Wednesday, December 30, 2009

THE PEARL and general announcements

Most unfortunately, my copy of the movie version of The Pearl was misplaced.  I ordered a new copy, but it did not arrive in time to watch it with the students before the break.  I do have a copy now, and we will watch it in January, beginning with the half of the movie that matches what we have already read; after finishing our reading, we will watch the end of the movie.  The permission slips signed before break will cover the students after break as well.  However, some students have not turned in permission slips yet, so they will still need to do that before being allowed to view the movie. 


Students should be working on their independent reading projects, and I will be expecting them to be approximately half done by January 8th, and ready to be presented by January 13th.


My student teacher, Hunter Berryhill, will be joining us beginning on January 11th, and continuing into March.  He has been in my classes several days already, getting a feel for the students and our routines.  I’m already impressed with him --- especially his uncanny ability to learn the students’ names so quickly!  I am sure he’ll do well with our students. He’ll be focusing his unit on folktales.


I’m looking forward to 2010!  It will be a great winter and spring at FHGS, I am sure! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

quote and reflection

Homework tonight:  Journal entry of one page reflecting on the following quotation from Oliver Wendell Holmes:


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”


Consider the following in your reflection:

  1. What does the quotation mean?
  2. How does it apply to your life / experiences?
  3. How does it apply to The Pearl?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Homework tonight is to have Word Whiz vocabulary test signed by a parent or other responsible adult.  Students also could work on their persuasive essays using Googledocs (entire essay should be complete in first draft mode).  Reminder that notes and glossary will be checked again on December 18th, so students should also be working on their non-fiction reading projects.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Homework for the weekend:


STUDY for the third Word Whiz test, which covers all words learned so far.  Test will be Tuesday.


NON-FICTION independent reading and note-taking (just keep working on this – next notes check on 12/18)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review homework

Complete review worksheet on Fun and Useful words and Language Arts terms.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Tonight's homework is to write a quiz that covers the last set of Word Whiz words -- "fun and useful words," "word parts," and "language arts terms."
Each class has slightly different requirements, but all are asked to be sure their quiz is legible, clearly explains directions, and includes a variety of types of questions on all three types of vocabulary words.  Someone will actually TAKE this quiz on Thursday.
As we have reached the end of a set of words, a TEST will be coming up on Monday.  Students should study notes, old quizzes, old worksheets, et cetera.
Also, please remember that a check of notes and glossary will be happening on FRIDAY, so students should be able to show that they have made some progress in their books and note-taking.
REMINDER to all that permission slips are due on Friday for the mid-year incentive trip, though the money is not due until January.  We need to book our locations, so correct numbers are necessary. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Homework

Write two different full-page journal entries on a topic of your choice. Some ideas:

Things I'm thankful for.
What I love about Fall and Winter.
Using Facebook to change the world.
Thoughts on the first few paragraphs of The Pearl.
Why we shouldn't have homework over holiday breaks.

Friday, November 20, 2009


My apologies for not posting the homework for last night.  It was a very quick assignment and most completed it in the time allowed in class.  Regardless, I should have posted it, and I am sorry for "dropping the ball"
New project guidelines were distributed and discussed in class on Thursday.  Here are the details:

Independent Reading Project -- Non-fiction / Informational Text


While reading, stop 6 times to record MAIN IDEAS and SUPPORTING DETAILS.  You could do this at the end of a chapter or major section of your book.  A handout will be provided for you to use for this purpose.


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


After reading, choose and complete one 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 10 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 or Google Presentation of a minimum of 10 slides (not including title slide) exploring the main ideas you found as you read. The PowerPoint / Google Presentation 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 / main ideas 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.


And, using Google Forms, create a short “quiz” for your classmates to take after viewing / hearing your project.  This will serve as an assessment of your presentation, because if your “students” do well, your “teaching” was good!  The first question must ask students to “grade” your presentation.  The second question must ask students to explain why they gave you that grade.  The third question must give students an opportunity to comment in the form of a praise, a question, or a suggestion.  The 4th – 7th questions must be based on the content you have presented, and can be multiple choice, true/false, or some other form.  The 8th question must ask for the name of the student taking the quiz.

The quiz will need to be clearly labeled and emailed to your classmates prior to your presentation.


