Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29/30, 2009

September 29/30, 2009
Notes: Don't forget to return your signed progress reports.
One class still needs to receive their progress reports. Their signed reports will be due the next class time.

There are more student jobs to sign up for.

1. The Outsiders (Follow along and watch for information about your assigned character. Also watch for themes.)
Reading The Outsiders -- Watch for topics and themes.
B1 -- from page 45 to "If you're looking for a fight. . . " to page 53, beginning of Chapter 4
B2 -- from page 51, halfway down to page 61, halfway down.
B4 -- from page 60, 1/3 of the way down to end of page 67? Is this right?

A1 -- from page 38 "She was coming through to me. . . " to page 53, chapter 4.
A1 needs to do the anticipation guide/talk about themes.
A2 -- from the bottom of page 46 "I thought I had plenty of time" to page 68, chapter 5.
A4 --from page 45 "pity the back seat" to page 65.

2. Confusing Words Presentations -- its/it's

3. Let's Sparkle on the Confusing Words!

4. Media Center to look for books at their own independent reading level, and for possible books for October Book-of-the-Month --
Students will be looking for books at their own independent reading levels.
A-Day students will go to the Media Center on Friday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

For B4

For 9-29-09 -- B4 bring a picture, a poem, or song lyrics with (written down) a topic and at least one theme.

September 25/28, 2009

September 25/28, 2009

Students who were not at Parent-Teacher Conference will receive a progress report to take home and have signed by a parent to be returned for 5 points required and 5 points extra credit.

If you did not finish your Book Assessment, or did not save it onto your own wiki page, please do that from home or during Cave Time in lab 223. Tape your user name and password into your planner if you haven't. If you lose it, you may see me to get it again. DO NOT CHANGE OR EDIT ANY PAGE EXCEPT YOUR OWN. MAKE SURE YOU ARE SEEING YOUR NAME IN LARGE LETTERS AT THE UPPER LEFT OF THE PAGE BEFORE YOU CHANGE ANYTHING ON A PAGE. You may make comments (in a comment box) on other pages, but please keep it appropriate and helpful.

For 9-29-09 -- B4 bring a picture, a poem, or song lyrics with (written down) a topic and at least one theme.

Today's class:

1. Writing time -- Self-starter:
a. Write today's date, then any questions you have for me about the class, or about practically anything. Write at least one question. (Under Writing in your composition book.)
b. Check your composition book to make sure you've done all you need to so far.

2. Review how to get to your own wiki page. We weren't able to do this with B1, but did with B2 and B4. We will do it with B1 on 9-29-09. Done!

B1 -- Go to caveman-b1.pbworks.com (other classes go to your own wiki), and go to the navigator box on the right hand side.
Click on Student Pages 2009-2010.
Click on your own name.
When you see your name in the upper left hand corner in large colored letters, you may edit the page.
Log in -- click on "Log In" at the upper right, and use your user name and password.
When you are back to your page, click on the Edit tab at the upper left (next to the View tab).
A tool bar will appear so you can edit your page.
Do any writing and editing you need to do.
Don't forget to save when you are finished by clicking on SAVE in the lower left hand corner.
Sign out in the upper right hand corner.

2. Confusing Words Presentations

3. About Topic and Theme -- with poems and with your Outsiders Anticipation Guides
Topic: what something is about, the subject
Theme: a big idea about life that is presented in a book, story, poem, etc.

4. The Outsiders

Reading The Outsiders -- Watch for themes.
B1 -- from page 31, page break (Ponyboy is telling about Johnny being beaten by the Socs.) to page 45 to "If you're looking for a fight. . . "
B2 -- from page 45 about 1/3 of the way down to page 51, halfway down.
B4 -- from the top of page 52 (not quite done with chapter 3) to page 60, 1/3 of the way down.

A1 -- from page 25, halfway down, to page 30, top to page 38 "She was coming through to me. . . "
A1 needs to do the anticipation guide/talk about themes.
A2 -- from page 33, 1/3 of the way down to page to page blue mustang pulls up Top of page 41 to the bottom of page 46.
"I thought I had plenty of time."
A4 --from page 28, top of page to page 37 (the beginning of chapter 3) to page 45 "pity the back seat."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Assessment

You may complete or improve your assessment from home. Just hurry, because I will be grading them very soon. You will need your username and password (received in class on the 23rd and 24th) to work on your wiki page. The last day for revisions on this is October 7.

Your assessment has three parts:
1) Filling in the basic information you've already recorded in your composition book on September 11/14.

