Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30/May 3, 2010

April 30/May 3, 2010

Write in composition book a response to a prompt and a grammar exercise for subject-verb agreement.
Build background knowledge for a short story.
Listen to/read a short story, watching for plot and word choice (sensory and figurative language)
[B2 and B4 found similes on page 13. B1, A1 still need to do similes.]
A2 needs to correct sentences.


Self-Starter for “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”:
1. Write in your composition book.  Respond to this prompt (under writing) : (If you were absent, you may write these responses on lined paper and tape that into your composition book when you return.)

            If you were facing a bully, would you
§       run the other way?
§       get help from your friends and/or family?
§       face your opponent and fight?
§       try to use logic and reasoning to reach an agreement?
§       use a strategy other than the ones listed above?

Explain what you would probably do and why?  Or, if you have faced a bully in the past, write about what you did.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2.  In your composition book (under writing), copy and correct these sentences from a student book-of-the-month project:
Underline the subject(s) in each sentence.
a. There is so many different creature’s.
b. There is 2 main characters.
c. The boys name is Marcus and the girls name is kyja.

3.  Turn to page 3 in the literature textbook, and look through the story (pages 3 through 15) at the external text features:  photos, captions, footnotes, text-boxes.

4. Pair share when directed to.

5. While listening to/reading  the story, jot in your composition book notes on any questions or comments you have.
If you were absent, you can find the text at  
or a free audio version of the story at

As we read the story, we will watch for the plot, figurative language [such as “all eaten up with curiosity], and sensory language.

figurative:  featherbrained -- synonyms: airheaded, dizzy, empty-headed, dizzy, giddy,light-headed
Find similes in the second column of page 13.  (If you were absent, find 5 similes anywhere in the story.  Copy them and hand them in when you return to class.  Also do the lie/lay exercise below.)

Lie/lay:   Which is the correct form to use in each of these sentences?  
   " When he revived, he was (laying, lying) in the hot sun in the middle of a garden path. . . "
   "The head was (laying, lying) a little clear of the water jar. . . " 

 “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” Story Summary

Setting:  India, around 1900.

            In this famous story, a little mongoose has been washed out of his burrow (a hole the mongoose family lives in).  He is found and taken into their house by a British family.1 
            The name of the mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, comes from the sound he makes, which the author, Rudyard Kipling, calls his “war-cry.”
            When the mongoose learns from other animals that two cobras, Nag and his wife, Nagaina, live in the family garden, he knows he must kill them.
That is the beginning of the conflict.
            Rikki hears the cobras taking about the cobra’s plan to kill the family.  He ambushes and kills Nag in the bungalow (house) bathroom. 
            To prevent a new generation of cobras from taking over the garden, Rikki destroys all but one of the cobra eggs.  He uses the last egg to lure (lead) Nagaina away from Teddy, the family’s little son. 
            Nagaina grabs the egg and disappears into a hole in the ground.  Rikki bravely follows.   The climax of the story is when . . . .
(footnote) -- 
  1. The country of Great Britain ruled India from 1858 to 1947.  Many British military officers and civil servants came with their families to live in India.

Still to do:
  • master the irregular verb "lie/lay"
  • recognize the subject and verb in a sentence (and other parts of speech)  [paper plates?]
      • What's it about? (subject)
      • What's happening? (verb)
  • master subject/verb agreement
  • practice recognizing and understanding  elements of literature in short stories 
  • understanding literal language vs. figurative language
  • reading and writing sensory language
  • writing: responding to reading 
  • writing complete sentences with varied beginnings
  • preparing a summer reading list

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alpine Days

Congratulations to Sara Pontious! She got 3rd in the 400m and qualified for the finals in the 100m and 200m at Alpine Days. On the second day,  Sara took 1st place in the 200m and 2nd place in the 100m. Wow!

Alana Bishop got 7th on the 200 meter!  Our American Fork Junior High girls have done us proud!  ("Done us proud" is an idiom.)

Where's the news on the boys?

Let me know if you have any news of how other students are doing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010
Last day of school!

May 26/27, 2010

May 26/27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 28/29, 2010

April 28/29, 2010

State Core Testing -- Section 3

B-Day students received the assignment sheet for the April-May Book-of-the-Month Club Assignment.
 April-May Book of the Month Assignment

Go here for examples:

B-Day students voted for next year's student council members.

If you did not take or finish the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) on the day we took the District Writing Test, please take it during a CaveTime (or two) this week.

Those of you who speak Spanish, does this make sense?  
¿Tiene esto sentido?

28/29 abril de 2010
Exámenes del Estado central - Sección 3
estudiantes B-Day recibió la hoja de asignación para el período abril-mayo-Libro del Mes-Club de misiones.

estudiantes B-Day votado a favor de los miembros del próximo año del consejo estudiantil.
Si usted no tomó o terminar el SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) para el día que tomó el examen de escritura del distrito, por favor tómelo durante una CaveTime (o dos) de esta semana.

April 26/27, 2010

Core Testing, Section 2
A-Day students received the assignment sheet for the April-May Book-of-the-Month Club Assignment.
 April-May Book of the Month Assignment 

Go here for samples:  

A-Day students voted for next year's student council members.

If you did not take or finish the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) on the day we took the District Writing Test, please take it during a CaveTime (or two) this week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April/May Book-of-the-Month Assignment-

Go to this page on our class wiki for your current assignment. 

 Please make sure your name and period are on the finished project. 

Going back to our last assignment, which was due April 14/15:

A Reminder of the March-April Book-of-the-Month Assignment


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love Theater?

This is only a suggestion. 
If you love theater and your parents can afford it (or you can because of all that babysitting or lawn mowing or some other money-making activity you've been doing), this is an outstanding opportunity -- especially because of the amazingly talented faculty they've lined up. 

Here is information from their Facebook page:
Our mission is to provide young people ages 3.5 - 18+ with high quality, innovative, participatory theatre, speech, storytelling, and dance experience and training, taught by professionals in each field; to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve; and to help our students develop skills and broaden their horizons, as people and artists.

The UVU/Noorda Summer Camp is scheduled to run four consecutive weeks, with the option of participating in one class or multiple classes, for one or all sessions.

Morning classes held 9AM-12PM daily.
Afternoon classes, backstage practicum, and film-making classes held 1PM-4PM daily.

First week: June 7-11
Second week: June 14-18
Third week: June 21-25
Fourth week: June 28-July 2

EARN BSA MERIT BADGE CREDITS in Theatre, Public Speaking, Communications, Cinematography, and Photography!

Three full-length professionally staged and mounted youth-for-youth productions will be produced.
SUPER STUDENT AND THE CASE OF THE WATER PISTOL: A rollicking melodramatic farce where an elementary school is turned upside down! A nationally popular school play for all ages. Performed by 4th-9th graders.

HIGH SCHOOL HAMLET: A delightful spoof that crosses High School Musical with Hamlet, producing unexpected complexity laced with surprise, suspense, romance, and fun. Performed by 7th-12th graders.

THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS: A powerful and gripping drama that explores bullying and its consequences. A national best-seller that offers a captivating night of entertainment and reflection for young people and parents alike. Performed by 10th-12th graders.

AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD MAY 7th from 4-7PM and MAY 8th from 10-1PM. If cast, a non-refundable down-payment is required. Tuition for the performance program covers morning classes during the first week of camp and afternoon rehearsals (1-4pm daily) during the first three weeks of camp. Three performances of each work will be performed Tuesday thru Friday evenings during the last week of camp.

Please contact 801-863-8012 for registration. For questions or access to a brochure with a detailed list of classes, schedule and instructors, please visit . For any additional questions or brochures, call 801-863-KIDS.

