concept of feminism, and then I will objectively summarize what those two texts said.

Activator: On the Ground: Women’s March in Washington D.C. from last Saturday.

Work Session: Welcome to Thursday! Today we’re starting a new unit about a topic that might be a little controversial – feminism! What?! Feminism? Have I gone completely bananas!

Well, no. And because sometimes feminism seems like a dirty word, today we’re going to talk about what feminism is and what it means. These concepts will guide our understanding throughout this unit, so I think it’s an important first day activity.

First, let’s read this article from Huffington Post, entitled “What Is Feminism?” together. As we read, do your margin markings (instructions are on your sheet). When we’re done and everyone has had a chance to mark, we’ll talk about it as a class.


Next up, I have another article for you to read – this one is actually a blog post by a famous author, Patrick Rothfuss. He gives a pretty solid definition of feminism in pretty down-to-earth terms, so I think this will help with understanding. This time around, I’m going to give you some time to read to yourself and annotate the article. When you annotate, you can do all your margin marking like normal, but you can also underline important things, circle words and write definitions down, write notes or reactions in the margins, or whatever. Think of it as active reading, reading with a pen in your hand.

Fanmail FAQ: The F Word.

After we finish reading and discuss, I’ll pull a couple volunteers up to the document camera to show off their annotations. I’ll also show off my annotated version that I did on the doc cam while you guys were working.

Closing Session: Finally, for the last fifteen minutes or so of class, I want to give you all some time to process what we’ve talked about today. Write me a Seven Sentence Summary about the articles we read in class today. Try to be objective, that is, write just what the articles said and how they developed the ideas of feminism, not what you personally feel about the topic (because trust me, we will have LOTS of time for personal opinions this unit!!)

Differentiation: Process (abbreviated text, single text instead of two)

Assessment: Closing paragraphs and/or annotations may be graded.


Go to where?!


  • 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.
  • 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 can understand the background information and historical context of Dante’s Inferno and the cultural experiences that led Dante to write the story.


Welcome to a new unit everyone!! We are starting a famous story today called Dante’s Inferno. Which, yes, means you get to say “hell” in class. Stop giggling. What are you, 16? …..oh…..right. You are.

Anyway, we are starting off today by taking a few background notes from this lovely presentation: https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/OePphMtkQZeCRr3HZouX and using this lovely guided notes sheet: https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/HSwiZqXCQ4fG0kig7CKg. The idea here is to give you some background info on the story and who Dante was. When we finish that, we’re going read Canto I and then we’re going to start a big collaborative poster project! Here’s the skinny:

Dante’s Inferno Collaborative Poster

Directions: Choose one of the following activities for our collaborative posters. You will choose one activity for each poster, and each poster will have a different activity (that means you eventually have to do all 9!). You may do them in any order, but you may not repeat. Check them off as you go. These will be your tickets out the door for the unit.

  • Draw an illustration for the circle
  • Write a paragraph summarizing the sins and punishments
  • Find 5 vocabulary words and write them with their definitions (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write two tercets in Dante’s style about the circle
  • Find an allusion (check the footnotes!) and explain it (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write a paragraph explaining how this circle shows the law of symbolic retribution
  • Come up with a celebrity or historical figure for this circle and explain who they are and why they deserve to be in this circle of Hell.
  • Pick 3 tersets and rewrite them in modern language (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write 3 multiple choice questions about this circle

You’ll do each of those activities by the end of the unit, but since everyone will be doing them in whatever order they choose, our posters will all end up as sort of a patchwork of information about the story. I’ll give you a quarter-sheet of paper to do each activity, and when we finish, we will put them up in the hallway!!

Closing Session: Ticket out the door – choose your poster activity for the day and complete it, then hang it on the board.

Assessment: TOTDs will be graded, notes used formatively as a check for understanding

Differentiation: Process (guided notes); product (student choice in which activity to complete per day).

Monster Monday!

Standard: RL.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

Learning Target: Students will be introduced to our new unit and read a short article on what makes a “monster.”

Activator: The Muppets reading “Jabberwocky”

I hope you guys are psyched about our new unit, because I sure am! This is one of my favorite units so far, and I’m really excited to be teaching it to y’all. It’s all about….MONSTERS! I know, I know, I’m awesome, please hold your applause.

Anyway, today I would like to start out by asking YOU all a question! On a little sheet of colored paper, I would like each of you to define the word “Monster” for me. What does it mean? What makes a monster? We will read these definitions together and see if we can come up with some notes about what you guys think it means to be a monster… I’ll post them here!

Afterwards, we’re going to read an article called “What Makes a Monster” by Donald Fergus, in which the author tries to answer that very question. To read this article, we’re going to use the SQUEEPERS method. We’ve done this before, so maybe it’ll be familiar to some of you. But, if not, here’s the drill:

  • S=survey
    • Preview the text
      • Look at the pictures/captions
      • Read highlighted/ bold words
      • Read headings/subheadinges
      • Think about what you are about to read
  • Q=question
    • Generate questions that we will be able to answer after we read (or look at questions on a test)
  • P=predict
    • Predict 1 to 3 things we will learn while reading
  • R=read
    • Read
      • Alone
      • With teacher
      • With partner
      • With a group
  • R=respond
    • Discuss which questions were answered
    • Review which questions weren’t answered
    • Eliminate questions that aren’t likely to be answered
    • Develop new questions
    • Continue surveying process
  • S=summarize
    • Summarize what we have learned

Sounds relatively easy, right?

Next up, we’re going to read a poem called “Jabberwocky,” the same one that we saw the Muppets perform earlier! This poem is about a monster called the Jabberwock. We will go through each stanza together, and as we do, I would like you to write on your paper (below your article summary) what is going on. When we’re finished, we’ll see if we have a consensus on what Lewis Carroll is saying. Finally, I would like you all to answer these three questions:

  1. What is the mood or tone of the poem? What are three adjectives Lewis Carroll uses to set the scene?
  2. Why is the Jabberwock dangerous? Why is it impressive that the boy killed the monster? List three words Lewis Carroll uses to tell you these things.
  3. (this is the hard one) Look up all six of the words you used above and write down their definitions as the dictionary gives them to you.

When this is turned in, we’re done for the day! YAY!

Abandon Every Hope…

Standard: 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.

Learning Target: Students will read the first half of Dante’s Inferno from the textbook, and examine their ideas of ethics and morals on a value line.

Activator: Dante’s Inferno Trailer

Today we’re going to kick it off by watching that really cool trailer up there, and THEN….we get to take notes :(

Oh, shut up. Sometimes I have to tell you stuff before I can teach you other stuff. It’s like in an introductory paragraph where you tell me what you’re going to tell me. So I guess I could start out my notes by saying “In this unit I will tell you…”

…except we don’t use phrases like that, do we? HAH!

Anyway, we’re going to take some notes over ethical paradigms. Do we know what a paradigm is? Vocab list…


  1. A typical example or pattern of something; a model.
  2. A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.

In our case, we’re talking about the second one – the worldview bit. I’m going to teach you about four ethical dilemmas – we all know the difference in right and wrong, but what if our options are right and right?

And to illustrate the point, we’re going to play with a value line! That means standing up and moving across the room :)

After we finish the value line, we need to finish up vocabulary from last week 🙂 So we’ll end the class on that today, and read more in HOTS if we have extra time. Oh, and I think I need a book talk for this week, too! Anyone have any suggestions?