Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 30, 2008

April 30, 2008
Today we finished up Utah State CORE testing. Any students who did not complete all three sessions of testing should see me to arrange a time to complete testing.

If you didn't get the first "before reading" page for our class novel Stand Tall, see me or check in the folders at the back of the room.

Students had an opportunity to read, and to go to the PTSA book fair.

This was the last day of binder checks. Any student who has not successfully completed a binder check should prepare his or her binder and bring it to be checked after school, or leave it in the classroom to be checked if it can be left until the next class meeting.

The "Novel Portfolio" Book Talk is due May 2.

April 28, 2008

April 28, 2008
Students took Section 2 of the State Core Test today. If you were absent, contact Mrs. Dorsey for a time to make-up the section(s) you missed.

Periods A1, A2, and A4 received a worksheet for getting ready to read the realistic young adult novel Stand Tall.

All classes were to have their binders ready for the binder check by the time they came to class. Ms. Dorsey corrected them as students were testing. If you did not have your binder checked on this day, be prepared to have it checked on Wednesday, April 30.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24, 2008

April 24, 2008
Today students took part 1 of the State Core Test. If you were absent, you will be contacted about a time to take this part of the test.

Students received the grading sheet for their binder check to be done April 28/30. All students should be prepared and have their binders in class on the 28th.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day! Did you know that tomorrow, April 23 is William Shakespeare's birthday?

Important Announcements:
** We will have a Binder Check on April 28th and 30th.
Bring your binder, already prepared for a check.
The check-list is available at cavemanenglish.blogspot.com, and will be handed out on April 24. See April 3rd post for Binder Update.

** Our language arts state core test will be given on April 24th , 28th, and 30th.
B.Y.O.B.: Bring your own book to read in case you finish the test early.

** You may still hand in your Portfolio novel approval for points through May 1. The portfolio assignment is due May 2.

Students took a practice test for the State Core Test.
We discussed hints for being a successful test taker.
We discussed and worked with examples for these text patterns: description, sequence, and chronological. We also looked again at how a story plot outline usually works, and read the story "Two Alone."
We worked a little with using apostrophes.

Some hints for being a successful test taker:
A successful test taker always gets a good night's sleep the night before the test.
A successful test taker eats a well-balanced breakfast on the morning of the test.
A successful test taker makes sure he or she is not dehydrated. (Drink water, but not so much you have to go to the bathroom too often. Bring a clear water bottle with you.)
A successful test taker gets exercise.
A successful test taker attempts to answer every question.
A successful test taker does his or her best on the test.
A successful test taker will not make any stray marks on the answer sheet or on the test booklet.
A successful test taker does not get overly stressed about the test, and knows quiet relaxation techniques to use in case stress starts building.
A successful test taker does not rush through the test.
A successful test taker will reread (and reread again) the passage if needed.
A successful test taker concentrates on his or her own work and doesn't worryt about how others are doing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008
Hand in Novel Approvals if not already handed in.

1. Students received an optical puzzle -- "Magic Eye" -- to see if they could find the pattern within the pattern.
2. We talked about Patterns in Text. These are also called Text Structures or Text Organization.
Just as the "Magic Eye" pictures became more understandable and memorable once you could see the 3-D pattern, when you can see and recognize text patterns you can then more easily understand and remember text.

We discussed three expository (nonfiction) text patterns:
1. Description: The author describes a topic by listing characteristics, features, and examples.
Cue words and phrases for the description pattern include "for example," "characteristics are," "features are." When you are describing a person, place, or object, you might use other cue words (transitional expressions) such as next to, near, close, far, up, down, between, above, below, on top, beneath, toward, away, left, right, center, front, back, middle for describing a place.

2. Sequence: The author arranges the details in a specific and necessary order. Examples of sequence are found in recipes and instructions for science experiments. You can't list the details in just any order. They must be placed in the proper order or sequence.
Cue words include first, second, third, next, then, after, finally, before, during, later, and others.

3. Chronology: Like sequence, the order is important. In this case, the author arranges the details in the order they happened. Another term for chronological is "time order." Chronos is the root word for "time. " The chronological pattern will be found when the author is telling in time order about something that has happened. It uses the same cue words as sequence. When you see dates mentioned in order, you usually have a chronological text.

4. We also looked again at the structure of a short story. We reviewed the short story "Amigo Brothers" that the class listened to/read along with last time.
We read a story about a teacher and a monster "Miss Take and the Monster" and filled out a Story Map for it.
(The story maps for "Amigo Brothers" and for "Miss Take and the Monster" should both be filled out and saved in your binder under "Reading.")

