Friday, May 16, 2008

Final exams, poetry, important dates, and more

It's that time of year again. District exams begin next week and LaVilla finals are coming up starting on May 27. If you want to get a jump start on studying for our language arts exam, you should check out the following study guide.
The exam will include multiple choice, true/false, and short response questions.
-Reading strategies (Questioner, Connector, Passage Picker, Visualizer)
-Writing Strategies (Leads, Conclusions, elaboration, transitions, etc)
-Timed Writing Strategies (four square, how to read a prompt, etc)
-Literary Techniques (Simile, metaphor, alliteration, etc)
-Test taking strategies (FCAT Reading Test)
-Life is Beautiful (main characters, examples of irony, historical details)
-Your lit circle book
-Introduction to Poetry and how to interpret a poem (Tone, audience, purpose, speaker, etc) (This lesson will be taught next week.)

April was National Poetry Month and unfortunately, we didn't celebrate or commemorate it in any way. We're making up for it in May and we will be sharing some of our favorite poets and poems with you in class. It's also nice that you can count the poems you read toward your twenty-five book total. Twenty poems roughly equal a book so keep track of the ones you read (and be able to recall the poem and say something insightful about it.)
We also want to share links to some of the websites we use to find poems for teaching--and for enjoying on our own.
Poetry 180--The poetry initiatiative created by Billy Collins when he was Poet Laureate.
Favorite Poem Project--The poetry iniative created by Robert Pinsky when he was Poet Laureate.
Poems for Teaching from the Academy of American Poets--A nice collection of poems available online and elsewhere that are perfect for the discussions we've been having in class. You might also like the broader website for the Academy of American Poets.
Enjoy the poems and be sure to tell us which ones you like!

May 19-May 22: District Exams
May 27-May 30: LaVilla Final Exams
May 27-May 30: Sourcebook checks begin this week (See table of contents below)
May 31: Eighth Grade Dance