2) Writing a letter, pretending that you are "in" the book. You are visiting or living in the setting of the novel, and you have gotten acquainted with the characters. In your letter you are going to describe the setting (time and place) and describe one or more of the characters. Use the charts you filled out, and describe both setting and character very well.

Remember that the author will tell you about a character by describing him or her, by what he or she does, by what he or she says and how he or she says it, and by what he or she thinks.

You are told about a character by the author, by another character, or by himself or herself.

For setting, describe the place and time. Use description, if any, from the book. Could you help your reader picture/visualize the place and time?

3) Writing a recommendation for the book, telling who would enjoy reading it and why, and what rating your give the book (one to five stars, five being the best) and why you would rate it that way. Don't just use words like good or great. Be specific.

This will all be posted on your wiki page on our class wiki.

Your purpose in this assignment is to show your understanding of the book you chose, as well as of the literary elements character and setting, and to provide information to people who might be considering reading the book.

Your audience is your teacher and other students who are looking for books to read.

September 23/24, 2009

September 23/24, 2009

Book-of-the-Month Assessment
We will be in the computer lab to type up responses to questions about your novels.


Here are the instructions:
Computer Lab/ Book-of-the-Month Club Assessment
You will receive a slip in class with your log-in information, including your own username and password. Save this. Do not share it with other people,. We will be using the class wiki several times during the year.
Tape the slip with your own log-in information into your planner.

In the computer lab --
1. Open a browser.
2. Go to the appropriate one of the following:

3. On the FrontPage, read the directions and copy the “template.”
(You may wish to read the sample letter and/or book recommendation. You may also want to look at how your work will be graded. There are links to all three of these on the FrontPage.)

4. Open a new document in Word and paste the template there.
5. Use the template as a guide for writing your assessment.
6. When you’ve typed it all, copy it. (PC users: Command C)
7. Open and edit your own page in our wiki.
a. Use the username and password you’ve been given to log in.
b. In the navigator box in the right margin, select “Student Pages 2009-2010”
c. Scroll down to find your own page.
d. Click on it to open it. Make sure you see your own name large at the upper left.
e. Click on “Edit” at the top of the page.
f. Paste your writing onto that page. (PC users: Command V)
g. Check to make sure you got everything. Make any corrections needed.
h. Make sure you click on Save in the lower left hand corner.

Log out of the wiki (at upper right). Log out of Firefox. Log out of Word.

This assignment (worth 100 points) is due by the end of the class.
You may correct and improve it at home, but hurry, since I will be grading these soon.

When you’ve finished --
After you are done, you may look around the computer room to see who else is done, and go to their pages to read what they’ve written about their books.
You may comment on their writing in the comment boxes. Do not change anything on anyone else’s page.

Record in your “Books to Read” pages in your composition book any books you think you might want to read.

Grading for Book-of-the-Month Assessment

Grading for Book-of-the-Month Assessment

1. Today's Date ___/2

2. Title of My Novel ___/2

3. Author: ___/2

4. Overall Setting (time and place: ___/4

5. Protagonist (s): ___/5

6. Antagonist (s): ___/5

7. Main Conflict (biggest problem): ___/5

Subtotal = ____/25

Letter: 50 points possible

Letter format _____/10

Adequately and accurately presents the setting 10 /15

or Outstanding presentation of setting 15/15

Presentation of setting is not adequate 5/15

Adequately and accuragely present the character(s) 10 /15

or Outstanding presentation of character(s) 15/15

Presentation of characters is not adequate 5/15

Follows conventions of grammar, spelling, capitalization, etc. _____ /10

Subtotal = ____/50

Recommendation: 25 points possible

Rates the book and explains the rating. ____ /10

Tells who should read the book and why. ____ /10

Follows conventions of grammar, spelling, capitalization, etc. _____ /5

Subtotal = ____/25

Total: _______/100

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conference

Parent-Teacher Conferences are this Thursday, September 24.

I will be here at the Parent- Teacher Conference until 6:45. Then I will need to leave for the evening. If you do not have the opportunity to speak with me at Parent-Teacher Conferences, please feel free to call or e-mail. (The same applies even if you do see me that evening!)

My email is dorsc405@alpine.k12.ut.us

Note:   I am usually available after school, unless I have a meeting.  If you feel you need to see me before school, please make an appointment.  In the morning I am often off running off copies, working in another classroom, or taking care of other needs.  Or you can  come see me when I am doing intervention during Cavetime. 

