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)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It has been said that preparation is the key ingredient to success.  With the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment, the students had the opportunity to mimic the conditions of the actual 8th grade Writing Assessment that will be administered on January 23rd, 2013.  Much like the actual exam, the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment is hand-scored on a rubric similar to the one used by the State of Georgia for the GMWA (Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment).  We should receive the results of these writings within the month where they will be posted online for viewing. 

After 100 solid minutes of writing in the morning, my 6th and 7th period classes took part in an ELA review game which can be found here.  They were paired up based on mixed ability and interests to create a dynamic collaborative learning environment.


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

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Today was the second (and final) day of the Thanksgiving Project presentations and the students have really shared some amazing work!  I have been proud to see all of their creativity on display.  We then wrapped up our class period with our bi-weekly brief trip to the Media Center.

*Please note:

  • Wednesday, December 5th, 2012- The second Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment
    • The entire 8th grade will remain in homeroom for 100 minutes to mimic the conditions of the actual writing assessment that will occur in January.

Tomorrow we will take a look at how each student did on the first Mock Writing Assessment.  I encourage you to visit the site www.FolioWriting.com using the username and password provided to your student in class (or you can email me for that information) to look over their work.

PowerPoint: Nov. 27. 2012 Presentation Day #2

HOMEWORK: Finish any missing assignments and read for at least 30 minutes.

October 10-12th in Review

Now that the report cards are printed and conferences are underway, I finally have a free moment to update the blog once again.  Below is a brief account of what was addressed on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of October.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

  • Thursday was an extension of Wednesday’s lesson where we spent more time looking over student models, analyzing what made these writings successful or unsuccessful.

Friday, October 12th

  • Assessment Day!
  • The students took a quiz over the ELA vocabulary words of their choosing (from the ones posted on the ELA Lexicon Word Wall).
  • The students then had to do a 3 paragraph reflection on the experience of performing the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment.  The guidelines for this portion of the quiz are below:


Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” –Henry Ford

As a method of getting ready, we had the first Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment which mimics the 8th Grade Writing Assessment.  Completed within 100 minutes, every student remained in their homeroom in order to remain focused on doing their best on a topic of which they had no prior knowledge.  This mock assessment is hand-scored, just like the actual writing assessment, and is logged online so that the scores of each paper can be accessed from the internet.  Our plan as an English Language Arts department is to use this as a way to help each student know where to improve upon their writing and how.

For the remaining class periods, the students concluded the Sentence Auction started on Monday.  It was a BLAST!


HOMEWORK: Read “Out of Bounds” on pages 165-180 in the Reader/Writer InterActive Workbook.  Complete all of the questions in the margins.

PowerPoint: 10-9-12 Fun Times at the Sentence Auction Part 2