Monday, January 31, 2011

Wednesday, February 2

Bell-Ringer:  Incident Prompt.doc 

Computer Lab -- Special writing assessment.  If you are absent, you will need to arrange a time to come in to do this.

spelling assignment for mis-   Test Next Time!

Vocabulary/Spelling #11             Test on February 4
Prefix to study:   mis- which means incorrect, bad
  1. mistake
  2. misprint
  3. misplace
  4. misinform
  5. misuse
More information about book-of-the-month assignment.  The four pages below are on the A4 wiki.  To view pages on your own wiki, use the links to class wikis further below.

Suggestions for Doing Research

Sample for Historical Fiction Project

Practice Research  -- This is the assignment we did in class.

How to Use Informal Citation

Links to our class wikis:
Remember to never edit a page unless it has your name at the top left. Sign up for your book on your own page. 





Originally published Jan. 27, 2011

Republished Jan. 31, 2011

Reminder: Third Term Requirements

Monday, January 31, 2011


Practice writing a comparison-contrast paragraph.   Handout -- Write your paragraph on the handout.
contrast paragraph practice.doc

Words By Heart -- Don't forget to take notes in your composition book.

A1 to page 18, chapter 3 to page 33, halfway down
A2  to page 23, top of page  to page 33, halfway down
A3  to page 24, last paragraph to page 34, to the page break
A4  to page 17, 1/2 of the way down to page 26 -- 1/2 of the way

Theme:  We should be willing to forgive and turn the other cheek.
Ben Sills believe in forgiveness.
He is urging Lena to forgive.
For what does he think she should forgive Mr. Jaybird Kelsey?
For what does he think she should forgive Tater Haney? and anyone else that was aware of what he did?
How does he tell her she should act toward the the people at church and at school?

Originally published Jan. 27, 2011
Republished Jan. 31, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Figurative Language

Click on the above link for clips from the song, and the words.

Here are some:
Verse II
A simile is something that you use to compare
Two unrelated things with an element that’s shared
My mind is like an ocean; it’s as smooth as jazz
But it’s only a simile if it uses “like” or “as”
A metaphor is similar, but watch out!
Be careful ’cause you’ve got to leave “like” and “as” out
My mind is an ocean; my words are a river,
So keep your ears open as I continue to deliver


Here's a poem full of similes about similes:

Poor as a church mouse.
strong as an ox,
cute as a button,
smart as a fox. 

thin as a toothpick,
white as a ghost,
fit as a fiddle,
dumb as a post. 

bald as an eagle,
neat as a pin,
proud as a peacock,
ugly as sin. 

When people are talking
you know what they'll say
as soon as they start to
use a cliché. 

© 2000 Bruce Lansky, reprinted from If Pigs Could Fly...and Other Deep Thoughts with permission of Meadowbrook Press at

See the metaphors from "The Blind Men and the Elephant," both an illustration for the original poem, and a modern cartoon version of how various people might see the elephant in our times.

See the poem with illustrations at

Simile poems:

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti -- first stanza

My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
                  Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
                  Because my love is come to me. 

Difference by Mark Doty -- first stanza

The jellyfish
float in the bay shallows
like schools of clouds, . .

This entire poem is a simile, comparing Native Americans to the deer a Modern Native American author used to hunt: 

A Simile by Navarre Scott Momaday

What did we say to each other
that now we are as the deer
who walk in single file
with heads high
with ears forward
with eyes watchful
with hooves always placed on firm ground
in whose limbs there is latent flight

poem by Mia Lyons

And for you baseball fans --

The Base Stealer
Poised between going on and back, pulled
Both ways taut like a tight-rope walker,
Fingertips pointing the opposites,
Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball,
Or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on!
Running a scattering of steps sidewise,
How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,
Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,
He's only flirting, crowd him, crowd him,
Delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate - Now!

