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    • 8th Grade: The Metamorphosis
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English 7 – To Kill a Mockingbird

This quarter, the 7th graders read and studied To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. First, students partook in the K-W-L activity (What you KNOW, What you WANT to know, & what you have LEARNED) after reading an excerpt from the novel. Each week, students read assigned chapters and answered novel unit guide questions that acted as a formative.

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A class discussion ensued on the major themes of the novel. Subsequently, groups were assigned chapters in which they created theme bank posters using evidence from the novel.

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To review for the summative, students played a series of Kahoot games on the plot, setting, themes, and characters of the novel.

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Students were led through the speechwriting process and learned about ethos, pathos, and logos. Afterwards, were asked to reflect how Atticus used these three rhetorical elements during the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Students wrote, practiced, and presented their speeches to the class.

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Students then reviewed for the final exam and watched the 1962 film of To Kill a Mockingbird during the last week of school.

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English 9 – Satire and Society

This quarter, the 9th graders learned about satire and society. First, students were oriented and guided on the cause and effect essay. Students had an option of selecting a topic from a list or generating their own with guidance from the teacher. The students were guided through the outlining and first draft process of the cause and effect essay.

 

Students took notes on the background to Voltaire’s Candide and the characteristics of a satire while watching a short documentary. Examples of satire in various media were then shown and discussed as a class through a competitive game.

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To review Candide’s storyline and sequence of events, students filled out a detailed plot diagram. Within the next two weeks, the teacher discussed each chapter of Candide while students took notes on the summary, analysis, textual evidence, and themes.

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In groups, students presented mini-reports based on their assigned chapters.

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After they revised, edited, and submitted their cause and effect essay, they prepared for their oral defense and were given a series of practice questions to respond to regarding their research.

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After their oral assessment, students reviewed for final exams.

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Rhetoric 9/10 (Writing and Speaking)

This unit began with students choosing one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph. From their chosen speech, they had to watch, analyze, and present it to the rest of the class paying close attention to purpose, audience, rhetorical techniques, and overall effectiveness of the speech. Students consulted with the teacher who provided them with feedback before their presentation. While students presented, the classmates wrote down comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

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The Chosen Inspiring Speech segued into the Global Issue Speech (the final assessment of the semester) in which students had to select a topic from the following list of global issues:

 

Lack of economic opportunity and employment

Large-scale conflict/wars

Inequality (income, discrimination)

Poverty

Religious conflicts

Government accountability and transparency/corruption

Food and water security

Lack of education

Safety/security/wellbeing

Climate change/destruction of nature

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If students wanted to select an alternative topic for their global issue, it had to be approved by the teacher. They also had an option of making a presentation through Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, or props, or alternative approved visual for their visual aid to their speech. Once proposals were approved, they began researching their chosen topic. The following week, they were required to submit a reference list of at least four credible sources, with the attached summaries. In their speech, students had to integrate 5-8 rhetorical techniques, the persuasive techniques, and the presentation tips that they’ve learned into their speech. They also had to incorporate evidence from their research into their argument and had to pay close attention to purpose and audience. Furthermore, students were required to cite their speech in APA format. Throughout the weeks, students consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback on their sources, outlines, and first drafts. They revised their speeches based on feedback and rehearsed their speeches well enough until most of the content was memorized. Students submitted their final paper and delivered their speeches along with their visual presentation. The final paper served as a summative assessment, while the actual speech presentation served as their final exam. While each student presented, the classmates wrote down their comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

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For the last week of the semester, the Global Issue final paper and actual speech presentation marks were returned, and the teacher reviewed the performances with each student one-on-one. The unit ended with a series of documentary films on public speaking.

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Rhetoric 9/10 – (Reading and Analyzing) Semester 2

The unit started off with students answering a prompt convincing or persuading a potential listener.

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From this, the students were introduced to the three important elements of a Rhetorical Triangle (ethos, pathos, and logos) and watched a TED-ed video on the methods of persuasion.

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Students then viewed a selection of advertisements for a variety of different products and analyzed how ethos, pathos, and logos were used to influence consumer decisions. Per advertisement, students individually answered questions on a given worksheet followed by a class discussion.

