Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prefixes and Suffixes Chart

Prefixes and Suffixes Chart
At this link, you will find the seventh grade core prefixes and suffixes, or go to my web pages and look under Units of Study for Prefixes and Suffixes from the Seventh Grade State Core.

October 30/31, 2008

October 30/31, 2008

Students will present their novel characters. This is the final assessment for the October Book-of-the-Month Book.

See the posts for October 28/29 and October 14 for more information on this assignment.

Happy Halloween!

Prefixes and Suffixes and Extra Credit

One of our goals for second term is to learn and be able to use and recognize the seventh grade core prefixes and suffixes.

Let's begin with a poem to help us remember which is which:

If you have a base word and you happen to find
Something in front or something behind.
A prefix begins: a suffix ends,
And that is the basic rule, my friends.

Memorize the poem for 5 extra credit points.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October 28/29, 2008

October 28/29, 2008

We finished watching the movie The Outsiders and discussed theme in the book and movie.

Students are presenting their characters from their Book-of-the-Month Club books. Remember to bring your list of quotes from the book that tell us about the character, your book, and, if desired, the items you need to dress up as or otherwise represent your character.

See post for October 14 for this assignment.

October’s Book-of-the-Month-Club Assessment
_______/ 10 points On Time: Due October 28/29, 2008
_______/ 60 points 20 quotes from the book that help us understand who the character is and what he or she does in the book.
Two points each for quotes that reveal the character.
One point each if page number is included.

__  five examples of your character’s thoughts,
__  five quotes indicating what you learned from his/her speech and speech patterns,
__ five quotes from other characters that give us insight about the main character,
__ and five actions that let the reader know who your character is.

_______/ 20 points Quotes are in blue or black ink or typed, are neat and legible, and follow the conventions (capitalization, punctuation, spelling) of written language.

_______/ 10 points The character is presented in a clearly audible and understandable voice.

_______/ Extra credit points for dressing up as the character and/or using props.
___ /20 You could have been utterly mistaken for that character. You put real effort into your costume or props and they truly helped us understand the character,
and you could receive an academy award for your performance!
___/15 Your costume/props or acting were great.
___/10 You tried through costume and /or props to portray the character.

______/100 total points

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24/27, 2008

October 24/27, 2008

Today (October 24) is the last day of the term.
It is too late to do any more make-up or extra credit work.
Work that is completed may be handed in today. Hand work in by placing it in the top wire basket for your class.

Grades have for these classes have been finalized and turned in.

Today in the B-Day English classes, students will be watching the movie of The Outsiders and comparing and contrasting it with the book by filling out a Venn Diagram.

Ms. Dorsey will be out of town on Friday at a conference for English teachers.

I'll see you Monday.
Be ready to do your character presentations for the Book of the Month Club next Tuesday and Wednesday. Come with your list of quotations from the book that give us information about the character. Remember, you may dress up as the character or bring props for extra credit.
See post for October 14 for this assignment.

You will receive your grade reports for all classes next Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October 22/23, 2008

October 22/23, 2008

The term ends this Friday!
Please let me know if you work on your personal narrative at home, so I can update your grade.

We talked about creating complete sentences.

Independent clauses each have a subject and a verb, and can be a complete sentence.

Dependent clauses each have a subject and a verb, but cannot stand on their own as complete sentences.

Complete Sentence: They didn’t watch the baby very well.
Not a complete sentence: That they didn’t watch the baby very well.
Not a complete sentence: Because they didn’t watch the baby very well.

Complete Sentence: She is mean and hates Harry.
Not a complete sentence: That she is mean and hates Harry.
Not a complete sentence: Even though she is mean and hates Harry.
Not a complete sentence: Because she is mean and hates Harry.

We talked again about the October Book-of-the-Month Assessment.
Be ready next week -- on the 28th for B-Day, and on the 29th for A-Day.

We read from The Outsiders:
B1 -- t0 page 145
B2 -- to page 152
B3 -- to page 164
A1 -- to page 145 (A1 didn't talk about complete sentences.)
A2 -- to page 138? (Students, is this right?)

Students had some time to spend on their own novels -- preparing for the assessment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15/21, 2008

October 15/21, 2008
B-Day students filled out a triple venn diagram comparing and contrasting the Socs, Greasers, and their own lives. See a sample of a triple venn diagram here.

B-day students (B2 and B3) received their "Book-of-the-Month Club" Assessment assignment. See a nearby post. (A-Day students received theirs October 14.) B1 students, please remind me to give you yours next time we meet, if you haven't already received one.

