Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Fantasy Book and Website

I just picked up a book from CostCo as a birthday gift for my daughter's friend. I couldn't help reading a bit of it, and it looks very fun. It's called Slathbog's Gold, and is written by M.L. Forman who is from Utah. It's from the same publishing company that did Leven Thumps and Fablehaven and The 13th Reality. This book has a fun website. Go to

Quiz on Lie and Lay for Extra Credit

Go to this site, and print your quiz:

Practicing with Word Roots

This is a very simple game you can use to practice recognizing word roots:

Grammar Practice with Gorillas?

To practice recognizing parts of speech, go to this site. Do a quiz, and print your results.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creating Sentences

Every sentence needs two parts: a SUBJECT and a VERB. (Another word for the part of a sentence we can call the verb is PREDICATE.)

Erin ran. (Erin is the subject and ran is the verb.)
Daniel laughed.
Sammy slept.

When the subject of the sentence is doing something to someone or something else, we add a DIRECT OBJECT to the sentence.

Erin kicked the ball. (Erin is the subject, kicked is the verb, and ball is the direct object.)
Daniel washed the dishes.
Sammy ate the sandwich.

We want you to know how to recognize subject, verb, and whether there is a direct object, so you will know whether to use the verb "lie" or the verb "lay."

You use the verb "lay" when there is a direct object, as in
"I saw her lay the book on the counter." "Yesterday my hen laid two eggs."

In those sentences, "the book" and "two eggs" are direct objects.
In the following sentences, there are no direct objects, so you use the verb "lie."

"I lie down for a nap every afternoon when I get home from school."
"I have lain down for a nap at 3:30 every day this week. My friends think I'm lazy, but it feels so good."


Look at this sentence:
"Joe gave Jill and present."
What was Joe giving? Was he giving Jill? No. He was giving a present, so the present is the direct object. "Jill" is called the INDIRECT OBJECT.

We can add information to a basic sentence by adding words such as adverbs and adjectives.
Erin ran quickly. (Erin is the subject, ran is the verb, and quickly is an adverb telling us how Erin ran.)
Daniel washed the dirty dishes. (Daniel is the subject, washed is the verb, dirty is an adjective describing the dishes, and dishes is the direct object.)

We can use prepositional phrases to add information to a basic sentence. Did you learn a list of prepositions in elementary school?

Erin ran through the house. (Erin is the subject, ran is the verb, "through the house" is a prepositional phrase that tells where Erin ran.)
Sammy found the sandwich in the refrigerator. (Sammy is the subject, found is the verb, sandwich is the direct object, "in the refrigerator" is a prepositional phase telling where Sammy found the sandwich.)

[More to come]

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Using the Irregular Verbs Lie and Lay

An irregular verb is a verb that doesn't change tense the way most verbs do.

Verb tense has to do with time. Are you doing it now, or did you do it in the past, or will you do it in the future?

A regular verb such as "laugh" adds "ed" when it changes to past tense.

Present Tense: I laugh now.
Past Tense: Yesterday I laughed.
Future Tense: Tomorrow I will laugh.

Some verbs show tense in other ways.
For instance,
Present Tense: I run now.
Past Tense: Yesterday I ran. (not "runned")

Lie and lay are irregular verbs. They are two different verbs meaning different things, but they often get mixed up. That is why we study them along with our 7th grade confusing words.

Lie means "to recline or rest."
Here is how you show time with the verb lie:

Present Tense: I lie on my bed now.
Past Tense: Yesterday I lay on my bed.
Future Tense: Tomorrow I will lie on my bed again.
And: I have been lying on my bed.
I have lain on my bed many times.

Lay means "to put something down or to place something somewhere." You could use "put" or "place" instead of "lay."
Here is how you show time with the verb lay:

Present Tense: I lay the baby on the bed now.
Past Tense: Yesterday I laid the baby on the bed.
Future Tense: Tomorrow I will lay the baby on the bed again.
And: I have been laying the baby on my bed every day.
I have laid that sleeping baby on my bed many times.

"Lie" is an action I do to myself, but I do the verb "lay" to something or someone else.
In English class terms, the verb "lay" takes a direct object.


Some verbs take a direct object. (Transitive) They do something to something.
need       “I need money.”
hit          “I hit the ball.”
kick            “I kicked my brother.”
destroy  “The transformer destroyed the city.
kiss        “I kissed Ernestine.”
The verb “lay” takes a direct object. It is transitive.
         “I carefully laid the beef roast inside the bars of the lion’s cage.”
  [The forms of the verb are lay, laid, has been laying, has laid.]

Some verbs do not take a direct object. (Intransitive)  They just do.
looked     “I looked, but didn’t see anything.” 
slept        “I slept all night.”
The verb “lie” does not take a direct object.  It is intransitive.
[The forms of the verb are lie, lay, has been lying, has lain.]
         "I will quietly lie behind the fence until the guards have passed."
         "Last night I quietly lay behind the fence until the guards had passed."

Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive: shook, felt, read.

When I get frightened, I shake.    
That was how I felt.                                     
I read all night.  
I shook the apples out of the tree.
I felt the slimy surface of the dragon's tongue.
I read the book in one night. 

The Irregular Verbs  Lie and Lay

I lie on the grass.     
Yesterday I lay on the grass.    
I was lying on the grass.     
I have lain on the grass.

I lay the book on the desk.      
Yesterday I laid the book on the desk.
I was laying the book on the desk.
I have lain the book on the desk.

Some verbs are IRREGULAR (weird).
You need to know these irregular verbs:  lie and lay

lie = to recline

(Yesterday . . . )
participle and past perfect
using was, had, etc.
(Yesterday . . . )


(Now  . .)
and present perfect
is, have been

(Now. . . )


was lying
had lain
am lying
have been lying
will lie
he, she, it
was lying
had lain
 is lying
has been lying
will lie
singular noun --lamp

was lying
had lain
 is lying, has been lying,

will lie
they, we
were lying
had lain
 are lying, have been lying
will lie
plural noun
were lying
had lain
 are  lying
have been lying
will lie

lay = to put or place
(Yesterday . . . )
past participle
and past perfect
using was,  had etc.
(Yesterday . . . )

(Now  . .)
present participle
and present perfect
am, have been

(Now  . .)

 was laying
had laid
am laying,
have been laying
will lay
he, she, it
 was laying
had laid
is laying
has been laying
will lay
singular noun
 was laying
had laid
is laying
has been laying
will lay
they, we
were laying
had laid
are laying, have been laying
will lay
plural noun


were laying
had laid
are laying, have been laying
will lay

Lie and Lay

Reading Log for January/February

Reading Log for January/February
The following example is a question related to Words By Heart, an historical fiction novel we're reading in class.

Here is an example of a question and answer:

Page # 3

“Facts” to Check and Questions to Answer: What are “buttoned shoes”?

Answers and further information and where I found them: I Googled "button shoes." Fashion Encyclopedia
I found a picture at

(The lower picture is of a hook used to button the shoes!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Simile and Metaphor from Words By Heart

Simile and Metaphor from Words By Heart -- Extra Credit

At the beginning of Words By Heart, we see some powerful figurative language. For instance, on page 4, Lena is described with these words: ". . . she was different and comical-looking, oozing like dark dough over the edges of her last-year's Sunday dress."
On page 7, Lena's papa is sitting with "His hands perched excitedly on his knees like spiders about to jump."

You may earn extra credit by pointing out other instances of figurative language: simile, metaphor, or personification in this novel.

Information About the Jim Crow Laws

Learn more at this site:

MYAccess Assignment for Term 3

MYAccess Assignment:

As of today, this prompt is not yet available on the Internet. We post it now so you can begin thinking of an event to write about. We will be working on it in class, and it will be made available on MYAccess with plenty of time for students to write and revise.

Throughout our lives, each of us encounters numerous instances of forgiveness. Sometimes we are innocent bystanders, but often we are the ones having to ask for forgiveness or being asked to forgive. For this personal narrative essay assignment, I am asking you to think back to an instance in your life when you have encountered forgiveness and asking you to write about it.

Prior to writing this assignment, you will need to be able to answer some of the following questions:

o Who was being asked to forgive?

o Who was asking to be forgiven?

o Why was forgiveness being asked for?

o What was required of the person forgiving?

o What was required of the person being forgiven?

o What background information might the reader need to know before the essay can be truly understood?

o Were there any conditions put in place by either party before forgiveness was achieved?

o Was forgiveness achieved? Why or why not?

Make sure, in writing this assignment, that you remember the characteristics of a good personal narrative essay: a good hook, lots of background information, has a story feel, is written in 1st person perspective, ends with a moral or lesson learned (reflection) , and includes some dialogue and a lot of detail.

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.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Signal Words to Use for Informal Contextual Citations

    Here Are Some Signal Words to Use for Informal Contextual Citations

    according to
    as reported by,
    as stated in
    affirms that
    agrees that
    Asserts that

    According to Raul M. . .
    Emily D., a student at American Fork Junior High, says that. . .
    Tristan W. reports that. . .
    Maddison L. states that. . .
    Cheltsie S. has affirmed that. . .
    Devon W., recognized as an expert on. . , wrote that. . .

