Thursday, December 15, 2011

7th grade paragraphs

Many 7th graders have paragraphs to finish from class time.  A half hour was given, but many students did not finish in that time.  The paragraphs are due tomorrow.



Friday, December 9, 2011

new dates

Due to my absence on Thursday, I'm extending the due dates.

Project and quiz now due Monday, Essay now due Tuesday

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This week for 7th grade, part 2

Project week is in full swing!
Wednesday, we will have one full 80 minute period for working on the projects.  I remind students and parents that this is not likely to be enough time to complete the work unless they spend time outside of class as well. I urge students to utilize after school study and morning madness. The FINAL project and the Google quiz are both due on Friday.

This week for 7th grade, part one

In class today, we began persuasive letters to Mr. Cooke, taking a position on either homework or cell phones.  This will be due in FIRST DRAFT (Rough draft) form on Monday, December 12th. The notes from class are below for your/their reference:

Tips/Techniques for persuasion:

Trick / Manipulate / Plead / Nag
Make promises
Provide logical evidence:
    If, then
    Expert opinion / testimonial
    Precedent (who has done it before?)
Use authority
Build trust (who ARE you anyway?)
Butter them up (why would someone as kind/smart as him/her want to do this?)

Format for the letter:

Letter format -- date, addresses, salutation, sincerely

Para 1:  Introduction and thesis statement -- who you are, why you are writing (concern to share), acknowledge (admit) what is good in the school and what HE does well.  THEN share your request.  Then 3 part thesis statement.

Para 2: transition, why this is good/necessary/important/imperative/educational, statistics, articles, expert opinions, polls, promises, MANY persuasive techniques.

Para 3 and 4:  exactly as above

Para 5:  conclusion -- transition, remind Mr. Cooke of how wonderful he is (butter, butter, butter), acknowledge that not everyone agrees with you (there is controversy or other opinions but why you are right, final push/carrot/promise.  Repeat your thesis statement with request added. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

7th grade homework

Finish the papers from Wednesday's class, please.

Sent from my iPod

Monday, November 28, 2011

Homework Pile Up for 7th grade

Before class tomorrow, November 29, 2011, 7th graders should have the following COMPLETED (yes, they’ve been aware of this for some time):


The “Lather and Nothing Else” essay

The “Boy and a Man” questions, which includes #6 – a first draft quality essay

The nonfiction book totally read AND notes and glossary completed (6 main ideas with supporting details and 20 vocab words)


It was never my intention for students to complete all of this work in one evening.  Unfortunately, some students have apparently chosen to do so.  It’s going to be a long night for those kiddos. 


This week ends with an “eligibility report”, and these assignments will be part of that grade. 



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

7th grade project update and upcoming test

Parents and Students:


I have changed the due dates of the nonfiction reading projects to give students a little more time to complete the work.  I have also added a few class times to work on the project. 


Books need to be read in full and the 6 main ideas and 20 glossary words completed by NOVEMBER 29

I will give a FULL 80 minute period as a “work day” for the projects on NOVEMBER 29

Projects will be checked and graded with an expectation of being “half done” on NOVEMBER 30

I will give a HALF class (40 minutes total) for explanation and work on the Google Forms Quiz on DECEMBER 2

I will give a FULL 80 minute period as a “work day” on DECEMBER 7

Completed projects and quizzes need to be brought to class for assessment and presenting on DECEMBER 9


All details of the projects and quiz are on a bright yellow sheet in your child’s binder. 


The amount of time necessary for kids to do a high quality job on this project is much more than the time they will be given in class.  Please encourage your child to take advantage of after school study and the available work time in the evenings at our FHGS library. 




ADDITIONALLY, please be aware that we have come to the end of our third set of vocabulary.  There will be reviews in class (possibly homework as well), but students will need to STUDY outside of class as well.  The test will be on Monday the 21st

Abigail P. Wald

Fair Haven Grade School

Middle Level Language Arts and Co-Team Leader

802-265-3883, extension 249


Thursday, November 3, 2011

8th grade homework

8th graders need to finish the essay/letter they began in class.  After 40 minutes, several students DID turn theirs in, but most needed more time.  I will collect tomorrow at class time.  Also, remember to be prepared for literature circles.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Constructed Response for grade 7

7th graders are to write a constructed response tonight, answering the following question about “Lather and Nothing Else:”


How does Hernando Tellez use monologue and dialogue effectively in “Lather and Nothing Else?”


