Story Comparisons: Day 1

After our week-long break in honor of Thanksgiving,  my students were welcomed back to class by two vivid images and in-class story time.

12.1.14 Warm Up

This comparison and contrast exercise primed their mental pumps for what lies ahead.  This week we will be taking two stories, comparing them, contrasting them, and translating those thoughts into coherent, engaging, and well-written essays.  The two stories, “The Storyteller” by Saki, and “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes are very different at first glance, but do possess some similar themes (to be discussed in class later).

Class was wrapped up with a short game of “Hot Potato” where each student had to share an adjective to describe one of the stories before passing the “potato” to another student.  The catch was that each adjective could only be used once.  Needless to say, that became a little difficult for some toward the end of the game.


  • Complete the Unit #2 Vocabulary packet to submit tomorrow
  • Study for Friday’s Unit #2 vocabulary quiz.
  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue work on Genius Hour project.



REMINDERS: (in chronological order)

  • Unit #2 Vocabulary Packet due tomorrow, Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
  • Unit #2 Vocabulary Quiz this Friday, December 5th, 2014
  • Our FINAL Genius Hour Work Day is this Friday, December 5th, 2014 as well
  • Genius Hour projects are due NEXT Friday, December 12, 2014

Story Recap and Genius Hour: Friday, November 7th, 2014

Class started with the students taking turns sharing images they created of various vocabulary words from lesson 8 as if they were trying to teach them to an elementary school student.  Thereafter, we delved into a recap of yesterday’s lesson.  We spent the first part of today’s class discussing the differences between the telling of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in a written versus a short film format.  That spawned a very interesting and detailed conversation about some of the liberties taken by the filmmakers in adapting Edgar Allen Poe’s story for the screen.  Why did the filmmakers choose to show this, omit that, or include this?

The last half of class was dedicated to work on the students’ Genius Hour projects.  They are to have their Annotated Bibliographies filled with at least 5 sources by 11:59 p.m. tonight.

I also created a page entitled “Genius Hour” that can be found linked in the tabs at the top of this blog.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Finish whatever was not finished in class.


"Flowers for Algernon" August 20st-28th, 2014

The students have been delving into the world of Charlie Gordon, who undergoes experimental surgery to triple the level of his intelligence.  In the process, the students have had the opportunity to see how Charlie’s intelligence and perception of the world around him changes.  How many times have we all been in situations where we thought we knew where we stood, but then realized that we did not?  In their exploration of this text, the students have been partaking in the following:

  • recording their thoughts and observations with each of Charlie’s updates (as the short story is written in the form of his diary entries over 9 months),
  • explore the themes of the story through the creation of their own choice of projects, and
  • complete their first quiz and major test over a work of literature.

Below are the resources for this mini-unit.  The resources will be updated with each passing day with any relevant information.

Power Points:

Flowers for Algernon Project:

Flowers for Algernon Short Story Links: