Sep 27 2014

Gymnasts are Amazing!!!

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Sep 27 2014

Loved this article…Middle Earth Turns 100

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If you haven’t even tried to read them, it’s never too late. Read the best of the best.

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Sep 26 2014

Monday Madness Approaches

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Student websites are active. This means that our classroom is a Writer’s Workshop. Everything you will ever turn in will be brought to your groups for peer proofing, editing, and kind loving feedback for the rest of the school year. After in-class workshopping, you will create each piece of writing as a POST or PAGE for your website. Once in the website editing system, you and I will work very closely on everything from punctuation issues, literary concept misunderstandings, appropriate netiquette; well, everything is fair game once it’s me and you working on your posts and pages. But you have to get there first.

The next time you bring something into class – an Approach Paper, an Article of the Week reflection, an essay, a poem, a short story you wrote, whatever it is – bring 3 copies to share with group members.

So if I were you, this is what things would be like in class from now on.

Say I’m in a group with three other people. I finish my personal novel, and I write my approach paper on the book. I save that approach paper. I print 3 copies of the approach paper and bring them to school (GRADE1). I give the 3 copies to my group mates so they can look it over in general and proofread it for specific things. My group mates are Tara, Clara, and Roberta. All of us have taken the Diagnostic Test and crunched the data. Based on the Diagnostic test data, Tara knows that she is strong in punctuation, so she will check my paper (GRADE2a) for punctuation issues; Clara knows that she is strong in organizational methods, so she will check my paper (GRADE2b) for general organization; and Roberta knows she is strong in main ideas and supporting details, she will check my paragraphs (GRADE2c). I get the approach papers back from them in five to ten minutes with their constructive criticism & other kind praise. That night, I take my 3 copies of my approach paper home and type it up as a POST for my website. After I’m done typing it in, I SUBMIT it FOR REVIEW (GRADE3) to Mr Moshé. When Mr Moshé & I feel it is ready for publishing, he will publish it on my website (GRADE4).

I take every single thing I write for Mr Moshé’s class through this writing process. Novel Study Discussion Questions, Article of the Week Reflections, Essays, Short Stories, anything I write gets (1) written by me to the best of my INITIAL attempt, (2) proofed by my group mates, (3) drafted into my website & Submitted to Mr Moshé, (4) Published to my website.

So, here it is my responsible young adults . . . No matter what you have that is due, if it is a piece of writing, make sure you bring 3 copies of it to class with you when it is due so it can be workshopped with your group. Cool? If you understand this expectation, then comment on this post. Tell me in your comment that you understand. Of course, even if you don’t comment, I know you got this post two ways; (1) it was emailed to you  because you are subscribed to my website & (2) you have “followed” my website. I told you what you have to do from this point on. Cheers. See you Monday!

If you have any questions, submit your questions as comments below.

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Sep 24 2014

Teachable Moment #2

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In my absence, I try to connect in some way what is going on in my life with you all. I will be out for a very sacred holiday for which I will commence on an inward journey of introspection and personal spiritual cleansing.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is . . . to read about Fables, Parables, and Fairy Tales so that you can: (1) Tell them apart from one another; (2) Tell me what is similar about them; (3) Identify a story as one of the three types when presented with one.

You will be given a handout.

1. You will need to look up some Key Vocabulary  words (derive, derivative, concise, didactic, prose, verse, personification, allegory, allegorical, symbol, extended metaphor, simile, enigma, conflated, absolute). Write down the definitions of those words.

2. Read the article . On the front side will be the article for you to read (Highlight anything confusing & Mark up the text with reading strategies).

3. On the back side will be a 3-part VENN Diagram. Fill the diagram with information about the 3 types of stories.


What would a teacher want me to know about these three things?

How can I organize the information in this article?

You have to turn in: the Key Vocabulary list for this assignment, the article all highlighted and marked up & the VENN Diagram as full as you can get it.

Fables-Parables-Fairy Tales Handout

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Sep 23 2014

A Look Ahead

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MAP, or Measures of Academic Progress, testing in our classroom is ending tomorrow, and that means the real deal is about to begin. Student accountability never meant as much as it will in the coming weeks. Some of the things to look forward to are listed below.

  1. Student websites will be activated, and that means a Writer’s Workshop will be in full swing – better get those proofreader’s marks out.
  2. We will begin our first novel (well, it’s actually a novella), Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. Get ready to take a look at who you think you are and what your plans are for your future.
  3. Our first short fiction project-based learning (PBL) unit will commence right on time for All Hallows Eve.

Student Websites

The Great Student Blog Project is one of my favorite things we do. It empowers you to determine how you are viewed by the widest possible audience. It gives you a real sense of the importance of integrity, honesty, and empathy. You will definitely put yourself out there.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is one of the easiest reads I have ever done, and yet one of the most important things I have ever read. It opens doors of self-perception you never knew were there. To cover this, I will read the book aloud, and you will work your way through the text by listening very carefully to come to your own very personal understanding of the text and yourself.

