Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween: We've got work to do

Goals: Assessing our assessments and looking at credibility.


  • We always read. 
  • By the end of this week you should be 3/4 done with your group novel. 
  • I know many of you are already finished or nearly finished, be sure you have your second book ready to read. 

Assessment Review: 

  • You get to take a look at how people did on that quiz you made. 
  • You will report the results to me, but I will combine your results with others before I assign any grades. 
  • Go to Google Classroom and look for a new assignment there to begin the process. 
Assessing Credibility: (If we have time.)
  • We hear, read, and see a lot of information these days, but how do you know you can trust the information you are getting? 
  • A lot rides on the credibility of the person sharing the information. 
  • Lets watch part of a video and look at the credibility of the people presenting the information. 

  • Stay safe. Lots of people make some really bad decisions on Halloween. Don't be one of them. 
  • 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. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Let's see what you know...

Goal: Take a quiz, or two or three.

By today you should be halfway through your group novel.
You should also have a good idea of what your second book will be for this grading period.

Take a Quiz:
Select a quiz below that is not from your period. Take that quiz first.
Select up to two more quizzes and take those too.
Pro tip: Don't take quizzes on books you have not read.

Period 2Pull of Gravity

Vivian Apple At The End of the World

Pull of Gravity

Pull Of Gravity

Saint Iggy

Saint Iggy

Period 3Pull of Gravity

Vivian Apple At The End of the World

Pull of Gravity

Pull of Gravity

Saint Iggy

Saint Iggy

Period 5Pull of Gravity

Catcher in the Rye

A Wrinkle in Time

Lord of the Flies

Saint Iggy

Saint Iggy

Period 6Vivian Apple At The End of the WorldCatcher in the RyePull of GravitySaint IggySaint Iggy

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.)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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"
  • Click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and then "add collaborators" to add your teacher and your group members to the form. 
  • Click settings (gear icon) and then "quizzes" to turn your form into a quiz. Go back through your questions and choose "answer key" to mark the correct selection for each question. 
Keep reading. (I hear you're going to have a quiz to take soon.) 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Going Further with Setting

Goal: Looking closely at what setting says about character in our novels.

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.
DISCUSS that character and his/her setting with your group.
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 10/17, 10/18, 10/20, 10/24, and now 10/26. Visit the blog for any of those days you are missing.)
Keep up with the reading in your group novel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Setting and Mood in Literature

Goal: Understanding that setting contributes to mood.

You should be working toward the halfway point of your group novel.

Setting and Mood: 

  • The term MOOD in literature refers to how the setting of the story makes the reader feel. 
  • It is the emotional feeling of the place where the events are taking place. 
  • Sometimes the mood of the place matches the characters mood and sometimes it is in contrast to it. 
  • Word choice and the details an author includes help to create the mood of a setting. 

Thick darkness swam over the building. The surrounding oak trees stood so tall that even in at this time of day their shadows turned the area to night. One of them appeared to have fallen over onto the house. The roof caved in around the diseased trunk. The tree was so rotten it had to be years since it stood with its brethren.
Other than the roof the house itself was in horrible conditions. All the blue paint had chipped off, leaving it a stained yellow color. The porch’s column was broken in half, at first glance looking like the tree did it but when examining closer other dents cast all around the porch, with a baseball bat sitting in the middle, only causing one to wonder.
The yard itself was pure dirt, somehow weeds managed to grow in the hard ground, dried paint flew around the yard somehow even though the trees blocked all wind.
The front door opened and slammed shut every few seconds, due to the unknown wind and the its lack of a door knob. The windows were all completely smashed, below some the glass still sat. Only a few were boarded up with cardboard, others let the cool air drift in.

Why it is a strong example:
        This scene portrays a scary emotion through the look of the house. From other parts of the book you would know that this is the house of a kidnapper, and in this setting I feel I have shown it. The more obvious examples are the army of trees surrounding the building, let alone the one that crashed through the roof. But the eerie wind that blows the door open and shut, and dried paint around the yard starts to make you slightly scared. And while some factors like the tree seem a bit obvious, it makes you think, why would someone not get that repaired? What do they not want people to see inside?