All classes are heavily subsidized by the Noorda Regional Theatre Center, the UVU School of the Arts, and grants from sponsoring organizations to keep the registration costs lower for our participants. See the Pricing Information in the brochure for scholarship information and family discount options.

Extra Credit Poetry

A friend (Ms. Bethers at Greenwood) just found this great site for creating poetry.  Create a PicLit poem and send or bring  it to me, and earn extra credit.
Go to

or for a simpler exercise (in which words to use are provided) go to

April 22/23, 2010

     Because of a change in the math/science core testing schedule that was made just this week (and consequent change in availability of computer labs), we had to complete the district writing assessment this week rather than after our core testing.  So, today we went to the computer lab to take the district writing post-test.  Students had taken a pre-test at the beginning of the school year. 

    Watch PowerSchool for Post-Test scores -- hopefully within the next week or two.

    We will continue our state core testing next week on April 26-29, and complete any make-ups necessary for absent students within the week following that. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Orders

Consider summer reading!   (Of course, keep in mind that we have great public libraries, too!)

The current catalogues available online and in the classroom are the April and May Tab and Arrow orders.

Recommended books:
May Tab: Pre-order Mockingjay -- The book will be sent to your home in August.  You also get a Mockingjay pin.
May Arrow:  The Bronze Pen by the author of The Egypt Game 
April Tab:  The Maze Runner by James Dasher
                   How to Train Your Dragon  $6  (also in Arrow)
                   My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath (author of Everything on a Waffle)
                   Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series)
April Arrow:  The Roar by Emma Clayton
  And, of course, more from each catalog!

You may turn in book orders to me or
order books from Scholastic Book Orders at
If yours shows up with an apostrophe in the user name, delete it.

Our user name is MsDorseysClasses
Our password is cavemen

Some Suggested/Allowed Books for your Last Book Assignment

Choose your own genre.  If you would like to read nonfiction, short story, poetry, or graphic novels, check with me.

You book needs to be at least 100 pages long, and appropriate for your own reading level. 

You may read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, if you read at least 3 books of the series.
You may read Bone, if you read at least 6 of the books in the series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Core Testing

On the days we are doing State Core Testing -- April 20 - 29, make sure you come rested and well-fed and watered.  Bring a clear bottle of water and a book to read in case you finish early -- which you probably will.

If you are interested in extra credit, bring a copy of a favorite poem to share and hand in.

Helpful Ideas for Test-Takers

  • A successful test taker does his or her best on the test.
  • A successful test taker always gets a good night's sleep the night before the test.
  • A successful test taker eats a well-balanced breakfast on the morning of the test.
  • A successful test taker does not rush through the test.
  • A successful test taker concentrates on his or her own work and doesn't worry about how others are doing.
  • A successful test taker will not make any stray marks on the answer sheet, and will not make any marks on the test booklet.
  • A successful test taker does not get overly stressed about the test.
    • You can calm yourself by paying attention to your own breathing.
    • You can relax by tightening and then relaxing muscles -- face, neck, arms, legs, etc.
    • You can take a minute-vacation, briefly imagining yourself in a place that relaxes you -- fishing, relaxing in a hammock, hiking along a forest path, etc, then focusing back on the test. 
    • A successful test taker will reread the passage as necessary.
      • A successful test taker attempts to answer every question.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    April 16/19, 2010

    April 16/19, 2010

    Retake subject-verb agreement quiz (required for those who got below 16/20) on the original quiz.

    Subject-Verb Agreement


    Subject and Verb Agreement in Number

    See also this page on our wiki. 

    Preparing for Core Testing.
    Internal Text Structures
    commas in a series
    more lie/lay
    reading external text features
    using resource books such as the dictionary, atlas, and thesaurus (That was commas in a series!)
    More Poetry

    We may discuss figurative language vs. literal language, and types of figurative language.
    The types seventh graders must understand are simile and metaphor.