Monday, October 31, 2011


7th – Be ready to show your in-process notes on your independent reading book.  I want to see at least one main idea with supporting  details.  Also, have at least 5 vocabulary words identified, along with the sentences and definitions. 


8th -  Read and prepare your role for literacy circles. Boar group is to read the next chapter.  Maniac group is to read to page 40.



Monday, October 24, 2011


TEST on Word Whiz on Tuesday for 7th graders. 

BCP due on Tuesday for 8th graders.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7th and 8th grade info

7th grade had a “catch up” day today, working on LOTS of review activities for Word Whiz 2 Test.  Any work not completed in class time should be done over the long weekend.  TEST will be Tuesday.


7th grade was given a new independent reading project handout describing the expectations and due dates for their out-of-class books.  I can provide electronic or paper copies at parent request.  Email me if you’d like a copy for home.


8th grade should have turned in their BCP vocabulary today (but many did not).  The remainder of the BCP is due next week.


Now that NECAPs are finished, I look forward to uninterrupted teaching! 




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

homework and parent conferences

Homework for grade 7 tonight:  Prepare a 1 – 2 minute book talk for Wednesday.  This is a short talk in which you share the title, author, setting, conflict, basic plot, characters, and theme of your outside reading book.  You also need to have a visual component;  ie:  you bring in something that relates to your book – an object the character had with him, a copy of the book, et cetera.  You are not expected to spend hours making a poster or anything like that.  Keep it simple.


Also, as an FYI – parent teacher conference handouts were sent home with your children on either Friday or Monday.  Call the office to set up a conference, if you are interested. 




Thursday, October 13, 2011

7th and 8th grade homework

7th:  Letter #3 due tomorrow.  Book talk due next Wednesday the 19thStudy for vocabulary test on Thursday the 20th.


8th:  Wrap up classic novel. Vocab section due 10/20; entire BCP due 10/25.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reading Projects

7th graders are reading “adventure novels”.  They have completed two-thirds of their reading and written their first two letters.  To know:  their novels should be finished in the next five or six days so they have enough time to do a good job on letter #3.  Letter # 3 is due on October 14, 2011.


8th graders are reading “classic novels”.  I’ve extended the deadline for finishing the novel until the last Friday of NECAPS – October 14.  They will need to do a BCP (Book Club Project) after they finish the novel.  There will be some time spent in class modeling how to do this, using the book we are reading together.  I have not finalized a due date for their classic novel BCP, but I am leaning towards the 25th of October. 



Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Students in 7th grade are asked to have their parents review and sign their recent vocabulary test.  If the student chooses, corrections can be made to increase the score on the test.  One class had the tests returned today, but the other will have the tests returned tomorrow.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

7 and 8 news and homework

7 – Write the other constructed response tonight.  Letter #2 is due on Friday.  I will not plan any additional homework for Thursday night.  Please utilize after school study and morning madness if you are feeling swamped.


8 – Time has been extended to finish reading your classic novel.  The novel and vocabulary portion of the BCP should be finished by Friday the 14th.  At that time, I will set a due date for the completed BCP.  It will probably be about two weeks later – the 28th, perhaps.  It is KEY that you pace yourself to complete this work.  It will be a GIANT part of your grade.  Some time will be given in class, so bring your book every day.


ALL – Open House at 6:30 on Thursday.


ALL --  NECAP testing begins next week.  Please come to school well rested and with breakfast under your belt.  These two simple factors make a huge difference in your ability to sustain focus on the test and access your knowledge to do well.  Be sure to bring in your novels so that you will have something productive to do if you finish a section early. 