    More examples of informal citations:
    Mary said...
    According to acclaimed therapist Dr. Feelgood...
    The New York Times reports...
    ...a White House spokesperson shared in late 2006
    ...appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in May 2007
    ...explains the author about her work

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Poem for the Inaguration

    Here is a poem by Langston Hughes that seems appropriate at this time in our nation's history:
    "Let American Be America Again."
    Is it true? Is it controversial? Would some Americans disagree with the poem? Do you agree or disagree with the way the poem portrays our country?

    Saturday, January 17, 2009

    January 30, February 3, 2009

    1. Finish up Hotseat.
    2. Finish Chapter 4 of Words By Heart and finish answering questions about the book so far. (Handout)
    3. Learn about using the verbs lie and lay. Go to our blog to find a quiz on lie and lay.
    4. Get started on making a poster of sample sentences for lie and lay.
    -- (Note: Conjugation refers to being able to change a verb to match its tense and number.)

    January 28/29, 2009

    More on Forgiveness Essay --
    1. Students did a prewriting* activity to prepare for writing the forgiveness essay. In their composition books, they wrote at least three incidents from their own lives that involved forgiveness. They then selected one and answered questions about that incident -- in the composition book. If you were absent, you may write this on a separate sheet of paper, and tape it into your composition book when you return.

    *Prewriting includes the thing we do to get ready to write. It can include coming up with ideas, narrowing choices, coming up with details, and more.

    In the composition book:
    1. List three forgiveness situations you've experienced or observed.

    2. Answer these questions about one of the forgiveness situations you've listed. (Try the one you think will make the best essay.)

    o Who was being asked to forgive?
    o Who was asking to be forgiven?
    o Why was forgiveness being asked for?
    o What was required of the person forgiving?
    o What was required of the person being forgiven?
    o What background information might the reader need to know before the essay can be truly understood?
    o Were there any conditions put in place by either party before forgiveness was achieved?
    o Was forgiveness achieved? Why or why not?

    Note: Your essay can be about forgiving someone else, being forgiven, or forgiving yourself.
    It can be about you and someone else, you and yourself, or about an incident you observed.
    It can be about something someone said or didn't say, did or didn't do, gave or didn't give, took or didn't take, broke or ruined.

    2. Students read Chapter 3 and part of Chapter 4 from Words By Heart, with questions to answer.

    3. Hotseat Activity: Could you pretend you're a character from Words By Heart and answer questions put that character by your classmates? Pay attention as we read. Students in groups filled out a worksheet about their assigned character. They then selected two students to come to the front (the hotseat) and answer questions as if they were that character -- what he or she would say publicly, and what he or she would be thinking privately.

    4. Students also did a brief activity to review sentence composition:
    What is the subject of the sentence?
    What is the verb?
    What is the object?
    What tense is the verb?
    What part of speech are a, an, and the?

    January 26/27, 2009

    Self-starter: Activity with Question-Answer Relationships
    Compare video and book. (chapters 1 and 2) -- Create a chart in your composition book.
    Learning about sentence composition: Subjects, Verbs, and Direct Objects.

    Places on the web to learn about sentence composition:

    If time: chapter 3 of Words By Heart

    Next time we'll start working on using the verbs lie and lay.

    You could go to this site for information about using the verbs lie and lay:

    Go here for a quiz on lie and lay: Take and print the quiz for extra credit.

    January 22/23, 2009

    January 22/23, 2009

    - Book of the Month approval should have been handed in.
    - Begin reading Words By Heart. -- Chapters 1 and 2
    - Review expectations for the Book Assessment
    - Computer Lab
    - Online research related to book of the month club book topic

    January 20/21, 2009

    January 20/21, 2009
    Begin Words By Heart unit.
    Introduction to the Personal Essay Assignment

    Hand in Book Approvals Today!

    1. Students filled out an anticipation guide for Words By Heart.
    2. Introduction to Words By Heart
    3. Segregation
    4. About the Personal Narrative Essay (GoMyAccess Assignment)

    The book of the Month Approval is due by this day.

    About Words By Heart From the Publisher
    Lena can recite the Scriptures by heart. Hoping to make her adored Papa proud of her and to make her white classmates notice her "Magic Mind," not her black skin, Lena vows to win the Bible-quoting contest. But winning does not bring Lena what she expected.