----Robert Francis

 Below, see some more literary examples for metaphor and simile:

For Fun

Bulbous Bouffant

Crazy, Crazy Eyebrows
In one of his book series, Garth Nix has an eyebrow that comes to life and becomes a character in the books.  When I asked him how he got the idea, he said one day he was watching a man with big, bushy eyebrows and thought that those eyebrows seemed almost alive themselves.  That thought evolved into a character for a book.

And truly just for fun -- 

For extra credit:  Can you tell me what a group of ravens is called?  See this site and look through the charts for the answer:

Extra Credit

What is the difference between impelled and compelled? 

Impelled and compelled -- answers



Friday, January 28, 2011

Poems for Words By Heart

by Countee Cullen

Once riding in old Baltimore,
    Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
    Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
    And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
    His tongue, and called me, "N-----."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
    From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
    That's all that I remember.
“Nobody’s better than anybody else. . . . But the thing you want to strive for, always, is to be better than yourself.”  Papa in Words By Heart

“Rewards don’t prove you’re somebody, . . . .   When you’re somebody inside yourself, you don’t need to be told.”  Words By Heart, p. 14


Life Doesn't Frighten Me
by Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all

Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild

Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.

Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.

I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.

Life doesn't frighten me at all.


Antarctica Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise



Key for Antarctic Subject-Verb Agreement  
                                                                                                                                                                           is                                                                                               is
       There 1. are a place on earth where few creatures can survive.  The land 2. are covered with ice and
 snow, and temperatures 3. is far below freezing for most of the year.   Beyond the warm lands of South
America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand 4. lies the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean.  If all the ice
                          cover                       were
 and snow that 5. covers Antarctica 6. was to melt, the world's seas would rise about 250 feet.
                                             inhabit                                  are
     The only creatures that 7. inhabits Antarctica's interior 8. is insects.  However, thousands of penguins
9. lives on the continent's frozen coasts.  Skuas, which you might remember from the movie Happy Feet,
     are                                                                                              live      
10. is probably the penguins' worst enemy.  Whales and seals also 11. lives in the waters surrounding the
continent.    Most of the people who live in Antarctic  12. is scientists.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bell-Ringer: This is no-name-calling week.  Is name calling a problem at our school?  Explain.  If so, what could be done to make it less of a problem?  If not, what could be done to decrease name-calling in other places.  Use a topic sentence and a conclusion for your writing.  (Remember when we learned about writing paragraphs.) Label this entry "No-Name-Calling" and include today's date.
(As you answer this, consider whether name-calling is a form of bullying.) Write 1/2 page or more.

(If you are absent, you could come in during Cave Time to write in your composition book -- Tuesdays or Fridays, or come after school, or write it on a piece of paper to tape into your composition book.)

2. Spelling Test on un- and -ist and the words that go with them.

3. Receive new spelling assignment for mis-
Vocabulary/Spelling #11             Test on February 4
Prefix to study:   mis- which means incorrect, bad
  1. mistake
  2. misprint
  3. misplace
  4. misinform
  5. misuse
4. More information about book-of-the-month assignment.
Doing research
informal citation   How to Use Informal Citation

5. Words By Heart
A1 to page 18, chapter 3
A2  to page 23, top of page
A3  to page 24, last paragraph
A4  to page 17, 1/2 of the way down

Links to our class wikis:
Remember to never edit a page unless it has your name at the top left. Sign up for your book on your own page. 





Reminder: Third Term Requirements


Presidential Extra Credit

(5 points each)
Be the first (and maybe second and third) to tell me about this fact: 
Fact You Once Learned, But Probably Forgot: Although we call President Obama the 44th President of the US, he's really only the 43rd person to hold the office. Grover Cleveland is both the 22nd and 24th Presidents because he served non-consecutive terms (with Benjamin Harrison in between).
 or Recite one of the presidential quotes at the top of the  right hand column on this blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bell-Ringer:Unscramble Spelling Words/ Practice for the test next time.


