Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tonight's "Homework"

Today I asked the students to note two things in their assignment books:

1. They need to be sure to have finished their books (non-fiction independent reading books) by the day we get back from break so that they have plenty of time to complete their projects. Projects are due in rough form or at least half way done by the 7th, and need to be completed and ready for presenting / grading by the 14th.

2. Mid-term exam schedule has been posted, and the Language Arts mid-term will be on January 13th, which is a Tuesday. I have told students that they need to be sure to have their binders in order, locate important notes, and begin doing a little studying every night so they aren't stressed and overwhelmed by the 13th. The exam will have all of the Word Whiz words, the grammar we have covered, questions about the stories we have read, the parts and structure of a response to text essay, and probably include writing a constructed response. I will be giving them a list of "fair game topics" in class in the new year. Until then, they would certainly benefit by studying Word Whiz (Fun and Useful Words, Word Parts, and Language Arts Words), and going over the basic grammar we have dealt with (parts of speech, types of sentences, fragments and run-ons).

Monday, December 15, 2008


No NEW homework tonight, since the Word Whiz test took nearly all period.

However, BY MONDAY, JANUARY 5th, Independent Reading books (non-fiction) need to be finished and projects need to be underway.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maybe a Snow Day Tomorrow??????

Just in case your dreams of white fluffy stuff don't come true, make sure you still study for the test tomorrow. Fun and Useful Words, Language Arts Words, and Word Parts. Students should have study sheets for all of them.

The test will include an assortment of old words as well, but the majority of the points will be for the newest words.

If there is a snow day Friday, test will be on Monday.

A short assignment on fragments and complete sentences was given out today and many students got a good head start on it during school. The remainder of the sheet needs to be handed in tomorrow.

Tomorrow, if there is school, I will also finally get around to checking the notes and glossary a second time... This was actually due on Tuesday this week, but I've been behind in checking due to a professional day spent out of the building.

Monday, green sheet is due as always.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Homework Tonight and Word Part List

Students need to create a review sheet or review activity (like making flashcards) for the 11 word parts we have learned in the last few weeks. The list is here:

Prefixes: micro, tele
Roots: chron, tempo, omni, scrib/scrip, graph, ped, fide
Suffixes: ion, less

Monday, December 8, 2008

Homework and TEST TO COME!

Tonight, please complete a worksheet entitled, "Language Arts 4". If you are in block 2, be sure to copy the directions as part of the assignment.

Also, a TEST on Fun and Useful Words, Word Parts, and Language Arts Words will be on either Thursday or Friday... BEGIN TONIGHT reviewing for the test. Use your notes. Also, a study guide for LA words was completed in class, and each student should have one. We will likely do one for word parts in class tomorrow.

The TEST will be MOSTLY the most recent words, but will have some review words as well. Try to spend some of your reviewing time looking over old words. You could use the last test, for example.

Parents, I will try to upload a copy of all the words onto the blog later today or possibly tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Homework

Fill in green sheet for the past week's reading. You've had an hour of class time to read, and should have read an hour outside of class, too. Many students do no have a blank space on their green sheets. If this is the case, please use a plain sheet of notebook paper and write out all the information as if you had a green sheet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Late posting

Homework tonight is the types of sentences worksheet. Be sure to follow directions.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Please complete SOS worksheet (two sided) that we began in class.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Homework: some have it, some do not.

Tonight's homework for blocks 3 and 4 is a worksheet on sentence structure -- subjects and predicates. Block 2 had time to complete the work in class.

All students should be working on their Independent Reading Project -- reading, taking notes, creating a glossary, et cetera.

Have a great night!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Grammar Begins!

Students have a worksheet on nouns due tomorrow.

Thank you to all family members who participated in the data collection for the persuasive essay.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all students and parents!

We had a good week, despite its shortness (or maybe because of its shortness!). Today, students finished working on mini-projects related to folktales around the world. We'll be doing a quick writing assignment in class on Monday to "wrap up" the folktales.

