Many of my sophomore/Grade 10 English II students are also enrolled in Advanced Placement European History, and so they are familiar with the notable moments in world history. For today's introduction to the October Revolution, I point out today's anniversary of the (Russian) October Revolution, and explain the difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendar. As with every Daily Holiday, the purpose is to create a sense of community as we share in the holiday, and a chance for them to gain cultural literacy in both "Red October" and the differences in calendars. These terms will show up again as we look at the changing world of the Twentieth Century next semester.
The bulk of today's class is devoted to finishing the poster from yesterday, since we are a bit behind schedule. Students have the period to return to their Jigsaw Groups (see "A Renaissance of American Literature") complete their Book Cover posters:
The experts on each poem share their understanding of the poem, one of the group members writes this on the book cover poster.
The groups select and include a central image for each poem, making it visible and visibly appealing.
In these groups, students complete the sharing of their notes from the Fireside Poetry Notes Sheet, identify the main idea of central theme ("Thanatopsis") of the poem and use of/inspiration by the following elements of Romantic writing in order to shape that theme (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2):
By returning to the small, Jigsaw Group (four students), the aim is to work with students they trust and rely upon, and present their information in terms that are appropriate to their audience (peers) (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4). Students can draw from each other, share ideas, and, as they've been assigned or picked a poem, already feel a sense of ownership to it. By sharing the poem, that ownership can translate into enthusiasm and even possessiveness over the poem, making sure their group members "get" it.
As students complete these discussions and posters, I circulate the room to answer questions, provide feedback, and refocus students as needed.
The final part of this small-group discussion will be completed tomorrow, as students share the expert groups' responses to the Fireside Poetry Expert Questions.
With two minutes remaining, I ask for the students' attentions, to turn in their posters, return their desks to rows, and once that is completed, remind them that their reading of and notes on John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound" is due tomorrow. The two minutes, as always, provide just enough time to get students attentions and wrap things up as they mentally transition to their next class.