Extra Credit: Look up a word

Expired October 23, 2009 

In The Outsiders, Ponyboy says that "Two-Bit gallantly offered to walk them [Marcia and Cherry] home. . . " What does "gallant" mean? Look it up and bring me a definition that would fit this context. Earn 5 or 6 points extra credit. This word will be used again in The Outsiders.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mentor Sentences that Use Colons

Here are some great sentences that use colons. I'm giving myself extra credit for finding them because I collected the sentences, and gave the book, the author, and the pages they are from.

They're from Jerry Spinelli's book Smiles to Go, pages 30 and 31.
By the way, I greatly admire and enjoy Jerry Spinelli's writing, and I think a lot of you would like this book. Its lexile level is L490, but the interest level is much higher than that.
Ask me sometime to tell you about when I met Jerry Spinelli. To a junior high English teacher, that's like meeting a movie star or a rock star!

This is my summary of what's going on at this point in the book:
One of his best friends has recently made a name for himself at school by riding a skateboard down Dead Man’s Hill. Now Will is standing alone with his own skateboard at the top of Dead Man’s Hill, knowing that B.T. really did it, but not understanding how he could have.

Here are the sentences from the book:
The rising sun was straight ahead. I could look directly at it because it was bloody orange and just over the horizon and smoky with clouds. When I looked at the sun, my eyes were crossing 93 million miles of space. But my feet wouldn’t cross another inch. . .

Ninety three million miles of space in front of me, and every inch of it seemed packed with the things I was afraid of: high places, cramped places, dark places, thousand-leggers, speed, flying, death, change, time, pain, failure, criticism, roller coasters, train tracks, being wrong, being smelly, being late, being stupid, being rejected, black mambos, leeches, hantavirus, losing, deep water, uncertainty, being buried alive, being caught being afraid, myself. . .
I could see my epitaph:


from Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli, pages 30, 31

Book-of-the-Month Assessment for Term 1

Book-of-the-Month Assessment for Term 1

To prepare for your assessment ---
Read the entire book.
Fill out as much as you can of the character chart for one or two major characters in your book.
Fill out as much as you can of the setting chart for your book.
Think about what you would say to tell someone else about the book.
What would you tell them about the main character(s)?
What could you tell them about the setting?
What would another student need to know before he or she decides to read the book? (Do you recommend it? Why? To whom?)

On the assessment day, bring your book, your character and setting charts, and make sure you have your composition book here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Extra Credit

Expired October 1, 2009

I just found a fun word --
Sternutation (ster - nyuh-TAY-shun) means the act, fact, or noise of sneezing!

Come tell me by October 1, 2009, and receive 5 extra credit points. That's nothing to sneeze at!

September 21/22, 2009

September 21/22, 2009

1. Reading, filling out the character chart for your own novel.
2. Confusing Words Presentations : Focus on to/too/two.
About Setting, with examples from The Outsiders for how you should fill out your setting chart for your own book.
4. Listen to The Outsiders.

Bring your Book-of-the-Month Club novel.

Character and setting (Fill out your charts. If you don't have one, go to http://cavemanenglish.pbworks.com/Book-of-the-Month-Information-and-Handouts
to get a character chart and/or a setting chart, and fill it out for your novel.)

Other literary elements we've learned about:
conflict, protagonist, antagonist.
What is the conflict in your book?
What is the setting and how do you know?

Reading The Outsiders --
B1 -- from page 26, halfway down, to page 31, page break (Ponyboy is telling about Johnny being beaten by the Socs.)
B2 -- from page 36 to page 45 about 1/3 of the way down.
B4 -- from page 42 halfway down to top of page 52 (not quite done with chapter 3)

A1 -- from page 25, halfway down, to page 30, top
A2 -- from page 33, 1/3 of the way down to page to page (Help me out students, please. I can't remember where you left off.)
A4 --from page 28, top of page to page 37 (the beginning of chapter 3).

September 17/18, 2009

September 17/18, 2009
Book Orders (for Scholastic -- Tab, Click, and Arrow) are due Friday. You may order online, or send a check and the form to me.
Our user name is MsDorseysClasses
Our password is cavemen

Please hand in your work on time. Realize that when work comes in late, it may take a few days to get it recorded. Notice, too, that Cave Time slips for the next day are often printed before teachers have had time to score and record work that has been handed in to bring a grade up.

Find a study buddy in class with whom you could exchange phone numbers (or emails) so you can check with them if you are absent or aren't clear on an assignment. You can always email me, too.

