Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Please note that though I have been updating grades on PowerGrade, those may not show up on PowerSchool until we are back in school.

A Reminder for the January Book Assignment

Have your book read by January 26/27, and bring it to class that day for a writing assignment that will be completed in class. 

Our school librarians know what types of books you are looking for and can help you find a book. 

The genres are either realistic fiction or distopian fiction.  Please try to find a book that is at or close to your own reading level.   Notice that your book this time must be fiction.

Realistic fiction includes books that are set in the real world and have characters that could really exist and plots that could really happen.  For this term they should be contemporary -- set in modern times -- not historical fiction.
Joan Bauer is one writer of realistic fiction.  We will probably read her book Stand Tall as a class later in the school year.
Some examples of realistic fiction include The Outsiders (which we read as a class), Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1020L) and others,  Because of Winn-Dixie (610L) by DiCamillo,  Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie (560L), Stargirl (590L),   No More Dead Dogs (610L) by Korman,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  (700L) by Konigsburg, Walk Two Moons (770L) by Creech, Rules (780L) by Lord, Downriver  (760L) by Will Hobbs.
For more, look under "Life and Its Problems" at

Recommended Books

To find out the lexile level for a book, go to 
If you've forgotten your own lexile level, look back at your print-out or  check with Ms. Dorsey.

Distopian fiction is about a society (usually in the future) that seems to be trying to create a utopia, but has deep flaws.  Examples include The Giver (which we will read as a class), Lowry's other books Gathering Blue and The Messenger, Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and The Uglies series.

More young adult distopian fiction include The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau , Running Out of Time by Haddix,  The House of the Scorpian by Farmer,  Ender's Game by Card,   Tunnels by Gordon, Tripods Trilogy by Christopher,  The Time Machine by Verne,  Feed by M.T. Anderson, The Last Book in the Universe (740L), Storm Thief  (880L),  the Among the Hidden series.

(Note: I have not read all of these books, so parents may want to find out more about them before approving of them for their children.  I highly recommend reading books before or along with your children.)

Brave New World,  Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Fahrenheit 451 (890L) are distopian books for older readers.
Unwind (740L) is an excellent distopian book, but probably for readers 9th grade and up. The same goes for Bar Code Rebellion (880L).  Parents may also prefer that their seventh graders not yet read Hunger Games or Catching Fire.
Animal Farm, also distopian fiction, will be read by the students in ninth grade, so we don't use it as a class book or as an individual book.

More information at

January 2010 Book Assignment

Here's a new distopian novel I just found tonight (January 4, 2010) during a trip to Barnes and Noble:

The Roar by  Emma Clayton -- Grade 5–8—In a bleak future, humans use terrible chemicals to fight The Animal Plague that causes all of the world's animals to go rabid and renders most of the planet uninhabitable. The population now cowers in overcrowded walled cities. Mika, 12, and his parents live in London in terrible conditions. His twin, Ellie, supposedly drowned a year earlier, but Mika is convinced that she still lives. He's right. The story begins with Ellie and a tiny monkey named Puck fleeing a spaceship in a stolen Pod Fighter. Sadly, their attempt to escape is foiled by the evil Mal Gorman, who has a plan to co-opt the entire first generation of children born after the Plague and make them into an army for his own nefarious purposes. And Gorman has special plans for kids like Mika and Ellie, whose mutations give them unique abilities. To save his sister, Mika will have to win a contest involving simulator battle games and many deadly challenges, using abilities he never knew he had. The story starts fast and never slows down. While the bad guys are a bit stereotypical, the good guys are interesting and realistic. There's a touch of the supernatural, some interesting philosophical questions, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave readers hungry for more. Give this one to readers not quite ready for Orson Scott Card.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Season's Greetings!

December 22, 2009, and January 4, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Important Notices:
All late or revised work is due the day you come back from vacation.
Study all of our prefixes and suffixes that we've tested on so far, and also the spelling words that go with them.  We will have a test over all of them after we return from vacation.
Make sure you finish/revise, as needed, your research projects.  Follow directions.
Also, as needed, finish and/or revise your wiki book review.

1. Words By Heart Video
B1 (Basketball Games)
B2 (to minute 43)
B4 (to minute 58)

A1  (to minute 39)  I've got me a hand now that can work circles around the two of you. . . "
A2  (to minute  55)  Mrs. Chism playing the player piano.
A4  (to minute  42) Mrs. Chism beating the rug. 

