Comparing and Contrasting two Sherlock Holmes Tales

Over the past week and a half, my students and I have been delving into one of the most notable of Victorian literature in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes stories.  Last week, my students read “A Study in Scarlet,” which was the novella in which the famed detective was first introduced.  We have then been watching the first episode of the BBC show “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  This episode, entitled “A Study in Pink,” draws most of its storyline’s influence from Doyle’s work, however writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (of Dr. Who fame) did make some noteworthy differences in their re-telling.

As a result, and in accordance with the following standard, the students compared and contrasted the two stories.

ELACC8RL7: Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.

The students created a Bubble Map sharing these similarities and differences once they finished viewing the aforementioned episode.

REMINDERS: Genius Hour has returned!  The students will present their projects Monday through Thursday of next week.  Parents, contact me if you are interested in coming to watch your student’s presentation.

STUDENTS: You may start submitting your Genius Hour Projects here.  The must be uploaded to the Padlet page at least one day before you are scheduled to present (remember the Friday, May 8th deadline was to help make sure you were done early).  Your final grade on this project depends upon this aspect.  You must also be sure to have your rubric on hand the day you perform or else you will lose 10 points. (See below if you need another copy)



Publishing the Argumentative Essays: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

After a week of hard work, revising, re-evaluating, and researching the students published their work onto

First, they landed on the homepage of and clicked either on the “Students” button or the “Login” button beneath the words “Create a Class.”  If they chose this option, they then had to type in my email address to pull up the directory of all of my KidBlog classes.

KidBlog Homepage

Next, they selected their class, either 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th period.  The “Orange Class” is my demo class to show them the ins and outs of how to use the KidBlog platform.

KidBlog Step2

The link of their specific class would then take them to the homepage of that class with a listing of all of the most recent posts.  From here, each student had to once again click “login” located at the top, right-hand corner of the page.

KidBlog Step 3

That link leads to this page where each student then had to choose his or her name from the drop down menu and enter their password.

KidBlog Step 4

The final logon page then shows the same master screen with all of the posts published for that class, but shows the student’s name in the top, right-hand corner.

KidBlog Step 5

By clicking on  “Control Panel,” each can access the dashboard from which they can create and submit their final drafts to begin the portfolio process.

Once the students finished inputting their essays, they then had the opportunity to comment on one another’s work using the “ABC” method:

  • Acknowledge something the author said
  • Build upon the author’s points with some interesting insight or thought
  • Conclude with a critical thinking question or one that arose while reading the essay.

Class-Specific Direct Blog Links: 


  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Finish any work not completed in class.  Assignments not submitted by 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning will lose 10 points.


Revisiting Theme-September 4th, 2014

Themes are an integral part of effective storytelling.  Today, we reviewed themes through several short films.  For those still stuck in figuring out how to find a theme, I shared the following video.

After sharing the themes they each found in the stories they have been reading at home, the students practiced applying what they had re-learned theme to the following short films:

The stories we did not reach today will be used in class tomorrow.

Homework: Read for 30 minutes in preparation for our next Alternative Book Report (ABR) submissions.  These ABRs will be due after the September break.

PowerPoint: 9.4.14 Reviewing Theme

Revisiting Plot Structure-September 2nd, 2014

Plot structure is an elementary school standard, however it always needs to reviewed and explored even deeper than in the previous year. This is what we started today. The students worked in groups to brainstorm on the functions and purposes of each of the following plot elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and setting. They then reshuffled groups so that each group had only one member who had gathered information on each plot element. Each student then had the opportunity to serve as their group’s expert on that topic. From that, they created a Brace Map to show the parts of a story’s plot (NOTE: Setting was thereby included as part of the Exposition since it is not a standalone element).
Plot Structure Brace Map

In order to differentiate for learning styles, or if a student missed any of the information presented within the jumbled groups, we then watched a quick PowToon to rehash the concepts of each stage of the Plot Diagram.

Next, the students took a moment to apply what they had reviewed through the story “Curious George and the Kite” and “The Pirate’sTreasure.”  While listening to these stories, the students created a plot diagram to chart the main events in each story.

Plot Diagram



  • The students will watch an episode of their favorite television show and create a plot diagram to illustrate the different points within the story presented.  The students will also make note on whether there were any unresolved plot lines and will include any necessary information from previous episodes as well.

Web Resources to Know (Voicethread)


Welcome back for this next installment of Web Resources to Know!

