Monday, October 31, 2016

Zombie Haiku Winners!

First place:                                          
Four by Emma B.  A2
what I eat are brains
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
none for you, they're mine!

I walk slow towards you
to eat and gnaw on your bones
help me and walk slow!

if you touch my face
my skin will fall off easy
so keep your hands off!

I will moan and groan
but just because I do that
it doesn't mean I'm mad

Honorable Mention:

Lizzie R. 

I am a zombie
I want your brains, human man
You shall die tonight
       -- Ryker D.  A2

zombies like to eat
humans and gross yucky brains
don't touch a zombie!
       -- Kadence P.  A1

brains is all they want
do you have some to spare, sir?
brains is all I want
       --  Samuel H.  A2

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Monday/Tuesday, October 31/November 1, 2016

Announcements and Reminders:
Turn in your Quiz of the Week!!! 

You may spend any time before class studying for your spelling test. 

11. are/our
We are happy.
Our mother is happy.

12. where/wear
Where is he?
Did you wear your coat to school?

Your next test will be on all of the spelling words.
Your Overall Spelling Test will be on November 8/9.

Your book of the month  assessment  will be on November 16/17.  You are reading science fiction or fantasy and will write about the setting and how it affects other elements of the novel.  
We hope you had a happy Halloween! 

Targets for Today:

I can compare the book and movie of The Outsiders.

I can demonstrate my spelling expertise with "where/wear" and "are/our".

I can gather more evidence for my argument essay from the movie of The Outsiders

Today’s  Agenda:

Turn in your Quiz of the Week!!! 
Pick up your composition books. 

Spelling test!! Put everything below your desks and don't talk!

Do you remember what to take notes about while we watch the movie?
  • Differences between the book and the movie. 
  • More evidence for your argument essay topic
You'll stay in your normal seats today, but at one point during the movie we'll have you get up, find someone with your same argument topic, and you'll talk about your evidence. 

Pull out your composition books, open to your notes pages, and let's start!

And after we've finished the movie, let's hear what you thought!! 
  • Which did you like better- the book, or the movie? Why?
  • How were the characters different in the movie and the book?
  • How was the plot different in the movie than in the book?
  • Why do you think the producers chose to make the movie that way?

If You Were Absent:

Watch The Outsiders film at home! (It's on Amazon Prime or YouTube for an additional charge  and available as a DVD on Netflix.)
Turn in your Quiz of the Week and come to make up the Spelling Test.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thursday/Friday, October 27/28, 2016

Welcome to a New Term! 

Announcements and Reminders:   October 28

We had announced the Overall Spelling Test for the 25th/26th, but we want to introduce one more set of commonly confused words first. Study up on "are/our" and "where/wear" for your next test on October 31 or November 1Your Overall Spelling Test will be on November 8/9.

Your book of the month  assessment  will be on November 16/17.  You are reading science fiction or fantasy and will write about the setting and how it affects other elements of the novel.  

Grades are in for the term!   If 5 extra credit points or less would bump your grade up 1/2 a grade, we did it!  

Zombie Haiku Contest: This ended on Wednesday. 
Contest! Extravagant (small, inexpensive) Prizes and Extra Credit

Spelling Test:  October 31/November 1 on --
11. are/our
We are happy.
Our mother is happy.
12. where/wear
Where is he?
Did you wear your coat to school?

For more spelling helps, see

Targets for Today:

I can choose a topic from my green sheet for an argument essay.

I can collect evidence for my essay from the movie of The Outsiders.

I can compare the similarities and differences between the movie and book of The Outsiders

Today’s  Agenda:

Moment of truth! Pull out your green sheets. You've been collecting evidence from the book, and now it is time to look over that evidence and make a choice. Which topic has the most evidence for you to write an essay about? Look over your sheet and put a star next to the one that you will write about.

  1. Open your composition books to two blank pages in your Class Notes section. 
  2. On the left page, write the green-sheet topic that you chose on the top of the page. 
  3. On the right page, divide the paper in half. On the left half, write "Book" on the top. On the right, put "Movie".

 As we watch, I want you to compare the similarities and differences that you see between the book and the movie. Write as many details as you can in each column. The person who has the most details in each class will get a prize! 

