Thursday, September 28, 2006

vocabulary schmabulary

Today in 3/4 and 5/6 we spent some time on vocabulary. The biggest issue you guys seem to have with the novel is that there is some difficult vocab in it, so we took some time out to learn these words.

We started our review of letter writing in all the classes with a letter to me about the novel. I am looking forward to reading those over the weekend. Next week we will begin learning about business letter format.

In 7/8 we went to the library and mainly wrote the letters. It seems like we may have to work on summarizing since those summary paragraphs look awfully long and detailed. Remember that summary means distilling out the most important events from the story - big things.

Tomorrow I will introduce the projects you will be working on for the novel. We will also make sure everyone has had a chance to print out their memoir for me. They are due tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

love is in the air

Today we read some more of Witch of Blackbird Pond. We discovered that Judith is into John Holbrook and William Ashby thinks Kit is cute. They are trying to date and some of you think Kit will marry William. We'll find out!

Tomorrow some of you will finish up memoirs and retake the STAR test. I really want to get these memoirs done and turned in so we can start on the next writing assignment. Remember that they are all due by the end of the day on Friday.

We will also read some more of the novel. I hope it is getting more exciting for some of you! :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

even more typin'

Today was crazy! I appreciate that so many of you were patient with the laptops when they weren't working right or not printing or whatever. Remember, if you were unable to print your memoir, be sure you ask me to let you do that sometime before Friday. We pretty much spent the entire hour typing on the memoirs and answering the latest question on the blog. I will be putting a list of the question titles on my Sperreng website so that you can find them more easily on here.

Tomorrow we will be focusing on the novel. We will discuss it and hopefully clarify some issues you all have. I believe many of you are confused by it and maybe asking questions about it and listening to me and your fellow students will help. We will also work on filling out the character chart and 7/8 hour should have their vocab for chapters 4-6 done.

3/4 hour, you should be finished up through chapter 4 and the other two classes should be finished up through chapter 5. There may be a pop quiz at any time on the book, so be sure you are reading!

Monday, September 25, 2006

character development (aka poor little rich girl revisited) - question 4

What do you guys think about Kit so far? What can we tell about her character? Make sure you back up your answer with evidence from the novel (include page numbers).

poor little rich girl

We learned some more about Kit today. We learned that she is spoiled and that she is used to getting her own way. We also discovered that she is a bit shallow. I still kinda like her, though. I think her heart is in the right place.

Today we also took a quiz using the "clickers". I had a lot of fun with it and can't wait to see how you all did on it. I may change the amount of points since it seems like using the machines might have been a bit different for some of you. I'll have to see how your scores are first.

Tomorrow we will have the lab, so we will be editing and polishing those memoirs. Most of you should be able to get them in to me by the end of the hour, but they are due to me by Friday. Make sure you put them in the box! (Remember, they will vanish if you put them in my hands!)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A witch coming to Wethersfield?

Today we started Witch of Blackbird Pond by listening to the first chapter in class. I know some of the vocabulary was difficult, that's why I gave you a vocab sheet to complete over the weekend (and I know that each of you has already finished it, right?). We met Kit, John Holbrook, Nat Eaton, and Goodwife Cruff. We will be learning much more about them later in the story.

We also completed a study guide for the quiz on Monday covering literary elements (mood, theme, character development, setting, plot, and conflict). We will use the "clickers" to take the quiz, so I think it will be much more fun than it usually is. Hey, I rhymed!

I gave you a lot of homework over the weekend, but I figure it balances out since I gave you none all week. Right? :)

You were to complete the vocab sheet, study for the quiz, and some of you were to read Witch of Blackbird Pond on your own. 5/6 should have read chapter 2. 7/8 should have read chapters 2 & 3. We will be continuing the story on Monday! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I've been moody

Today was so much fun! We went to the library and got Witch of Blackbird Pond. We'll be starting that tomorrow, so don't forget to bring it to class to start reading. We also read "The Lady or the Tiger" and you all were very upset by the ending! I know, I hate it too, but it is kind of a neat story. We worked on figuring out the theme of the story. At the end of class, we read "The Raven" (one of my very favorite poems!) and watched the Simpsons take on the classic Poe poem. That was the part I enjoyed most! You guys wrote about the mood Poe creates in it and how he achieves it.