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


Book chosen by: November 20


First check of progress on notes and glossary: December 4


Second check of progress on notes and glossary: December 18


Project 1, 2, 3, or 4 progress check (1/2 done): January 8


Projects due / presented to class and quizzes taken: January 13

Monday, November 16, 2009

3rd Marking Period

Independent Reading for 3rd marking period will be a NON-FICTION book.  Details will be coming soon on project expectations.  I am still thinking the project through, but I'm leaning towards a live speech with visual, video, photostory, slideshow, or podcast with appropriate musical background summarizing three main aspects of the students' learning from the book (all of these could be modeled on a 5 paragraph essay structure) AND a "quiz" created with Googledocs, using the "forms" option, that the students could take after the presentation.  This would give the students feedback on what their classmates learned from their presentation.

More to come as I rattle these ideas around in my head some more.  For now, please make sure your son / daughter has a non-fiction book and is reading it. 


Monday, November 2, 2009

Homework for the week

Homework for the week is to complete a full first draft response to text on the historical fiction novel students read for this marking period.  The format is the same as the one we used for the “Lather and Nothing Else” essay – 5 paragraphs with a thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph, quotations from the text in each proof paragraph, and a conclusion.  The essay should focus on what makes the novel a good example of historical fiction.  We have notes in our binders on various aspects of historical fiction, and the essay should refer to these.  We did a graphic organizer on Thursday in preparation for this essay.  Other aspects of good writing can be used as proof as well, such as suspense, strong characterization, use of figurative language, et cetera, but at least one proof must relate to the “historical fiction” notes. 


Students with access to googledocs are encouraged to use this to create their essay, but a printed copy (sorry!) will be needed for class on Friday as we will not have the laptops.  Students without access to googledocs are to write out their essay long-hand and will be given time next Monday to transcribe it to the computers.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grades went home today

Look for progress reports tonight. 

Students should study for Word Whiz test tomorrow.

Those who have not finished independent reading books (about 10 students) NEED to finish as we have already started our essays on them and will be finishing those essays (first draft, anyway) on Monday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Word Whiz Review

Tonight's homework is to complete two worksheets in preparation for the Word Whiz TEST on FRIDAY.  Both sheets are due tomorrow, and over 20 minutes was given in class to get a solid head start.  Students SHOULD use their notes if they find that they can not answer automatically.  One sheet is a crossword puzzle using all the language arts terms that we have studied so far, and the other is a combination of fill in the blank sentences and matching definitions for the fun and useful words we have learned this year.   

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reading Project & Homework

Independent Reading projects should be halfway done, since we are halfway through the marking period.  Specifically, students should have completed the reading of their books, and be starting to think about their essays, which we will begin at the end of this week or the start of next week.  Most students are nearly or completely finished their books, but in looking around the room today, I noticed that even though they had a three weeks and a 5 day weekend, some students had still read fewer than 100 pages in their books.  Please check in to make sure your son/daughter is on track to have the book finished in the next few days.
There is no homework, especially since some kids still need reading time. 
The only exception is a few students in Block 4 who had their vocabulary work from the other day returned and had to re-do a portion of it that had not been understood.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Work for LONG Weekend

All blocks:  Read in independent reading book; complete green sheet including parent signature; turn in YWP forms if you have not done so already.


Blocks 1 and 3:  Word Whiz review sheets, using your notes.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun-filled Friday

In class today, we used our mobile lab of netbook style computers to collaborate on a slide show of the books nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.  It can be seen as a work in progress by students by going to their GoogleDocs folder.  Once it is completed, we will upload it to this blog for parents to see as well.  The students were very excited about the books, and wanted to check them out right away!  It was a great lesson. 


We also began a funny short story called “Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry. 


Our homework tonight is much more mundane: 

1.  Green sheets are due for Monday, and students should be ready for a quick, on-the-spot book talk about their outside reading. 

2.  Young Writers Project forms need to be signed and returned.

3.  About 50% of the students have follow-up work to do on the “no excuses” word list we’ve been working on in class.  They have to copy the sentences they got wrong 5 times each.  Correctly, of course.  “Practice makes permanent,” Mr. Etzler always says, so we don’t want to practice something incorrectly. 


Parents: Since your child has a high probability of being a typical middle schooler, you may not have gotten the forms and announcements that have been sent home recently.  Some important ones:

We’re doing a coat/mitten/glove/hat drive for needy children in our community and would appreciate donations being placed outside the nurses’ office.