Now we're going to move you around! You'll sit in groups with the students who chose the same topic that you did. Leave all your things at your desk except your composition book and a pencil/pen. 

Our First Class Novel: The Outsiders
Core Standards Addressed 8-21-13

the Curtis family before the parents died

If You Were Absent:

Look at your green sheet and pick an argument essay topic. Watch the first half of The Outsiders and use the movie to find more pieces of evidence to support that topic.

Study for your spelling test on Oct. 31/Nov. 1. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This is What Your Teacher May Look Like If. . .

. . . if a student comes on the last day of the term and says, "What can I do to bring my grade up?"   He or she should have been concerned with the grade since the beginning of the term."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tuesday/Wednesday, October 25/26, 2016

Announcements and Reminders:

Hand in your unused hall passes by the end of the period.  You will receive three points of extra credit for each one that has your name on it.  
Today is the deadline to sign up for your November Book of the Month! The genre is Fantasy or Science Fiction. Check here for more information!

If you want any of your assignments/papers from Term 1, pick those up in the basket. Otherwise, we will throw them away on October 26 when the term ends.

We had announced the Overall Spelling Test for today, but we want to introduce one more set of commonly confused words first. Study up on "are/our" and "where/wear" for your next test on October 31 or November 1. Your Overall Spelling Test will be on November 8/9.

Zombie Haiku Contest: This ends on Wednesday. 

Targets for Today:

I can collect evidence from The Outsiders for a future argument essay.

Today’s  Agenda:

Silent Reading time and Sign up for your Book of the Month. Remember that it has to be a Fantasy or Science Fiction book.

And now... It's the end of the world as we know it! Or rather, it's the end of The Outsiders. We will finish the book today, so pull out your green sheets and character pages and get ready!

It's time for the trial that will decide if Ponyboy goes to jail, if he goes into foster care, or if he stays with Soda and Darry. He imagines it will be something like this...

What are some things that have changed about Ponyboy? Why was Two-Bit worried when Ponyboy broke that pop bottle (page 171)? Do you think Ponyboy is tough now?

What did we just learn about Sodapop? How about Darry and Ponyboy? Write something down on your character pages for each of them.

What did Johnny say in his letter to Ponyboy? What did Pony decide to do about it?

If we have time, we'll talk about metafiction. If a book is metafictional, it crosses the line between story and reality and acknowledges itself as a book. These are some examples of what that might look like:

  • A character reading the story to another character (Princess Bride, anyone?)
  • A character realizing that they are just part of a story (like in this movie)
  • The story is actually written by a character in the story (Sound familiar?)

If You Were Absent:

Finish The Outsiders and fill in more details on your green sheet and your character pages, especially about Ponyboy, Soda, and Darry.


Metafictional: When a text refers to its own status as a book, play, poem, etc. This can create irony and blur the line between reality (the book you're holding) and the story (what happens inside).

The story outside of the story is also called a "frame story."

Meta:   (prefix from Ancient Greek) a prefix added to the name of a subject and designating another subject 
that analyzes the original one but at a more abstract, higher level:
metaphilosophy; metalinguistics, metacognition, metafiction
a prefix added to the name of something that consciously 
references or comments upon its own subject or features:
a meta-painting of an artist painting a canvas.

Sample for Fantasy/Science Fiction Book Assessment

Book Assessment for November                                                    Cynthia  S. Lewis          B7

    The novel Star of Deltora by Emily Rodda is set in a land called Deltora.  This is a fantasy land in a world similar in some ways, yet very different from our own.  In the world of Deltora magic and hauntings exist.   The first chapter takes us to a strange island called the Isle of Tier which is far from the city Del -- a harbor town where ships and trading are very important.   Much of the story takes place in Del – in a small shop,  at the home of a former sailor, under a small shelter by a graveyard, at a Traders’ Hall,  in a dark alley and  an adjoining run-down building, and finally, on a ship leaving Del. 
    The time setting is something like medieval times with no modern technology and no modern forms of transportation.   The whole plot of this book (first in a series) takes place within just a few days.   It is not winter or hot summer, but it is rainy and cool some of the time. 
     [How the Setting Influences other Elements in the Book]
      Because the book is set in a past without the advanced communication and transportation that we have, distance becomes more significant.  It would take magic for someone on a faraway island to communicate with or affect anyone on the mainland.   And leaving family behind to travel becomes a much more serious and dangerous experience.  The island setting creates a feeling of isolation.  It is a magical island, so that allows the author to do things with the story that could not be done otherwise.  Living by the sea inspires some characters to want adventure and travel. This is especially true in a place where people use the ships for trading with other lands to bring back all sorts of needed and wanted things and to become rich themselves.    
     The short time period in which this book takes place makes the story seem urgent and as hurried as the main character feels.   So place and time help shape the characters and story.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Check your RAFTS, ARMS, and SMILES!

