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We continued our study of argumentative writing, learning what counter-arguments and rebuttals are, and how we can incorporate them into our essays. We also learned about The Crusades, as we wrapped up our unit on Islam. Many of the clips below are from the Islam final your student took. This final was an interactive approach meant to focus on collaboration, and lower their effective filters as they engaged in demonstrating mastery of the unit learning objectives.
The next few weeks are all about argumentative essay writing. We began with some in class debates centered around the pros and cons of video games in our society. Your students did their own research, and ultimately were expected to participate in a whole class Socratic Seminar on Friday. Please see the clips below for some of their amazing insight and sharing.
Over the past week, we studied a speech by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. We focused on close reading and analyzing a speech. In addition, we learned the difference between TONE and MOOD, and how it can affect/be affected by setting, plot, and characterization.
We also have been discussing the early life of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. We are currently preparing for our next quiz, which will focus on this as well as the first four caliphs and the separation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
As we wrapped up our study of Medieval Europe, your students played a homemade board game in order to help prepare them for their exam, and to have a little fun. In addition, we discussed how to read a writing rubric as we prepared and collected all of our essays so far. Check out some of the narratives below! Finally, we had the opportunity to be observed by our administration as we did peer editing our our digital portfolios. I was so impressed at how well our students did (but not surprised). I think part of the feedback I received went something like "Watching them speak and openly talk about their work and what they can do to improve it in a safe and respectful environment gave me goosebumps". Way to show off our meta-cognitive skills! As a bonus, some of our students even started a chess club in our room during lunchtime on Mondays!
Check out a few of the narratives our students wrote last week. You can always ask to see the work of your student by accessing their Google Drive.
This week in class, your students discussed the split between the Roman Catholic Church, The Protestant Church, and The Church of England. They had so many great questions, and they were really engaged in their Cornell Notes. In addition, we explored the various reasons for the end of feudalism, including the Black Death, Hundred Years War, and political developments in England, such as the Magna Carta. Friday, we began writing what will turn into out first argumentative essay, where they will have to decide if the Church or the monarchs had more power during this period. However, before we began our persuasive writing, we had philosophical chairs (open debate) so students could understand that persuasive writing is a lot like how we engage with each other in discussion, with claims, counter-claims, and rebuttals, all backed up by various types of evidence. Here are some pictures and videos from class this week. The pictures are not much this week, but the videos are pretty informative of what they are doing. I will post samples of their narratives soon. Enjoy!
On Friday, we learned about heraldry and the need for a coat of arms during medieval Europe. Your students then were given an opportunity to create their own coat of arms to represent themselves. They had to justify the colors, patterns, and animals they chose to use based upon traditional heraldic symbols.
Here is a sample of some of the narrative writing work our students are doing in class. If you want more info on narrative writing, please click here!
“Wake up!” exclaimed the trainer. Then he shouted,”Especially you Augustus!” I felt like punching him but if I did, I would never make the army. So I jumped out of my cot and ran to the training room. I picked up the smallest sword and started at the dummy. The next thing I know the dummy is in pieces. I look around I see a big man smiling at me.
Who was he, I thought?
The trainer said “Who wants to fight me?” Nobody volunteered. So the trainer looked at the big man. Then the big man pointed to me. I was terrorized because I was the worst at hand to hand combat. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground and there was a searing pain in my left ear. I felt my ear and when I touched it, there was blood on my hand. I let out a groan. I stand up slowly and swing a punch at the trainer. He ducked and kicked me in the stomach. Then everyone laughed. After that I blacked out. When I woke up I was being watched by the big man.
“How long was I out?” I asked with a groan.
The big man responded calmly, “A day”
I exclaimed, ”A DAY!”
He nods. Then he stated very calmly, ”You are now in the army.”
I look at him like he is crazy. He simply nodded his head his head again.
“I am the emperor Caesar.” he stated.
I am still looking at him like he is crazy.
He said with little patience, “Hey snap out of it.”
I am so happy. He said seconds later “You will leave in a minute to go fight the Barbarians.”
I jumped slowly got out of my cot to go look for my things. Caesar has a smirk on his face. I looked at him then kept looking for my stuff. Caesar laughed I turn back and look at him.
He said “Your stuff is already gone.”
I started to laugh hysterically.
I hear the clop of the horses.
Must be for me I thought.
Then Caesar exclaimed “Get your sword!”
I asked “Why” Then CRACK!
I heard shouts “They're here!”
Cesar then shouted firmer “Get your sword!”
I raced to the weaponry.
How did they find this place I thought.
I heard shouts of terror. I raced to go fight, halfway down the stairs big brut in front of me with a huge battle ax. He yelled something and charged. I just barely missed the barreling man. I ducked under him and stabbed him in the leg. He cried out in pain.
And started to fall towards me!!!! I just jumped out of the way when his battle ax came down just missing me. I started back down the stairs, out of know were a brut jumped out at me with a small ax, but all he did was run right past me so chased after him then I realized where he was going. He was going for Cesar!!!!!!!! I shouted at him “stop” but he was unfazed and kept going for Cesar. Finally, he slowed at the door I came from so I took the chance, and yelled at him and charged. When he turned his eyes grew large. He tried to run but I was atop him before he could move. Then he whimpered, “Don't hurt me”
I started to step away then I heard the sound of foot steps.
When I turned to look at the man he shouted “Don’t move!” I am so stupid I should have remembered his ax.
As part of a formative assessment, your students were presented with a short poem, and given 15 minutes to analyze it to determine the speaker. Here is the point and some subsequent student responses:
I am valued by men, fetched from afar, Gleaned on the hill-slopes, gathered in groves,
In dale and on down. All day through the air, Wings bore me aloft, and brought me with cunning
Safe under roof. Men steeped me in vats. Now I have power to pummel and bind,
To cast to the earth, old man and young. Soon he shall find who reaches to seize me,
Pits force against force, that he's flat on the ground, Stripped of his strength if he cease not his folly,
Loud in his speech, but of power despoiled To manage his mind, his hands or his feet.
Now ask me my name, who can bind men on earth, And lay fools low in the light of day.
Task: You will have 15 minutes to analyze the poem to determine the speaker. In your discussion, you must:
1) Identify any words you do not know and explain how looking them up helped you understand the poem better.
2) Identify at least (1) literary device, and explain how the device impacts the tone/meaning of the poem.
3) Cite textual evidence, and explain how the evidence cited guides your understanding.
Hint: If you are not writing at least a paragraph or two, you likely are not close reading and fully analyzing the poem.
As we focus on analyzing poetry, we begin with asking the students to "solve riddles". In reality, we are helping the students understand how to cite textual evidence in order to determine the speaker of the poem. We will soon add literary devices to our analysis. You will notice the use of sentence frames and color coding. The color coding is intentional, as we are trying to encourage the use of appropriate transitions in writing and speaking. We will take the frames away as the year progresses, but for now, they are an important support tool for their learning.
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