Monday, September 26, 2011

Homework 7 and 8

7th grade:

  • Multiple choice questions on 2010 NECAP
  • Finish middle third of your novel by Friday
  • Write second letter by Friday


8th grade:

  • Finish constructed response begun in class on Habits of Mind of a famous American
  • READ your classic novel --- try to be finished by Friday or Monday at the latest



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grades posted today on Edline

Parents and students:


Please check Edline tonight to see your current English grade.


The report is labeled “Eligibility Report September 22, 2011”



Monday, September 19, 2011

Homework 7 and 8

7th are to finish the constructed response we began in class.


8th are to finish the 5 paragraph essay we began in class.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A parent reminded me tonight that I hadn't posted homework for today for 7th graders.  So sorry about that!  The homework was to finish the constructed response we worked on in class.  Students should have had two to three more sentences to write on the purposes of a "Burlese Funnel," and a conclusion sentence.

Don't forget the letter due on Friday, as well.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

7th Grade Homework

7th graders should answer the 8 multiple choice questions on the reading we did in class today.  Save the constructed responses (# 7 and # 12) for doing together in class.




Monday, September 12, 2011


7th graders need to read the first third of their books AND write a 200 word letter to me about it for Friday.  Students were given a handout last week that details the letter's requirements.   They have had their books since September 1st. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

8th grade homework

8th graders were given a copy of a handout called "Habits of Mind."  Please read through, and consult the working definitions you and your partner came up with in class.  Tweak definitions as you see fit based on the reading. Be ready to share definitions on Monday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


NEW rafting permission forms have been sent home.  This is due to a change in LOCATION.  These new forms MUST be turned in on THURSDAY, or students will not be allowed to go on the trip, even if earlier forms have been received.



7th grade homework

Personary due on Thursday, September 8th.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8th grade homework 9/6

Create and illustrate a metaphor for the homework rubric we’ve been working on in class. 



Homework Mountain – a 5 is Everest, a 4 is Kilimanjaro, a 3 is the Rockies, a 2 is Mount Independence, a 1 is Casey’s Hill.

Homework Shapes – a 5 is a star, a 4 is a square, a 3 is a triangle, a 2 is a line, a 1 is a point

Homework Homers – a 5 is a grand slam, a 4 is a homerun, a 3 is an RBI, a 2 is a base hit, a 1 is a walk.




Friday, September 2, 2011

Off to a great start!

We have finished our first week of Language Arts.  The first homework is tonight: 


Read the class information handout WITH your parents, and ask your parents to sign it at the end. Bring the signed paper back to school on Tuesday.


Begin reading your out-of-class novel (7th is “Adventure,” 8th is “Classic”). 


Remember to bring in your rafting permission forms and money if you have not yet done so.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another non-DCF book

I borrowed The Big Book of Team Building Games by Newstrom and Scannell from a colleague of mine a few weeks back.  In reading it, I found about a dozen useful activities and games to break the ice, build teamwork, and increase cooperation in different group settings.  I chose a few to use with my team of middle school teachers, and ten or so to use with my TA kids.  Despite finding a dozen promising tools, I was largely disappointed in the book.  The title is quite misleading; I don't think there are more than half a dozen actual games in the book.  It is mostly activities like filling out a worksheet with a peer or a small group, then processing the answers in a reflective group conversation.

DCF # 6

I just finished Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel.  This book is about a middle school boy named Ben Tomlin, who is going through lots of typical middle school stuff: liking girls, tangling with neighborhood menaces, moving across the country to be the new kid, struggling with making good marks, fighting with his dad, and learning to live with a baby chimpanzee as a brother.  Well, most of his life is typical except that last part!  It is 1973, and Ben's parents are Canadian scientists interested in studying chimps to see if they can acquire human language when "cross fostered" into a human home.  Pretty interesting stuff.  So, Ben has to get used to pretending this little chimp, Zan, is his baby brother.  Eventually, Ben comes to accept Zan as his brother, and by the end must take great leaps of faith to protect him from those who would hurt him. 

