Friday, September 28, 2012

October 1/2, 2012 Monday/Tuesday

Happy October

iRead:  Get out your composition book and novel, read for 15 minutes (or more),  and fill out your reading log. 

Introduce Book Assessment for Basic 8, Book #2.   List of Character Traits
Sign up for your book by October 4.

Realistic Fiction -- Contemporary

The Assignment: 

Basic 8, Book #2 Assessment -- Character Cube

See also the tab above for Required Reading.


iWrite:    Another Person in My Family 10-1

Prompt: Describe a member of your family in a paragraph. Concentrate on one main idea from your character web for that person.

 


If you were absent, pick a different person in your family about whom you have a lot of positive things to say.
Write the person’s name in the middle of your paper. Write in connected bubbles things about that person: description, habits, hobbies, adjectives/describing words and phrases,
Create a web of information about this person.  
Character Web.pptx


You should share ideas with someone else, and brainstorm things to write about. Ask each other questions and write down new details and ideas that you come up with. Have your partner initial one of the new ideas that is a result of your conversation. When you hear the chime, it’s time to return to your seats.

Look at your web and decide on one adjective or characteristic of this person to write about.
Use a green colored pencil to write down the name of a positive characteristic of this person. Use color pencil to circle anything on your web that relates to that characteristic.

Copy this into your notebook:
Basic Paragraph Rubric
-->

Basic Paragraph Rubric
Absent
1
Meh.
2
Wow!
3
Not even close
Not enough
5+ sentences

Missing

Begin on new line
Indent

Missing
Maybe, but not clear
Topic sentence

Not much information
Not enough
Details

Missing
Maybe, but not clear
Concluding sentence

Random
Some wandering
On topic
 



iWriteRight: Commonly Confused Words  a lot and allot  
a lot allot posters.pptx

My Favorite ALOT


Listen to/Follow along with The Outsiders
A1 --   page 51"Johnny, I'm scared."  (p 45 Track 1 -- 10:49) (Did not read on Sept. 27) to page  -- Did not read October 1, 2012.
A3 --   page 53/Chapter 4 (12:56 on p 45 Track 1) to top of page 56 (pg. 45 track 1 -- 17:27)
A4 --   page 53 -- 13:05 to page (Did not read.)
B7 --   page 43 (Chaper 3, 10:49)  to top of page 45 (14:12).
B8  --  page 57 (p 45 Track 1, 20:21) to top of page 64 (Outsiders We crouched. . . 3:29).

Brake and Break


Break and Brake



Did you ever break your leg? 

What would happen if a skeleton were to break his leg?

This shows a brake pedal in a car. 








 Don't break Mom's vase!

Would you like to take a snack break? 






 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Punctuation Post

The Hyphen   
Brian P. Cleary  tells us that "Among the words that USED TO BE hyphenated, and now are not: bumblebee, ice cream, today, baseball, and test tube."
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 27/28, 2012 Thursday/Friday

Announcement:  If you need your school pictures retaken, or weren't here for school pictures, today is picture make-up day.  Come lookin' good!


iRead:  Get out your composition book and novel, read for 15 minutes (or more),  and fill out your reading log. 


iWrite:   One Family Member   September 27 or 28, 2012
Prompt: Tell me about a member of your family. Only positives today, so pick someone you think highly of. Describe the person as best you can. You may include physical description, character description, examples of behavior, good deeds, etc.




iWriteRight:  Paragraphs!  
  
If you were absent, watch this PowerPoint   ParagraphIntro.ppt, and revise your iWrite paragraph from today to make it a paragraph with a topic sentence, details, and a conclusion.  Highlight the topic sentence with green, the details with yellow, and the conclusion with red.  