Keep reading

Monday, October 24, 2016

The setting is telling you something

Art by: Cate Simmons
Goal: Understanding how setting helps us understand characters.

Writing about setting
Reading a setting
Reading specifically for setting

#1: Open your English Journal
Start a new entry at the top.
Describe a place you like to be. What does this place say about you as a person? 
#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 this setting tells us about the characters.

#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 do the settings tell you about the characters? MARK the places in your book where the setting informs you about the characters.
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 21, 2016

Getting Meta: Reading about Reading

Goal: Analyzing some texts about reading.

Read: We always read.

Before we go further into our Reading the Novel unit, let's take a look at some of the benefits of reading. Your article of the week this week includes some choices.

Article of the Week: Reading Edition
  1. Read one (or more) of the articles below. 
  2. Add a new entry to your English Journal (at the top).
  3. Summarize the article in the first paragraph. 
  4. Share your thoughts in the second paragraph. 
Articles you can choose from: 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mastering Short Answer Responses

Goal: Learning about expectations for short answer questions and taking a quiz on the first 1/4 of your group novel.

It might be a good idea to read or re-read the chapter(s) right before the first 1/4 of your group novel.

Memoir Presentations:
Several people are presenting today.

Expectations for short answer responses:
Often teachers will ask you to write short written responses. Short answers are just as important as long answers and most teachers have high expectations for your answers.
We will review these expectations in class.

Quick write:

  1. Open your English Journal and add a new entry at the top. 
  2. Answer the question below. 

What do you know about the main character in your group novel so far? Include at least one thing that is directly stated and one thing that you think based on what you read. 

Keeping in mind what you know about expectations for short answer responses show us your best work on this QUIZ about your group novel. (The quiz has an entry code. I will give it to you in class.)

Period 2 Friday 9th Assembly. Go straight to the big gym and find Mrs. R to check in. (Did you give your adult that lavender paper?)
Keep up with work in your English Journal.
Keep reading your group novel, unless you are already 1/2 way done, then read another book.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Character matters

Goal: Finding evidence about characters.

Memoir Presentations
Looking for Character Evidence

Memoir Presentations: 
Some of you are presenting today, some of you I need to talk to about presenting.

Looking for evidence of character:
Knowing how to mark the things you notice in your novels will help you find that evidence later.
Today I'll show you how I notice things about a character and then you can practice noticing things in your group novels.

Conversations in your groups: 

  • Check in with each other about page numbers. 
  • Discuss events in the book so far. Make sure you all know and agree on what happened to this point. 
  • Share what you are noticing about the characters. Add your stickies to places that tell you about characters. 
  • Talk about what you think might be on your first quiz tomorrow. What might I ask you about? How would you answer? 
  • Talk about how you could organize your findings as a group. Do you need to share a doc of group notes to help you? 
Quiz on the first 1/4 of your book tomorrow or Friday.
Period 2 Friday 9th Assembly. (Did you give your adult that lavender paper?)
Keep up with work in your English Journal. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Looking closer at character

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

Read (extra time because you need to make progress)
Reading Progress
Group discussion
Answer a question in your journal.

Reading Progress Survey
Fill out THIS SURVEY about your reading progress.

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. (Quiz coming Thursday or Friday. Be prepared.)
Finish the STEAL character chart you started yesterday.

Note: Power issues on campus are ongoing. All daily plans are subject to change if we lose electricity, internet access etc. Never a dull moment.

Monday, October 17, 2016

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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A day without power

PLHS experienced school wide and then intermittent power outages today. Our classroom had no internet, and no lights until the last period of the day. Our tiny windows do not admit much light, so we had classes down in the quad. Students read and talked about discussion questions.

Never a dull moment.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Watch and listen

Goal: Learning about the electoral college, seems relevant.

Read: We always read.
Computers closed
Books open

Watch and Listen:

  1. Go to our Google Classroom
  2. Be sure you are signed in with your account
  3. See the new assignment called "The Electoral College for Dummies: How it Works"
  4. Click on the word "EdPuzzle" just above that long looking link. 
  5. Watch and listen to the video. 
  6. Answer the questions when the video stops. Click "submit" and then click "continue."
  7. If you can't answer a question you can re-watch that section of the video. 
Keep reading your independent book. 
We will pick up with group novels on Monday. 
Be sure your memoir, visual memoir, book review, English Journal, etc. are all in great shape. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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 let's get started.)
  3. Read more if you finish the survey before the end of the period.

