Monday, November 23, 2009

Knowing your roots, prefixes, and suffixes

Knowing the meaning of a root, prefix, or suffix can help you figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word. So, this week we will continue our word study with fifteen more roots, prefixes, and suffixes. We will have a roots quiz when you return from the break. If you were in class, use your four column notes to study for the quiz. If you were absent this week, click on the link (picture) below to view/print the notes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Editorials are due 11/17 (A) and 11/18 (B)

Over the past several weeks, we've been revising our editorials. Next week we will collect them. Don't forget you will turn in three pieces: the first draft, the final typed draft, and a works cited page (using Your printed rubric is in your sourcebook, but in case you need an extra copy to look over, here it is. Click on the image to access the webpage where you can download the file.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Important Updates

-Report cards went home last week.

-The parent portal is open now, so come in during school hours to get your personal password. You will need your driver's license or picture ID. Parents and students will be able to view grades throughout the quarter. If you notice a zero for an assignment it could mean a student did not turn in the work, or it could mean he or she turned the work in late and has not completed a late work conference.

-Editorials are due on 11/17 (A) and 11/18 (B). Final drafts need to be typed. So, students needing extra computer time should sign up. We're also available before and after school for students who would like extra help with their writing (see sign in sheet for available times).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Assignment: Reference and Research Windowpane

This week, you will practice your reference and research skills. In class we practiced three strategies (see below). The general framework for this assignment is the same as the last two assignments. All students will again have an opportunity to choose the story that matches their reading level (see choices below).

Here's what you'll turn in:
2 it says, I say notes.
1 reference and research strategy note.
1 summary note using one of the strategies we taught in class.

Assignment due: 10/22 (A day) and 10/23 (B day)

You may choose from the following reading selections.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Words and Phrases Windowpane --due October 6 (a) and October 7 (b)

Students are focusing on strategies for their words and phrases on the next assignment for language arts classes. The general framework for this assignment is the same as the last assignment.  All students will again have an opportunity to choose the story that matches their reading level.  (Students in the gifted program should choose the excerpt by Twain, Angelou, or Petry.  Modifications to the assignment for Mrs. Jackson's 5th and 6th period can be found by clicking here.)

There are 4 responses:
1) It says, I say--Copy a passage from the text and then write a response explaining an inference or AHA! moment. Use details and examples from the text to support your response.
2) Another It says, I say response.
3) Words and Phrases Strategies: Choose one. (see below)
4) Your summary of the reading. Use or the fortunately/unfortunately strategy.

Due October 6 (a) and October 7 (b)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Need an extra credit opportunity?

This quarter, we are offering an extra credit opportunity. If you would like to earn some extra points toward your first timed writing test, this is your chance. All you need to do is revise one, two, or all three of your body paragraphs from the transportation essay you wrote the first week of school. You can earn up to two points per paragraph based on the quality of your revision. Remember to consider the lesson we taught on elaboration. Try to include personal, real-life examples, add specificity, and try developing your ideas further. When you finish, turn in the original essay along with the revised paragraphs (on separate paper) to earn extra points.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A New Assignment for All Classes: Main Idea

Students will read a story from the textbook this week and apply some of the strategies we've been learning.  First, students choose a story.  These stories are listed in order from easiest to hardest.  Students should pick a story that will provide a challenge for them.  Students in the gifted program are expected to choose one of the last two stories in the list.
  • “The Day I Got Lost” by Isaac Bashevis Singer pg. 534
  • “Thank You M’am” by Langston Hughes pg. 172
  • “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara pg. 288
  • “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe pg. 522
  • “Up The Slide” by Jack London pg. 156
Next, students will read the story and use sticky notes to practice the strategies we've been learning in class. 

Each student will complete four sticky notes:
  • 2 "It says....I say" notes  
  • 1 "Main Idea" strategy
    • Choose from Sketch to Stretch, Most Important Word, Catch All the Conflict, or I'd Agree with That.
  • 1 Summary of the story
    • Use Somebody Wanted But So
      • OR
    • Fortunately/Unfortunately.
The assignment is due on September 22 (A: 1st, 2nd &; 3rd) and September 23 (B: 4th, 5th, & 6th).  Students may refer to the notes in the sourcebooks and the samples posted in the classroom.

Memoir Folders

The first week of school, we wrote six word memoirs to decorate our folders. The folders will become a reading/writing portfolio where we'll keep all graded work.

Here are our examples:

Fear change, love change, always changing.~Mrs. Izzo

Attempted normal life, still got surprises.~Mrs. Jackson

Friday, September 4, 2009

Get off to a good start with reading!

Parents and Students:
There's been no major homework so far assigned (only book pockets and folders)although we have kicked off our pursuit of the 25 books read per student. This means you can expect to see your students reading books form our clasroom libraries.

We also began giving out Scholastic Book Catalogs today and making recommendations for some new popular titles to keep students excited about reading. Parents now have the option to order online directly through Scholastic or to use the traditional paper order form and check. I'd encourage you to try the online order since your child won't have to carry cash or a check to school. The even better part is that for each online order you place, Scholastic donates a free book to our classroom library.

To get started, go to the Web address below and enter the personalized user name and password for Mrs. Izzo's class or Mrs. Jackson's class in the sign-in fields on the right side of the page. Note: You do not need to create your own user name and password.

Go to:

If you have Mrs. Izzo:
User Name: lavillaizzo
Password: marbles

If you have Mrs. Jackson:
User Name: lavillajackson
Password: marbles

Ordering online is the most convenient way to use Scholastic Book Clubs. You can order anytime, right up until the online order due date. You’ll also get instant access to over 500 additional titles plus online-only specials and discounts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School Supplies

If you've been in a store lately, you've probably noticed that all the "back to school" stuff is out there. In case you want to get an early start on your supply purchases for Language Arts, here's what you'll need to buy:
Lots of 3x3 sticky notes,
a composition book with lined paper (not spiral bound),
a folder for assignments to take home,
pens and pencils,
notebook paper (and paper for your printer at home),
a dictionary to keep at home.
And one STRONGLY SUGGESTED item: A thumb or “jump” drive. It holds the equivalent of over 100 floppy disks and is more reliable for saving papers and Powerpoints in progress. These can be purchased for as little as ten dollars and will be useful in all your academic classes at LaVilla.

We look forward to meeting you all next week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Summer!

We hope our former and future eighth graders are enjoying summer. To keep yourself ready for he new school year, you need to keep reading regularly (almost daily). Read a variety of books: some easy, fun reads and some that challenge you. You might like to start with the Sunshine State Readers Awrd List: However, there is no required list for our class this year. Just read as much as you can this year, and your teachers will be doing the same.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's Coming Up?

Parents and Students may be wondering what grades are left to earn in this fourth quarter. Here's a wrap-up of the 500 total points for the fourth quarter.

Already collected (before 5/12): (250 points)
FCAT Writes Score, 50 points
Practice Discussion and Notes, 30 points
Rough Draft Feature Article, 50 points
Lit Circle Discussion/Notes #1, 30 points
Lit Circle Discussion/Notes #2 , 30 points
Lit Circle Meeting #3/#4--8 notes!, 60 points

Remaining Assignments: (250 points)
Feature Article Final Draft, 100 points (due 5/12 for a day; due 5/13 for b day).
Drama Quiz (Life is Beautiful or alternate assignment) 25 points (due date TBA)
Sourcebook 50 points (due date TBA)
Final Exam 50 points (due date TBA)
Books Read/Updated Bookcard 25 points (due date TBA)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Formatting Your Feature Article

Many of you have rough drafts due next week. So, here are ten steps to help you format your article in case you missed the lesson or need a review of it.

Formatting Your Feature Article in Ten Steps
1. Finish writing and typing on the normal (default) settings. You’ll need at least a page of text for formatting to work.
2. Add your byline immediately under the title and subtitle.
3. “Select All” (Ctrl+A) and then make columns. Select all (Ctrl+A) again and choose single spacing (Ctrl+1)
4. Then, select just your title. Choose your color and font.
5. Select the first sub-heading. Choose the colors and font for that. (Be sure it coordinates with the title color/font.)
6. Use format painter (paintbrush icon) to make all subheadings match.
7. Next, Insert => Picture => Clip-art or from file. (or, paste from website and give credit in caption.) Make text wrap “tight” around graphics.
8. To make your sidebar, insert => textbox. Right click on its border to format textbox.
9. To create your call-out, select and COPY an intriguing line from your article. Then, insert => wordart. Paste the quote into the word-art and format it to look the way you’d like.
10. Create a Works Cited for all quotes, research, and images/graphics. Do this on www.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Literature Circle Meetings and Rough Draft Conferences

The fourth quarter is a busy one. We are starting our Bradbury literature circles and we will be writing feature articles. For lit circles, you will need to complete the required reading and sticky notes before each meeting (see calendar above and below).

For each discussion you need four sticky notes: 3 role notes and 1 literary luminary.
Click on the following links for the role requirements or download the full guide here.

The full sticky note guide was given out earlier this year. Extra copies are available in the handout bin.
This week you will also sign 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'll get a copy in your sourcebook.) Here are the basic requirements for your conference.

You must be ready on your conference day to get the full credit.
Presented a complete draft at scheduled conference time: ________/10
Article is typed with columns, callouts/sidebar, graphics, captions, 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 an engaging lead ________/5
Student has 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. See the calendar below for all the important dates.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting Ready for Lit Circles

We're practicing for our upcoming author study by reading one more Bradbury story and practicing our strategies on sticky notes. For practice, prepare your notes on this story All Summer in a Day. Cut and paste this link into your browser for a copy of the story:

We'll have our discussions in class on Wednesday (b day) 3/25 and Thursday ( A day) 3/26.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Assignments

Assignment #1: We are starting the new year by discussing author's purpose. To further your understanding of author's purpose, you will need to complete three activities on Compass Odyssey: one guided instruction and two quizzes.

Home access link: Refer to the student/parent instruction sheet for detailed access information.

If you can't access Compass Odyssey at home, you need to sign up to stay before or after school to use the school computers or use the time provided in class.

This assignment is due on 1/14 (A) 1/15(B). It should be completed before your scheduled class period like a normal assignment. We encourage you not to wait until the last minute.

Assignment #2: The second assignment is for the whole month of January. You will read five non-fiction selections of your choice and then add them to your semantic feature analysis. Here is the list of possible sources for non-fiction.

Bigchalk (see notes for username and password)
•Newspapers (
FCAT Explorer

Be sure to document all of the information for each selection in case you need to refer back to it.

We will collect this at the end of the month. The specific date will come later.