Parent Teacher Conference sign ups are underway.  Call Mrs. Demasi to make an appointment for next week!

Students are asked to bring in items for Supermarket Bingo (will be Nov 20).  Items for raffle table would be great, along with 7th grade’s suggested donations of canned soup and veggies, gravy packets, and cranberry sauce.


Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Response to Text Slide Show

News/New work

News: Picture day Wednesday, Young Writers Project permissions due, H1N1 consent/decline forms due


New work:  Due by Thursday is a first draft response to text on “Lather and Nothing Else”.  See notes from class, Google Docs, or this blog for a slide show explanation.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homework 10/12

1. Please LOCATE the 4 constructed responses on "Lather and Nothing Else" that were written, scored, and returned in September. We wil be using them as pre-writing for our first full Response to Text.
2. Please SIGN and RETURN Young Writers Project permission forms (both sides of the sheet) that were mailed home on Thursday. In the space for student email, write your child's gmail account, which is his/her username plus
3. If you have not already done so, please return the H1N1 vaccine forms that were sent home by mail last week. If you do not want the vaccine, please still return the sheet indicating that you decline the vaccine for your child. The nurses need the forms back.
4. As always, read in your independent reading project book. Be prepared for an informal book talk at any time, but especially on Mondays. Green sheets are due every Monday as well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Independent Reading Project Marking Period Two

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, in his or her GoogleDocs folder, and on my blog ( see posting from October 2008). 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 5:    Green sheet due

October 12:  Green sheet and one-minute book talk due

October 19:  Green sheet and one-minute book talk due

October 26:  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 28-30:  Writing Workshop in class -- first draft Response to Text

November 2:   Green sheet and second draft Response to Text due (double spaced).  Peer conferences in class

November 5:  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:  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.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Info for week of September 28


·         NECAP testing begins in October.

·         Leadership group with SAP counselor begins on Sept 30

·         Full school evacuation drill on October 1 at 10 AM… do not be alarmed.

·         Elks’ American Dream essay contest due on Nov 21.

·         Middle School marking period ends this Friday.  Report cards will go home next Thursday.



·         Letter #3 and green sheet were due today.

·         Informal book talks are going to be given on Wednesday (1 to 2 minutes long each)

·         Tonight’s homework (begun in class) is to write a constructed response of one solid, detailed paragraph, explaining how Hernando Tellez uses various characterization methods to help the reader understand the characters in “Lather and Nothing Else”

·         Next marking period’s genre for outside reading is historical fiction.  Kids should start trying to select one.  We’ll go to the library on Friday, but having one before then, if possible, would give kids a jump start on the marking period.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Homework Monday, TOO!

Also, you may wish to begin studying for the Word Whiz test, which will be on Wednesday.

Homework Monday

To ALL:  Letter #3 is due on the 28th.  This means you need to have finished your book by then.


To Blocks 1 and 4:  Write a constructed response paragraph answering the following question: 

“How does Hernando Tellez (the author) build suspense throughout ‘Lather and Nothing Else’?”



Thursday, September 17, 2009

News / Updates

Thank you to all who came to the Open House last night.  It was nice to meet many of you and be able to put a face to your name!


Reminder to all students that LETTER #2 is due tomorrow.  It can be emailed, shared as a Doc, or turned in “the old fashioned way”.


Also, all students have their ‘green sheet” due on Monday.


Block 4 only:  Due on Friday is a Constructed Response summarizing “Lather and Nothing Else”

Blocks 1 and 3 only:  Due on Monday is a Constructed Response on “Lather and Nothing Else” and how the author builds suspense in the story.


I hope to see many of you at Applefest!



Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Hello!  Tonight is Open House from 6 – 6:45, followed by an internet safety presentation for parents. Those who stay for the internet presentation will get a FREE 2g flash drive for their son or daughter, and be able to enter into a raffle for an iPod Touch!  Please come!



  • All students have letter #2 due on Friday.  Those who can email, please do so as it saves on paper and ink and makes my schoolbag lighter!
  • Block 4 students may have a constructed response paragraph to write summarizing the story we read in class.  If we don’t finish the story, we won’t have this assignment until Thursday evening. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Homework for tonight

Tonight, students need to write a “constructed response” answering the following question:


If a classmate of yours had been absent when we read “Lather and Nothing Else” in class, what would you tell him/her it was about?