We need volunteers to become our class "paper-hangers."

The more students who earn extra credit by memorizing "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost, the better! Find the poem on this blog. (You could use the search.) There are also copies in the English Class file at the back of the classroom.

Today's agenda:
Writing time -- Finish your page on candy, if needed.
Reading time -- Your novels need to be finished by the 23rd/24th.

Presentations on Confusing Words.
Don't forget you need a second way to teach, as well as the mini-poster.

Characters in The Outsiders and in your own novel. We started working on character charts about the characters in The Outsiders. Each chart covers a different character, and the students -- with their partners in the class -- are to fill out the chart as they find out things about their assigned character. Watch for information in the book about your character as we go. You should end up knowing that character well.

Reading The Outsiders --
B1 -- to page 26, halfway down
B2 -- page 27 to page 36
B4 -- page 27 to page 42 halfway down page 42

A1 -- from page 16, top of page to page 25, halfway down
A2 -- from page page 21, bottom of page to 33, 1/3 of the way down
A4 -- page page 12 1/3 to page 28, top of page

At home, after Pony has been "jumped" by the Socs and rescued by his brothers and "gang," Pony does his homework, and Soda gives Darry a backrub since Darry works so hard, trying to support his brothers. Soda tells Ponyboy that Darry really does love him, and that Soda plans to marry his girlfriend Sandy after Ponyboy gets out of high school. He wants to stick around until then to help support the family.
The next night, Dallas, Ponyboy, and Johnny sneak into the drive-in theater. They sit in the chairs set up in front of the concession stand where they meet two soc girls named Marcia and Cherry. Marcia and Cherry came with their boyfriends, but when the boys started drinking, the girls left them in the car. Dallas talks dirty to the girls, and Cherry throws a Coke in his face. Johnny, who rarely says anything, and whose hero is Dallas, tells Dallas to leave Cherry alone. Ponyboy is surprised that Dallas gives up so easily and doesn't hit Johnny when Johnny tries to tell him what to do. Dallas leaves.
The girls invite Ponyboy and Johnny to sit with them to "protect" them. They do. They talk about Dallas, and Cherry says (so quietly that only Ponyboy can hear) that she kind of admires Dallas Winston.
Two-Bit joins them and tells them that Tim Shepherd is looking for Dally since Dally slashed his tires. Two-Bit and Marcia find that they both have the same crazy sense of humor.

Students received a character chart to fill out for their own Book-of-the-Month novel. The chart should be filled out about a main character (or one on the front side of the chart and a different major character on the back) by the day you take the book assessment (September 23/24). If you weren't here to get it, go to the wiki to get the character chart, and start filling one in for your own novel.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 15/16, 2009

September 15/16, 2009

1. Presentations of confusing words.

2. More on colons and using specific details in our writing.
a) example of prose about candy (and related subjects)
b) examples of sentences about candy that use a colon to introduce a list.
c) Write your own piece about candy (and/or related subjects), filling up a whole page of your composition book with this piece of writing. Try using a colon in your piece to introduce a list.
Here is a copy of the examples and information on the overhead:
Lists of Details (Including those introduced by colons)

We also enjoyed bragging about which of the penny candies we planned to snap up during our sweet-tooth runs to Suzy's tiendita. Inside the little store, in the presence of the tiny yet intimidating Suzy, we walked around in hushed reverence, debating the intrinsic value of candy cigarettes, wax bottles of sugary "soda water," and pastel necklaces made of sweet-tart gems.

No expert appraiser at Tiffany in New York matched the intense squint of our eyes as we pushed and shoved each other out of the way, gazing hungrily at the tasty jewels encased in round glass jars topped with "fiesta red" lids.

Our purchases safely stuffed into little brown paper bags, we exploded onto the dusty callecita of Alice, Texas. With our bare feet, we kicked up dusty clouds from the road as we walk to our Tia Elia's house, reverting to loud, boisterous "Tejano talk" we seemed to reserve only for members of our own family. Oh, the fights over who had made the best purchase. "Mira, mines is more sabroso than yours," a cousin would shout. Another would counter with, "I'm gonna wear this candy necklace all day and then eat it after we have Tia Elia's calabaza con pollo. Ay, it looks like real jewels, right?"

