Welcome

June 12th, 2017--

POWERSCHOOL WILL NOT LET ME ENTER SCORES!!! I'm sorry. I'll have to wait until the program is working again :-(


May 30th, 2017-- FINAL GREEK and LATIN ROOTS TEST CANCELLED. Focus on portfolio reflections (see below):


ALL CLASSES: Just one more assignment: 
due 6/5, 50 pts Final portfolio reflection assignment,  <word doc, or just look below:

Final Portfolio Reflection Questions

 

1.      From memory, list as many assignments in your portfolio as you can.  Check portfolio when done and complete the list (if necessary).

2.      Which is your favorite?  Why?

3.      Which was your least favorite?  Why?

4.       Which are you most proud of?  Why?

5.       Which was your favorite piece of literature this year?  Why?

6.       Who was your favorite character?  Why?

7.       Review all your work in your portfolio chronologically (earliest to latest).  List three interesting observations or changes in your writing.  Which are the most profound (obvious and important)?  Why?

8.       Look over your work and accompanying gradesheets.  List three writing skills you worked on this year.  Which is most valuable?  Which is most improved?

9.       List three essential skills for effective reading (think about all the steps you go through in understanding and making meaning from [interpreting] a piece of literature).  Which skill, or step, is most important?  Why?

May 24th, 2017--

8th ONLY: Due Friday, June 2nd (you can submit it early if you want to), 20 pts.

Letter to Self (delivered to you toward the end of your senior year at SLOHS)


April 12th, 2017--

Here's the entire list of Greek and Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes (we will have weekly tests on 40 at a time until we get through the whole list, the first test this Friday, 4/14):

Simple teaching Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes

 

COMMON ROOT WORDS AND WORD ORIGINS

Roots

Meaning

Word

alter

other

alternate, alter ego

ami, amic-

love

amiable, amicable

amphi

both ends or all sides

amphibian

ann, enni

year

anniversary, annual, biennial, perennial

anthrop

human, man

anthropology, anthropomorphic, misanthrope

aqua, aque

water

aquatic, aquarium, aqueduct

arch

chief, leader, ruler

archangel, monarch, archaic, archenemy

arthro

joint

arthritis

aud

sound

auditorium, audible, audiologist, audiotape

bell

war

belligerent, bellicose

biblio

book

bibliography, bibliophile

bio-

life

biography, autobiography, biology, antibiotic

brev

short

brief, abbreviate

cap

take, seize

capture, captivate, capacity

carn

meat

carnivorous, chili con carne

ced

yield, go

recede, secede, proceed, intercede, concession

chrom-

color

chromatic, monochrome, polychrome

chron-

time

chronicle, chronology, chronometer, synchronize

cogn

know

recognize, cognitive, incognito

cord/chord

cord

harpsichord

corp

body

corpus, corpse, corporal

crac, crat

rule, ruler

autocrat, democracy, bureaucrat, democracy

cred

believe

credible, credulous, credibility, credit, credo

cruc

cross

crucifix, crucial

crusta

shell

crustacean

crypt

hidden

cryptogram, cryptology, cryptic

culp

guilt

culpable, culprit

dei

god

deity, deify

demo-

people

demography, democracy, epidemic

dent

tooth

dentist, dentifrice, dentin

derm-

skin

dermatology, epidermis, hypodermic

dic

speak, say

dictate, predict, diction, indict

dox

belief, opinion

orthodoxy, paradox, heterodoxy

duc, duct

lead

induce, deduce, seduction, conduct, abduct

duo

two

duo

dynam-

power

dynamo, hydrodynamics

ego

self

egotist, egomania

equ

equal

equal, equity, equanimity, equate, equidistant

fac

make, do

manufacture, factory, benefactor

fil

threadlike

filament

frater

brother

fraternal, fraternize

gam-

marriage

monogamy, polygamy, bigamy

geo-

earth

geopolitical, geology, geography, geothermal

glyph

vertical groove

Hieroglyphics—Egyptian “sky writing”

grad, gress

step

gradual, progression, transgression

graph-

writing, printing

graphology, biography, telegraph, geography

gym

naked

gymnasium

gyn-

woman

gynecologist, androgynous

hemo, hema, hem

blood

hemophilia, hematology, hemoglobin

holo

whole, entire

holograph

hydro, hydr

water

dehydrate, hydraulics, hydroelectric, hydroplane

iso

equal, identical

isolate

ject

throw

inject, reject, subject, projection

jud

judge

judicial, judge, adjudicate

leg, lect

read, choose

legible, lectern, lecturer, election

liter

letter

literature, illiterate, literal

loc

place

local, location

log

word

monologue, epilogue

luc

light

lucid, elucidate

magn

large

magnify, magnate, magnificent

man

hand

manufacture, manual, manuscript

mar

sea

marine, mariner

mater

mother

maternal, maternity, matriarchy, matricide

mere

part, segment

mere

meta, met

behind, between

metacognition—behind the thinking

metri, meter-

measure

geometric, thermometer, odometer

min

small

minority, minuscule, minute

mit, miss

send

permit, submission, mission, emit,

mob, mot, mov

move

mobile, automobile, motion, promote, movie

mon

warn

premonition, admonition

mor, mort

death

mortal, mortician, immortality

morph

form, structure

metamorphosis, amorphous, morphology

mut

change

mutant, mutability, mutate

neuro

nerve

neurology, neurosis, neurobiology

nomen /nomin

name

nominal, nominate, nomenclature

nov

new

novel, renovate, innovation, novella

nym, onym

word, name

synonym, acronym, anonymous, pseudonym

odonto

tooth

orthodontist—one who straightens teeth

ortho-

straight, correct

orthodox, orthodontist, orthopedic

pac

peace

pacify, Pacific Ocean, pacifist

pater

father

paternal, paternity, patricide, patrilineal, patriotic

path

feeling, suffering

sympathy, apathy, empathy, telepathy, pathology

ped, pod

foot

pedal, pedometer, centipede, gastropod

pel, puls

push

pulsate, repulsive, impulse, compel, propel

pend

hang, weigh

pendulum, pendant, suspend, pending

phon-, phono-

sound, voice

telephone, euphony, cacophony, phonograph

plan

flat

planar, plantation, plane

pneum

lung

pneumatic

pod

feet

podiatrist

port

carry

portable, transport, portage, report,

pot

power

potent, omnipotent, potentate

psych-

soul, spirit, mind

psychology, psychic, psychobiography

pugna

fight

pugnacious, pugilist

quer, quis

ask

query, inquisition,

scent, scend

climb

ascend, ascent

schizo, schiz

division, split

schizophrenic

sci

know

scientific

sciss

cut

scissors

scrib, script

write

manuscript, scribe, proscribe, scripture

sec, sect

cut

dissect, section

sed, sess

sit

sedentary, session

sens, sent

feel, be aware

sensible, sentient

sequ, secu

follow

sequence, sequel, consecutive

serv

serve, protect

service

simil

same

similar, assimilate, simile, facsimile (fax)

siphon

tube

siphon

sol

sun

solar

son

sound

sonar, resonate, unison

soph

wisdom, knowledge

philosophy, sophisticated, sophomore (wise fool)

spec, spic

look, see

spectacles, spectator, inauspicious, prospect   

spir

coil

spiral

spir

breathe

inspire, respiration, conspire, perspiration

spond, spons

promise, answer for

respond, responsible

spont

by one’s own force

spontaneous

stat

stay, position

station

tang, tact

touch

tactile, tangible

temp

time

temporary, temporize

ten, tent

hold

tentative, tenable, tenuous

terr

earth

subterranean, terrain, terrestrial, disinter

theo

god, deity

theology, polytheism, atheist, monotheism

therm-

heat

thermal, thermos, thermometer

trophy

nutrition, food

atrophy—without nutrition

uro

urine

urologist

vac

empty

vacation, vacuum, vacuous, vacant

ven, vent

come, go

intervene, convene, contravene

ver

truth

veracity, verify, verity

vert

turn

introvert, irreversible, vertigo

vit

life

vital, revitalize, vitamin

voc

call

revoke, invocation, vocal, evocative, convocation

zoo

animal

zoo, zoology, zoolatry

PREFIXES

Prefix

Meaning

Examples

a-, an-

not, without

amoral, anesthetic, apolitical, asocial

ab-

away from

abduction, abstain, abnormal

ad-

to, toward

adjoin, adjacent (lying near to)

ambi-

both

ambidextrous, ambivalent

ana-

up, back, again

analogy, anatomy, anagram

anti-

against

antipathy, antiwar, antisocial

apo-

from, away from

apology, apologize

auto-

self

autobiography, automobile, autocracy, automaton

bene-

good

benediction benevolent benefactor

cata-, cat-

down, against

catastrophe—a turning down

centro, centri-

around, center

concentric, centrifugal

circum-

around

circumlocution circumference, circumvent

com-

with, together

communal, community

con-

with, together

connect, confide conspire

contra-

against

contradict, contravene

de-

down, away

descend, deject (cast down)

dia-, di-

through, across

diameter, division

dis-

apart, not

disengage, discord, discomfort

dys-

ill, difficult, bad

dysfunctional, dysentery

e-

out of, from

elect (choose out of), eject (throw out)

ecto-

on the outside

ectoderm—outer skin

en-, em-

in

empathy—feeling in

endo-

within, inside

endoscope—instrument for observing inside

epi-

upon

epitaph epidermis, epicenter

eso-

inward, within

esoteric—more inward, esophagus

eu-

well, good

euthanasia—good death

ex-

out of, from

exhume, exhale, exodus

hetero-

other, different

heterosexual, heterodoxy, heterodox heterogeneous

homo-

same

homosexual, homogeneous, homogenized

hyper-

over

hypertension, hypersensitive, hyperactivity

hypo-

under

hypotension, hypodermic

il-

not

illegitimate, illicit, illegal, illegible

im-

not

imperfect, impolite, impossible

im-

into

imbibe (drink in, take in)

in-

not

indiscreet, invisible

in-

into

incorporate (take into the body)

inter-

between

intervene (come between), interstate

intra-

within

intrastate, intramural

ir-

not

irregular, irrational, irredeemable

macro-

large

macrocosm, macroeconomics

mal, male-

bad, evil

malediction malevolent, malnutrition

meta-

beyond

metaphysical

micro-

small

microscope, microcosm, microeconomics

mono-

one, single

monologue, monotheism, monarchy, monogamy

neo-

new, recent

neologism, neo-liberal, neonatology. neolithic

ob-

against

object, obstruct (build against)

palin-, pali-

back, again

palindrome

pan-

all, every

pantheism, Pan-Hellenic, panorama, pandemic

para-

false

paramilitary, paralegal, parachute

per-

through

percolate (flow through) perforate (punch through)

peri-

around

perimeter, periscope

phil-, philo-

like, lover of

philosophy, Francophile, bibliophile, philanthropy

poly-

many, several

polygon, polygamy, polytechnic, polytheism

post-

after

postgraduate, posthumous postpone

pre-

before

precede, predict (tell before)

pro-

for, forward

promote, project

pros-

toward, in front

prospect—view in front, something coming up

proto-

first

prototype, protoplasm, protobiology

pseudo

false

pseudonym, pseudoscience

re-

again, back

repeat, recede, regress (step back)

retro-

back

retrogression, retroactive

se-

away from

seduce (lead away), secede

sub-

under

submarine, subject, subhuman subterranean

sur-, super-

over, above

superhuman, superego, superintend, surpass

syn-, sym-, syl-, sys-

with, together

symphony, synonym, system, syllable

tele-

distant, far off

telephone, telepathy, television, telegram

trans-

across

transient, Transatlantic, transport (carry across)

SUFFIXES

Suffix

Definition

Example

-agog, -agogue

leader

demagogue, pedagogue

-cide

kill(ing)

patricide, infanticide, herbicide. suicide

-ectomy

cutting

appendectomy, splenectomy

-ia, -y

act, state

amnesia, mania, democracy, anarchy

-ic, -tic, -ical, -ac

having to do with

anthropomorphic, dramatic, biblical, cardiac

-ics

things having to do with

optics, physics

-isk, -iscus

small

asterisk—a little star

-ism

the belief in

pacifism, terrorism, socialism, communism

-ist

one who believes in

pacifist, terrorist, socialist, communist

-ite

one connected with

meteorite, polite, cosmopolite

-logy

study field of

biology, geology, etymology, cardiology

-oid

resembling, like-shaped

asteroid, spheroid

-or, -er

one who takes part in

doctor, actor, teacher, driver

-phobia

exaggerated fear

photophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia

-sis

act, state, condition of

analysis

 

Printed from http://www.betterendings.org/homeschool/Words/Root%20Words.htm  11/18/10



 KBAR log

General info (look directly below the boxed text for recent updates/announcements/ assignments):
Greetings!  I hope this website helps you keep up with what we did, what we do, and what we will do in English this year.  I have made myself a goal of keeping this site up to date.  I’ll see what I might need to add or change at least once a week.  Please understand, however, that once I begin collecting papers, I am on a relentless treadmill and I devote much of my time to carefully critiquing and generating feedback on those papers.  My first promise is to teach kids how to write powerfully, so the website gets pushed aside sometimes.  Honest communication between student and parent/guardian, and use of the student planner, are the best bets for keeping everyone up to date with what’s happening in class.  If anyone feels that they are not getting all of the information he or she needs from class or this site, email is the best avenue for reaching me with questions/concerns.  The phone is difficult.  Conferences are good.

 

Grades: Check Powerschool link on the Laguna Middle School website please, http://lams.slcusd.org/ . 

What can you do to raise your grade? 
1.  Keep up during class time; take advantage of every minute because ideas written about and discussed in class are the same ones I'm looking for in essays and exams. TAKE NOTES.  Writing information and ideas forces you to test your understanding; if you can't write it, you have a signal showing when and where to ask the teacher and/or classmates to clarify the material. Be honest in your effort to understand, then feel free to slow me down in complicated discussions where needed. Enter the room ready to absorb as much as possible. Note-taking is one important tool that helps you do this. Careful homework, obviously, helps, too.

2.  Improve the work.  Look over your mini essays and add detail to your responses; extract key quotes from the literature that might strengthen your essays.  Digging through the mini essay prompts, your responses, and the literature will improve your familiarity with the key concepts I'll be looking for in essays and exams.

3.   Make up the work.  Check the postings and turn in any outstanding work.  All assignments EXCEPT KBARs are eligible for half credit up to the final week of each semester.

Lots of good help with writing here (note the paramedic method handouts)-- http://owl.english.purdue.edu/sitemap/ 
Go to "Academic Writing" > "Strong Thesis Statements"  for help with persuasive speech 
Also helpful:  "Academic Writing" > "Essay Writing" > "Argumentative Essays"

*Please don't ask me for extra credit.  It is available throughout the year, but will not serve to bail you out.  Some assignments early in the first semester will be 100% "extra credit."  They will be announced as such.  If you are interested in extra credit, take advantage of these opportunities as they crop up.  They are not offered later.  Exceed my expectations on ANY assignment at ANY point in the year, and you will receive extra credit-- read the prompts  carefully and GO BIG! (But remember, quantity does not translate to quality; in fact, it often hurts).

Jan 26th, 2017--

Once you have presented and submitted your paper, complete the following reflection exercise and submit to the inbox within three days of your presentation.  50 pts.  It should be obvious, given the high point value, that I'm expecting thoughtful, detailed, honest paragraphs in response to these questions.  Recall specific actions, thoughts, and feelings of your experiences in this project and refer to them in well-developed, coherent paragraphs.

Think of the thoughts and experiences you had as you moved through each phase of the project we just finished (one month long!).  List the phases (choosing the subject, beginning reading/research/notes).  

Phases:

1. Understand assignment/task

2. Choose subject

3. Begin reading/taking notes/adding works cited page

     Then...???

4.

5.

6.

     More...?


Respond to each prompt with at least one fully developed paragraph.  What important lessons did you learn regarding how you:

1)      made choices and began to act in first few phases

2)      developed a strategy for producing the products (paper and speech with board).  How well did you incorporate the materials (handouts) and instructions in your strategy?

3)      Managed your time during the course of the many weeks leading up to your due date.

 

Presentation reflection

 

1)      List three important lessons you learned from watching others present (consult your notes).  Which one is most important and why (elaborate in a full, well-developed paragraph). 

2)      List three important lessons you learned while preparing and delivering your own speech.  Which one is most important and why (elaborate in a full, well-developed paragraph).

3)      List three important lessons you learned from reviewing your grade and teacher comments. Which one is most important and why (elaborate in a full, well-developed paragraph).