2. Wrote a brief summary in your composition book of the part of the video you watched.

3. Played Sparkle to study the prefixes and suffixes and spelling words that go with them.

My Email

Just a reminder that my email is

Saturday, December 19, 2009

No-Name PowerPoint

No-Name PowerPoint

I have a PowerPoint from A2 on German POW Camps in America. To whom does it belong.  I'd like to give you your points!  100/100 on the facts, etc. and 35/30 on your Works Cited list!  Found, thanks to a parent!

From B4 there is an unclaimed PowerPoint about Japanese Internment Camps.  It has no informal citations and no works cited list -- no sources.

There is also a no-name poster with a picture of Abraham Lincoln in the center.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 18/21, 2009

December 18/21, 2009
Words By Heart

B1 page 17 after  5 paragraph -- "scared of changes."  to beginning of chapter 4
    video to home from the scripture bee
B2  top of page to page 21 to beginning of chapter 4
     video to Ben on his way to bury Bullet

B4  from end of chapter 2 to beginning of chapter 4
       video to Ben on his way to bury Bullet

A1 from  page 14 "you don't need to be told."
         (Basketball games)

A2  from  page 20, after 4th paragraph, "arithmetic lesson for tomorrow." to 2nd paragraph to chapter 4
             video to Ben on his way to bury Bullet

A4 from page  19, chapter 3 to
              video to Ben and Lena talking after they had found the knife in the bread and Claudie was so angry.

We shared some PowerPoints.  Please make any revisions and editing that you need to do on your projects -- ASAP.
The last day to hand in late work will be the day you come back to class after our Christmas Break.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 16/17, 2009

December 16/17, 2009

1. Take the test on the suffix -less and words using it.

-less = without  (This suffix creates adjectives.)  Be able to tell which part of speech this suffix creates when you add it to a word base.


Be  prepared when you come back after Christmas Break to take a test on all of your prefixes, suffixes, and words so far.   Study your chart.

Prefixes and Suffixes from the Seventh Grade Core for Term 2 (and on) Vocabulary    

2. We are going to the computer lab to type up your review/response for your historical fiction book.
 Writing About Your Book







Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14/15, 2009

December 14/15, 2009
Spelling test --
Prefix to study:   mis- which means incorrect, bad
1.    mistake
2.    misprint
3.    misplace
4.    misinform
5.    misuse

Extra credit:
Tell what the word parts for this word mean:
    1)  miso = hate
    2)  anthrop = man, human being
    3)  -ist = one who

2. Spelling for next time: 
-less = without  (This suffix creates adjectives.)  Be able to tell which part of speech this suffix creates when you add it to a word base.


( Apostrophes  -- (B2 needs to do the apostrophe exercise with Captain Underpants.)

3. Words By Heart  

 B1 end of chapter one to page 17 after  5 paragraph -- "scared of changes." 
B2  from page 15, top of page to page 21.
B4  from   page 15, top of page to end of chapter 2

A1 from page 7 4th paragraph to page 14 "you don't need to be told." 2nd paragraph

A2  from very top of page 17 after ". . . is true for her" to to page 20, after 4th paragraph, "arithmetic lesson for tomorrow."

A4 from page 14 "You don't need to be told to page  19, chapter 3.

4. View a few projects

5. Prepare for writing about your historical fiction novel next time.  Do you remember your wiki user name and password? 

Writing About Your Book

Writing About Your Book

Come to class on December 16/17 prepared to write about your historical fiction book.
number of pages
main character(s)
main conflict/problem:  Give both the general one (man vs. man, etc.) and the specific conflict(s) for the book.
Tell enough about what happened to interest a reader in reading this.  No spoilers!
Tell about some of the things you learned from this book about the time, place, and or people upon which it was based.
Give the book a rating from one to five stars, and explain why you gave it that rating.

Handout for this assignment:

Writing About Your Book Handout to Prepare a Rough Draft   doc



Friday, December 11, 2009

Neatness Counts Contest

I lost the old post, so we're starting over today!

12-11-09   -1 piece of litter on floor

12-11-09  -5 items on the floor

12-15-09   -12 items needed to be picked up after the class left, and the composition books were somewhat messed up -2  = -14

12-21-09  You would have lost 5 or more points for leaving the composition books in a terrible mess if Nathan hadn't straightened them up for you.   He deserves your thanks.
-3 Words By Heart books and another book from the shelf left out on the floor.  (K.B., I believe at least two of these were your mess.)  

12-11-09   -1 piece of litter , -1 composition books
12-15-09   - 2 pieces of litter


12-11-09    Thanks for putting away your composition books and Words By Heart books neatly, but three students left messes.  -3

12-16-09   -2

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For Parents: Book Recommendations?

