Reading, Writing, and Grammar. Oh My!

These first few weeks of school have flown by fast, and the freshmen have been learning quite a lot!

They have learned to use to track their reading progress, rate short stories/books they have read, find new reading suggestions, and respond to discussion posts. They use this site every time they read to record not only how far they have read but also to relate their reading to one of our 26 new literary devices. Simple, quick, and efficient.

If students read extra outside of class, they can simply make another progress update on Goodreads and work toward earning a 4 for their over-and-above effort! Feel free to remind them to READ outside of class! The only way to improve is through practice. has allowed them to see areas of strength and weakness in their understanding of grammar. After completing abroad diagnostic assessment, they have begun practice on the Rules of Capitalization independently at their own pace.

They can work on No Red Ink outside of class and continue to push themselves at a quicker pace through our curriculum, allowing them to become stronger readers and writers. The sky is the limit! They can race along as they desire!

Thank You, M’am

We began our Short Story Unit with two stories: “Thank You, M’am” by Langston Hughes and “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

The Focus Question of the Unit is: How do authors use literary devices to create a good short story?

Ultimately, students will be asked to write their own short story so we will spend time reading other short stories and breaking them down to better understand how they are put together.

The Most Dangerous Game

We discussed the basic plot line: exposition, initial incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Characters can now be seen as a protagonist, antagonist, as round or flat, or dynamic or static. We realized that others use specific word choice for a reason–that allusions are thrown in all over the place. Blue suede shoes, Lazarus, and Marcus Aurelius were mentioned in both of our stories to create connections and possibly even foreshadow to upcoming events.

Highlight of the past week:

We were completing our story organizer and discussing the theme of “The Most Dangerous Game” when big questions started to arise: What is hunting? Is it a sport or done only for necessity? Can fighting in war be considered hunting? What is the value of animal life? What about human life? Where do we draw the line?

During this rabbit hole of questioning, a student responded, “This is some pretty deep stuff for freshmen, Mr. Halter!”

I love it! The point of storytelling is not only to be entertained but to follow a character’s journey and change for the better as a result, hopefully. It’s more than just reading a book or watching a movie. It’s about exploring the big questions and defining what we believe. The more we read, the more we analyze what we believe, the more we grow.

I can’t wait for the next story and those future big questions!

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