Friday, October 30, 2015

Predicting and Assessing

Happy Halloween
Goals for today: Get started on your novel prediction chart and review the answers to the quiz you made.

Novel Prediction Charts
Reviewing Quiz Answers

Novel Prediction Charts:

  1. Open your English Journal. (Check to see if you might be missing anything and make a plan to catch up on that later.)
  2. At the top add today's date. 
  3. Insert a table. It should be two columns wide and six rows down. 
  4. Add two predictions about your book, now that you are halfway through it. 
  5. Add evidence (sentence or two) from the book that lead you to that prediction. 
  6. Continue to add predictions and evidence to your chart as you read the rest of the novel. 

Novel Prediction Chart
My prediction
Evidence from the text that makes me think this.
(Use sentences from your book that lead to your prediction.)

Reviewing Quiz Answers: 

  • Yesterday some students tried out the quiz you made. It's time for you to review their answers. 
  • Your group will go to the quiz you made in Google Drive and click "view responses."
  • You are not going to grade these, but you are going to assess them. 
  • For each answer you are going to give a color. Use the paint bucket (fill color) tool to change the color of each box (cell) that has an answer. 
  • Make good answers light green. Okay, but not great, answers can be light yellow. And mostly wrong answers should be light pink. 
  • I will decide later how I want to convert your assessment into a grade for the student. I may decide not to count all of your questions, or give more credit to some questions. 


  • Stay safe. Lots of people make some really bad decisions on Halloween. Don't be one of them. 
  • Read this weekend. 
  • Check your English Journal for work you need to finish or make up. 
  • Revise your memoir or the visual memoir slides if you would like to improve them. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Don't just take the quiz, Make the quiz.

No scantrons. I promise. 
Goal: Creating an online assessment about the book you are reading.

Quiz expectations
Quiz making

With your team you will create a quiz that other students will take about the book your group has been reading.

Quiz Expectations:

  • 7-10 Questions
  • Ask questions that go up through content halfway through the book.
  • Include both multiple choice and short answer questions.
  • First question should be name, second question should be period. 
  • For multiple choice questions you can have 5-10 answer choices. 
  • For multiple select questions use the checkboxes question type. These questions should have more than one right answer. 
  • For short answer questions, be sure your question actually requires a written answer. (Don't ask questions that have one word answers.) Use the paragraph question type. 
  • Make your quiz in a Google Form. Name it Period, Color, Title, for example "6 Blue Pull of Gravity"
  • Use "File/add contributors" to add your teacher and your group members to the form. 
Keep reading. (I hear you're going to have a quiz to take soon.) 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Going Further with Setting

Goal: Looking closely at setting in novels.

Review from Monday
Setting in your Novels
Creating a setting

Look closely at the setting in your book
Look at the settings described in your group novel.  Select three quotes from the novel that describe the setting, but ALSO tell you something about the character. Add this chart to your English Journal.

Create a Setting
Choose a character from your group book that doesn't have his or her own setting, or who's setting is not well described.  WRITE a descriptive paragraph about the setting for that character. (In English Journal) EXPLAIN (in a second paragraph) what you are trying to show about the character with the setting you created.

Be sure your English Journal is caught up. (You should have entries for 10/20, 10/21, 10/26 and now 10/27. Visit the blog for any of those days you are missing.)
Keep up with the reading in your group novel.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Immersing Ourselves in Setting

Art by: Cate Simmons
Goal: Understanding how setting helps us understand characters and creates the mood of the narrative.

Writing about setting
Reading a setting
Reading specifically for setting
Creating a setting

#1: Open your English Journal
I'll be walking you through the directions for this in class. If you are absent you will miss the experience. There is no way to make up for that.

#2: Look closely at a setting
CLICK THIS LINK: to view a description of a setting from Great Expectations. We will look closely at what makes this setting good and name those things for ourselves.

#3: Talk to your group
Talk to your group about what's happening in your novel. How has setting played a role so far? What has it told you about the characters? How do the settings in your novel affect the mood of the story. What is confusing you about the events or characters in your novel? 

Keep up with your reading. Be prepared to meet your reading goal for Friday. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Character Slide Decks Completed!

Goal: Complete character slide decks and catch up.

Memoir Presentation(s)
Complete Character Slide Decks
Catch Up

Complete Character Slide Decks:
Yesterday I shared a slide deck about character with your group.
You worked to make that deck about a character from your group novel.
All groups still have work to finish those slides.
Be sure to use the slide notes to EXPLAIN why you put the content you chose on that slide.

Catch up:
If you were absent yesterday you need to take the character quiz. (Hint: Read the blog from yesterday.)
You should have two new entries in your English Journal. The answer to a character question (see blog from 10/21) and the STEAL Chart (see blog from 10/20). Complete those.
Book reviews: Those absent last Friday need to post their book reviews on Goodreads and submit the link. (Check Power School. If you have a zero then you are missing this.)