Starting next week, we'll be moving into a new unit on John Steinbeck's novel, The Pearl. We'll be reading it with an eye to writing a persuasive essay by the end, using the novel as one of our "proofs" in the essay. I am planning on generating with the students some of the themes of the novel, and either proving or disproving these statements in a persuasive essay. The novel deals with greed, man's inhumanity to man, goodness, and many other abstract ideas that we'll be working with to create theme statements.

To get the kids started thinking about the novel, I have proposed the following homework assignment: Ask three adults to answer this question with a simple "yes" or "no" -- Are people basically good by nature? The students will compile the answers into some statistics to possibly use as they write their persuasive essays. I have offered an extra credit option for this assignment as well... If any of the adults are willing to be quoted as explaining their answer (ie, saying why they said yes or why they said no), students may write down the explanation and share it with the class.

Green sheets are also due on Monday, and students should be working on reading, taking notes, and completing a glossary for December 9th.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Project Homework

Tonight, please continue reading and taking notes on your independent book project. I will be checking notes and progress on glossary tomorrow in class.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Homework

This homework should have been posted Friday. I apologize. There are, however, no surprises.

The green sheets are due as usual on Monday. The Independent Reading Project (NOV 13 posting) should be perking along, and I will be checking progress on glossary and note-taking as announced at the start of the project.

Students should have about 10 terms for their glossary by now. These are EITHER words they learned as they read, OR words that they think someone new to the topic might need to know to help them understand the book they are reading.

The note-taking is on the three essential questions that they identified at the start of their reading.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Homework for Monday

Tonight, please use all 48 "Unacceptable Errors" correctly in original sentences. This could be 48 different sentences, or you could use multiple words at a time. It is up to you. Be sure to underline the words to make it simple for me to find them.

Be sure to bring your non-fiction books and notetaking chart to class from now on for USSR time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Independent Reading Project MP 3

Last Week, students were given a brown copy of this to have in their binders. FYI to parents. 3 Essential questions due tomorrow, 11/14. (A "big" question that requires reading the whole book to answer, but parts of the answer can be discovered during reading. Ex for a book on baseball: How has baseball changed over time?)

Independent Reading Project -- Non-fiction

Before reading, please identify 3 “essential questions” that you would like to explore while reading your book. These should be deep, “think and search” kinds of questions, not simple “right there” kinds of questions. For example, if you are reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson, a good question might be, “Why did Jefferson want to become president?” or “What kind of a person was Jefferson in his home life?” A bad question might be “What year did Jefferson become president?”

While reading, take notes on your three essential questions. You should do this by creating a three column chart with each question at the top of a column, then jotting down facts and information that help to answer the questions. Be sure to indicate the page number on which the information was found.

Also, while reading, build a glossary by identifying 20 words that are new to you as you read, or are key to understanding the topic your book is focused on. Give the page number the word is found on, and define it as it is used in the book.

After reading, choose and complete a project from the following list:
1. Illustrate a timeline of major events in your book. The timeline should be at least three feet long, and include a minimum of 8 major events, illustrated and explained in words. The timeline will be judged for informational accuracy, GUM and spelling, artistic quality, neatness, and depth of information.
2. Create and share with the class a PowerPoint demonstration of a minimum of 8 slides (not including title slide) exploring your essential questions and the answers you found as you read. The PowerPoint will be judged for informational accuracy, GUM and spelling, class presentation, artistic quality, and depth of information.
3. Design and “publish” an ABC book of terms, key ideas, and information related to your non-fiction book. For example, and ABC of oceans might have “W is for Whale,” and “P is for Plankton.” The book will be judged for informational accuracy, GUM and spelling, artistic quality, neatness, and depth of information.
4. Prepare and present a three minute speech giving key information about your topic. This could be pre-recorded in the form of a podcast or other electronic means. The speech / podcast will be judged for informational accuracy, vocal quality (inflection, tone, delivery), and depth of information.

Key dates to keep in mind and even post on your refrigerator:

Book chosen by: Nov 12

3 Essential questions recorded on a chart: Nov 14

First check of progress on notes and glossary: Nov 25

Second check of progress on notes and glossary: Dec 9

Project progress check (1/2 done): Jan 7

Projects due: Jan 14

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No new homework!

