Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 27, 2008

February 27, 2008
Today we started out in the computer lab, finished up the SRI, and then each student typed the GoMYAccess prompt he or she had chosen. They had two prompts to choose from. See nearby posts on this blog.
We also started working again with Parts of Speech.
A1 was in the computer lab longer, so didn't do the Parts of Speech exercises yet.
A2 watched a few Grammar Rock segments, and completed pages 3 and 4 of the grammar packet.
A3 watched a few Grammar Rock segments, and played "In the Manner of the Adverb." Great job!
A4 watched a few Grammar Rock segments, and played "In the Manner of the Adverb."

If you just can't get enough of those songs, go to

Don't forget to study your prefixes and suffixes.

Don't forget to hand in your book portfolio, parts 1 and 2.

Don't forget to have your Reading Bingo signed off and hand it in by March 4.

Don't forget to revise your GoMyAccess essay. We will not be going into the computer lab again before the end of third term. You have until March 10 to revise this essay.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February 25, 2006

February 25, 2006
-- Don't forget to study your prefixes and suffixes for the test at the end of the term.
-- Don't forget to hand in your Portfolio Part 1, if you haven't, and to be preparing your Portfolio, Part 2 if you have.
-- Also, remember to have me put your portfolio book, and other books you've read this term on your Reading Bingo card.

Students in A1 and A3 read a summary for part of Words By Heart. All classes finished reading the book.

Students received more information on their writing assignment for Thursday. They may choose between two prompts. See the posting below this one. By Thursday each student should have a rough draft to type in computer lab.
Words By Heart – Summaries for pages 98 -- 111
98-99 -- Lena waits in the mulberry tree for Winslow, but he doesn’t come. She talks with him after school and finds out his dad has forbidden him to talk with her anymore – because of her color.
Pages 100-101 -- When Lena gets home, the little children are in the house, and Claudie has gone to find the cow. Someone had opened the gate to let her wander away. Papa is still not home, though he was expected. Someone is outside in the dark, and it isn’t Claudie.
Someone pounds on the door and starts to open it.
Pages 102-103 – Mr. Haney pushes his way in and stand in the doorway, drunk and raving. He wants to see Lena’s father. He’s angry because Mrs. Chism said she was going to take away his horse to pay for the items he stole. He’s drunk and shouting, when Tater comes and pulls him away.
Claudie comes home with the cow. She has them lock the doors while she milks the cow.
Pages 104- 105 – Lena realizes it could have been Mr. Haney and Tater who came into her house the night of the scripture bee. To take their minds off the fright, Claudie has the children help Lena carve a pumpkin – a scary one they place in the window. They blow out all other lights.
Pages 106-107 -- Claudie tells Lena to stay away from the Haneys, especially Tater because he’s the one who has something to prove –to prove how big he is, how much of a man. Claudie tells about how when she was little the “white-caps” came looking for someone and ended up burning down her house – everything they owned. “It’s like a blight,” she says. She also tells Lena that her father has been wanting to better at showing Lena how much he loves her. Lena thinks about how her father has been spending more time with her, and talking more with her.
Pages 108-109 -- At school, Winslow wouldn’t even look at her. Sammy wasn’t at school. She hopes that means the Haneys are gone. She runs home, but Papa still isn’t there. She checks at the Haneys. They’re still there, and she sees someone in a black hat. She thinks it’s Tater, but it turns out it’s his father, walking instead of on his horse, and he had been out grubbing potatoes. She wonders where Tater is.
Pages 110-111 -- Claudie seems worried that Lena didn’t see Tater at the Haneys’ place. She says, “I don’t like it. I feel. . . strange.” Claudie reassures Lena that Ben must have just had more work to do than he’d expected, but Lena is worried. She realizes that it wasn’t her and Claudie and the children who were in danger, but “it was Papa who was in danger.” Lena says she’s going to find Papa, but Claudie refuses to let her.

Friday, February 22, 2008

GoMYAccess assignment

GoMyAccess Assignments for Seventh Grade English
Next week, when we go into the computer lab – February 28 – You will select one of the following prompts to write on. Come prepared with a rough draft of your essay, or log onto GoMyAccess ahead of time, to start drafting.

