Friday, September 28th, 2012 Recap

What a busy week this has been!

On Friday, the students took a quiz on brainstorming, TAPP, and clauses.  Overall, the students did well.  These scores will be used to determine the students’ groups and pairings for next week’s activities.

Once the students finished, they had the opportunity to begin brainstorming on a topic of their choice from the ones below (1st and 2nd periods did not have the opportunity to do this):

1. Should state colleges be free to attend?
2. Should all American citizens have to complete a year of community service?
3. Should students be required to take Spanish classes?
4. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?
5. Should the driving age be raised to twenty-one?
6. Should immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally be given legal status if they have been here for a certain number of years? (this one was created by a student in 2nd period)

The plan right now is for these brainstormed ideas to serve as the basis for a writing assignment next week.

HOMEWORK: None.  Have a wonderful weekend.

PowerPoint: 9-28-12 Assessment Day

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 In Review

On Thursday we began looking at building stronger body paragraphs through generating ideas.  We reviewed the concept of brainstorming in general, then I reintroduced the concept below:

HOMEWORK: Continue week-long homework assignments (In-Class Essay and Take-Home Quiz)

PowerPoint: 9-27-12 Building Ideas into Body Paragraphs

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Wednesday plunged us deep into class discussions on the following topics:

  1. Should college athletes be paid for playing?
  2. Should the elderly receive free bus rides?
  3. Should state colleges be free to attend?

The students really enjoyed discussing these and their opinions varied widely.  It was quite exciting!  We then took a step back to channel these ideas into a mind map and just practiced brainstorming.  In fact, the students were able to use the points brought up in discussion to assist them.

HOMEWORK: Complete week-long assignments

PowerPoint: (Forthcoming)

Monday, September 24th, 2012 Recap


After completing the quizzes on gerunds and prepositions (which took up a majority of the class period), we broke down the writing prompt given to first period on Friday.  We just opted to do T, A, and P:

  • Topic: Should kids do chores at home?
  • Audience: adults in one’s family
  • Purpose: to persuade


  • 1st Period: Begin work on the week’s homework.  Read for 30 minutes.
  • 2nd, 6th, and 7th: Finish in-class essays.
  • All classes: complete take-home quiz

PowerPoint: 9-24-12 Be Clause You’re Worth It!


In-Class Essay: (forthcoming)

Friday, September 21st, 2012 in Brief

Friday was a mixed bag lesson where each class had a slightly different experience based on their lesson needs:

  • First periodreviewed conclusion techniques discussed in Tuesday’s lesson.  This class also dissected a writing prompt (see below) using TAP (we left the last “P” for later). The students are to complete this for homework.
    • Writing Prompt:
      • Writing Situation: Most families assign chores to their children. Families need to work together, and having the children of the house help out teaches responsibility. However, many children and teens object to having these chores imposed upon them. What is your opinion?
      • Directions for Writing: Do you think that children should have assigned chores to do at home, or do you think you have enough to do already? Write an essay to convince the adults in your family of your point of view regarding the children and teens being required to do chores at home. Be clear in your opinion, and use specific details and examples to support your ideas.
  • Second period took time to revisit the computer lab in order to finish the SRI.  The students who finished then began work dissecting the prompt above using TAP(P).
  • Sixth period had the opportunity to briefly visit the Book Fair which was only in our Media Center for one day.  Upon returning from the Media Center, sixth period completed the notes on conclusion strategies from Tuesday’s lesson.
    • Should there have been more time slots available, the other class periods would have also attended.
  • Seventh period completed notes on conclusion strategies from Tuesday’s lesson.

**QUIZ ALERT: Anticipate a quiz over prepositions and gerunds on Monday!


  • 1st: Complete the in-class essay.  It must be 3 paragraphs in length.
  • 2nd: For those who began the in-class essay, complete it.  Those who did not will work on this assignment starting on Monday the 24th, 2012.
  • 6th: No homework
  • 7th: No homework

PowerPoint: 9-21-12 Conclusions Practice + Starting a Timed Writing

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 Summary

Today we directed our attention to conclusions.  These ending paragraphs can be daunting, so we first listened to a year-in-review rap as a real-world example.  Next, we took notes on some strategies to make conclusion-writing easier.