-- Mario Bosquez's The Chalupa Rules: A Latino Guide to Gringolandia (2005)


Lists of Details (Including those introduced by colons)

A new sentence from Bosquez's story:

The tiendita was full of valuables: sweet-tart gem necklaces, candy cigarettes, wax bottles of sugary "soda water." (Anderson)

I couldn't wait to eat my favorite candies at the Sack-n-Pack: fire Jolly Rancher bars, pixie sticks, and grape Now or Laters. (Anderson)

When it was time to go to the candy store, the hunt for loose change began: under the couch, between the cushions, beneath Dad's La-Z-Boy (especially there). (Anderson)

Boxes of my favorite penny and nickel candies lined the low shelf: green apple bubble gum balls, Atomic Fireballs, candy cigarettes (which my mom wouldn’t let me have, but they tasted so good), root beer barrels, wax pop bottles, and Kits in four different flavors – banana, chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter.

Now, in your composition book, write about candy – or anything related to it – anything that connects to you from the pieces we’ve just read. Write a whole page-worth.

Use lists to include specific details. You may choose whether or not to use a colon, but I’ll be especially happy if you do!

3. Introduction to PowerSchool and our Class Blog. (If time)

4. Take or finish the SRI -- Some A1 students may need time to finish GMA test?
Any district tests still unfinished because of our technical difficulties must be finished today.

(If needed, work on your writing about candy, or quietly read your novel if you have extra time.)

5. (If time: Topic and Theme and
The Outsiders)

1) Go to our school website at http://www.alpine.k12.ut.us/phpApps/genericPage.php?pdid=1562
2) Click on the Powerschool button directly under the picture of the interior of Timpanogos Cave.
3) Fill in your user name and password.
Today we will look at some of the features of PowerSchool such as clicking on a score, clicking on the assignment name, clicking on Teacher Comments.

Our Class Blog
You can go directly to cavemanenglish.blogspot.com or
go by way of our school website this way:
1) Click on "Faculty and Staff" under the picture of Timpanogos Cave.
2) Scroll down to Claudia Dorsey and click on Classroom Web Page.
3) Once you're there, scroll down through posts, or scroll down to the blog archive, or use the search box at the top of the page if you're looking for a particular topic. (If you use the search, notice the dates on the posts, since some it brings up may be from previous years.)

4) While you're there, also check out our calendar (in the right hand margin), and click on the illustration of the peanut butter sandwich to go our wiki where you'll find more information and printable handouts.

You should have received a letter in the mail with your user name and password to get into PowerSchool.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Extra Credit -- Sentences!

Expired October 23, 2009

Bring examples of sentences using a colon to introduce a list, and/or sentences that use commas in a series. Include the sentence, where you found it (book, page, author -- or newspaper, article, and date, etc.)

Look in this blog for the poem you can memorize for extra credit: "Nothing Gold Can Stay." I used the search at the top of the blog to find this:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 11/14, 2009

September 11/14, 2009

1. Quiet reading time. (Preparation time for those presenting their confusing words today or next time.)
Assignment: In your composition book, on the pages for "Books I've Read," write today's date, the name of your book, the author, what the setting is (time and place), who the protagonist and antagonist are, and what the main conflict is.
1. Date 2. Title of Novel 3. Author 4. Setting (time and place) 5. Protagonist 6.
Antagonist 7. Main conflict (the
biggest problem).

2. Presentations on Confusing Words -- Bored/Board (if not done last time), and on Break/Brake.
3. More on colons! Today we'll "edit," comparing sentences that are all based on a model sentence. Right now we're working with using colons to introduce lists. Try it!

How'd They Do It? -- Colons -- Compare the model sentence with each of the following sentences that are ALMOST like it, but NOT QUITE. Find the differences, and think about how they change the sentence. The changes in most of them make the sentence less effective. Why?

Model sentence:
On Saturdays, my cousins and I buy candy from the ice cream truck: sour worms, Jolly Ranchers, and Snickers.
-- Jeff Anderson

1. On Saturdays, my cousins and I buy candy from the ice cream truck; sour worms, Jolly Ranchers, and Snickers.

2. On Saturdays, me and my cousins buy candy from the ice cream truck: sour worms, Jolly Ranchers, and Snickers.

3. On Saturdays, my cousins and I buys candy from the ice cream truck: sour worms, Jolly Ranchers, and Snickers

4. On Saturdays, my cousins and I buy candy from the ice cream truck -- sour worms, Jolly Ranchers, and Snickers.

5. On Saturdays, my cousins and I buy candy from the ice cream truck.

Note on Dashes: The dash does the same job a colon can do. It says to the reader, "Here comes something!" You can use a dash almost any way you want. Colons have more rules, but we want to use only a dash of dashes.