Your username is -- firstnameSTUDENT#
Your password is -- 999lastname

Themes in Words By Heart
We are just finishing reading Words by Heart in class. As we read we discussed themes about prejudice and racism in the book, as well as other themes. (See the bulletin board.) Now it is your turn to share what you think an important theme is. In a one-page paper explain to a friend what you learned about life from the book. Make sure you use examples from the book to support your theme. Remember, as long as you can support your idea then I will agree with you. Consider your audience, and think about how you would apply what you read to your own life.
Write a multiparagraph essay with an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Life Changing Experiences
Everyone goes through changes. In the book Words By Heart, Lena goes through important changes. Think about a personal experience or an experience you have read about, watched on television, or seen in a movie. Why did this change occur and how did it affect the person's life?
Write a narrative in which you describe a change a person experienced in his or her life.
As you write, remember your story will be scored based on how well you:
# develop a multi-paragraph response to the assigned topic that clearly communicates the purpose of your story to the audience.
# describe the characters, setting, and conflict using meaningful sensory descriptions and details that enable the reader to visualize the experiences in your narrative.
# organize your story in a clear and logical manner, including a beginning, middle and end.
# use well-structured sentences and language that are appropriate for your audience.
# edit your work to conform to the conventions of standard American English.

For either prompt:
Use any of the tools available to you, such as the Checklist, Spellchecker, or Graphic Organizer.

File under “Writing.” (This should be in your binder for the next binder check.)

February 22, 2008

February 22, 2008
Don't forget to hand in your Portfolio, Part 1.

Students divided into groups and filled out a worksheet for the "hotseat." Each group prepared to act as one of the characters from Words By Heart. The hotseat is when a student comes up and portrays a character from the book. He or she speaks and answers questions as if he or she is that character. Some of our hotseat participants also brought along their "subconscious" or "secret thoughts" -- another student who helped them with answers or blurted out answers the character might be thinking but wouldn't say aloud.
See the worksheet below. If you were absent, select one of the characters and fill out as much as you can of the sheet with information about that character.

We did some "hotseat" and other dramatization or character portrayal activities.
We read from Words By Heart.
A1 to page 98
A2 to page 125
A3 to page 98
A4 to page 114

Students also received a preview for the next GoMYAccess assignment we'll do. See the information on a nearby posting.

Hotseat Wordsheet:
In a group of 3-4 students, choose one of these characters from Words By Heart that one of you will become in a “hotseat” or dramatization. Or your teacher may assign you to be a character. If so, see the circled character below. (In a hotseat, you answer questions about yourself as the character.)
It is important that the group agree on the following information about the character so that any one of you could go to the hotseat and answer questions from the class, or portray that character in a dramatization. If the required information is not in the story, you will have to infer or make an educated guess about it.

Ben Sills
Lena Sills
Claudie Sills
Mrs. (Mary Todd) Chism
Winslow Starnes
Tater Haney

Fill this all out as if you were the character from the book.
Name of character: _____________________________
Your age and physical appearance: _____________________
Your house, city/area, favorite place: _______________
Your passions, deepest desires: (What is it that you want the most, or care about the most? _________________
Your main goal: _______________________________________
Your biggest obstacles and problems: ______________________
Your biggest influences (who or what motivates or shapes you): ____________________
Your greatest strengths: _______________________
Your greatest weaknesses: ___________________
What one or two words best describe you? ________
Two other questions someone might ask you (as this character), and how you would respond:
How would you (as the character you’ve been assigned) describe each of these other characters?
Ben Sills _______________________________________
Lena Sills _______________________________
Claudie Sills ____________________
Mrs. (Mary Todd) Chism ______________________
Winslow Starnes _____________
Tater Haney __________________

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Next Binder Check -- March 12

Next Binder Check MARCH 12
I am adding items here as they go in your binder. New items are bolded.

Binder Check

_/ 5 The binder is at class today.

__/8 The four dividers are there and properly labeled. (2 points each)

The binder contains at least the following:

Under Reading: These must be in the binder under this divider to receive points.

_/3 The Reading Bingo Card

_/1 The third term portfolio assignment (You may have already turned in Part 1 by this time.)

_/1 The third term portfolio book approval

__/2 The samples for the portfolio -- nonfiction and historical fiction on one sheet.

__/2 The sheet of lined paper with notes about Citing Sources -- signal words and Works Cited.

_/2 The sheet of lined paper with your writing response about winning

_/2 Your list of 5 groups who have been treated with cruelty or treated disrespectfully. Think of what you know of history and of the world.

__/2 Write about a time when it was important for you to win. If you haven't been in a regular competition (spelling bee, sports, science fair, games) that was important to you, you could write about a time it was important to you to do well. Write at least 5 sentences, and put this in your binder under reading.

