Friday Kindness, Dreams, Reflections, and Heroes

Many more students completed their constructed responses and essays yesterday than I had originally anticipated which was quite exciting!  Thus, today’s plan went as follows:

  • For those who hadn’t finished their “Your American Dream” constructed response essays yet, they had to complete this task and its accompanying R.A.C.E. graphic organizer.
    • Directions for these can be found here.
  • For those who did finish their “American Dream” constructed response essays, they could do either:


  • Read for 60 minutes
  • Complete any outstanding work from class.
    • Extension Work and “Honoring Our Heroes” essay will each serve as extra credit and must be submitted by the beginning of class on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015.


Constructing Strong Responses: R.A.C.E. and the "American Dream"

Unlike previous posts, this one will be in the present tense and will cover the lessons from both Thursday, January 15th and Friday, January 16th, 2015.


Students, what is the “American Dream”?  What is your “American Dream?”

Task: Choose any two of the resources linked below and then complete the Essay Scorer assignment entitled “Your American Dream.”

Step 1 (of 3): Resources

Directions: Read any two of the resources below.  Then proceed on to Step 2.

Step 2 (of 3): R.A.C.E.

Directions: Now that you have read two of the resources above, create a R.A.C.E. graphic organizer using the form below.  Afterward, proceed to step 3 (do not click “submit”until you finish inputting your Essay Scorer response).

Writing Prompt: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. famously stated that he wished to see a future where different races were integrated in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Now that this has become a reality, what is your dream of the future in the United States? Write an essay clearly painting a picture of your vision of the American Dream.

Step 3 (of 3): Essay Scorer

Directions: You are at the last step.  Log in to Essay Scorer using the directions below and complete the assignment entitled “Your American Dream” using what you wrote in your R.A.C.E. graphic organizer above.  You will have to write at least 3 separate paragraphs.  That said, you may rewrite your essay up to 12 times.  When you finish, click “submit for grading.”

Essay Scorer Student Link:

Login: First Name

Password: Last Name (unless otherwise specified by teacher)


Did you finish early?  Follow the instructions below.

Directions: Go to this page and follow the instructions for extension work.  Any extension work assignments completed must be submitted as specified or else extra credit will not be awarded.



  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Any work not finished in class will be completed the next day.
  • Please Note: Extension work will need to be completed in order to count for extra credit.


  • No PowerPoint presentation for Thursday, January 15th nor Friday, January 16, 2015


#EssayScorer Final Draft and Vocabulary Review Day

To complete the process of creating an in-class essay, the students worked on the school laptops to input their final drafts into Essay Scorer.  This online essay assessment site provides the students with instantaneous feedback scored on a rubric and it also relays that to a central online portal for me to see how all of the students did.  It allows each student to submit multiple versions of their essays so that they can get the best possible grade.  Furthermore, I can see how many misspelled words each student had, how many submissions they made, etc.  It truly is a very beneficial tool for writing instruction.

For the classes where time allowed, we had an in-class vocabulary review game.  Regardless of whether or not we were able to get to the game, each student was provided with a study guide of all of the Unit #2 words in addition to the study packet they received before Thanksgiving break.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for tomorrow’s Unit #2 vocabulary test.
  • Genius Hour/BYOD tomorrow
  • Genius Hour projects are due NEXT FRIDAY, December 12th, 2014 (NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED).


Expository Exposed: Days 1 and 2

Both today and yesterday the students worked either individually or together to explore Expository writing.  They each started class with a question asked via the daily PowerPoint and via Padlet.  Yesterday’s topic was where the students had to choose one of two current event articles to skim and then comment upon.  The first article dealt with child homelessness and the second one dealt with gossiping.  Today’s warm up asked each student to share where they would wish to visit around the world and why.  A selection of their responses is below:

Padlet Where Would You Go


The students then continued their exploration by working on a web quest and creating a KidBlog post with a mini expository essay.  Today, upon finishing the previous task, the students then compared two songs through Essay Scorer, an online resource that automatically scores essays and provides feedback.  The links to the resources used yesterday and today can be found below:



  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue working on your Genius Hour project.