For next time, think about the candies you enjoy. What kinds do you like? Why? Where do you get them? How? Are there special candies you enjoy at holidays or other special occasions? What else do these questions make you think of? (If you can't eat candies, think about some other category of food you enjoy.)

4. Vocabulary -- Conflict -- What are the types of conflict we talk about in literature?
This teacher provides a great discussion of the importance of conflict, and of the difference between internal and external conflict: http://www.dowlingcentral.com/MrsD/area/literature/Terms/conflict.html
See if you can answer the questions in the quiz, but you don't need to send her your score!

The main types of conflict that we study could include
man vs. man Literary example: The Outsiders
man vs. nature Literary example: Hatchet
man vs. society Literary example: Among the Hidden
man vs. the unknown (or the supernatural) Literary Example: Dracula, Frankenstein, War of the Worlds. The Odyssey
man vs. technology Literary example: parts of 2001: A Space Odyssey
man vs. himself Literary example: Words By Heart (deciding whether to forgive)

Copy these main types of conflict into your composition book under vocabulary.

5. The Outsiders

We continued reading The Outsiders.
B1 --from page 11? -- Let me know if this is right, please. to page 15 -- 1/3 of the way down "yelled 'Grease' at us."
B2 --from page 17, top of page to page 27 "Okay, greasers, you've had it."
B4 -- from page 14, top of page (Read on 9/9/09) to page 19
to page 27 "Okay, greasers, you've had it." Link
A1 -- from page 10 1/2 to page 16, top of page.
A2 -- from page 14 1/4 to page 21, bottom of page

A4 -- from page 12 1/3 to page (Not read today.)

Elements of Literature in Your Own Novel

Don't forget to bring your Book-of-the-Month Club book to class!

As you read your book be noticing:
What background knowledge did you have for this book?
What is the setting -- time and place?
Who is the protagonist?
Who or what is the antagonist?
What are the protagonist's (the main character's) traits, and how does the author reveal them?
How about other major characters?
What is/are the main conflict/conflicts?

Monday, September 7, 2009

What did you do for Labor Day?

We had a great weekend -- a camp-out in the back yard with the grandchildren, lots of good food, and a hike almost to Silver Lake with my daughter and her friend. We ran out of time, but got about three quarters of the way!

I could write about this as a fun (mostly) experience I had with a family member and friend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 9/10, 2009

Be thinking (for today) of a time when you had a fun experience with a family member or friend.

Don't forget to check your grades to see if you are missing any work.

(B-Day students were unable to take the SRI because of technical difficulties.)
1. Today we are taking the Scholastic Reading Inventory -- a computer test to determine your reading level.

You will select three genres of reading materials you are interested in, read directions for the test, take a practice test, and then take the real test.

Do your best on the practice test because it actually will determine where your test begins.
Do your best on the test because it will be used to select the books you read this year and may be used in determining some of your classes for this year and next.

2. We will also be taking a District Writing test using the MyAccess computer writing program.
See me about arranging a time to make-up the test(s) if you are absent.

September 4/8, 2009

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, and BE SAFE!

1) Over the weekend, think of fun things you have done with a family member or friend.
These would be events or experiences that you would like to tell other people about.

2) Have a wonderful weekend, and have fun.

3) Be safe!


1. Quiet Reading Time or work on your confused words presentations.

2. Confusing Words Presentations: a lot, alot (which is NOT a word), allot

Scoring for
Confusing Words Presentations:
up to 15 points for mini-poster (This must include the words and illustrations to clearly illustrate the meaning of each of the homophones.)
15 points for other teaching strategy
10 points for quality of presentation
40 points (extra credit available)

Dates for presentations:
Sept. 4: a lot/alot/allot
Sept. 9: bored/board
Sept. 11: brake/break
Sept. 15: desert/dessert
Sept. 17: right/write/rite
Sept. 21: to/too/two
Sept. 23: your/you're
Sept. 25: hear/here
Sept. 29: its/it's
Oct. 1: led/lead

Sept. 8: a lot/alot/allot
Sept. 10: bored/board
Sept. 14: brake/break
Sept. 16: desert/dessert
Sept. 18: right/write/rite
Sept. 22: to/too/two
Sept. 24: your/you're
Sept. 28: hear/here
Sept. 30: its/it's
Oct. 2: led/lead

Everyday Editing
Colons: Notice and Imitate
Serial commas let you make lists within sentences! They provide you with the "Power-of-Three" or more to add lists of specific details to your writing.