Listen to/Follow along with The Outsiders
A1 --   page 51"Johnny, I'm scared."  (p 45 Track 1 -- 10:49) to page  (We did not read this today.)
A3 --   page 43 (paragraph 5 -- Chapter 3, 10:47) to page 53/Chapter 4 (12:56 on p 45 Track 1)
A4 --   top of page 47 "See y'all tomorrow." (p 45 Track 1 -- 3:30) to page 53 -- 13:05
B7 --   page 41 after "What are we going to do?" (Chapter 3, 7:03) to page 43 (Chaper 3, 10:49)
B8  --  page 51 (I'm scared.") (10:56)   -- (p 45 Track 1) to page 57 (p 45 Track 1, 20:21)

Two-Bit might "play a little snooker." page 47

Recommended Contemporary Realistic Fiction (from Ms. Dorsey) :
Lupita Manana by Patricia Beatty

Crossing over the border is a dangerous business...
...But Lupita must cross from Mexico to America. After her father dies in a fishing boat accident in the seas near their small Mexican village, Lupita's family is left in poverty. Lupita and her big brother, Salvador, must smuggle themselves into the United States to earn money to support their mother and young siblings. America is not the land of opportunity they had hoped. A new language, hard labor, and the constant threat of la migra -- the immigration police--make every day a difficult challenge. But for feisty Lupita, there is always hope for a better manana -- tomorrow.
 -- Review from Amazon.com

Return to Sender  by Julia Alvarez

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.   -- Blurb from the hardcover edition.





Announcements:

Don't forget the PTSA Reflections Contest!  Entries are due in October.    2012 PTSA Reflections Contest

Another Contest: 
The Mary Kawakami scholarship speech contest for junior and high school students is accepting applications until October 13th.  Please see the attached flyer with the application form.
America Our Country Speech Contest 9-23-12.pdf
122K  

America Our Country Speech Contest 9-23-12.pdf
Click on the link, then on the Download tab.

Reminders:
  • Don't forget to take your online tests by Friday.  If you were absent when we gave instructions, here is what you do:
  1. Log into Skyward.
  2. Look for "Current Assignments" at the left side of the page and click it.
  3.  Your tests should show up -- four of them. 
  4. Click on"Answer Questions."
  5. Make sure you have done all pages of a test before you hit "Complete and . . . " (the bottom button)  to hand it in.  There is also a button to save it to finish it later.
  • If you haven't handed in your Basic 8, Book 1 assignment yet, there is an optional format to use.  Ask your teachers or look for it on Edmodo.  You could do this during cavetime or on your own time. 
  • Have you selected your Contemporary Realistic Fiction book?  Realistic Fiction -- Contemporary   Sign up to have your book approved.  What is Contemporary?  It could be happening now. We'll include any books set in the 1950's or later. Those are contemporary with Ms. Dorsey! 
  • Reminder of term expectations:  Expectations for Term 1
  • Don't forget to be studying your Commonly Confused words!  The test is coming closer!
  • Today our focus is on the words   here   hear 

                         

HereHearPosters.pptx

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 25/26, 2012 Tuesday/Wednesday

iRead:  Get out your composition book and novel, read for 15 minutes (or more),  and fill out your reading log. 







iWrite: Once Upon a Time  September 25   / 26

   Write out one of your favorite fairy tales -- as you would tell it to your children. 
There are fairy tales about . . .
mermaids,  giants, beanstalks, castles, princes, princesses, talking animals, beasts, elves, fairies (of course),  magic ______,  witches, towers, dwarves, genies, talking trees (Thank you, Hannah!), flying ponies and flying squirrels (Thanks to A4.), several fairy tales mixed together, sprites, a dragon named Blaze (Thanks to B7.), pudgy people, Shrek!? (Thanks to B8.)


iWriteRight:   

If you were absent, pick up the half-page handout, add the capitalization and punctuation, and tape it into your composition book. 

Outsiders Quote for Conventions



iLearn:  The Outsiders and Plot   

   (Keep adding to your character and setting charts in your composition book.) 

Narrative Plot Structure:   Plot Map Diagrams
If you were absent, ask a classmate or Ms. Bills for the narrative plot structure to draw in your composition book.