Of course, there was the fun part after the note-taking.  The students worked in groups to create their own “wrap up rap” verses summarizing what content we have learned in class this year.  To close the lesson, each group performed their verse.  The class then voted (by a round of applause) to determine which one was the most entertaining.  The students in the groups who won earned a homework pass for tonight.

HOMEWORK: You must create a bumper sticker advertising conclusions.  It must be written as a prepositional phrase. (Due Wednesday)

    • Remember, “Create-A-Song” is due Friday (you must create a preposition song to the chorus, also known as the “hook,” of a popular song).

PowerPoint:9-18-12 Stronger Essays through Conclusions

Graphic Organizer: Conclusion Strategy Notes

    • (This was used to help the students organize their notes)

Monday, September 17th, 2012 Summarized

Monday started out with the solving of a mystery to heighten critical thinking skills.  The ability to pull out important details, draw inferences, and support these inferences from the text are all key standards.

The rest of the lesson focused on the use of prepositions.  We first identified them within the mystery, and practiced using them in the form of a skit.  Each student chose a preposition and along with their table mates, wrote a skit which they acted out at the end of class.  There was so much creativity flowing around the room (and many laughs too)!  I think we may have discovered some future playwrights, screenwriters, and comedic writers within Room 239 today!

HOMEWORK: Create-A-Song:  The students will have all week to create a short song (to the hook of an existing, already popular song) to help them remember prepositions.  (Due Friday)

PowerPoint: 9-17-12 The Power in the Preposition

Friday, September 14th, 2012 Recap

Friday brought the completion of our discussion of thesis statements, hooks, and how to use them to build a strong introduction paragraph.  We then had a discussion centered around the topic below:

  • When is it okay for someone to step in and resolve an issue between two people?  What if they are countries?

In addition to discussion concerning fights in school the topic of Tuesday’s attack on the American Consulate in Libya came up in discussion.  Both instances provided  real-life situations from which the students could draw in order to write their BCRs.

Our usual Friday quiz has been tentatively pushed back to Monday the 17th and will address gerunds functioning as different sentence parts.

HOMEWORK: None today.

PowerPoint: 9-14-12 Finally Finishing Introductions + BCR Day

Thursday, September 13th, Reviewed

On Thursday we included more practice with getting an introductory paragraph started.  The students had the opportunity to use the 3-Sentence Introduction again as the foundation of their introductory paragraphs.

For the last few minutes of class, we went to the Media Center where everyone had the opportunity to check out a non-fiction library book as we will be working more with non-fiction texts next week.

HOMEWORK: None today.

PowerPoint: 9-13-12 Building Strong Introductions

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 Summarized

Wednesday was an energetic day in class.  After using 5 gerunds in a paragraph on any topic, we then had our first-ever Fist Pump Competition!  When a popular song was played, the students had to pump their fists exactly when the hook (chorus) came in.  If they fist pumped prematurely, their group was disqualified for that song.  The first group with 100% fist pumping at the hook of each song got a point.  The group with the most points was promised a super-special prize in the near future.  Until then, they have bragging rights.

We then picked up from where we left off in class yesterday by creating a 3-sentence introduction.  We worked together to identify the topic, audience, and purpose (pattern will be included later).  Then we selected a hook (attention-grabber).  We then generated a thesis based on our topic from yesterday which asked us to support our claim regarding the effects of smoking on one’s health.  Finally, we tied the hook and thesis statement together using a transitional sentence.  Please take a look at the example to the right (the link below opens the image in PowerPoint).

Sample 3-Sentence Introduction

The goal will be to use this 3-sentence introduction structure as a foundation for a larger, more extensive, yet still concise introduction.

HOMEWORK: Write a 3-sentence introduction with a question to open, a transitional sentence, and a thesis.

PowerPoint: 9-12-12 Thesis Statements in Action