This book held my interest, and I quite enjoyed following the changes in both Ben and Zan as a result of Ben's parents' experiment.  The fast-paced, honest, first person narrative helped me to feel what Ben was feeling throughout the novel.  I do think the designation of YA (or Young Adult) is appropriate for this novel, as it does get a little deep into the realm of Ben's dating life and his fantasy love life.  Because of some of the mature themes, I wouldn't think the book would be appropriate for many students younger than 7th grade, and for that reason alone, I highly doubt this book will win the DCF award. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another non-DCF book

Despite having taught for over a decade, I always feel I can learn more in the area of classroom management. I just read a book that has given me some great ideas ( and reminded me if old ones ) to implement this coming year. "Classroom Management Simplified" by Elizabeth Breaux is full of both time-honored and unique ideas for effectively managing a classroom. She offers solutions for everything from failure to complete homework to constant leaving of the seat to sharpen pencils. Whether you are a newbie or an old fart like me, there will be something in this book for you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

DCF number 5


> I have finally finished Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. This book won the
> National Book Award and has been nominated for the DCF as well. It is easy to see why the book won the NBA-- it is well written and gives compelling insight into the mind of a child with Asperger's Syndrome. I would be surprised, however, if the book won the DCF, since it may not be as appealing to young readers as others in the running. As an adult who has worked with children like the protagonist, Caitlin, I was very intrigued by the internal monologue that dominated the book. I was also interested in the overall premise: that of coming to a sense of closure after a devastating school shooting. It was easy to put down for days on end, though, because it lacked the fast paced narrative I have become accustomed to, and was inherently predictable. That being said, it is worth the read, especially if you know someone with Asperger's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DCF number 4

"One CrazySummer" by Rita Williams-Garcia is a great book! It has already won or been nominated for three awards-- King, National Book, and Newberry -- and it is certainly worthy of all of that acclaim. I would not be surprised if it won the DCF as well, though I am not sure kids in Vermont in the current era would be able to relate to the topic and the characters very well.

The protagonist is an eleven year old African American girl who has grown up without the mother who abandoned her and her sisters. Now, after many years filled with only vague memories, Delphine is spending the summer of 1968 with her mother in Oakland, California. Her mother, Cecile, lives a life that Delphine considers "crazy," and most readers would probably agree. The most "crazy" aspect of Cecile's life is her involvement in the Black Panther movement. As Delphine explains it, "I was marching my sisters into a boiling pot of trouble cooking in Oakland" (128).

As Delphine's summer comes to a close, she realizes much about the world, herself, and her estranged mother, and comes to understand that not everything is as it seems.

This is a sweet and sorrowful coming of age novel that is beautifully written.

Monday, July 11, 2011

DCF number three

This evening I finished Stuart Gibbs' first novel, Belly Up. This book was surprisingly well written for a maiden novelist. Gibbs is obviously in his element as a writer, and particularly when writing about zoos and animals. The storyline is quick-paced, and the main character, Teddy, is a bright and lovable boy who has had an enviable life with globetrotting parents. Teddy inadvertently gets involved in investigating the murder of the hippo mascot of the zoo he lives at with his parents. The adults in the novel seem unable or unwilling to help, but at least one if them is willing to do anything to stop Teddy from finding out the truth. He finds himself in grave danger on several occassions. Teddy's mother tries to discourage him from investigating the murder. She points out on page 139, "This is different, Theodore. I knew you could handle yourself in Africa because animals aren't really that dangerous... But humans are different... What you've gotten yourself into isn't a game. This is dangerous and you need to behave accordingly." I strongly encourage my students to read this novel. It is great for both animal lovers and mystery fans.

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Third non-DCF

I just finished Janet Evanovich's latest. Smokin' Seventeen was, as expected, a hilariously sensational read. The story included large doses of intrigue, donuts, romance, death, vampires, spandex, and explosions. Oh, and a dancing bear. The car count wasn't too high this time, however Stephanie did get to drive a Shelby GTO. I'm sure you can imagine that it wasn't long for this world! The book ends with a discovery that I had already pretty well figured out on my own, but it was a fun ride getting there. We are, unfortunately, left hanging on which of her suitors Stephanie will choose. Oh well, that just means we have to read the 18th book when it comes out in November!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Second DCF book


> Today I finished reading "Jake" by Audrey Couloumbis. Jake is an endearing young man who lives with his mother. A few days before Christmas, she is injured, and Jake must rely on his neighbor and family friend, Mrs. Buttermark, and his estranged grandfather to care for him while his mother is in the hospital. Over the course of his mother's hospitalization, Jake learns to love and respect his grandfather. I liked this book a great deal, and found myself drawn to Jake's compassion, intelligence, and even his naïveté. A good example of the latter is this remark: "I learned Mrs. Buttermark had been a rocket. That made me sit up. She and Granddad talked about it a little and I realized it was some kind of dancer." Sweet.

