My history partner is giving a test today, so we will blend SSR time into that time and ask students to read when they are completed with his test.
This means that we will start the English half of class today with another round of grammar rules and practice.
This final day of practice is geared towards reminding them about about style, specifically correcting run-on sentences, passive vs. active voice and subject-verb agreement (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3a). I just (finally) finished grading their Dickensian pastiche assignment and noticed quite a few errors in these categories, so want to make sure that there is some focus paid to the rules so that we are all on the same page about verb usage and sentence structure.
The remainder of the period will be spent working on an extended writing (multi-paragraph) that focuses on the two pieces we read this week, "Half-Caste" by John Agard and "By Any Other Name" by Santha Rama Rau.
To tie things thematically to what we've been studying over the past few weeks, I am asking them to consider how each writer deals with the topic of imperialism and why they chose the genre that they chose. I struggle with calling this piece an argument because they really aren't developing claims, so I will grade their papers for their ability to explain each piece and how the ideas expressed in each connect to the topic as a whole. As such, I will ask my students to organize their writing in such a way that they can provide a clear comparison of the two pieces in question (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a).
I will review the prompt with them before I set them loose to write independently. I developed this prompt with the purpose of promoting the higher level thinking skill of comparison. The students have spent the past few days analyzing each piece; now it is time to see if they can synthesize those bits of analysis together into a larger commentary on imperialism, which I am hoping they will be able to do, given all their practice with this topic over the past few weeks.
Once we are all clear about what they are being asked to do, I will give them the remainder of the period to write (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4), reminding them that I will be looking for textual support from both pieces in their final written piece (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9).
At the end of class, I will ask students to turn in their annotated texts along with their drafted mini-essay. I'm sure this will be messy, so I will stop them with five minutes left in class to make sure we can get everything in before the bell rings.