Find the theme!

Hi 7th graders,

If your group didn’t finish the activity in class, you need to finish it as homework. Pick any story book from home and complete the following steps on a lined piece of notebook paper:

  1. Write down the title of the book you read.
  2. Write down the theme of the book.
  3. Write down three specific pieces of text evidence that show your theme.
  4. Explain how at least one piece of evidence proves that your chosen theme is present in the book.

Make sure to bring this to class tomorrow, May 1st, 2019.

Research Reflection Paragraph Guidelines

Hi 7th graders,

Thank you for your patience in waiting for this post!

Here are the guidelines you need to follow when writing your one-paragraph reflection about your table group:

Write one stoplight paragraph explaining what participation grade each person in your group has earned (10 points total)

  • Make effective use of the stoplight format (effective = clear connection within Yellow-Red-Red chunk ideas and between the main idea of the paragraph and ll the chunks in the paragraph) (3 points)
  • Include one Yellow-Red-Red chunk for each student in your group (3 points)
  • Accurately evaluate group work and support analysis with strong, specific examples (3 points)
  • Follow No Excuses list for word processed assignments

All paragraphs are due Tuesday, March 5th, 2019.

I look forward to reading your work and please let me know if you have questions!

Hankering for Historical Fiction?

Hi 7th graders,

Next trimester’s Book Talk genre is historical fiction. According to (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 tons of suggestions:

Remember to sign up for your book to make sure it is approved! Also, we are picking third trimester presentation dates this Friday, February 22, 2019.

Practice Quiz for “The Lottery”

Hi 8th graders,

We are practicing our analysis skills, specifically, providing evidence to support our opinions AND clearly explaining how that evidence supports our opinion.

For homework, answer question two or three (or both if you want extra practice!) on the quiz for “The Lottery” pictured below.

Make sure to include the three elements of effective analysis! You can review the list below to make sure you have all three.

Elements of Effective Analysis

  1. Your analysis – your opinion, inference, or what you believe is the answer to the question.
  2. Text evidence, AKA direct quote(s), that support(s) your analysis/inference/opinion/answer.
  3. Explanation of how your text evidence supports/proves/connects to your analysis/inference/opinion/answer.

“The Highwayman”

Hi 7th graders,

To prepare for our discussion tomorrow, please watch the animated version of “The Highwayman” below. When you have finished, answer the three questions beneath the video in your Literature/LA notebook. As usual, you need to write in complete sentences.

Make sure to include examples from the story that support your opinions and inferences!

L.O. I can analyze the impact of using animation to tell the story of “The Highwayman”

S.L.E. Think critically and solve problems

Questions for tomorrow’s discussion

  1. How do the illustrations add to the meaning or mood (feeling) of the poem?
  2. Why do you think the artist chose this style of art (flowing, dreamy, less defined) rather than more precise images?
  3. Is there anything you would have changed about this vision of the poem? What would you do differently and why?

Remember to answer in complete sentences and include specific examples from the animation that support your ideas.


TKAM Themes

Hi 8th graders,

You did it! You finished To Kill A Mockingbird! Hooray! Now it’s time to figure out why we read it…

Your job tonight is to email me three themes from To Kill A Mockingbird. (If you can’t remember how to find and write a theme, review your notes from last year or check out the steps at the end of this post.)

You have already completed step one (read the book) and you worked on step two (write a big list of topics from the book) in class today. Check out the list below:

Big List of Topics in To Kill A Mockingbird

  • Social courage
  • Innocence
  • Friendship
  • Injustice
  • Discrimination
  • Love
  • Childhood innocence
  • Resilience
  • Stereotypes
  • Courage
  • Trust
  • Faith
  • Prejudice
  • Loneliness
  • Coming of age
  • Cruelty
  • Family
  • Honesty
  • Racism
  • Community
  • Controversy
  • Belief
  • Anger
  • Revenge
  • hope
  • Law
  • Justice
  • Deception
  • Mystery
  • Bravery
  • Curiosity
  • Individualism
  • Growth
  • Exclusion
  • Identity
  • Equality
  • Fairness
  • Guilt
  • Intolerance
  • Passion
  • Imagination
  • Acceptance
  • Tolerance
  • Loss of innocence
  • Persistence

Now you just need to select three or more topics and write what the author believes about them, based on the story. Remember, ground themes, e.g. “The author believes that racism is bad,” will not be accepted.

Make sure to email me your three theme sentences by 7:30am, Wednesday, December 19, 2018.

Let me know if you have any questions!

How to Find and Write a Theme

  1. Consume source material (e.g. read a book or watch a movie)
  2. Write a big list of topics from the source material (like the big list from earlier in this post)
  3. Pick one or two topics from the list and write what the author believes about it/them based on the source material (e.g. The author believes that racism destroys communities from within)
  4. Remove “The author believes that” and capitalize the new first letter of the sentence (e.g Racism destroys communities from within)
  5. Gaze at the glory that is your well written theme!
  6. Make sure you have text evidence from the source material that proves your theme is strong.

“The Tell-Tale Heart”

Hi 7th graders,

Tonight you are writing one stoplight paragraph explaining the strongest Gothic Literature element in “The Tell-Tale Heart.” You need to include:

  • your analysis of the text (what you believe the strongest element is)
  • text evidence that supports your analysis (quotes from “The Tell-Tale Heart” that prove your point)
  • your interpretation of your text evidence (explanation of how your evidence  supports your analysis)

Sound familiar? You’re right, we did practice this in class multiple times with “The Black Cat.” You are old pros at this by now!

You can download a copy of “The Tell-Tale Heart” here, or you can look online for your own. You will absolutely need to use the text for your assignment tonight (how else will you get direct quotes that support your analysis?), so find the one that suits you best!

Have fun!

TKAM Independent Research Opportunity

Hi 8th graders,

Today in class, you expressed an interest to dig deeper into the cultural context surrounding To Kill a Mockingbird, particularly the expression and impact of violence and intimidation.

Be advised that the following links cover difficult and disturbing topics. If you have any questions or concerns, please check in with your parents and me!

If you are interested, check out the Equal Justice Initiative project, Lynching in America. You can also check out the digitized collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (the amazing new Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.). Scroll through the topics listed or search for something in particular. It will show you all the objects they have digitized (images, videos, illustrations, historical artifacts, etc.) related to that topic. Please share anything you find that you think would benefit the class.

Thank you for your thoughtful focus and engagement in class this week. Enjoy the extra long weekend!