NOVEL P2 Day 5


Students will try to identify the theme of this song (its very coming-of-agey).


Today’s objective is to review theme, how themes are developed, and to discuss emerging themes in #getlit books. For this activity, I have chosen 1-2 pages of text from a meaningful portion of the books the students are reading. I made photocopies for each student in the group. Then I introduced the idea of “black-out”poems. Each student will create a poem out of words that they leave white, while blacking out all of the other words. They look like this:

Image result for blackout poemsImage result for blackout poems

Image result for blackout poemsImage result for blackout poems

The goal is for students to try and capture the theme of their book with a poem. Students will share their poems, and discuss their thinking.

Active Engagement

Students will discuss their poems, and then move onto working on their #getlit projects


Students in B day have ONE MORE CLASS to finish and submit ALL WORK for #getlit projects (1/24). Students in A Day- This is your FINAL DAY TO WORK (1/23).



Thanks 😉



NOVEL P2 Day 4

Day 4



Students will identify the conflict in the song. Who is the conflict between? What type of conflict is here?


The objective today is for students to identify the central conflicts in their #getlit books and to consider how these conflicts may develop their characters. Review the major types of literary conflict and review internal vs. eternal conflict. Students will pick two people from their group to act out a central conflict in their #getlit novels for the class. The rest of the class has to guess the type of conflict (internal, external, man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. society, man v. nature, man v. technology).

Active Engagement

Students work on #getlit vlog projects, take quizzes, share poems-a-day, etc.


Make sure you are prepared for quizzes/pad, class next time!

NOVEL P2 Day 3


The kids liked this one- it’s catchy. They thought it was very “coming of age” because its about being in-between “old” and “young” and how adolescents can be very self-involved… I promise- those were their responses.


Review expectations for class time. Let students know that there will be a form on Google classroom to fill out about group participation. This is the first day of the unit that students are working on projects- after this day, the mini-lessons kick in to eat up some of the unstructured time.

Active Engagement

Students work work work (I have never overheard so many amazing conversations between students that were self-directed. Students came to class and got into their novels immediately, without me even asking them to get them out. It was amazing. Their discussions about the poems were rich and led to some new insights about the texts. About 60 percent of students are already filming vlogs.

During this time period, I check in with each group, discuss their progress, and whats happening in the books, but honestly, they haven’t needed me much yet.


Make sure you know what your group expects of you before next class.

NOVEL P2 Day 2


Day 2

Image result for chameleon changing color


We discussed the concept of trying to fit in, and the conflict of individual vs. society. One of the lyrics in this song is “I change shapes just to hide in this place, but I slip, I’m still an animal. Nobody knows it but me when I slip, but I slip, I’m still an animal.” Reminds me of the high school days.


I explained to students that all their novels will involve this conflict (man vs. society) to some degree and to watch for it. I also gave students this form to fill out in their groups so they could plan their unit. I collected one form per group.

Active Engagement

Students in groups plan their units. Lots of questions came up about the logistics. By the end of the day I had to come up with these quiz requirementsbecause students had no idea how to make a quiz up. Pretty cute, actually. Once they started turning in quizzes, I saw some pretty adorable things, like this question: “Are the sisters close to each other? Yes or No? Explain your answer with at least two pieces of evidence from the text in complete sentences.” Look at her, Englishing like that 😉

We also decided that each person who created a quiz got 100 for that quiz grade. Each student was then motivated to create at least one quiz.

Poem-a-day in groups goes just like in class. The person who chooses the poem shares it with the group and each writes connections to the novels in their notebooks. I will check notebooks at the end of the unit for 4 poem a day entries.


Collect plans- check to make sure they aren’t too ambitious or too lazy.

NOVEL P2 Day 1

December 22 (before winter break)

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This is a fun song, but a bit odd and also has some questionable lyrics at the end- Know your students and whether this is appropriate for them or not.


Congratulate students on a wonderful seminar and recap some of the great thoughts they expressed. Tell them they are about to embark on another “coming-of-age” novel of their choice. I introduced the main project for the whole unit before showing them the book options.

Active Engagement

Using the board-approved books for ninth grade at our school, I created (with the help of our incredible media specialist Robin Stiles) this slideshow to give the kids an idea of their options.

Students then filled out this Google form, indicating their top four choices.

Once I had their choices, I put them into groups of 3-4 based on their personalities and work ethic, etc. Group your students appropriately.


I gave this assignment before winter break, and gave out the books. I told students they did not have to read at all during break- the project would begin the day we returned.

Side Note: Over half of the students began reading over break due to a mixture of boredom and excitement about their projects. This is the highest level of interest and engagement I have ever had in a classroom, and that’s saying a lot. I also had one student who read her entire book twice, and another student who read 7 of the final 8 novels assigned, just to see which one she liked most. This unit lends itself organically to extension for high-flyers.

NOVEL Part Two. Skill Transfer: #getlit Lit Circles

Image result for light bulb idea

This is the second part of this “Coming of Age” unit. This is where I remove a ton of scaffolding in my instruction, and give the reigns to the students. If they can execute what I am asking, then they will show that they did indeed learn the skills we practiced in the first part of the unit. I helped them along with reading To Kill a Mockingbird and led them to finding symbolism, and thinking about conflict, character development and themes. I helped them to find their voices and feel comfortable expressing themselves. Now, it is their turn to show me what they can do without nearly as much guidance. This is the real “assessment” of their learning. Although most of the products of this unit will be entirely created by students, there is still a “mini-lesson” for each day that reviews content and skills we worked in throughout the To Kill a Mockingbird unit. This will help generate content for the students’ work.





I used this poem-a-day for my A day classes as I had an extra day with them this unit due to scheduling. I showed them the video and then told them all the connections I saw to the novel TKAMB. You can read those here-  I wanted to review themes and symbols in the novel and also review making connections.  Students used the rest of the class period to work on their final projects.


A day and B day:

This song is a wonderful way to end the unit- it was a suggestion from a student. It connects very well to the novel and is a 2017 coming-of-age/loss of innocence experience, where some similar lessons are learned through Scout’s coming of age story in TKAMB.


Today’s objective: Students will apply their understanding of the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by connecting those themes to current media. We reviewed the connections we have been making.

Today we also got prepared for a Socratic Seminar which will serve as the unit test. I explained what a seminar is, what the goals are, how it would run, and put them into partners. Partners were asked to write three questions to prepare for the seminar which will happen next class.

Active Engagement

Students populated this padlet. It is so visually stimulating, its ridiculous. This was a huge hit- students were only asked the following:

Post a Picture, Video, Poem, Article, Song that connects to TKAM. Explain your connection.


Check out their answers- you will be impressed.

Students can comment on each other’s work, and I am having all 75 freshmen from all of my classes collaborate on this padlet. SO FUN!


I reminded students about all the tons of stuff going on right now- (ADJUSTED FOR SNOW DAY 12/14).


Final Projects due MONDAY 12/18

SEMINAR Questions due and also SEMINAR IS 12/18

Padlet entries due Monday 12/18


Final Projects due TUESDAY 12/19

SEMINAR Questions due and also SEMINAR IS TUESDAY 12/19

Padlet entries due Tuesday 12/19