We did an exercise with gradient meanings. (When you write, you can choose an exact word out of many words that have similar meanings. )
For example, if something is cold, is it frosty, frigid, freezing, cold, brisk, crisp, or cool? Could you put those words in order from least cold to coldest?
What about hot? Is it warm, white-hot, feverish, red-hot, hot, lukewarm, or sweltering? Could you put those words into order from least hot to hottest?
Where would you put mild? What about tepid?
(If you were absent, create a list using the words above, putting them in order from coldest to hottest.)

Some of the classes looked at how to preview a textbook, and using text features.
Text features are things added to a text to help out the reader, such as titles, headings, pictures, graphs, bolded (bold-faced) words, etc.
Here is a Five-Finger guide for previewing a textbook: (If you were absent, trace around your own hand, and write the following on the thumb and fingers, labeling the page "Using a Textbook.")

Label the thumb: 1. Read the title = main idea
Label pointer finger: 2. Take a picture walk. What do these visuals have to do with the title?
Label middle finger: 3. Write down all bold (bold-faced) words.
Label ring finger: 4. Write down headings and subheadings in order.
Label little finger: 5. Read first and last paragraphs.

Can you identify and use --
bolded (bold-faced) words?
text boxes?

Have a glorious Spring Break!

The Healthy Hustle went well today. Lots of students (and teachers) participated.

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

Important Announcements:
Our school writers’ conference will be held on this Friday, April 11 in our school auditorium during A1 and A2. Our speakers will be Brandon Mull (Fablehaven) and Ann Dee Ellis (This is What I Did). If you would like to go, write a note to Ms. Dorsey explaining why I should choose you to go, and hand it in today.

Don’t forget to hand in your book approvals to the wire basket.

Computer Lab
Students had time to finish up the district writing test on GoMYAccess: Family and Friendship. If you were absent, and haven't finished that, do so right away.
Students who finished the writing test had time to work on a practice test for the CORE test -- posted on the Internet.

Short Story and Plot Map
The students also listened to and followed along with a short story, "Amigo Brothers" by Piri Thomas, and filled out a plot map for "Amigo Brothers." If you were absent, get the story map for that short story.

Most short stories follow this pattern: Plot Map, Plot Diagram, Story Map, Story Grammar, etc.
1. Exposition -- introduces the main characters and setting and gives any necessary background information.
2. Rising Action -- introduces the problem or problems, then builds tension.
3. Climax -- the problem is solved or things somehow change.
4. Falling action -- What do the characters do after the problem is solved or after there is a major change?
5. Resolution -- What was the end result?

This is the information for the computer lab work we did today:
1. Finish your GoMYAccess – District Writing Post-Test assignment if you haven’t. Remember you have only one chance to revise. If you have typed this, check to see if you have any more chances to revise.
Log onto GoMYAccess to type or revise your essay.
Select the Family and Friendship prompt. (If you weren’t here last time, and haven’t written this, get one of the green assignment sheets from the files at the back of the room.)

2. If you have finished the writing test (GoMYAccess), take the practice CORE test.
 If you do not have time to begin the practice CORE test, take this sheet with you so you can do it on your own.

Go to
Log in using your first and last name.
Do the practice test with the date April 9 in the name.
Do as much as you can of the test.
 Before you leave, make sure you click on submit. 

April 7, 2008

April 7, 2008
We did more preparation for the Core Test.
Those who hadn't finished, answered questions about subject-verb agreement.

Students read a poem -- "Incident" by Countee Cullen, and on a sheet of lined paper in their notebook under "Reading" did the following:
(1) explained how they could connect the poem to a piece of literature we've already read this year, and (2) borrowed the last two lines (Of all the things that happened there/ That's all that I remember) and added to them to tell about an experience of their own.

Students divided into teams and we played Core Preparation Jeopardy, using a PowerPoint.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Binder Update

Binder for Term 4

____CORE Test Preparation sheet with article about oats.
____Test Bubble Sheet

____ Reading Bingo Card
____ 3rd Term Portfolio Rubrics/Grading Sheets
____ 4th Term Portfolio Assignment -- Book Talk -- Non-portfolio
____ 4th Term Parent/Teacher Approval for the "portfolio" novel
____ Book Pass with novels you sampled in class
____ Media Center Book Pass with novels you sampled in the media center
____ Plot Map for the short story "Amigo Brothers," with blanks filled in
____ Plot Map for the short story about the teacher and the monster, with blanks filled in
____ Hand outline: with Five-Finger Guide for Previewing a Textbook (Using a Textbook)

____"Writing a Personal Narrative" worksheet filled out entirely using the Write Source 2000 textbook.
____ "Writing a Personal Narrative" Day 1 (Using the Write Source Book to learn about writing).
____ "Writing a Personal Narrative" Day 2 with any rough draft attached.

