Pacing and Planning

The goal for this week is to review the current standards in correlation to Common Core in order to plan for appropriate pacing throughout the semester. The challenge will be preparing for the current Tennessee State End-of-Course Test for English I while working to include the writing standards of Common Core. Additionally, our new textbooks have arrived, and we will be using Prentice Hall for the first time.
My first step in planning for the semester is to create the course prospectus and add it to my classroom homepage for students. Looking at PARCC’s Model Content Frameworks I feel a bit stressed about how to combine the year-long framework into one semester’s classroom learning. I have reviewed the state’s projections for my students, and I know I will have to do more differentiation to really help our students. I have always been a backwards planner, but the knowledge of the task ahead has me jumping between the pacing guide and doing the detailed planning for the first week returning.
So what we will do the first week? Our students had the luxury of a semester long Content Area Reading course intended to review standard literary elements of plot and basic structures of writing essays. While this did not go as ideally as it was in my head, we saw great gains and I am excited for the end of the year report so we can have data to support a repeat of the course in the future. Therefore, the first week we will review elements of plot using “Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. This is intended to review plot analysis and review the EOC-style question stems students are likely to see on the actual EOC by taking an in-depth reading quiz after completion of discussion and an analysis guide. Students will be prompted to use the RAMS Testing Strategy on each question. I am thinking about verbally guiding them through the process for the first two or three questions in order to model the process as I expect them to do it. After analyzing the data, I will do a reteaching where I create a PPT of the most missed questions so we can work through them together to try to find out why the students missed them and how to avoid missing similar questions in the future.
Hopefully, the reteaching of plot will help students to analyze the plot of their Winter Reading, “Begging for Change” by Sharon Flake, as they will be completing an plot analysis essay of the novel for assessment of their ability to analyze plot and cite textual evidence and to serve as the the start of our Writing Basics unit.
As a side note, I will also be calling home to all parents to ensure students are completing/have completed their Winter Reading in order to be prepared for the first week of class. It is ALWAYS a great idea to call parents to introduce yourself before you need to make a less than positive call, and this will be a good opportunity to get some insight on the students and parents.

Files created for the opening of class are/will available in Kirk’s Corner as soon as possible.

1. You can find my course syllabus online as well. This is available in WORD format for easy customization at While the syllabus has been posted, I will soon be revising the file to include a PPT I will use to introduce the course on the first day.

2. A generic template for pacing can be found at I will be posting my pacing guide for English I when it is completed.

3. A .zip File for teaching “Most Dangerous Game” will be posted soon as well. I will update this post with a link when it is available.

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