    Citing Sources

    See page 761 in our Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar text for how to cite the book you're reading and other sorts of sources. There is a copy included in your packet. A sample works cited list is found on page 764. Some Internet sources (Such as World Book) tell you how to cite them.

    There are also web sites that help you put together a works cited list.
    Check out and

    Here's the basic pattern for creating a Works cited entry for a book:
    If your source is from the Internet:
    author’s last name if given comma
    author’s first name if given period
    title if given period Or site name
    Retrieved [date retrieved] from [web address]

    If your source is a Book with one author:
    author’s last name comma
    author’s first name period
    title of book period
    city where published colon
    publisher comma
    year published period

    Sample sources as they would be shown in a Works Cited list:
    Citing a Book
    I’m reading a book called Sacagawea by Peter and Connie Roop. It was published in New York by Hyperion in 1999.

    Go to
    Click on MLA -- the red letters in the column to the left.
    Click on “Books with one or more authors.”
    Enter the information.
    Click on submit.
    Works Cited
    Did you get this?

    Roop, Peter and Connie. Sacagawea.
    New York: Hyperion, 1999.

    Here’s another book:
    I’m reading The Journal of Ben Uchida by Barry Denenburg. It was published by Scholastic Inc. in New York in 1999.

    Fill in the information on Citation Machine.
    Did you get this?

    Denenburg, Barry. The Journal of Ben Uchida. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1999.

    More Information for Book Assessment

    Book Portfolio – Third Term -- Nonfiction
    General Information and Helps
    ☞Dates to Remember: (Write these in your planner, if you haven’t already.)
    By January 21: Find your book and hand in this form, filled out and signed by a parent or guardian. (Last day for any points on this is February 6.)
    By February 24: Hand in book assignment.
    ☞ March 13 is the very last day any late or revised work will be accepted for points. (Write this in your planner, but have everything done on time or early so you don’t have to worry about it!)

    Quality Standards for the Portfolio

    Use 8 1/2" x 11" paper unless otherwise specified.
    Do not use lined paper for illustrations.
    Do not use paper with spiro-bits.
    Work must be neat and legible.
    The text must be typed or done in standard blue or black ink. Do not use pencil.
    Take pride in your work.

    Samples for Fact Sheets and Works Cited Page

    The Top Ten Facts I Learned About Memory
    by Reading Hmm?: The Most interesting book you’ll ever read about memory

    1. “If you stashed away 1000 new bits of info every second of your life, you’d still be using only part of your total storage space.” p. 5

    2. The brain has three main sections, and the sections that are most vital to memory, according to scientists, are the cerebrum and the cerebellum. p. 7 (This is just a sample. You’d have at least ten facts sheet.)

    The Top Ten Facts I Learned About Memory
    from Other Sources
    1. According to a reference article in ScienceDaily, “The study of memory “has become one of the principal pillars of a new branch of science that represents a marriage between cognitive psychology and neuroscience, called cognitive neuroscience.” (This is just a sample. You’d have at least ten facts.)

    Works Cited

    Swanson, Diane. Hmm?: The Most interesting book you’ll ever read about memory. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2001.

    Long Term Memory. (Level of Explanation: Beginner) The Brain from Top to Bottom. Retrieved January 17, 2008, from [sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research]

    Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 17, 2008, from– /releases/2003/06/030606081111.htm

    Murphy, Pat, and Paul Doherty. “Messing with Your Mind.” Retrieved January 17, 2008, from

    National Geographic Society. The Incredible Machine. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1986.

    Pendick, Daniel. “This Is Your Brain On Booze.” Memory Loss & the Brain Winter 2007: Retrieved January 17, 2008, from

    See page 761 in our Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar text. Use the MLA Style for Listing Sources found on page 761. Another sample Works Cited List is found on page 764.
    Utah State Core: ILO’s 1.a.b., 2.b., 5.a-e., 6.d., Standard 1. Objective 2, Standard 2 Objectives 1 and 3, Standard 3 (inquiry/research) Objectives 1 and 2.

    Rubric for Book Assessment

    Rubric – The Project is Due by February 24.
     Overall: I have selected a portfolio book that is from one of these genres: historical fiction, multicultural fiction, or literary nonfiction. It is focused on one main nonfiction topic.
    Overall: I have collected the information for my book project. I took notes as I read my book, looking for facts that the book tells me (that I can confirm by looking at other sources), and looking for questions about which I can do research. I then selected the most interesting items to include in this project.