Jan. 24th, 2017-- 

Crunch time!  I am very proud of those students making progress on their research papers and presentations.  Thank you for rising to the challenge-- following directions and using the resources made available to you.  You will be happy you did once your due date arrives and you shine in your performance.  

Remember that a piece of writing can always be revised and improved.  Here is one more resource to help you (don't forget that the OWL sample research paper can be a big help, too): 

Research Paper Checklist

1)     Paper is not in a folder.  It is stapled in upper left corner.

2)     Heading has four evenly double spaced lines: 1. full name, 2. teacher’s name, class and period #, 3. assignment name (research paper), and 4. Date final draft was printed.  Heading is aligned left.

3)     Writer’s last name and a correct page number appear in upper right of all pages that follow in the "header").

4)     Title is in same style and sized font as rest of paper.  Title is not in quotation marks, not underlined, does not have extra spaces above or below, but is centered.  Title mentions subject of paper and hints at idea of thesis.

5)     All paragraphs are indented at the start.  No extra spaces between paragraphs.

6)     In-text documentation shows parenthetical notes following bits of specific information.  These notes show the first word of the corresponding works cited entry and a page number when appropriate.  No “p.,” “page,” or comma before the page number. Periods come after the parentheses.  The margin on the left side of direct quotations longer than three lines is indented ten spaces (two tabs). 

7)     Works cited says Works Cited at top, centered in same size/style font as rest of paper.  Entries appear with hanging indents and are alphabetized by first word.

8)     The paper is evenly double spaced and printed in ink and in the same style and sized font.  Writing is on one side of page.  Margins are one inch or one and one-quarter inches.

9)     There are no spelling errors, missing capital letters where necessary, or missing periods.  All sentences make sense. 

10) There are no run-on sentences, nor are there fragments in the paper.

11) Thesis statement is clearly stated after introductory information.  All points made in thesis are supported with evidence and explanation.

Jan. 19th, 2017--

Richard Lanham's "Paramedic Method" for revising prose-- USE IT!  Make every sentence of your paper concise and lively, VIGOROUS!

Jan. 12th-- 

10 pages of notes and your THESIS STATEMENT due Friday, Jan. 20th (10 pts.).  Remember that a "page" of notes should be organized so each note is clearly separate from the next and there is blank space to the left.  This means that only about five or 6 notes will fit onto one page.  Short, direct quotes are best-- these can be inserted into the text of your paper later as supporting evidence (look for quotes that relate directly to your thesis).  Be VERY SURE to include info on which source gave you each note.  The whole project will be due Jan. 26th.

NEW INFO ON RESEARCH PROJECT ADDED TO UPDATE BELOW:

Jan. 9th, 2017-- Happy new year!

New year = new project!  In the next few weeks, you should be taking notes on the life and times of your research subject, a significant and researchable person.  If you choose a significant author, I will award a few points of extra credit on your paper.  Your goal is to learn as much about the person and his or her time period as you can, then, by the end of next week, Jan. 20th, use your knowledge of facts to form an opinion about the whole story.  The paper, which you will present to the class (see presentation gradesheet below), needs to be an argument about the person, not a simple summary of his or her life.  Learn the facts this week and next so you can see connections between them and teach us what the most interesting angle is on that life story.  Here are the official assignment sheets for the paper AND the presentation, also see the MLA guidelines for building a proper Works Cited page:


Research Presentation Gradesheet  PDF

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)  PDF 

MLA works cited guidelines  PDF


Gradesheet and assignment sheet pasted onto this page below (in case they don't open properly on your device):

The Research Paper Assignment

The Intro and Thesis Statement

1.       Draw your reader into your paper with a brief description, amazing fact, or other interesting, relevant idea. 

2.       Summarize the basics of your subject’s life—not the whole thing!  Give a few basics of time, place, and situation then follow up with a unique detail that transitions your reader into the broad statement you will make at the end of the intro (your thesis).

3.       State your thesis (as the expert on your subject, state the most important idea, or series of related ideas, I should know about him or her—a point/argument that you can explain/prove now that you’ve learned so much more about him or her than the general public knows-- argue a point about the person's overall story; don't simply state what the person did).

 

The Body Paragraphs  (Support your thesis throughout the rest of the paper)

1.       Begin each of the body paragraphs with an idea (topic sentence) that proves your thesis.

2.       Back each of these up with examples and quotations from your research (inside each paragraph).

3.       Explain the point of each paragraph as you give examples/quotations and connect the evidence to your thesis.

 

The Conclusion  (last chance to convince your reader that your ideas are true and meaningful)

1.       Revisit your opening (if appropriate) and the idea of your thesis statement—be careful that it does not sound exactly like your thesis; reader will be annoyed by repetition.  Try to make it sound like a logical follow-up of the point made in your last body paragraph (a transition).

2.       Support this final topic sentence with new quotations, statistics, brief anecdotes (stories), and/or your own specific, clear reflections on the argument you’ve made throughout the paper.  Show your reader that you have important thoughts about your argument (not the same general thoughts that just anybody might have about your person).

3.       Make sure your final line is strong—avoid offering a flowery compliment or giving advice to your reader.

 

Your paper should be FOUR OR FIVE PARAGRAPHS-- an intro>thesis, two or three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.  The main concern should be with organization of the argument; we do not write to fill space but to communicate, persuade, and illuminate.  Make your point by developing/supporting your good idea (your thesis)!

 

Research Paper Rubric

___ / 10  introduction that orients reader to subject and finishes with a strong, clear thesis statement

___ / 50 logically organized supporting statements; pertinent specific evidence documented according to the MLA in-text documentation guidelines— at least three sources are cited on a Works Cited page: at least one title is a nonfiction book, at least one is a periodical (magazine), at least one is an electronic source (WWW).  All ideas are clearly explained (make the point of each paragraph clear and connect ideas to your THESIS STATEMENT)

___ / 20  strong conclusion that revisits thesis without repeating language exactly and adds insights discovered in research

___ / 20  presentation/formatting, grammar, mechanics/usage

 

Plagiarism

Every year at least one student demonstrates irresponsible scholarship by submitting writing (ideas and/or direct quotations) that is not his or her own and failing to credit the source.  DON’T LET THIS BE YOU!  The source of all specific ideas, facts, and direct quotations MUST be documented.  Keep track of where the information that you may or may not use in your paper comes from; make a note of the source as you take notes.  The ideas, facts, and direct quotations that make it into your paper must be accompanied by parenthetical notes at the end of the sentence in which they appear.  Failure to do this could result in a failing grade on the paper.

Research Presentation Gradesheet

Poise and Delivery

0  1  2

0  1  2  3  4

0  2  4  6  8  10  12  14

 

0  1  2  3  4  5

wait for audience before beginning

posture—stand tall, no leaning or swaying

dynamic speaking: eye contact, good volume, clear pronunciation and enunciation—no reading / monotone, no hesitations (aaaa, ummm, okay, like)

professional and appropriate vocabulary, key terms pronounced and used correctly

Organization and Development of Content

0  1  2  3

0  2  4  6  8

0  4  8  12  16  20  24

0  1  2  3  4  5

0  2  4  6  8

 

 

 

0  1  2

intro begins with a relevant attention getter (set scene, quote, staggering statistic)

valid thesis (an interesting, arguable point?) clearly stated early

factual support that directly proves thesis throughout presentation

 

visual aid incorporated into presentation

conclusion creates a sense of closure by linking to the relevant attention-getter, restating thesis, and wrap-up (create closure in the discussion by giving a final thought on your argument).

meets time limit—two points deducted per thirty seconds under or over (Three to 6:00 minutes—DON’T GO OVER! PLAN and PRACTICE)

 

            /75

Visual

0  1  2  3  4  5

 

 

0  1  2  3  4  5

0  1  2  3  4  5

 

0  1  2  3  4  5

 

0  1  2  3  4  5

picture of your person is big and clear enough to see (most of an eight 1/2 by eleven inch piece of paper), full name displayed above picture, and birth and death dates displayed underneath

a labeled map of where this person lived or traveled

a time line (not hand lettered—use a computer, think about using pictures to show events)

at least one key term/idea associated with your thesis is defined in words, by a labeled picture, or both

Aesthetics—overall look of board is professional, balanced, and communicative

 

All material-- especially lettering—must be BIG ENOUGH to read/understand from anywhere in room; if any item causes the viewer confusion rather than instant comprehension, it is harming your presentation, not aiding it, and that item will cost you points.

 

            /25           Total Points for Presentation  /100

 

MLA works cited guidelines  PDF

Dec. 12th, 2016--

Revising help for draft of mini-research paper due Friday, 12/16:

1. Is the piece exactly four paragraphs 

 Intro>Thesis statement
 Supporting paragraph
  Supporting paragraph
 conclusion
And remember to build each paragraph according the step-by-step instructions we have studied all year (check your notes if you don't know it by heart yet-- you should!)

2. Are two reasons that your activity is reward/enriching listed or mentioned in the thesis?  Are they as interesting as they could/should be?

3. Is it formatted correctly? (see "formatting model" below, or look again at the sample paper from OWL-- link also below)

4. Are supporting paragraphs built around researched evidence that SHOWS your meaning?  Is the evidence blended into your own language and explanation?

5. Is all evidence, including paraphrased ideas/information, CITED with in-text documentation that works in conjunction with the paper's Works Cited page (last page of paper)?

6. NO SECOND PERSON ("you...") Point of View!

Dec. 6th, 2016--

Rubric for research paper due 12/16 (scroll down):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzMm-4_n-yVDc05TMmN0LTRYRFgxbUNtN1BKajNhVHp4Z09V/view

Dec. 2nd, 2016--

Sample research paper: https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20160920114529_747.pdf

Nov. 30th, 2016--

We are embarking upon a research journey.  As you venture into the landscape of your topic, consider these questions:

Research questions for any topic:

 

When and where did it start?

Who started it and why/how?

Does it have cultural significance (is it important to the culture of those who practice it, use it, or come in contact with it?)

Is its invention or existence a result of culture?

What are its benefits to you as an individual?  To groups/society?

What are its flaws/dangers?

How popular is it?  Why?

What is it about your past experiences that causes you to be interested in it?

Why isn’t everyone interested in it?

More…?  

Here is the actual prompt for the assignment:

You will be researching a topic of your choice and then writing an informative-explanatory essay using a variety of text features.  


This is an informational writing unit. Informational writing is writing to teach - to grasp the essence of a topic quickly enough to teach others about it. In this unit, you will act as journalists researching a topic of interest.  You will be going through an entire writing process of researching, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.


In your writing, make sure you include:

  • An introduction

  • A variety of information

  • Organize your writing

  • Controlling main idea

  • Evidence and elaborate

  • Text features

  • Transition words

  • A conclusion


Your essay will be scored using the following criteria:

  • Purpose and Organization: Is the main idea clearly communicated? Is the essay clearly focused? How well did your ideas thoughtfully flow from beginning to end using effective transitions? How effective was your introduction and your conclusion?

  • Elaboration/Evidence: How well did you integrate relevant and specific information from the sources? How well did you elaborate your ideas? How well did you clearly state ideas using precise language that is appropriate for your audience and purpose?

  • Conventions: How well did you follow the rules of grammar usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling?

Formatting Model (Formatting Mod.pdf

Due Friday, December 16th.  50 pts.

Oct. 27th, 2016--

8th-- Yesterday's mini essay (practice write) and today's are important.  Make sure you finish both for tomorrow's class

Mini essay-- Explain the "dysfunction" in John's and Lorraine's households.  Explain how that dysfunction might be at least partially responsible for each character's behavior.  Support all statements with evidence and explanation. 

Mini essay-- Analyze the passage on page 42 in which Lorraine says, "She just doesn't look the way she sounds..."  Explain her meaning and the significance (importance) of this passage in relation to the story overall. 

Oct 26th, 2016--

7th-- We are balancing our attention this week: your first lit. analysis project (pdf) is due 11/1, and a new assignment, the Beowulf Riff will be due 11/8.

Riff on Beowulf assignment

Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling shows an attempt to portray the “root meaning” of the original poem that is now 1000 to 1200 years old. We see evidence of his concern with “root meaning” (or theme) in his use of metaphors, symbols, and philosophical speeches. Like all stories in the oral tradition, it shows listeners, or readers, the values of the culture that created it and consumes it. Sadly, the USA does not have an epic poem that moves listeners to feel connected and educated in the culture. So... your job is to write one, or, at least part of one. Play with figurative style (symbols, metaphors, analogy, personification), and write an adaptation of one chapter in Robert Nye’s Beowulf: a New Telling to reflect our culture and its values. Have fun, but keep it school-appropriate!

Hints: Brainstorm possible modern-day characters/forces of our time that might represent the characters/forces of Nye’s version of Beowulf. Who/what kind of character might you use for Beowulf? For Unferth? Queen Wealhtheow? Hrothgar? Wiglaf? What evil force, monster, or person might represent Grendel? 2) Re-write scenes from your chosen chapter in which these characters/forces interact. Show a conflict and a resolution. If your adaptation is chosen by the group of six to 8 students to which you are assigned, you and your group members will adapt the scene to our little stage (in class) and you will perform a three to 10 minute skit.

Final draft of this assignment is due on Nov. 8th. 30 pts. Extra credit may be awarded if script is accompanied by a storyboard.

Oct. 11th, 2016--

Congratulations, scholars, on your accomplishments this week.  I collected your first essay, and I will be grading and critiquing them in the next few weeks.  I am VERY pleased with a few of them :).  Thank you for your patience; I will return them as soon as I finish all of them-- it takes time!
7th graders will be embarking on their first "literary analysis" project this month, due Nov. 1st.  See link lit. analysis project (pdf)

 lit. analysis project (pdf).  This might help:

Help with thesis statements(PDF) Any effective thesis statement will cause the reader (or listener) to think, “Oh, that’s interesting.  Show me how and why it’s true and important.  Tell me more.”  So, GET INTO the HOW and the WHY of the general idea you first come up with for theme. 

 

Answer these kinds of questions IN YOUR THESIS:

 

What are two or three factors that enable the main character to overcome his or her challenges in the story’s plot/situation?  Would these factors help any of us in a similar situation?

 

If the main character changed in a positive way, how and why did the change happen?  What does the change, AND HOW THE CHANGE HAPPENED, show us about ourselves?  Were there outside AND inside influences?  Was pride/ego involved?  Imagination?  Intelligence?


Which character is a hero in the story?  WHY?  What is it about his or her character that makes it heroic?  (Don’t try to argue that he or she is heroic because he or she acts heroically!)

 

Bottom line: If your thesis states only what happened in the story, your essay will be a summary, not an analysis/argument.  We don’t want a lot of summary; we want argumentation on the story’s meaning, its value as a story.  If it states an immediately acceptable truth, what follows will be repetitive and boring/weak.  Get into the how and the why of the most important change(s) from the beginning of the story to the end (resolution).

September 26th, 2016--

Big due date Oct. 4th!  Short Story Connection Essay (Sh Story Conn.pdf) Due Oct 4th.  BRING HARD COPY (paper) of current rough draft to class every day.  We will work on it in class, and you will have some opportunities to receive one-on-one instruction if you have the work with you.  If you leave the work at home, or "on my computer at home," class time will be wasted and your opportunity to get instruction from me will be lost :-(.

Sample paper (pdf version) for the short story connection assignment.

Formatting Model (Formatting Mod.pdf )

September 15th, 2016--

Some of you have noticed the assignment mentioned below-- check it out!

We are getting into deeper analysis of short stories now.  The mini essay prompts are getting more interesting!  They are exercises in writing that will help you prepare for writing your first major essay, the Short Story Connection Essay described below and due Oct 4th (50 pts.).  Today's mini essay prompts are good ones to get you thinking about the most important elements of the readings, and they are prompting you to do the type of analysis and argumentation that I'm looking for in your essays:

7th--  In "Thank You, Ma'm" by Langston Hughes, Roger has a difficult time expressing his gratitude to Miss Luella Bates Washington Jones (consider the significance of the BIG name-- symbolic?).  This is new territory for him.  Why is Roger tongue-tied?  What has Miss L. B. W. J. done for him and how important is this experience for Roger?

8th-- The Naturalist is a very important character in Mona Gardner's "The Dinner Party" (596).  Compare and contrast him to at least one other guest at the table (describe similarities and differences).  Argue your idea on the purpose the Naturalist serves in the story-- how does he help us understand theme (the message the story suggests on what is important about life/human nature). 

September 8th, 2016-- 

Short Story Connection Essay (Sh Story Conn.pdf) Due Oct 4th.  BRING HARD COPY (paper) of current rough draft to class every day.  We will work on it in class, and you will have some opportunities to receive one-on-one instruction if you have the work with you.  If you leave the work at home, or "on my computer at home," class time will be wasted and your opportunity to get instruction from me will be lost :-(.