We listened to The Outsiders, practicing watching for quotes from the book that teach us about the main character by his thoughts, his speech and speech patterns, what other characters say about him, and his actions.

The Outsiders:
B1 -- page 102 through page 123
B2 -- page 100 through page 125
B3 -- page 109 through page 134
A1 -- page 103 through page 123
A2 -- page 100 through page 119

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October Book-of-the-Month Assignment

October’s Book-of-the-Month-Club Assessment
Due: October 28/29, 2008

For the assessment to go with your Book-of-the-Month, you need to
have your book read by the due date,
and have prepared quotes that teach us about a main character from the book.
(Bring your book to school on your class days from the 21st through 23rd and the 27th.
Bring your book on the 28th (B-day) or 29th (A-Day).
We will provide some time to work on finding your quotes.

On that day, you will share the main character of your novel with the class.
You will do this by giving us
 five examples of your character’s thoughts,
 five quotes indicating what you learned from his/her speech patterns,
 five quotes from other characters that give us insight about the main character,
 and five actions that let the reader know who your character is.
Include the page number for each quote.
Use quotes from different parts of the book.

This information needs to be written (in blue or black pen) or typed and turned in. If you would like to dress up as your character, you can earn extra credit. Remember that the school dress code is still enforced, and that cannons, chariots, or fire-breathing dragons are not allowed on campus.

Here is my example. I have used the novel The Outsiders because we are reading it together in class. Your project needs to be done with your Book-of-the-Month novel.

The main character of my novel is Ponyboy (who is also the narrator).

1. “I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman — he looks tough and I don’t -- but I guess my own looks aren’t so bad.” p. 1
2. “Man, I thought, if I had worries like that I’d consider myself lucky. I know better now.” p. 36
3. “This church gave me a kind of creepy feeling. What do you call it? Premonition?” p. 67
4. “I had never thought about it. Everyone in our neighborhood, even the girls, smoked.”
p. 97
5. “It was Johnny I was worried about.” p. 102

Speech patterns:
1. “I’m just a little spooked, that’s all.” p. 8
2. “Didya catch ‘em?” p. 12
3. “Tuff enough. Wait till I get out, though, so you can keep Darry off my back.” p. 18
4. “You ain’t a’woofin’,” I said, rubbing my bar arms between drags on my cigarette. p. 53
5. “Oh,no!” My hand flew to my hair. “No, Johnny, not my hair!” p. 71

What other characters say about him:
1. “You don’t ever think,” Darry broke in, “not at home or anywhere when it counts. You must think at school, with all those good grades you bring home, . . . but do you ever use your head for common sense? No sirree, bub.” p. 13
2. “‘You don’t look old enough to be going to high school,’ the dark-haired girl [Marciaa] said.” p. 23
3. “I don’t know why I handed you that busted bottle,” Two-Bit said, getting to his feet. “You’d never use it.” p. 47
4. “You know,” Johnny said slowly, “I never noticed colors and clouds and stuff until you kept reminding me about them. It seems like they were never there before.” p. 78
5. “I swear, you three are the bravest kids I’ve seen in a long time.” (Jerry) p. 95

1. “One time in biology I had to dissect a worm, and the razor wouldn’t cut, so I used my switchblade.” p. 15
2. “I kept saving my money for a year, thinking that someday I could buy Mickey Mouse back for Soda.” p. 40
3. “Not even the rattling of the train could keep me awake, and I went to sleep in a hoodlum’s jacket, with a gun lying next to my hand.” p. 62
4. “I wasn’t about to go through that flaming door, so I slammed a big rock through a window and pulled myself in.” p. 91
5. “Darry!” I screamed, and the next thing I knew I had him around the waist and was squeezing the daylights out of him.” p. 98

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 13/14, 2008

October 13/14, 2008
We will be in the computer lab to type the personal narratives. Each student should already have a well-developed rough draft.

Here is the information we will use in the computer lab today.
Notice that these may be revised and edited on MYAccess from home.
A parent letter has been sent home with the students concerning MYAccess.

Getting on MyAccess at school:
1. Click the compass icon in the dock.
2. On our school home page, look in the right column, and click on the second button from the bottom.
3. Log in using your user name and password:

Username: firstnameSTUDENT#
Password: 999lastname

4. If your name shows, click on “YES, this information is CORRECT. I would like to CONTINUE.”
5. Above the chart, click on “Assignments.”
6. Go to the assignment topic, “Cherished Memories” and click on “Start.”
7. Begin typing your personal narrative. Do not type your name or a title.
8. After you have typed, revised, and edited, click on “Submit Writing.”
9. Look over your scores and comments. Come back to the assignment page and click on “Start Revision” for the Cherished Memories assignment.

