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Showing posts from October, 2014

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…

The Outsiders

Anyone else remember reading The Outsiders in middle school?  I remember reading it in 7th grade in 1981. Oh how I loved that book!  Then came the movie!  Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Leif Garret, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze were some of the actors in this Francis Ford Coppola film.  I have to admit that it was a little depressing this year when I mentioned that Tom Cruise was in the movie, and only one student said, "I think I have heard of him."  

Yet, here it is 2014 and my students are enjoying this book as much as I did.  On the surface the book is about two rival "gangs," the Socs and the Greasers.  However, the book is about so much more.  It is about stereotypes and prejudging people.  It's about true friendship, family, and loyalty.  It's about courage and growing up.  That makes it the perfect book for middle schoolers.

I started off the unit with a web quest about the 1960s to get the students acquainted with the setting of the novel.  They listened t…

Theme Analysis with Powtoon

A few weeks ago I received an email from a parent.  She said that she and her child were struggling with adapting to all of the technology being used at school.  I had to laugh!  Believe me, I totally understand.  I got through college with an electric typewriter!  When I first started teaching twenty-three years ago, there wasn't a computer on campus for teachers to use, we did not have voice mail, and grades were kept in a binder for the teacher,  not the students!  Boy have times changed!  I am constantly learning about new ways to enhance the classroom experience and facilitate learning for my students.  I don't want to get left in the dust!  

 Here are a few things I've tried this year:

1) website allows students to both practice and take quizzes on both grammar and punctuation.  Students can personalize their interests, which means that the sentences they may contain their best friend's or favorite sports player's name.  It also provides insta…


We are finishing up our short story unit this week.  I love the short story unit, because it provides a great opportunity to talk about author's style, literary terms. elements of a story, and so much more!  This comes in handy later when we read novels.
We began the week with stations.  Students visited five stations and completed a variety of tasks.  We had just finished reading "Rikki-Tikki Tavi," so a few stations involved learning vocabulary from the story and finding textual evidence to support whether or not Rikki was a brave and likable character. Another station  allowed students the opportunity to practice grammar on  Students enjoy this website.  It allows them to create a profile and actually personalizes the sentences for each student!  They also receive instant feedback, as well as explanations of wrong answers.   

We also began reading "Monsters on Maple Street."  Students are looking for how the author conveys theme in the story.  For…