This question is asking students to write a detailed SUMMARY of the short story we read together.  Summaries include title, author, main characters, main events, genre, and setting.  The answer should be in a full paragraph form, with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Green sheet

Green sheet (reading accountability sheet) is due Monday, WITH parent signature.  Keep reading!  Letter #2 is due on the 18th.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GoogleDocs and Student Email

Students were introduced to their school-based email accounts and google documents applications today in English class.  They are pretty excited and may want to practice tonight.  With Google Docs, students will have access to FREE word processing and presentation software wherever they have internet access.  This should eliminate the compatibility and software access difficulties some students have had in the past.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Homework tonight and every night until further notice is simply:  READ 10 – 15 minutes and/or work on letter #2, which is due Sept 18.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

homework for the week

Please see yesterday’s posting regarding the project for the marking period. 


Unless otherwise noted, every night this week, please read 10 – 15 minutes OR work on letter due 9/8.


Don’t forget to come prepared to raft on Friday.


n       bring a towel and a plastic bag with a change of clothes

n       bring lunch unless getting it from cafeteria

n       no flip-flops or shoes without a back strap

Marking period 1 PROJECT

Hello!  The project for independent reading this marking period is as follows:


Read an adventure fiction book independently. Students will have about 10 minutes in class to read each day, and should plan on 10 – 15 minutes each night.  An accountability sheet will be coming shortly.


After chapters 1 and 2, but on or before September 8, write a 200 word letter to me following directions given below.

After you read the middle of your book, but on or before September 18, write a 200 word letter to me following the directions given below.

After you finish the book, but on or before September 28, write a 200 word letter to me following the directions given below.

On September 30, present a 1 – 2 minute book talk to the whole class.  You will share: title, author, main character information, basic plot summary, your thoughts on the book, and the overall theme (aka main idea, message, or lesson the book teaches).


Letter explanation:

The letter will be in “formal letter style” as explained in class and as shown on page 7 of the students’ assignment books.  It may be typed or hand written neatly on lined paper.  It may be emailed as an attachment (if you type in WORD or Open Office, but not in wordpad, notepad, works, or other), or copied into the body of the email.  I will email a short “I got it” reply.  If the “I got it” does not come to you within 24 hours, please see me as I probably did not receive the email.


Email address:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Homework Monday Aug 31

Tonight, please read 10 – 15 minutes in your adventure books.  We’ll be talking in the next few days about how to write your first letter for the project.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day News and Homework for the week

Hi!  We’re off to a great start in 7th grade!  Parents, there are going to be close to 25 forms coming to you tonight from the school, and many of them need to be signed.  I DID give your child a homework assignment to read the class information sheets I sent home with him or her tonight.  I would ask that you read the info tomorrow night and fill out the part that asks for some information and feedback from you.  If you want to do it tonight, that is fine, too, but I didn’t want to add anything else to your plates.  Each student in my class will need an “adventure fiction” book to read independently during silent reading time.  If these books could be selected and in hand by Monday, that would be great.  There will be quite a few assignments related to the book this marking period, so the sooner we can start reading, the better. 


In summary, the assignments for this week are as follows:


Wednesday evening:  STUDENT reads class information handout

Thursday evening:  PARENT / GUARDIAN reads handout and fills out form attached

Friday evening:  STUDENT and PARENT find an adventure fiction book at student’s reading level that can be realistically read in 5 weeks with only 10 minutes a day in class, and an hour a week outside of class. 


I’m looking forward to a great year! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Field Trip Thursday

Please be sure your student is at school early enough to leave the parking lot by 7:45 Thursday.  We’ll plan on returning around 7:45 in the evening.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prep For Exam

Tonight’s homework / Thursday’s homework:


Create a “help sheet” for the final exam. You must turn it in for review on Friday, but will get it back to use on the exam on Tuesday. Each class has slightly different rules for their sheet (one or two sided, how big, et cetera).


This is likely the LAST homework assignment for the year. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Review Homework

Tonight’s homework is to complete the Language Arts3 worksheet.  No late passes will be accepted for this assignment, as we will be reviewing it in class and returning it for use as a study guide.


Letter #3 is also due tomorrow. 



Monday, June 1, 2009

June begins!

