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


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.


Literary Devices in (Digital) Center Form-Day 2: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Today’s lesson was a lot like yesterday’s lesson.  In fact, it was a continuation of it.  After sharing the literary devices they found in their favorite songs for last night’s homework, the students continued working on their Literary Devices Centers using the iPads.  As they finished each set of activities, they logged evidence of their work through creating a corresponding blog post on KidBlog.

Thereafter, for the classes where there was a little extra time, otherwise it was for extra credit, the students applied what they knew of literary devices on this page at Today’s Meet.

We wrapped up class with a little review activity using the Plickers on literary devices.


**Extra Credit: Create a silly, one paragraph mini story using a literary device (or two) and post it on Today’s Meet.


Friday, March 15th, 2013

To cap off a very self-directed week of instruction, the students had time to do some individual practice on the areas in which they were the weakest in addition to completing any missing assignments.  Those who were done with everything participated in a self directed web quest on either prepositions or clauses (click the links to access the pages on this blog).

Today is the last official day of the 3rd quarter.  Keep an eye out for report cards which will be coming home next Friday.

PowerPoint: Web Quest Day #2 3.15.13

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Have a safe weekend.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Today was the third and final day that the students were able to complete the Benchmark exam and enter their answers into iRespond.  Those who finished the exam, worked on  completing any make up work (by zapping zeroes).  Those who had no zeroes to zap began working on their self-directed CRCT Web Quest Review.  The students were directed to complete tasks based on their lowest quiz scores.

PowerPoint: Benchmark Exam (Day 3) and Zap Zero Day 3.13.13

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and complete any missing assignments (for Zap Zero) which are due Thursday.

October 29th-November 2nd, 2012 in Review

On this Halloween week, we reviewed, researched, solved a crime, critiqued the writing of others, and tried to persuade friends to vote as we would.  As the old saying goes, “variety is the spice of life!”  The goal of this week was to prepare the students for creating more substantive long-form essays in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 29th, 2012

  • The students participated in review activities to become re-acquainted with the grammar and writing concepts we have addressed to this point.
  • 10-29-12 Grammar & Writing Check Up

Tuesday, October 3oth, 2012 (Library a.k.a. Media Center Day!)

  • As a preview to online research, the students participated in a Web Quest where they followed specific instructions to learn more about things going on in the world.
  • There were some broken links in the pre-made Web Quests presented so I compiled a a couple of articles to which the students were to respond with their thoughts.
  • 10-30-12 Library Day!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 (HALLOWEEN)

  • The students worked whole group to deduce who was guilty in “The Case of the Fallen Roses.”  I enjoy the use of mysteries because it requires the students to use context clues, draw inferences, demonstrate their reading comprehension, in addition to using common sense to find the answer.  The best part of it all is that it is fun, engaging, and does not feel like work either (oh, and I get to read in funny voices too).
  • After the mystery was solved, the students worked on a differentiated assignment.  They all had the same essay from which they were to pull out information (much like in the mystery) but the requirements varied based on whether they were Extremely Advanced, Advanced, On-Level, or Struggling Learners.  In order to disguise this fact, I color-coded the requirements and assigned them to each student in that manner.
  • 10-31-12 ELASI-ELA Scene Investigation

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

  • The students worked with me to identify the strengths and weaknesses of up to three model papers.  These model papers were ones written by actual Georgia 8th graders for the annual Writing Assessment.  The scores of the papers we discussed were either a 1 (the lowest), a 2, or a 3. **A paper with a score of a 5 is the highest.
  • 11-1-12 Upgrade It!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012