Friday, September 29, 2017

Reading Progress and Article of the Week

Goals: Reading progress and an Article of the Week.

Book and agenda out.

1. Reading Progress Form:

2. Article of the week. 
  1. Read the article in Newsela (sign in with Google.)
  2. Take the QUIZ with the article. Yes, you have to.
  3. Open your English Journal
  4. Write TWO paragraphs. Paragraph 1 is a summary of what you read. Paragraph 2 is your thinking about what you read.
3. Work on your visual memoir. 
Do not do this unless you are DONE with your article of the week. 😀
And remember your visual memoir is due Wednesday.

Call in dramatic reading
Return release forms
Work on Visual Memoirs
Open house is Thursday 10/5.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Working on Visual Memoirs

Note the visible black bar of attribution. 
Goal: Continue working on your visual memoir.

Because we always read.
Get out your book and your planner.

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

Copyright free images:

  • For your visual memoir you can only use pictures from or personal pictures you or someone you know took. 
  • All pictures must have a visible black attribution bar OR be listed on the credits slide of your visual memoir. 
  • You may also use Creative Commons licensed images from other sources, but you must provide a link to that source in your credit. 
  • Citation format for images is:  Creator's Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, retrieval date. URL.
  • Note: Providing a citation DOES NOT mean you are allowed to use the image. If you are in doubt about image rights ask a teacher. 

Things you should be done with:
Written memoir
Dramatic reading call in
Returned release form(s)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Self Scoring Memoirs and Creating Visual Memoirs

Goal: Self scoring memoirs and learning about creating visual memoirs.

Self score written memoirs
Visual Memoirs Project Explained

1. Self score your memoir: 
Use this MEMOIR SELF SCORE FORM to evaluate your memoir.
Memoirs are due today.

2. Your Visual Memoir Project Has two Options

Option 1: Make slides and a script for your memoir.  (0-85%)
Option 2: Turn those slides and script into a video or present it in class. (O-100%)
You can find more information about this project on the tab above that says Visual Memoir Project and on Google Classroom.

You should be almost 2/3 done with your second book.
You can still call in your dramatic reading
Open House is Thursday 10/5. Tell your parents. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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?
  • Follow the procedures in the chart or on THIS PAGE with your group. 
Memoir Rubric: (below)
How does your memoir compare to the rubric?
Anything on here your memoir still needs?

Finish polishing your memoir. It is due TOMORROW!
Read: You must finish two books by 10/6 (Next Friday.)

StructureStructure: An interesting introduction captures attention. The main event in the narrative (memoir) is logically organized and clearly described.
LanguageLanguage: Strong dialogue or description draws the reader into the story. The writer includes sensory details, figurative language, and strong verbs.
ReflectionReflection: The writer acknowledges the significance of the incident directly or indirectly.
Grammar and mechanicsWritten consistently in the first person. Is free from grammar/spelling errors.
Word CountMemoir is 700-800 words in length

Monday, September 25, 2017

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 9/27. WEDNESDAY. 
  • Open house is Thursday 10/5. 
  • You can still call in your dramatic reading by 9:00 PM tonight for up to 9/10 points. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Exploding a moment

Goal: Exploding a moment and/or making memoir progress.

You are 2/3 done with book #2?

Part #1
Exploding a moment: 
  • Authors make their writing more memorable by describing some moments in great detail. 
  • The moment practically explodes as it gets bigger and includes more information. 
  • Read THIS passage of an moment described in detail. 
  • You can also click this link for tips on "exploding a moment."
Part #2
Writing practice: Exploding your own moment. 
  1. Open your English Journal.
  2. Choose a specific moment from your memoir that you could explode. 
  3. Write a version of that exploded moment in your English Journal. (You can add it to your memoir later if you like it.)
  4. This will be a timed writing. You have 8 minutes. 
Part #3
Choosing the best explosions:
  1. Read your exploded moment to your table group. 
  2. Vote for the best one at your table. 
  3. The "winner" will submit their exploded moment HERE. (Only the winner at your table.)
  4. Add your exploded moment to your memoir if it makes your memoir better. 
  • Bring back your release form if you have not already. 
  • Call in your "Dramatic Reading" by 9:00 PM tonight! (You've had 4 days.)
  • Keep reading book #2. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Adding to our memoirs

Goal: Making better memoirs.

How's it going with your second book? You should be more than 1/2 way done with it. 

Using Sensory Details:
  • Smell - and the water smelled like lemons and a heated swimming pool in summertime, all rolled into one." 
  • Sound - Trash cans rattle outside restaurants. Metallic jaws on sanitation trucks gulp and masticate the residue of daily living, then digest it with a satisfied grind of gears. 
  • Physical Sensation - A burning drop of sweat raced down the side of my face. I could feel a vein that I previously didn't know existed popping out of my forehead.
  • Taste - and once they are in your mouth, they dance around like crazy gypsies setting fire to anything they touch. Miguel started to run. His tongue was blazing, tears poured from his eyes, and he yelped in pain. 
  • Sight - The spear moved forward inch by inch ….Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the blood over his cheeks . . 
Writing Time: 
  • I want to give you as much time today as possible to do the work of writing and adding to your memoir. Many of you still need more dialog. Some of you need to add more reflection. And almost all of you could use more sensory details. Let's go. 
  • READ-You should be about 50% done with your second book. 
  • Complete your memoir draft, including dialog, reflection, and sensory details. 
  • Call in your "Dramatic Reading" by 9:00 PM Friday. (Call tonight and get it done.)
  • Return release forms if you still have not. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Adding elements of reflection

Goal: Understanding what my memoir needs and learning some ways to make it better.

Books out.

  • You have a draft of your memoir. You know what you're writing about.
  • Lets look at what it needs to make it better.

