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.