Suggestions to score well on MyAccess:
Write 750 to 800 words or more.
Use words and phrases from the prompt in your introduction and conclusion.
Write five or more paragraphs.
Don’t neglect to revise and edit. You may revise as many times as you wish, but there will be a deadline to improve your grade. For this assignment the deadline for revisions for your grade is
October 21. To receive full points, get at least a score of 4 overall on your essay.
We have only today to type this in the computer lab, but you may continue to work on this from home.

Use the rough draft you prepared in class.
Prompt: Cherished Memories

Significant events in a person's life become cherished memories in old age. Write a narrative in which you describe an event that would make an interesting memory for you to tell your friends or relatives later in your 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.

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

October 9/10, 2008

October 9/10, 2008
Students received a reminder sheet for their "I Can's"/Walk-Aways for term 1. This should be kept in the binder. (Some students already received those sheets at the parent-teacher conferences.)

Today was a day to hand in reading logs for the week.

Students received their homophone tests and spelling retakes back graded. They analyzed what they had missed and still needed to study from the homophone test.

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.

1. We played "The Shell Game." Small groups attempted to describe a seashell so exactly that other students could pick it out from similar shells.

2. Students worked on writing their rough drafts for their personal narratives. We will type those in the computer lab on Monday/Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7/8, 2008

October 7/8, 2008

Self-starter: Today is the due day for the Book-of-the-Month Club Book approval (with parent signature. Students handed them in at the beginning of class.
Students were also to prepare for the homophone test and the spelling test (names of teachers, administrators, and counselor) retake.

Students were offered an extra-credit poem. This was the only chance to copy the poem for memorization. Only a few took it.

1. Tests
2. Personal Essays
a. another sample -- Being Specific (See below.)
b. More on being specific -- describing
c. Work on a first draft of your essay. Students had about twenty minutes to write. Next time we will have some more time to work on these. The following time we will go into the writing lab to type them on GoMyAccess.

Sample Essay: [I don't expect you all to be able to write like this, though some of you will, and some will do even better. Just do your best to write a multi-paragraph essay about a memorable event that happened to you.]

The prompt for which the following story was written: Write a story about an event that is meaningful to you in some way. Write about it so specifically that another person reading it will see what you saw and feel what you felt.


“Jenny, come up here and bring your test,” the teacher suddenly said. All heads in the class turned to stare at the blonde girl sitting next to me.

“You too, Casey.” My whole body stiffened. “What could she want me for?” my mind cried out in panic. Wide-eyed and blushing because now all eyes were fixed on me, I slowly stood up and, test in hand, slid up to my teachers metal-gray desk where Jenny was already standing. My science teacher beckoned to us with her perfectly manicured finger to follow her outside while the student teacher stayed to watch the rest of the kids take their mid-terms. Once outside the stuffy classroom, my teacher calmly shut the door. I glanced over at my friend Jenny and, with my eyes, asked her what was going on. She didn’t see my mental message because her eyes were glued to an imaginary piece of lint on her angora sweater which she was trying to pick off.

“All right now.” I bit my lip in anticipation.

“Why were you two cheating?” she spoke with a hint of exasperation. I couldn’t believe my ears. I pinched myself. My head reeled at her accusation. All of a sudden, realization shot through me. Jenny! I shot a murderous yet questioning look at her. She saw my expression and burst into tears.

We had been taking our mid-term science exams. Our teacher, Mrs. Cramer, had asked us to cover our test papers with something. I’d taken a sheet of paper out to cover my test with but when we’d gotten started, I’d forgotten to use it. My lab partner Jenny and I were not he best of friends but we had fun. She had a loud, flirtatious personality while I was quiet and more reserved. Sitting next to her before the test started, I’d noticed that she seemed worried and anxious. That was no big news though because so was everyone else in the class including me.

In the principals office later that day she had broken down and told everything. Jenny had also added, to my cardiovascular relief, that I had no part in it. My emotions were raging intensely against each other. Sympathy fought rage. Relief fought anger. I was allowed to retake my test the next day. Whoopee. I never did find out what happened to Jenny, other than the fact that she’d been suspended and gotten an F for her semester grade, or why she’d done it. From that day on I always covered my tests, but I learned more than that. Whatever motivates people to do such things, it must blind the person from thinking about the consequences.

by Casey (a ninth-grade girl)
[from Narrative Writing by George Hillocks, Jr., p. 19]

Ms. Dorsey’s notes on this essay for Plot Structure:

Characters: teacher, Jenny, Casey (the first person narrator)
Setting: midterm test in science class

For the teacher:
Initiating event: noticing the cheating
Goal: uncover who is cheating and punish the cheaters
Result: punishment of Jenny
Response: We don’t find out the teacher’s reponse.