The concept of this next resource,
in and of itself, is a little mind-blowing in its simplicity.

Voicethread:  This is a very fascinating site in which you can upload a variety of media (PDFs, PowerPoints, videos, text, documents, etc) and can either leave text or voice comments on these items or invite others to do so.  This resource is one that can be used for teachers, in business, and for student presentations as well.  The best way to understand Voicethread is by using it, but until you make that leap, a video explanation should help.

  • How Voicethread works:
    • <iframe src=”″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>
  • An example of a Voicethread (look at how others can comment on specific parts):

Yep, crazy isn’t it?  Parents, feel free to wow your colleagues with this presentation tool.  Students, yes, you will impress your teacher by going beyond PowerPoint with this as part of your next presentation.  Oh, did I mention that there is an app for it too?

Feel free to give this a try.  By doing so, you can take your next presentation and make it not only a conversation, but a conversation in the cloud.

-Ms. W.

VT Voicethread Logo

  • Voicethread (
    • This article provides a review from another teacher’s perspective.
  • Voicethread (
    • This article links to a full voicethread complete with student comments.  It is the same link presented above.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 and Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2013: On Tuesday, the students worked whole group on a head-to-head team challenge with ELA CRCT review questions.

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Work on completing the ELA Infographic Project, which is due Friday, April 5th.

PowerPoint:Standards Centers (Day 2) 4.2.13


Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013: Today, after much pleading from the students (that was a little example of hyperbole),though they had the option of working in three different centers,  they overwhelmingly voted to work on their infographic projects.  I reminded them that they could use PowerPoint,, and   I have included information on these resources below:

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Work on completing the ELA Infographic Project, which is due Friday, April 5th.

PowerPoint:ELA Olympic Showdown (Day 1) 4.3.13 

Friday, March 29th, 2013

We capped off this week with a continuation of our ELA Olympics.  Each of the teams in class were competing quite hard to gain the most points.  Today, we put our emphasis on two things: the ELA Infographic Project and sentence trees.  I had a Q & A session with the students to make sure that everyone was clear on the expectations of the project (which is due next Friday, April 5th and no later).  We then broke sentences down into their parts of speech and then looked at how the words came together to make phrases, clauses, complete subjects, complete predicates, etc.

Just as a refresher (for those of you parents who might not be familiar with sentence trees):

Sandy likes candy with chocolate.Sentence Tree

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Continue work on the ELA Infographic Project (due Friday, April 5th).

PowerPoint: Status Report 3.29.13

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Today we took our bi-weekly trip to the Media Center.  While there the students had the opportunity to get a head start on their homework (“Roger’s Swim”) as well as check out books.  They also received a copy of the requirements for their infographic project (due April 5th, 2013).  Finally, class wrapped up with our in-class ELA Olympics head-to-head CRCT review challenge.  Today we focused on Parts of Speech (found here).

A few students asked me for more information about the online resources I mentioned that could help them with the infographic project.  Thus, I have included the links below:

HOMEWORK: Read “Roger’s Swim” (the handout was distributed in class).  Choose 2 of the 3 sections (either section A, section B, or section C) and circle the subjects in each sentence.  Then underline the predicates (main verbs) in each sentence.

Read for 30 minutes.

Begin work on the ELA Infographic Project.

PowerPoint: Sentence Parts Library Day 3.26.13

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Today the students were briefed on the CRCT review goals we have leading into this exam.  The students were provided with a copy of the standards.  They were then provided with information on their upcoming review project where they have to create an infographic on one of a variety of Reading and ELA concepts.  They had to follow the steps below:

___Step 1: Choose a topic

___Step 2: Choose a color scheme (make sure the colors match)

___Step 3: Research your topic

___Step 4: Organize your information

___Step 5: Choose graphics (pictures, charts, graphs, etc) to show your info quickly and easily.

**REMEMBER: Creativity makes a difference!  Be creative, however, make sure you r infographic is easy to read while being informative.

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Work on your Infographic project (due Friday, April 5th, 2013).  You can look at the example from class today at:!b279

PowerPoint: ELA Review-Intro to Infographics 3.25.13

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Today the students continued finishing up the benchmark assessment (many still needed more time).  Those that were done were able to participate in “zapping zeroes” by working silently on any make-up work.

PowerPoint: Benchmark Exam (Day 3.5), Zap Zero Day #2, Web Quest Day #1 3.14.13

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes