Friday, March 30, 2007


With the help and encouragement of another teacher, I've learned how I can make files available to you here. For example, do you need a bookmark? Click on that word and it will take you to my file. (You'll need my favorite font, CAC Futura Casual, for it to print correctly.) You might also like directions for the sticky notes now that we are working on lit circles again. They are available as well. Click the link. Finally, do you need a copy of the Final Draft Feature Article Rubric (Excel file) that you also have in your sourcebook? It's available. Hopefully, I'll get even better about making information and forms easy for you to access and print from home. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rough Draft Conferences are due...

Each of you has signed up for your individual rough draft conference. At this meeting, you'll get credit for pulling together the basic parts of your article. You will also get the feedback needed to help you do well on the final draft, which has a much more thorough rubric. (You have a copy in your sourcebook.) Here, I'll post the basic requirements for your conference. You must be ready on your conference day to get the full credit.

Present a complete draft at scheduled conference time: ____/10
Article is typed with columns, callouts, graphics, etc. ________/10
Proofreading for typos and errors is obvious. ________/5
The byline is typed and placed appropriately ________/5
Article has three subheadings, title and subtitle ________/5
Article has at least 5 quotes from several sources ________/5
Student has attempted an engaging lead ________/5
Student has attempted a satisfying sense of closure ________/5

As soon as your conference is finished, use the feedback you receive to rewrite, revise, and craft your draft into a final, polished piece. I will collect that on progress report day. (April 17th and 18th.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Formatting Your Feature Article

This poster from our class will help you remember the step by step process for formatting your feature article. Don't try to format it without writing anything. Do the writing first! More on this later...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Feature Articles

Testing is over and so we begin our next big writing piece: the feature article. Students can get in the right mind frame for this assignment by reading lots of magazine--something that seems more natural during Spring Break. I'll be posting rubrics soon--perhaps on the Schoolnotes website if I can't figure out how to do it here. The due dates for this assignment are tricky. Each student will have a staggered due date because their first draft will be graded in a one-on-one conference with me during several class sessions. Students needing more assistance can also stay after for help on any Monday. Each feature article will require several interviews (to get research and quotes for the article) so students can start working on that now, if I've approved their topics.

Friday, March 2, 2007

A new way to update students and parents

Welcome to the first post on my LaVilla 8th grade Language Arts blog. I plan to use this page just like I've used Schoolnotes in the past. However, this will keep an archive of past entries so you can always go back to see what you've missed. I'd also like to post information about contests and opportunities for students outside of class. Perhaps I won't even use Schoolnotes by next year. We'll see.