Word Work:
____Prefix-Suffix Chart
The following three should be on lined paper:
____Sentences 1-3 from March 24, copied and labeled with part of speech for each word.
___ Sentences 1-3 from March 26, copied and labeled with part of speech for each word.
___ Answers for Practices on Punctuation, etc. from purple text, p. 633, labeled 1-7 and 1-4.
____ "The Tricky Apostrophe" (green) with apostrophes marked on the sentences on the back.

Portfolio Book Approval

“Book Talk” -- Term 4 Novel Non-Portfolio
Parent and Teacher Approval

• The book I have selected is a novel (fictional).
• It is at or close to my own reading level. It is at least 100 pages long.
• I have not read this book before.
• This book is not on the English department (or the teacher’s) list of books not
to be used for the portfolio.
Student Signature: _________________

Student name: (Please print first and last name) _________________
Title of novel: _____________
Author's name:___________
Number of pages: __________________ (The book should be at least 100 pages long.)
Parent signature: _______________ Date: __________________
Teacher approval _____________ Date: ___________ Points _____/10 + on time _____/10
Bring up your reading bingo card, too, when you have the teacher sign this.
This approval sheet, signed by you and by a parent or guardian is due by April 9. Sooner is better!
Have your novel read, and be prepared for a book talk by May 2.
Seventh Grade English --- Novel Portfolio Assignment – Term 4, 2008 – File under “Reading” 4/3/08

Portfolio Grading for 4th Term

Portfolio Grading for 4th Term -- Book Talk

4th Term Novel Portfolio Grading:

10 points for the novel approval
Book Talk:
15 points for the index card
15 points for bringing the book
50 points for answering/discussing questions about the book.
10 points for being on time, ready when asked

100 points total

Portfolio Assignment for 4th Term

“Book Talk”
Term 4 Novel Non-Portfolio

Just like past terms, you will need to read a book that is at, slightly below, or above your reading level. Beginning on May 2 your teacher will be holding Book Talks with students on an individual basis. (Write this date in your planner right now.)

In order to be prepared for your Book Talk, you will need to bring the following to class on the day the Book Talks begin (the date you wrote in at the top) and everyday following until you have had your Book Talk:
 Your book that you’ve read for the term
 A 3x5 index card with your book’s title, author, number of pages, genre, a short plot summary of the book, and a rating for your book using the scale of 1 to 5 stars written below.

* Don’t bother reading; it’s a sleeper.
** Read with caution; the book has one good part.
*** Read it; it’s worth it.
****Read without reservation; it’s great!!
***** Throw caution to the wind; find a comfy chair and some snacks because you won’t be able to put it down!

Warning: If you are not prepared the day your teacher asks you to participate in a Book Talk, you will forfeit at least ten points from your grade!

You may select a book from any of the fictional genres on your reading bingo card. This book counts on your reading bingo, so make sure you have the teacher enter it there and sign it off when you have finished reading it. Remember, too, that comic or cartoon books, collections of poetry, and short stories are not to be used. See the back of your bingo card and the list of reading literature class books for others you may not use.
Have your book approved by the teacher, and by a parent or guardian.
Bring your book to school to read in case you have spare time.

The signed book approval is due by April 9. Sooner is better!
You should have your book read, and be ready for your book talk on May 2.

Happy Reading!

Book Talk
Term 4 Novel Non-Portfolio
Consider these questions as you read your novel.
You may be asked any of these questions.

Plot Questions
1. What were the five most important events that happened in the story? Tell them in the order that they occurred.
2. How did the story begin? How did the story end?
3. What was the major conflict in the book?
4. What things happened in the story to cause the problem?
5. How was the conflict solved?
6. What would you change from the plot to make it more interesting? If you already like the plot, what did you like about it?
7. Was there anything confusing about the plot?
8. If you were going to make a movie of the book, what parts of the plot would you include?
9. Could the story really have taken place?

Setting Questions
1. What was the setting of the book? Describe it in so much detail that you have painted a picture for me.
2. Why is the setting so important to the story?
3. Could the story have taken place in another setting? Why or Why not?
4. If you were placed in the setting for a day, what types of things would you do?