When writing an essay,  remember to do these things:

Before you write, check your RAFTS.
After your essay is written, go back and use your ARMS and SMILES!


Strong Key Words 



 ARMS  [Use your ARMS to Revise]
Move around

A.R.M.S. Revision Strategy

SMILES [Use your SMILES to Edit Your Work.]

Sentences -- Make sure each sentence has a subject and an action.
Marks -- End each sentence with a punctuation mark.
Indents -- Indent each new paragraph.
Letters -- Start each sentence with a capital letter.
Editor -- Use any editing program available, and check your own spelling, etc.
(Spelling -- Double-check for the words you tend to misspell.)

Use Your SMILESS to Edit
Marks – Punctuation
Indenting (for new paragraphs)
Letters – Using capitalization correctly
Edit with any editor tool available and use your own eyes.
Spelling – Use a spell check if available, and check on your own.
      If a word is in the articles you have been given, look there for how to spell it.

Sense – Edit to make sure what you have written makes sense. 

Editing Your Essay

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tuesday/Wednesday, October 18/19, 2016

Announcements and Reminders:
Late work is due on October 19-- tomorrow!! That is the last day before Fall Break. Check the No Name basket if you think you've turned something in but you don't have a score.  The 19th is also the deadline for extra credit that will count on this term.

Prepare for your spelling test coming on October 25/26.

Remember to look for your next Book of the Month! The genre is Fantasy or Science Fiction. Look here for more information!

Get out your composition book. 

Targets for Today:

I can explain why a piece of evidence is so important and why it supports my opinion.

I can collect evidence from The Outsiders for a future argument essay.

Today’s  Agenda:
Pull out your composition book.
Time for a visual writing prompt!

What is happening in this picture? Write what you think, then three details in the picture that made you come to that conclusion. 

Now let's get in the mood to solve some crimes today... Do details matter? It matters even more what we do with them!

In this video, look for two things: 
  • The physical pieces of evidence, or details that Sherlock saw.
  • The things he learned from that detail
Let's do our Writer's Workshop and practice those deducing skills!

On the front side of the worksheet, you'll find a mystery to solve. You'll work with your partner, so keep your eyes out for pieces of evidence and what they might tell you. 

Now let's listen to The Outsiders!!

If You Were Absent:

Come pick up the Evidence worksheet and catch up on your reading in The Outsiders. Turn in any late work!

Evidence: Facts, examples, statistics, or quotes that support a claim
Explanation: What you say about the evidence; shows how the evidence supports the claim


Role  -- (What is your role as you write the essay?)
Audience  (Who will be reading it?)
Format   (Are you writing a letter, a story, a 3-paragraph, 4 paragraph, 5 paragraph essay?)
Task  -- (What are you supposed to do? Argue?  Inform? Describe? Compare? or other tasks?) 
Strong Key Words -- (What words in the prompt do you need to pay special attention to? )