Here are some best YA lit recommendations found at NPR.  They might not all be appropriate for your child, but this list will give you an idea of some of the books that are out there.

I can recommend going to this blog for book recommendations:

December 10/11, 2009

December 10/11, 2009

Turn in Book-of-the-Month Research Projects.
Here is the original assignment:

November/December Book Assessment

FAQ's about the Project

Have your book entirely read by the 16th/17th, 
and bring it to school that day.  

1. Spelling test on
-ist = one who

artist   (no extra credit)
physicist  (pertaining to nature)
chemist (from alchemy)

2. Receive the next spelling assignment: 
Prefix to study:   mis- which means incorrect, bad
1.    mistake
2.    misprint
3.    misplace
4.    misinform
5.    misuse

Extra credit:
Tell what the word parts for this word mean:
    1)  miso = hate
    2)  anthrop = man, human being
    3)  -ist = one who

3. Apostrophes  -- (B2 needs to do the apostrophe exercise with Captain Underpants.)

4. Words By Heart  

B1  from page 5, end of paragraph 1 to  (page 15, top of page?)
B2  from end of chapter one to   ?  (page 15, top of page?)
B4  from page 7, 4th paragraph to  page 15, top of page.

A1 from page 7 4th paragraph to  (no reading today)

A2  from very top of page 17 after ". . . is true for her" to

A4 from end of chapter 1 to page 14 "You don't need to be told

Here's another example for a Works Cited Entry:
For the facts, you need to cite (like with or the sources.

Here is a works cited entry from  easybib for a fact from one student's project. I just put in the URL she provided (after I'd selected Click Here to Select a Source, Web Site), clicked on AutoCite, then on Create Citation -- lower on the page.  Then I could copy that citation, or wait until I had them all and copy the whole works cited/bibliography from easy bib.
This is the works cited entry:

"Roman Social Class and Public Display." VROMA :: Home. Web. 09 Dec. 2009.    

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 8/9, 2009

December 8/9, 2009

Important reminder:  Your research project on the background  (the real/nonfiction facts) of your historical fiction book is due next time.

1. Spelling Test on
"im-" means not 
    1 point  Extra credit: poss(e)  = to be able, to have power
    1 point Extra credit: probā(re) = to test, examination
    1 point Extra credit:  per = a prefix meaning “thorough,” “thoroughly,” “utterly,” “very”
    1 point Extra credit:  facere  = to do
    1 point Extra credit:  So, perfect means to finish or to bring to completion.

    1 point Extra credit: mōbilis = movable

B4 will also be taking the test on the -ful words.

2. Receive the next set for the test next time:  (B4 will do two text time after next if they did not receive the words today for next time.)

-ist = one who

artist   (no extra credit)
physicist  (pertaining to nature)
chemist (from alchemy)

3. Apostrophes

4. About the project due next time.

5.  Words By Heart
In your composition book, keep your log about Words By Heart.

B1  to page 5, end of paragraph 1
B2 to end of chapter one.  B2 needs to do the apostrophe exercise with Captain Underpants.
B4 to page 7, 4th paragraph

A1 page 2 to last paragraph to page 7 4th paragraph.

A2  to  very top of page 17 after ". . . is true for her."

A4 end of chapter 1

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sample Facts and Works Cited for the Book Research Project

Real (Nonfiction) Facts Behind the Historical Fiction Novel  
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
prepared by Mrs. Dorsey  
Period A3
December 5, 2009

1.  PBS explains that the Jim Crow Laws this way: "Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century minstrel song that stereotyped African Americans, "Jim Crow" came to personify the system of government-sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in the United States."

2. On the PBS webite about Jim Crow Laws, information about the Ku Klux Klan stated that six confederate war veterans in Tennesse organized the Ku Klux Klan in the winter of 1865-1966.  It started out as a secret men's club, and later became a terrorist organization mainly aiming their terrorist acts at African-Americans and anyone who was trying to help the African-Americans.

3.  Another fact that I found on the PBS website states that the fourteenth amendment (passed by Congress in June of 1866 and ratified by the states in 1868) granted citizenship to African-Americans, and was designed to protect the civil rights of former slaves.

4.  Also from PBS, the thirteenth amendentment had abolished slavery, and the fifteenth amendment would guarantee voting rights to black men.

5. The glossary of Biography for Beginners tells us that in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in (Brown vs. Board of Education) declared it unconstitutional  to segregate blacks from whites in public schools.

6. I found one of the Jim Crow laws that was mentioned in my novel quoted at American Radio Works: "North Carolina: School textbooks shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them.

