ENGLISH * APRIL 7-10
This week we are continuing our practice with sentence structures (i.e. simple, compound, and complex). We will also be reviewing vocabulary terms for the SBAC testing and beginning a new unit on poetry. Also, don't forget about weekly roots.
ENGLISH * MAR 10-13
This week we are typing the final drafts of our research papers. We will also be in the lab to create our Power Points about the Nonfiction books we have chosen to read this quarter. We will be in the lab Monday and Tuesday and will have Nonfiction book presentations in class Wednesday and Thursday.
ENGLISH * MAR 3-6
This week we are learning five new roots, completing a practice worksheet on those, and taking a quiz to check for understanding. We are also continuing our research project and drafting in class. Remember that we are taking an argumentative approach. In answering your research question, make sure to have a clear claim, evidence (to back up your claim), and a warrant.
ENGLISH * FEB 24-27
At the end of last week, we reviewed everything we had talked about and read for our Esperanza Rising unit. The unit test is Monday the 24th. We will quickly shift from that unit into our research paper project. The guidelines for that will be given to students in class this week, and we will be spending time in the lab this week collecting information for the papers. Students will be able to choose from a list of 101 research topics.
ENGLISH * FEB 10-20
Over these two weeks we finished reading Esperanza Rising and hit argumentative writing with force. Students learned how to incorporate evidence into their writing to support a claim. Not only did they do this with the main text, Esperanza Rising, but they demonstrated their understanding of the arguments by writing a claim to fit four different texts and then using evidence from each of the four to support that claim. Students worked in groups on this project for a couple of days and the results were wonderful.
ENGLISH * FEB 3-6
This week in class we have been continuing our reading of Esperanza Rising. Up until this point, we had mostly been comparing the text to ourselves and our own lives. This week we have been branching out and comparing the text to other texts: looking at stories of others who have had similar experiences to Esperanza. We have also been working on argumentative writing: claims, evidence, and warrants. Student have been writing claims to connect the texts. They have also been identifying specific evidence from the texts to support those claims. In the background of it all, we have also been learning five new roots this week and will test on Thursday.
English Update JAN 27-30
This week in class we learned five new roots, completed a practice worksheet for those, and will take a quiz on those Thursday. We are still reading Esperanza Rising and have been talking about claims, evidence, and warrants in our writing (argumentative writing). Students compared the events in the novel to information from a Scope Magazine article and had to make claims about the connections. Their claims also had to be supported by specific evidence from the article.
English Update JAN 20-23
This week in class we are learning five new roots. We completed a practice worksheet on Monday, will review Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be taking the quiz on Thursday. We are also in the middle of reading Esperanza Rising and have been discussing how our backgrounds in life affect our perspectives of the world.
English Update DEC 9-12
This week we continued our punctuation portfolio pages and completed some editing practice using the article called "The Lazy Editor" in our Scope Magazine. We also started reading our class novel: Esperanza Rising.
English Update DEC 2-5
This week we started working on punctuation pages to go in a punctuation portfolio. So far, we have talked about the period, semicolon, and apostrophe. We also started our historical fiction novel this week. We completed a see, think, wonder activity with fourteen different pictures that have to do with the setting of our book. We will also be talking about argumentative writing as we read the novel, so along with our picture activity, we wrote a claim, evidence, and warrant to show our thoughts on one specific image.
English Update NOV 25-26
For our two-day week before Thanksgiving we read an article out of the Scope Magazine called "I Was Homeless." We then discussed the things we often take for granted but that we really are grateful for. We then read a children's story called "Turkey Trouble," talked about how grateful we are to not be turkeys, and completed a fun little disguise a turkey activity.
English Update NOV 18-21
This week we completed some benchmark testing that was required of all students in the school. Students completed a reading comprehension test along with an argumentative reading and writing performance test. These were completed over two days.
The second half of the week students were given a punctuation-free story as a frontloading activity. This reading was frustrating to the students as it was difficult to follow and comprehend. However, it made the impression I was hoping for, and the students began begging for punctuation. (That doesn't happen every day. :0) It was a fun way to start the unit and get the students to realize the importance and necessity of understanding how to use punctuation correctly. The following day students learned about and practiced editing compound sentences for commas versus semicolons. The punctuation assignment came from a printed text, so if you need a copy of the assignment, please contact me, and I will email it to you.