Table of task words  from
WordsWhat they (might) mean...
Account forExplain, clarify, give reasons for. (Quite different from "Give an account of which is more like 'describe in detail').
AnalyseBreak an issue down into its component parts, discuss them and show how they interrelate.
AssessConsider the value or importance of something, paying due attention to positive, negative and disputable aspects, and citing the judgements of any known authorities as well as your own.
ArgueMake a case, based on appropriate evidence for and/or against some given point of view.
Comment onToo vague to be sure, but safe to assume it means something more than 'describe' or 'summarise' and more likely implies 'analyse' or 'assess'.
CompareIdentify the characteristics or qualities two or more things have in common (but probably pointing out their differences as well).
ContrastPoint out the difference between two things (but probably point out their similarities as well).
CriticiseSpell out your judgement as to the value or truth of something, indicating the criteria on which you base your judgement and citing specific instances of how the criteria apply in this case.
DefineMake a statement as to the meaning or interpretation of something, giving sufficient detail as to allow it to be distinguished from similar things.
DescribeSpell out the main aspects of an idea or topic or the sequence in which a series of things happened.
DiscussInvestigate or examine by argument. Examine key points and possible interpretations, sift and debate, giving reasons for and against. Draw a conclusion.
EvaluateMake an appraisal or the worth of something, in the light of its apparent truth; include your personal opinion. Like 'assess'.
EnumerateList some relevant items, possibly in continuous prose (rather than note form) and perhaps 'describe' them (see above) as well.
ExaminePresent in depth and investigate the implications.
ExplainTell how things work or how they came to be the way they are, including perhaps some need to 'describe' and to 'analyse' (see above). 
To what extent...? Explore the case for a stated proposition or explanation, much in the manner of 'assess' and 'criticise' (see above), probably arguing for a less than total acceptance of the proposition.
How far Similar to 'to what extent...?' (see above) 
Identify Pick out what you regard as the key features of something, perhaps making clear the criteria you use. 
Illustrate Similar to 'explain' (see above), but probably asking for the quoting of specific examples or statistics or possibly the drawing of maps, graphs, sketches etc. 
InterpretClarify something or 'explain' (see above), perhaps indicating how the thing relates to some other thing or perspective.
JustifyExpress valid reasons for accepting a particular interpretation or conclusion, probably including the need to 'argue' (see above) a case.
OutlineIndicate the main features of a topic or sequence of events, possibly setting them within a clear structure or framework to show how they interrelate.
ProveDemonstrate the truth of something by offering irrefutable evidence and/or logical sequence of statements leading from evidence to conclusion.
ReconcileShow how two apparently opposed or mutually exclusive ideas or propositions can be seen to be similar in important respects, if not identical. Involves need to 'analyse' and 'justify' (see above).
Relate Either 'explain' (see above) how things happened or are connected in a cause-and-effect sense, or may imply 'compare' and 'contrast' (see above).
Review Survey a topic, with the emphasis on 'assess' rather than 'describe' (see above).
StateExpress the main points of an idea or topic, perhaps in the manner of 'describe' or 'enumerate' (see above).
Summarise'State' (see above) the main features of an argument, omitting all superfluous detail and side-issues.
TraceIdentify the connection between one thing and another either in a developmental sense over a period of time, or else in a cause and effect sense. May imply both 'describe' and 'explain' (see above).

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sample Outsiders Essays

Sample Essay:   A2         Which parts does this essay have?  Is it missing any?  What other suggestions would you have for the writer? 

     "He kept trying to make someone say 'no' and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That's what we all really want"(Hinton 116). Randy was talking to Ponyboy about Bob. The Soc's only really want is to be told 'no' once, they just do bad things to try and get their parents to say 'no' to them. But the parents think that since they're rich, they're kids can do whatever they want. It is harder to be good if people are rich because they get lots of privilege and no parents to tell them that doing bad things aren't right.

This introductory paragraph begins with a hook, and gives some background indormation.  What needed background information is missing from this introduction?  The thesis sentence is highlighted in green.  Notice that it makes a claim and gives two reasons why that claim is true. 

     When people are rich, they get lots of privilege. On page 3 it says "I reckon we're wilder too. Not like the Soc's, who jump Greasers, and wreck houses, and throw beer blasts for kicks"(Hinton 3). That shows how many bad things Soc's do. They get to do fun things with their friends and they do very little work. This makes it hard for them to be good because, They know that if they do something wrong they won't get in trouble with their parents.

In this first body paragraph, the student gives a piece of evidence, gives a parenthetical citation to back it up, and explains how it supports the first reason why the claim is true.