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Through this activity, students learned how to provide reasons for their answers and to defend their chosen appeal with supporting evidence. In a group, students found their own set of advertisements, identified the rhetorical techniques used and their effectivity on the audience, and presented them to the class.

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In addition to learning about effective rhetorical techniques, students were introduced to logical fallacies (errors in reasoning that weakened an argument), given a list of terms to discuss, and shown a video to reinforce what they’ve learned. Subsequently, students searched for three other examples of logical fallacies used in advertisements and had an option of answering a given chart or making a video for extra credit.

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Next, students deepened their understanding of the Rhetorical Triangle by analyzing Coretta Scott King’s speech where they had to identify the rhetorical techniques from the SMART Bank of Rhetorical Terms and evaluate their impact through a given chart. The speech was read orally by a volunteer after which students analyzed the speech in pairs using the Rhetorical Triangle.

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A class discussion occurred after which students revised and added to their individual SMART charts as needed. For their assignment, students wrote a reflection evaluating King’s speech, cited textual evidence, and used their SMART chart as a guide to support their conclusions.

Students received copies of Marc Antony’s funeral speech (from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) and read along while they listened to the audio version. The audio was played again while small groups annotated the speech and took note of numerous rhetorical elements (ethos, pathos, logos, repetition, tone, connotation, irony, rhetorical question, syntax and more). Using their notes, students wrote a paragraph evaluating the effectiveness of the various rhetorical elements used in the speech. They then repeated this process with Ninoy Aquino’s 1983 Arrival (undelivered) speech.

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The last assessment of the quarter was persuasive essay writing. Students applied what they learned in their previous speech analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of a speech by Severn Suzuki which they viewed. After submitting the final assignment for the quarter, students chose one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph in preparation for the next unit.

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English 9 – Introduction to Fiction (Quarter 3)

To start off the unit on fiction, students played a series of competitive fiction games. This was followed by a short video and lecture on Fiction vs. Non-Fiction.

The first short story of the unit was “The Last Leaf” by O’Henry. Students read along while listening to the audiobook and answered a comprehension/reflection sheet.

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Students were then put in groups and assigned a specific character from the story. Groups categorized each character based on character types and qualities (e.g. primary, a protagonist and dynamic), and presented their poster to the class.

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Students were given a reviewer and orientation on the elements of fiction and Socratic circle, which led to a Socratic seminar on the themes of “The Last Leaf.” Subsequently, students completed a short-answer graded seatwork based on “The Last Leaf.”

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The next short story is a classic in Philippine literature. Before reading the story, students brainstormed symbols of Philippine culture to gain background knowledge of Filipino culture before reading the text. While reading “May Day Eve,” students answered guided questions, which focused on the character and plot.

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To give them a visual interpretation of the text, students viewed trailers and movie clips of “May Day Eve” before discussing the themes further in a Socratic circle.

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Students were led to analyze and interpret the story through a group collage based on their assigned topic (imagery, symbolism, themes, and cultural references) and to share their findings with the class.

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The types and elements of plot, characterization, and author’s purpose were dissected together as a class through a lecture, character-analysis table, and plot-ordering activity.

A short in-class essay ensued based on either “The Last Leaf” or “May Day Eve.”

Finally, students had a chance to write their very own Flash Fiction after listening to and learning about different types of flash fiction (romance, thriller, horror, science fiction, and fan fiction).

For the final stretch of the unit, students learned about the literary analysis, its essential elements, and identify (the below) on a sample literary analysis essay.

  • Creative opening/hook
  • Thesis statement
  • Topic sentences
  • Lead into textual evidence
  • Textual evidence (usually quotes)
  • Commentary
  • Transitions
  • Concluding sentences
  • Block quotation?

Five selected short stories (“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Footnote to Youth” by Jose Garcia Villa, “Karma” by Khushwant Singh, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov) were assigned with 2-3 students per story. Students read the story and answered questions in groups to test their basic understanding, application of the elements of fiction, and analysis of the story.

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The final assessment of the unit was a literary analysis, to which each student was assigned a devised and personalized question as guidance for their thesis statement.

After individual consultation with the teacher regarding their outlines and first drafts, students reviewed how to deliver an effective persuasive speech. In doing so, students watched three examples of IB literary analysis speeches and were tasked to “mark” the students against a literary analysis scoring sheet.