Second non-DCF book

To prepare for humanities camp last week, I started to read Time magazine's "100 Photographs that Changed the World." This was a very intriguing look at world history, science, nature, and humanity through the camera lens. I found myself reacting in a myriad of ways to the collection of photos: hypnotized, shocked, incensed, brought to tears, and more. The photos were accompanied by short descriptive paragraphs, which provided a wealth of information and clarity. This is a book I will return to over and over again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First NON-DCF book of the summer

I finished Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell last weekend.  I really enjoyed it, and found it to be a quick and absorbing read.  The main character, Jamie Dexter, is an Army brat living at Fort Hood in 1969.  Her father has raised her and her older brother TJ to believe that "the Army way is the right way," and that serving in the US Army, especially during war time, is a great honor.  Things get a bit shaken up, though, when TJ takes Colonel Dexter (Dad) at his word, and forgoes college to enlist right out of high school.  Somehow his own son risking his life feels different to the Colonel.  Or is it this particular war that makes it different?  Or is it not really the Colonel, but his wife who doesn't want TJ to serve? These concerns linger for the reader right up until the very last few pages. While Jamie is trying to sort through all of these confusing thoughts, TJ complicates things by sending her rolls of film to develop in the rec center on base.  Over the course of the next several months, she absorbs the horror of war through her brother's powerful photographs, and begins to question everything she thought she knew about war.   I think this is a great read with a lot of possibilities for thought and discussion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First DCF book finished

I finished The Year of Goodbyes by Debbie Levy tonight.  It was a good read, and a quick one.  I found the format particularly interesting, since the writer used photocopies of her mother's journal and "poesiealbum" to start each chapter.  As these were written in German, the writer translated them.  After each translation, there was an original poem that revealed some of what her mother was feeling at the time and gave a bit more explanation of what was happening as well.  Debbie Levy's mother was a young girl at the time the Nazis were in power in Germany.  Her mother escaped Germany and came to America just six hours before her home was raided by the Nazis.  Had her family not left, she would not have lived to tell this story.  This is an amazing story of luck, persistence, and incredible loss, and it is told in an intriguing way.  I would recommend this book to any of my students who like poetry and have an interest in World War Two or The Holocaust. A fantastic and poignant line from the early part of the novel is the following: "But then, many things are happening, / and many things are being spoken of, / that never have happened / and were never spoken of / before. "  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweet Reads Summer Reading Challenge

Mrs. Wald's summer mission is to read the entire DCF nominee list.  The DCF books are chosen as exemplary books for middle grades students, and students in Vermont have the opportunity to engage in blog discussions with other readers as well as VOTE on their favorite book to receive the award.  The DCF contest and award honors Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  Lists of the DCF nominees can be found online or in any Vermont library.

Mrs. Wald's challenge to her incoming and outgoing students is the following:  READ MORE OF THE DCF BOOKS THAN SHE DOES, AND SHE WILL TREAT YOU TO AN ICE CREAM SUNDAE ONE DAY IN THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.  One eensie teensie requirement is that you must write a short (5 sentences or so) response/reaction to each book, including title and author, telling what you liked about it and why.  Please do not simply summarize the plot.  Your response is the key.  Keep all the responses in a small notebook, or staple separate pages together.  Hand in this reading journal on the first day of school, and Mrs. Wald will show you hers.  If you've read more than she has, you will be invited to the sundae celebration!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

project reminder

For those who had to do the project:  I will be closing access to the reader response journals as of tomorrow.  Be sure you have done your 4 + 4 requirement. 


