Week of October 30, 2017
The students are beginning their first, major writing assignment - a personal narrative. To check in, ask your student what is the difference between a personal narrative and a short story?
Today, the students chose a topic for their essays. We went through the brainstorming process, chose a topic to write about and started a memory map.
10-31 Writing the hook to the story (HAPPY HALLOWEEN)
11-1 Establishing the incident, response and reflection (8th grade PSAT)
11-2 Drafting the essay
11-3 Independent reading day - Please remind your students to read for 30 minutes a night and to bring their independent reading book on Friday!!!
Homework for this week will be an extension of class activities.
Hello Students and Parents,
This week, we will continue exploring the personal narrative genre, leading up to our first embedded assessment - writing our own personal narratives.
Since the students are not allowed to take their consumables or workbooks out of the classroom, I have provided a copy of the first story, "My Superpowers" below for further reading or analysis. A PDF version was not available.
1 Do you ever wish you had superpowers?
2 When I was a kid, growing up on the North Side of Chicago and being picked on by bullies, I prayed for superpowers. Like Superman, I wanted to be able to fly faster than speeding bullets, to be more powerful than locomotives, to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Mainly, I wanted to punch bullies in the stomach so hard that my fist came out of their backs.
3 Winters in Chicago are so cold that frost forms leafy patterns on your bedroom window and stays there for months. The wind howls off Lake Michigan, and a thick shell of pitted black ice covers the streets and sidewalks from December to April. To keep warm in winter, I wore a heavy wool coat, a wool muffler, wool mittens, furry earmuffs and—one of my most treasured possessions—a Chicago Cubs baseball cap autographed by a player named Big Bill Nicholson.
4 On the coldest days of winter, three bullies waited for me after school, just for the fun of terrorizing me. The biggest one was a fat ugly kid named Vernon Manteuffel. Vernon and his two buddies would pull off my Cubs cap and tease me with it. They’d pretend to give it back, then toss it around in a game of keep-away.
5 One day in February when the temperature was so low I felt my eyeballs cracking, Vernon and his friends caught up with me on my way home. As usual, they tore off my Cubs cap and started playing catch with it. What made it worse than usual was that on this particular day I happened to be walking home with a pretty girl named Ann Cohn, who lived across the street from me. Ann Cohn had green eyes and shiny black hair and I had a goofy crush on her. As if it wasn’t bad enough that these guys humiliated me when I was alone, now they were doing it in front of Ann Cohn.
6 I was so embarrassed, I began to cry. Crying in front of Ann Cohn made me even more embarrassed. I was speechless with shame and anger. Driven by rage, I did what only an insane person would do: I attacked Vernon Manteuffel. I punched him in the chest and grabbed back my Cubs cap.
7 Vernon saw that I had become a madman. People don’t know what to do with madmen. Vernon looked shocked and even a little afraid. He backed away from me. I attacked the second boy, who also backed away from me. Encouraged by their backing away, I ran after them, screaming, punching, flailing at them with both fists. I chased them for two blocks before they finally pulled ahead and disappeared. Breathing hard, tears streaming down my face, I felt I had regained my honor, at least temporarily.
8 That weekend, perhaps made braver by my triumph over the three bullies, I kissed Ann Cohn on her sofa. I can’t tell you exactly why I did that. Maybe because it was a cold, cloudy Saturday and there was nothing else to do. Maybe because we both wondered what it would feel like. In any case, I could now brag that, at age eight, I had personally kissed an actual girl who wasn’t related to me.
9 I never did get those superpowers. Not as a kid, at least.
10 When I grew up, I became a writer. I discovered a particular pleasure in going on risky adventures. I wrote about my real-life adventures for national magazines: I spent four months riding with New York firefighters and running into burning buildings with them. I spent six months riding with New York homicide cops as they chased and captured drug dealers and murderers. I flew upside-down over the Pacific Ocean with a stunt pilot in an open-cockpit airplane. I took part in dangerous voodoo ceremonies in Haiti. I spent time on a tiger ranch in Texas and learned to tame two-hundred-pound tigers by yelling “No!” and smacking them hard on the nose. I found that tigers were not much different from the bullies of my childhood in Chicago.
11 I also wrote fiction. I created entire worlds and filled them with people I wanted to put in there. I made these people do and say whatever it pleased me to have them do and say. In the worlds I made up, I was all-powerful—I had superpowers.