August 29th, 2016--

Okay, here we go!  Last week was filled with lots of practical, procedural stuff; this week, IT'S ON!  Be sure to keep working on ideas and plans for your group's vocabulary lesson Friday:

Engage every student so that he or she enthusiastically participates in an activity centered on demonstrating mastery of the five words: analyze, structure, interpret, factor, and function.  Your group will have 10 -12 minutes to lead the class.  A group grade will be awarded for how well your group

1. shows evidence that proves every student has mastered the use of the words (so, the students need to demonstrate/perform actions that show mastery of the words)

2. engages all students in active participation

3. displays style/humor/creativity

Students can show mastery by using the words in any of their forms (verb, noun, adjective, adverb... past tense, present tense,.. plural, singular...).

Your lesson can take shape in any school appropriate manner-- here's your chance to show teachers how to teach!  If you've ever complained about boring lessons, you owe it to yourself, and to the rest of us, to plan and implement a fun, effective activity!  Go big!  You will be given 15 minutes to work with your group on at least one other day in the week besides Monday and before Friday.  Talk to your partners as much as you can at other opportunities (lunch? before/after class? phone? text?).

Due every Friday of five-day school weeks.  20 pts.

If you would like to see justification for this assignment (and lots of interesting ideas on how humans learn and remember), click here: https://vimeo.com/169193980   Thank you, Erik Benitez, for sharing this with staff.



August 25th, 2016--

Welcome to the start of a great school year! I've enjoyed meeting all of you and beginning our work together.  

I hope the format of this page makes sense to you, and that you find it helpful throughout the year-- it's a scroll that grows as I add new updates.  The latest info will always appear just below the general info highlighted at the top.  If you are looking for older info or handout links, scroll down.  If you check the site regularly, the relevant info will always be found at the top. 


Here are the first few documents you will find helpful:

Course outline for English 7 Adv..worddoc    pdf
Course outline for English 8worddoc        pdf
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT INFO SHEET worddoc
Back to School info Pdf

ALL STUDENTS-- open the "Course Outline" for your course and review with your parent(s) and/or guardian(s).  Ask he/she/they to let me know that this happened; a quick email, short note, or a printed and signed course outline (best) will earn you 10 points in the course-- easy $!  Due Wednesday, Aug. 31.


















Old site below:

Mr. Wittman's Page                                      wwittman@slcusd.org

 

General info (look directly below the boxed text for recent updates/announcements/assignments):
Greetings!  I hope this website helps you keep up with what we did, what we do, and what we will do in English this year.  I have made myself a goal of keeping this site up to date.  I’ll see what I might need to add or change at least once a week.  Please understand, however, that once I begin collecting papers, I am on a relentless treadmill and I devote much of my time to carefully critiquing and generating feedback on those papers.  My first promise is to teach kids how to write powerfully, so the website gets pushed aside sometimes.  Honest communication between student and parent/guardian, and use of the student planner, are the best bets for keeping everyone up to date with what’s happening in class.  If anyone feels that they are not getting all of the information he or she needs from class or this site, email is the best avenue for reaching me with questions/concerns.  The phone is difficult.  Conferences are good.


If you miss a Monday with a spelling pretest, open the document Spelling lists and vocabulary exercises (pdf) and complete the vocabulary exercises.  Study the words and take all 20 on Friday’s test in class.  If you miss a Friday with a spelling test, have a responsible person at home dictate the words to you and take the test at home.  The person at home signs the test, you staple it to your pretest and submit both to the in-box upon your return.

 

Grades: Check Powerschool link on the Laguna Middle School website please, http://lams.slcusd.org/ . 

What can you do to raise your grade? 
1.  Keep up during class time; take advantage of every minute because ideas written about and discussed in class are the same ones I'm looking for in essays and exams. TAKE NOTES.  Writing information and ideas forces you to test your understanding; if you can't write it, you have a signal showing when and where to ask the teacher and/or classmates to clarify the material. Be honest in your effort to understand, then feel free to slow me down in complicated discussions where needed. Enter the room ready to absorb as much as possible. Note-taking is one important tool that helps you do this. Careful homework, obviously, helps, too.

2.  Improve the work.  Look over your mini essays and add detail to your responses; extract key quotes from the literature that might strengthen your essays.  Digging through the mini essay prompts, your responses, and the literature will improve your familiarity with the key concepts I'll be looking for in essays and exams.

3.   Make up the work.  Check the postings and turn in any outstanding work.  All assignments EXCEPT KBARs are eligible for half credit up to the final week of each semester.

Lots of good help with writing here (note the paramedic method handouts)-- http://owl.english.purdue.edu/sitemap/ 
Go to "Academic Writing" > "Strong Thesis Statements"  for help with persuasive speech 
Also helpful:  "Academic Writing" > "Essay Writing" > "Argumentative Essays"

*Please don't ask me for extra credit.  It is available throughout the year, but will not serve to bail you out.  Some assignments early in the first semester will be 100% "extra credit."  They will be announced as such.  If you are interested in extra credit, take advantage of these opportunities as they crop up.  They are not offered later.  Exceed my expectations on ANY assignment at ANY point in the year, and you will receive extra credit-- read the prompts  carefully and GO BIG! (But remember, quantity does not translate to quality; in fact, it often hurts).

June 10th, 2016--

And... that's a wrap! Congratulations to all of you (support crew/parents included) who arose to every challenge and produced the best work you had in you all year long.  I know it wasn't easy; it's not easy for me either!  It's fun, sometimes, though, and it's certainly rewarding.  I'm proud of you guys.  


Powerschool is all up to date as of about five minutes ago; check it and shoot me an email if you see a mistake of mine that hurt your score (and can prove it!).  If you did not receive full credit on the portfolio reflections, it was probably because you failed to include textual evidence from the works you were referring to in your portfolio when you answered the prompts.  Remember that skill we worked on ALL YEAR LONG?  I read the responses to prompt #7 and #8 with special interest.  These were some of the lines that made me smile:

  • "...writing skills I worked on this year: building a coherent argument, writing more with less..."
  • "...I realized that what Mr. Wittman was teaching us was applicable to the real world, not just for grades, but to get ideas across clearly..."
  • "...my sentence/paragraph structure got better, and I got to the point faster in my later essays...my paragraphs started making more sense and were easier to follow."
  • "...writing got more detailed and I explained what I was saying better.  My writing got more interesting...staying on topic, explaining with more detail and my essay structure was just overall better than each essay before it."
  • "...improved on understanding how to write a good thesis"
  • "...I am keeping the essay about my thesis.  I used to go on rants...that had absolutely nothing to do with my thesis or the prompt."
  • "...over time I was able to see that I had learned and I was able to stay on topic and stick to the point."
  • "My writing has become shorter because I am not using as many filler words.  This has helped me to make my writing more clean...more information in less period of time."
  • "I have gotten much better at elaborating...my paragraphs are much longer, and I've started to understand the structure in writing..."
  • "...stronger paragraphs with less summary and more elaboration and evidence..."

Two of the above comments were lifted from 7th grade responses, the others from 8th.  Thanks to all who exerted honest, consistent effort this year.  It was a good one.  I am lucky to teach kids like you, and you are lucky to have the support you have.  Tell them!  And have a great SUMMER with them :-)  --Mr Wittman


June 1st. 2016--

ALL CLASSES: Just one more assignment: 
due 6/7, 50 pts Final portfolio reflection assignment,  <word doc, or just look below:

Final Portfolio Reflection Questions  50 pts, Due 6/6 for 8th, 6/7 for 7th

This is your last shot at earning significant points-- go big!  Write organized, well-developed paragraph answers for items 2-9.  Support your statements with textual evidence from your writings and vivid description from memory

 

1.    From memory, list as many assignments in your portfolio as you can.  Check portfolio when done and complete the list (if necessary).

2.    Which is your favorite?  Why?

3.    Which was your least favorite?  Why?

4.    Which are you most proud of?  Why?

5.    Which was your favorite piece of literature assigned by me this year?  Why?

6.    Who was your favorite character?  Why?

7.    Review all your work in your portfolio chronologically (earliest to latest).  List three interesting observations and/or changes in your writing.  Which are the most profound (obvious and important)?  Why?

8.    Look over your work and accompanying gradesheets.  List three writing skills you worked on this year.  Which is most valuable?  Most improved?

9.    List three essential skills for effective reading (think about all the steps you go through in understanding and making meaning from [interpreting] a piece of literature).  Which skill, or step, is most important?  Why?

  • We also have one more test (Greek/Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes Friday, 6/3, 20 points)

May 9th, 2016--
THANK YOU kids, parents, and colleagues for sharing appreciation last week.  "Dude, Be Nice" coincided with teacher appreciation week and made the climate here especially pleasant.  We are so fortunate to live and work in such a special community :-)

I graded quite a few research papers this weekend, so check Powerschool, be sure to complete portfolio reflections, and add the work to your folder in the drawer.  

We are forging ahead with Greek/Latin roots and prefixes again this week.  Friday's test will feature the new prefixes (down to "hyper") AND REVIEW ITEMS FROM THE ENTIRE LIST OF ROOTS.


April 19th, 2016--

7th-- Mini essay collected today, 10 pts:

Many readers are dissatisfied with Lois Lowry's choice to end The Giver ambiguously, but many more believe the ambiguity is a perfect device that provides a sort of finishing touch to her major theme throughout the novel.  Argue how the second group of readers might be right.  Support all claims with evidence and explanation.

All students: Greek/Latin roots test #1 Friday, April 22nd, 40 items, 20 pts.


April 12th, 2016--
All students: Make flashcards for the first 20 Greek roots on a longer list you will be tested on soon.  Here is the full list: Greek roots PDF We will continue to work with our novels, The Giver in 7th and Walk Two Moons in 8th, as we study these and test ourselves throughout the rest of the year.

March 31, 2016--

I hope the break finds everyone well, having fun in the sunshine, and enjoying the company of friends and family.  I've been catching up on grading and recording, so be sure to check Powerschool and bring any questions, concerns, missing work on monday.  Please do not email me with these-- I'll be at home and unable to do anything about them.  If you have a question about late work or "extra credit," see the expalnations at the top of this web page again, or see the course outline you and your parents signed at the beginning of the course.  


8th graders
-- next week we will review esssay structure and the importance of  a solid thesis statement to guide you in building a coherent answer to the prompt


7th graders
-- I've been helping some of you with thesis statements for the lit. analysis projects due April 4th (Tuesday) via email; if you have a draft thesis and haven't shared it with  me yet, email me! 

I'm grabbing another stack of research papers from the classroom today, so expect more of those grades to make it into the book next week.


Enjoy the rest of spring break and take care, Mr Wittman


March 21, 2016--

Short week with a few opportunities to SCORE POINTS:

7th-- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer "storyboards" are due tomorrow, Tuesday (30 pts.).  Depict the scene you found funniest for its satirical qualities.  Artistic talent will not be graded, but it is appreciated :).  Just show effort and at least SOME color.  Most of your points will be earned on the paragrah at the end that explains the satire.  MAKE IT ALL FIT ON ONE SIDE OF THE PAGE.  KBAR is due Thursday, and your next lit. analysis is due Tuesday, April 5th.  We will work toward building SOLID essays for this assignment on Wednesday and Thursday (class period only a half hour Thurs. due to 3-mile run).  Share ideas for your thesis statement with me as soon as you can.  Dig deep!  What is it ABOUT what happens in the story (the plot) that makes the story interesting and important?  If your thesis statement simply states what happens, you will write a plot summary and that is NOT what we want.  Analyze plot, make connections, and ARGUE meaning.


8th-- We will have an in-class essay exam on Wednesday, 50 pts.  You will be given at least two promts and asked to respond to ONE with a complete essay (at least four paragraphs).  Use ideas discussed in class to build a solid essay on themes in The Call of the Wild, Into the Wild, "To Build a Fire," and experiences of your own.  We also have KBAR due Thurs., 3/24.  Prepare by looking over essay structure guidelines, and class notes and mini essays.  Also be sure to pay attention today and tomorrow in class.  FOCUS the second you step into the classroom; soak up the information and ideas, then USE them.


Feb. 12th, 2016--

Whew!  We finally reached the end of our research journey!  Now it's time to reflect.  Detailed, developed (explained well), and honest written responses to the prompts below could earn you 60/60 points (due Wednesday for 7th, Thursday for 8th-- some class time will be made available Tuesday and Wednesday):
Research Reflection prompts

Term paper reflection

 

Think of the thoughts and experiences you had as you moved through each phase of the project we just finished (two months long!).  List the phases (choosing the subject, beginning reading/research/notes).  What important lessons did you learn regarding how you:

1)      made choices and began to act in first few phases

2)      developed a strategy for producing the products (paper and speech with board).  How well did you incorporate the materials (handouts) and instructions in your strategy?

3)      Managed your time during the course of the many weeks leading up to your due date.

 

Presentation reflection

 

1)      List three important lessons you learned from watching others present (consult your notes)

2)      List three important lessons you learned while preparing and delivering your own speech

3)      List three important lessons you learned from reviewing your grade and teacher comments


Feb. 10th, 2016--

I am very proud of everyone who completed this big project and presented his or her work.  Thank you.  Do your best to analyze results carefully and objectively-- I know that can be very difficult if the score disappoints you, surprises you unpleasantly.  The presentation gradesheet breaks down every part of the performance, so learn all you can from that feedback.  You will build and perform many more presentations in the future; use this one to learn what to do and what not to do.  


Feb. 1st, 2016--

Richard Lanham's "Paramedic Method" for revising prose-- USE IT!  Make every sentence of your paper concise and lively, VIGOROUS!


Jan. 27, 2016--
ONE WEEK TO THE FIRST DAY OF PRESENTATIONS AND PAPERS DUE!  Please, for your sake and ours, get this paper written, revised, and practiced.  Use the Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)  PDF and the Research Presentation Gradesheet  PDF when preparing both.  Try videoing your presentation (after you are reasonably good at reading it aloud-- after 5-10 practice runs?).  Remember that eye conact, posture, and flow count!  Also, work on incorporating your board/visual aid INTO your presentation as you deliver it.
Research paper checklist

Research Paper Checklist

1)     Paper is not in a folder.  It is stapled in upper left corner.

2)     Heading has four evenly double spaced lines: 1. full name, 2. teacher’s name, class and period #, 3. assignment name (research paper), and 4. Date final draft was printed.  Heading is aligned left.

3)     Writer’s last name and a page number are missing from the upper right corner of the first page, but the writer’s last name and a correct page number appear in upper right of all pages that follow.

4)     Title is in same style and sized font as rest of paper.  Title is not in quotation marks, not underlined, does not have extra spaces above or below, but is centered.  Title mentions subject of paper and hints at idea of thesis.

5)     All paragraphs are indented at the start.  No extra spaces between paragraphs.

6)     In-text documentation shows parenthetical notes following bits of specific information.  These notes show the first word of the corresponding works cited entry and a page number when appropriate.  No “p.,” “page,” or comma before the page number. Periods come after the parentheses.  The margin on the left side of direct quotations longer than three lines is indented ten spaces (two tabs). 

7)     Works cited says Works Cited at top, centered in same size/style font as rest of paper.  Entries appear in reverse paragraph order and are alphabetized by first word.

8)     The paper is evenly double spaced and printed in ink and in the same style and sized font.  Writing is on one side of page.  Margins are one inch or one and one-quarter inches.

9)     There are no spelling errors, missing capital letters where necessary, or missing periods.  All sentences make sense. 

10) There are no run-on sentences, nor are there fragments in the paper.

11) Thesis statement is clearly stated after introductory information.  All points made in thesis are supported with evidence and explanation.


Jan. 22, 2016--

NOW IS THE TIME TO WRITE YOUR PAPER!  If I haven't approved your thesis statement, show me your latest attempt IMMEDIATELY so I can help you get on track.  Scores are now in Powerschool.  You can email your theisis statement to me this weekend if you want to.  Argue what is most interesting about your person and his or her story.  Don't bore yourself and the rest of us with a simple, "thin" argument.  Be the expert on your subject and teach us something we don't already know, or teach us something we should appreciate more about your person and the story surrounding him or her.  You should show up Monday with a COMPLETE DRAFT of your paper, so you can revise it a few times early next week, then practice delivering it MANY TIMES before your due date.  

