This Week in Class: October 15-19

I guess we’re entering the stretch run until the end of the quarter, trying to get all those grade-thingys where we want them to be, bust out those early action college apps, score a homecoming date. Rough stuff, man, and so the bit of audio inspiration in the link. And now, to bidness, but I guess you’ll have to click to continue reading.


While Monday will find my period 4 friends reliving the same essay revision class that period 3 lived through on Friday, the rest of the week will be spent in poemetry.

Monday’s class will bring your attention from your essay writing default modes into the instruction reinforced in the TFA essay assignment packet. We begin with the always exciting overview of the common core standards, which Mr. McAteer uses to help you build a tolerance for complexity in essay concept, topic sentence and paragraph development. From thither, we’re off to the problem-bridge-preview-thesis model of the intro, which is intended to be pretty darn specific and to clarify for you your sense of exactly where your essay is headed. We wrap up the party with a little bit of paragraph development fun, including an exercise where we go through a process to more effectively analyze quotes. And if that doesn’t sound exciting enough for you adrenaline junkies in the crowd, you get to begin the class by transcribing verbatim all the comments I’ve scribbled on your triage drafts. I’ll send a more formal invitation to the party via email later today.

And now to those days when we’ll once again proceed in lockstep. Once we get the essay instruction reminders out of the way, we’ll get into the poems you read during my absence on Thursday. On Tuesday, we’ll turn your small group conversations into a large group one, and I will be generous enough to introduce you to some poetry vocab that will help you recognize things you might have missed because you didn’t know their names. Wednesday and Thursday will be transitional days, as we move from concepts about poetry in general to the form of the sonnet. By Friday, we should be ready for the group presentation unit that will culminate in sonnet presentations delivered in spirit week costumes.

Just as our Tragedy unit was based on a combination of non-fiction, classical and contemporary text, so too will be our poetry unit. The idea, as our manifesto unit taught you, is to see the ongoing dialogue that began with early forms of literature and has extended into our contemporary discussion. Look for a post later in the week where I’ll address the poetry unit objectives in a casual, often hilarious way.

By the by, did you know that, as a registered user, you can post your own writing to All you have to do is log in with the user name and password you were given via email back in August, and add a new post. I don’t think you can post it, but I sure can.


To be honest, my friends, I am in a bit of a conundrum. I had presumed that we would finish The Catcher in the Rye before the end of the quarter, because I had assumed that the quarter ended after Election Day. Well, you’ve probably heard what happens when you assume.

So I have planned a plan that may help us get the first quarter writing portfolio finished so that we won’t have to interrupt our reading of Catcher to get that piece of business taken care of. I shall call this plan B, since it is a backup plan.

Here then, is Plan B. We have the COWs in class, as you know, on Monday, in order to respond to the feedback you get on the triage drafts. I have also reserved a computer lab on Tuesday, so that your first drafts might resemble very polished first drafts. We drop on Wednesday, and if Plan B is in effect, we will begin a revision workshop that will allow you to make focused improvements on your Who, Me? piece and your LotF essay for a portfolio that will be handed in mid-Spirit Week.

Plan A will be implemented if the quarter ends after Election Day. In Plan A, we begin The Catcher in the Rye on Thursday and finish reading it on or around November 2. I’ll know more details about this plan when I confirm the quarter ending date sometime before class meets manana.


Leave a Reply