Don't forget your spelling test next time on un- and-ist 
Vocabulary/Spelling #10             Test on January 27 
Suffix to study:   -ist which means one who (adjective) 
  1. artist  
  2. physicist  
  3. chemist

    Vocabulary/Spelling #19            Test on  January 27
     Prefix to study:   un-  which means   not
    1.      unable
    2.      unfit
    3.      unequal
    4.      unearned
    5.      undone

    Computer Lab 201
    Sign up for Book-of-the-Month
    Get Acquainted with the Book-of-the-Month project, and practice effective research.





    If extra time -- Words By Heart

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Finding Nonfiction: Using the Dewey Decimal System
    Kids Guide to the Dewey Decimal System

    000          GENERALITIES
        000              Computers, Loch Ness, Bigfoot, UFO’s, Aliens
        020              Internet
        030              Encyclopedias & Almanacs
        060              Museums
        070              Newspapers

    100          PHILOSOPHY             
        130              Ghosts & the Supernatural
        150              Optical Illusions, Feelings
        170              Emotions, Values, Animal Rights

    200          RELIGION
        220              Old Testament Bible Stories
        230              New Testament Bible Stories
        290              Mythology, World Religions

    300          SOCIAL SCIENCES
        300               Social Issues - immigration, racism, World Cultures    
        320              Government
        330              Careers
        340              Court System, Famous Trials
        350              Military Equipment - tanks, submarines
        360              Drugs, Environmental Issues, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts
        370              Education, Phonics
        380              History of Transportation
        390              Holidays, Scary Stories
    400          LANGUAGES
        410              Sign Language
        420              Dictionaries, Grammar
        490              Hieroglyphics 

    500          SCIENCE AND MATH
        500              Science Experiments
        510              Mathematics 
        520              Stars, planets, astronomy
        530              Physical Science - force & motion, electricity, magnetism
       540               Chemistry, Atoms & Molecules
       550               Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Weather
       560               Dinosaurs, Prehistoric Animals
       570               Forests, Deserts, Mountains, Oceans, Evolution
       580               Plants & Trees
       590               Animals & Insects

    600          APPLIED SCIENCE
       600               Inventions   
       610               Human body, Disease
       620               Space ships, Trains, Cars
       630               Pets
       640               Cookbooks, Organizing, Sewing
       650               Careers, Secret Codes
       670               Paper Making
       680               Woodworking
       690               Building 

    700          ART
       710               Art Appreciation, History of Art
       720               Architecture
       730               Origami
       740               Drawing, Crafts, Sewing, Knitting
       750               Painting
       760               Print Making
       770               Photography
       780               Music
       790               Sports, Games, Magic, Camping, Fishing

    800          LITERATURE
       810               Poetry, Plays, Jokes & Riddles
       820               Shakespeare
    900          GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
       900               American History by Decade & Century
       910               Explorers, Atlases
       920               Flags
       930               Archeology, Ancient Civilizations
       940               Knights, Castles, World War I & II, European Countries
       950               Asian & Middle Eastern Countries
       960               African Countries
       970               North & Central American Countries, Native American
                            Tribes, American History, States
       980               South American Countries
       990               Pacific Islands, Australia

    Download a copy:  Kids Guide to the Dewey Decimal System.doc

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    A Poem to Go with Words By Heart and the Topic of Identity

    Time Somebody Told Me
    by Quantedius Hall (12 years old)

    Time Somebody Told Me
    That I am lovely, good and real
    That I am beautiful inside
    If they only knew
    How that would make me feel.

    Time Somebody Told Me
    That my mind is quick, smart
    and full of wit
    That I should keep on trying
    and never quit.

    Time Somebody Told Me
    How they loved and needed me
    How my smile is filled with hope
    And my spirit sets them free
    How my eyes shine, full of light
    How good they feel when they hug me tight.