Listen to/Follow along with The Outsiders
A1 --    page 46 , paragraph 6 (Outsiders p 45 Track 1 -- 2:10)  to page 51"Johnny, I'm scared."  (Outsiders p 45 Track 1 -- 10:49)
A3 --    page 36 (to chapter 3) to page 43 (paragraph 5 -- Chapter 3, 10:47)
A4 --    chapter 3 page 40 at top, (4:49) to top of page 47 "See y'all tomorrow." (p 45 Track 1 -- 3:30)
B7 --    beginning of chapter 3 to page 41 after "What are we going to do?" (Chapter 3, 7:03)
B8  --   page 46, paragraph 6 (Outsiders p 45 Track 1 -- 2:10) to to page 51 (I'm scared.") (10:56)   -- (p 45 Track 1)


Two-Bit might "play a little snooker." page 47



Recommended Realistic Fiction (from Ms. Dorsey) :
Topic:  bullies,  growing up, what is a "hero'? 
Wood, Ron, The Hero

Topic: Autism, Aspergers
Lord, Cynthia. (2006). Rules.
Erskine, Kathryn, Mockingbird
Baskin, Nora Raleigh. (2009). Anything But Typical 
Heiman, Herb. (2007)Running On Dreams (I haven't yet read this one.)
 





Announcements:
The Mary Kawakami scholarship speech contest for junior and high school students is accepting applications until October 13th.  Please see the attached flyer with the application form.
America Our Country Speech Contest 9-23-12.pdf
122K  

America Our Country Speech Contest 9-23-12.pdf
Click on the link, then on the Download tab.

Reminders:
  • Don't forget to take your online tests by Friday.  If you were absent when we gave instructions, here is what you do:
  1. Log into Skyward.
  2. Look for "Current Assignments" at the left side of the page and click it.
  3.  Your tests should show up -- four of them. 
  4. Click on"Answer Questions."
  5. Make sure you have done all pages of a test before you hit "Complete and . . . " (the bottom button)  to hand it in.  There is also a button to save it to finish it later.
  • If you haven't handed in your Basic 8, Book 1 assignment yet, there is an optional format to use.  Ask your teachers or look for it on Edmodo.  You could do this during cavetime or onyour own time. 
  • Have you selected your Contemporary Realistic Fiction book?  Realistic Fiction -- Contemporary   Sign up to have your book approved.  
  • What is Contemporary?  It could be happening now. We'll include any books set in the 1950's or later. Those are contemporary with Ms. Dorsey! 
  • Reminder of term expectations:  Expectations for Term 1
  • Don't forget to be studying your Commonly Confused words!  The test is coming closer!
  • Today our focus is on the words desert, dessert, and desert.  
Did you know?

Commonly Confused Words

In the past, this set has been most frequently missed: desert/desert/dessert
I got lost in the desert.
Never desert your post if you are a soldier.
Let's have chocolate pudding for dessert.


What I've Been Reading -- Fall 2012



Michael Vey  by Richard Paul Evana  -- young adult science fiction 
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff  -- adult nonfiction -- (a father telling about his son's addiction to meth)
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld -- third book in the Leviathan series -- young adult steam punk (historical science fiction) 
Son by Lois Lowry -- young adult science fiction/distopian fiction -- the fourth book among The Giver books
Green Shadows, White Whale by Ray Bradbury --adult  autobiographical novel -- Bradbuy tells about the time he spend in Ireland in the 1950s, writing a screenplay for Moby Dick.
The Long Walk -- adult nonfiction  -- escape from a Soviet prison camp in 1941.  The seven men walk across Siberia, China, and over the Himalayas to attempt to reach freedom.  I did not finish this one.  I abandoned it because I had other books I'd rather read. 
The Haunted Looking Glass by Edward Gorey -- ghost stories by famous authors selected and illustrated by Mr. Gorey 
The Key of Kilenya  by Andrea Pearson -- fantasy by a local author.  

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 21/24, 2012 Friday/Monday

  • Hand in your Book Reports if you have hard copies to hand in.
  •  Monday, September 24 is Minimal Day, so class periods will be 60 minutes long, and you will get out at 12:55.  
  • Don't forget to take your online tests by Friday.  

Today 


1. iRead:  Read and fill out your reading log. 
      On the 24th, we will not have reading time.  
       Prepare to go directly into Computer Lab 201.