Don't forget to use the resources available:

Research Presentation Gradesheet  PDF

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)  PDF 

MLA works cited guidelines  PDF 


Formatting Model (Formatting Mod.pdf )


Research paper checklist


Jan. 8, 2016--

I am proud of all classes for the way they worked yesterday in the library.  Almost everyone is where he or she needs to be in this big research project.  Remember to keep your mind open as you read different sources on your subject; look for the "angle" on the story of your person and his or her time period.  Research can be really fun when you see connections and investigate leads.  Organize notes by topic (or "lead").  On Tuesday, I'll be checking for ten pages of notes and at least three sources cited on your rough draft works cited page (10 pts).  Get help with that here:MLA works cited guidelines  PDF I'll be collecting your thesis statements on the following Tuesday, but feel free to share drafts with me before that if you are ready-- don't hand me a half-baked one and expect me to fix it for you though!  Look at the sample papers for guidance, and DIG DEEP!

Jan. 4th, 2016-- Happy new year!

New year = new project!  In the next few weeks, you should be taking notes on the life and times of your research subject, a significant and researchable person.  If you choose a significant author, I will award a few points of extra credit on your paper.  Your goal is to learn as much about the person nd his or her time period as you can, then, by the end of next week, Jan. 14th, use your knowledge of facts to form an opinion about the whole story.  The paper, which you will present to the class-- more on that later, needs to be an argument about the person, not a simple summary of his or her life.  Learn the facts this week and next so you can see connections between them and teach us what the most interesting angle is on that life story.  Here is the official assignment sheet and other helpful documents: 

Research Presentation Gradesheet  PDF

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)  PDF 

MLA works cited guidelines  PDF


Dec. 28th, 2015--
Here we are, mid-winter break; I hope all of us are enjoying time with loved ones out in nature and comfy out of the cold.  Brr!  I just entered quite a few grades I've been working to complete.  Please check Powerschool and check my work.  If you see a mistake, don't email me!  I'll be grading a stack of KBARs at home this week, but other than that I'll be focused on adventures with my boys!  If you find a mistake, bring graded work with you on Monday, Jan. 4, and we will fix it.  I won't be in the classroom to access Powerschool again until I return from break, anyway.  Happy holidays to all-- SEE YOU NEXT YEAR :-)  
PS. Almost all of you can expect a nice little boost in your average once I get through all of the district common assessments.  If you completed it, and it shows solid effort, you will receive a 100% score, 20/20.  If you were absent and need to make uop any part of it, TELL ME next week!

Dec. 11, 2015--
Lots going on in English lately!  I have been grading several different assignments, and I have lots of scores in my paper book to enter into Powerschool.  I have most of two other stacks done now, so I plan to take them home this weekend and finish grading them so I can enter those scores along with the others on Monday.  

All students should be focused on becoming experts on their chosen topics for the PERSUASIVE SPEECH DUE WEDNESDAY, 12/16.  The gradesheet is below (it also serves as a good assignment sheet):

Persuasive Speech Gradesheet

__ / 10 INTRO:  Begin with interesting statement or fact, maybe a vivid description (not “I did my speech on…”).  Give brief background (what are you talking about and why is it important?) and clearly state your position (thesis statement—what should we believe, or what should be done?).

__ / 30 SUPPORT:  Support your position with convincing facts (cite sources for key facts—tell us where you found the info).  Explain your points completely—connect facts/examples to your thesis. ADDRESS COUNTERCLAIMS:  Anticipate, explain, and answer audience concerns/counterarguments.  CONCLUDE: Wrap-up by revisiting your opening and thesis, then finishing with a final argument, suggestion for action, or interesting/funny thought related to your argument.

__ / 10 DELIVERY/POISE:  Hold audience’s interest with good volume, eye contact, posture, and flow (use of visual aid might help us get your point, and you might get extra credit)

MEET TIME LIMIT, THREE TO SEVEN MINUTES.  Two points deducted for every 30 seconds over or under.


Nov. 18th, 2015--
7th--

Canterbury Tales Tale

 

Much of the fun in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is found in the play of each teller.  Each has his or her own agenda or special message for the audience.  Not all can be trusted!  Satire can be strong in each Tale.

 

Have fun creating a “Canterbury Tale” of your own set in modern times.  Establish tension immediately, like Chaucer did in many of his Tales, by having your tale-teller tell about recognizable figures in our society.  What kind of satirical tale would a student tell?  Who might he lampoon, or satirize?  A doctor?  An athlete?  A policeman?  Possibilities are countless.  Be creative, funny, and critical.

 

Your tale should have a beginning, middle, and end.  A conflict should develop, and it should be resolved to show some meaningful message consistent with the teller’s opinion on the subjects of the tale and their situation.  It should take between four and 9 minutes to read your tale aloud (two to 4+ pages double spaced with regular margins and 12 pt simple font).  30 points.  Due Thursday, 11/19.


Nov 9th, 2015--
7th graders 
should be thinking about our work with Beowulf: A New Telling, especially how we treated it as an adaptation of an important artifact of its time and place (800-100 AD England, or "Angle-land").  We will dive into Medieval culture and literature this week with Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales as our artifact and guide.


We should also be reading, rereading, and analyzing key passages in our lit. analysis books.  If you can find information from a reliable source on the author, the particular title you chose to read, and/or the time period of the author, DO IT!  I like Sparknotes-- esp. the "Symbols, Themes, and Motifs" section.  A little bit of research into where the story came from can go a LOOOOOONG way!  A solid thesis statement is 90% of the job.  Find an "angle" into your story, an interesting and important way of seeing what the story suggests about how life tends to work, how we tend to work.  What's the author trying to get us to see that we don't already know, or that we should appreciate more but tend not to?  If it's a statement that we immediately accept, you will end up summarizing the story instead of arguing its meaning, and that's boring because it's low-level thinking.  DIG!  Get help, but CITE SOURCES IN YOUR ESSAY.


8th-- 
The final chunk of class-time for reading The Pigman will come tomorrow.  If you don't finish reading the novel, check out a book from me and finish by Thursday's class.  I will give you opportunities to practice with key concepts and themes tomorrow and thursday, so you can prepare for the in-class essay exam that we'll schedule for Friday or early next week, depending on what I see in class the next few days.  We should also be learning the vocabulary listed below.  Test on these Thursday.

Pigman Vocab Study Sheet

·    chapters one and two

avocation

subliminal

repress

abominable

paranoia

·         chapters three and four

amoebae

prevaricate

schizophrenic

    

·         chapter five

patron

disdain

·         chapters six and seven

omen

antagonistic

·         chapters eight and nine

varicose

vile

arsenal

berserk

·         chapters ten and 11

fixated

strenuous

gleam

morgue

·         chapters 12 and 13

infantile

maladjusted

hovel

hors d’oeurves

·         chapters 14 and 15

incongruous

hysterical

raving

proficiency

senile

 


Oct 26th, 2015--

7th-- Keep up good work on  lit. analysis project (pdf).  This might help:

Help with thesis statements(PDF) Any effective thesis statement will cause the reader (or listener) to think, “Oh, that’s interesting.  Show me how and why it’s true and important.  Tell me more.”  So, GET INTO the HOW and the WHY of the general idea you first come up with for theme. 

 

Answer these kinds of questions IN YOUR THESIS:

 

What are two or three factors that enable the main character to overcome his or her challenges in the story’s plot/situation?  Would these factors help any of us in a similar situation?

 

If the main character changed in a positive way, how and why did the change happen?  What does the change, AND HOW THE CHANGE HAPPENED, show us about ourselves?  Were there outside AND inside influences?  Was pride/ego involved?  Imagination?  Intelligence?

 

Which character is a hero in the story?  WHY?  What is it about his or her character that makes it heroic?  (Don’t try to argue that he or she is heroic because he or she acts heroically!)

 

Bottom line: If your thesis states only what happened in the story, your essay will be a summary, not an analysis/argument.  We don’t want a lot of summary; we want argumentation on the story’s meaning, its value as a story.  If it states an immediately acceptable truth, what follows will be repetitive and boring/weak.  Get into the how and the why of the most important change(s) from the beginning of the story to the end (resolution).



Oct 22nd, 2015--
7th-- 
I finally finished grading your short story connection essays and offering lots of written feedback.  You got them back yesterday and reflected on them for your portfolio.  Use the feedback!  Look carefully at the assignment sheet for that assignment and compare it to the one for lit analysis (similar, yes?).  Look carefully, again, at the essay and the feedback.  Adjust your approach when planning and drafting your lit. analysis essay.  Remember that presenters are simply speaking the essay's content when presenting, demonstrating rhetorical skills as they do-- eye contact; strong, confident volume/pitch/tone and posture; dynamic speaking appropriate to purpose (arguing your interpretation of the book you studied) and audience (me and your peers in AN ACADEMIC SETTING).  We will discuss rhetorical skills more and see examples next week.  
8th-- Congratulations to those of you who succeeded in our latest challenge, learning the history of the English language and showing that knowledge on yesterday's test.  You paid attention to class lectures and discussions; you noted key facts while viewing the documentaries; and, most importantly, you USED SEVERAL DAYS OF CLASS TIME WELL when I gave you the study guide, which was actually a version of the test, and packet of information.  This was a very straight-forward unit that required memorization and only a little bit of inference (higher-level thinking).  Many of your academic challenges in the future will be like this one.  If you are disappointed in your performance on the test, carefully and honestly reflect on how you used your time in the week leading up to the test.  

Oct 20th, 2015--
7th-- 
We are balancing our attention this week: your first lit. analysis project (pdf) is due 10/30, and a new assignment, the Beowulf Riff.

Riff on Beowulf assignment

Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling shows an attempt to portray the “root meaning” of the original poem that is now 1000 to 1200 years old. We see evidence of his concern with “root meaning” (or theme) in his use of metaphors, symbols, and philosophical speeches. Like all stories in the oral tradition, it shows listeners, or readers, the values of the culture that created it and consumes it. Sadly, the USA does not have an epic poem that moves listeners to feel connected and educated in the culture. So... your job is to write one, or, at least part of one. Play with figurative style (symbols, metaphors, analogy, personification), and write an adaptation of one chapter in Robert Nye’s Beowulf: a New Telling to reflect our culture and its values. Have fun, but keep it school-appropriate!

Hints: Brainstorm possible modern-day characters/forces of our time that might represent the characters/forces of Nye’s version of Beowulf. Who/what kind of character might you use for Beowulf? For Unferth? Queen WealhtheowHrothgar? Wiglaf? What evil force, monster, or person might represent Grendel? 2) Re-write scenes from your chosen chapter in which these characters/forces interact. Show a conflict and a resolution. If your adaptation is chosen by the group of six to 8 students to which you are assigned, you and your group members will adapt the scene to our little stage (in class) and you will perform a three to 10 minute skit.

Final draft of this assignment is due on Oct. 23rd. 30 pts. Extra credit may be awarded if script is accompanied by a storyboard.

8th graders-- History of the English language test this WEDNESDAY, Oct 21st. 

Oct 15th, 2015-- 
7th Graders-- 
I'm a bit concerned because I see only a few students in each class making real progress on their essays for the lit. analysis project (pdf)  Don't put it off!  Meaningful arguments on your book's theme/message take TIME to grow and develop.  Evidence must be found.  The writing must be revised for clarity and completeness.  Bring your work to class!  Conduct a little bit of research on your author and the issues of his or her time.  Consult Sparknotes, especially the "Themes, Symbols, and Motifs" section (CREDIT/CITE THE SOURCE if you use any ideas or info from it).

8th Graders-- Here is the History of English study guide (pdf) . The packet, however, can only be accessed in class-- use class time well!

Oct 14th, 2015--
7th graders-- 
Here we are, mid-month, in our first lit. analysis project (pdf) .  You should have read (and re-read/located key passages and made connections between them) your novel by now, and an idea for your thesis statement should be taking shape.  I've given you time in class several days in the last week-- be sure to BRING YOUR MATERIALS and run ideas by me when I am available in class.  50 pts, due 10/30. 
8th graders-- History of the English language test this WEDNESDAY, Oct 21st.  Be sure to take good notes in class and study your map.  Form your theory on why English is the way it is today-- kinda messed up, but beautiful and rich!  Why?
Everyone-- Let's get ourselves prepared for each spelling test.  A little attention to detail when correcting and completing the vocabulary exercises on Mondays will help A LOT!  Studying your words before Friday's test will help, too-- a little goes a LONG way-- just have to remember to do it.  And for gosh sakes-- HANG ONTO YOUR PRETEST WITH THE WORDS AND THE VOCAB WORK ON IT!  I really want to record a 20/20 score for everyone on this next test.  Your next KBAR log is due Friday, too.

Oct 1st, 2015--
Congratulations, 
scholars, on your accomplishments this week.  I collected your first essay today, and I will be grading and critiquing them in the next few weeks.  Thank you for your patience; I will return them as soon as I finish all of them-- it takes time!
7th graders will be embarking on their first "literary analysis" project this month, due Oct 30th.  See link lit. analysis project (pdf)

Sept 29th, 2015--
We should be working hard on our first big essay, due Thursday, Oct. 1.  Parents, support crew, and students: PLEASE be patient and thoughtful in the process.  Creating a good piece of writing is a journey, and your careful decisions about which way to go at various stages are key to your learning.  Asking another person to make decisions about what to write next, how to word it, and "is it okay?" can rob you of the key experiences you need in order to learn how to make this type of journey.  Stay aware of purpose (arguing the point of your thesis) and audience (could anyone reading your paper follow your logic every step of the way?), and use the resources you have first, then ask trusted friends/family/teachers for help.  See links below for resources (you should have them all already and you SHOULD be USING THEM!)

Sept 21st, 2015-- 


Short Story Connection Essay (Sh Story Conn.pdf) Due Oct 1st, 50 pts.  BRING HARD COPY (paper) of current rough draft to class every day.  We will work on it in class, and you will have some opportunities to receive one-on-one instruction if you have the work with you.  If you leave the work at home, or "on my computer at home," class time will be wasted and your opportunity to get instruction from me will be lost :-(.

Sample paper (pdf version) for the short story connection assignment.
Print one of these and keep it in your binder all year:
Formatting Model (Formatting Mod.pdf )


Sept 17th, 2015
-- Feels like things are getting real now!  I like it!  Thanks for devoting yourselves to honest scholarship and enthusiastic participation in class.  

  • Our first major essay (50 pts.) will be assigned early next week, and it will be due October 1st, a Thursday.  We have been working up to the task by studying terms ("Words to Know"), reading short stories, writing about the literature, and discussing our writings ("mini essays").  We have worked on paragraph structure, and we introduced overall essay structure (pdf)-- more to come on that next week.  I want to review the official assignemnt sheet for this outside-of-class, revised essay before I send it out, and I don't have time right now, so let me give you the general idea here so you can get thoughts and preliminary plans going: Choose one of the stories we have read together and respond to it with a complete essay that argues its theme.  What important message about life and/or human nature/behavior does it suggest?  What can it show me about myself and others?  You should choose to analyze and respond to the story that "speaks to you" best, probably the one you like the best.  Which one led you to think most deeply about what's true and important in life?  Why?  Dig into it!
    • Reminders: Our first KBAR log is due tomorrow (10 pts.), and we will have our frst spelling test (20 pts.).

Sept. 4th, 2015-- THANK YOU PARENTS/SUPPORT CREW for visiting the classroo at Back to School Night; I enjoyed meeting all of you and sharing some details of our program. 
This morning, I got a little too excited about diving into analysis and discussion of one of my favorite stories, "Zebra" by Chaim Potok, and I forgot to hand out and assign a KBAR log to each student in first and 2nd periods :-/  I'll hand them out on Tuesday, or they can get started before that if they open the link above.  FIRST KBAR log is due 9/18, 10 pts.

August 26th, 2015-- WELCOME!
I've been looking forward to meeting all of you.  2015/16 will be a fun and rewarding adventure for all of us, I'm sure.  I'm looking forward to meeting parents and kid-support-crew at Back to School on Thursday night, September 3rd, beginning at 6:30 in the MPR (cafeteria).  


I hope the format of this page makes sense to you, and that you find it helpful throughout the year-- it's a scroll that grows as I add new updates.  The latest info will always appear just below the general info highlighted at the top.  If you are looking for older info or handout links, scroll down.  If you check the site regularly, the relevant info will always be found at the top. 


Here are the first few documents you will find helpful:

Course outline for English 7 Accel.worddoc    pdf
Course outline for English 8worddoc        pdf
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT INFO SHEET worddoc
Back to School info Pdf


Print the course outline for your course and read it with your parents.  Sign where indicated and turn it in by Friday, Aug. 28th for ten points.  If you have priniter issues, use the library to print a copy, or your parent can just email me to report that he or she has reviewed the info with you.




