Language Arts


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~Mr. Blackwell

Today in Class...


Students completed their Unit 2 Mid- Unit Assessment. This packet was handed at the beginning of the class, and students had until the end of the class to complete it. This assessment must be completed in class, and may not be taken home. Students are only give 40 min to complete as many questions as possible.


Students continued working on their worksheet from yesterday. In addition, we completed an activity involving quotes, then the students re-read the poem "Neigh Not Hee" on page Pg 131 and answered the following question in their composition book:

How does this poem connect with the experience of one or more of the teens in "Children of War"? Use details from the poem to support your answer.

Students also turned in their Hall passes for extra credit, and their composition books for a final check for the quarter.


Students read an article about Bosnian Refugees, and then spent the remainder of the period discussing what a Controlling Idea is and how we can use it to make a good Topic Sentence. Students were asked to fill in their graphic organizer about the article.

8m1.2l6 Student Extract.pdf


Students had a discussion on the difference between Internal Conflict and External Conflict. Then, focusing on the poems "Loud Outside" and "Quiet Inside" students worked as a group to identify the strongest evidence from the text that describes some of the challenges Ha and her family are facing "inside" and some they are facing "outside."

Students then spent the remainder of the period completing the following anchor charts in their composition book.

8m1.2l5 Student Extract.pdf


Students read pages 115 through 179 of the novel Inside Out and Back Again. Then answered the following quick-write question in their composition book.

How is Ha's life turned inside out? (Provide specific examples)


Students took their Vocab Tests for the week.


Today students read Pages 86 through 111 in the novel Inside Out and Back Again. Then focused on filling in a new anchor chart. Special attention was paid to the poems:

  • "Choices"
  • "Wet and Crying"
  • "One Mat Each"
  • "Should We"
  • "S-L-O-W-L-Y"

What Challenges do Refugees face when Fleeing Home?

Strongest Evidence from the Text


Today students read pages 79 to 86 in the novel Inside Out and Back Again. We then focused on just the poem, 'Last Respects.' Students were given 20 min to complete their anchor chart in their composition book. The examples given below were to help them get a jump start.

8m1.2l2 Student Extract.pdf


Today students completed an anchor chart focusing on Ha's dynamic characteristics. Student wrote the chart in their composition books using the example (Page 5) below then used the "Pair-and-Share" method of collaborating with their groups to discuss their findings.

8m1.2l1 Student Extract.pdf


Students were handed their Vocab Lesson 4 packet (to be tested on Friday). They also completed a worksheet, "The Hard and Fast Rules for Capitalization." The practice worksheet for capitalization will be due on Friday as well. Word lists are available on the Homework Assignments page.


Students graded their Vocab 3 Packets as a class, then tested on their spelling for the words.


Students were given the period to complete an End of Unit Assessment on Ha and the NPR report titled, "Forgotten Ship: A Daring Rescue As Saigon Fell." Students were to complete this assessment in class as an evaluation of their ability to use classroom notes to identify specific stanzas that reveal the tone and meaning of each passage.


Today students worked on a Word Choice, Tone and Meaning Note-Catcher for the poem "Saigon is Gone." After completing the worksheet, students listened to an NPR report on the day Saigon fell, "Forgotten Ship." (Audio Link)

8m1.1l13 Student Extract.pdf


Students worked to complete a Write-Pair-Share Note-Catcher and a Word Choice, Tone, and Meaning Note-Cather worksheet regarding Inside Out & Back Again's Poem Wet and Crying.

Homework: Students need to answer the following QuickWrite in the their composition books.

Throughout our reading of Inside Out and Back Again, we have discussed what the papaya is a symbol of hope. At the end of the poem “Wet and Crying,” what has happened to hope? How does the author’s specific word choice help us understand the main message of this poem?

Use specific evidence from the text to write a paragraph that answers this question.


Students worked on Vocabulary Lessons 3 for English 8 and Lesson 4 for Honors English 8. Word lists for studying can be found on the Homework Assignments page.


Students need to access Google Classroom and open the assignment Character Study Jigsaw. Using the novel, Inside Out & Back Again, complete the work sheet and “Turn It In” through Google Classroom. The Novel can be found on the Classroom Novel Page.


Students completed a "jigsaw" activity for the article The Vietnam Wars, and worked as a group to answer each worksheet on the article.