Also, to the 3 students in block 2 (you know who you are) who must do the presentation:  I have set aside about 25 minutes tomorrow for your presentation. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Over the weekend, please complete your graphic organizer in preparation for Tuesday’s essay.


If you are required to do the book project, please do your final entries in the online reader response journal, and be sure you are working on the presentation and vocabulary requirements.  Both are due on June 1. 



Thursday, May 26, 2011


Study for word whiz 7 test


Finish Asian novel (see handouts for due dates of project components – vocabulary, presentations, online journals)


Block 4 finish poems


Abigail P. Wald

Fair Haven Grade School

Middle Level Language Arts and Co-Team Leader

802-265-3883, extension 249


Monday, May 23, 2011

Homework All and Block 4

All:  Recitation # 2 due Wednesday…. Students need to learn a poem from list 2, and recite it along with the first poem they recited.


Block 4:  Take the list you brainstormed (10 things I’ll never understand, 10 things that scare me to death, et cetera), and turn it into a POEM.  The poem should have several poetic elements – such as rhyme, alliteration, repetition, simile, metaphor, et cetera….



Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Poems to Recite

A second set of poems was handed out in class today.  One poem in this set needs to be recited next Wednesday, May 25th.  Students will be required to recite their OLD poem first, then their NEW poem, so be sure to practice doing both.  Get these poems into the long term memory!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

homework and announcement

Students were given a sheet with their current average and list of owed work.


Homework for all:  Finish Asian novel by May 27.  If doing project, be sure to be working on response journals, vocabulary, presentation, et cetera.


Homework for Block 2:  Finish new poem based on ONE idea from your list poem


Homework for Block 4:  Finish funny poem; Memorize poem from first set to recite on Thursday



Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Block 2, 3, 4:  Asian novel books – keep reading, and be finished by the end of May.


Block 3:  Write a new poem, based on ONE of the ideas from your list poem that we worked on today.  For example, your list poem was about things that scare you.  One of the things was snakes that lunge.  Now write a poem that focuses on snakes. 




Friday, May 6, 2011

Homework & Asian Novel Project

1.  A handful of students are bringing home a worksheet on punctuation, but most are not.


2.  Students who are doing the Asian Novel PROJECT* will need to complete their first online reflection this weekend.  We will go through the steps in class, and they will need to complete it over the weekend. 


3. All students should be reading their Asian Novels, even if they aren’t required to do the project. All students must do #4 (below), even if they aren’t doing the full project.


*Project details:  Block 2 and 3

Your steps:  

  1. To independently read your assigned novel, pacing yourself so as to finish the novel in four weeks.
  2. To thoughtfully complete an online entry of 100 words in response to a question of your choice each week, recording this entry on a group GoogleDoc.  (80 points)
  3. To thoughtfully respond in at least 25 words to the entry of one other person on your group GoogleDoc each week. (20 points)
  4. To independently prepare for and write, in an on-demand setting, a 5 paragraph Response to Text on your novel. (100 points)
  5. To collaborate with your group members to create a multimedia presentation* that you will deliver to your class in order to teach your peers about your book.  You will be able to decide what is the best program to use to accomplish this.  Some suggestions are GooglePresentation, PhotoStory, creation of a video using appropriate props, or any other appropriate format.  Keep in mind, though, that you will be collaborating outside of school to plan, create, and finalize this presentation.  (100 points)
  6. Finally, to quiz your classmates on their knowledge of your book (based solely on your presentation), and gather their feedback on your presentation.  You will do this with a GoogleForm. (30 points as part of the presentation)
  7. Optional Bonus Points -- Keep a record of difficult vocabulary as you read.  Record the word, copy the sentence it was found in, and give the page number.  Then use an online or paper dictionary to look up the meaning.  Decide which meaning fits best in the context of the novel, and record that meaning in your record.  This record can be kept on paper or online.  (Maximum 50 points)

100 points: Novel, four entries, and four responses must be done by: May 27

Optional 50 points:  Vocabulary record due: May 31

100 points: Presentation to class is: June 1 (come with GoogleForms “quiz” for your audience)