English Update NOV 11-14
This week we finished our summarization unit by reviewing for and taking a final test. Students were given an article to summarize and answer a few questions about. This test must be completed in class, so if you missed it, please plan a time to stay for PASS. Thanks.
English Update NOV 4-7
This week has been a continuation of the Monster Dictionary summary project. Students have been working on summaries, pictures, narrative writing of their own monster or legend, tables of contents, and title pages. For most, this has been a very productive work week. Because of all the hard work and at the request of the students, the due date for the dictionaries has been moved back from Thursday to next Monday, November 11th.
English Update OCT 28-31
This week we have been talking about summarization strategies and techniques. We are currently working on a project called "Monster Dictionaries." Students are reading and summarizing articles about different monsters and legends. We read and acted out the intriguing story of "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" as a class. Jake and Bodie did an excellent job of portraying the split personality of Jekyll, and the other students acted the supporting parts very well also. After reading the story, we worked in pairs and then as a class to summarize what we had read. Make sure to include this summary in your final Monster Dictionary.
LITERATURE * APRIL 7-10
This week we are continuing our discussion about functional/informational documents. We reviewed the three text types (ANI - Argumentative, Narrative, and Informational) along with the six text structures (DESPIC - Definition/Description, Cause/Effect, Sequence/Chronological, Problem/Solution, Main Idea/Order of Importance, and Compare/Contrast). We have been creating our own resumés, learning about connotation versus denotation, and will be talking about website navigation tools as well.
LITERATURE * MAR 10-13
This week we are finishing The Westing Game novel along with our character webs that are due Thursday. There is no Weekly Writer this week to make sure you have enough time to finish your webs. Next week we will review everything, take the test, and then watch the film version of the book which we will analyze in comparison.
LITERATURE * MAR 3-6
This week we have made it past the halfway mark in our novel The Westing Game. So we are playing a review game to remind ourselves of everything that has happened so far in the story. We will also continue reading and making connections through our character maps which will be due next week. We will also have a Weekly Writer (#8) that asks you to come up with a new setting for the story and explain how that setting will affect the characters, plot, and mood of the story.
LITERATURE * FEB 24-27
This week we are beginning chapter 16 and will be talking about "red herrings," misleading clues that the author gives to throw readers off track. We will also begin a character mapping project to help students make connections between characters, their jobs, and their relationships to each other and the deceased. This project will be completed in class over the next two weeks. (Don't forget: reading quizzes every Thursday while we are reading the book. Review your study guide questions before you come.)
LITERATURE * FEB 10-20
The last two weeks have been spent reading The Westing Game. Students are starting to form their own opinions of who they think is guilty and who might be innocent. Weekly Writer #6 covered this topic specifically, and students had to support their claims of guilt or innocence with two pieces of evidence from the book. They did an excellent job and are starting to narrow things down. (Don't forget: reading quizzes every Thursday while we are reading the book. Review your study guide questions before you come.)
LITERATURE * FEB 3-6
This week in class we have been discussing The Westing Game and have been doing some of our own detective work. Students have been filling out a character elimination form as they have learned new details about a character's physical description, job/position, Westing connection, and/or MMO (means, motive, opportunity). We have also been working on a weekly writer that checks for understanding of the story so far. Students were to create three columns for this week's writing and expand on the following: 1) What I know about the plot (story line) so far, 2) What I know/think about the characters so far, and 3) What questions I have about the story so far.
Literature Update JAN 27-30
This week in class we started reading a novel by Ellen Raskin entitled The Westing Game. The novel is a mystery, so we had a class discussion on what makes a good mystery. Students were given an extra credit packet for the book. This is an optional assignment, but contains everything students must know to succeed on weekly quizzes and the final test. So, not only is it a good opportunity to receive extra credit, but it will also help students better understand the book and succeed in class.
The reason the packet is optional is because I don't want it to kill the students' interest in the book. If a required packet stands in a student's way of enjoying the novel, I don't feel that I have done my job well. I want to instill a love of reading in my students and help them to realize the benefits of strengthening their reading skills.