    The project may be done in pen, or typed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper (lined or not for text).
    All writing is clearly legible and neat. No pencil is allowed. No points if these directions are not followed.

    a. Information for the Project Cover: I will design a cover for my book assessment. It may be either computer generated or hand designed. I may not use a cover or other illustrations already used for the book. I could create a collage of pictures of the subject of the book. I have included on the cover  my name,  class period,  term and  year (Term 3, 2009),  title of the book,  the author’s name,  genre and  number of pages. Only high quality work will receive full points. /15 pts.

    b. Information from the book: I have created a list of the Top Ten Facts I learned about the Topic from reading my portfolio book. *(I may include up to 15 facts.)
    I will label this page
    The Top *[Ten] Facts I Learned About [the topic of the book]
    by Reading [The Title of your Book-of-the-Month Book]
    Each item is numbered and includes at least one complete, correct sentence.
    Each item includes a page number where I found that information.
    If an item is directly quoted, it must be within quotation marks.
    Items may be paraphrased. If so, they will not be within quotation marks.
    This will be on one page.
    When I type, I will use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. /30 pts.
    [2 points per fact plus 1 per page number]

    Between the information from the book and the information from additional sources, I will have a total of at least 20 facts about the nonfiction topic of the book.

    c. Information from additional sources: I have created a list of the Top 10 *(up to 15 or more) facts I learned about the topic from at least three other sources.
    I will label this page
    The Top *[Ten] Facts I Learned About [the topic of the book]
    from Other Sources
    If I use only two sources I will receive only 2/3 of the points. If only one, 1/3.
    My sources may be found in books, magazines, etc. or on the Internet. (I may use one encyclopedia, but I may not use Wikipedia as a cited source.)
     I will do my best to make sure each source and piece of information is reliable (dependable, true). I will write in complete, correct sentences.
     I will use informal contextual citation to show where I found each piece of information. Example: According to a reference article in ScienceDaily,. . .
    I will not use the web address in an informal citation.
     This will be on one page. /30 pts.
    [2 points per fact plus 1 per informal citation]

    d. Works Cited list:
    I will neatly type or handwrite a Works Cited list of my sources (my Book of the Month Book and at least three additional sources), including all the information to create a works cited list using MLA Style.
    I will label this page Works Cited.
    See page 761 in our Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar text. Use the “MLA Style for Listing Sources” found on page 761 and attached to the assignment packet. A sample Works Cited List is found on page 764. /20 pts.

    e. Recommendation for the book: After I’ve finished reading it, I will give the book a star-rating (show the stars), and write two or three sentences explaining my opinion about the book.
    Star Ratings for the Recommendation:
    ✯ Don’t bother reading; it’s a sleeper. Yawn.
    ✯✯ Read with caution: I did learn a couple of things, but still – Yawn.
    ✯✯✯ Read it; it’s worth it and you’ll learn something.
    ✯✯✯✯ Read without reservation; it’s great, and you’ll learn a lot.
    ✯✯✯✯✯ Throw caution to the wind; find a comfy chair and some snacks because you won’t be able to put it down, and after you’ve finished, you’ll feel you really understand the subject
    ✯✯✯✯ Hmm?: The Most interesting book you’ll ever read about memory was maybe not the most interesting book on memory I’ve read, but it was the easiest to understand, and the quickest way I’ve seen (except for one really great web site I found) to learn about memory. The author divides up the subject into chunks of information you can remember, and the illustrations make the information even more memorable. ___/10 points

    Stars: 2 pts.
    Two to three complete, correct sentences: 8 pts.

    I will staple these pages neatly together with one staple at the top left. (No points unless this is done.)

    Total includes the following:
    Total out of 105 points:
    + Extra Credit (up to +10 points if handed in more than a week early, not needing revision)
    (+ 10 points extra credit if handed in on time)
    (+ points for extra facts or extra quality)

    If I have missed points, here is what I need to do to earn full points: (You must make these revisions and resubmit before March 13.) See above, and . . .

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    January 15/16, 2009

    January 15/16, 2009

    Self-Starter: Receive and peruse the Book-of-the-Month assignment. (Peruse means to read through with thoroughness and care.)
    If you didn't receive the book approval and reading log, see us.
    Receive (and write down) your new computer lab number.

    We went to the computer lab where Mr. Christensen provided instruction and practice for doing research, and Ms. Dorsey taught about citing sources.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    More Suggested Titles for Jan./Feb.

    More Suggested Titles for Jan./Feb. I haven't necessarily read the following books, but have seen them recommended for seventh graders. Parents, please be aware of what your children are reading. Better yet, read what your children are reading so you can discuss books with them.