No new homework tonight. Begin reading non-fiction book, and think of three essential questions to guide your reading and note-taking.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Unacceptable Errors / Writing Expectations

"Unacceptable Errors"
a lot

General Expectations:
Always capitalize I when referring to yourself.
Start sentences with capitals.
Use capitals for proper nouns.
End sentences with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
Single space a complete heading on the left side of the paper.
Use margins of ½ to 1 inch on left and right.
All drafts of portfolio pieces must be double spaced, and
handwritten neatly in blue or black ink or pencil, or
typed in Arial or Times New Roman in 12 point black ink.
Final copies must have all drafts and evidence of process attached behind.
Final copies of portfolio pieces are not written on by teachers.

Update to Independent Reading Project

Since this is a long weekend, students obviously can't turn in their final drafts on Monday as planned. The final drafts will instead be collected on Wednesday. Because of this shift, I am no longer requiring the formal book talk. Instead, it has become an "optional" assignment that will be for extra credit. I strongly suggest that students do the book talk, particularly those who are earning grades below a C.

Green sheet is due Wednesday as usual.

There will be a quiz on either Wednesday or Thursday on the "unacceptable errors" list that we have been going over in English class this week. These "unacceptable errors" will be implemented in all classes beginning next marking period. Teachers will be holding students accountable for correctly spelling these words in all types of writing. I will post the list in a separate posting.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Group work and Homework update

Today, groups began exploring Cinderella tales from a variety of cultures. I have 15different versions of the story in picture book form. It was quite a fun activity, and we'll continue with it tomorrow.

There is no homework for tonight, except perhaps getting a head start in the non-fiction book for next marking period.

Homework for the long weekend will be to make a final draft of the Independent Reading Response to Text (the one the students wrote about their outside reading book). Most students did not receive back their second drafts yet, but will get them tomorrow to finalize over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Today,as part of our unit on folktales, Mrs. Clifford read a new picture book called Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal to us. This is a multicultural version of the Cinderella story most of us grew up with. Did you know that there are hundreds of Cinderella tales and nearly one from every country on earth? They all have a similar theme, but many different specifics, such as what type of shoe Cinderella wears, and what kind of chores she does. We're going to read many different versions in class tomorrow and Friday, then we'll be trying our hand at writing one ourselves. Mrs. Kramer has agreed to hep our students make a cover for their stories in art class. I think it is going to be a very cool project, and hopefully one that will help students answer the three essential questions for our folktales unit.

Looking ahead, I handed out a sheet with due dates for the upcoming marking period. It is brown. Ask your child about it. I'll also be posting those dates on the blog soon.

No new homework tonight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Apologies and News

Hello everyone. My apologies for not posting yesterday. There was homework, but it is not due until tomorrow (Wednesday). Homework is to write 2nd draft of Response to Text on the Independent Reading Project. It should be either typed or neatly handwritten, and should be double spaced to allow room for proofreading/editing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This weekend

Students should be finishing first drafts of responses to text on their independent reading project. I gave them two 80 minute periods to work on this -- first prewriting and then drafting. The students who had their books read had no trouble getting most or all of this done in class. There were, however, quite a few students having difficulty as a result of not being caught up on reading. So, some students need to finish the book AND do the essay this weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Tonight's homework is to finish the Pre-writing activity for the Response to Text begun in class. This is either a list of bulleted notes or a graphic organizer. It should include quotes and citations to support ideas the students have about their book.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finish Reading

Students: Tonight, please finish reading your Independent Reading Project book. Tomorrow, we'll be working on writing a Response to Text in class. If you haven't finished the book yet, you'll b given class time to read instead, but the time will not be available later for writing, so you'll have to do that at home. Due dates should be adhered to.

Parents: The students and I went to the PTA Scholastic Book Fair to check out the books today. There were many great selections, including many that will work for upcoming Independent Reading Projects. The book fair is open afternoons, too, if you want to come check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tomorrow's Test and Reading Reminder

Students should study all Word Whiz notes (including those done in class today) for a BIG TEST tomorrow. The test will cover all word parts (prefixes, suffixes, roots), all language arts terms, and all fun and useful words. See previous postings for a list, if you need one. We've been reviewing all of these words for the past week, both in class and for homework.