    Time Somebody Told Me

    So, I had a talk with myself
    Just me, nobody else
    ‘cause it was time
    Somebody Told Me.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Noticing Sentences and Apostrophes

    On the January 20, 2012 self-start no  answer based on the sentences is wrong.
    However, whether you noticed or not, we will look at how apostrophes are used in the sentences.
    You will receive another tape-in about ---

    Stuff You Need to Know about Apostrophes

    •    Apostrophes show two meanings.
    •    An apostrophe s added to a singular noun shows possession.
    •    An apostrophe after the s in a plural word shows possession.
    •    Apostrophes also show where letters were removed.
    •    Words shortened with apostrophes are called contractions.
    Don’t let this confuse you:
    •    Not every word that ends with an s needs an apostrophe.
    •    Don’t rely on chance rather than meaning with the apostrophe
    •    Don’t use apostrophes to show pronoun possession.
              his, hers, yours, its, theirs
     It's a matter of style whether you write  1800's or 1800s.

    Ouch!  Can you find the error?

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    January 21, 2011

    Bell-Ringer: Write in your composition book at least one half page in response to this prompt:  Label it "Identity."  What makes you feel good about yourself?  Explain.  What makes feel that you're not worthwhile?

    Learn about the  Book-of-the-Month Assignment.  You will sign up for the historical fiction book you have selected on January 25 -- next Tuesday.  Remember to choose a book that is on a topic you'd like to do further research on.

    Play Sparkle to practice spelling for January 27.

    Read Words By Heart, keep notes in the composition book.
    Topics from Words By Heart:  What do you learn about prejudice -- forgiveness -- identity?
    What do you learn about the historical time period and place?

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Third Term Requirements

    -- Learn the third term prefixes and suffixes and how to spell the words associated with them.

    -- Recognize theme in a story or book, and write about one or more themes, using support from the text.
        Write an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
         Revise and edit. (Especially use commonly confused words correctly, and create complete sentences.)

    --  Read a novel of your choice on your own in one of these genres:  historical or multicultural.
    Record facts about the real world that you learn from the fictional book, and research more facts from nonfiction materials from the Internet and books.  Present the facts from your research using Informal Citation. 

    -- Read a  nonfiction book of your choice on your own.

    -- Be able to recognize and use the seventh grade external text features: headings, subheadings, pictures, captions, bolded words, graphs, charts, tables of content:

    External Text Features

    -- Create an external text feature for your individual nonfiction book: a timeline, who's who, what's where (annotated list of locations), glossary, subject index or another feature you propose and the teacher approves.

    -- Work cooperatively as a group to read and discuss a nonfiction book (Ice Story) in class and together create external text features for your book.

    -- Begin to recognize the internal text structures: chronological, sequence, and description.

    Review simile and metaphor, and the difference between literal and figurative.

    Use correct subject-verb agreement with nouns and verbs, and begin to understand correct agreement in special situations.  (For example:  "There are things I don't understand."   "Each of the students wants a new pencil.")

    Students will also consider issues concerning racism, other forms of prejudice,  forgiveness, identity, courage, etc.

    January 19, 2011

    1. Bell-Ringer: Follow the directions on the anticipation guide for Words By Heart.  Make sure you write a half-page in your composition book.

    2. Spelling Test on  "im-"

    Vocabulary/Spelling #9              Test on  January 19
    Prefix to study:   im- which means not
    1. impossible
    2. improbable
    3. imperfect
    4. immobile

    3. Receive new spelling assignment for "-ist"and "un-"

    Vocabulary/Spelling #10             Test on January 27
     Suffix to study:   -ist which means one who (adjective)
    1. artist
    2. physicist
    3. chemist

    Vocabulary/Spelling #19            Test on  January 27
     Prefix to study:   un-  which means   not
    1.      unable
    2.      unfit
    3.      unequal
    4.      unearned
    5.      undone
    4. Make a Prefix/Suffix Study Guide

    5.  Begin Words By Heart