Final update 6/15/2015--
THANK YOU to ALL (support crew included) who approached this year's challenges with energy, honesty, and creativity.  I am proud and honored to have taken part in your journey.  Here are a few anonymous quotations from students' portfolio reflections that I really liked: "My favorite was the research paper... it made us really think about the person and their beliefs and morals.  It also made me think about what my life morals are and what my 'life thesis' would be."  I think this is a great argument for studying almost anything!  It's a particularly good justification for studying any story, the details of a character's struggle to resolve conflict.  Let's not forget how important and powerful this kind of analysis can be.  I also loved comments about writing like this one: "One change I noticed ... was I started having an effective angle/thesis, not something cliche ... by getting into why that's true by elaborating ... I started getting more comfortable using other resources to provide evidence in a paper."  AWESOME!  Thanks to you careful thinkers, you scholars, who make this job the best in the world.  How lucky I am to work with kids and families who approach education with such integrity and vigor.  And stamina-- CONGRATULATIONS and HAPPY SUMMER!


This morning, I finished grading all of the work collected last week, and now I have everything recorded in Powerschool.  If you received less than full-credit for the portfolio reflections, you didn't provide the detailed evidence I asked for (all year long) to back up your claims.   Yes, I  awarded the extra point to all who submitted their reflections before the June 11th due date, and I'm afraid going for the extra point, and jumping into the feeling of accomplishment at getting the assignment in and DONE, hurt some of you-- always take the time to craft something that you will be proud to show to anyone interested!  Please don't forget my advice on using all the time allotted to revise written drafts! 

Some of you submitted work without a name-- ouch.  The end of the year being what it is, I couldn't award the scores :-/.


Take care of eachother, and of yourselves, Mr. Wittman

Update 6/2/15--The end is nigh!  
ALL CLASSES: Just one more assignment, and three more tests (scroll down): 
due 6/8, 50 pts Final portfolio reflection assignment,  <word doc, or just look below:

Final Portfolio Reflection Questions

 

1.      From memory, list as many assignments in your portfolio as you can.  Check portfolio when done and complete the list (if necessary).

2.      Which is your favorite?  Why?

3.      Which was your least favorite?  Why?

4.       Which are you most proud of?  Why?

5.       Which was your favorite piece of literature this year?  Why?

6.       Who was your favorite character?  Why?

7.       Review all your work in your portfolio chronologically (earliest to latest).  List three interesting observations or changes in your writing.  Which are the most profound (obvious and important)?  Why?

8.       Look over your work and accompanying gradesheets.  List three writing skills you worked on this year.  Which is most valuable?  Which is most improved?

9.       List three essential skills for effective reading (think about all the steps you go through in understanding and making meaning from [interpreting] a piece of literature).  Which skill, or step, is most important?  Why?

 
two more Greek roots/prefixes/suffixes tests: Weds. 6/3: "hypo" - "ectomy" + a few review!, and 6/8: 40 of the most valuable (and most commonly used) 
and one spelling test left: 6/5 list 23
I will accept late work for 50% credit all the way up to the last day of school!  
(I'd really appreciate it if you didn't do that to me, thjough!)
Research papers-- I am finally caught up enough on grading ongoing assignments that I can turn my attention to research papers again, so expect to see yours returned in the next few days.  Remember, if you lost points on the visual aid (board), or on the delivery criteria for your presentation, but the thesis and supporting structure was strong, the paper grade will be higher; if points came off in the presentation for thesis/argument/organization, the paper grade will be lower.  Makes sense, right?



Greek roots

Update 5/14/15-- 7th- The Outsiders final assigment: 

Identify at least three short passages in SE Hinton’s The Outsiders that show different levels of awareness in Ponyboy regarding identity, sense of self.  It may be a passage in which he is discussing another character and his or her awareness of self.  It may be a piece of dialogue in which another character is speaking about identity, sense of self.  Consider Hinton’s title, The Outsiders, and arrange the quotes according to any kind of layered figure—a spiral, a target-type figure, an onion, tree rings?  Your final product should be pleasing to the eye and illustrate the conflict and resolution in the novel, a message about inside versus outside in self, in peer groups, in society—maybe even in the universe!  Be creative and have fun!  30 pts.  Due  Friday, 5/15 (1 point extra credit if submitted by this afternoon so I can display it at Open House!).

8th- Walk Two Moons final assignment:
Identify at least four passages that show Sal moving through, or at least beginning to move through, the four stages of grief: 1. denial, 2. anger 3. sadness/grief and 4. acceptance.  You need at least one passage for each stage.  Consider how she is able to process her grief through storytelling with Gram and Gramps in the present-day setting of the novel; also consider that the stories she's telling range from distant past to recent past-- she is bouncing from setting to setting, detail to detail, conclusion (or "epiphany" --look it up!) to conclusion.  Draw, construct a collage, or build another creative piece of your invention that illustrates the process Sal goes through to resolve her conflict, to finally accept her loss and go forward in peace.  Think of the plaster wall in chapter one and Sal's dad chipping away, hour after hour, to find a hidden fireplace behind the plaster-- the discovery happened little by little, chip by chip. Your final product should be pleasing to the eye and illustrate the conflict and resolution in the novel, a message about the power of storytelling, about seeing things from others' perspectives, and about comparing feelings over time.  The quotes should be shown on individual "chips," layered over an image like the "fireplace," which should include the quote(s) showing acceptance.  Be creative and have fun!  30 pts.  Due  Friday, 5/15 (1 point extra credit if submitted by this afternoon so I can display it at Open House!).



Update 3/25/15-- I just finished grading and recording all of the RESEARCH REFLECTIONS (60 pts) that were submitted on time.  I need the rest!  I offer FULL CREDIT for this assignment until Thursday, 4/2/15.  Half credit after that.
Update 3/23/15-- IN-CLASS ESSAY EXAM tomorrow!  50 pts.
Study/prepare:

  • Plan to build your essay according to the structure (PDF) we practice
  • Revise/finish mini essays
  • Dig through The Giver (7th), or The Call of the Wild (8th), looking for key quotes
  • Click links for all other material in the 3/17 update below and refamiliarize yourself with those materials.

Update 3/17/15-- 7th-- We studied (including making flashcards) the first 20 Greek roots on a longer list you will be tested on soon.  Here is the full list: Greek roots PDF
Here is the mini essay prompt:

One of our spelling words this week is “implications.” Look it up and be prepared to share your thoughts on its meaning, including an example.  Consider all of the materials related to our study of Lois Lowry’s The Giver:

Brainstorm (list) the implications of these materials as a whole.  Your list should be at least three general ideas on human behavior/nature that all of the works develop and use to make suggestions about why we are all here on Earth, alive, and together.  You will choose one idea off of your list to use as a foundation for a full essay later.

8th-- We studied (including making flashcards) the first 20 Greek roots on a longer list you will be tested on soon.  Here is the full list: Greek roots PDF

One of our spelling words this week is “implications.” Look it up and be prepared to share your thoughts on its meaning, including an example.  Consider all of the materials related to our study of Jack London's The Call of the Wild:

Brainstorm (list) the implications of these materials as a whole.  Your list should be at least three general ideas on human behavior/nature that all of the works develop and use to make suggestions about why we are all here on Earth, alive, and together.  You will choose one idea off of your list to use as a foundation for a full essay later.

Here is Google's definition (you might find a better one if you poke around more):

im·pli·ca·tion

ˌimpləˈkāSH(ə)n/

noun

plural noun: implications

1.    1.

the conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated.

"the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible"

synonyms:

suggestion, insinuation, innuendo, hint, intimation, imputation

"he was smarting at their implication"

Update 3/5/15-- 7th--We finished Lois Lowry's The Giver, discussing issues of authority, imagination, emotion, and critical thought as we read.  Today we read aloud in class Kurt Vonnegut Jr's "Harrison Bergeron." We also got started  (some finished) this excellent exercise on writing thesis statements on theme: H. Bergeron thesis statement worksheet. PDF      8th-- We finished reading Jack London's The Call of the Wild today, and over the last two weeks we wrote several mini essays in class and discussed them.  We did a lot of close reading, pausing to examine specific passages that furthered London's theme.  Those passages tended to focus on Buck's transformation as he adapted to the Northland environment and "the Law of Club and Fang" (having left the Southland with its "Law of Love and Fellowship").  We talked about the "essence" of a life, and how environmental influences will dictate whether or not a character realizes his or her "essence."  London's focus on nature serving as a totally impersonal adversary, or partner, really, in a character's development suggests that he wants us to think about the lifestyle we enjoy and how it shapes us.  We watched a film adaptation of another famous London story, "To Build a Fire," that contrasts the plot of The Call of the Wild.  The impersonal relationship between man and nature is clear in that story.  We talked about the era in American history that London negotiated; we considered how "determinism" ("what a puppet thing life is"), a popular literary device around the turn of the century in the U.S., colors the theme. With the uncertainty of the economy, mass migration, and political instability, came stories of man struggling to adapt to forces beyond his control and either improving for it or perishing pathetically.  Writers of American Realism, like London, used ideas tied to determinism/fate/free will in their works.  Here is today's mini essay prompt: What can we infer from The Call of the Wild regarding London's views of modern society?  Why did Buck realize his potential in the Northland, outside his original environment which is a lot like ours?  What does the transformation suggest about our lifestyle and the man-made systems (economics, politics, social norms/ethics...) that make it happen?
Update 2/13/15--
KBAR log IS BACK!  Next due 2/27.

RESEARCH REFLECTIONS due THURSDAY, Feb 19th (Wednesday okay too, but if you need an extra day, take it).  60 pts.
7th graders are writing an imaginative, possibly satirical, "Day in the Life"  short story or vignette.   Revise it and have it done by Wednesday, Feb 18th.  Here's the prompt, have fun with it!:

Describe a day in the life of someone (you?) living in your ideal community/society.  The setting may feature technologies different from ours, but do not write zany science fiction.  Be realistic; be smart.  Laws the same as ours? 

 

Update 2/11/15-- Research Reflection prompts 60 pts.  Due Wednesday, Feb 18th.  Careful analysis (be specific in breaking down the steps you took at various times/phases in the project) and depth of thought (support all statements with reasons and EVIDENCE/examples-- use your good memory) are key to earning all 60 pts.  This is a great opportunity to boost your grade-- just be honest, thoughtful, and complete with your answers.  Here is the assignment (if you have trouble opening the link above):

Term paper reflection

 

Think of the thoughts and experiences you had as you moved through each phase of the project we just finished (two months long!).  List the phases (choosing the subject, beginning reading/research/notes).  What important lessons did you learn regarding how you:

1)      made choices and began to act in first few phases

2)      developed a strategy for producing the products (paper and speech with board).  How well did you incorporate the materials (handouts) and instructions in your strategy?

3)      Managed your time during the course of the many weeks leading up to your due date.

 

Presentation reflection

 

1)      List three important lessons you learned from watching others present (consult your notes)

2)      List three important lessons you learned while preparing and delivering your own speech

3)      List three important lessons you learned from reviewing your grade and teacher comments


Update 1/30/15--
Richard Lanham's "Paramedic Method" for revising prose-- USE IT!  Make every sentence of your paper concise and lively, VIGOROUS!
Update 1/28/15--
THESIS STATEMENTS!  I have approved most, but some are not yet solid enough.  The statement must be broad enough to drive a multiple paragraph argument about the subject's life story, but also specific enough to that particular story so that the statement MEANS SOMETHING!  Just saying that the person persevered and that led to success is not enough!  Every successful person perseveres!  What is not known that should be known, or what is under-appreciated, about the person's story?  Today was the deadline for approval, but I have been encouraging all of you to draft these for more than a week.  If you responded to that encouragement and submitted a draft thesis that is valid before today, you got an 11/10 in the book for assignment #1, second semester.  By today, 10/10.  Tomorrow, 9/10.  Friday, 8/10.  Get it nailed down because it guides you throughout the drafting process of your WHOLE PAPER.  Make sure your thesis is an argument (or arguments) that you can support with researched EVIDENCE (need to conduct more research?).  Also be sure to follow your good instincts-- if you find that you are reaching deeper, better ideas as you draft the later supporting paragraphs, REVISE your thesis and earlier paragraphs to match your newer, more brilliant conclusions about your subject.  Thank you to all students, and to all student-support-crew, for the honest effort.  This can be really hard, but it's worth it.  A solid, interesting thesis statement almost guarantees a solid, interesting paper and a worthwhile endeavor overall.

Update 1/7/15--

I will check for ten pages of carefully chosen, carefully organized NOTES on Friday, Jan. 9th.  I expect six to 10 short, specific notes per page, categorized by type (early life? Middle life? Later life? a category related to your thesis/area of particular interest?).  Be SURE to include source and page # (if there is one) for EVERY note.  11 of 10 points possible Friday.  10 of 10 available Tuesday, Jan. 13.  EXTRA CREDIT also available to any strudent who shows me printouts of the following pages (put name and period # at top of each page AND HANG ONTO THESE UNTIL YOUR DUE DATE-- first week of February):

Research Presentation Gradesheet  PDF

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)  PDF 

MLA works cited guidelines  PDF

Update Jan. 5th, 2015--We are finishing up persuasive speeches in the 8th grade classes today, and getting set for RESEARCH in all classes.  We will meet in the library Tuesday (tomorrow) through Monday of next week.  Show me your biography on the person you will study today or tomorrow.  Here is the assignment: Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)PDF 
Update Dec. 5th, 2014--
8th graders-- Persuasive speech on a topic of your choice DUE 12/17/14.  Print one of these Persuasive Speech Gradesheet s and bring it to class Wednesday for an extra credit point.  Study it as you draft and practice your speech!
7th-- Read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and enjoy it!  Keep questions of CONSCIENCE in mind as you do.  Where does a conscience come from?  Reading schedule (FINISH reading chapter shown BEFORE that day's class):

Dec. 1 
2
3
4
5     ch. 4
8
9    ch. 8
10  ch. 12
11  ch. 16
12  ch. 20
15  ch. 24
16  ch. 29
17  ch. 32
18  done
19


Nov. 20th--
7th-- Literary analysis projects: NOW IS THE TIME TO BUILD AN AWESOME ESSAY!  Here's how:
Essay Structure and Procedures handout-- the handout that will change your life! (pdf)

The steps at the bottom can be very helpful, START to Finish.

8th-- We are reading Paul Zindel's The Pigman.  Finish reading by Monday, Dec. 1st.  Be sure that you have responded to all of the mini essays.  Study those prompts and add to your responses in order to prepare for the in-class essay exam we'll have on this book the week after Thanksgiving break.  Ask a study buddy about mini essays if you are not sure about any of them.
Nov. 7th--

7th--

Canterbury Tales Tale

    Much of the fun in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is found in the play of each teller.  Each has his or her own agenda or special message for the audience.  Not all can be trusted!  Satire can be strong in each Tale.

    Have fun creating a “Canterbury Tale” of your own set in modern times.  Establish tension immediately, like Chaucer did in many of his Tales, by having your tale-teller tell about recognizable figures in our society.  What kind of satirical tale would a student tell?  Who might he lampoon, or satirize?  A doctor?  An athlete?  A policeman?  Possibilities are countless.  Be creative, funny, and critical.

    Your tale should have a beginning, middle, and end.  A conflict should develop, and it should be resolved to show some meaningful message consistent with the teller’s opinion on the subjects of the tale and their situation.  It should take between four and 9 minutes to read your tale aloud (two to 4+ pages double spaced with regular margins and 12 pt simple font).

Due Friday, Nov. 14th.  30 pts.


Oct 15--

7th-- First lit. analysis project (pdf) DUE Nov. 4th.
Beowulf Riff due Oct. 21

Riff on  Beowulf assignment

Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling shows an attempt to portray the “root meaning” of the original poem that is now 1000 to 1200 years old.  We see evidence of his concern with “root meaning” in his use of metaphors, symbols, and philosophical speeches.  Like all stories in the oral tradition, it shows listeners, or readers, the values of the culture that created it and consumes it.  Sadly, the USA does not have an epic poem that moves listeners to feel connected and educated in the culture.  So... your job is to write one!  Play with figurative style (symbols, metaphors, analogy, personification), and write a multiple-scene poem that tells a whole story.  Make the story reflect our culture and its values.  Have fun, but keep it school-appropriate!

Hints: Brainstorm possible modern-day characters/forces of our time that might represent the characters/forces of Nye’s version of Beowulf.  Who/what kind of character might you use for Beowulf?  For Unferth?  Queen Wealhtheow?  Hrothgar?  What evil force, monster, or person might represent Grendel?  2) Write scenes in which these characters/forces interact.  Show a conflict and a resolution.  If your poem is chosen by the group of six to 8 students to which you are assigned, you and your group members will adapt the scene to our little stage (in class) and you will perform a three to 10 minute skit.