2. iShow-What-I-Know: 
 Computer Lab  Sit in your assigned seat in computer lab. 
 Friday: Lab 211   Monday:  Lab 201
Now: Take out your planner and list what you need to do today.
Priority #1: During this class period: Take the district writing test if you haven't.
Priority #2: During this class period: Finish the SRI (reading) test if you haven't.  Notes about the SRI:  SRI and Lexile Levels
Priority #3: During this class period:  Take the online tests on Skyward -- Log into Skyward, look for "Current Assignments"
   click, look for English 7, click on the blue link to "Answer Questions."  Carefully read the directions!   Make sure you complete all pages before you click on the Complete button.
  • Text Evidence
  • Summarizing
  • Fact vs. Opinion
  • Conventions
* If you do not finish the tests on Skyward today, finish them at home or during cave time. 
If you have finished all of the above, and still have time, you may do any of these: 
  • Write your Basic 8, Book #1 Report, if you haven't.
  •     If you have, and it is graded, make corrections and addition to it, if needed. 
  • Finish the iWrite about a character from The Outsiders.
  • Make up any missing composition book points.
  • Finish your commonly confused words poster, if needed. 
  • If you still have extra time, read your realistic fiction book.


Do you know how to use its and it's correctly? 
http://its-not-its.info/
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling#


September 19/20, 2012 Wednesday/Thursday

September 19/20, 2012


Announcements:  
September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day    Pirate Talk


Parent Teacher Conference will be on 

Thursday, September 20 from 3:30 - 7:30. 
  • Parent-Teacher Conference is not required, but can be very helpful.
  • Teachers will be in their classrooms. 
  • If you can't make it, or would like more time to talk than is available during Parent-Teacher Conference,  please make an appointment with the teacher or email concerns.  
  • Please use Skyward to check your student's grades, what he or she may be missing, and descriptions of those assignments  -- before you come to Parent-Teacher Conference. 
  • Students are encouraged to come along.  
Basic 8, Book #1 report due September 18.  If you haven't turned it in yet, get it in as soon as you can -- on Edmodo or as a neat hard copy. 

If you need to make up points for the composition book check (iWrites), see this post or pick up a handout from the box at the back of the room:    
Composition Book Make-Up

Vote for Seventh Grade Officers today!

Writer's Club meets during cavetime on Fridays in a room in the Media Center -- Walk in and turn left and left again. 

1. iRead  and fill out reading log


2.  Making Appointments  
  1.  On the very LAST page of your composition book, draw a big clock face with just the numbers -- no hands.   It should fill  a whole page.
  2. Move around the classroom to make "appointments" with other students. 
    • Find one other student and pick a time on the clock face.  
    • Near that number on the clock face, you will write your name on his or her clock and he or she will write his or her name on your clock. 
    • Move on to another student and do the same thing with him or her.   
    • Keep making appointments until all numbers have been used.   For each number on the clock you will have an "appointment"  with  one other student.










3.  Listen to/Follow along with The Outsiders
A1 --     beginning of chapter 3 to page 46, paragraph 6 (2:10)
A3 --     (22:17)  page 31 page break to page 36 (to chapter 3)
A4 --    (18:05) page 29 3rd paragraph down to chapter 3 page 40 at top, (4:49)
B7 --    page 32 top (chapter 2, 23:24) to beginning of chapter 3
B8  --   top of page 41 (6:44) ? 
______________________________________






4+.  We will take some breaks from the reading.  (Not brakes



iLearn:  Realistic Fiction  Your next Basic 8 Book is a Realistic Fiction book.
      Why is The Outsiders realistic fiction?  
       What is Realistic Fiction?   
You will take notes as Ms. Bills helps you understand and find examples for Realistic Fiction. 

Realistic Fiction -- Contemporary











 ______________________________
iWriteRight:  Brake or Break? (after page 45  in The Outsiders)  With your partner (from your ___ o'clock appointment), in your composition book write one or two sentences about something that has happened so far in The Outsiders, correctly using the words brake and break

A1- 9/19 not
A3 - 9/19 not
A4 - 9/19 not
B7 - 9/19  not
B8 - 9/19  






____________________________
iWrite:  Talk and Write  (after page   in The Outsiders)

                  Talk 
  Ways to know a Character:  With your new partner (your  ___ o'clock partner), pick one of the characters, decide on two or three things the character  does  and what you learn about that character from those things.  

                   Write
 In your composition book, label  

 iWrite: "What a Character Does"  9/19/12
  Write about what you have learned about   one of the characters from 
     what he or she does.  This is what you've talked with your partner about.