100 points: In-class on-demand writing date is: May 31 (come with graphic organizers completed in advance)

*Presentation Information
All slides / posters must be neat, accurate, creative, and colorful. Speech on recordings must be slow, loud, clear, and well-planned.  Videos must be well-rehearsed and edited to avoid unnecessary wait time.  If doing a PowerPoint or GooglePresentation, do not do anything fancy with transitions, sounds, or other gizmos!  Fluff will not cover up a weak presentation.  Let your ideas speak for themselves. Regardless of the format chosen, be sure your presentation covers the following:

  • Title and author of book
  • 50 – 100 word MAXIMUM summary of the plot of the novel (in your own words!).  
  • Names and 10 word MAXIMUM description of all major characters.  
  • Theme or themes of the book.  (Statements, not just single words, which are true about life and are expressed, taught, or implied by the novel).
  • Three quotations, with page numbers, that support the theme(s) you have stated
  • Correctly formatted Works Cited Page to go with novel quotations
  • Names of members of your group, in alphabetical order

*Project Details, Block 4 ONLY:

Your steps:  

  1. To independently read your assigned novel, pacing yourself so as to finish the novel in four weeks.
  2. To thoughtfully complete an online entry of 100 words in response to a question of your choice each week, recording this entry on a group GoogleDoc.  (80 points)
  3. To thoughtfully respond in at least 25 words to the entry of one other person on your group GoogleDoc each week. (20 points)
  4. To independently prepare for and write, in an on-demand setting, a 5 paragraph Response to Text on your novel. (100 points)
  5. Keep a record of difficult vocabulary as you read.  Record the word, copy the sentence it was found in, and give the page number.  Then use an online or paper dictionary to look up the meaning. Decide which meaning fits best in the context of the novel, and record that meaning in your record. This record can be kept on paper or online.  You must identify at least 25 words (100 points)
  6. OPTIONAL PROJECT:  Alone, or with a partner, create a multimedia presentation* that you will deliver to your class in order to teach your peers about your book.  You will be able to decide what is the best program to use to accomplish this.  Some suggestions are GooglePresentation, PhotoStory, creation of a video using appropriate props, or any other appropriate format.  Keep in mind, though, that you will be collaborating outside of school to plan, create, and finalize this presentation.  (100 points)

100 points: Novel, four entries, and four responses must be done by: May 27

100 points:  Vocabulary record due: May 31

Optional 100 points: Presentation to class is: June 1

100 points: In-class on-demand writing date is: May 31 (come with graphic organizers completed in advance)



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

different homework in each class tonight

Homework for Block 2:  finish the “Artist to Artist” packet


Homework for Block 3: complete BOTH found poems – online at (word mover in search field) and your paper one from words in the hallway


Homework for Block 4:  finish the constructed response paragraph on Sadako and Hiroshima novels – What are three possible reasons that we read both books together?



Monday, May 2, 2011


Some students have poetry questions to finish.


All students should have their vocab test signed by a parent or guardian and make corrections.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Test tomorrow on ALL vocabulary so far.  Also, there will be some recent grammar thrown in (pronoun usage).


Block 2 worked on “desert” paragraphs in class today.  If they did not finish, the paragraph became homework.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

homework block 3

Block three only:  Finish the paragraph we began in class on deserts and desertification. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Outside Reading Projects are due TUESDAY, APRIL 26th.


There has been NO homework this week so that students can focus on finishing up their reading if necessary.


There are only TWO remaining after school study afternoons before the due date.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Long Term Project Reminder

Reminder that the marking period independent reading project is due APRIL 26th.  Students should utilize any available evening (without other pressing homework or family obligations) to read the mystery novel and begin the project.  Project details were posted on this blog about 3 weeks ago. 

Cinderella Tales Map

The students are finished with their Cinderella Tales of the World Map.  To see this map, go to:



Sunday, April 3, 2011

A question to ponder and respond to

What are some of the "universal themes" you are seeing as we read folktales from around the world?  (Example:  all the Cinderella tales had a universal theme of "Those who are nice reap great rewards.")

