Show What You Know

Today was assessment day…on the subjunctive, that is.

After a two-song individual review, we had a brief whole-class review.  Thereafter, the students completed the quiz linked below on the use of the subjunctive mood.

Subjunctive Formative Assessment

While others finished up their quizzes, the students who finished early had the opportunity to work on a subjunctive board game quietly.  Other students opted to use the in-class computers to finish their KidBlog posts.  Once everyone finished, we had a quick, on the floor discussion about our previous experiences with poetry.  We formed an oval in the center of the room and passed around the Sphere of Knowledge to take turns sharing.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for the Lesson 10 Vocabulary Quiz on Friday.
  • CompleteKidBlog posts:
    • Input your “If I Were President” speech onto KidBlog.  This is due by 11:59 p.m. Friday, January 30th, 2015.
    • Respond to at least 2 other classmate’s “Dear Dr. King” posts.  Try to respond where no previous responses were made. This is also due by 11:59 p.m. Friday, January 30th, 2015.


Moody Subjunctives

If I were a boy…”

If I were a rich man…”

If I should stay/I would only be in your way…”

As these lyrics caressed our ears over the past few decades, few of us realized that these were examples of English grammar in its proper usage.  Naturally, they then became a part of today’s lesson.

The students walked into class while I played the late Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You.”  They then worked on their Warm Up activity while listening to Beyoncé’s rendition of “If I Were A Boy” and “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani (this song used the melody of “If I Were A Rich Man” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof“).

Once the lesson was in full swing, we reviewed the subjunctive mood again and expanded that to include all three verb moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.  I also provided them with the flow chart below to help them discern what sentences utilized which moods.

Verb Mood Cheat Sheet

We then reviewed examples of the subjunctive mood interspersed with videos of alternate versions of the songs above to illustrate the use of the subjunctive in context of songs as additional examples of modern literature.

If I Were A Boy-Reba
Though listeners of Pop and R & B music would attribute the song “If I Were A Boy” to Beyonce’ Knowles, it was actually written and originally recorded by BC Jean at the same time Beyonce’ recorded it. Reba McIntyre then recorded her own version of the song in 2010.
Dolly Parton
“I Will Always Love You” was a hit for legendary Country artist Dolly Parton almost two decades before Whitney Houston recorded her hit version for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.
If I Were A Rich Man
In “If I Were A Rich Man,” protagonist Tevye sings in conversation with God about what he would do if he had been blessed with riches in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”




  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for subjunctive assessment.
  • Study for Friday’s vocabulary quiz
  • Input your “If I Were President” speech onto KidBlog.
  • Respond to the “Dear Dr. King” posts of at least 2 other classmates.  Try to respond where no previous responses were made.


The Subjunctive: Day 2

The fun of learning about the subjunctive mood is that it is quite confusing, frustrating, and part of our standards.  That said, today, the students took a quick quiz solely for the purpose of seeing how much they understood from yesterday’s class.  They then had the opportunity to work on more practice with the subjunctive.  Since grammar is a tricky beast, I have included some additional practice and resources to help with understanding the subjunctive mood, when to use it, and how to implement it in a sentence.

Tomorrow will be another day of answering questions, applying what we have learned, and of trying to tackle this beast called the subjunctive.


  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Input “If I Were President” speech into KidBlog
  • Respond to at least two of your classmates’ “Dear Dr. King” letters on KidBlog


The Subjunctive Mood

When I was in school, I remember learning about the different verb forms and tenses in my foreign language classes and marveling at the large variety of them, thinking “thank goodness there aren’t this many in English.”  This was before I went deeper into my studies of English and realized how wrong I was.

As a result of this experience, my students and I, thanks to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, explored the subjunctive mood.

Subjunctive mood

In English, the subjunctive mood is used to explore conditional or imaginary situations. It can be tricky to use, which partially explains why many speakers and writers forego it. But it’s quite useful (and aesthetically pleasing, at least to us), and careful users of English should do their part to preserve it.

Source: Grammarist

The subjunctive is used in English to express a command, desire, hypothesis, purpose, doubt, or supposition.


  • I wish he were here.
  • If I were in Boston right now, I would be preparing for a blizzard.

The students took notes on this concept and we worked through the example sentences as well.  Each student received a handout with more notes, examples, and exercises in order to practice what they had learned.  If the students did not finish their handout, they were to complete it for homework tonight.

Below are resources for further practice and explanations of the subjunctive mood:




#Genius Hour Presentations: Day 1

As a result of Friday’s surprise guest, the originally-scheduled grammar quiz was postponed until today.