    Literal and Figurative Meanings of Words

      Just for fun, you can see a simile generator at

    April 14/15, 2010

    April 14/15, 2010

    A Reminder of the March-April Book-of-the-Month Assignment

    Your Book-of-the-Month Club Project is due today!

    Preparing for Core Testing.

    Students took a brief practice test for the State Core Test

    Practice for Core Test
    B1 watched a PowerPoint about Main Idea.  If you were absent, see the PowerPoint and other materials at 

    All B-Day classes took notes on topic, main idea, and internal text structures (A-Day did this last time.)
    Notes on Finding a Topic
    Use these clues when looking for the topic of a passage :
    illustrations, captions
    titles, headings, subheadings
    repeated words

    Notes on Finding or Creating a Main Idea
    Main Idea = topic + the idea the author is stating about the topic
    Main Idea and Topic Sentence are synonyms.
    We usually talk about the "Main Idea" when we are talking about nonfiction.
    The "main idea" in fiction is called the theme.
    The Main Idea must be a complete sentence.
    The Main Idea will NOT be a question.  It must be a statement.

    Most Common Places in a paragraph or passage to Find the Main Idea:
    1.  Beginning/First Sentence
    2.  End/ Last Sentence
    3.  Middle
    4.  Not there!  This is called Implied or Unstated  (Those two words are synonyms.)

    We learned about using the verbs lay and lie and reviewed subject-verb agreement.  

    Subject-Verb Agreement

    The verbs lay and lie:
    verb              meaning     forms: 1. present, 2, present participle (with helping verb), 3. past, 4. past participle (with helping verb)
    "lay" means "to place"   forms:   1. lay, 2, laying,  3. laid, 4. laid
    "lie" means "to recline"  forms: 1. lie, 2. lying, 3. lay, 4. lain

    Notes on Lie/Lay Confusions
    Lay, laid, laid  = to place   -- Notice that this verb takes a direct object.  That means it is acting on an object.  In the following sentences the object is the book.

    Present tense (happening right now):  I __________ the book on my desk. (lay)
    Past tense (happened in the past): Yesterday I __________ the book on my desk.  (laid)
    Past participle (has happened in the past and may still be happening):
           I have _________ that book on my desk every day for a week.  (laid)

    Lie, lay, lain = to recline   -- Notice that this verb does not take a direct object.  It is not doing something to an object. 
    Present tense:  I ___________ on the couch right now.   (lie)
    Past tense: Yesterday I __________ on the couch.  (lay)
    Past participle:  I have ___________ on the couch every day for a week.  (lain)

    Using the Irregular Verbs Lie and Lay  -- See this post for more information.


    Attention B4:

    Finding the Topic and Main Idea in a Passage/Paragraph
    If you were absent or would like to review, find downloads of materials used in class at 

    The download for B4 is here:

    Work for B4 to do at home and hand in:  (Other classes may do these as practice.) 

    You could download and print, complete the exercises and hand it in, or complete the exercises and then attach to an email to me.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Recommended Book

    I just read this book, and recommend it -- especially to the girls.
    It is fantasy -- a fairy tale-type story.

    Keturah and Lord Death
    Author: Leavitt, Martine
    Pages: 214
    Ages: 12 and up

    Provo City Library has a list of books that are clean reads.
    Go to

    Summer Reading:
    For Twilight Fans -- Stephanie Meyer has a novella (in size, between a short story and a novel) coming out in June. Wasn't Bree one of the young vampires trained by Victoria?

    I'm wondering about this book (haven't read it or even seen it in person), but it sounds funny:
    The Absolutely True Story: How I Visited Yellowstone with the Terrible Rupes by Willo Davis Roberts

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    April 12/13, 2010

    April 12/13, 2010

    If you were absent today, complete the practices for finding topics and main ideas linked below. 

