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!

Tuesday:

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

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Wednesday:

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

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Thursday:

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

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Friday:

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, 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

Friday, October 5th, 2012 in Summation

Ahh, the end of the week.  Friday was our usual assessment day where the students took an open-note quiz on sentence trees, dependent clause types, and independent versus dependent clauses.  The students then created a 1-page essay during the remainder of class to the topic below:

Topic: A lot of schools hand out “Participation Awards” or “Perfect Attendance” certificates at award ceremonies.  However, there are those who think that this encourages people to not try their hardest.  Therefore, at an award ceremony, is it better to recognize everyone for trying or should only the people who did the best be recognized?  Write an essay to convince Mr. Bivens to agree with you.  Be sure to include specific details to support your claim.

For the students who finished the 1-Pager essay, they were directed to begin working on creating sentences for the Sentence Auction taking place on Monday.

HOMEWORK: No homework.  Have a wonderful weekend!

PowerPoint: 10-5-12 Quiz Timed Writing Mission Completion Day

Sentence Auction Guidelines

Friday, September 28th, 2012 Recap

What a busy week this has been!

On Friday, the students took a quiz on brainstorming, TAPP, and clauses.  Overall, the students did well.  These scores will be used to determine the students’ groups and pairings for next week’s activities.

Once the students finished, they had the opportunity to begin brainstorming on a topic of their choice from the ones below (1st and 2nd periods did not have the opportunity to do this):

1. Should state colleges be free to attend?
2. Should all American citizens have to complete a year of community service?
3. Should students be required to take Spanish classes?
4. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?
5. Should the driving age be raised to twenty-one?
6. Should immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally be given legal status if they have been here for a certain number of years? (this one was created by a student in 2nd period)

The plan right now is for these brainstormed ideas to serve as the basis for a writing assignment next week.

HOMEWORK: None.  Have a wonderful weekend.

PowerPoint: 9-28-12 Assessment Day

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 In Review

On Thursday we began looking at building stronger body paragraphs through generating ideas.  We reviewed the concept of brainstorming in general, then I reintroduced the concept below:

HOMEWORK: Continue week-long homework assignments (In-Class Essay and Take-Home Quiz)

PowerPoint: 9-27-12 Building Ideas into Body Paragraphs

Homework for the Week (September 24th-28th, 2012)

I decided to try something new.  For the time being (and perhaps permanently), I’ll provide the week’s homework assignments in advance.  The assignments can be turned in early, on time, but I will no longer accept late homework.  All assignments for this week will be due by Friday, September 28th, 2012.  This way each student can work at his or her own pace.

  • Monday’s homework:*Edited-All periods: complete the Take Home Quiz and the In-Class Essay. Look over the homework for the week.  Read for 30 minutes
  • Tuesday’s homework: *EditedConstruct 5 questions you still have about clauses (if you have none, write 5 things you know about clauses).  They must be in the form of simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences.
  • Wednesday’s homework: *EditedChoose one of the BCRs you have written and create a body paragraph.  (Treat your BCR as the introduction paragraph.)
  • Thursday’s homework:  *EditedWrite a conclusion for the BCR you selected on Wednesday.
  • Friday’s homework: No homework (aside from reading for 30 minutes per day).  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 14th, 2012 Recap

Friday brought the completion of our discussion of thesis statements, hooks, and how to use them to build a strong introduction paragraph.  We then had a discussion centered around the topic below:

  • When is it okay for someone to step in and resolve an issue between two people?  What if they are countries?

In addition to discussion concerning fights in school the topic of Tuesday’s attack on the American Consulate in Libya came up in discussion.  Both instances provided  real-life situations from which the students could draw in order to write their BCRs.

Our usual Friday quiz has been tentatively pushed back to Monday the 17th and will address gerunds functioning as different sentence parts.

HOMEWORK: None today.

PowerPoint: 9-14-12 Finally Finishing Introductions + BCR Day

Thursday, September 13th, Reviewed

On Thursday we included more practice with getting an introductory paragraph started.  The students had the opportunity to use the 3-Sentence Introduction again as the foundation of their introductory paragraphs.

For the last few minutes of class, we went to the Media Center where everyone had the opportunity to check out a non-fiction library book as we will be working more with non-fiction texts next week.

HOMEWORK: None today.

PowerPoint: 9-13-12 Building Strong Introductions

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 Summarized

Wednesday was an energetic day in class.  After using 5 gerunds in a paragraph on any topic, we then had our first-ever Fist Pump Competition!  When a popular song was played, the students had to pump their fists exactly when the hook (chorus) came in.  If they fist pumped prematurely, their group was disqualified for that song.  The first group with 100% fist pumping at the hook of each song got a point.  The group with the most points was promised a super-special prize in the near future.  Until then, they have bragging rights.

We then picked up from where we left off in class yesterday by creating a 3-sentence introduction.  We worked together to identify the topic, audience, and purpose (pattern will be included later).  Then we selected a hook (attention-grabber).  We then generated a thesis based on our topic from yesterday which asked us to support our claim regarding the effects of smoking on one’s health.  Finally, we tied the hook and thesis statement together using a transitional sentence.  Please take a look at the example to the right (the link below opens the image in PowerPoint).

Sample 3-Sentence Introduction

The goal will be to use this 3-sentence introduction structure as a foundation for a larger, more extensive, yet still concise introduction.

HOMEWORK: Write a 3-sentence introduction with a question to open, a transitional sentence, and a thesis.

PowerPoint: 9-12-12 Thesis Statements in Action