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Showing posts from 2014

Period 1-Informational Essay


This week students worked tirelessly on their informational essays.  After several lessons and examples, they finally completed their rough drafts.  These drafts were submitted to  One of the things I love about this site is that it allows students to read and evaluate one another's essays using questions that I personally write.  In addition, the person evaluating the essay can  comment directly on the writer's rough draft. I gave the students a long talk before we began and made sure that they all understood to comment in a respectful, kind manner.  I also encouraged them to give the quality of feedback that they would like to receive on their own writing.  Most students did an outstanding job.  I was so pleased with how serious they took this task.  In addition, students were required to complete a self-evaluation which forced them to take another look at their draft.
I am hoping that students received some valuable feedback.  Of course, I told them that…

I'm Back!

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you enjoyed your time with family and friends!  

PERIODS 0 and 2

This week we read an article called "Affluenza: Is it Real?" and students used two  critical reading strategies to help them comprehend the text.  Before reading, I showed the students two very short video clips about the article. Then, we marked the text,.  Next, students had to think of a way to group (also known as chunking) the paragraphs together in a way that made sense.  For example, they might choose two group the first three paragraphs together because it was the introduction. Afterwards, they summarized each chunk of information.  The students sure had to say a lot about this topic, and I encourage you to ask them about it!  We are reading this article as part of our Juvenile Justice Unit which really complements The Outsiders.
We also finished reading The Outsiders.  Yes, I know it took us forever, but we did so many other things as we …

Short Week!

English 7 College Prep
This week students chose a character from the novel and created a "report card" for that character. They chose traits to evaluate, made a comment as "the teacher," and cited evidence from the book to support their grade.  I like this activity; if forces students to refer to the text and find evidence to support their grade.  It also helps them discuss and see how a character may have changed throughout the novel or may have more than one side to his or her personality!  

 Not finished yet

The Teen Brain

This week my English 7 Honors classes finished analyzing ¨Nothing Gold Can Stay.¨  This poem appears in The Outsiders.  Before beginning our analysis, I asked students to think about the big question:  Why  do you think S.E. Hinton chose this poem to include in her book?  What connections can you make between the poem and the characters and situations in the novel?  Then we read the poem and students annotated the text with their initial thoughts, observations, and questions.  Next, I showed them a video of the poem  with images in the back
ground and set to music .  They did a bit more annotating after that.  After that, we used a strategy called SIFT.  Much like a sifter used in gold mining, this strategy yields similar results!  Students isolate the golden nuggets of the poem.  Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but the students liked the comparison.  They looked at possible symbolism, imagery, figurative language, and theme/tone.  Afterwards, we had an incredible discussion.  …

Busy Week

This week my English 7 Honors classes completed the Interview a Word Activity that my English 7 College Prep did last week.  Two of my stellar students took it upon themselves to create a video of their interview with Gallantly.  Check it out!

Interview with Gallantly

We also began the analysis of "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost.  As usual, I was blown away by their ability to see beyond the obvious.  College Prep will be doing this next week.

College Prep read an expository article called "How Stereotypes can Fuel Teen Misbehavior."  We marked the text, wrote in the margins, and discussed the article.  They will be using a template to create an expository summary of the article.  

All of my students seem to be loving the book!

Interviewing a Word

Both my College Prep and Honors English classes will be interviewing a vocabulary word.  College Prep did this activity last week, and Honors will do it this week.  I selected words from The Outsiders.  When selecting words for students to learn, I look for words that are not only challenging, but for words that will prove to be useful in their lives.  For example, the word chocks would not be a word I would select.  By the way, chocks are wedges to stop a wheel from moving.  Students are unlikely to encounter this word in an academic class and would not get much mileage out of it in their own writing. 

 Therefore, some of the words I chose for this activity were:


Students were asked to interview their assigned word.

What I like about this activity is that students learn related words, as well as synonyms and antonyms. Once they finished the written work, they created a visual of their word.

Students were then attended a Vocabulary Party whe…