Read: Some of you need to read a lot this weekend to catch up to the page goal for your group. By next Friday you should be halfway through your group novel.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Character Slide Decks

Goal: Showing how much you understand traits and motivations of the complex characters in your book.

That quiz that I tried to trick you with yesterday :)
Character slide decks


  • This is a one question, short-answer, quiz. 
  • Please review the expectations for short answer questions: You must write 2-4 complete sentences. explain your answer, and use correct grammar, capitalization and punctuation. 
  • You will need the password for the quiz. I will give you that in class. 
Character Slide Decks: 
  • I have shared a slide deck with your group. (Everyone in your group should already have it.)
  • It is a template you must change to match a character in your book. 
  • Work together (on different slides) to complete the profile of the character. 
Finish visual memoirs
Request (by email) any regrades of work you have improved recently.
Read your group novel. You need to be up to your first page goal by tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who are these people anyway?

Goals: Looking even more closely at the characters in our novels.

Read (extra time because you need to make progress)
Group discussion
Answer a question in your journal.
Take a quick quiz, yes already. It's only one question.

Yesterday you created a STEAL chart in your English Journal. Some of you still need to finish that.

Today: Two questions your group needs to be able to answer today. Discuss these questions and be sure you can explain them. Write an answer to ONE in your English Journal.

1. What does your main character want more than anything? What obstacles stand in his/her way?
2. Who does your character have relationships with? What are those relationships like? 

Finish your visual memoir. I started grading them last night and a few are still incomplete.
Read your group novel. Keep in mind you page goal for Friday.
Finish the STEAL character chart you started yesterday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Exploring Complex Characters

Goal: Begin looking more closely at the complex characters in novels.

Characters are awesome lesson
Looking closely at one of the characters in your group novel.

Characters are Awesome Lesson: Exploring direct and indirect characterization through textual evidence in group selected novels in a ninth grade English class.

Looking closely at one of the characters in your group novel. 

  • In your English Journal
  • Make a STEAL chart about one of the main characters in your group novel. (See the last slide in the deck above, and/or the chart in the classroom.)
  • Be sure to use evidence (quotations) from the novel to support your answers.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Beginning to read a group novel

Goal: Getting started on our reading the novel unit. Choosing books, checking them out, getting organized with a calendar etc.

Book Groups
Favorite Books
Book Selection

Today we start a new unit called "Reading the Novel." You also have a new seat and a new group to work with.

We have a lot to do. I'll be explaining most of it to you in class as we go, but I will post it here later for people who were absent or just want to remember today's class forever.

Read according to your group's first goal.
Finish visual memoir slides.
Request a regrade if you have revised your written memoir.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Reviews Are Going In

Goal: Get our reviews on Goodreads and get caught up on missing work.

Get our reviews on Goodreads
Catch Up
Work on Visual Memoirs


  1. It is time to put the review you wrote on Wednesday into Goodreads. 
  2. Open your English Journal
  3. Find the review you wrote on Wednesday. 
  4. Highlight it, and use Ctrl-C to copy the text. 
  5. Go to Goodreads and login. 
  6. Find the book by searching for it and add it to your read shelf. When you do that you should get a place you can paste (Ctrl-V) your review. 
  7. If the book is already in "My Books" find it on your list and look for a small link that says "edit review." Paste in your review with Ctrl-V. 
  8. You must hit the SAVE button after you enter your review. 
Turn in the link to your review: 
  1. After you SAVE your review you should be on the page that has just your review. 
  2. Copy the URL (link) for that page. 
  3. Click on the tab at the top of this blog that says "Independent Reading/Book Reviews" (Clever title huh?)
  4. Fill out the form on that page and paste in the LINK that goes directly to YOUR book review. (Be sure you are not giving me a link to the page about the book, or your book list, or your review editing page.)
  5. You DO NOT need to give me a link to a second book review this time. Leave the part about your second book blank. 

Catch Up: 

  • Complete the Abbreviated Book Review form from yesterday if you did not get that done yet. (Scroll down to yesterday's blog post.)
  • Work on your Visual Memoir slides. They are due Monday. 
Read, get started on one of your books for the next six weeks. 
Finish your Visual Memoir slides and script in the slide notes! Remember the RUBRIC
Revise your memoir if you want to request a regrade next week. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wrapping up the grading period folks...

Goal: Getting our book reviews done and self-scoring English Journals.

Abbreviated Book Review
English Journal Self Grade

YESTERDAY you wrote a review of one of the books you read during this six weeks. You wrote that in your English Journal. (Tomorrow I will show you how to put it on Goodreads.)

TODAY you will complete a second review of a DIFFERENT book.