For Jenny:
Initiating event: the test
Goal: to pass the test (by copying answers)
Result: being caught and punished
Responses: her behavior and admitting what she’d done – in front of teacher and in principal’s office

For the narrator (Casey):
Initiating event: being called to the front of the room
Attempt to deal with the situation: murderous glance at Jenny
Result: Jenny’s confession
Narrator’s response: relief, thinking about what lead students to cheat.

The narrator focuses on what she if feeling. She is specific.
She doesn’t just say, “I was afraid and ashamed and confused.”
She shows us what that was like, so we can see and feel.

October 7/8, 2008

October 7/8, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

October 3/6, 2008

October 3/6, 2008

Reading Logs
B-day classes: Hand in your first October (character) reading logs for the Book-of-the-Month. A-Day should have handed them in yesterday.

Spelling Test Reminder -- We were supposed to do this today, but I decided to wait for next time.
Next time we will have the spelling (name of teachers, administrators, and your counselor) retake for those who need a higher score.

Homophones Test Reminder -- We were supposed to do this today, but I decided to wait for next time.
Next time we will also take the test on homophones. Be able to recognize which homophone of a pair or set would best fit a sentence. For example: "George and Ringo got all the way to London before they realized they'd left (they're, there, their) suitcases in the hotel room in New York City." or "Ponyboy and Soda (ate, eight) chocolate cake for breakfast."

Study your homophone chart or "Walk-About," or see an earlier post on this blog -- Go to the posting for September 5th, and take the link from there to the homophone chart.

1. Self-Starter: Add to your ideas for stories about your own experiences. Pick the best two you'd like to share.

2. Lesson on Plot Structure. -- See below.

3. Share story ideas in a small group. Ask and answer questions about those story ideas, helping the writer to figure out what details he or she needs to include.

4. Let's "Sparkle"! We played a spelling game to review the seventh grade homophones.

5. The Outsiders (and students filled in a space on their reading log for The Outsiders.
B1 to page 102
B2 to page 100
B3 to page 109
A1 to page 103
A2 to page 100


Lesson on Plot Structure

Personal Narrative -- One Episode
Plot Structure (also called Story Grammar / Story Map/ Plot Line)

Exposition: (Students received a paper to keep in their binder. )
Setting -- Where? When? What is going on? What needs to be explained?
Characters -- What do we need to know about them?
Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution
➢ an initiating event
➢ an internal response
➢ an attempt to achieve the goal
➢ a consequence of the attempt
➢ a reaction to the consequences

and maybe. . .
an attempt to achieve the goal
a consequence of the attempt
a reaction to the consequences
and maybe . . .
an attempt to achieve the goal
a consequence of the attempt
a reaction to the consequences

Questions for Story Ideas:

Setting: Where does the story take place? How is the place important to the story? What needs to be explained? What is going on?

Characters: Who are the characters? Which are important to the action of the story? What do we need to know about them?

Initiating Action: What initiates or begins the action? What causes a character to do something?

Attempts: What attempts does the main character make? To do what? Why?

Results: What are the results of the character's attempts? Does the result initiate a new action?

Responses: How does the character respond to or feel about the initiating action, the attempts, and the results?

Dialogue: What do the characters say to one another?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Story Ideas

Ideas for Personal Narratives about Some of Ms. Dorsey's Experiences
(You will come up with ideas for narratives based on your own experiences.)

Story Ideas

One time my parents, my cousin, and I went on a picnic in the mountains. When we were ready to go home, the brakes on the car weren’t working, and we were at the top of a mountain.

Two of my daughters and I were on a cross-country trip. We were trying to drive through the night, and my one daughter and I were taking turns driving. She was driving while I slept in the back of the van. She stopped at a truck stop to get a hot chocolate. While she was gone, I woke up, and slipped out to go to the bathroom. She came back to the car, didn’t notice that I wasn’t there, and drove off.

When I was ten years old I was run over by a plow.

When I was twelve I was hit in the face with a baseball bat.

One day my teenage son came home with an earring in his earlobe.

I had just been married for a year or so, we lived in navy housing in Connecticut, my husband was gone most of the time working on a new submarine, and there had recently been news reports about a man who had been attacking women. One day I came back from shopping, walked into my bedroom, opened my closet, and there was someone there.

My family and I were living in San Jose, California in October of 1989, and experienced that big earthquake.

