Saturday, September 15, 2007

The First Dance

It looked like there was a great turn-out for the dance yesterday. Here are a couple of pictures of our eighth graders on their way into the big event.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Choosing Important Passages

Our next assignment spans two weeks: the passage picker reading log. It's due on September 26 for A day and September 27 for B day. This means you'll need to document three hours of reading (90 minutes per week). Here are the directions for this reading log:

Passage Picker
--You must choose three (3) passages from your book for this reading log.
-- Passages should be anywhere from 1-3 sentences in length. You must include page numbers. Then explain why you chose it. Your explanation and comments about a passage must be longer than the passage itself.
--Your explanation and your support for your explanation must be detailed and must refer to the passage.
3 Required Passages
1. You must choose a passage that reveals one of the conflicts. Then, explain what type of conflict it is using details from the passage. Ex: Human vs. Human; Human vs. Nature; Human vs. Society; or Human vs. Self.
2. You must choose a passage that reveals the true nature of a character in the book through a choice they make. What does the character’s choice tell you about their personality?
3. You must choose a passage that is an example of “good writing” or an example of your writer’s style. Identify what good writing is, or what your writer’s style is. Then explain how the passage demonstrates this.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where I'm From Poem

The poem we are writing this week helps us each answer the question, "where am I from?" What we have discovered is that our childhood memories and experiences are what shape who we are today. Therefore, we are from much more than just the place where we live or were born. Our poems are inspired by the original poem by George Ella Lyon. We will continue writing the poems this week. Then, you will use the poem to decorate your writing/reading folders. If you are working on the poem at home, here is the rubric:

______ The poem is obviously inspired by the model poem. (Evidence: Uses the line “I am from…” and “From….” as the framework for the images.)
______ The poem uses vivid, specific, original images that help the reader understand more about the writer’s life. The poem has a voice that is unique and sounds like the writer.
______ The poem uses sensory language and/or other literary devices (alliteration, similes or metaphors).
______ The poem is about a page in length (about 20-30 lines).
______ The poem is divided into 4-6 stanzas (about the same length as the model poem) and has appropriate, meaningful line breaks. (It should not look like a paragraph).
______ The poem is formatted neatly (typed or handwritten), single-spaced with an extra space between stanzas.
______ The folder is neat. (You can decorate with images from the poem but it's not required.)

We shared our favorite lines of our poems in class but we'd love to hear your favorite lines as comments on this blog. Remember if you want your favorite line published here, include your first name and last initial only. This way, we'll create our own collaborative poem.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

On your (Book)mark, get set, go!

We've assigned the first reading log of the year. Actually it's just a bookmark. Students keep track of their reading from August 30 through the due date (September 10 for A day classes and September 11 for B day classes). On the back, students are required to choose one word and telll what they think it means, what it actually means (using a dictionary), and a reaction that explains how the definition confirms or rejects their hypothesized definition. In addition, students will summarize what they read during this time period using a "Somebody Wanted But So" summary or a "Fortunately/Unfortunately" summary. In class, we modeled (and practiced) what is expected on the bookmark while we read a short story in class. Here is a picture of our example bookmark (the back side only).

Students will be graded on a combination of factors:
  • Accurate Documentation of the title, author, and pages
  • Getting a Parent Signature
  • Reading at least 90 minutes (50-150 pages based on reading level and book difficulty)including calculating reading time accurately
  • Doing a correct and thorough Summary and Strategy on the back.

It's a pretty easy assignment meant to keep students in the habit of reading. Let's hope we get 100% of them turned in for this assignment!