Reading Reminder: We'll be having writing workshop in class on Thursday, so students should have finished their outside reading books by then.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Homework tonight

All classes: Choose and complete one constructed response from the "Election Issues" worksheet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Help for tonight's homework and next week's TEST

Tonight's homework is to read and complete a section of the green sheet and to do a double-sided worksheet reviewing terms and vocabulary for next week's test. The students should have all they need in their notes, but just in case, here are the words :

Language Arts Terms

Journal Setting Audience
Character Monologue Transition
Sensory Details Action Persuasion
Understatement Conflict Tall Tale
Description Dialogue Characterization
Persuasion Exaggeration / Hyperbole / Overstatement
Voice Tone Argumentation
Coherence Argumentation / Organization
Logic Generalization Supporting Details
Theme Moral Onomatopoeia
Alliteration End Rhyme Repetition
Issue Objective Subjective
Simile Metaphor Drama / Play
Narrator Fiction Non-fiction
Poetry Folk Tale Genre

Fun and Useful Words:


Word Parts:

Prefixes: Ex, Uni, Mono, Pyro, Ambi, In, Im, Anti
Roots: Aud, Rupt, Agri, Gastro, Onym, Spec,Dynam, Man, Mania
Suffixes: Ish, Able, Ible, Ous, Ess, Ful, Y

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homework Tuesday and Wednesday

Homework Tuesday:
Complete Word Whiz Review Sheet begun in class. Word Parts and Language Arts terms.

Homework Wednesday:
Green Sheet (as always)
Multiple Choice Sentence Completion worksheet

Second draft of essays were finished in class today. BRAVO!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20

Parents, please remember to sign up for a Parent-Teacher Conference this week. Call Terri Demasi at the school office to arrange a time.

Students began typing their responses to text on "Lather and Nothing Else" today in class. Many of them finished, and will be ready to proofread their work with a peer or two. In class we also began reviewing for an upcoming test on our Word Whiz. Students should have complete lists of
1. Fun and Useful Words
2. Word Parts
3. Language Arts Words
and should be studying them for a test next week.

Blocks 2 and 3 have a worksheet called "Language Arts 3" to complete (unless it was finished in class) for homework tonight.

Block 4 has a review activity on Fun and Useful Words to complete for homework. They have been encouraged to bring their notes home to help them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writing a Response to Text (slideshow)

Look! I figured it out! Yay!

Library Time and Wednesday Homework!

We went to the library today to peruse the new books Mrs. Clifford has gotten for the middle school collection. We found that we wanted to take many of the books with us!

Blocks 2 and 3 have no homework tonight, unless they didn't finish the Response to Text on "Lather and Nothing Else" that was due today.

Block 4 has to complete their Response to Text on "Lather and Nothing Else" for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homework and Clarification on Response to Texts

Yes, that is Response to Text(s). To clarify:

There is one Response to Text due this week (Wednesday for blocks 2 and 3, Thursday for block 4) on "Lather and Nothing Else." We are doing this one as practice before we tackle the Response to Text on our Independent Reading Project Book. The one for "Lather and Nothing Else" will go through the entire writing process and end up in the writing portfolio. The one for the IRP book is still due as detailed in October 3rd's blog entry, and will also go through the entire process and end up in the portfolio. Hope this helps.

Homework tonight for Block 3 is also to finish the questions on "Zoo" that were begun in class today. Many students were able to finish in class time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back to work!

With NECAP testing nearly over (one more test tomorrow), it is time to get back to doing English class homework. Yay!!!!

Half an hour of writing time was given in class on Friday, and another half hour was given today to work on the first draft of a Response to Text on "Lather and Nothing Else." Several very focussed students were able to finish in this time, but the rest need to complete the full first draft by Wednesday. No more class time will be given for writing the first draft. Students will need to complete it for homework, and should follow the directions in the handout of the slideshow on Responses to Text. (I still have not been able to upload the slideshow to my blog, but my computer geek husband says he thinks he can help me do it soon. :) Regardless, students DO have a copy of the slideshow in their binders, and they are able to take the copy out to bring home.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NECAPS tomorrow!