In preparation for their speech guides, students were given one-on-one feedback from the teacher.

During their final presentations, classmates wrote down comments on a peer evaluation sheet to be handed right back to the presenters for the purpose of constructive feedback.

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After the oral presentations, students submitted their final literary analysis essay.

In preparation for the next unit, students were oriented and guided on the cause and effect essay and started researching based on a suggested list of topics provided by the teacher.

 

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English 7 – A Wrinkle in Time (Quarter 3)

The 3rd quarter began with a review of the five-point plot structure through a brief PowerPoint lecture, followed by an activity and mini-quiz. Students were then introduced to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and made predictions on what the novel would be about through a Word Cloud / Wordle. Students read chapters 1-7 of AWIT and answered two study guide worksheets. Following this, they were introduced to the different roles in a literature discussion circle (summarizer, commentator, language finder, illustrator, discussion facilitator, and reflector) and were grouped into their discussion circles. Students rotated roles and experienced all 6. Students were then asked to evaluate their performance as well as that of their peers in a confidential form.

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Subsequently, students researched and chose a book to compare and contrast with A Wrinkle in Time, first approved by the teacher.

Next, students were oriented on the two different methods of compare and contrast (point-by-point method vs. block method) and given multiple examples for each as well as the breakdown of the structure. Students were guided on elements of fiction that they could incorporate into their Comparative Essay. They then created a Venn Diagram followed by an outline to be approved by the teacher before writing their first draft. After more feedback from their teacher, students completed their Comparative Essay. Students were put into one of 4 groups (plot, characters, setting, or themes) and were given a week to research their assigned topics with guidance from the teacher. When each group finally gave their presentation, other groups evaluated them through peer-evaluation forms to provide them with feedback that they can incorporate in the future.

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Afterwards, students were oriented and introduced to the group creative writing task options (a diary entry, an additional chapter, an epic poem, a short story, or an alternate ending). In brainstorming and generating ideas, each group completed a graffiti wall for each of the options through the rotation. Finally, students picked a topic they were most interested in and completed their creative writing task with feedback and guidance from the teacher.

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Lastly, students learned the basic elements of film before watching Disney’s 2018 and Harrison’s 2003 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Students answered and discussed pre- and post-movie reflection questions before working on post-movie charts comparing the book to the film of their choice.

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In preparation for the next unit, students reviewed racism, segregation, and southern tradition through a series of mind maps, class discussions, and reflection and comprehension sheets based on short videos.

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6th Grade: The Giver

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world of “Sameness” where there’s no pain and suffering, but where the community is stripped of the freedom to choose and feel emotions?

This is one of the many questions the 6th grade students discussed during our second quarter where we read Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The novel follows the story of a 12-year old boy living in what seemed like a Utopian society in the beginning, but is revealed to be a Dystopian one as the story progresses.

IMG-0589To introduce the novel, the students were shown a picture of Jonas, the protagonist, holding a baby. They were then asked to write on post-it notes what they see, think, and wonder about the picture.  Their answers range from silly, such as “Why is he buffed?” to more observant ones such as “Why is he holding a baby? Is he trying to save him or trying to escape from something?”

One of the activities during this novel unit required the 6th graders  to write and discuss the rules that they have at home and in their community. Some had standard ones such as no use of gadgets at a certain time while some are more random such as they are not allowed to go in their house’s basement. They had a lively conversation about the different rules and we then related these to the rules that were enforced in Jonas’ community.

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The students were given study guides that they should answer as they progress in reading the novel. The guides helped them understand the story better through analyzing certain events and characters. Some students were very honest in the beginning and declared that they really don’t like reading books, so it made me smile when some of them couldn’t wait to read until the end even though those chapters were not yet assigned. The novel further opened the discussion on how freedom to choose and feel emotions might also mean feeling pain.

It is interesting to note how the ending of the novel was polarizing. Either the student didn’t like it as the author didn’t explicitly say what happened to the protagonist in the end (whether he died or was able to escape from his community and save the baby) or the student liked how the ending was open-ended and was open to interpretations.

How about you? Would you rather live a safe, comfortable life where everyone is the same or a life filled with memories and color, but also one where there’s pain?