    One More River -- by Lynne Reid Banks is about a 14 year old girl who moves with her parents to an Israeli kibbutz because her father feels that the family has lost any sense of what it means to be Jewish. A large part of the novel--set during the days before, during, and after the 1967 Six-Day War--chronicles Lesley's gradual, difficult adjustment, and her growing friendship from afar with Mustapha, an Arab boy.

    A Coming Evil -- by Vivian Vande Velde -- From a review on -- "This well-written novel combines two periods in French history-the 1940s and the early 1300s. Lisette Beaucaire, 13, is sent to live in the country with her aunt, since food is scarce in Paris, which is overrun by German soldiers. Although she dreads spending time with her bratty cousin Cecile, Lisette is even more dismayed to discover that her aunt is hiding Jewish and gypsy children from the Nazis. As Lisette and the children practice what to do if the Nazis arrive unexpectedly, she begins to understand the seriousness of the situation. Then she encounters the ghost of Gerard, a young knight who died in 1314." I do have this in the classroom library.

    Nonfiction Reading Log

    Student Name __________________ Period _____________
    Title of Book _______________________________
    Genre _________________________
    Reading Log for Nonfiction or Fiction Based on Fact (Historical/Multicultural Fiction)

    ⇒ When you tell where you found answers, record enough information to let you return to that exact page or exact place on the internet.
    ⇒ As you fill this up, remember that more logs are available in the classroom.
    ⇒ Bring your log to class as you are working on it. We’ll check that you’re working on it, that you have the right idea for how to do it, and help you with suggestions and feedback.

    The parts of the log are --
    Page # , “Facts” to Check and Questions to Answer, and Answers and further information
    and where I found them


    pp. 444-445 -- How old was Douglas? -- He turned eighteen in 1972. I found this out on pages 14/15 of the book Survive the Savage Sea. I found part of the book using Google Book Search:

    Reading Guide for Excerpts from Survive the Savage Sea

    Reading Guide for Excerpts from Survive the Savage Sea
    You will read excerpts from the nonfiction book Survive the Savage Sea, as found in your Elements of Literature textbook.

    1. Notice External Text Features for this story:
    a. Text Boxes – First go to page 444 and read the information in the yellow box. It gives you background for the story. Notice also the text box on page 456.
    b. Footnotes – There are small numbers after some words in the text. These direct you to look for the footnote at the bottom of the page. The footnotes for this story give you word definitions. Don’t ignore them. They’ll help you understand the story.
    c. Headings -- Headings within the story let you know which day is being described. The Robertson family was lost at sea for thirty-eight days! The story of only five of the days is included in your textbook.
    d. Photos and Illustrations -- Look at the pictures on page 445 and 450, and 452-453. How do the first two help you? The painting is symbolic and has to do with someone who died at sea. It is placed within these pages to set a mood rather than to share information. However, if we have time, I’ll tell you more about it.
    See also the photo on page 457. This is a photo of the Robertsons as they are rescued.

    2. Create your own “External Text Feature” before you read. Draw simple figures to represent the characters. You will draw six people. The text box on page 444 tells you who they are. By the way, Douglas is eighteen, and Robin (a young man) is twenty-two.

    3. Students practiced using a reading log like the log they are using this time for their Book-of-the-Month Club books.

    Book Approval for January/February

    Book Approval for January/February

    Book-of-the-Month Book Approval – Term 3 -- Seventh Grade English -- Dorsey
    Dear Parents,
    For Term 3, your student needs to choose one of the following types of books: literary nonfiction (including biography or autobiography), historical fiction, or multicultural fiction. It should have at least 100 pages, be a book that he/she has NOT read before, that is at his/her own reading level, and that is not on our department list of books not allowed for the portfolio. See our class blog ( or the English department website
    Once the book is chosen, please sign this paper to indicate your approval. Your student must have his/her novel in class with the signed portion of this paper by January 21, in order to receive full points plus extra credit points. Sooner is better. This form will not be accepted for points after February 6, though it will still need to be handed in.
    Encourage your student to read his/her book whenever and wherever possible.
    This term's portfolio assignment will be passed out by January 16. (Sooner, if possible.) I recommend that your student be finished or almost done with his or her book at least a week before February 24. That way he/she will have time to get the project done. The project will be due by February 24. After March 13 no late or revised work on the assessment will be accepted for points. This will be an interesting assignment that requires understanding of the book and additional research. Quality work handed in early is welcome!
    Your student should receive a reading log with this paper. There will not be a weekly log due, but the student should keep the log as he or she reads, and should bring it to class to be checked and to receive feedback and suggestions.
    Thanks for your help!
    Sincerely, Ms. Dorsey

    Student name: (Please print first and last name) _____________________________
    Title of book: _______________________________
    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
    After you get this back, save it in your binder.