Homework for tonight is to complete the review packet on Language Arts Terms sets one and two. 
Also, Letter #3 is due on Wednesday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

weekend homework

1. Get test signed
2. Letter #3 due June 3
3. Block 4 final works cited (if possible)
4. Green sheet
5. All library books returned to Mrs. Clifford Monday
6. It's never too early to begin studying for that Final Exam!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homework Block 2 / General Announcement

Tonight, Block 2 students need to complete their Works Cited page.  Online help can be found at


Lots of examples and time were given in class.


New due date for Letter #3:  June 3, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Final Exam Information


Before exam, but counting as part of the grade:

  • Persuasive essay (on demand with graphic organizer):  I will show it to students on Friday, June 5, and they will write it Monday, June 8.
  • Completed portfolio: All must be present in the folder!
    • Response to text – “Lather and Nothing Else”
    • Response to text – Historical Fiction
    • Persuasive – “Is Man Good?”
    • Narrative – Cinderella tale
    • Persuasive – 180 School Hours
    • Response to text – Asian novel
    • Report/Response to texts – Poet of choice
    • Poem – Fun, Season, or other of choice


On the exam:


1.  All Fun and Useful Words (Sets 1 – 7)


2.  All Language Arts Terms


3.  All Word Parts (prefixes, suffixes, roots)


4.  Analysis of a NEW poem (Multiple choice, fill in, or true/false)


5.  Reading Comprehension questions on a NEW text (non-fiction or fiction)


6.  Punctuation rules and application:

·         Apostrophes

·         Commas

·         Semi-colons

·         Colons

·         End Marks

·         Quotation Marks

·         Italics  (or underlining if not typed)


7.  Capitalization Rules


8.  Basic grammar

·         Subjects/Predicates

·         Types of sentences (complex, compound, simple)

·         Kinds of sentences (interrogative, imperative, declarative, exclamatory)

·         Types of verbs (action or state of being)

·         Pronouns (types as well as clear pronoun referent)

·         Run-ons and fragments

9.  Short Story Structure and definitions (ex:  exposition, climax)


10.  Poetic terms (ex:  structure terms, craft terms)


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

homework tonight

Letter # 2 due Thursday.


Poet reports have been typed and (I hope) completed in class.  We have spent 160 minutes of total typing time, which certainly should have been sufficient if students had utilized research time and first draft writing time well. 


Journals will be collected on FRIDAY and 5 entries will be assessed – full page entries on topics beginning with E, F, G, H, I.  PLEASE do NOT simply write a list of words that start with that letter.  An entry that is simply a list of words will NOT earn full credit. 





Monday, May 18, 2009


No new homework tonight, but students should be thinking about their poet reports.
2nd book project letter is due Thursday the 21st. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

weekend work

An hour was given in class today to work on full first drafts of the poet report/response.  Sadly, many students have not used their time well and were unable to write during this time due to not having enough research completed from previous work sessions.  We are obviously at “crunch time” now, with the year ending and exams around the corner.  Many students have opted to (and will NEED to) do their first drafts over the weekend.  We’ll have class time for typing on Monday, but my observation has been that for most students it is inefficient to type and think at the same time.  Therefore, they will use their computer time better if they have their handwritten drafts completed.  I know families have a lot going on at this time of the year, too, and that is why I have given many hours of class time for this project in school.  Please ask your student if he or she finished the essay today, and if not, help him or her find time this weekend to get it done.  Thanks.


Green sheets are also due Monday, and second letters for projects are due Thursday the 21st.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

the report begins

We spent quite a bit of time in class today beginning our poet reports.  I showed and discussed a model of the first paragraph, and gave 20 - 30 minutes to write, following the model.  Students who did not finish will need to do so tonight.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday and Tuesday

Monday night's homework (as announced by my sub):
  • memorize poem for Wednesday
  • turn in first letter for project on Tuesday
  • write one page in your journal on a topic starting with E
  • green sheet if not turned in on Monday

Tuesday night's homework:

  • memorize poem for tomorrow

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Poems and Independent Reading Project dates

New poems need to be memorized by Wednesday, May 13.
Green sheets are due on Monday.
1st letter (after reading 10 - 20 pages) for independent project is due May 12.
2nd letter (half way done book) is due May 21.
3rd letter (after finishing book) is due June 9.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Journal one page on a topic beginning with D.
Block 4:  Get your test signed by a parent and memorize a second poem from set # 2 (the one on green paper).  You will recite it on WEDNESDAY MAY 13th, and will be responsible for remembering the two previous poems as well. 
Other blocks will be getting a new set of poems tomorrow and will choose a new poem from the new set.  It will be labeled "set three" and will be on yellow paper. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday and Portfolio announcement

Students spent time today organizing portfolios.  Most students are in good shape; however, if pieces are missing, the final grade (part of final exam) will be affected.  If any pieces are missing, students will need to find or re-create the piece before June 9.