Hello all! The NECAP testing begins tomorrow. Get a good night's sleep and eat a filling breakfast. No English homework for the rest of the week. Keep reading in your historical fiction book, however!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Independent Reading Project Marking Period 2

Students were given the following handout in class today:

Independent Reading Project for Marking Period Two -- Details and Due Dates

Overview: Students are to read a historical fiction novel on their own and complete a Response to Literary Text following the 5 paragraph structure and expectations given in class. Each student has a copy of this information in his or her binder. I will also attempt to upload the Response to Text slide show to my blog ( Students will have one hour of class time per week for reading and/or writing workshop on their books. Students will be expected to spend an hour of their own time at home every week on the same. Students will be held accountable through “Green Sheet” checks and informal one-minute book shares.

October 6, 2008: Green sheet due
October 13, 2008: Green sheet and one-minute book talk due
October 20, 2008: Green sheet and one-minute book talk due
October 27, 2008: Green sheet and one-minute book talk due
**** Try to have book finished by now, and start a new book to read until marking period 3****
October 30, 2008: Writing Workshop in class -- first draft Response to Text
November 3, 2008: Green sheet and first full draft Response to Text due (double spaced). Peer conferences in class
November 5, 2008: Second draft Response to Text due for teacher feedback and peer editing. Second draft must be typed or in cursive and double spaced.
November 10, 2008: Green sheet and final draft of Response to Text due. Response to Text must be typed or in cursive and single spaced. All drafts and feedback need to be attached behind final.
November 12 2008: Formal Book Talks in class. Book Talk should be one to two minutes long, include a visual component, and address: title, author, main characters and description, historical aspects, basic plot, setting, theme, conflict and resolution.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Talks Thursday / Homework Thursday + Friday


Today nearly every student gave a Book Talk in class, sharing the book he or she read over the past month. Quite a variety of books were read, and the students sounded pretty enthusiastic about them. The audience members were not only cooperative, but also incredibly engaged during the talks. I heard several comments such as, "I think I'd like to read that book!"

I think the activity was valuable for everyone -- presenters and audience alike.

Kudos especially go to all the students (and their parents who helped and encouraged!) who came VERY prepared -- having note cards and obviously having practiced beforehand, as well.

No homework tonight.

Students should get historical fiction books to get a head start this weekend on the 2nd marking period project. Also, "green sheets" will need to be completed for Monday, as usual.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Last Call for Independent Reading Projects!

Independent Reading Projects need to be finished and handed in tomorrow. Book talks will be done in class, following the model and expectations given in class on Monday and Tuesday. To clarify: Book talks will be presented in front of the class. Students need to have a copy of the book to show or some other visual. The book talk must last at least one minute, but no more than two minutes, so practicing tonight would be a good idea. The booktalk needs to include the title, author, brief summary and setting, the names and description of the main characters, a discussion of the theme, and an identification of the main conflict and how it is resolved.

Looking ahead to next marking period: Read a historical fiction book and prepare a "Response to Text" in the format given in class. Plan about four weeks to read and two weeks to work on the project. Due dates will be given out for first draft and final draft.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Update

Today we had our first substitute in English class, and most students acted appropriately and respectfully for her. There will be a handful of detentions passed out in class tomorrow, however. :(

Due to the fact that there was a substitute, I did not assess the weekly "green sheets" that are always graded on Mondays. Students should be prepared to present them on Tuesday at the start of class.

Also, any old/late/longterm work was not collected, either, but can be handed in tomorrow.

No one should have any new homework for tonight unless they did not complete the activities (writing a constructed response for two classes and doing a grammar sheet for the third class) during the time allowed in class.

As a reminder, the Independent Reading Projects need to be completed and turned in by this Thursday. Other English homework will be extremely limited this week to give students more time to focus on the project. As of today, two students have completed their projects.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our first test

Well, Families, the students made it through their first Language Arts Word Whiz test. It took over half an hour for each class, and it will take me at least that long to grade! At first glance, however, most students appeared to be successful! Bravo!