     When people are rich, they have no parents to tell them that doing bad things aren't right. The parents only care about what you are doing when you get hurt. In the book Outsiders by Hinton it says on page 116 it says "He's dead-his mother had a nervous breakdown" "They thought it was their fault" "If his old man had just belted him- just once, he might still be alive." That quote shows that Bobs parents think that his death was their fault. It really is Bobs parents fault because they never taught him right from wrong. This is hard for a rich person, to think that they can have whatever they want. But maybe not everything.

In this second  body paragraph, the student gives a piece of evidence, gives an informal citation to back it up, and explains how it supports the second reason why the claim is true.

     Other people might say that it is harder for poor people to be good because they go threw lots of hardships in their life. On page 116 it says "My friends- They'd think I was off my rocker or turning soft" (Hinton 116). This quote proves me right and others wrong because it says that if rich people go soft then they will get teased by their friends. That makes it hard for rich people because they get peer pressured into bad things and can only have rich friends.

The third body paragraph presents a counterclaim, then gives a rebuttal, showing why the counterclaim is not true. 

     In conclusion, it is harder to be good if people are rich. They get too much privilege, and no parents to tell them  that doing bad things aren't right. This is because the kids get to do whatever they want and the parents don't care about their kid until they get hurt. 
The final paragraph is the conclusion, and it sums up the essay and makes it feel finished.

The topic sentence for each paragraph is highlighted in yellow. 

A2 Emma B.

Sample Essay  A1  Which parts does this essay have?  Is it missing any?  What other suggestions would you have for the writer? 

     Why would we (seventh graders) want to read about a person who has so many problems like he ran away, he witnessed a murder, and he is in seventh or eighth grade! His list of problems just continues to get longer and longer with two of his close friendsdied one from severe burns and another from suicide. His friend died of severe burns because they were smoking in an old church they were living in after they ran away and the other one got himself killed because the other one died. More than once this story describes murder (killing someone else) and suicide (killing yourself). This story is titled The Outsiders the author is S.E Hinton. The Outsiders should not be read in seventh grade because not only does describe bad examples, but it makes them seem like good things to do. This book is not a good book to read in seventh grade also because it tells us about things we do not need to know about.

What could happen to create a more effective thesis sentence? 

     We should not read The Outsiders in seventh grade because it tells us about things we do not need to know about. We do not have to worry  wanting to run away. Why are we reading a handbook on how to run away. On page 62 of The Outsiders, there are many quotes about Johnny and Ponyboy running away. The that seemed to explain it the best is " 'Now' whispered Johnny. We ran and pulled ourselves into an open boxcar."  After that, they think they are free from all of their problems. Also, they do some very unhealthy things making them seem good.

How can the author add citations?  How could the author improve the organization of this essay?  

     In The Outsiders, they smoke saying it calms them down. Also, they do things like rob stores. They even murdered in this story!  A quote that supports this is "He didn't bat an eye when Johnny told him what had happened, only grinned and said 'Good for you.' " (The Outsiders, page 59) Johnny told Dally how he murdered someone! All that Dally said was "Good for you."?Good for you?!! That is not "Good for you"! Murdering someone is definitely not good for you!Having a character say "Murdering is good for you!" seems like a bad example. Ponyboy was in Junior High and witnessed a murder. Johnny was in High school and committed a murder!  This could have an effect that either scares Junior High students or makes them have the wrong idea.

Does the first sentence in this paragraph give the topic of the rest of the paragraph? 

     While others might say, It is good to read The Outsiders in seventh grade because it shows how to deal with the problems they have. While that is true, it is still not good because 1) We should not even need to deal with those problems so why are we even reading about them and 2) they do not always show how to deal with it in a good way such as, when Johnny died Dally could not cope with it very well  so he got himself killed. If seventh graders used a character in this book as a role model it could end up badly for them.

What should the author do instead of creating a list of reasons? 

     Now as I end I would like to again say do not use The Outsiders as an example on how to cope with something. The Outsiders should not be read in seventh grade because it has scenarios where the characters have problems we do not need to know about as seventh graders. An example is running away. While doing this it also makes these bad choices seem like good choices like smoking calms me down. The Outsiders by S. E Hinton is a book that should not be read in seventh grade.

Which of the highlighted sentences in the final paragraph is the topic sentence for this paragraph?  


Sample Argument Essay with transitions highlighted
Sample Argument Essay

Parenthetical Citation