Fiction Unit #1 – Oooooh Scary!

Edgar Allan Poe, W.W. Jacobs, Shirley Jackson, Joan Aiken, and Frank R. Stockton will take us on a journey full of suspense, foreshadowing, twists, turns, and irony the likes of which you will never appreciate if you don’t read their work. This will be fun – not like one of my recent surprises. For this unit, you will listen to the story read by the actual authors, read aloud with classmates, read to yourself, and sometimes read by yourself. We will use these actual masterworks to gain exposure to this exciting genre while we work toward mastery of some of the most fundamental literary concepts & techniques.

In addition to all this, you will still be responsible to complete

  • Personal Novel Reading – Daily 20 minutes of reading in your personal novels which comes with logging your reading on your Independent Reading Logs and writing journal entries when needed. REMEMBER! Your journal entries are designed to help you write the best possible Approach Paper for your book. This month’s Approach Papers are due 9/30. Approach Papers will not be taken late unless you have already made arrangements with me.
  • Article of the Week – These are due every Friday, and this Friday is no exception. Thanks to those of you who’ve turned them in early – gave me a head start. You can go back to my post from last week to grab one of the articles I posted, or you can go to Kelly Gallagher’s site to grab one off his list. REMEMBER! If you use his site, the article on the top of the list is the most current one.
  • Vocabulary List Work – The new vocabulary list will be up after 9:00 PM tonight. In class, students will create POSTERS for our Word Wall, and post necessary details on the Vocabulary List #2 Post. You will have to create VISS Charts and Artifacts for the list. They can be turned in anytime between now and next Tuesday. The test will be next Friday – rain or shine.

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Sep 22 2014

Vocabulary List #2 -Vote, Share, Study, Test

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Posters are ready for you near the turn-in trays when you walk into the room.

Vocabulary List #2 is set. Here it is. I closed the voting at 9:39PM.

  1. deceitful
  2. boundless
  3. seethe
  4. siphon
  5. terrazzo (sometimes improperly spelled t-e-r-r-a-z-o)
  6. proximity
  7. purgatory
  8. aesthetic
  9. protruding (in multiple texts)
  10. incredulous (in multiple texts)


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

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Sep 14 2014

Teachable Moment

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In the event of my absence, I will create opportunities for teachable moments. In this instance, I am heading to the doctor with my oldest daughter.

What is the significance of my trip to the doctor in your life?

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to read the article assigned by the substitute teacher or teacher you’re dispersed to. You have to (1) highlight confusion, (2) show evidence of a close reading, (3) write a 1+ page reflection.

Read about it!

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Sep 11 2014

2014 Young Explorers Global Essay Competition

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These essays are due THURSDAY, September 19th, 2014.

To print this slide, click it, then click the image on the next page for a full size copy.2014 Essay AnnotatedTo strengthen Southwest’s ability to participate in this district wide writing contest, I have attempted to gather resources students can use for this extensive essay project. Below, is how I would present the assignment and resources that could be used in your classroom.

First, I suggest you present the prompt in order to ensure each child understands the assignment itself. Words that could pose problems are:

  • deplete (also depletion) – having to do with the a serious decrease or to exhaust the abundance or supply of
  • degraded – to reduce in amount, strength, or intensity
  • sustainable – able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed – see more
  • sustainability – the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, confirmed – see more
  • conserve – to protect from loss or harm – see more
  • expository – writing to explain, inform – see more
  • persuasive – writing to persuade, convince, sway – see more

Second, I would read through the PROMPT with them paying special attention to the terminology listed above. Take one RESOURCE through the prompt as you go through it; for instance – WATER. Have the children mark or highlight important/key ideas and instructions in the prompt.


Currently our world population is slightly above 7 billion and by 2050 the population is expected to exceed 9 billion. In a world where we have already seen depleted and significantly degraded resources (water, soil, minerals, food, air, etc.) we have to wonder how can we avoid complete depletion or destruction of our resources and environment.  After selecting a specific resource, research sustainable efforts used to conserve this resource and protect our planet.

Write an expository essay presenting and explaining the current challenges and importance of sustaining the selected resource using international examples from around the world. Be sure to include current methods of sustainability used by different countries and support your discussion with evidence from your research. What conclusions can you draw?

Third, I would present a skeletal outline to those children who need the extra support.

I am introducing the topic – sustainability – today with this PPT . . Introduction to Sustainability.

The following 2 presentations can provide some more specific background on sustainability:

After students use these and other resources they can find on their own, they can decide where they want to focus.


Currently our world population is slightly above 7 billion and by 2050 the population is expected to exceed 9 billion. In a world where we have already seen depleted and significantly degraded resources (water, soil, minerals, food, air, etc.) we have to wonder how can we avoid complete depletion or destruction of our resources and environment.  After selecting a specific resource, research sustainable efforts used to conserve this resource and protect our planet.

Write an expository essay presenting and explaining the current challenges and importance of sustaining the selected resource using international examples from around the world. Be sure to include current methods of sustainability used by different countries and support your discussion with evidence from your research. What conclusions can you draw?

Here is a suggested (skeletal) outline that could help anyone organize this assignment. It, like everything else about me, is not perfect. It will help, though. –  2014 Young Explorers Global Essay Competition – Outline With Countries.

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Sep 11 2014

ANOTHER Alternate Article of the Week: 9/11 Fiasco? – A Void in the History of September 11th

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Sep 09 2014

Alternate Articles of the Week

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This week’s article on Kelly Gallagher’s site may have more import for your parents, Ask them to read it with you if you read it, talk about it when you’re done, and include something from your talk with them after you read it in your reflection. Below, I offer some alternative articles that are directly related to you.

Check out these selected articles on a variety of topics for your Article of the Week Assignments. You will not find any follow up questions for the articles below, but you still have to (1) print it, (2) highlight confusion, (3) mark the text up with reading strategies, and (4) write a 1+ page reflection.

You can refer back to this post for future weeks assignments, so bookmark it! Happy reading.

Passive Aggressive People

Entertainment Violence & You

Apathy & You

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Sep 04 2014

Possible AotW – And now for something completely REAL!!! How a Bipartisan Education Reform Effort Became the Biggest Conservative Bogeyman Since Obamacare | Mother Jones

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Sep 03 2014

Vocabulary List #1

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Here’s the list:

  1. ¨Chide22    28%
  2. ¨Heedlessly23    29%
  3. ¨Sentimentality25    32%
  4. ¨Billowing26    33%
  5. ¨Evangelical23    29%
  6. ¨Picturesque27    35%
  7. ¨Disproportionate52    67%
  8. ¨Aversion27    35%
  9. ¨Implausibility19    24%
  10. ¨Omen20    26%

Have your voice count!!!

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Sep 03 2014

Fiction Introduction – Raymond’s Run

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Focus on PLOT – This assignment was pulled out of the INTERACTIVE READERS.
Raymond’s Run by Toni Cade Bumbara
For 10 minutes in class, pp 3-5 – QUIET GROUP Work – Talking allowed in order to share insights.
Highlight relevant text to support responses, Complete all  Active Reading Questions
Pp 17-18 – QUIET GROUP Work (if time allowed)
Follow Up Work
If you do not complete the assignment in class, you MUST finish it at home tonight.

Assignment is DUE 9/4/2014 when you walk in the door. There will be a test on the selection which will assess story elements, vocabulary, and strategies.


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Sep 02 2014

Vocabulary Word Lists Generated from Student Texts

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We talked briefly about why it is SO important to have a deep and varied vocabulary. Then we got introduced tot he method by which we will generate vocabulary lists. Take a look at the following page to see how you will be building an expansive vocabulary – Student Driven Vocabulary.

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Aug 27 2014

Anti-Bullying Lesson Plan & Resources

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Essentially I oppose all forms of bullying. I have adapted materials for middle school created by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program. The full plan and how it addresses appropriate middle school standards can be found here – BULLIED: A Student, A School, A Case That Made History.

Why, you ask, do we need to focus on bullying? Empathy – the ability for a person to care about the feelings of others so much so that s/he can know what it feels like to walk in another’s shoes. Compassion - sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It is essential for us all to want to care about others. This plan will help you gain an understanding of empathy and compassion. So, let’s get to it.

Before we view the film we will . . .

  1. First, take a Quick Bullying Quiz.
  2. Let’s look at and discuss the results of the quiz.
  3. Second, find out the answer to this question: How safe is your school?
  4. Let’s look at the results to discuss the climate toward bullying at the school.
  5. Third, analyze the actual situation as you answer some questions about Bullying By the Numbers.
  6. How close did you look at the numbers? Let’s discuss what we noticed while looking at the statistics.

After preparing ourselves, we will watch the film. As you watch the film, take notes so that you can answer these questions.

Questions about Courage and Empathy

  1. What did Jamie and his lawyers hope to accomplish by filing a lawsuit?
  2. What do you think Jamie felt on a typical day?

Questions about The Impact of Bullying: Dealing with Discrimination

  1. What role did bystanders play in Jamie’s bullying?
  2. What are some common misconceptions about bullying?

Questions about how this case Made History: Standing Up for Justice

  1. What is the constitutional basis of Jamie’s case?
  2. What are Jamie’s key messages when he speaks at the assembly?
  3. What lessons do you take away from his story?

After the film, answer the follow up questions for the film, BULLIED.

If time allows, we will discuss your answers to the follow up questions.

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