12 I began writing a series of children’s books called The Zack Files, about a boy named Zack who keeps stumbling into the supernatural. In many of these books I gave Zack temporary powers—to read minds, to travel outside his body, to travel back into the past, to triumph over ghosts and monsters. I created another series called Maximum Boy, about a boy named Max who accidentally touches radioactive rocks that just came back from outer space and who suddenly develops superpowers. Maximum Boy is me as a kid in Chicago, but with superpowers.
13 Oh yeah, I almost forgot. In The Zack Files, I created a fat, stupid kid who sweats a lot and thinks he’s cool, but who everyone laughs at behind his back. You know what I named this fool? Vernon Manteuffel. I do hope the real Vernon knows.
Additionally, the quarter is coming to a close very soon! The following grades will be recorded this week:
Cause and Effect Activity
This week, we will begin reading a narrative text from our Springboard books, entitled "The Circuit," by Francisco Jimenez
*Last week, the students were introduced to narrative elements (plot, character, conflict, theme and setting), and took notes.
Students will read the text numerous times to develop skills related, but not limed to: comprehension, analysis and support. We will use strategies such as close reading to answer text dependent questions during our second reading.
A copy of the story is attached below.
Students will have short comprehension/application quiz on the story, Thursday.
We are actually beginning our fourth week of school, and we are off to a great start!
We have launched a new Language Arts curriculum this year called Springboard, and the students and I have dived right in!
The theme of our first unit is "change" and we have talked about the many changes that sixth grade students can encounter: new school, new friends, new classes etc... This unit offers a variety of texts and writing challenges for students to experience as well as present their discoveries to the class.
Each students has received a new book that will be kept in the classroom, but we utilize it daily.
This week, we will begin reading and responding to the text: discovering how authors use narrative elements to write and refine stories in hopes that others will gain knowledge and skills on how to emulate this process to write their own pieces of narrative literature.
Hello Students and Parents!
Just a few reminders....
Tomorrow, is your RACE strategy assessment. I have given you a Practice Assignment in GC that is due tomorrow by midnight, and I just posted another article for you to read and construct a response at your convenience. There is NO DUE DATE. This is strictly for extra practice. **All of this practice will help prepare you for writing your Argumentative Essays!!!
Additionally, your journal activities for your independent reading book are due tomorrow. NO EXCUSES. All journal items not received will result in a 0.
Let's not have history reapeat itself because some of you already have a zero from the last book assignment.
I would like to say that I was very impressed with some of the responses that were submitted today. The class seems to me getting a better grasp of the MLA style formatting, and your writing is developing quite nicely. Keep of the good work, 1st period.
Also, tomorrow, you may use your Flow Chart as a resource.
Have a great evening!!!
We officially began our Argumentative Writing Unit today!
This unit covers the following standards which focus on Reading, Speaking/Listening and Writing.
We will continue our RACE strategy practice and collaboration tomorrow.
Students, you will conduct a Gallery Walk and decide which team PRO or CON constructed to best argument.
Read for 30 minutes or more daily. You will receive your Reading Logs tomorrow.
Your Reading Logs are due Friday as well as your (GC) assignment.
Finally, DO NOT forget to study for your RACE strategy assessment on Friday. You will be expected to use the "MLA Formatting".
Have a wonderful evening!!!
Students and parents,
I hope everyone had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday!
Upon our return, we will begin a new unit on Argumentative Writing called "What's On Your Mind?"
I am looking forward to this unit because the students love to engage in spirited debates, and I enjoy listening to the diverse and honest opinions that they share on various school appropriate topics.
Although our culminating task will be an essay, tomorrow we will revisit the RACE strategy - a writing strategy which we have been working on since the beginning of the school year. This strategy serves as the foundation for our essay.
Have you heard the news about Google Classroom? Google Classroom is a platform designed to create a paperless exchange of resources (quizzes, papers, survey etc...) between student and teacher. Students have been provided with a gmail account for school purposes only. In order to access (GC), students must have access to some device i.e. computer, tablet, phone etc...Additionally, I provide time, though limited, in school for students to utilize this tool.
Parents, please reiterate to your student the importance of writing all homework down in their agenda.
Homework for this week will include:
Reading for at least 30 minutes M-Sun and filling out their Reading Log (Due Friday)
Google Classroom Assignment - Due Friday (RACE strategy)
Articles will distributed on Tuesday to prepare for Student Symposium on Wednesday.
Below, please find a link to the articles for those who want to get ahead in their preparation:
Thank you for your continued support! I am really PROUD of what the students have learned thus far, and I look forward to their continued growth.
Please do not hesitate to email me with any questions or concerns at: email@example.com