    Recommended books:
    Appropriate nonfiction books include biography, autobiography, and literary nonfiction. Literary nonfiction tells about real subjects in a story format. Multicultural Fiction is based on situations that you won’t experience because of where you live or because of your cultural background. Historical Fiction: The setting is based in real places and events from the past. The characters may be based on people who really existed. The author could also make up characters who go through the experiences or interact with famous people of that time and place. Examples: Midwife’s Apprentice and Numbering the Stars.

    Dates to Remember: (Write these in your planner.)
    January 21: This approval is due. Sooner is better!
    February 6: Last day to get points for this approval, though you still need to hand it in!
    By February 24: The assessment project is due.
    March 13: Last day to hand in any late or revised work for points for Term 3.

    January 13/14, 2009

    January 13/14, 2009
    Self-starter: Students completed questions 1 and 2 on the Reading Guide for Survive the Savage Sea.

    1. We read the collection of excerpts from the book Survive the Savage Sea found in our Elements of Literature textbook.
    We focused on External Text Features in nonfiction.
    What nonfiction is
    Asking questions and looking for facts -- and figuring out where to find information and answers.
    We practiced the process they will use for their own reading logs.

    2. Students received information for the Book-of-the-Month assignment. Today they received the book approval and a reading log. The reading logs will not be due weekly, but should be kept as they read their books, and should be brought to class each time so they can be checked and so students can receive help and feedback.

    3. We went to the media center so students could look for books that would be appropriate for the Book-of-the-Month project. Students should now where where to find biography/autobiography books in the media center, where to find nonfiction, how to locate historical fiction, and where to look for the call number for a book. They filled out an exit slip with two to three books they found that would work for the assignment.

    Next Time: We will go to a computer lab to look at doing research and citing sources.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    January 9/12, 2009

    January 9/12, 2009

    Read The Giver.

    Think about it:
    Did Jonas make the right decision when he left the community?
    If there were a chapter 24, what would happen in it?

    B1 finished.
    B2 finished.
    B3 finished.
    A1 finished.
    A2 finished.

    On the 12th, students who had already finished The Giver go to preview books that would be appropriate for the Book-of-the-Month Club assignment.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    January 7/8, 2009

    January 7/8, 2009
    Students looked at examples of the next Book-of-the-Month Club assignment.

    Prefixes and Suffixes Re-Test

    CD presentations as needed

    Read summaries and chapters for The Giver.

    B1 -- Finished Chapter 16.
    B2 -- Finished Chapter 16, to page 142, about 2/3 of the way down
    B3 -- Finished Chapter 16
    A1 -- Finished Chapter 16
    A2 -- Finished Chapter 16

    *Please let me know if you've revised your GoMyAccess essay at home and achieved a higher score than the one recorded in your grades.
    *Please pick up corrected work.

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    More Possible Books for January/February

    More possible books for the Term 3 Book Assignment:

    These were recommended on the ala/yalsa (American Library Association/ Young Adult Library Services Association) booklists awards. I haven't read them, so I can't make any guarantees, but I did check them out online, and they look interesting.

    The Moon by Michael Carlowicz (Author)
    Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Creatures of the Deep by Michael Everhart (Author)
    From Boneshakers to Choppers: The Rip-Roaring History of Motorcycles by Lisa Smedman (Author)
    Football Now by Mike Leonetti and John Laboni
    Brooke, Michael. The Concrete Wave (The History of Skateboarding). Nonfiction. Warwick. April 1999. 200p.
    Menzel, Peter and Faith D'Aluisio. Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Bugs. Nonfiction. Ten Speed Press. November 1998. 192p.
    Hawk, Tony. Between Boardslides and Burnout: My Notes From the Road.
    Fleischman, Sid. Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini
    Fradin, Judith Bloom and Fradin, Dennis Brindell. 5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft's Flight From Slavery
    Robertson, James I., Jr. Robert E. Lee: Virginian Soldier, American Citizen -- This would be helpful preparation for U.S. History class next year.
    Akbar, Said Hyder and Burton, Susan. Come Back to Afghanistan: A California Teenager's Story.
    Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow.
    Farrell, Jeanette. Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives.
    Giblin, James Cross. Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth.
    ** Jurmain, Suzanne. The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students. (I've seen this one. It was recommended by local teachers and libarians.)
    Zenatti, Valérie. When I Was a Soldier: A Memoir -- about an Israeli female soldier (recommended for 8th grade and up)
    Allen, Thomas B. George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
    Bausum, Ann. With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote
    Morpurgo, Michael. Private Peaceful -- World War I
    Wolf, Allan. New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery.