One of the uses of colons is also to allow you to add details because they can introduce lists. When adding specific details to your writing, you could try using a colon. (Pay attention, though, so you can use it correctly!) Colons emphasize that something important will follow. They can also introduce a complete sentence.

Here is a sentence that uses a colon to introduce a list:

The deputy told me to empty my pockets: two quarters, a penny, a stick of bubble gum, and roll of grip tape for my skateboard. -- Carl Hiaasen, Flush (2006)

And more examples:

"Empty your pockets!"

Reluctantly, one by one, Hugo pulled out dozens of objects: screws and nails and bits of metal, gears and crumpled palying cards, tiny pieces of clockworks, cogs and wheels.

-- Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

But the car is quiet for now, as are the noontime streets: gas stations, boundless concrete, brick buildings with plywood windows -- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics (2005)

Before I do anything else, I need to go back over everything that has happened this summer: the Big Mistake, the old man, the book, the lamp, the telescope, and this box, which started it all.

-- Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (2006)

I pulled the latch on the mailbox and fanned through the stack of letters: an electricity bill, a New York Times renewal notice, a bank statement, and a Bon Appetit magazine. -- Tracy Mack, Drawing Lessons (2002)

We are going to imitate the first sentence we looked at:

The deputy told me to empty my pockets: two quarters, a penny, a stick of bubble gum, and roll of grip tape for my skateboard. -- Carl Hiaasen, Flush (2006)

Here is one imitation:

The TSA employee emptied my backpack: three books, a journal, and 17 pens. -- Jeff Anderson

Now, in your composition book, under writing, copy one of the two sentences above, then imitate the sentence, using this pattern:

_____________ told me to empty my __________: ______________, _____________, and ______________.

Your imitation should be about a different topic.
By the way TSA is Transportation Security Administration. He's at the airport. What do the contents of his backpack reveal about him?

Vocabulary: conflict = the problem

The Outsiders: setting, character, conflict

We continued reading The Outsiders.
B1 --page 11? -- Let me know if this is right, please. to the top of page 15
B2 --page 17, top of page to page 27 "Okay, greasers, you've had it."
B4 -- page 14, top of page (Read on 9/9/09) to page 19 to page
A1 -- page 10 1/2
A2 -- page 14 1/4

A4 -- page 12 1/3

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 2/3, 2009

September 2/3, 2009
1. We had about 12-15 minutes of reading time/time to look for books in the classroom.

2. Students took the spelling test on their teachers' names, administrators, and counselor.

3. We corrected the tests in class.

4. Students received their new spelling assignment, which is the Seventh Grade Core Confusing Words. Each student got a chart of the words and selected one of the sets of words to present to the class (individually or with a partner or two). Words presented will be represented with a small poster, and some other way to help classmates remember which spelling is which!
For the chart of confusing words, go to http://cavemanenglish.pbworks.com/ or click on the words -- Seventh Grade Confusing Words for Term 1 (and on) Spelling
If you didn't get a chance to sign up for a word set and date to present, see Ms. Dorsey.
The test on these confusing words will be on October 6/7.

5. We did Everyday Editing.

How can you know what’s missing if you’ve never met it? You must know of something’s existence before you can notice its absence.
-- E.L Konigsburg, The View from Saturday (1996)
When we look first at model sentences, then we can learn what it takes to create successful sentences. Then we look at the same sentences, with changes, and look for what the changes are, and how they affect the sentence. We're practicing editing skills.

How'd They Do It? (What’s different?)
For each set, notice what is different between the original and the changed version.

Set 1:
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.
-- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

His room smelled of cooked grease Lysol, and age.

Set 2:
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.
-- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

His room smelled.

Set 3:
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.
-- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

His room smelled of cooked grease, lysol, and age.

Set 4:
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.
-- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

His room smell of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.

Set 5:
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age.
-- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

His room smelled off cooked grease, Lysol, and age.

6. Our vocabulary term for today was "character traits." What are traits?
We listed categories of traits we might use to describe a person, or an author might use to develop a character.

7. We looked at two poems that showed character traits of characters in them.
See Elements of Literature, pages 140 ("Immigrants" by Pat Mora) and 399 ("My Father is a Simple Man" by Luis Omar Salina).