Tomorrow we will be starting the novel and going over the Poe poem again since I feel like you guys were bowled over by it a bit. It's got a lot of difficult vocabulary and that can make it tough to understand. You will also get a study guide for the literary elements quiz on Monday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

tungsten part deux

Today we finished taking the Tungsten test and had work time. 5/6 hour had time to look at the poem The Raven and talk about the mood of it, but we ran out of time to do the rest of what I had planned. I was very upset, so we will finish up tomorrow.

Tomorrow we will also be going to the library to check out Witch of Blackbird Pond and we will begin that on Friday. I think you all will enjoy it. It is the perfect book to read at this time of year! It also coincides with Mr. Rheinecker's lessons on colonial America - so pay attention to what he tells you, you may need to know about it in English class! :)

Be ready for an exam on the literary elements this Monday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

theme days

Sorry I missed yesterday. We looked at plot and talked about the plot arc. We read "The Circuit" and filled out a plot wheel. Most of you took the STAR test for reading levels.

Today was nice. We started theme, which is hard. But you guys did a great job. Theme is slippery and difficult to pin down, but most of you seem to get it. We'll do more with it on Thursday. We read some fables and figured out the theme of them.

I also gave out your STAR reading level scores. If you have below a 6.1 GE (grade equivalency), you will have to take the test again. If you still are not up to that level, I will be working with you on getting you there. A 6.1 GE means sixth grade, first month. If you do not pass by the end of the year, you will have to go to summer school for reading (probably taught by me) and as much as I love you, I do not want to see you there. I want you to enjoy your summer.

Tomorrow is early release! We will be finishing Tungsten (for some) and reading a poem/watching a video. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

preset stations

Friday we looked at setting a little bit deeper and how it adds to the mood of a story. Some of you (really just Katie Holbrook, but I am sure others were thinking it) commented that it is all a bit confusing how there is a setting and characters and then the mood and the setting has to do with the mood, etc. Well, I hope it was a bit clearer after you went through the stations. I had five stations set up, two pictures, two passages from books, and one video clip. All the stations had questions about setting and mood. I had so much fun listening in on your conversations at each of the stations and especially manning the station with the video clip. It was great! After we did that, we did MadLibs, which were hilarious! You guys make me laugh so hard! :)

Tomorrow we will take the STAR test (I know, I know) and look at theme in writing. Theme is a tricky concept, so we will spend a few days on it. Also, as of Monday you may take AR tests if you choose (during SSR time). I will give ten points of extra credit for any test score of 7 and up. Just put the printout in the box for your hour.

Also, remember that book club money is due this Wednesday. If you want to get books, but won't have the money in time, let me know and we can work something out. I want everyone to have an opportunity to get books if they want them.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

setting the stage

Today we looked at setting in the story "A Secret for Two". It was a very sad story and it took place in Montreal, Quebec. I really enjoyed saying all the French phrases! We remembered that setting is the "where and when" of the story, the location and time period. We also did Mad Libs to practice our grammar. 7/8 hour had the funniest I have read in awhile!

Tomorrow we will be taking the STAR test to see about your reading levels. We will also be studying setting a bit more at stations. Remember, tomorrow's Friday! :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

more typin'

Today we spent some more time in the lab and I walked you guys through logging onto Webgrade to check your grades. Everyone should have their Webgrade login now and I will be emailing parents with them soon. We also finished typing the memoirs and did an activity with adjectives.

At home I want you to write for 20 minutes about anything you want (minimum of 5 sentences). The catch is that every noun must have an adjective. Lots and lots of description!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

typin' typin' typin'

Today we typed memoirs and printed them out. Most of you were able to finish and those who didn't will be able to do so tomorrow. We will spend part of the period up in the lab and the rest of it in the classroom.

We also were able to get on here and comment a bunch. I love reading what you write to me! I have noticed, however, that some of you are a bit lazy with your spelling when you write comments. Remember that you need to be certain you try to spell things correctly. I may have to start doing some sort of spelling tests. It doesn't look very good when you misspell words from the question - they are right in front of you!

a real character - question 3

Who is a character that you remember well? What do you remember about him or her? Why do you think you remember them so well?