Tonight’s homework is to prepare for the poetry recitation tomorrow AND to write one full page in their journals on a topic that starts with C.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Apparently I mis-communicated about the due date for the poetry recitations.  I had “Monday” as the due date in one place, but “May 6” as the due date in another.  Mea culpa.


As a result, I had some students who chose to recite today, and some who are waiting until Wednesday.  No penalty for waiting until Wednesday, since it was apparently my error.


Students should be bringing home their Word Whiz 6 tests to get signed for credit.


Students should be writing one full page in their journals on a topic that starts with B.


Students who did not recite today must keep working on memorizing their poem for Wednesday.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Weekend homework is to MEMORIZE your new poem for Monday.  You need to remember the first poem as well.
Also, read and complete green sheet.
Everyone gets a fresh start on Monday when the new marking period begins.  Let's make it great!!!!
I will post due dates and details for next marking period's independent reading project next week.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marking Period Ending Friday

Only one class has homework tonight -- Block 2 has to do a short worksheet.  Please note that Friday is the end of the marking period. 
All work (make-up work, assignments, essays, signatures from parents) needs to be in by tomorrow for credit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday April 29

No new Homework tonight... HOWEVER, the marking period ends this Friday and many students still have work outstanding.  Ask your child if he / she still hasn't turned in any of these major assignments, that I'll still take with a late penalty:
  • Journal S - Z
  • Cumulative Review worksheet
  • Mystery novel project
  • 2nd draft original poem with 1st draft attached
  • Pronoun packet
  • Grade report signed by a parent
  • Test on capitalization and punctuation SIGNED and corrections made to second page

FYI -- We began our poet research today in the library.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poem to write, Poem to memorize, Poet to study!

Tonight’s homework is to write a NEAT second draft of your poem.  It needs to be about an ordinary event (like mowing the lawn) that becomes extraordinary (exaggerate it!!!).  It should have a simile, metaphor, personification, or onomatopoeia. It should rhyme OR have a regular rhythmic pattern.  It should be 8 lines minimum.  It should have strong verbs and colorful adjectives (“rubbery blubbery macaroni”)


A new set of poems were handed out today (on green paper), and each student needs to memorize ONE of them for a recitation next Monday (May 4).  They also still need to be able to recite last week’s poem as well.


A new PROJECT was handed out in class today.  We’ll be working on a research project / response to literature paper.  We’ll be researching ABOUT a poet and reading and analyzing some of his/her poetry, then writing a paper fusing the biographical information with the poetry analysis.  Most of the work will be done in class, and due to the size of the packet, I am requiring students to keep the packet in my classroom.  Parents are welcome to see the packets if they stop in at the end of the day, or at School Report Night.  The cover sheet for the packet is below:


Poet research project


  1. Choose a poet from the following:



  • Langston Hughes
  • Walt Whitman
  • Edward Lear
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Robert Frost
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • ee cummings
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson



  • William Carlos Williams
  • Maya Angelou
  • Paul Janeczko
  • Anne Bradstreet
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Sara Teasdale
  • William Wordsworth
  • William Blake
  • Ogden Nash
  • Jack Prelutsky



  1. Read 5 of his/her poems
  2. Complete an analysis sheet for each
  3. List 10 to 15 words that you think describe his/her poems
  4. Read about the poet and his / her poetry and take notes using the form I give you
    1. One to two online sources (websites like
    2. One to two print sources (magazines, encyclopedias, books)
    3. One article from the GALE DATABASE
    4. *Optional* CD-ROM source, such as Grolier or Encarta
  5. Write a first draft of a report on your chosen poet, using your research notes and your analysis of the poems.
    1. 1st paragraph includes hook, brief biographical information on poet, thesis statement:  The three words that I think best describe blank’s poetry are: zing, zang, and zong
    2. 2nd paragraph all about why you think blank’s poetry is zing.
    3. 3rd paragraph all about why you think blank’s poetry is zang.
    4. 4th paragraph all about why you think blank’s poetry is zong.
    5. 5th paragraph wrapping your report up, summarizing your main points, and encouraging your reader to read this person’s poetry
  6. Turn first draft in
  7. While it is being checked over, create a Works Cited page.
  8. Type second draft, revising as necessary
  9. Turn it in
  10. Proofread, edit, revise as necessary
  11. Turn in final copy with Works Cited and analysis sheets attached


Monday, April 27, 2009

homework April 27

Marking period independent reading projects are due tomorrow (unless exempted due to NECAP)


Poems that were due today are due tomorrow with a late slip for those who did not turn them in today.


