Monthly Archives: September 2014

September 29, 2014

Today we took our first vocabulary quiz over Ella Minnow Pea. I scanned your quizzes after school, and students who studied using did quite well (with a handful of perfect scores!). Students who did not appear to spend much time using did abysmally. So, just something to keep in mind as we move forward – this is a free tool for you to use to improve your mastery of these words, and it’s more fun that most traditional methods of studying.

After that, we went to the library to check out more free choice books! Please make sure that you bring yours tomorrow.

Homework for tonight and tomorrow night is the Ella Minnow Pea Reading and Discussion Guide 1: EMP Reading Guide 1

September 26, 2014

More writing today! We talked about the importance of including sentence variety, and what different lengths of sentences can do for your work. Here are some of the student-generated ideas we talked about today:

Benefits of Short Sentences Benefits of Medium Sentences Benefits of Long Sentences
  • gets the point across quickly
  • expresses tone: urgency, terror/fear, anger/annoyance
  • emphasizes importance
  • doesn’t over or underwhelm
  • toning something down
  • good for description
  • creates a flow
  • more detail
  • expresses tone: excitement, rambling

Over the weekend, please finish your personal narrative, print it out, and have it ready to go on Monday. Remember that it’s worth a major grade. Also be ready to take your Ella Minnow Pea quiz (and you’ll need the book for a homework assignment Monday night).

September 25, 2014

This dreary, rainy day is perfect for writing, I think.

Which is exactly what we did in class today. I gave you all a quick chart of options for different organizational structures that you could use to tell your story, and then we wrote, and wrote, and wrote (I wrote too). I don’t have an electronic copy of that chart, so if you were out, please come get one from me.

Homework for tonight is to finish and print out your Week 2 HUB stuff for the summer reading book.

And here is a great comic I saw recently that talked about the writing process, and which I think might be appropriate to share at this time:

Shonda Rhimes

September 24, 2014

We began class today by signing up for accounts (see the post immediately before this one for the link for your class). Students then practiced their Ella Minnow Pea List 1 words (you can just search for “Ella Minnow Pea” and it will bring you the list if you don’t remember the steps we went through in class).

Next, we did pre-writing for deeper meaning for our personal narratives. Here is that PowerPoint: Adding Deeper Meaning to Your Personal Narrative

Homework for tonight was to finish reading The Little Prince and to write a mini-essay about one of the quotations from the book: TLP Mini-Essay

Remember, please bring your laptop tomorrow and Friday!

September 23, 2014

Today in class we discussed the symbolism from last night’s homework, as well as from the short story “Inside Out” which we read this week. You’ll have an opportunity to practice more of this with tonight’s homework: Allegory and Parable in TLP (You will need to read the next 13 pages – through page 26 – in TLP to be able to complete this.)

The rest of our class was spent pre-writing for setting. Make a messy sheet (the crazy, all-over-the-place notes that we’ve been writing in class). If you need a bit more guidance, here is the PowerPoint that we used: Setting in Personal Narrative


September 19, 2014

Lots of announcements today!

1. Homework for this weekend was to read your free choice book for an hour-and-a-half (that comes out to 45 minutes for two of the three nights) and have your parent sign a note to that effect. If you read for three hours (and your parent confirms that on the note), I will give you 10 points of extra credit!

2. Remember you have your Hunger Games exam on Monday. Half of the test will be did-you-read? sorts of questions, and the other half will be applying our reading lessons to passages from the test. Take a look at your grade on the quiz we took on Monday – if it’s low, I would revisit your notes.

3. The other Pre-AP teachers and I have decided to extend the due date for your HUB discussions to next Thursday instead of Sunday. So, to recap, Week 2 discussions are due (both posted on the website and turned in to me on a paper copy) on Thursday, September 25. Make sure that you do all four components – the two discussions, and the two responses to your peers’ comments.

4. Remember that the mock PSAT tomorrow is worth 10 points of extra credit on your test – please meet in the cafeteria at 8:00 AM! You don’t have to do anything to prove to me that you were there – the test coordinator will give me a list of names of attendees.

So, in terms of what we did today for a lesson:

1. We spent 20 minutes pre-writing on a blank sheet of computer paper (the blank sheet is important because I think the lines impose a certain kind of linear thinking, which inhibits creativity at this stage) about indirect characterization of your person for your personal narrative.

2. Then we listened to the beginning of The Little Prince, the sweetest, loveliest novella ever written. We’ll talk more about how this connects to some of the other works of literature next week. If you would like to review what we read, there are lots of copies of the story available online – just Google it.


September 17, 2014

We finished up our notes on tone today in class. Homework was to begin working on the “What’s in a Name?” writing assignment, which is due Friday. My Name Writing Assignment

Important! On Monday, you will take your test over The Hunger Games. About half will be a did-you-read? question format, and about half will use passages from the book to test you over the reading objectives we have been learning in class – author’s purpose, metaphors, characterization, and the like. YOU CAN EARN 10 POINTS OF EXTRA CREDIT ON THE TEST BY TAKING THE MOCK PSAT AT BELLAIRE THIS SATURDAY! Sign up to take the test here.