Character Questions
1. Who was the main character of the book? If there was more than one, who was your favorite? Why?
2. Describe the physical attributes of the main character.
3. Describe the personality of the main character. What things were important to the character? What were some good qualities about the character? Bad qualities?
4. What did the things the character said and how he or she said them reveal about him or her?
5. How did other characters feel about this character?
6. How are you like the main character? How are you different?
7. What did the main character learn from his/her experiences in the book?
8. Compare the character’s way of thinking with your own.

Theme Questions
1. What did you learn from the story?
2. What was the author trying to teach us through the story? Do you agree with what the author was trying to say?
3. Have you seen this theme developed in any other piece of work? (books, movies, songs, etc) Describe the other piece of work. What are the similarities between this book and the other genre? Are there any differences?

April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008
Today we did more test preparation activities. Each student received a bubble sheet, and the students answered questions about commas in a series and about subject-verb agreement.
A1 worked on commas and Part 1 of Subject-Verb Agreement.
A2 worked on commas and Part 1 and Part 2 of Subject-Verb Agreement.
A3 worked on commas and Part 1 of Subject-Verb Agreement.
A4 worked on commas and Part 1 and Part 2 of Subject-Verb Agreement.

We went downstairs to the media center to do a book pass there -- a chance for students to sample several different novels as possibilities for the term novel portfolio.

Don't forget that the novel portfolio book approval is due by April 9.
We'll be having a binder check soon, so make sure your papers are properly filed.


Commas in a Series

Commas keep words and ideas from running together in a sentence. They are used between words, phrases, or clauses when there are three or more in a series. Read the following poem quietly out loud to yourself.

Without a comma at my command, more
punctuation I would demand.
There'd be no brake to slow the rush of cursor
crayon pen or brush.
My days of writing soon would end without that
modest little friend
Who slips quietly in between the words in series
long or lean.

Now, read it again to figure out where three missing commas should go.

© Great Source

Test Practice #1 Fill in the bubble for the correct answer to #1.

#1. People in the twentieth century created computers radar and penicillin, but they also gave the world hula hoops and Stryrofoam cups.
#1. Where should commas be added to the above sentence?
a. after created after hula hoops
b. after computers after radar after hula hoops
c. after computers after radar
d. after century after world

Test Practice #2 Fill in the bubble for the correct answer to #2.

#2. Do you think that your interests expectations fears beliefs and desires are formed partly by television music and movies?
#2. Where should commas be added to the above sentence?
a. after interests after expectations after fears
after beliefs after television after music
b. after interests after expectations after fears
after beliefs
c. after interests after expectations after fears
after beliefs after desires
d. after think after formed

Test Practice #3 Fill in the bubble for the correct answer to #3.

#3. Some countries try to ban foreign entertainment censor radio and television broadcasts destroy historical records or jail dissenting citizens in an attempt to control people's thoughts.
#3. Where should commas be added to the above sentence?
a. after foreign after entertainment after radio after television
after destroy after citizens
b. after entertainment after broadcasts after records
c. after entertainment after radio after broadcasts
after records
d. after countries after and after attempt after control
Commas in a series

Subject-Verb Agreement
The subject and verb of a sentence must agree in number.
In other words, if the subject is singular,
the verb must be singular, too.

If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.

Test Practice #4 - 10. Fill in the bubble for the verb form that would make each sentence correct.

#4. The bunnies (a. brings, b. bring) eggs to our homes on Easter.

#5. A skunk and its enemy (a. is, b. are) soon parted.

#6. Either math or pre-algebra (a. is, b. are) a requirement for eighth graders.

#7. Beans and Barley Restaurant (a. serve, b. serves) great veggie burgers.

#8. Carnival rides, fireworks, and cotton candy (a. makes,
b. make) state fairs fun.

#9. The committee (a. has, b. have) recommended improvements for school lunches.

#10. Neither the faculty nor the students (a. is, b. are) happy with the change in the schedule.

Don't forget that the novel portfolio book approval is due by April 9.
We'll be having a binder check soon, so make sure your papers are properly filed.

April 1, 2008

April 1, 2008
Today we practiced answering test questions.
Students wrote recommendations for novels they've enjoyed.
We also had a "Book Pass" to give students a chance to sample several books as possibilities for the Novel Portfolio.

The approval form for the novel "non-portfolio" for this term is due by April 9 to receive full points plus extra credit.