Something like: 
When ___________  (tell what he or she did),   I decided that he/she must be ______________ because __________________

Then when he/she (tell what he or she did),  I could tell  that he/she must be ______________ because __________________

A1- 9/19  done
A3 - 9/19  talked and took down notes
A4 - 9/19 done
B7 - 9/19  not
B8 - 9/19 



____________________________________
iLearn about Setting:   With a new partner (your  ___ o'clock partner) add to your list of settings any new places the characters have gone. 

A1- 9/19 not
A3 - 9/19 not
A4 - 9/19 not
B7 - 9/19  not
B8 - 9/19  
______________________________________




If you are absent, 
  • Catch up on this reading during Cavetime or after school, or on your own if you have or can borrow a copy of the book. 
  • Complete the iWrite and iWriteRight activities on your own.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Parent Teacher Conference

Parent Teacher Conference will be on 
Tuesday, February 13  from 3:30 - 7:30. 

  • Parent-Teacher Conference is not required, but can be very helpful.
  • Teachers will be in their classrooms. 
  • If you can't make it, or would like more time to talk than is available during Parent-Teacher Conference,  please make an appointment with the teacher, or email concerns.  
  • Please use Skyward to check your student's grades, what he or she may be missing, and descriptions of those assignments  -- before you come to Parent-Teacher Conference. 
  • Students are encouraged to come along.  


Composition Book Make-Up




Composition Book Make-Up  Q1 #1
September Composition Book Check


  • Select as many of these as you need and write at least ½ page for each.
  • Your writing needs to be legible and on topic. 
  • If you follow these directions, you’ll receive five points each to make up for the points you missed on the composition book check. 
  • Notice that your points on Skyward are weighted as half those required, so if you are missing 5 points on the grade, you’ll  need 10 to make it up.


The question is there to get you thinking.  The prompt is actually in the second sentence.

  1. Do you watch or look away?  Write about a time when you had to get a shot?

  1. What stopped you?  Write about a time when you wanted to get home, but couldn’t.

  1. What's your 'one hit wonder'?  Write about one time you did something so well that you doubt you'll ever be able to repeat the feat.

  1. Then why would you eat with them?  Write about someone who is/was a very unpleasant eater."

  1. What's the bravest OR stupidest thing you ever did?  Write about it.

  1. Did the experience help you decide that this place was one of your 'favorites' or did it change your mind?  Write about something once experienced while visiting a favorite town or city.

  1. "Hello?  Aloe?Write about a time you got a pretty bad sunburn.
8. How disappointed were you?  Write about a time when you tried really hard but still didn't get what you wanted.

  1. "Was there no one else to play with?" Write about the meanest or strangest kid you ever met.

  1.  When did it all suddenly make sense?  Write about a time you realized something big.


Sample for Book #1 Report

Sue Jones  B8   September 12, 2012                         Due September 18

Book Review Assignment for Book #1

1. Title, Author, Number of pages.
     The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton, 180 pages

2. Setting (place and time):
     This story takes place in a town in Oklahoma in the 1960's.  The characters spend time at the movies, at the Curtis home, in an empty lot and a city park, near and in another town called Windrixville, at fast food drive-ins, and at the hospital. 

A list of important characters:
    •    Ponyboy Curtis is the fourteen-year-old narrator of the story.  He's smart in school and lives on the poorer side of town where the kids are called greasers.
    •    Darry Curtis is Pony's oldest brother who is twenty and in charge of the family since their parents died in an automobile accident. 
    •    Sodapop Curtis is Pony's older brother who is seventeen.   He is movie-star handsome, has dropped out of school, and works at a service station.
    •    Steve Randall is Sodapop's best friend.
    •    Two-Bit Mathews is the clown of the group, is eighteen and a half, and is still in high school.
    •    Johnny Cade is sixteen, is neglected and abused by his parents, and has been beaten up and cut by the Socs.
    •    Dallas Winston is a real hoodlum with a police record.