Final draft of this assignment is due on Oct. 21st.  30 pts.  Extra credit may be awarded if script is accompanied by a storyboard.

8th graders-- The history the English language TEST IS TOMORROW, Oct 16th.  Study the FLASHCARDS you were supposed to have made in class this week.  The ones based on the History of English study guide (pdf)

Oct. 8th-- 

SEVENTH GRADERS: Print one of these, lit. analysis project (pdf)study it, and show it to me on Friday, Oct. 10th.

EIGHT GRADERS: here is a link to the History of English study guide I don't have a digital copy of the packet we are reading in class to answer the items on the study guide, but I'm sure you can find a good website to help you.  Share the best one with me and earn a little extra credit!
Sept 25th-- 

Sample paper (pdf version)for the short story connection assignment: 
Print one of these and keep it in your binder all year:
Formatting Model (Formatting Mod.pdf )

Sept 23rd--  
Print an assignment sheet from one of the links below (+2 extra credit on essay if you show one to me Friday, 9/26):
Short Story Connection Essay (Sh Story Conn.pdf) Due Oct 3rd.  BRING HARD COPY (paper) of current rough draft to class every day.  We will work on it in class, and you will have some opportunities to receive one-on-one instruction if you have the work with you.  If you leave the work at home, or "on my computer at home," class time will be wasted and your opportunity to get instruction from me will be lost :-(.

Sept 12th, 2014-- 
We had our first spelling test today.  I will grade them with help from two awesome parent-volunteers this afternoon, so look for them in Powerschool early next week.  First KBAR log due Friday, Sept 19.  Also today, I reviewed Plot diagram models and assigned a new one-- due Tuesday.  7th graders are diagramming and arguing theme/message for Piri Thomas' "Amigo Brothers" (361), and eighth graders work with Walter Dean Myers' "The Treasure of Lemon Brown" (335).  PAY ATTENTION to DETAILS on the models to see what I'm requiring!  Thanks for all the support, good humor, and hard work :-).

Aug. 29-- 

Great start! Thanks to all who make this school the best in the world! We have been getting into literary terms and analysis, reading and dissecting stories from our lit books.  We will read several more stories over the next few weeks, completing plot diagrams with short theme arguments for each.  We are working toward a formal essay assignment that requires a complete, multiple paragraph argument on one story's theme.  Be on the lookout for a story that speaks to you, that changes the way you look at the world and its people.

I saved the course outlines as pdf files for those of you having trouble: English 7 Accel pdf  English 8 pdf

Plot diagram models
August 22, 2014--
Ready... Set........ Big ol' Monday GO!
I've been looking forward to meeting all of you.  2014/15 will be a fun and rewarding adventure for all of us, I'm sure.  See you Monday, scholars; looking forward to meeting parents and kid-support-crew at Back to School on September 4th.  


I hope the format of this page makes sense to you, and that you find it helpful throughout the year-- it's a scroll that grows as I add new updates.  The latest info will always appear just below the general info highlighted at the top.  If you are looking for older info or handout links, scroll down.  If you check the site regularly, the relevant info will always be found at the top. 


Here are the first few documents you will find helpful:

Course outline for English 7 Accel.
Course outline for English 8 
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT INFO SHEET 
Back to School info Pdf

June 9th, 2014.  THANK YOU to all who showed grit and good humor throughout the year.  Whether you are my student, or one of his or her supporters, I admire you, and I am grateful for your trust, your imagination, and your hard work.  I just finished reading the final reflections (prompts can be found below), and I thought some of you might appreciate reading some of the responses that made me smile.  My future partners in educating these talented SLO kids might like to see them, too:

On writing:

“I structure it more, put more meaning into my writing, and I support my points better.”

 

“…my style became more straightforward and direct.”

 

“The thing that I improved the most on would be how quickly I get to the point.”

 

“…all the sub-arguments would add up to prove my thesis.”

 

“One of the key changes in my writing has been having a stronger argument throughout my essays…able to take an average argument and ask myself how and why these things happen and develop a stronger argument.  Now that I can do this, I can make all of my writing stronger.”

 

“Another change in my writing has been that I am using a lot more direct evidence or quotes to support arguments.  It has made my papers a lot stronger.”

 

“I have been putting more detail into my paragraphs each time I write…using language that makes my work more clear.”

 

“My writing has gotten much more organized throughout the year and my thesis statements have become much more precise and clear.”

 

“I noticed that I have ‘dug deeper’ a little more…come to be clearer when defending or stating something.”

 

“My essays at the end of the year had stronger theses and more of the support was directly related to my thesis.”

 

“…long summaries included in my first works disappeared in later works creating more focus on the thesis.”

 

“…making sure that the entire paper has one thesis and that all the parts of the writing support that single point.  This is most important because when everything is working at a single idea, the reader sees more clearly why the work was written.”

 

“I now realize that the thesis is the basis of my whole paper, and that I cannot just go with the first thing that comes to my mind.”

 

“Without a valid thesis, all you are doing is stringing the reader on, probably not having a plan where you are going next.”

 

“I developed a stronger thesis so my paper flows better…I had better format and paragraphing in my last few papers than I did earlier in the year…my conclusion of my last lit. analysis paper was stronger and linked to my thesis more than all my earlier papers.  The fact that I learned how to finally come up with strong, fully baked theses was really important.”

 

“…in the beginning I loved words too much and didn’t really need most of them, and then I started saying what I actually meant.”

 

On reading AND writing:

“I improved the most on creating worthwhile thesis statements.  I learned to search for clues about what the author is conveying, and putting the pieces together to create great literature.”

 

“A strong thesis makes for a strong paper…the skill I most improved this year…from the short story connection essay, when I barely knew what a thesis was, to my last literary analysis essay when I stated the how and the why clearly in my thesis.”

 

“I started to dig deeper and elaborate/expand with my thesis.”

 

“This year I worked on saying what I mean and backing it up with evidence.  I also worked on trying to find the deepest meaning of a book.”

 

“…learning to write multiple drafts until one’s ideas are complete concise, taking examples out of the literature to support ideas with evidence to construct a stronger argument.”

 

“The previous nights before the exam, I looked up summaries and notes on the two novels, attempting to brainstorm ideas.  When the day of the exam arrived, I felt prepared, managed my time well, and concluded by the end of the period.”

 

“…most important was that I learned how to write a deep thesis…really finding good support for those theses from the writing I was studying, and finding connections from my own life to the writing.”

 

“I learned how to look harder and find anything that could help support what I thought was the main theme of the story.”

 

“I was finally able to make a good, solid paper by the end of the school year.”

 

On reading:

“I think that the first step is to understand the character’s situation and

evaluate all the characters, then read into all the metaphors/symbol. I think

that figuring out the metaphors is the most important because that way you

really understand the theme of the book!”

 

“Juana is one tough woman and shows young girls to be strong and brave.”

 

On speaking:

“I made sure I interacted with the audience…to have them think about my topic.  The speech had accurate evidence, and I made sure it proved my point.  Overall, this was my most proud moment of my English year.”

 

“Ethos…Logos…Pathos!”



Update 6/4-- 

Final Portfolio Reflection Questions

 

1.      From memory, list as many assignments in your portfolio as you can.  Check portfolio when done and complete the list (if necessary).

2.      Which is your favorite?  Why?

3.      Which was your least favorite?  Why?

4.       Which are you most proud of?  Why?

5.       Which was your favorite piece of literature this year?  Why?

6.       Who was your favorite character?  Why?

7.       Review all your work in your portfolio chronologically (earliest to latest).  List three interesting observations or changes in your writing.  Which are the most profound (obvious and important)?  Why?

8.       Look over your work and accompanying gradesheets.  List three writing skills you worked on this year.  Which is most valuable?  Most improved?

9.       List three essential skills for effective reading (think about all the steps you go through in understanding and making meaning from [interpreting] a piece of literature).  Which skill, or step, is most important?  Why?


Update 4/10-- 
8th graders have a persuasive speech to deliver next week; some will deliver on the 15th, the rest on Wednesday and Thursday.  Check out the Persuasive Speech Gradesheet.
7th graders are exploring Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles with me in class, and they should be working on their April literary analysis essay (second-to-last one!) due May 1st.

Update 3/13
7th grade assignment for Tom: Choose the most interesting/funny/poignant scene in the novel and illustrate it in a six to eight square "storyboard" (comic strip).  Explain the meaning/message of the scene (satirical?) with at least one well supported paragraph.  Make sure all work is shown on the front side of a single page.  Most of your points (out of 30 possible) will come from the explanation of meaning/message/theme.  Due Tuesday, 3/18.

Update 3/11--
8th graders:  Anne Frank letter assignment

 

Consider the history we studied involving Nazism, the holocaust, and Anne’s time in the secret annex.  What are the strongest feelings that come to you?  Write them down (prewriting).  I’m sure that if any of us were directly involved in the horrible mess of Nazi-occupied Europe, he or she would feel a strong urge to change the situation, to help, and if you were to attempt to right any of the wrongs related to this period in our history, language would likely be your best tool.  Use your imagination to brainstorm a list of individuals or organizations that might aid you in making a positive change in Anne’s world (more prewriting) if you were to write to them.   

 

Pretend you are living in Europe during Anne’s time in the annex (1942 – 1944).  You might know Anne, you might not.  You may be a young adult, or you may be older.  You may be an official of some sort, or you may be an average citizen.  Write a letter to the person or organization best able to help you effect positive change.

 

Pay attention to rhetoric: ethos, logos, and pathos (see class notes and/or research these terms again).  Remember that formatting is part of your rhetoric when presenting written work, so use proper business letter formatting.  Check this website for help:

 

http://www.writing-business-letters.com/business-letter-format.html

 

I realize that this is not a conventional assignment; it's fairly open-ended.  You can approach it in several different ways, and I think that's good!  One of the main reasons we teach this piece of literature in 8th grade is to offer an opportunity for you to connect with a person your own age who is dealing with issues you deal with, like parental and friend relationships, and with more global issues as you learn about the world's problems.  If you like, you can draft the piece as a journal entry, but I'd like the writing to be in a letter format.  The diary entry idea is a good one, I think, because it should get you writing, remove pressure.  Once the writing is done, it shouldn't be difficult to address the piece to another person, even if it is a fictitious (made-up) one. 

This assignment is worth 30 points and will be graded on depth of thought, appropriateness of tone and content (specifics related to the reading and documentaries we studied should be referenced), and formatting.  Due Fri. March 14th.

Update 2/20--
7th-- Print one of these Neoclassical thought vs. Romantic thought and dates (for use with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) and bring it to class on Monday, 2/24.  Also, study for the Tom Sawyer vocabulary test Wednesday, 2/26.

Tom Sawyer vocab #1  
tom sawyer vocabulary 
guile--deceitful cunning; duplicity 
vanity--excessive pride in ones appearance or accomplishments 
endowed--to provide with property, or income, or a source of income 
sagacity--shrewdness and wisdom 
unalloyed--not in mixture with other metals; pure-- 
adamantine--impervious to pleas or reason; unyielding; rock solid in belief or opinion 
alacrity--cheerful willingness; eagerness 
diluted--made thinner or weaker 
splendor--great light or luster 
evanescent--disappearing; temporary; fading 
immunity--exemption from any duty, office, or tax; freedom form natural or usual liability 
ecstasy--the state of being beside one’s self; excessive joy 
audacious--bold; daring; spirited; insolent; impudent; characterized by shameless effrontery 
sulk--to show sadness, lack of energy, enthusiasm, or motivation; mope 
morose--sullen; austere; gloomy 
pathos--deep feeling 
desolate--having qualities of a wasteland; deprived of inhabitants 
blight--a disease in plants, causes them to wither partly or wholly; a categorical dying-off 
disconcerted--disturbed composure; frustrated; unnerved 
effeminate--womanish or delicate 
galled--offended; deeply annoyed 
conspicuous--mentally or physical visible; obvious 
marred--damaged or disfigured 
august--grand; invested with grandeur and dignity 
attest--to bear witness to 
intrepid--bold; fearless 
ostentatious--extravagantly showy 
furtive-- stealthy; surreptitious; secret 
disconcerted--disturbed composure; frustrated; unnerved 
miscreant--an evil person; backstabber; someone lacking proper values/concern 
facetious--humorous or jesting; putting on another “face” to prove a point

8th-- Keep up with the reading in A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  Finish reading THROUGH page shown by date shown:
Feb. 17                      
18
19         pg 20
20          40
21           60
24           80
25            100
26     skip to pg 200    
27          220 
28         240
March 3
4              260
5              done
6
7

Update 2/12--
Whew! Kids have done their jobs writing papers and presenting them (almost all); now it's on me to grade the papers and get students going on the next units, Anne Frank/Naziism/WWII for 8th graders, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for seventh.  More info on those to be posted as we move into them...  For now, we need to focus on making the most of this opportunity to reflect on performances at all of the stages in research project: address each of the Research Reflection prompts with at least one fully developed paragraph and submit the work on Tuesday, Feb. 18th for 60 points.  You should understand, given the large point value attached, that I consider this a very important assignment and I expect careful, honest, detailed work (quality, not quantity).  Most students in the past have put forth great effort on this assignment, revising drafts of responses and showing vivid examples, and they have been rewarded with 100% of the 60 points possible.  This is a great opprtunity to boost your grade.  
We are also resuming our regular asignments now that the research project is done, so the next KBAR log is due 2/28.
7th graders should lso be working the next lit. analysis project that is due 3/4.

Update 1/31--
Richard Lanham's "Paramedic Method" for revising prose-- USE IT!  Make every sentence of your paper concise and lively, VIGOROUS!

Update 1/24-- 
We are DEEP into the research project!  This week and next are critical to success-- crunch time!  Students should have a solid draft of the paper done today.  Revise it early next week; have a polished, convincing draft done by Thursday, January 30th.  This will allow time for practicing the delivery of the paper as a speech.  Don't forget that the visual aid should be integrated into that delivery; point to images and captions on the board that help to get your points across to us as you speak those sections of your paper.  Be creative!
Due dates:
2/4
Liliy S
Olivia R
Audra M
Jade H
Kara H
Will H
Hannah A
Anneke M
Leila S
Sofia W
Lyndon L
Dominic M
Greg O
Chase D
Logan A
Samantha C
Justin B
Nina F
Sebastian Q
Danielle P
Galen P
Carsan B
Brooke W
Jacob A
Josephine A
2/5
Lance S
Sabrina M
Anika M
Qili P
Alex R
Lucas S
Hannah M
Eddie M
William G
Prachi S
Lili TM
Ruysch E
Ashleigh C
Chloe W
Gabby W
Jamie G
Colin E
Matthew F
Rylie N
Evan D
Nate H
Mercedes S
Elizabeth T
Matthew H
Olivia D
2/6
Max C
Janea H
Sam S
Carson S
Taylor L
Amelia CC
Molly F
Hannah F
Zoey N
Chloe C
Skylar G
Caden B
Chase M
Eric N
James P
Ganden S
Sean O
Gabby B
Madi S
Eislee S
Landon B
Brittney V
Maija R
Isabel C
Matt E
2/7
Amberly C
Ben R
Maya N
Jena N
Abby H
Sammi G
Clare O
Nadia SB
Christine C
Jason W
Israel DT
Gaby R
Danielle H
John G
Roxy A
Alyssa S
Bridget D
Joe H
Atalie M
Noah G
Sam R
Dylan C
Taylor Y
Zach M
Casey L
2/10
Molly E
Kayley R
Amber N
Owen S
Lily A
Eric L
Cassidy C
Adrienne S
Martin K
Thomas P
Erik V
Jerry W
Tim H
Chris Q
Michelle M
Marisol S
Gloria F
Jacob R
Hannah R
Andrew G
Jack G
Macarthy M
Charlie S
Destinee W
Jorge V
2/11
Sevryn J
Adian A
Kiran H
Jack R
Aaron B
Tristyn M
Rakhi L
Samantha G
Kaylee B
Ariana K
Cobe V
Sean A
Miguel A
Kate L
Jamie F
Joel L
Zane L
Connor J
Jack M
Alex R
Paper is due the day you present.  An excused absence will not be penalized-- the presentation and paper will be due upon return, or a later date with special circumstances.
Print one of each of these if you haven't already:

Research Presentation Gradesheet

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)

MLA works cited help

Research paper checklist

Update 1/10--
 I'll check for ten pages of notes (or the equivalent-- note cards are okay), and THREE sources entered on a rough draft works cited page Monday. Make sure that each note includes a clear reference to the source of that note (the first word of the entry on the r. d. works cited and a page #, if there are page #s). 10 pts.

