Power Words Revisited and Writing Prompt Dissections

Today the students revisited Larry Bell’s 12 “Power Words.”  These are words that tend to be used in writing prompts and testing situations.  The students had to match the “Power Word” with its corresponding definition.

We then went on to discuss how one should read and understand a writing prompt.  We dissected them!  I first explained how to look for those key or “Power Words” that tell you exactly what to do.

The students then practiced dissecting sample prompts along with me and then on their own.

We finished class with each student creating his or her own writing prompt to share, complete with a “Power Word” or two.

Homework:

  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Review the Power Words.

PowerPoint:

Understanding Diversity at The Center for Civil and Human Rights

image

Today was a wonderful experience.  The second half of the ECMS 8th grade students had the opportunity to visit the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in Downtown Atlanta.  Upon visiting, the students were met with wonderful displays reflecting previous struggles within our country as well as artwork and exhibits showing areas in which we still need to support equal rights.  Upon our return, we discussed some of what we saw and what we thought.

image

image

Novel Test Day

Today, the students got to see the fruits of their labor.  They took the test that they themselves contributed toward over the course of this unit and edited some of the final question selections yesterday.

After completing the test, the students logged on to the classroom computers or their own personal devices to access my end-of-unit survey.  I asked the students for their feedback on the unit itself, both books, as well as what worked and did not work in this unit.  I will be using this feedback to help structure future novel studies.

Homework:

PowerPoint:

Novel Study Test Creation

  Today, the students worked to evaluate the questions they and their classmates had previously submitted.  They then chose two of the questions they thought were the best and then submitted those in the form below:

Final Multiple Choice Questions

The students then worked together to create a constructed response question.  The final choices were submitted in the Google Form below:

Final Constructed Response Questions

In what time remained in class, the students presented their projects based upon either To Kill a Mockingbird or Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Homework:

  • Prepare to present (if you did not today).
  • Review discussion questions in preparation for the test.
  • Review suggested multiple choice questions (found here).

PowerPoint:

  • Coming Soon!

Back from the West!

  

I had an amazing time at the ASCD conference this weekend in Houston, Texas and learned about a myriad of amazing items, apps, and resources to bring back into the classroom.  I took a few moments to preview a few of these items with the students today, and will reveal more as the year progresses.

Kudos to the students who got extra credit for participating in the Instagram challenge for extra credit!  I asked the students to send me on a scavenger hunt around Houston.  I obliged, took pictures of their requests, and posted them on Instagram using the hashtag #WillipediaINHouston. (I will be sure to update this post with a link to all of the images from that tag.)

The following students will be receiving extra credit for their participation:

  • Elasia
  • Dejoyrai
  • Shekinah
  • Erica
  • Geraldine
  • Anna
  • Farah
  • Celene
  • Hayleigh
  • A.J.
  • Maya
  • Penn
  • Ellie
  • Maria
  • Nicole
  • Taylor
  • Elizabeth
  • Chloe
  • Skyler
  • Kellen

My 5th Period came in first place in terms of participation, followed by 3rd, 4th, and finally 6th.  As promised, 5th period will be receiving a surprise of some sort for having the most participants (and because I did not post all of the pictures requested in time).

With today’s lesson, the students and I focused mainly upon revisiting plot diagrams and why certain events are of more impact than others in a story.  The students re-created plot diagrams for whichever story they read and had discuss why each event was of relevance in the story.

The students then had time to present their novel study projects.

Thereafter, the students and I discussed the stories in more detail and we discussed how these would be reflected in their test this Friday.

Homework:

  • Prepare to present (if you did not today).
  • Review discussion questions in preparation for the test.
  • Review suggested multiple choice questions (found here).

PowerPoint:

Chatting about Go FAR, Our Novels, and Unit Projects

For today’s class periods, things were a little flip-flopped.  Third period worked on the Go FAR assessment my other classes completed yesterday.  My fourth, fifth, and sixth period classes, on the other hand, completed their mock trials.  A few things were consistent: once done with the first task, each class used the remaining time to discuss the Go FAR assessment, the novel(s) they read, and the unit project.  These projects will be due next Wednesday, March 25th, 2015.  Presentations will start that day as well.

Homework:

  • Begin work on Final Unit Project (see above).  Choose ONE of the tasks on the choice board.  Due Wednesday, March 25th, 2015.
    • The test over the novels will be next Friday, March 27th, 2015.
  • Finish any outstanding work.

PowerPoint:

Mock Trial Day #2!

Today, the brunt of the mock trial process took place with students acting as attorneys, witnesses, and jury, while I served as judge.  My third period students had the opportunity to showcase their talents for one of the CCSD‘s School Instructional Specialists, while my fourth, fifth, and sixth periods did something a little different.  Instead of jumping straight into the mock trial as was originally planned, these last three classes participated in an assessment the 8th graded ELA department created from Go Far (the Georgia Online Formative Assessment portal).  This assessment, which will be administered to third period tomorrow, is one that is designed to mimic some of what the students will expect to see on the upcoming Georgia Milestones assessment in April.

Mock Trial Day #1

Since last week’s scripted mock trial was such a success, the students and I looked at the themes that present themselves within the novels Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and To Kill a Mockingbird.  We then took those themes and created new scenarios to put on trial based upon the themes.  In actuality, the students created the scenarios and I merely streamlined and organized their ideas in such a manner that would be easy to create a mock trial from it.  Before the trials began, I took a moment to review the trial procedures as well as the allowable objections.  The students took notes on whichever portions related to their role within the trial.

The trial scenarios can be found here: Mock Trial Case Scenarios

Then, the trial began.  If only I had the capability to include video in this blog post…it would have certainly been “Must See TV.”

At the end of class, we had to have a recess and will pick up the trial tomorrow.

Homework:

  • Finish the “Family Tree” assignment.
    • TKAM:
      • Create a family tree of the Finch family (including Calpurnia).
      • In a bubble to the side of each character noting their personal strengths and their weaknesses as perceived by the Maycomb community.
    • ROTHMC:
      • Create a family tree of the Logan family.
      • Alongside each character, create a bubble illustrating examples of how each character fights his or her community’s injustices in his or her own way.
  • Read for 30 minutes:
    • TKAM: through chapter 29
    • ROTHMC: through chapter 12

PowerPoint:

Quiz and Mock Trial Preparation Day

After taking a quiz on either Chapters 12-21 (for To Kill a Mockingbird) or Chapters 6-9 (for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), the students made a prospective multiple choice question for their upcoming reading test and then set about researching their roles for their mock trials on Monday.  Using the case scenarios they created yesterday, I filled in some details and produced this lovely document with information about the witnesses, the defendant, as well as the evidence being presented as well.

Mock Trial Case Scenarios

There is a case of sabotage, character assassination, a jewelry heist, and a poisoning and my students contributed the details for the basis of each.  I might have to write some mystery novels based on these!

Homework:

  • Read (as always).
  • Prepare for the mock trial.  The soonest we will start this is Monday.

PowerPoint:

3.13.15 Mock Trial Research