Blocks 2 and 3 have a test on GUM that needs to be signed, as well as corrections to do on section A of the second page.  They also need to write out section B as a dialogue, regardless of how well they did on that section.  Be sure to start a new line and indent every time the speaker changes.  Watch out for titles of chapters (in quotation marks) and titles of web sites (underlined or in italics).


Block 4 has a worksheet on possessives due tomorrow.



Friday, April 24, 2009

poem and greeen sheet

Tonight's homework is the usual green sheet, the mystery project (due Tuesday), and to finish the poem we spent about 30 minutes on in class.  The poem needs to be 8 lines minimum, should rhyme, and should be humorous by exaggerating an ordinary event (like the ones we've read in class about hanging laundry, doing homework, soda bottles, and hot summer days).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Test tomorrow

Recitations are over (except for a few select students), and kids did VERY well for the most part! Congratulations!
Test tomorrow on last set of Word Whiz words. It will include some old words as well.
Also, an updated average with details of assignments was given to students in blocks 2 and 4. Students in block 2 are required to have a parent or guardian sign the report.
Block 3 students will (I hope) come home with updates on Friday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Students had a great time today playing the games they had created in small groups to review for the vocabulary test on Friday.  Good work!!!
A packet of pronoun worksheets was given to the block 2 and 3 classes.  It is due on Friday. 
Mystery novel projects are due on Tuesday, April 28.
Poems will be recited tomorrow (Thursday).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Same homework as Monday


Monday, April 20, 2009


Homework for the next three nights is to MEMORIZE one of the eight poems I handed out today.  Students will be reciting their chosen poem in front of the class on Thursday.  Their grade will be based on four things:
1.  Stating the title and author
2.  Accurately reciting the poem word for word
3.  Fluency of the recitation (ie:  smoothly saying the poem in a way that shows that they know it well and understand it)
4.  Poise (ie: how the students carry themselves in front of the class -- body language, vocal tone, et cetera)
Students are working in class time to review vocabulary for a test on Friday.  Reviewing at home would be a GREAT idea, too!
Get those MYSTERY BOOKS read and get working on projects.  Projects are due on the 28th of April (next Tuesday).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Homework and Mystery Novel Project

Tonight’s homework is two worksheets for blocks 2 and 3 reviewing semicolons, colons, and general punctuation; homework for block 4 is a worksheet on quotation marks in dialogue.


One more day until vacation!


There will be no new homework over vacation, but mystery books need to be finished ASAP.  Projects are due April 28th.  Projects are as follows:




1).  After reading a book, each student selects a book report container.  This container can be a plastic bag, a manila envelope, a can, a shoebox or any other object that can hold items

2)  The students decorate the container to convey major details, elements, or themes founding the book.

3).  Students will then work on the contents of their container.  They will need to include the following:

  • Questions-Write ten questions based on the book.  Write five “right there” questions and five more questions that require some more thought
  • Vocabulary-Create a ten word glossary of unfamiliar words from the book.
  • Things-Include five things (objects) that have a connection to the story.



1).  The student composes eight questions to ask a main character in the book.  The students write the character’s response to each question.  The questions and responses should indicate the student’s knowledge of the story without giving away the most significant details.

2).  On the day the assignment is due, the student will either dress up as the main character or use props to depict what the character has an interest in.


1).  Each student creates a front cover of a newspaper that tells about events and characters in a book just read.  The newspaper must include\:

  • Title-That is appropriate for the book
  • Major Story-This is where the student writes a summary.
  • Comic Strip-Illustrating an event from the story.
  • Editorial-Students write an opinion about the book.



1).  The students will write at least six diary or journal entries that might have been written by the main character in the book just read.  The entries should share details about the story that will prove the students read the book.

2).  The students will then make a cover for their character’s diary.