There are a lot of characters in the book, so students will be working on a required character sheet for the duration of the book. This is a place for us, as active readers and detectives, to collect pieces of information about the suspects in the book and to make connections between them. This will be completed in class as we read and discuss together.
Literature Update JAN 20-23
This week in class we have been talking about the five parts of the plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Our understanding of plot structure was tested as we practiced identifying the specific parts in the "Froggy" children's books. We are also applying our understanding of plot as we learn and read some urban legends. This will lead us into our first novel, The Westing Game, that begins with an urban legend of its own.
Literature Update DEC 9-12
This week we learned about characterization in conjunction with our narrative writing for the ending of "The Most Dangerous Game." For this week's Weekly Writer, students were to come up with a new character. This character will be added into their story as well. In regards to characterization, we learned a few terms to help us understand character development in writing a little better.
*Protagonist: main character, the character readers are for (pro)
*Antagonist: character who is against (anti) the main character
*Dynamic: changes from beginning to end of story; Dynamic = Different
*Static: stays the same from beginning to end of story; Static = Same
Literature Update DEC 2-5
This week students focused on figurative language use in narrative writing. The Weekly Writer required that students write about a time when they performed an act of service or kindness for someone. This event was to be described using figurative language. This week we also read a short story called "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell. Students only got to hear the first part of the story and have been assigned to create an ending with a group. The ending needs to incorporate figurative language and dialogue. We took a few notes on dialogue punctuation rules and began working on our writing.
Literature Update NOV 25-26
For the last two days before the break, we continued our practice with figurative language by reading a short story by Graham Greene called "The Destructors." As we read, students highlighted examples of figurative language in specific colors. The highlighted examples were then added into the students' figurative language books. Students were then asked to illustrate what each example would look like if it were literal. The students did an excellent job on this assignment and came up with some creative artwork.
Literature Update NOV 18-21
We started off this week talking about point of view because the weekly writer required students to write about an embarrassing moment from a third-person point of view. So we reviewed the following:
*1st Person: Told by the character - Words like: I, me, we
*2nd Person: Directions & How To - Words like: You
*3rd Person Limited: Outside Narrator; can only see into the mind of one
*3rd Person Omniscient: Outside Narrator: can see into the mind of many
We also began our unit on short stories and figurative language. Students created their own figurative language books to write definitions, examples, and pictures in as we read the short stories "The Destructors" and "The Most Dangerous Game." As part of our book, we completed a page on imagery as we described Oreo's using all five senses (taste was their favorite).
The last day of the week, students participated in a figurative language story pass and created some silly, creative stories using their new-found understanding of descriptive writing.
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE REMINDERS:
*Simile: descriptive comparison between two or more nouns using LIKE or AS
*Metaphor: descriptive comparison " " saying one IS/WAS the other
*Alliteration: repeating beginning letters or sounds
*Personification: giving human qualities to non-living things
*Onomatopoeia: sound words
*Hyperbole: extreme exaggeration
*Idiom: expression that cannot be taken literally
*Imagery: description using the five senses that creates an image in the mind
Literature Update NOV 11-14
This week we reviewed the three text types (ANI) and six text structures (DESPIC). We completed a functional documents test review and then took the test the following day. The test must be completed in class, so play a time to stay for PASS if you missed it. We also turned in Weekly Writer #12.
Literature Update NOV 4-7
We have continued our discussion of functional documents this week in class. Students practiced reading informational texts by navigating and answering questions about the Hogle Zoo website. Students then practiced writing an informational text of their own as they created a resume to apply for a pretend job opening in the community. They also practiced identifying functional documents that were used by characters in a video clip. A discussion of text types* and text structures** also helped students understand how to organize informational texts. Discussion and a practice activity with the cause and effect structure was also completed in class Thursday and will be finished in class on Monday.
*TEXT TYPES (ANI)
**TEXT STRUCTURES (DESPIC)
Idea (Main) /Order of Importance
Literature Update OCT 28-31
We just started a new unit on functional and instructional documents. So we have been identifying different types and purposes for the functional documents we see and use on a daily basis. We did an activity using agendas to plan a school activity or project that might help improve PJH as a whole. We also took one day to do a jigsaw reading about a variety of functional documents. Today students taught their piece of the jigsaw reading to other classmates and worked together to gather information about each document.