Once the quiz was over, the students couldn’t wait to show what they had learned over the course of this two-and-a-half-month educational experiment.  Some of the most notable presentations included:

  • B.D.’s Presentation on Making a Birdhouse
  • E.R.’s Lesson on Rubber Bands versus a Watermelon
  • M.M.’s Analysis of Incidence of Terrorism in the 1990s
  • B.H.’s Information on Cryptozoology
  • Z.G.’s Presentation on Self-Driving Cars

I am so amazed by the depth and quality of the presentations shown today and cannot wait to see what more we learn about as this week progresses!


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare for Genius Hour Presentation


Genius Hour Submission Day and SURPRISE GUEST!!

Since this entire week has been devoted to our crash course in grammar, the students were all planning on a quiz. Though that was on the plan, the arrival of our surprise guest speaker pushed that off until Monday. Miss A. Butler came to speak about her work as an equestrian on track for the Olympics. She took some time to emphasize the importance of presentation in horse jumping and balancing her competition schedule with her 6 AP and being a high school senior.

After Miss Butler’s talk, the students asked questions, participated in a quick grammar review, and signed up for their Genius Hour presentation day.

REMEMBER: Genius Hour reflections and self assessments were due in class today with some evidence of the completion of the project. Any digital evidence of The completion of a project must be submitted on Padlet at the link below. These must be submitted by 11:59 p.m.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Prepare Genius Hour projects for final presentation next week.


Grammar Crash Course: Day 4

Today we finished our lesson on verbals by discussing participles.  Furthermore, we discussed the differences between gerunds (-ing words that act as nouns) and present participles (also -ing words, but these act as adjectives or parts of the verb phrase/predicate).

We also went over the requirements for tomorrow’s Genius Hour submission deadline:

  • Self-assessment and Reflection
  • Evidence of completed project (hard copy or digital copy via Padlet)

The students will sign up for presentation days and times in class tomorrow.  The remaining items for their Genius Hour projects (remaining presentation materials, Genius Hour product, and Presentation Rubric) will be due on the day of their presentation.


  • Read.
  • Finish Genius Hour project for submission tomorrow.


Grammar Crash Course Day 3: Verbals

Today we explored the world of verbals.  The students learned my Grammy Award-winning song “I’m Every Sentence Part” which was set to the tune of “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston (okay, so I am joking about the Grammy part).  This song, used to teach the students about gerunds, presented them with a challenge: if I hear back from either the school principal or the 8th grade assistant principal that they were taught the song, ALL of my students will receive a surprise.  Let’s see what happens!

Thereafter, we talked about infinitives using the words of the immortal philosopher Buzzeus Lightyeareus who said “TO INFINITIVE AND BEYOND!”


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Complete Genius Hour Project for submission.


Grammar Crash Course: Day 2

Today, the students took a trip through the world of sentence diagramming…but not in the way one would usually think.

Sentence Diagramming vs Sentence Trees


Today, after watching a brief video outlining how sentence trees are made, the students followed along with me as I created four sentence trees for sentences of varying lengths.  They then set about creating their own.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Complete Genius Hour project (DUE BY FRIDAY of THIS WEEK).


More Grammar Presentations and a Sneak Peek into the Future: Friday, October 17th, 2014

Aside from 3rd period, which fell a little behind due to testing, etc., today was the last day of presentations for 4th, 5th, and 6th periods. After the presentations, we took a look into the future…

Genius hour! This is the name of what will be our rest-of-the-semester project. The students have already been introduced to the concept on more than one occasion and today had the opportunity to see some examples of how some finished Genius Hour projects would look. All of the examples we saw are included in today’s PowerPoint (see below), but some of my favorites are featured below.

So what is Genius Hour again?

Genius Hour is where students are provided with roughly 20% free class time to focus on a topic of their own choosing.  For this class, I do not know the exact percentage of time we will spend.  We will start with a kickoff week during Conference Week (next week, October 20th-24th, 2014) and will revisit it with free time in class for the students to continue their individualized studies every-other-week.  The details and guidelines will be presented to the students on Monday. That said, here are some examples of what other students have done in their Genius Hour explorations:

One young lady chose to write a book and then published it on Google Docs.

Another student sought to find out why it is so hard to solve a Rubik’s Cube to eventually solve it and found this video:

One student opted to show the process in which she learned how to sew a stuffed bunny:

Finally another student decided to demonstrate proper horse etiquette as seen here:


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Begin thinking about a prospective Genius Hour topic to explore.