There is no new homework tonight, however the last two letters for the Independent Reading project are due on Oct 2 at the latest. I suggested to students that it would be less stressful for them to turn one in this week and the last next week. I am hoping most of them will take me up on this strong suggestion. Students should also be prepared to present their Booktalk on the 2nd as well. Directions for the booktalk can be found on the rubric the students recieved with their first letters. Directions for the Independent Reading Project can be found on this blog under September 3.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Tonight, please study for the first test of the year. The test is on all of our Word Whiz notes:
"Fun and Useful Words," "Word Parts," and "Language Arts Words." The test is Thursday.

Fun and Useful Words: Commence, Simian, Tyro, Treasury, Notorious, Toil, Lionize, Vague, Jostle, Significant.

Word Parts: ambi, ess, in, im, spec, onym, man, mania, anti, ful, y, dynam

Language Arts Words: Journal, Setting, Audience, Action, Persuasion, Character, Characterization, Monologue, Dialogue, Transition, Description, Sensory Details, Tall Tale, Exaggeration, Understatement, Conflict, Constructed Response

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today's Class

We took a Word Whiz pre-quiz. In blocks 2 and 4, we started new constructed responses (they are homework if not finished in class), and in block 3, we started a new story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homework from Friday and Homework for today

Though it was not posted on Friday, students by now should be aware that homework every weekend is to fill in their neon green reading accountability sheets.

Homework for today, Monday, is to complete the two-sided "Language Arts 2" worksheet, and to finish the constructed response begun in class today. All students should be nearly done the constructed response, since they had 20 minutes to work on it in class. Many students were able to finish it entirely and hand it in before leaving.

Continuing homework is to complete the Independent Reading Project by October 2. For more details, see blog dated 9/3.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Progress Reports / Block 3 homework 9/18

Moms and Dads, please look for progress reports. They went home in every major class today.

Block 3 only: please complete the constructed response begun in class today. To refresh your memory, it was on how the author uses monologue and dialogue to reveal information about the characters.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday September 17 / Open House

Today was a bit disjointed due to the evacuation drill, so only one class was assigned homework. BLOCK 3 needs to complete the constructed response on suspense. The other classes do not need to do anything except continue working on their independent reading projects.

Oh, and don't forget to bring your parents to Open House tonight at 6:30.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Constructed Responses

Today in class we learned about summarizing fiction, short story structure, and how to write a constructed response. Constructed responses are what many of us grew up calling "short answer questions" -- questions that require a paragraph-length response. Constructed responses show up on the NECAP exams in math, English, and science. The basic way to answer the question is to write a paragraph that follows this structure:
First, restate the question in one sentence that gives "the gist" of your answer.
Next, using your own words and at least two quotations from the text, provide supporting details that explain your answer.
Finally, conclude your paragraph with a re-statement of your answer.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Tonight, please complete BOTH sides of the worksheet entitled, "Language Arts 1."

If you did not do it already, please complete the second section of the green accountability sheet and turn it in with a late pass tomorrow.

Remember to keep perking along on the independent reading project. The remaining parts are all due by October 2.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekend Homework / Independent Reading Update

This weekend you are to read for an hour, unless you read a total of an hour at home during the week. Please fill out green accountability sheet to turn in on Monday.

Due date set for the remainder of the Independent Reading Project: October 2. This means that by that date, you should have finished your book and turned in two more letters/emails. You also should have prepared a Book Talk to deliver on October 2. See September 3's blog for more details.

Looking ahead to next week: We'll be working on "constructed responses" to "Lather and Nothing Else", and those responses will become part of a Response to Text on the story.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Lather and Nothing Else" / Homework

We are all finished with the Gates and 2 out of 3 classes have finished reading "Lather and Nothing Else". Things should return to "normal" tomorrow.

Tonight's homework is to finish writing your 1st letter or email to me regarding your independent reading novel. See posting on September 3 for more details.

See you tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gates Assessment Finished (almost)

Today the Gates-MacGinitie assessment was completed by two classes. One class (Block two) has the reading portion remaining, due to the assembly on Tuesday. You all took the test seriously and did your best, and for that, I thank you. These tests are very important.

All classes today also visited the school library, where we learned about the changes and improvements being done to the space by our new librarian.

Tomorrow, Blocks three and four should be able to finish reading "Lather and Nothing Else" and begin working on the questions that go with it. Block two will need to finish the Gates.

Don't forget that the first email / letter for the independent reading project is DUE THIS FRIDAY!!!! See blog from Sept 3 for more details.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Things have been moving pretty quickly in class the past two days:
We began the Gates-MacGinity assessment, we've been continuing our work on vocabulary, we began Uninterrupted Silent Sustained Reading (USSR), we are trying to finish reading "Lather and Nothing Else", and many of you have turned in your first letter or email to me for the independent reading project (see blog post on September 3).

Homework due 9/12 (this Friday): turn in first letter or email if you have not already done so. This will count towards progress reports.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Lather and Nothing Else" / Homework for Weekend

What a great story we started today! "Lather and Nothing Else" had you students really interested. When class was over and it was time to go, I heard several groans about not being able to finish the story -- music to an English teachers ears! Now you have to wait a whole weekend to find out what the barber will do to the man, and who that man really is after all. I can hardly wait!

Homework for this weekend is to spend about an hour on reading your book for the Independent Reading Project (see blog entry from September 3) and filling out the top of the green "accountability sheet." Remember that the green sheet should last for four weeks, so just do the first section. The green sheet is worth 10 points and is due Monday.

Weekend homework????? Yes, but: As I explained in class, the weekend homework is always going to be to read your independent reading book for one hour and log your progress on the green sheet. If you prefer to not have to read on the weekend, starting next week you could choose to read your hour during the week instead. You could even break the hour into a few shorter chunks if you'd like. Many of you may have already read an hour during this past week, so you can just fill in the green sheet. If you are one of the ones who waited until the last minute to get your book, I'm afraid you'll have to read an hour this weekend. From now on, however, you could choose to get your hour in during the week instead, and still turn the green sheet in on Monday.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our first unit / Homework for tonight

Today we began our first unit. We'll be studying short stories. Our essential questions for the unit will be:
1. What makes a "good" short story?
2. How can I write a "good" short story?

Homework for tonight: Do the back side of the Reading Comprehension sheet we started in class today. Remember to try out the strategies I modeled for you in class. Also, if you have not yet gotten an independent reading book, please get one! This weekend you should read your book for an hour. If you have any questions about the independent reading project, check out the posting yesterday for details. Feel free to ask in class, too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reading Purposes and Strategies / Independent Reading Project

Today in class we discussed some of the purposes of reading: pleasure, information, clarification, escape, education, and more. We also talked about different strategies that good readers use to help them understand their reading: questioning, clarifying, predicting, visualizing, consulting outside sources, connecting, and more. Keep these strategies (also called skills) and purposes in mind as we read this year.
Reminder to all students: You need to find an ADVENTURE FICTION book to read independently ASAP. You will have ten minutes a day in class to read and are expected to read for a total of one hour outside of class each week. You can choose to read your hour's worth in one or more sessions, over the weekend or on weeknights, or whatever fits your lifestyle. Once you have read one third of your book, send me a 250 word email or write me a 250 word letter (typed or handwritten). Your letter should include a brief summary of what has happened in the pages you have read, who the main characters are and what they are like, some of the strategies you have had to use while reading, what you expect will happen next and why, any connections you have made, and whether or not you are enjoying the book and why. This will be followed by an email/letter after another third of the book, and another email/letter when you finish the book. You'll also need to give a brief booktalk on your independent reading. This all needs to be completed before the end of this marking period.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Word Whiz

Today in class we completed our first Word Whiz activity (commence, journal, and the prefix ambi), wrote in our journals, learned how to access the blog, recorded our grades so far, and got a little preview of what we'll be doing tomorrow in class. Thank you to those who shared journal entries today. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today's Class

Wow! You guys wrote some AWESOME journal entries today about your worst nightmare of a teacher and your best dream of a teacher. Exaggeration can be fun! You are a pretty creative bunch, and I look forward to reading your writing all year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homework for Wednesday

Three things:

1. Check out my blog! (oh, look, it's already done!)
2. Have a parent read class info with you and fill out form.
3. Remember rafting permission and money!!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome Message

Hi all! Welcome to my class! I am looking forward to being your teacher this year.

There's no homework yet, but remember to bring in your permission slip and money for the rafting trip on Friday.