    Here are some new books I haven't read, but they are recommended by Peggy Sharp, a "book guru" among teachers and librarians:
    Mystery Of The Lost Colony (Roanoke) (Hardcover)
    by Lee Miller (Author) 112 pages
    Chase (Hardcover) by Jessie Haws is set in post-Civil War Pennsylvania. Readers learn about that time period, coal miners, labor disputes, and terrorism. 256 pages
    Come Juneteenth (Great Episodes) (Hardcover) by Ann Rinaldi is about slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation. Did you know that Texas slave owners kept the Emancipation secret for two and a half years, until they were forced to reveal it on June 19, 1865?
    Elijah Of Buxton (Hardcover) by Christopher Paul Curtis
    This is from the author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963! and Bud, Not Buddy. I've heard Elijah of Buxton is even better than his other books. Now I've read this -- very good!

    Some Recommended Books for the Book-of-the-Month Club

    Recommended Books for Term 3 -- January/February:
    Appropriate nonfiction books include biography, autobiography, and literary nonfiction. Literary nonfiction tells about real subjects in a story format.
    Historical Fiction: The setting is based in real places and events from the past. The characters may be based on people who really existed. The author could also make up characters who go through the experiences or interact with famous people of that time and place. Examples: Midwife’s Apprentice and Numbering the Stars.

    Here are a few suggested topics and books: For more, ask your librarian. Look under Multicultural and Historical Fiction, and under nonfiction. Watch our class blog at as I may add more suggestions.
    Africa: Things Fall Apart by Achebe
    Civil War : Numbering the Bones by Rinaldi, Shades of Gray, The River Between Us by Peck, and more; Ballad of the Civil War by Stolz, Mary 680L: Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Wells
    Communist Europe: I Am David by Holm
    Disease: Fever 1793 by Anderson, Invisible Enemies by Farrell
    Exploration: Blood on the River by Carbone: The King’s Fifth by O’Dell
    Immigration: Esperanza Rising by Ryan; The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child by Jimenez, Francisco 880L
    Industry and Exploitation: The Mill Girls by Selden
    Israel and Palestine: Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye,
    Japanese Internment during WWII: Journey to Topaz, Farewell to Manzanar, Caged Eagles, The Journal of Ben Uchida, Bat 6
    Korea: Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook-Nyul Choi -- North Korea during Japanese occupation; When My Name Was Keoko and A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
    Medieval Europe : Crispin by Avi, Catherine Called Birdy, Matilda Bone, or The Midwife’s Apprentice by Cushman
    Prohibition: Black Duck by Lisle 790L
    Revolutionary War: My Brother Sam is Dead, Johnny Tremain
    The Russian Front: Burying the Sun and others by Gloria Whelan, The Endless Steppe by Hautzig
    Slavery and Segregation in the U.S.: Witness by Hesse, True North by Katherine Lasky; Steal Away Home by Ruby: My Name is Not Angelica by O’Dell.
    Vietnam War: 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War by Caputo
    Westward Expansion: Sacajawea by Bruchac, Riding Freedom by Ryan, Charlotte’s Rose by Cannon,
    War and its effect on young people: Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo by Filipovic, Breadwinner (life under the Taliban in Afghanistan) and others by Ellis
    World War I: All’s Quiet on the Western Front
    World War II: Soldier Boys by Hughes, Code Talker by Bruchac
    Holocaust: Night by Elie Wiesel, The Hiding Place, Milkweed by Spinelli, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by Boyne; Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust by Gruener; The Devil’s Arithmetic, Marika
    Others: Across the Lines by Reeder, Carolyn 1000L; Dia's Story Cloth by Cha, Dia; Long Hard Journey, A: The Story of the Pullman Porter by McKissack, Patricia C. and Frederick 1050L; Shuttered Windows by Florence Crannell Means
    Cold is the Sea and others (fiction and nonfiction about submarines) by Edward L. Beach
    Biography: Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille by Freedman, Russell 1000L; Edwin Hubble: American Astronomer by Fox, Mary Virginia 1120 L; Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Petry, Ann 1000L

    You may select a book that is not on this list, but don’t use The Diary of Anne Frank (an eighth grade class book), Getting Away with Murder or Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe, books already on your “Do Not Read” list, any Dave Peltzer books, or books being read in the Reading Literature classes. Make sure the book is approved by a parent and by the teacher. Also, don’t use Words By Heart by Ouida Sebestyen. We’ll read that in class.