3. A brief summary of the book read (The summary must be of
the book from beginning to end, but you may --and should -- leave out major spoilers since it will be read by others who haven’t yet read the book.). 1 to 2 paragraphs

     Ponyboy Curtis and his two brothers live alone since their parents died in an automobile accident.  They have a group of friends that makes up a sort of gang.   At the beginning, Ponyboy is walking home from the movies alone and is jumped by a group of Socs (the rich boys).  His brother and friends save him, but he has been cut a little and it really scared him. Earlier Johnny had been severely beaten and threatened by the same group. 
      Pony, Johnny, and Dallas go to the drive-in movies where they meet two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia. 
      (I would summarize the rest, leaving out major “spoilers,”  but I'm not going to do that now since this is where we are in reading the book.)

    1.    Rate the book on a scale of 1-10 .  (1 being “I would not recommend this book”, 10 being “It was the best book that I have ever read”.)  You also must include the reason why you give it the score that you do.
I would rate this book a ten because the author has shown how things really are for some kids,  she shows the feeling on both sides of the Soc/Greaser conflict, and the story is exciting and gets the reader to feel emotions.   This is a book I could read over and over again. (I have.)

5. Some kind of connection to the book: 2 paragraphs
Text to text: Connect the book to another piece of literature that you have read.
Text to self: Connect the book to yourself in some way.
Text to world: Connect the book to something that is going on in the world.

      The Outsiders reminds me of another book I read this past summer.  It is Beyond the Western Sea by Avi.   The main characters of Beyond the Western Sea are some Irish kids who have to leave their home because they are so poor and starving during the Irish potato family. Their father had gone to America, and now he has saved up enough money to bring the rest of his family to the United States. 
     As they travel to the port and while they are on the ship, many people treat them terribly because they are poor and because they are from Ireland, not from England.  It is like in The Outsiders when the kids are looked down on and beaten up because they don't have a much as some other people and because of where they are from – one side of town instead of the other. 

 





Realistic Fiction -- Contemporary

Realistic Fiction  for Book #2     Due by October 20/21.

As usual, your book needs to be at least 100 pages long, at or near your reading level (so not too young, and not too hard), and a book you have not read before.    

Your genre this time is contemporary realistic fiction, also sometimes called "life problems" fiction. 

Realistic fiction includes books that are set in the real world and have characters that could really exist and plots that could really happen.  For this term they should be contemporary -- set in modern times -- not historical fiction.  Anything that happened prior to about fifty years ago would be considered historical rather than contemporary.
Joan Bauer is one writer of realistic fiction.  We will probably read her book Stand Tall as a class.
Some examples of realistic fiction include The Outsiders (which we read as a class), Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1020L) and others,  Because of Winn-Dixie (610L) by DiCamillo,  Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie (560L), Stargirl (590L), 

No More Dead Dogs (610L) by Korman,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  (700L) by Konigsburg, Walk Two Moons (770L) by Creech, Rules (780L) by Lord, Downriver  (760L) by Will Hobbs.
For more, look under "Life and Its Problems" at   Recommended Books

or  Contemporary Realistic Fiction

To find out the lexile level for a book, go to lexile.com 
If you do not have your own lexile level, hopefully we will soon be completing the Scholastic Reading Inventory to find it! (As of the middle of September 2014, we're waiting for the resolution of  technical difficulties.)

 

If parents are concerned about certain books, one guideline for age appropriateness is to check recommended grade levels with the reviews on Amazon.  

Focus on the Family  reviews many books at  http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/protecting_your_family/book_reviews_for_parents/a_c.aspx


 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

About Time Setting

Rachel N.  asked a great question on Emodo:
"On our book report if it doesn't say the time period should we just estimate??" 

Here's my answer:
      I like your idea of estimating if the book doesn't specifically say.
      There are usually clues to at least a general time.  For instance, if the characters live in the real world, and they have cars and computers and cell phones, it is probably contemporary --  our current time or close to it.   If they have cars, but have to crank them to start, and there are more horses and wagons on the road than cars, you could guess that the book took place early in the history of automobiles. 
      If the book is fantasy and they don't have any of those things, but there are knights and castles it is probably medieval.
      If it is a society with technology that we don't have yet, or is a society that has been built after most societies and people in the world have been destroyed, it is probably in the future. 
      Then, there are more specific times.  Some books take place all in one season such as winter or summer or will center around a holiday or during the school year or during a vacation. 
      Making your best guess based on clues in the book is a great way to handle this!