I'll collect a  thesis statement for the paper, the argument you'll develop ABOUT the life of your subject, Thursday, Jan. 16th.  Draft and revise this statement until the language is VERY CLEAR and the argument is worthy (is it statement that I will immediately accept as just plain true? Dig deeper! Show me a way to look at your subject that I might not have seen before, an important truth about him or her that I should know and tell others).  Turn it in to me on a fresh sheet of paper so I can write feedback below the statement. 10 pts.


Update 12/20--
Here we are at the winter break already!  All students should be shifting into research mode at this point, reading and soaking in all he or she can on the person chosen yesterday.  All other regular assignments (like KBAR) and spelling tests will be suspended until we wrap up research presentations the first week in February (you will get your personal due date for BOTH presentation and paper in late January by lottery in class).  Check out the links below to get ideas on expectations, but don't feel pressured by them at this point-- just read and take a few notes on important biographical and historical facts, WITH PAGE NUMBERS OF SOURCE FOR EACH NOTE (so that in-text documentation will be a snap when you draft the paper).  Wade in...  If you approach learning with an open mind for a  few weeks, your interest will guide you to the most important parts of the story when the generalities are old news.  Learning the basics should be fun and easy.  Enjoy this stage!

If you decide that your choice was not wise, and you'd like to switch subjects, do it sooner rather than later.  You should have a solid understanding of the person's life story (biography) when you return from break.  Consult the lists below so that you do not choose to switch to a person already assigned to a classmate (and TELL ME ASAP if you switch so someone else can have your previous choice):

Per one

Per two

Per three

Per four

Per five

Altom    T Geisel
Atwell    Steinbeck
Bloom    Houdini
Cassady  Da Vinci
Clark      Bradbury
Eppright  J Robinson
Hamachai  J Goodall
Heidler    Orville Wright
Hoover   L May Alcott
Howe    Jane Grey
Huber   Anne Frank
Jiminez  J Cash
Lopeman  A Earhart
Marks  S Jobs
Martin  Einstein
McNiff  R Parks
Meyer   M Yousafsai
Naficy  F Kahlo
Nitzel  Lady Diana
Nunes  Pele
Paape  Gandhi
Rankin  C McAuliffe
Robertson  M Curie
Rolph    Cleopatra
Rosenberg  Tolkien
Sawyer  R Dahl
Senecal  N Armstrong
Silacci  J Muir
Sturgeon  Twain
Svetich  Pat Summit

Alltucker,   
Beardsley,  D Kahanamoku 
Carlson,    E Weisel
Chiang,   Da Vinci
Clark,   Cath. The Great
Corpuz Carr,   Earhart
Foster,   G Galilei
Fowler,   Shakespeare
Gibbs,   C Schultz
Godfrey,   MLK Jr
Guy,   Nobel
Hastings lll,   Wilma Rudolph
King,   E Fitzgerald
Koch,   
Lemieux,    Einstein
Lucchesi,   W Disney
Marchbanks,   Jane Austen
MeyerE  
MeyerT  R Reagan
Moersdorf,   L May Alcott
Nitzel,   H Keller
O Sullivan,  Sally Ride
Prater,   T Roosevelt
Sansone
Schwartz Bolef,  Anna Pavlova
Shinglot,   M Theresa
Silver,  N Tesla
Smith,   J Lennon
Wilson
Woods,   A Hepburn

Anderson,    M Freeman
Aviles,   M Monroe
Axberg,   Pele
Bertrando,   Gandhi
Cindrich,   J Robinson
Delacruz-Turner,  N Armstrong
Doyle,  JFK
Edmondson,   
Garris,   Malcolm X
Halen,  
Hurley,   P MacCartney
Livingston  
McKown,  Lincoln
Moore,   J Dean
Mulay,   M Von Richthofen
Norrbom, K Bryant
Overton,   Da Vinci
Price
Quintanar,  Einstein
Rigor,   Disney
Thompson,  
Turner McCurdy, K Cobain
Villa,  Nero
Viovode,  A Gr Bell
White,  
Wise,   G O’Keefe
Wood,   Earhart

Ajanel,   Obama
Baro, S Wonder
Berlin, MLK Jr
Castro,  S Jobs
Danninger,  Lady Diana
Doi
Erno, C Schultz
Fagundes,  Shaq
Fairchild,  Cleopatra
Flores,  Joan of Arc
Fritzley,  Disney
Galpert, Spartacus
Gater,  Tolkien
Girouard,  
Headrick,  G Paulsen
LaFaille,   A Frank
Leslie,  St Wozniak
Lewis,  Marley
Manning,  B Hamilton
Norby,  N Mandela
ONeil,  T Roosevelt
Ponce,  J Lennon
Quintana,   JFK
Rodriguez,  
Ryan
Sandoval, Kath. Dunham
Schaffner,  Gates
Schlickeiser,  Q Victoria
Silva,  H Keller
Sohner,  M Monroe
Trujillo Ruiz,  J Robinson

Andreatta,  Da Vinci
Arthur,  Shakespeare
Beaudoin
Burden,  E Presley
Caldwell, Pele
Carpenter,  Julia Childs
Doane, MLK Jr
Escalle,  J Robinson
Geise,  Gandhi
Hempenius,  R Parks
Hibble,  
Higgins, Malcolm X 
Jensen,  M Jordan
Leebrick,  T Roosevelt
McConnell,  Lincoln
Miklik, B Franklin
Muir,  
Penvenne,  JFK
Ririe,  Joseph Smith
Romero,  M Jackson
Soble,   
Sutton,  Bessie Coleman
Tran,  T Geisel
Vazquez,  Houdini
Vuong,  Ho Chi Minh
Wright B,  H Keller
Wright D, G Washington
Young, GW Bush

 


Research Presentation Gradesheet

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)

MLA works cited help

Research paper checklist



Update 11/6--
7th-- 7th graders are working on a Canterbury Tale-type Tale of their own that they will share aloud on a “pilgrimage” of our own.  Here’s the assignment:  Have fun writing a “Tale” from the perspective of a recognizable figure from our society—like Chaucer did from figures in his.  Story should take about four minutes to read aloud.  Make it a witty commentary on how our world works (or doesn’t work) today.  Mimicry of Chaucer’s witty style and creativity are encouraged for this one-to-three page story with a “moral” (moral with some satire involved?).  It should be a friendly and adventurous competition.  Winner (voted on by all, but chosen by me, the inn-keeper, ultimately) will get some sort of prize—a turkey leg?). Due Tuesday, Nov. 12thth.  30 pts.  The next KBAR is due Monday the 18th (you can put it in the in-box Nov. 14th if you want).  Students should always be working on the next lit. analysis project (due Dec. 3rd)
Update 10/23--
8th grade mini essay prompts for today:

“Maybe there are some lies you should never admit to. I had told him we had to be truthful, and now I was sorry because I think I knew before the Pigman opened his mouth what he would have to tell us in return” (91).  Do you agree with Lorraine’s first statement? Is this true in all circumstances? In this particular case? Explain using short quotes to support your statement.

 

It’s clear at the end of chapter 13 that the party was a bad idea, a big mistake.  Why do John and Lorraine make it?  Is one more at fault than the other?  Is the decision-making consistent with what we have seen in their characters elsewhere in the story?  Support all answers with evidence and explanation (write full paragraphs!).


Update 10/17--
KBAR and spelling test #6 due tomorrow for all students.
7th- We enjoyed the first performance of our Beowulf Riff projects today-- good job synthesizing concepts involving the original story as an artifact of 9th century England and this performance portraying life in the U S, 2013.  Hannah F, Jason W, Thomas P, Trysten M, and Samantha G from 2nd period shared an especially thoughtful and clever story on stage.  Thank you!  
Keep lit analysis projects going-- remember that I expect an interesting, meaningful argument on the theme of the book you chose to analyze over the past month!  Essay should argue a point that requires support/development.  If your thesis is just plain true, it's not a good thesis-- wirk with the thought; what ABOUT the truth you see in the story?  Get into how and why.  You will benefit from a little bit of research-- what was the author's life like?  What have critics said about the book?  How might the time period/era of the story's setting inform your interpretation of the theme/message?  Research and steal ideas BUT ADMIT TO ALL THAT YOU STOLE THEM!  CITE SOURCES!  It's good scholarship!
8th- Mini essay today: Re-read the longer paragraph in the middle of  page 42. What does Lorraine mean when she says, “She just doesn’t look the way  she sounds, and I often wonder how she got this way.” What “way?” Speculate an answer of your own for Lorraine’s  nagging question. 
Read THROUGH chapter 9 for Friday, 11 for Tuesday, 13 Weds, finish for Thurs. class.

Update 10/4--
7th-  We have read Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling, studied the context and significance of this original English text in the oral tradition, and I am emphasizing themes related to coherence of character, accepting the faults in one’s self and using acknowledged weaknesses to recognize and develop strengths, acting with grace to perform heroically.  The blend of Christian and pagan values and culture in this textual artifact of 9th or 10th century England is particularly interesting.  Beowulf’s power comes from his sensitive and forgiving nature, and from his faith, as much as it derives from his courage, from his loyalty to his mortal king, and from his physical strength.  The work’s value lies partly in what it shows us about any good piece of literature’s potential to serve as a window into the culture of the group that produced and consumed it, in this case a blended society of Viking overlords, Anglo Saxon commoners, and Christian converts/worshippers. Because it is an artifact of our own Western civilization, and because I want kids to have fun exploring the parallels between the ancient culture of England and our modern culture, we are working toward an assignment that calls upon students to write a modern re-re-telling (yes, re- re-!):  

Riff on  Beowulf assignment

Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling shows an attempt to portray the “root meaning” of the original poem that is now 1000 to 1200 years old.  We see evidence of his concern with “root meaning” in his use of metaphors, symbols, and philosophical speeches.  Like all stories in the oral tradition, it shows listeners, or readers, the values of the culture that created it and consumes it.  Sadly, the USA does not have an epic poem that moves listeners to feel connected and educated in the culture.  So... your job is to write one!  Play withfigurative style (symbols, metaphors, analogy, personification), and write a multiple-scene poem that tells a whole story.  Make the story reflect our culture and its values.  Have fun, but keep it school-appropriate!

Hints: Brainstorm possible modern-day characters/forces of our time that might represent the characters/forces of Nye’s version of Beowulf.  Who/what kind of character might you use for Beowulf?  For Unferth?  Queen Wealhtheow?  Hrothgar?  What evil force, monster, or person might represent Grendel?  2) Write scenes in which these characters/forces interact.  Show a conflict and a resolution.  If your poem is chosen by the group of six to 8 students to which you are assigned, you and your group members will adapt the scene to our little stage (in class) and you will perform a three to 10 minute skit.

Final draft of this assignment is due on Oct. 11th.  30 pts.  Extra credit may be awarded if script is accompanied by a storyboard.

Of course 7th graders should also make some progress each day on their lit. analysis project assigned last week and due Nov. 5th.  50 pts.



Update 10/3--
8th graders will need to know the correct order of events on the timeline, and they will need to know how to finish each statement below the timeline on the History of English study guide in order to do well on the history of English test set for Thursday, Oct. 10th.

Update 9/30--
7th graders will embark upon their first lit. analysis project in October.  Print the assignment sheet tonight and bring it to class with questions tomorrow.

Update 9/23-- 
  • NO SPELLING THIS WEEK--bigger fish to fry with the essay due Friday (you should have a SOLID draft of the entire essay done Tuesday night, Weds latest).  Next KBAR log due 10/4.
  • Still foggy on plot diagrams?  Check the Plot Diagram Models again.  Pay attention to placement of title and author (quotation marks around short story titles), labels, quotes (formatting must be correct), and theme argument.  Also remember that "theme" needs to be a complete idea on the meaning of the story-- what does it show us about how life works?
  •  HOMEWORK TONIGHT-- Read the sample essay below and compare it to the assignment sheet, and to the instruction we've worked on in the classroom (NOTE-- "Beyond Borders" is much longer than I am expecting from you!  Feel free to use creative description and dialogue, but keep it close to the word limit; shoot for 4-6 paragraphs):

Mr. Wittman 
Per. 1 
Short Story Connection Essay 
10/2/00 
Beyond Borders 
Antonio’s age surprises me.  He’s about my size: five-seven, around one-sixty.  Antonio has grace given his proportions; he lifts a large House Special, loaded with pepperoni, from the back row of the top oven in a fluid motion.  His skinny brother, Pantaleon, swishes by with another order, slipping below the long-handled spatula as Antonio’s pirouette lands the steaming pie safely on the boxing counter.  Antonio beams a quick smile then shakes his head at the near miss.  His countenance suggests a boy of seventeen, but Antonio talks about his two little girls, his pretty wife,Esme, who I met last December at our boss’s Christmas party, and occasionally, very rarely, about his large family back in Mexico.  Antonio’s trials in immigration and the responsibilities he talks about with Esme, echoing some of the conversations of my parents, make it hard believe that he is only two years older than I am. 
Antonio lives with, and accepts on a daily basis, the possibility of being plucked from the kitchen of Gina’s Pizza where we work, cuffed and corralled into a  white van marked United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, and deported across the barbed-wire border at Tia Juana.  Antonio’s experiences have shown him a harsh world that coddles some and punishes others with indifference.  My friend, Antonio, and Bridgie, of Paul Darcy Boles’ “The House Guest,” live in a world very different from my own.  Each of these characters has taught me that the world is more complex and unjust than I had thought it was, and they remind me to appreciate the truly important things in life. 
I can relate to Mitch, the narrator of Boles’ story.  I drive a car of my own.  I have never been forced to skip a meal.  I do not know war.  Mitch has it good, and he doesn’t find much occasion for reflecting upon how good he has it-- until Bridgie comes for a six-week visit.  “At first it kept on being kind of eggshelly around her[,]” according to Mitch (79).  He wanted to make Bridgie feel welcome and comfortable, but knew he shouldn’t “ask her anything heavy about how things were in the place she’d come from…Belfast” (79).  Not knowing anything about Bridgie’s world makes it hard for Mitch to forge the friendship that he desires.  He offers to help Bridgie at every chance, but she’s independent.  “Nah…Don’t put yourself out for me, Mitch” (81).  Mitch is pleased when Bridgie finally does seek his help. 
He cleans out the workshop for Bridgie, and she begins spending all her time there.  The workshop is out back, so Bridgie is isolated, exercising her independence.  She takes walks, explaining, “It’s fine walking where ya please.  Not havin’ to stay in the District…where you and your people stay inside of” (82).  This kind of limitation had never occurred to Mitch.  “I’d never even started to think about how it would be living inside a few blocks and not stepping over a line.  I did then” (82).  Bridgie’s matter-of-fact account of what life is often like for her opens Mitch’s eyes to another reality.  He learns to see things from Bridgie’s perspective, and this instills in him a deep sense of respect for her.  Bridgie helps Mitch gain a more complete understanding of the world around him; she shows him the importance of appreciating the good things he has—like his freedom. 
Antonio’s happy-go-lucky personality is an inspiration.  Like Bridgie, he has led a restricted life.  In Mexico, Antonio was poor, and there was little in the way of job opportunities.  He came to the US, along with Pantaleon, hoping to fulfill a dream of prosperity.  I guess you could say he has prospered.  A typical day for Antonio, however, makes a typical day for me look like Club Med.  With two jobs, one with me at Gina’s and one at another restaurant, two infant daughters, and a young wife who doesn’t speak English, Antonio has little time for himself.  This is hard for me, the part-time employee full-time beach rat, to comprehend.  “What are you doing on your next day off?” I asked one summer night as we teamed up on the dishes, Antonio piling the steaming metal pots and trays onto the counter faster than I could dry them. 
            “Day off?” he said, as though I were kidding. 
            “Yeah, you know, when you’re not working.” 
            “Always working, Weel,” he stated. 
            I picked up another heavy, hot metal pot and wiped the white cloth over the edges as I turned it.  What must it be like to be seventeen without a day to yourself, to be always scrambling in one restaurant kitchen or another in order to feed, clothe, and house a family of four?  Seventeen!  As I daydreamed, staring blankly at the block wall above the sink and pondering the world through my friend’s eyes, a tiny, cold wad of pizza dough bounced off of my cheek. 
            “Wake up lazy.  We don’ want to go home late tonight!”  Antonio had finished the dishes, leaving me with a mammoth stack on the counter to dry.  He stood smiling by the smooth metal table where we pound the balls of dough into round saucers, tossing them to impress the customers across the plexiglass sneezeguard
~ ~ ~ 
            We were short one employee the following Saturday night.  During the week, there had been a raid by the INS at Antonio’s other restaurant and he had joined the rest of the kitchen staff for a one-way trip into Mexico.  “Don’t worry,” his brother, Panta, told me, rolling his eyes.  “He will be back tomorrow or the next day.”  I wasn’t sure what to say, or even if he was serious, so I said nothing.  “Three, four, maybe five days to get back to here,” Panta assured me.  
            “What will it cost him?” I asked. 
            “One hundred, one-fifty,” he answered.  I dumped the tray of sliced mushrooms into another tray where we make the pizzas and returned to the walk-in refrigerator for more green peppers.  
            The walk-in is a good place to hide.  I like the cool and to munch on the cheese and salami sandwiches that Antonio had taught me to make—cheese in the center, salami for the bread. How do Esme and Antonio’s daughters get along while he is fighting to return to this inhospitable second home?  I worry that he might not make it or that he might get into bigger trouble trying. I picture him sprinting down the trails near the checkpoint in Oceanside, border patrol agents beaming their searchlights over the low chaparral.  What if he is ripped off by a heartless “coyote?” What if he gives up and fails to return at all?  And if I’m having these terrible thoughts, if I’m this worried about my friend of six or seven months, how must Esme be feeling?  
            I visited Gina’s on Monday to pick up my paycheck and get a slice for lunch.  Sure enough, Antonio was there—all smiles, as usual.  “Antonio!  You’re back!”  My enthusiasm made several other customers turn to look at me.  I didn’t care. 
            “Yes, Loco.  You think I not come back?” he asked. 
            “No, I mean…yeah!  I mean, yeah, I knew you’d be back.”  He laughed, showing the gold in his teeth.  He rang up my slice and took my dollar-fifty. 
            “Here you go, amigo.  Back to la playa, no?” he said, handing me the little white cardboard box. 
            “You know it, amigo.  Las olas mas perfecto ahora!”  I shook his hand in the “bro” style, not forgetting to clash knuckles with him at the end.  “See you Wednesday, no?” 
            “Si, si,” he replied with another smile. 
            I sat in the back seat of my friend’s Suburu wagon on the way back to the beach, chowing down on my slice and checking the figures on my paycheck.  $162.63 for two weeks worth of part-time work—all right, I thought!  Over halfway to a new surfboard, or maybe I’d get some new rims for my mountain bike.  Then I pictured Antonio checking the figures of his check.  If I made $162.63, he must have cleared $700 easily.  But the bills he must have!  Can four people live on what Antonio makes?  What did Esme and her daughters do while he was scrambling north again?  How much did the trip cost him?  What will happen if he is caught again? 
            I picture the bills, the cramped apartment they share with Pantaleon and his family, and I see Esme frowning.  But every time I picture Antonio’s face, his smile beams back at me.  “You think I not come back, Loco?” he chides in my memory.  
            No, Antonio.  I know you come back. 
~ ~ ~ 
            I haven’t seen Antonio in many years, but like Mitch believes in Bridgie’s ability to overcome adversity, to maintain a positive perspective through unjust, traumatic, and chaotic times, I believe that he is doing okay.  Antonio and Bridgie are kindred spirits.  They serve as reminders of what life has to offer, of what offering something in return can do for the soul.  Quiet Bridgie, toiling to create her “door key” collars for stray dogs, devotes herself to others despite finding herself in a position that would have many characters feeling sorry for themselves (84).  Why should she be born into a poor Belfast family and Mitch live in relative luxury in the States?  Antonio smiles, working endless hours to support his family and befriending a naïve beach rat that, to him, must symbolize injustice in the same way.  Both characters struggle to make the most of circumstances imposed upon them by the geography of their birth.  They harbor contempt for the word “border,” but refuse to be broken by it.  Because they face their many challenges with optimism, because they do not waiver in their generosity despite having so little, and because their spirits know no bounds, their “District is the world,” and they inspire me to learn from those around me (84).