_/2 This might be continued on the same page or start a new one:
a. "Secrets" When is it okay, and when is it not okay for parents to keep secrets from their children? Should they keep their children from finding out about unpleasant or dangerous things that might affect those children? How much should parents try to protect their children from knowing? Think about Lena and her papa in Words By Heart. Think also about secrets that parents might keep in today's world.
b. Label this part "Prepositions." Either write a definition for prepositions, or list at least five prepositions.

_/3 The sheet that shows you how to write your Worked Cited entries.

_/2 The Earthquake sheet

_/2 The "Creating a Works Cited Entry" worksheet.

Under Writing: These must be in the binder under this divider to receive points.

___/2 GoMYAccess Assignments for Seventh Grade English -- Blue sheet.

Under Word Work These must be in the binder under this divider to receive points.

__/2 The Chart of Prefixes and Suffixes

_/2 A Brief History of the English Language

_/2 Word Sort Challenge

__/2 Quiz on Nouns and Pronouns -- Am I Getting It?

__/2 Quiz on Pronouns and Antecedents (January 31)

___/ -- Total Points

Saturday, February 16, 2008


There's a great chart of capitalization rules at

Works Cited for Info. from Internet

If you used information from the Internet in your book portfolio project, you could use this page from Purdue's "writing help" site to find how to create your Works Cited entries.

Friday, February 15, 2008

February 20, 2008

February 20, 2008
Today students viewed and took notes on a Powerpoint about using informal (contextual) citations (signal words), and creating a Works Cited list. These are skills needed for creating the book portfolio. If you were absent, get the notes from a friend in class. These will be looked for in your next binder check (under reading with the rest of your portfolio materials).

This is some of the information:
For your Works Cited list, look for and include in your entry any of this information you can find about an Internet source.
* Author and/or editor names
* Title of project, book, article
* Name of the database
* Any version numbers available
* Date of version, revision, or posting
* Publisher information (who put this on
the Internet?
* Date you accessed the material
* Electronic address, printed between
carets ([<, >]).

We read from Words By Heart.
A1 to page 88
A2 to page 108
A3 to page 84 ?
A4 to page 88?

We also went into the computer lab and spent time retaking the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory). We are using the results to monitor student reading ability and determine student needs.

February 15, 2008

February 15, 2008
Today Part 1 of the Novel Portfolio is due. Students should hand in their work along with the grading rubric for that part. Part 2 is due March 5.

We read from Words By Heart, and students worked in small groups and on their own to come up with ideas for Symbolic Story Representations. We used this work sheet:

S.S.R. Symbolic Story Representation:
As we read today, select one scene from Words By Heart and fill in below what objects, pictures, and shapes you could use in a Symbolic Story Representation.

Your scene is ________________________________________________
You would use --
1) An object, picture, or shape to represent you as a reader and what you do as a reader as you read this scene. What could you use?

2) An object, picture, or shape to represent at least one theme (a big, important idea) from the scene. What could you use?

3) Three or more other objects, pictures, or shapes to represent events, characters, setting, or themes from the scene. What could you use and what would each represent?

Words By Heart
A1 read to page 76, first full paragraph.
A2 read to page 98, to the page break.
A3 read to page 76, third paragraph.
A4 read to 88

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13, 2008

February 13, 2008
Students had time to get their binders ready. Then we had the binder check.

We read from Words By Heart, and watched for ideas for symbolic representations for the story, themes, characters, etc. Students could record ideas for symbolic representations or draw simple illustrations on the back of their worksheet.

Part 1 of the Book Portfolio is due next time.

Friday, February 8, 2008

February 11, 2008

February 11, 2008
-- Students received progress reports to be signed by a parent and returned for points.
-- Don’t forget the binder check on Wednesday, February 13.
-- Part 1 of the Book Portfolio is due Friday, February 15.

I. Today we practiced creating a Works Cited entry (as practice for creating the book portfolio).
Creating a Works Cited Entry: This part is your self-starter.
Put these facts together into a Works Cited Entry for this book. Use the sheet I gave you (in your binder) for “MLA Style for Listing Sources,” or turn to page 761 in the purple Writing and Grammar book. You won’t need to use all of the information I’ve given you.

The name of the book is Dawn and Dusk. (When I typed the title of the book, I italicized it. When you write it by hand, you will underline it.) The author is Alice Mead. The publisher is Farrar. It was published in New York City. The year it was published was 2007. It has 152 pages. This book is a historical/multicultural novel about how Azad and his family must flee their home in Iran because of the war with Iraq.

Don’t forget to not indent the first line, but indent second and third lines if any.