Abbreviated Book Review Form:

  1. Complete THIS FORM to submit your second book review. 

English Journal Self Score:

  1. Visit the ENGLISH JOURNAL SCORING GUIDE and decide how you would score your own English Journal based on that scoring guide. 
  2. PASTE the sentence below in you YOUR English Journal at the top. Fill in the number and reasons you scored your EJ that way. 

I believe that the work in my English Journal should earn a ...(enter number from scoring guide)... because...(give reasons why you earned that score.)
Read, get started on a book for the next six weeks.
Call in your memoir if you still need to do that. It's worth 7 points now.
Work on your visual memoir. Slides (with script in the slide notes) are due Monday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review Day

Goal: Looking at what makes a good book review and starting on a draft of your own.

Read a good book review
Write your own book review

Looking at awesome book reviews

Write your own book review: 

  1. Write your book review in your English Journal. DO NOT move on to step two before finishing step one.
  2. Log in to your Goodreads account.
  3. Find your book and click "edit review." (If you can't find it, ask someone at your table. If you're still stuck ask one of the adults.)
  4. Rate your book. Copy and paste your book review into the box for the review. 
  5. Make sure you hit "Save."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Work On Visual Memoirs

Goal: Making progress on our visual memoirs.

Example of a digital story
Work on Visual Memoirs

Example of a digital story: This example uses pictures and voice over to tell the story of his family trip. It covers a longer span of time than most of your memoirs, but remember what we are looking at here is the way the author uses words and images together.

Basic Option: 

  • Split your time today. Spend half your work time adding images to your slides and the other half of your work time adding text to your script below your slides. I'll help you time yourselves. 
  • Remember to use for your images
  • PS If you were absent yesterday you need to scroll down and read yesterday's post. 
  • Want to see how we will grade these? Check out the RUBRIC

Advanced Option:

  • If you plan to present your memoir to the class please see me today to agree on your presentation date next week. (Your slides are still due Monday 10/19.
  • If you are interested in screencasting your memoir you might want to use 
  • If you want to use other screencasting tools then you can still upload to youtube and email me a link to your finished video. 
  • READ: Tomorrow we begin working on book reviews, so you need to finish reading your second book if you have not already. 
  • Call in your memoir if you haven't already. It is still worth 8 points if you call by 9pm tonight. 
  • Grading period ends this Friday. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Visual Memoirs Projects

Goal: Creating visual memoirs of our memoirs. Yeah, it's going to be fun.

Visual Memoirs Project
Preview the rest of this week

Visual Memoirs Project- Basic: 

  • I sent you a new slide deck. (Look in "Shared with me")
  • Use this deck as a template for creating your own visual memoir. 
  • You will probably need to add more slides.  
  • Write a script for your memoir in the slide notes. (The space below the slides.) NOTE: Your script should not be your full memoir. You will need to cut it down.
  • Use only copyright free images, pictures you took or things from
  • Grades for this basic project will range from 0-85%.
  • Due Monday 10/19/15

Visual Memoirs Project- Advanced:
  • Create the slide deck described above and the abbreviated script of your memoir in the slide notes. 
  • Screen record the slides while narrating using your script from the slide notes. 
  • You are welcome to edit, add music and visual effects as needed, but do not detract from the message of your memoir. 
  • Your video must be between 2-5 minutes. 
  • Upload your video to YouTube and share the link with your teacher via email. 
  • Grades for advanced projects will range from 0-100%.
  • Due Tuesday 10/20/15

In Class Presentation - Advanced:
  • Prepare the same slide deck described above.
  • Let your teacher know that you would like to present your memoir in class.
  • Print out and/or memorize your abbreviated memoir script.
  • Practice presenting your slides and script to friends or family.
  • Present your slides and speak your script in class.
  • Grades for advanced projects will range from 0-100%.
  • Presentation dates will vary but slides must be complete by Monday 10/19/15. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Article of the Week & Calling in your Memoir

Goal: Article of the week reading, catching up etc.

Article of the week.
Catching up
Homework: Calling in your memoir.

Article of the week: 

  • Go to and CHOOSE you own article to read. 
  • Yes, you get to pick one for yourself! 
  • Check the DATE though. It must be something from 2015. 
  • SUMMARIZE the article you choose using the summary frame. (Write that summary in your English Journal.)
  • Hint: To find out the author's name use the MAX setting on Newsela. 

Calling in your memoir: 
Before 9pm TODAY call Mrs. Roberts and READ your memoir to the voice mail. Use the number posted in our classroom.

Other Homework:
Read: You must have your second book finished by 10/14. (That's next Wednesday.)
Be sure your English Journal has ALL your work in it so far.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

District Survey about AP Courses

Goal: Completing a district survey about AP courses.