***Reflect on the essay now-- Where is the thesis statement?  Does the discussion/essay stay on-topic?  Does it answer the prompt (look at the assignment sheet again)?  Did the writer have a little fun along the way?  How?  Is that okay?***

Update 9/20/13--
  • We are transitioning from plot diagrams to our first formal essay, the Short Story Connection Essay.  Some class time each day next week will be devoted to drafting this essay.  Due Friday, 9/27.
  • I collected a KBAR log today.  Next due 10/4.

Update 9/9/13-- 
  • KBAR has begun!  The first log is due 9/20/13.  See below for specific requirements.  Find recommended reading on the Laguna library website: http://wordpress.slcusd.org/lamslibrary/  If you lost your log, or just want to print a few so I don't need to give you any (great idea!), find link to the digital copy below:
  • We will have a spelling pretest (#2) today, final test Friday 9/13.

READY?  SET?.....
2013/2014 school year is here!  Please review the course outline with your parent(s) and/or guardian.  Links to each grade level below.  Print one out and get it signed by parent or guardian for your first ten points in the course (easy money!).  Due Friday, Aug. 30th.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT INFO SHEET 

If link above does not work, find the text of the handout below:
 Back to School 2013—Here we go!

 

Welcome.  Thank you for trusting me to teach your kids.  Thank you for your help in teaching them.  Tonight, I’d like to highlight some details of ongoing programs that sometimes trip up the kids; I’d like to prep you on the research project that begins in December so that you can prep and support your student; and I’d like to cover miscellaneous items that apply to each of the two courses I teach.

 

KBAR—Reading log collected every two weeks.  10 pts each.  I expect students to read for at least 20 minutes each day/night; however, for KBAR, they should log FOUR reading sessions of at least 20 minutes on four different days per week.  The material can be almost anything, but there is a catch.  We want kids to want to read, and I’m interested in their choices, but the log must show a SIGNIFICANT quotation from each reading session on the reverse of the KBAR form.  This means that the reading material must contain significant material—Teen PeopleCosmogirl, and the like are not safe choices!  Reading award-winning and/or widely celebrated authors can earn one to 2 points of extra credit.  If we are in the middle of reading a novel, assigned reading can be logged for regular credit.     Please support this program!  It is fairly tedious, I know, to log reading sessions, to log anything, really, but this program is pretty cool.  All Laguna students have been taking part in it for decades here, and the theories behind it are neat:

1. You, your student, and your student’s teacher celebrate student’s reading

2. It offers repeated opportunities to get involved in the student’s reading and generate meaningful discussion

3. It shows that we care about reading.

Please buy-in, and please help your student buy-in!  KBAR!  YAY!

 

Spelling tests—Most five-day school weeks, on Monday, I dictate a list of 20 words taken from a long list of “academic vocabulary” that several university professors compiled.  For years now, there has been a strong push to familiarize kids with these words before they leave high school.  The lists, and the accompanying vocabulary exercises, can be found linked to my website. Encourage your student to look them over before each pretest—go for it!  Not cheating!  I dictate the post-test on Friday; the kids are responsible for having the vocab exercise done correctly on the pretest, and they need to spell the words they missed on Monday.  I staple the pretest (don’t lose it!) to the post-test as I collect the work.  If absent on a Monday, access the list and exercises on my website, study the whole list, complete the exercises, and take all 20 words on Friday.  If absent on a Friday, a responsible person in the house should dictate the words in a post-test scenario, sign the post-test, and send pre and post-test with student to school when he or she returns.  Student submits tests to the “in-box.”

 

Research Project—Students can begin reading and taking notes now on the life story of any positive, significant, RESEARCHABLE person.  You might help them choose a subject now.  Buy-in is crucial!  They will learn the life story, study issues of the time period, and eventually argue an interesting point about the person and his or her place in history.  Help them make the leap from “report” to argument.  I don’t want a report.  Let’s make them think little harder.

 

Misc--


Course outline for English 7 Accel.     PARENTS: Please email me, send a short note with your student, or write a note in his or her planner indicating that you read the course outline and reviewed it with your student.  Your acknowledgment of the course outline info is worth ten points to your student-- due Friday, Aug. 30th.

Course outline for English 8     PARENTS: Please email me, send a short note with your student, or write a note in his or her planner indicating that you read the course outline and reviewed it with your student.  Your acknowledgment of the course outline info is worth ten points to your student-- due Friday, Aug. 30th.

The Short Story Connection Essay.  50 pts.

Spelling lists and vocabulary exercises

KBAR log

Essay Structure and Procedures handout-- the handout that will change your life!

Formatting Model

Plot Diagram Models

Short Story Connection Essay

Persuasive Speech Gradesheet

Research Presentation Gradesheet

Research assignment sheet (with step-by-step-instructions)

MLA works cited guidelines

Research paper checklist

Research Reflection prompts

Greek roots

History of English study guide

Neoclassical thought vs. Romantic thought and dates (for use with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)

Walk Two Moons essay exam prompts

Final portfolio reflection assignment

Lots of good help with writing here (note the paramedic method handouts)--  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/sitemap/ 
Go to "Academic Writing" > "Strong Thesis Statements"  for help with persuasive speech 
Also helpful:  "Academic Writing" > "Essay Writing" > "Argumentative Essays"

The next KBAR log is due 9/7/12.  A new log will be due every two weeks after this date.  I do not accept late KBAR reading logs.  Extra logs are kept in the room by the door, but please be responsible for using the one I give on each due date (SAVE PAPER, TREES, TIME, ENERGY).  You may also print a log using the link KBAR log.

Your grade-- I use Powerschool now, so the Laguna site shows what's in the computer.  I update the computer "book" every two to three weeks.  Track your performance by considering your returned work-- how students did it for hundreds of years before web sites!  Check Powerschool every so often to see if your record of your performances matches mine.  Better yet, don't pay much attention to your grade; focus instead on the learning and go after the assignments with enthusiasm.  I guarantee your grade will be in the top ranks if you do.  Email me with specific questions or concerns.

What can you do to raise your grade? 
1.  Keep up during class time; take advantage of every minute because ideas written about and discussed in class are the same ones I'm looking for in essays and exams. TAKE NOTES.  Writing information and ideas forces you to test your understanding; if you can't write it, you have a signal showing when and where to ask the teacher and/or classmates to clarify the material. Be honest in your effort to understand, then feel free to slow me down in complicated discussions where needed. Enter the room ready to absorb as much as possible. Note-taking is one important tool that helps you do this. Careful homework, obviously, helps, too.

2.  Improve the work.  Look over your mini essays and add detail to your responses; extract key quotes from the literature that might strengthen your essays.  Digging through the mini essay prompts, your responses, and the literature will improve your familiarity with the key concepts I'll be looking for in essays and exams.

3.   Make up the work.  Check the postings and turn in any outstanding work.  All assignments EXCEPT KBARs are eligible for half credit up to the final week of each semester.

*Please don't ask me for extra credit.  It is available throughout the year, but will not serve to bail you out.  Some assignments early in the first semester will be 100% "extra credit."  They will be announced as such.  If you are interested in extra credit, take advantage of these opportunities as they crop up.  They are not offered later.  Exceed my expectations on ANY assignment at ANY point in the year, and you will receive extra credit-- read the prompts carefully and GO BIG! (But remember, quantity does not translate to quality; in fact, it often hurts).

Diversions/fun:

academic papers

pics


Update May 8--
8th--

“How to…” Technical Document and Demonstration Gradesheet

 

___ / 5 materials listed; key terms defined (pictures needed?)

___ / 10 steps written in precise language (demonstrator can perform tasks without confusion or additional explanation; can achieve success following only the words on page)

 

___ / 5 cautionary notes are included in appropriate area(s) of document

___ / 10 professional, easy to follow format (picture of final product provided [if product is involved in your process] key elements of process are highlighted with appropriate font, margins, bullet points, borders, icons, illustrations, and or colors—use these well!  Don’t over do it; simple is the rule!)

 

Demonstration

 

___ / 10 all necessary materials are provided and incorporated into demo

___ / 10 demo takes between one and 4 minutes

___ / 10 demo is performed in an appropriate manner (Humor is allowed!  Just make sure it’s appropriate for a mature, educated audience—me!)



Update May 3--
  • 7th--

The Outsiders  and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer dialogue assignment

 

Write a dialogue between one major character in S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and one major character in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Have them discuss the difficulties of navigating the world as a kid.  Include as much specific detail from the readings as you can.  Be clever :-). 

 

Illustrations that enhance and delight will earn you extra credit-- a storyboard, perhaps, or a painting, or collage…  Be clever :-).

 

50 points.  Due ­­­­­_May 10th____



Update April 24--



Update April 19-- 
  • 7th--We are reaching the middle of SE Hinton's The Outsiders, and we are loving it!  Finish chapter 7 for Monday's class, 9 for Tues., and the whole story for Wed.  Consider today's mini essay:  Do you consider yourself part of a group that has a name/label?  How does the name affect the way you see yourself?  See others not in that group?  (Just how powerful is a label?  Why is a label powerful?  Can the power be positive AND negative?  What's up with that?!  Think of your own life, and think of Ponyboy).  The Tom Sawyer essay mentioned below will be a compare and contrast assignment, possibly something other than an essay, incorporating Twain, Hinton, and Emily Dickinson (and...?).  Stay tuned.
  • 8th-- We finished Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl.  Review notes taken in class this week, and look for issues and events in your daily life that relate to issues and events we study in this unit.  How does the economy's variable condition/performance affect comfort, emotions, and morals of individuals in a society?  What makes a life meaningful and worthwhile?
  • Next KBAR due 5/3.  Next spelling test, #20, 5/8.


Update April 11-- 7th grade storyboard: I PUSHED THE DUE DATE BACK TO TUESDAY, APRIL 16th


Update April 9-- 

  • Due Friday.
  • 8th graders need to keep up with reading in The Diary of a Young Girl: 20 pages each night, done with page 80 on Friday.


Update April 4-- 

  • 8th grade-- Check out this site for background on German historical events leading up to WWII: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/putsch2.htm  It will be very helpful to you if you consider our next piece of literature, Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, in terms of the historical context.
  • 7th grade-- We will write an in-class essay on Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when we finish reading the book.  Study your notes, mini essays, and the book.  Any research on Twain, his historical period, and/or the literary period to which he belongs (American Realism) will also be helpful.  Be sure you are relying on credible sources and cite them when sharing information and ideas in your essay.

 

7th grade only: A number of emails are in my box about trouble with the literary analysis assignment sheet.  I can open it from my computer, and I can’t find a problem.  Sorry it is not working from your side.  Here is the content:

 

Monthly Literary Analysis Papers and Presentations

Authors construct stories using the same set of basic elements: setting, character, conflict, rise of action, climax, and resolution.  They also employ techniques or devices like pace; tone; description; point of view; dialogue; characterization and motivation; irony; figurative language; style; and format.  Different authors, and even the same author with different works, emphasize some of these elements and techniques over others to affect the reader, to deliver the theme of their individual works.

 

The assignment:

FIRST:  Read an approved book carefully enough to analyze its elements and techniques.

SECOND:  Write a complete essay structured according to the guidelines presented on the handout we use all year long, summarized here:

 

Title Reflects Your Subject And The Essay’s Thesis (don’t underline your title!)

 

 

Attention-getter (vivid description, a quote, staggering statistic)

 

Give title, author, BRIEF summary of plot including terminology (name key elements—not all)

transition to thesis statement

Thesis statement on theme goes here (make sure it’s a complete thought)

 

 

 

State point of paragraph (reason thesis is true)

 

 

Support with evidence (properly formatted quotations from the literature)

Explain connections to thesis

 

 

 

 

State point of paragraph

 

 

         Support with evidence

         Explain connections

 

 

 

 

State point of paragraph

 

 

         Support with evidence

         Explain connections

 

 

 

 

LINK to attention getter (remind reader of the essay’s beginning)

 

 

RESTATE thesis and possibly give another example, connect to your own experience?

TWIST—leave reader with an interesting/important/humorous thought relating to your subject—sometimes a quotation works well

 

 

 

Excellent papers and presentations will include discussions of the elements and techniques (see above) that contribute to the work’s effectiveness/development of theme.  I recommend that you provide these discussions in the body paragraphs, amidst your explanations for how specific evidence from the novel supports your thesis.  For example, does the passage you are using as evidence for theme also show the author’s skill and/or emphasis on characterization?  On description?  On figurative language?  On irony?  Does the format of the writing hint to the theme of the story?  Does the author’s choice of P.O.V. enhance the development of theme?  Analyses of the story’s elements can be offered briefly in the body paragraphs dealing mostly with theme, or an additional body paragraph or two analyzing the story’s elements may be added.  Just be sure not to stray from your discussion on theme too long; get back to your thesis after discussing elements.

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