Happy summer…reading!

Hello rising 8th graders,

Thank you for all of your hard work this year! While we just finished school on Friday, I have already had requests for the summer reading list.

Please review the summer reading list below and choose one book from each category (2 books total) and read them over the summer.

Fiction (choose one) Non-Fiction (choose one)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park
Elijah of Buxton, Christopher Paul Curtis Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master, Lorraine McConaghy
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith

Fever 1793, Laurie Halse Anderson

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai and Christine Lamb
Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean Dominique Bauby

The Family Romanov, Candace Fleming

A Girl of the Limberlost, Gene Stratton-Porter

Counting by 7’s, Holly Goldberg Sloan

Wonder, R.J. Palacio

Sabriel, Garth Nix

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem, Rosalyn Schanzer

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, John Fleischman

Have a great summer (read)!

Poetry with a purpose

Hi 8th graders,

We started our Poetry with Purpose unit! Hooray!

Today, we listened to “Never Again” by Remedy and saw how he bore witness to the Holocaust through poetry, decades after it finished.

Tomorrow, we will be looking at two new poems/songs – “Strange Fruit” and “Lost Count: A Love Story”.

Tangerine Essay Prompts

Hi 7th graders,

You need to write the rough draft of your thesis statement for your Tangerine essay tonight. Remember, a thesis statement = subject + opinion + 3 supporting details (one for each body paragraph).

We reviewed all of the prompts in class and came up with strong ideas for each one. Pick your favorite and write a rough draft of your thesis statement tonight to bring to class tomorrow morning (Tuesday). Please review the writing prompts below before writing your thesis statement.

  • Prompt #1 (Location, Location, Location)
    • In writing this novel, Edward Bloor was very influenced by the environment, weather, and ecosystem of Florida. In your essay, describe and discuss the importance of the Florida setting to the characters and events in Tangerine. How does Edward Bloor use the animals, plants, weather, and natural phenomena of Florida to drive the plot and affect the characters?
  • Prompt #2 (Who is really blind?)
    • At one point in Tangerine, Paul states that, despite his glasses, he has the best vision. In your essay, describe and discuss the theme of blindness or “not seeing” in the events and characters of the novel. Why might other characters be considered “blind”? What key events revolve around characters not seeing what is truly going on?
  • Prompt #3 (Paul’s growth)
    • As the main character in Tangerine is also the narrator, the reader experiences the events of the novel as they happen to Paul Fisher. In your essay, describe Paul’s personal growth from the beginning to the end of the novel. How does he change? What are the key events of the novel that shape and affect Paul character and growth?

We will start planning (and possibly writing) your rough draft tomorrow. Your final draft is due Monday, May 15, 2017. If you use your time, both in class and at home, wisely this week, you could be done before the weekend!

Final Project for TKAM

Clear the air TKAM

Hi 8th graders,

Atticus gives great advice, doesn’t he? I want to make sure we have everything out in the open regarding your final project for this unit.

You started working on your final project for To Kill A Mockingbird this week in class. You can find a copy of the assignment here and the rubric here. The project is due on Monday, May 1st, 2017.

From now until May 1st (except two days for movie talks), we will have in-class work time for you to create your projects. Because you have so much work time in class, I do not expect you to work on this project over spring break. You should only work on it over the holiday if it brings you joy!

So, remember to use in-class work time wisely and enjoy this bit of wisdom from Harper Lee…
Mockingbirds bring joy

TKAM Topics for Themes

Hi 8th graders,

If you haven’t given me your theme sentence for TKAM, you need to complete one for homework. You can find the list of topics we created in class today below:

TKAM Topics

TKAM Topis close-up

Remember, you need to write one “The author believes that…” sentence for one or more of the topics listed above. It needs to be written on a loose-leaf sheet of paper (or an index card or a sticky note…something that I can collect in the morning).

Have a great afternoon!

To Kill A Mockingbird Court Case Profile

Hi 8th graders,

Your homework tonight is to complete the first two rows (Heck Tate and Bob Ewell) of the TKAM Court Case Profile graphic organizer. In case you’ve forgotten what it looks like since class this afternoon, here is a refresher:

TKAM Court Case Profile overview

Now it’s all coming back to you! We did the first two columns for Heck Tate in class today. You can check the pictures below for a reminder of what we wrote down:

Information we learned when Mr. Gilmer (Prosecution) was asking Heck Tate questions 

Prosecution info for Heck Tate

Information we learned when Atticus Finch (Defense) was asking Heck Tate questions

Defense info for Heck Tate

For the last column, the court’s reaction to the witness’s testimony (what the witness said on the stand), check pages 224-226.

This last picture will give you a clue who is reacting on each page:

Page references for court reaction to Heck Tate

Come to class with any questions you have about the court case, the story, and/or this assignment.

Looking for a film that has been nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award?

Hi 8th graders,2016-oscars-best-picture

Look no further! (Or, at least, start looking here!)

As you know, your third trimester book talk is actually a movie talk. There are two criteria your movie selection needs to meet:

  1. Must have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture
  2. Must be new to you, i.e. you have not seen it before.

As soon as you have selected a movie, sign up for it on the sign-up sheet in my classroom (right next to my desk).  If someone has already written down the movie you want to watch, you need to pick a different movie.

To aid you in your movie selection process, it helps to know what has actually been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Check out this comprehensive list of Academy Award Best Picture nominees since the inception of the Awards. It has everything! Check the list and pick one in which you are interested.

Remember, the sooner you sign up, the more likely you are to get your first choice!

Looking for a historical fiction book?

Hi 7th graders,

Wow! It’s a busy day for posts.

Next trimester’s Book Talk genre is historical fiction. According to ReadWriteThink.org (and many other sources), historical fiction is written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Usually the event or time period is about 30 years in the past. So, if you want to read a book set during the Civil Rights Movement (mid-1950s to late 1960s), it needs to have been written sometime after 1985.

History is long, so there are multitude of magnificent books in this genre. It might be difficult to pick just one!

Check out the links below for suggestions:

We are picking third trimester presentation dates this Friday, February 24, 2017.