Here is another example:
Sebestyen, Ouida. Words By Heart. New York: Farrar, 1968.
For sources from the Internet, basically follow the example given on your “MLA Style for Listing Sources.” If you're confused about how to organize the pieces of information, just include everything you think would be helpful in finding that site again, and recognizing who made it and who wrote the information you used.

II. We also read from Words By Heart.

SSR (Symbolic Story Representation)
As we read today, jot down ideas for how you could use pictures or objects to represent (symbolize) what you do as a reader (your moves), who the characters are, what the setting is, what the conflict is, what happens (plot), what themes (big ideas) come out in the story, what choices the author is making. You may write more on the back of this sheet if you’d like.
  Today, especially notice what you do as a reader.

In three columns, students took notes on --
1. Page number
2. Moves, ideas, things to be represented
3. Objects or pictures I could use to represent/symbolize them.

A1 read from page 37 to page 47, paragraph 4
A2 read from page 47 to page 63, paragraph 4
A3 read from page 42 to page 47?
A4 read from page 42 to page 54, paragraph 3

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February 7, 2008

Students made a preposition manipulative, considering what prepositions do, and creating a study aide for prepositions. The students found their lists of prepositions in the Write Source book, page 455, and in our Writing and Grammar text, page 362.

Students were shown another example of the requirements for the third term portfolio, part 1.

We started reading today in Words By Heart on p. 31 --
As we read, consider what you would use to symbolize the things that happen in the story, and how you would represent yourself as a reader, and represent the things you do as a reader.

A1 read to page 37, second full paragraph.
A2 read to page 47, through the 4th paragraph.
A3 read to the top of page 42.
A4 read to the top of page 42.

Summary: Lena went to work for the day for Mrs. Chism. First she stopped at the school to pick up her schoolwork so she wouldn't get behind. Mrs. Chism does seem to be a "crabby lady" as Lena had described her in chapter 3. She and Lena can tomatoes and clean out the attic. In the attic, Mrs. Chism has lots of books. Lena asks Mrs. Chism if she can read Mrs. Chism's books, but Mrs. Chism refuses. Lena sneaks a book into her satchel. As her Papa walks her home that night, Lena tells him she has "borrowed" a book from Mrs. Chism.

A4 - Ms. Dorsey finished sharing a Symbolic Story Representation.


Prepositions – Grammar Rock “Busy, Busy P’s”
Prepositions show the relationship between a noun or pronoun and the rest of the sentence.

These nine prepositions do 92% of the work of prepositions: (Memorize them.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

February 5, 2008

February 5, 2008
Self-Starter: Continue on the page under "Reading" you wrote on last time, or start a new page.
a. "Secrets" When is it okay, and when is it not okay for parents to keep secrets from their children? Should they keep their children from finding out about unpleasant or dangerous things that might affect those children? How much should parents try to protect their children from knowing? Think about Lena and her papa in Words By Heart. Think also about secrets that parents might keep in today's world.
b. Label this part "Prepositions." Either write a definition for prepositions, or list at least five prepositions.

A1 checked the pronoun/antecedent quiz.
A2, A3, A4 did a brief "talk show" with Lena and her papa as guests. The "studio audience" were able to ask questions and express their opinions about what "Papa" was keeping from Lena. (He hadn't let her know about how dangerous and limited life really was for African-Americans during that time.)

We read from Words By Heart, started on page 19, and reading through the end of the chapter.
Ms. Dorsey showed a sample "Symbolic Story Representation" she had prepared for the chapter. Students will also have an opportunity to do a "Symbolic Story Representation" for another part of the book.

We practiced gathering facts from an historical fiction book -- Words By Heart.
Some of the facts we found in chapter 3 include these:
Fact: Taft was President of the United States in 1910. p. 21
Fact: Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech about a "New Nationalism" in 1910. p. 21
Fact In 1910, there were tensions between Russia and Austria that people thought might lead to war. p. 22

We could go to other sources to find out more about these subjects:
Notice that for the other sources, each time I give a fact, I use informal citation to tell where I found it.
Fact: According to, William Howard Taft was President of the United States from 1909- 1913.
Fact: Also according to the entry about President Taft, Theodore Roosevelt picked Taft to be his successor, then later worked to defeat him when Taft tried for re-election.

I'm collecting information to create a works cited entry: Title: "William Howard Taft" , accessed on February 5, 2008.

Fact: In January of 1910, the New York Times reported that Austria had accused Russia of espionage.

Information to use in a works cited entry:
"AUSTRIA ACCUSES RUSSIA.; Military Attache Said to Have Been Involved In Espionage." January 27, 1910. Found in the New York Times Archives online -- accessed February 5, 2008.