    Language Arts Core Testing Window: April 19 - 30    
    Please come rested, eat breakfast, have a healthy lunch, bring a clear bottle of water, and you may chew gum while testing as long as we don't have to see or hear it. 
          Bring a book to read in case you finish early.  Your next Book-of-the-Month assignment is your choice of genres as long as it is at your reading level and 100 pages or more.   

    Do not forget that your Book-of-the-Month Assignment is due NEXT TIME!

    A Reminder of the March-April Book-of-the-Month Assignment

    April is National Poetry Month 

    Self-Starter:  Sampling poetry.  Students had the opportunity to read from several different poetry books.   Next week, bring a favorite poem to share. 

    Finding the Topic and Main Idea in a Passage/Paragraph
    If you were absent or would like to review, find downloads of materials used in class at 

    The download for B4 is here:

    Work for B4 to do at home and hand in:  (Other classes may do these as practice.) 

    You could download and print, complete the exercises and hand it in, or complete the exercises and then attach to an email to me.

    Not all classes got beyond this point:
    Write  paragraphs with a main idea and supporting details using three internal text structures:
    Write these in your composition books:
    chronological: Write a paragraph in time order. 
    Example:   As I was growing up, my family moved several times.  I was born in 1952 while my parents were farming in a small community just south of Burley, Idaho.  Then in 1961, when I was nine years old, our family moved to Dietrich, Idaho, an even smaller community.   After my freshman year in high school, we moved to Jerome, another Idaho community, but one that had a high school about sixteen times larger than the school I'd been attending.  I loved the opportunities and new friendships available at a larger school.  Before my junior year we moved to Filer and I attended my third high school, graduating as a valedictorian before moving with my parents to Richfield.  

    sequence: Write a paragraph that tells about something that should be done in a certain sequence. 
    Example: You can follow these steps to make Tammy Card's Chex Treats.  First mix one box of Rice Chex cereal with one can of cocktail peanuts in a large metal or glass bowl.  In a saucepan boil one cup of sugar, one and a half squares of margarine or butter, and one cup of corn syrup for two minutes.  Pour the sugar mixture over the cereal and nuts. Toss lightly, then add and toss in one bag of M&M's.  This is a great after-school snack that goes together really fast.  


    descriptive: Write a paragraph describing something. 
     Example:  (showing several drafts) 

    First Draft:
        An old skinny man sat alone in an open field. His dusty and tattered hat sat on his head. Under a broad and wrinkled forehead that looked like rows of dirt in a farmer's plowed field gleamed two eyes. Thin, grey straw-like hair stuck out from under the hat. (Add a few more sentences to complement a list of ten nouns).
    Second Draft: (adjust nouns and adjectives, and look at verbs and adverbs)
        An old skinny man sat alone in an open field. His dusty and tattered hat quietly rested on his rounded head. Thin, grey straw-like hair poked its way out from under the brim of the dusty, tattered hat. Two contemplative eyes calmly spoke of hope from under a broad and wrinkled forehead that looked like a farmer's plowed field.
    Third Draft: (change all verbs to present tense active verbs)
        An old skinny man sits alone in an open field. His dusty and tattered hat quietly rests on his rounded head. Thin, grey straw-like hairs poke their way from under the brim of the dusty, tattered hat. Two contemplative eyes calmly speak of hope from under a broad and wrinkled forehead that looks like a farmer's plowed field.
    Fourth Draft: (add transitions)
        Today, an old skinny man sits alone on a park bench. People passing by fail to recognize that his dusty and tattered hat quietly rests on his rounded head. Thin, grey straw-like hairs poke their way from under the brim of the dusty, tattered hat waiting for someone to gift him with a simple glance. Two contemplative eyes calmly speak of hope even though hope seems to pass him by. From under a broad and wrinkled forehead that looks like a farmer's plowed field he silently searches for even one gentle smile.


    Main idea in poetry: More from the Hormone Jungle
     and Emotion

    from page 24
    Internet Lies
    Planning for the Future
    Horses and Boys
    Aunt Aurora's Promise
    The Dance
    Twenty-Five Hours
    p. 48 The Girl-Crazy Alien Body Snatcher
    Yellow Bus Blues
    Hormone Madness
    The Messenger
    Jungle of Love
    Talent Torture
    Plain English
    Unwritten Rules
    Emma's Dilemma
    Left Out
    p. 63 Bored
    The Valentine Wimp
    p. 72 Old Friends (prose)
    8th grade
    p. 80
    In My Time of Need?
    What Goes Around
    Just a Friend
    Map Manipulation
    Lies, More Lies, and a Moment of Truth
    Glory and Defeat
    Makeover Man
    Dawn at Sunset
    Daze of the Week
    Heartbreak Insurance
    Low-Down, Two-timing Scum Sucker
    Respiratory Failure
    Pom-Pom Poison
    Imperfect Me
    The Brightest Star *
    106 An Unnamed Star (prose)

    Reminder of Fourth Term Requirements

    Term 4 Begins March 22.  --  Previously published on March 22.

    Targets for Term 4
    Word Analysis and Vocabulary Development 
    Identify the literal meanings and shades of meanings of words.

    Shades of Meaning

    Literal and Figurative Meanings of Words


    Determine word meaning through definitions or explanation context clues.
    Review our commonly confused words and our prefixes and suffixes:

    Seventh Grade Confusing Words for Term 1 (and on) Spelling

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

    Comprehension of Informational Text 
    Continue to work on identifying and using external text features: headings, subheadings, pictures, captions, bolded words, graphs, charts, tables of contents.
    Continue to work on identifying internal text structures with their cue words and phrases: chronological, sequence, description.  

    Retell, paraphrase, and summarize  -- review and extend understanding

    Distinguish main idea and supporting details -- review and extend understanding

    Finding the main idea:

    For practice go to

    Implied Main Idea -- Go to

    Comprehension of Literary Text

    Review elements of narrative and poetic text:
    narrative plot structure, character's traits, setting, figurative language (simile and metaphor)
    Continue to work on distinguishing  topic from theme
    identify main ideas and emotions in poetry 
    Continue to work on recognizing and reading various genres: Focus for March/April is on Science Fiction and Fantasy.  During April/May students will select from a wide variety of genres.

    Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

    Defining Fantasy and Science Fiction

    Writing to Learn
    Retell events in sequence -- review and extend understanding

    Summarize information -- review and extend understanding

    Connect text to self  -- review and extend understanding

    Extended Writing
    Determine Audience  -- review and extend understanding

    Determine Purpose  -- review and extend understanding

    Relate an event in chronological sequence with simple reflection  -- review and extend understanding

    Use sensory details

    Revision and Editing
    Unifying topic  -- review and extend understanding

    beginning, middle, and end with transitions
    tone and voice  -- review and extend understanding
    word choice
    varied sentence beginnings and varied sentence lengths

    grade level spelling -- review
    commas in a series -- review

    subject-verb agreement 
       See this PB wiki page for examples.
    possessives -- review

    capitalizing sentence beginnings and proper nouns -- review
    end punctuation on simple and compound sentences -- review

    More on Inquiry -- review and extend understanding

    accuracy and relevance of information   -- review and extend understanding

    fact and opinion  -- review and extend understanding 

    avoiding plagiarism  -- review and extend understanding

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    A Reminder of the March-April Book-of-the-Month Assignment

    Click here to print the assignment sheet:

    Fantasy/Science Fiction Book-of-the-Month Assignment

    Due April 14/15 

    For examples (based on my reading of Veil of Darkness by Greg Park), go to


    Sample for Why the Book is this Genre  -- Part 2 of the Assignment/Assessment


    Sample for finished Part 3 of the Assignment


    Happy Spring Break!

