Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The warm 3-day weekend wrapped up with the historic inauguration of our President on the same day as we celebrate the achievements and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.  In fact, I found out that President Obama is one of only 17 presidents to give an inaugural address to jump start his second term.  Did you know that his second inauguration is not the first Presidential Inauguration to coincide with MLK Day?  Interestingly enough, President Bill Clinton‘s second inauguration was also on MLK Day.  How fascinating!

On our first day back (and the day before the Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment) we played an ELA version of Family Feud for the activator (the 10 minutes prior to the main lesson) and played Writing Assessment Review Jeopardy.  The students seemed to have a wonderful time.

This afternoon was the last of the Pre-Writing Assessment after-school tutoring sessions.  I want to thank all of the students who stayed after school or came during connections for additional help.  That level of initiative is what will surely be the foundation of success.  I am so proud to teach such students!

PowerPoint: forthcoming

HOMEWORK: Get a good night of sleep!  Read for 30 minutes and work on the Guided Book Review which is due in 1 week (on Tuesday, January, 29th, 2013).

The Week of January 14-18th in Review

In preparation for tomorrow’s Writing Assesement, last week was devoted to review of all of the writing strategies that had been addressed in class.  I held two tutoring sessions during and after school to assist those who felt they needed to practice some skills, ask additional questions, or receive extra teaching.  It was an absolute blast!  As a result, I will be holding weekly after-school tutoring sessions starting within the next couple of weeks.  Finally, on Friday, we wrapped up the week with a timed writing to simulate part of what the students will encounter tomorrow.

PowerPoint: forthcoming

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and work on the Guided Book Review (Due Tuesday, January 29th, 2013)

WELCOME BACK! Tuesday-Friday, January 8th-11th, 2013

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Winter Break!


On this first day back for the students, we did a writing strategy recap.  As a whole group, we looked at a sample expository writing prompt and broke it down using TAPP-F.  This strategy helps the students look at the key points in a writing prompt to determine what it is that they need to do in order to be successful.

  • T=Topic
    • This is where the students take a topic in its entirety and summarize it in one to two sentences.
  • A=Audience
    • According to the writing prompt (topic), who is going to read the essay/letter/speech?
  • P=Purpose
    • Why is this essay/letter/speech being written?  Is it to persuade or to inform/explain?
  • P=(Organizational) Pattern
    • How should you organize your writing? Should it be organized in:
      • chronological order (in order of time)?
      • logical order (in order of what makes the most sense to you)?
      • cause and effect order (where the cause of something is discussed first and then its effects)?
      • problem and solution order (where the problem is presented and then you discuss a possible solution)?
      • comparison and contrast (where two or more things are discussed for how they are similar and dissimilar)?
  • F=Format
    • In what form are you writing?  Is it supposed to be:
      • a letter?
      • an essay?
      • a speech?

The students had to dissect and brainstorm using TAPP-F on the topic below:

Lunch GMWA writing topic

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and write an introduction paragraph based on the topic presented in class.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Writing Strategy Recap 1.8.13



In class, each student continued formulating and organizing their ideas using a graphic organizer to map out their body paragraphs.  I provided some assistance by guiding them through the process using the ELMO document camera.

HOMEWORK: Complete the body paragraph sections in the graphic organizer provided in class. Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Body Paragraphs 1.9.13



Having mapped out the body paragraphs both in class and for homework the previous night, the students began work on sculpting a strong conclusion.  With the time remaining in class, each student then took what they wrote in the graphic organizer the night before and translated it into a rough draft.  Those who did not finish in class had to complete it for homework, due at the beginning of their class period on Friday the 11th.

HOMEWORK: Complete the rough draft of the letter to the principal.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Conclusions 1.10.13



The week wrapped up with practical application of all of the skills practiced this week in the form of a timed writing.  As a reminder, the students used the acronym of T-BOW ( (c) 2013 Me) to guide them through the writing process.  T-BOW represents:

  • T=TAPP-F (see above under “Tuesday”)
  • B=Brainstorm
  • O=Organize (see above under “Tuesday” as well)
  • W=Write

All of the drafting homework from the previous days this week were due at the beginning of each class with no late work being accepted (except in rare circumstances).

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Remember, this upcoming Tuesday is our next Library Day!  Find your library books and have a wonderful weekend!

PowerPoint:  Timed Writing Day 1.11.13


Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Just like Monday’s class, Tuesday was a day filled with work at centers.  The students had to work in the centers they had not addressed on Monday and complete the tasks given.


HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (DUE FRIDAY) and read for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 26th, 2012: Presentation Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving Break)!  It is so good to have everyone back at school.

Today was the first day of presentations on the Thanksgiving Project. Each student not presenting had to jot down their thoughts on each of their classmate’s projects.  On a sheet of notebook paper, each student had to do the following:

•Write the name of the class member presenting.
1.List which three products they did.
2.Which did you like the best?
3.Why did you like this one?

These “Thanksgiving Project Reviews” were collected for a classwork grade.

PowerPoint: Nov. 26. 2012 Presentation Day #1

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing work.  Read for 30 minutes.


Friday, November 16th, 2012

On the Friday preceding Thanksgiving Break, the students needing additional time to make up their benchmarks were given the opportunity to do so.  Meanwhile, all of the students were presented with information regarding their Thanksgiving Break Project.  This project will kick off our Expository Writing (fact-based writing) Unit.  The students were to choose three of the five possible assignments to complete.  This project is due on Monday, November 26th.  All of the information on the project is included below (the Word document is also available for download as well):

Thanksgiving Project Word Document: The 8th Grade ELA Thanksgiving Break Project (Expository Intro Choice Board)

For additional help or examples regarding the Choice Board Assignments, feel free to visit any of the websites below or take a look at the examples provided to each student also below:

*Please pardon the technical difficulties precluding the timeliness of this post.

October 23rd-26th, 2012 in Review

Phew, the calendar finally freed up a little more to allow for me to update this blog with the information from the days I have missed.  Here is a look at the lessons of October 23rd to the 26th.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

  • The students learned about the Organizational Patterns that we use when writing essays.  The ones we focused on were:
    • Cause and Effect
    • Comparison and Contrast
    • Problem and Solution
    • Chronological Order
    • Logical Order
  • 10-23-12 The Organization Station

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

  • It took a bit longer than I had anticipated with the discussion of the different types of Organizational Patterns so the students finished their notes on this third day on the topic.
  • 10-25-12 The Organization Station Part 3

Friday, October 26th, 2012