A1 didn't get to this poem -- A2 didn't do poems --
My Father Is a Simple Man

Luis Omar Salinas

I walk to town with my father
to buy a newspaper. He walks slower
than I do so I must slow up.
The street is filled with children.
We argue about the price
of pomegranates, I convince
him it is the fruit of scholars.
He has taken me on this journey
and it's been lifelong.
He's sure I'll be healthy
so long as I eat more oranges,
and tells me the orange
has seeds and so is perpetual;
and we too will come back
like the orange trees.
I ask him what he thinks
about death and he says
he will gladly face it when
it comes but won't jump
out in front of a car.
I'd gladly give my life
for this man with a sixth
grade education, whose kindness
and patience are true . . .
The truth of it is, he's the scholar,
and when the bitter-hard reality
comes at me like a punishing
evil stranger, I can always
remember that here was a man
who was a worker and provider,
who learned the simple facts
in life and lived by them,
who held no pretense.
And when he leaves without
benefit of fanfare or applause
I shall have learned what little
there is about greatness.


5. We continued reading The Outsiders.
B1 --page 5, bottom of page
B2 --page 7, "You got cut up a little, huh, Ponyboy?"
B4 -- top of page 5
A1 -- (Did not read from The Outsiders today.)
A2 --
(Did not read from The Outsiders today.)
A4 -- page

August 31/September 1, 2009

August 31/September 1, 2009

Spelling Test -- No, not the prince-into-frog sort of "spelling."
1. Students took a practice spelling test on their teachers' names, the names of the principal and assistant principals, and the name of their counselor. The real test will be in class next time.
See August 21/24 blog for the original assignment.

Everyday Editing
2. Students recombined sentences. The teacher had split up single sentences (which used commas in a series) from books into several sentences. The students then recombined each set of sentences into one. If you were absent, here are your sentences to combine:
The fox coughed.
The fox gagged.
The fox sneezed.
The Stinky Cheese Man flew off his back and into the river, where he fell apart.
(from Jon Scieszka, "The Stinky Cheese Man")

Example of combining the above sentences:
The fox coughed, gagged, and sneezed, and the Stinky Cheese Man flew off his back and into the river, where he fell apart.

In your composition books, write today’s date, then combine these sentences into one using commas in a series. Try not to lose or change any of the meaning. (If you were absent, you may do this on a separate sheet of paper, and then tape it into your notebook.)

1st set of sentences to combine into one that uses commas in a series:

Her cleats were in her backpack.
Her shin pads were in her backpack.
Her sweats were in her backpack.
Her backpack was slung over her shoulder and heavy with homework.

2nd set of sentences to combine into one that uses commas in a series:

I have hair the color of carrots in an apricot glaze.
My skin is fair and clear where it isn’t freckled.
I have eyes like summer storms.

Combine these sentences into one using commas in a series. Try not to lose or change any of the meaning.

3. Students copied into their composition books this phrase and definition:
character development: how the author tells you about the character

Copy also these ways that an author tells you about a character:
l What the character says and how he or she says it
l What the character does
l What other characters say about him or her
l What the author tells you about the character

3. Poems as examples of how an author (or poet) reveals character:
Literature text -- page 227 "Madam and the Rent Man"
and page 240 "Mama is a Sunrise"

Madam and the Rent Man by Langston Hughes
The rent man knocked.
He said, Howdy-do?
I said, What
Can I do for you?
He said, You know
Your rent is due.

I said, Listen,
Before I'd pay
I'd go to Hades
And rot away!

The sink is broke,
The water don't run,
And you ain't done a thing
You promised to've done.

Back window's cracked,
Kitchen floor squeaks,
There's rats in the cellar,
And the attic leaks.

He said, Madam,
It's not up to me.
I'm just the agent,
Don't you see?

I said, Naturally,
You pass the buck.
If it's money you want
You're out of luck.

He said, Madam,
I ain't pleased!
I said, Neither am I.
So we agrees!

Mama Is a Sunrise
by Evelyn Tooley Hunt

When she comes slip-footing through the door,
she kindles us
like lump coal lighted,
and we wake up glowing.
She puts a spark even in Papa's eyes
and turns out all our darkness.

When she comes sweet-talking in the room,
warms us
like grits and gravy,
and we rise up shining.
Even at nighttime Mama is sunrise
that promises tomorrow and tomorrow.

4. During the day, we spent some time looking at our class library, some students checking out books, some reading. Students also signed up for their Book-of-the-Month club books.

5. We began reading The Outsiders.
B1 --page 2, 3rd paragraph
B2 --page 4, end of paragraph 4
B4 -- page 3, line 5
A1 -- page 2,
A2 -- page 8, 1/2 of the way down
A4 -- page 3, 2nd paragraph