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Jane Austen’s Emma

Grade 11 LangLit SL spent the better part of the second quarter – and will spend 3 weeks of the third – discussing Jane Austen’s novel, Emma

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The students evaluated characters and their motives and analyzed certain twists to the stories. This week, they focused on the many social gatherings depicted in the story. They were able to identify important events such as the Coles’ party and the ball at the Crown Inn. They discovered that these social gatherings are not only a dominant motif in Austen’s world and works, they also serve various purposes for the reader. They allow Austen to introduce her characters and to show how they change as they relate to different people. They also set the stage for the complex machinations which govern the world of courtship.

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English 9 – Macbeth

This quarter, the 9th graders studied and interpreted William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students were introduced to William Shakespeare and viewed two short biographies.

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Students then checked out their Macbeth book from the library and read the first two acts for homework. Every week, 1-2 acts were dissected in-depth together as a class. Each week began with a read-aloud where each student is assigned a speaking role from the act. The roles were switched each week, and the students’ speaking parts were distributed equally throughout the unit. Students were marked for participation, but near the end of the unit, students were evaluated on their overall read-aloud performance.

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Every read-aloud was followed by a class discussion, summary, and analysis of the major themes of each act. After every 1-2 acts, a timed formative in-class essay took place. Several potential essay questions were provided ahead of time, but the question choices were narrowed down for the test.

Based on these prompts, students prepared for their timed in-class essays by answering and finding evidence and quotes from the text based on the themes discussed in class. Before their last essay, a class mind-map was generated based on the major themes of Macbeth.

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Their last in-class essay was a summative and covered Acts 1-5. During one of the weeks, the students were put in pairs and assigned to imagine and to write a short scene of King Duncan’s actual murder. Pairs were tasked to include dialogue and to present their murder scene to the class. Subsequently, students played a series of competitive Kahoot games on Macbeth. 

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For the last assignment of the semester, students were put in groups of 3-4 and were to put together and rehearse a Macbeth Movie Scene or Live Performance. For inspiration, students viewed the 1971 film of Macbeth, directed by Roman Polanski. While rehearsing, groups also consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback. When students finally presented their Macbeth Movie Scene or Live Performance, students filled out a peer evaluation form for the performance of each group.

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To review for final exams, students partook in a competitive matching game on “Characteristics of Epic Heroes” and “Types of Heroes,” topics we learned earlier in the semester. Winning groups received a prize. In the last week, students completed a reflection survey on study habits and set new goals and aspirations for the next semester. After receiving their final exam results, students played a series of competitive fiction games in preparation for the next unit.

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Rhetoric 9/10 – Writing and Speaking

This unit began with students choosing one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph. From their chosen speech, they had to watch, analyze, and present it to the rest of the class paying close attention to purpose, audience, rhetorical techniques, and overall effectiveness of the speech. Students consulted with the teacher who provided them with feedback before their presentation. While students presented, the classmates wrote down comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

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The Chosen Inspiring Speech segued into the Global Issue Speech (the final assessment of the semester) in which students had to select a topic from a list of global issues. If students wanted to select an alternative topic for their global issue, it had to be approved by the teacher.

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They also had an option of making a presentation through Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, or props, or alternative approved visual for their visual aid to their speech. Once proposals were approved, they began researching their chosen topic. The following week, they were required to submit a reference list of at least four credible sources, with the attached summaries. In their speech, students had to integrate 5-8 rhetorical techniques, the persuasive techniques, and the presentation tips that they’ve learned into their speech. They also had to incorporate evidence from their research into their argument and had to pay close attention to purpose and audience. Furthermore, students were required to cite their speech in APA format.

 

Throughout the weeks, students consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback on their sources, outlines, and first drafts. They revised their speeches based on feedback and rehearsed their speeches well enough until most of the content was memorized. Students submitted their final paper and delivered their speeches along with their visual presentation. The final paper served as a summative assessment, while the actual speech presentation served as their final exam. While each student presented, the classmates wrote down their comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

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For the last week of the semester, the Global Issue final paper and actual speech presentation marks were returned, and the teacher reviewed the performances with each student one-on-one. The unit ended with a series of documentary films on public speaking.

 

 

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