  1. Read, keep your book handy
  2. District survey (It is supposed to take 25 minutes, but other teachers have told us it takes much longer, so lets get started.)
  3. Read more if you finish the survey before the end of the period.
  4. You can also work on final edits of your memoir.

District Survey: 
You are being asked to take a brief 25-minute survey to allow us to collect information regarding your perspective on Advanced Placement (or AP) Courses. We need information from all of you regarding this issue—especially students who have never taken an AP class. We are interested in knowing about your favorite subject areas, your educational goals for the future, whether you feel challenged in your classes, if you have taken or plan to take AP classes, if you have been encouraged to take AP classes, what would make you interested in taking AP courses, and which adults on the campus you trust to advise you on your academic or personal choices.

We ask that you answer these survey questions honestly so that we have the best data to help make sure that we are serving your needs. The information you submit in this survey is sent directly to a company called Equal Opportunity Schools when you finish. They sort the information and report back about the overall AP program opportunities at each school.

Thank you for your participation. Please log in and begin.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Writing Groups Continue

Goal: Continue writing groups with even better conversations!

What's working in writing groups?
Writing Groups (need to finish today)

Getting Started:
What's working in writing groups?
What kinds of discussion help writers most?

Memoir Rubric: 
How does your memoir compare to the rubric?
Anything on here we have not worked on?
View Memoir Rubric

Finish polishing your memoir. It is due tomorrow!
Read: You must finish two books by 10/14. (Next Wednesday)
Open house tomorrow night. Freshmen parent meeting at 5:00 in the library.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Writing Groups

Goal: Writing groups

Writing Group Procedures
Writing Groups

Writing Groups: 

  • Sharing your writing with a group will help you improve your writing and learn what a reader might think while reading your work. 
  • Follow the procedures in the chart or on THIS PAGE with your group. 
Read! (Really not kidding about that.)
Memoir final drafts due 10/8. THURSDAY. 
Open house is ALSO Thursday 10/8. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Great Beginnings

Goal: Writing the best possible opening for your memoir today.

Look at some great beginnings
Revise your opening

Great beginnings:
If the first two sentences of your memoir aren't interesting why would someone keep reading it?
How do you like this opening:

Time stops. Everything around me melts. All that's left is me and the ball. I start planning in my mind, where is this one going, down the line, or cross court? I make my mind up, I want a winner down the line. I place myself and crush the ball.

What makes this opening good? What would make it better?

Revise your opening:
Open your first draft memoir doc.
Read your first few sentences to yourself. Can you make them more interesting?

Show me your opening:
Go to Socrative (CLICK HERE) and join room 6867. In a moment I will send you a question. Enter your name and then paste the first two-three sentences of your memoir. (ONLY the first few sentences, not your whole memoir.)

Read: By next Wednesday 10/14 you will need to have finished two books!
Memoir final drafts are due this THURSDAY 10/8. Some of you still have writing to do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Catching up and Article of the Week

Goal: Reading survey, memoir progress, and article of the week.

9th Grade Reading Survey
Work time

9th Grade Reading Survey: 
Behold the 9th Grade Reading Survey. Fill it out. (Yes, even if you think you already did it. We changed some questions.)

Work Time:

  • Option 1: Do you still need to work on your memoir before it gets a draft grade this afternoon? Do that. 
  • Option 2:  Are you happy with your memoir draft (so far)? Great, you get to read the Article of the Week and write about it in your English Journal. (one paragraph summary, second paragraph your thoughts on the subject.)


  • If you did not read and write about the article of the week in class then that just became your homework. (one paragraph summary, second paragraph your thoughts on the subject.)
  • Read
  • Looking ahead, final draft of memoirs due 10/8. (Lots of revision time between now and then.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Adding figurative language

Goal: Adding flavor to our memoirs.

Read (15 minutes)
Adding flavor to our memoirs

Memoirs are like pancakes. They are good when you make them plain, but they are better when you add chocolate chips, fruit, and syrup. Your memoirs need some toppings.

What will you add? 

  • More dialog, make your characters talk to each other more. 
  • More metaphor, connect events and emotions to other things. 'My grief was a freight train that I didn't see coming.' 'The award was the cherry on top of my triple scoop sundae.'
  • More simile, 'The morning was crisp like a cold apple.' 'My heart turned as cold as the inside of my grandmothers freezer.'
  • And a dash of personification, 'The ball knew where to go and always seemed to land at my feet.' 'The book begged me to read it.'
Update Goodreads: 
Today is a good day to make sure the book you are currently reading is one of your books in Goodreads. Update your page number too. 

Read, always read. (You need two books read by 10/14.)
Finish your memoir draft, get the whole story into your document. Draft grades on Friday 10/2. (If you need extra time on a computer, come at lunch, or come after school.)
Looking ahead, final draft of memoirs due 10/8. (Lots of revision time between now and then.)