Friday, April 1, 2011

Final Drafts Due Monday

As expressed to students on Wednesday,   Final Drafts of original Cinderella stories are due on Monday.  Final drafts are single spaced and reflect all corrections made in class.  Finals must have all other drafts attached behind. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Homework 3/28 and 3/29

Please complete a second draft of your Cinderella story.  Remember that second drafts:


  • Are an IMPROVEMENT over the first draft
    • add dialogue
    • beef up sensory details
    • be sure all the elements are there for the Cinderella storyline
    • address coherence (ie: it has to make sense throughout)
  • Are typed, double spaced, so there is room for proofreading and editing

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get TEST signed / Cinderella



Get test signed.  Make corrections if you wish to raise your grade.


Complete first draft of original Cinderella story.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cinderella stories due March 28

Students had lots of time to work on their original Cinderella stories today in class.  Ideas are shaping up and students seem excited about writing.  Please complete full first drafts, either typed or handwritten, by Monday. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review Homework

Homework tonight is to study for tomorrow’s test.  PART of that means students will complete a review worksheet for word parts, but they should also do other studying such as reviewing flashcards, creating sentences, looking over notes, et cetera.


Also, begin to think about what details could be used to make the “traditional” Cinderella story unique when students write their own tomorrow. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

homework 3/21

Tonight there is no “homework,” per se.  It would be wise to get started on studying for the test on Thursday, however.  Fun and Useful Words, L/A Terms, and Prefixes/Suffixes/Roots.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Kino and Juana!

Tonight’s homework is to prep/plan/organize/list/brainstorm for the essay you will be writing in class tomorrow.  I don’t want students to come to class with the essay already written, but they should have thought about it and preferably jotted down some notes and ideas to help them through tomorrow.  A graphic organizer would be a great idea.  Each class was given at least 10 minutes to get started today. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ridiculous Rules

Tonight’s homework is to finish the letter begun in class today, if it was not finished by the end of the period.  The letter must be three paragraphs (intro, body, conclusion), and address reasons why the city council SHOULD enact one of the ridiculous rules/laws/ordinances we listed in class.  Some of the crazy laws are:


Wearing shoes indoors is prohibited

No citizen may watch TV on Fridays

Walking will require a license

If you miss one day of school, you must serve one day in prison (I like this one!)

School will be held 7 days a week

Only electric cars will be permitted

If a citizen allows his/her toenails to grow too long, those toes will be severed


Some are even crazier than these.  The point is to, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, practice the variety of persuasive techniques we have been working on in class.  Some of these techniques (some more ethical than others) are:






Emotional appeal



Have fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marking Period 5 Independent Reading Project

Independent Reading Project 5 – Mystery / Crime / Detective novel


Choose a MYSTERY, CRIME, or DETECTIVE novel.  This is a work of fiction in which the main character(s), sometimes a detective by trade, is involved in trying to solve a riddle, crime, or mystery.  The character(s) is on a search – sometimes for the “truth”, but more often than not, for the perpetrator of a crime.  The main action of the novel is focused on turning up clues, following leads, investigating possibilities, and interviewing suspects. As the novel unfolds, the reader is invited to consider the solutions and even possibly solve the mystery before the “detective”.  The novel does not end until the mystery, riddle, or crime is solved. 


The first “detective” story, “Murders in the Rue Morgue” was written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1841.  The first writer of mystery / crime / detective novels was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes books.  Popular detective novels for young adult readers include the Nancy Drew series, the Hardy Boys series, The Westing Game, and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. There is also a well-written series of mysteries in the National Parks.


Read the novel, and complete one of the projects below by APRIL 26TH. All projects need to be clearly labeled with your name and the title of your book.  The project will be worth 100 points, with 10 points off per day late (you may buy one day with a late pass).




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 found in 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 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, and a written explanation of each connection.



1).  The student composes eight questions to ask a main character in the book.  The students write the questions and 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, and will pose as he character for an “interview”.


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, but not simply a copy of the title
  • 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 100-word-minimum 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.  (Note:  the easiest way to do this is to write the entries as you are reading!)

2).  The students will then make a cover for their character’s diary, and include all entries.