A character I remember well is Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. I never spent much time on a farm or anything, but I loved E.B. White's description of Wilbur. I also loved the way he acted, he truly loved everyone on the farm and just wanted to be friends with everyone. He was also very loveable, himself. I think I felt the way Charlotte felt about him, protective.

Monday, September 11, 2006

elemental literature

Today we worked on literary elements some more with character and conflict. I think you guys are really doing well and getting it, so we will be moving on to setting and some of the other ones later this week. We read a story called "La Bamba" by Gary Soto and looked at character in a little more depth. We also went over some of the conflicts in the story (mainly internal). At the end of class, we reflected on 9/11 and I had you guys write what you were feeling. I really enjoyed our discussion of what happened and I can't wait to read what you wrote. You are all so insightful and analytical and wonderful!

Tomorrow we will be in the computer lab, typing our memoirs. If you finish, you can get on here and blog (provided I have a permission slip from your parent/guardian).

As a side note, I may have to postpone Witch of Blackbird Pond until next Thursday so that we can finish the short story elements.


Friday, September 08, 2006

working for the weekend

Today was a fantastic day! We started looking at elements of short stories with character development and conflict in the story "Thank you, M'am" by Langston Hughes. We also watched the video of the story. I really enjoyed it! I also handed out grade printouts (I will do this every Friday) and if you got a C- or lower (regular classes) or a C+ or lower (challenge) you must have it signed and return it on Monday or you will have a lunch detention with me and we will call your parents.

Yesterday we took the Tungsten and the scores were better than I expected for the first time taking the test. Remember - if you score a 70 or better for my regular classes or and 80 or better for my challenge class, you get a homework pass worth 40 points.

We will be up in the computer lab on Tuesday (except 7/8 hour) and Wednesday to finish the memoirs and work on the blog. I will also be giving you your Webgrade logins and showing you how to access them on Wednesday.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Today we spent most of the time typing our memoirs. I will see about getting some more lab time to type since many of you were unable to finish. Otherwise, I will have to rotate you through the computers in the room and maybe see if some of the other teachers will let you use theirs. If any of you want to take yours home to finish typing it, let me know and I will help you save it to disk. Once they are typed and printed, we will work on peer review and editing.

Tomorrow is Tungsten testing! Make certain you bring something on which to work after you finish the test. Also, remember that if you score an 80 or above on it, you get a homework pass worth 40 points!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

novel, tome, scroll, treatise, opus, publication, volume... question 2

What is the last book you finished? Did you like it? Why or why not?

For me, the last book I finished was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I read a lot over the summer and wanted to catch up on my Harry Potter. I enjoyed it, but not as much as Prisoner of Azkaban. I was originally hesitant to read the Harry Potter books, but picked up the first one when I was in Paris (over there it is the British version - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - something having to do with alchemy makes the meaning a bit different). I could not put it down. It is perfect guilty pleasure reading for me. I liked Goblet of Fire, especially at the end, because it seems like they are building to something really big. The other books more or less stood on their own, but this one seems to be the beginning of something more far reaching. I can't wait to get Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince!

new additions

Well, it is the start of another fabulous week (partly because it is a short one) and we have some newbies to our wonderful classroom. I am so glad to have everyone who is new or staying and sad to see some leave - but we're all still team 7A!

Today we worked on those memoirs some more and most of you finished your rough drafts. We mainly worked on adding sensory details so that the memoirs I read are full of vivid language and I can feel like I am there. Friday we worked on adding the author's thoughts and feelings so that I can get inside those heads of yours. So, my hope is that these memoirs will be amazingly rich and wonderful. Based on what I have read of your reading autobiographies - they will be!

The rough drafts are due tomorrow and I have procured the laptops so that we can type (and get on here to answer questions).

Remember! It is picture day tomorrow - so look your best! :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

open house-capades

I loved meeting all the parents who came to the open house last night! It was a lot of fun! Thanks.

Yesterday, in class, we worked on the memoirs. We read my memoir and talked about how I "made up" some of the details to make it interesting while staying true to what I was feeling at the time. Then it was time to work on your memoirs and most of you did very well at focusing and working hard.

So far, so good! I can't wait to read them!