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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Reflection and self evaluation

Goal: Reflecting on our progress, learning, and next steps.

Research shows that the most important thing for learners are the questions we ask ourselves about our own learning. When do you ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I learning this?
  • How will I measure my own success? 
  • Who with and how might I best succeed? 
  • What are my next steps?
  • How am I tracking my progress? 

With those questions in mind I offer you the opportunity to reflect a bit on your own progress.

1. Your Visual Memoir Slides: 
Complete THIS FORM and reflect on how your slides are going.

2. Self Evaluate your English Journal: 

  1. Open your English Journal. 
  2. Add a new entry at the top. 
  3. Paste in the sentence below and fill in the blanks using the English Journal Scoring Guide and your own reflections. 

I believe I have earned a _____(score) for my English Journal because_____(give actual reasons). 

3. Quick Write
Under your self evaluation add an entry in your English Journal about your group novel so far. What have you read? How is it going for you as a reader? What's happening in the book? Are you having any challenges and how will you deal with them?


  • Mrs. R has to go to a meeting in the morning tomorrow. You will have work to do. 
  • Common question: "What can I work on?" Answers: Book review in your English Journal, visual Memoir Slides, written memoir, entries in your English Journal.
  • Keep reading your group novel

Monday, October 10, 2016

Getting started with book groups

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.

The novel you read with your group "counts" as one of your two books for this six weeks. You still need to read another one on your own.

Read according to your group's first goal.
Finish visual memoir slides. (Due today, but you can keep working on them.)
Work on your memoir if I have not graded it yet. Request a regrade if you have revised your written memoir.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Writing an objective news summary

Goal: Read and summarize a news article about hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

Books open computers closed. We read.

Reading a news article: 

  • Go to and click the colorful G to sign in with Google.
  • Click "Allow." 
  • Newsela will already know who you are because I already set up your accounts. 
  • Click on Binder (upper right corner)
  • Scroll past the black part and find "Your Work"
  • Click on the title of the article about the hurricane in Haiti. 
  • Open your English Journal. 
  • Write a one paragraph summary of the article you just read. Use the chart below to help you. 
  • Then, write a second paragraph about your thoughts/opinions about the situation. 
  • Keep reading. 
  • Finish your Visual Memoir slide deck. (Due Monday.)
  • Improve your memoir. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Reading Reviews and Surveys

Goal: Read and complete forms about reading.

We always begin with reading.
Close the computer and read.

Book Reviews Form:
Complete THIS FORM about the books you read this six weeks.
You must be signed in to your account to access the form.

9th Grade Reading Survey:
Complete THE SURVEY about your thoughts on reading.

Still have time? 
You can work on your visual memoir slides.
Be sure your story is in your slide notes.

Open House TONIGHT

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Getting Slides Done

I just wanted to see if this gif would work on the blog. 
Goal: Continue working on your visual memoir.

Because we always read.

Things to be working on: 
Visual Memoir (Due Monday)

Things you should be done with:
Written memoir
Book review in English Journal
Read two books this six weeks


  • Open House! Tomorrow night. bring your parents. 
  • Mrs. R will be at a meeting all day tomorrow. You will still have work to do. She will be back for open house. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Visual Memoirs Projects

Goal: Creating visual memoirs of our memoirs.

Visual Memoirs Project

Visual Memoirs Project- Basic: 
  • Check for a new assignment in Google Classroom. 
  • 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%. (See rubric.)
  • Due Monday 10/10/16
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. (On a Chromebook you can add the Screencastify extension and record your voice and screen.)
  • 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. Mrs. R will collect the link from you on 10/11/16. 
  • Grades for advanced projects will range from 0-100%.
  • Due Tuesday 10/11/16
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 10/10/16. 

Some examples from last year: 

Your book review in your English Journal should be done by now. 
You should be about to finish your second book. 
This grading period ends Friday. 
Open House is Thursday 10/6. Tell your parents.