    Happy Spring Break!
    To those who celebrate them,
    Happy Good Friday!
    Happy Easter!
    Happy Passover! (March 29 - April 6, 2010) 
    Happy General Conference Weekend!
    Happy Washington Irving's Birthday!   He wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
    Happy National Reading a Road Map Week!  (That fits with all the traveling that will happen over our spring break!)
    Happy Johanna Reiss's Birthday   (She wrote The Upstairs Room.)
    Happy Richard Peck's Birthday!  (He's one of my favorite authors!  He wrote A Year Down Yonder and many others.  See
    Happy anniversaries of the discovery of the North Pole and the invention of Teflon!
    Happy anniversary of the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865  -- surrender of Lee to Grant.

    This is me and my friend, Richard Peck --

    April 1/2, 2010

    April 1/2, 2010

    Self-Starter: Students worked either individually or in pairs to complete a worksheet on using commas in a series and using commas with adjectives.  We discussed the exercises.
    See this post about using commas with items in a series:

    Using Commas with Items in a Series

    Each class created an example phrase for using commas with adjectives.  See this post:

    Using Commas Between Adjectives

    If you were absent, you are responsible for making sure you understand how to use commas in a series.  Also, practice our seventh grade commonly confused words and the spelling words based on our prefixes and suffixes.

    We read and discussed, and wrote about more poetry.  We read from Because I Could Not Stop My Bike and Other Poems by Karen Jo Shapiro (poems "inspired by" famous poems).   We read "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson, then "Because I Could Not Stop My Bike."  Some classes listened to Shapiro's version of "The Tiger" with apologies to William Blake.

    We're also reading poems from Hormone Jungle: Coming of Age in Middle School by Brod Bagert.

    We played Sparkle to practice our seventh grade commonly confused words and the spelling words based on our prefixes and suffixes.

    Don't forget that your Book-of-the-Month projects are due April 14/15 -- the Wednesday and Thursday after we come back from Spring Break!  

    Review our Term 4 targets at

    Term 4 Begins March 22

    Using Commas with Items in a Series

    Today we reviewed using commas in a series.  If needed, study these sample sentences (from Prentice-Hall) :

    1.  Seeing the flames, the child ran out of the apartment, down the stairs, and into the streets.  (phrases)
    2.  Dad asked if we wanted to have meatloaf, hamburgers, or pizza on Saturday night. (words)
    9.  The reporter asked how the fire had started, when the victims would be housed, and what the public could do to help.   (dependent clauses)

    See these links for more information:

    This one has a fun Battleship game you can play that provides some practice with commas!

    This provides information:  (with practice sentences -- type carefully)

    More about commas:

    In case someone tries to tell you to leave out the comma before the "and," see this post: 

    Using Commas Between Adjectives

    I loved the phrases the students created for practicing using commas with adjectives!  Notice where the commas are placed.  Here are the phrases (and one sentence):

    B1: The tarnished, evil, ninja robot. . .
    B2: The foxy, furry box turtle. . . .
    B4: The carnivorous, spitting, gangsta' llama. . .
    A1: The slimy, ferocious, man-eating hair (or hare?). . .
    A2: The shy, loving, underprivileged, homeless, criminal spoon. . .
    A4: The moldy, hysterical, rambunctious, smelly, politically-correct pinecone that smells like Limburger cheese got liposuction.

    To test whether a comma is needed, try replacing it with the word "and."
    "The foxy and furry box turtle. . . " could be written "The foxy, furry box turtle. . . "
    "The intelligent and geeky box turtle. . . . "  could be written  "The  intelligent, geeky box turtle. . . "

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    April 1/2, 2010

    Your Book-of-the-Month Assignment is due today, and you will be taking your final test on all of your commonly confused words, as well as prefixes and suffixes, elements of literature, all aspects of writing, grammar, and reading that we have studied this year.  Please review, but do not stay up all night studying. Bring a bottle of water, and remember to relax as you take the test. 

    (Scroll down.)

    April Fools!