Student completed their Pre-Test of the End of Year Exam. Once finished they read silently pages 41-69 of Inside Out and Back Again, in preparation of our discussion tomorrow.


Students were given a work day due to technological issues with the assignment. Students need to be prepared for Vocab tests tomorrow.



Students added themselves to the correct Google Classroom. Once in, they were to read The Chinese Dragon, an excerpt from the article The Vietnam War by Todd Olson, and answer questions regarding the article.

The Vietnam Wars Tod Olson.pdf


Students completed QuickWrite #2: How is Ha's life affected by where and when she is living? Write a complete paragraph in which you support your ideas with evidence from the text.

Students then completed a Mid-Unit Assessment packet in which they answered questions on "Birthday Wishes" pages 30-31 on the novel Inside Out & Back Again. Those absent can get a packet from the yellow "Absent work" folder found at the front of the classroom.


Students received their Vocab Lesson 2 worksheets. These will be due on Friday just before they take their vocabulary test.

Students were also asked to read Inside Out & Back Again, pages 10-41. Tomorrow we will have discussions on the novel, and write in our journals.


Students spent the day taking their 1st (or 2nd for Honors) Vocabulary Test. Vocab packets were turned in, and students were reminded/encouraged to take AR quizzes.


Today half of the periods MAP tested to establish our first benchmark of measurement. The other half of the periods completed a cursive handwriting packet.


Today students were given 10 min to complete their Science Essay that is due tomorrow for Mr. Grief. We then focused our attention back on Inside Out & Back Again. Students read Papaya Tree and answered their first quick write question listed below. For homework students need to complete the four questions in their handout about the Papaya Tree (page 11) that will be due on Tuesday of next week.

Quick Write Question: What kind of person is Ha?

Use specific evidence from the text to write a paragraph in which you discuss one of Ha’s personality traits. A complete paragraph will include a focus statement, several pieces of textual evidence, explanations about what each piece of evidence shows us about Ha, and a concluding sentence. Use the notes you collected in your journal to help you write this paragraph.

Chapter Questions Due Tuesday (from Page 11)

  • How did the papaya tree begin to grow? Was the planting of the tree intentional or a careless act? How do you know this?”
  • From youngest to oldest, Ha describes what each brother sees on the tree. What is the pattern she describes?
  • Ha vows to be the first to witness, or observe, the ripening of the papaya fruit. What does the word vows mean in this context? Where else did we read that Ha wanted to be the first at something instead of her oldest brother?
  • What can you infer or conclude about Ha’s character based on these two poems or critical incidents?


Today students focused on their short essay for Mr. Grief in Science about the eclipse. Students used the highlighting guide below to help identify the parts of a paragraph, and were able to then make adjustments on their rough drafts, before rewriting their final essays.

Rough Draft Highlight Guide:

Thesis Statement (Last sentence of the first paragraph. MUST state Opinion and three ways you're going to prove it) - ORANGE

Topic Sentences (First sentence in each paragraph)- YELLOW

Evidences (the facts about each stage of eclipse) - GREEN

Opinions (What you thought about each fact/Why it is important to know)- BLUE

Conclusion Statement- PINK


Students continued reading Inside Out & Back Again. Some classes played catch-up. Students need to have read through the end of Papaya Tree (Page 9).


Students worked on Vocab Worksheets. English 8 completed a worksheet on Base Words, Roots Words, Prefixes and suffixes. Honors English worked on their 1st word list based on the the Words within Words Series. Worksheets are available in the classroom.


Students continued close reading with Inside Out & Back Again. Welcome Back assembly also took place.


Students read the first chapter of the novel Inside Out & Back Again, 1975: Year of the Cat. Students then needed to complete a table that showed an EVIDENCE, PAGE NUMBER, and INFERENCE they were able to make about what HA has learned from the novel so far. (See Example Below)


Students dove into our first unit by completing a gallery walk with pictures that incited them to make inferences about our upcoming unit.

Slide show of photos:

Essential Questions:

    1. What is Home?
    2. How do critical incidences reveal character?


Students were given their Class Syllabus. Parents are asked to read this syllabus with their students and to then return JUST the bottom part with signatures from both student and parent.

Students were also asked to signup for REMIND 101 (found above) to receive reminders from Mr. Blackwell, and to provide a more immediate way of contact when questions arise on homework.

Honors English 8 Syllabus.docx
English 8 Syllabus.docx