I was shopping on Center Street in Provo, Utah. I had found the perfect parking space, but a rude driver raced me for it and won. I was mad, but found another space and went into the store. Soon afterward, I heard crashing sound, and looked out the store window to watch a car careening down the road, crashing into parked cars, including the one in the space I’d wanted.

Examples of Student Narratives

Examples (of Varying Quality) of Student Personal Narratives
Which is the best? the worst? Why?

This is the prompt these students were given: Write a story about an event that is meaningful to you in some way. Write about it so specifically that another person reading it will see what you saw and feel what you felt.

The Thrilling Soccer Game

There was a minute in the thrilling soccer game left. Our team, the Vikings, were tied with Hammond
1 to 1. I was dribbling the ball at a fast pace down the field. I could hear the other team’s feet trembling against the hard, dry ground. The light-weighted soccer ball was gliding over the hard surface every time I gave it a soft tap. My heart started pumping faster as I closed up on the other goalie. My teammate Charlie was following me on my right side. My feet felt like two humming birds flying to their nests. The fullback on the other team was pushing my shoulder trying to lure the ball away. I passed the ball to Charlie who was just a few feet ahead of me. He dribbled the ball to the goalies box then he centered it to me. I started shaking like a leaf as I kicked the ball past the darting goalie and into the big soccer net. I started jumping for joy as my teammates came around me to share my happiness.

--second draft by an eighth-grade boy


The Ski Trip
The event that I am writing about is the ski trip. I looked forward to this event. I had fun during this time & enjoyed it a lot. The consequences it brought was this: I came home tired & sore with bruises & pain. I am glad I went but sorry I had all the pain. I have gone skiing before but I have never had the pain like I did with this ski trip. I would want to do this again but don’t want pain.
-- first draft by a ninth-grade girl

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last night when I left school I went home and talked on the phone for about one hour and then I went out front and talked to friends and then came back upstairs and talked on the phone again and then went to the store and bout some candy and we went home to my house and watch tv for a couple of hours and played around a while then my mother came home from work we went to my grandmother’s house for a party it was my mother’s birthday we had pizza, lsayna and cake and ice cream and pop and my mother’s sister she came over and they went out to party and then we went home and we got to watch movies on tv until really late like 2 in the morning.
-- pretest by a seventh-grade boy

-- from Narrative Writing by George Hillocks, Jr.

October 1/2, 2008

October 1/2, 2008

(1) Students worked together on an editing practice. Here is the assignment: (If you were absent, you could cut, paste, double space the lines, print it, and make the corrections.)

Student Name ________________ Period ___ Score ___/15
1 – 10. Find and correct ten or more mistakes in this paragraph:

Jake barreled into the classroom, hoping he could make it too his seat before the bell rang. He new he had to many tardies already. As Mrs. Dorsey listened to Suzanne recite a poem for extra credit, she wondered why Jake just couldn’t seem to get to class on time she decided to talk with him about it after she got the student’s started on their point of view assignment. At the same time, Julie and Robert were handing in there reading logs, happy that they had completed the assignment for the week. Maria didn’t here Ms. Dorsey tell the students to begin
the self-starter cause she was busy reading The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe.

11 – 15. Tell from which point of view the paragraph is told, and explain how you knew.

(2.) We introduced the personal narrative assignment.
-- We will do this assignment step by step in class.

A narrative is a story. A narrative can be either fiction or nonfiction, but this on will be be nonfiction.
"Personal" means it is about you, yourself. It will be about something that really happened to you.

a. We looked at examples of student attempts at writing narrative, and talked about which was best. See a nearby post.

b. Ms. Dorsey shared ideas for stories she could write about some of her own experiences.
c. Students received a tape-in for their composition books (to be taped into the back of the book), and started writing down brief summaries of experiences they've had that could be turned into stories.
This is the information on the tape-in. It is meant to help you remember events you could write about.

Finding Story Ideas
What experiences have made you feel really happy or very sad?
What experiences have been very alarming or really frightening?
What experiences have made you feel proud of yourself?
What have been the most difficult tasks you have had to undertake?
What contests or games have you tried hard to win?
What experiences have made you feel embarrassed?
What experiences have made you feel ashamed of yourself?
What experiences have made you realize that you truly care about someone?
What experiences have made you laugh a lot?
What other experiences have you had that are worth sharing?

(3.) We listened to and followed along in the book with The Outsiders and students filled in a space on their reading log for The Outsiders.
B1 -- pg. 87 - 95
B2 -- pg. 83 - 93
B3 -- pg. 88 - 101
A1 -- pg. 89 - 97
A2 -- pg. 91 - 96

Students filled out another "day" on the white reading log for character in The Outsiders.