7. , 8., 9. Here are some more (unbelievable to me) Jim Crow laws as quoted on American Radio Works: 
"Louisiana: All circuses, shows, and tent exhibitions, to which the attendance of more than one race is invited shall provide not less than two ticket offices and not less than two entrances."
"Texas: Negroes are to be served through a separate branch or branches of the county free library, which shall be administered by a custodian of the negro race under the supervision of the county librarian."
"Mississippi: Any person guilty of printing, publishing or circulating matter urging or presenting arguments in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

10. According to the American Academy of Achievement's biography of Rosa Parks,  it was on December 1, 1955 that she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man,  eventually leading to the Supreme Court decision to strike down laws that segregated public bus transportation.

11. An institute at Stanford University reports that on November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court decided the case of Browder v. Gayle, which was the case that struck down laws segregating public transportation.

12. The World Book Encyclopedia verifies that Medgar Evers was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement who was shot down (murdered) outside his home on June 12, 1963.    (In my historical novel, his wife and children see it happen.)

13. According to an article on the NPR website, Medgar Ever's killer was not brought to justice for 31 years.

14. I also found out on the NPR website that at the time of Ever's murder, Mississippi was the state that led the nation in the lynching of black Americans.  Today it is the state with highest number of black elected officials.

15. Articles published with in the last ten years and reported on the internet, including a report on CBS News, one on a Florida television station, and one  from an African American news source, complained of U.S. companies that had segregated (based on race or ethnicity) bathrooms in  2000, 2005, and 2007.

Works Cited
" - Tyson Foods Sued For Maintaining Segregated Work Areas." - Black News | African American News | Black America. Web. 07 Dec. 2009. .

Evers, Medgar. Garrow, David J. Web. 6 Dec. 2009. .

First Coast News | WTLV NBC12 | WJXX ABC25 | Jacksonville, FL | St. Augustine, FL | Brunswick, GA |. Web. 07 Dec. 2009. .

Harris, Laurie L. BIOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS--AFRICAN-AMERICAN LEADERS. Vol. 1. 2007. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 6 Dec. 2009.

"King Institute Encyclopedia." King Institute Home. Web. 06 Dec. 2009. .

"The Legacy of Medgar Evers : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 06 Dec. 2009. .

"Remembering Jim Crow : Presented by American RadioWorks." American RadioWorks from American Public Media. Web. 06 Dec. 2009. .

"The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow |." PBS. Web. 06 Dec. 2009. .
"Rosa Parks Biography -- Academy of Achievement." Academy of Achievement Main Menu. Web. 06 Dec. 2009. .

"Segregated Bathrooms At Halliburton - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. Web. 06 Dec. 2009.

Note: The facts would also be accompanied by illustrations, and I'd tell where I found my illustrations.
See also

FAQ's about the Project

Links about civil rights: Medgar Evars Jim Crow   Jim Crow

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letters to Authors -- October Book of the Month

The deadline has been extended through December 3rd.  That is your last day to revise and edit.
user name: firstnamestudentnumber
password: 999lastname

When you first get to the page with the horizontal bar graph showing your overall progress, look at the right to see if you have any messages.

When you are revising and editing, use the My Tutor and My Editor.  Also, click on comments on the upper box to see the teacher comments.  Click on the blue or other colored words to see the comments.

Make sure you've right aligned your name and the school address.
Don't forget the date over the greeting.

Make sure you include the book title in your letter.
Italicize book titles.

Check organization.  Do you have a beginning, middle, and end (conclusion)?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 4/7 2009

December 4/7, 2009
Pick up your composition books.
1. Prepare for spelling test.
Take spelling test on  the suffix  "-ful'  (Except for one class that I think didn't get the study guide yet for the "-ful" words.

2. Receive a new word part and new words:
"im-" means not 
    1 point  Extra credit: poss(e)  = to be able, to have power
    1 point Extra credit: probā(re) = to test, examination
    1 point Extra credit:  per = a prefix meaning “thorough,” “thoroughly,” “utterly,” “very”
    1 point Extra credit:  facere  = to do
    1 point Extra credit:  So, perfect means to finish or to bring to completion.

    1 point Extra credit: mōbilis = movable

3.  More About the Book (Historical Fiction background) Research Project.   -- view and discuss sample PowerPoint.

4. Titles 

5. Words By Heart
In your composition book, keep a log about Words By Heart.


A1 page 2 to last paragraph
A2 finished chapter 1
A4 to page 4, "She looked out the window at the calm dusk and tried to believe she would win."

For answers to questions about your November-December book project, see

FAQ's about the Project