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.