StructureStructure: An interesting introduction captures attention. The main event in the memoir is logically organized and clearly described.
LanguageLanguage: Strong dialogue and description draws the reader into the story. The writer includes sensory details, figurative language, and strong verbs.
ReflectionReflection: The writer acknowledges the significance of the incident directly or indirectly.
Grammar and mechanicsWritten consistently in the first person. Has consistent verb tense. Is free from grammar and spelling errors.
Word CountMemoir is 700-800 words in length

Working on Reflection: 
  • Get a copy of THIS DOCUMENT. It has some small parts of several memoirs we read. 
  • We are going to look at them together, but I want you to highlight the words and phrases that show that the author is reflecting on the event. 
Complete your memoir draft. By now it should have dialog and reflection. 
Keep reading your book.
Return release forms. (We want them back either way.)
Call in your "Dramatic Reading."  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dialog Challenges

Goal: Adding dialog, and formatting it like a boss.

Reading Progress Form
Dramatic Reading Assignment
Dialog challenge #1
Dialog challenge #2

Reading Progress Form:

Dramatic Reading Assignment:
See the tab above for more information on this assignment. Due by 9:00 PM Friday.

Dialog challenge #1
  1. Copy and paste the text below into your English Journal. 
  2. With your partner discuss how you would correctly format this dialog. You probably need to add some paragraph breaks and punctuation. 
Well, why were you down at the swimming pool anyway? my mom asked as she pulled the dripping carton of eggs out of the shopping bag. I told you I need to get in shape before the swim team tryouts. Damn half these eggs are broken. But sweetie, you know that kids under 13 aren’t allowed at the pool without an adult. Why didn’t you ask your father or I to go with you. Because you guys are busy and if I wait for you to take me it will get later and the pool will get more crowded with adults who want to swim laps and I just don't like sharing a lane with some hairy dude in a speedo. Honey, the lifeguards know you are under 13 and they will be watching for you. They just aren’t going to let you swim there. I’m sorry, but we need a better solution.
Dialog Challenge #2
  1. Add dialog to your memoir. 
  2. You don't need to remember the actual words anyone said. You can write what you think they said or what you think they probably said.  
  3. Also try to avoid using the word SAID over and over. Here are 200 words you can use instead of said. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

First Draft Memoir

Goal: Writing the first draft of your memoir.

Release forms
Writing small
How to access your writing prompt
Writing time

Release forms:
You are taking home some photo/video release forms I need back asap.

Writing Small: 

  • A short memoir should be about a single incident. 
  • The focus should be on one event. 
  • You can include a before and after, but keep the focus on the main event. 
  • Let me show you some examples.

Writing prompt:
  1. A Google Doc for you to write your memoir has already been shared with you!
  2. Go to, and look in the "shared with me" section. 
  3. Open the Doc called (period, name, memoir prompt.) Add it to your drive. 
  4. DO NOT make a copy of the document. (If it already has your name on it you don't need to make a copy.) You don't need to share it with your teachers either. We already have it. 
Writing time: 
  • You may listen to music, but not from your Chromebook. Streaming music slows down the network for everyone else. (Also, if you aren't getting writing done, or if anyone else can hear your music, then your music privilege goes away fast.)
  • You may not talk. Writing requires concentration. Please respect your classmates need for a quiet writing space
  • Write a complete draft, beginning, middle, and end. If you finish early go back through your writing and continue adding details, dialog, and descriptions. 
  • You may write about something you already started writing about in your English journal, but write it fresh. Don't copy paste from your EJ. First see how you write the story today. Later you can look back at your EJ to see what you might still want to add. 
  • Finish your draft. It does not need to be perfect (yet). It does need to be the whole story. 
  • Read: You should have completed your first book by now. You need to finish your second book by 10/4/16. (That's sooner than you think.)
  • Open House is Thursday, October 5th. Tell your parents. 
  • Return your photo/video release forms tomorrow. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Generating Memoir Ideas

And that's when I became the middle child. 
Goal: Generating ideas for memoir writing.

4 Quadrants
More Writing

Four Quadrants: (That's redundant isn't it?)
  1. Open your English Journal
  2. Add today's date at the TOP. (not under your other work.)
  3. Go to Table/Insert Table and choose 2x2. Two squares high and two squares wide. 
  4. Add numbers and make your table look like the one pictured below. 
  5. In EACH box write 3-4 events, big or small, that happened in your life during those years. 
English Journal Writing: 

  • Write for ten minutes about one of the events you listed in your chart, or an event you listed while you were relating to the memoirs we read this week. 
  • Include details about who, where, when, why. 
  • Include information about emotions, (yours and others), events, and your reflection. 
  • Do you still feel the same way about this event now as you did then? 
  • What did this event teach you about life?
  • Tell the story, use what you remember, guess about the details you can't quite recall.

My teacher wants me to write for ten minutes? Seriously? 

Quick Memoir Form: 
Fill out THIS FORM before you leave today.
It just asks what you think you might write your memoir about. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Close reading and group discussion

Goal: Close read and discussion of the memoir we read yesterday.

Group discussion
Group presentations

Get a copy of the text we are using today HERE. (You will need to be logged in to your account to get the text.)

Group Discussion: Part 1
  • With your group have a discussion about the two questions from the text assigned to your group. 
  • Be prepared to explain those answers to the class. 
  • You must include evidence from the text to support your explanation. Be able to point to the sentence or two that proves your explanation about the answer is the most correct. 
Find your group # and the questions you are responsible for discussing. 
Group 1: 2 and 6
Group 2: 6 and 1
Group 3: 5 and 3
Group 4: 7 and 1
Group 5: 3 and 8
Group 6: 1 and 2

NEXT: Part 2
  • Looking at the text again, what is it really about? What is the author's experience? 
  • What is your closest similar experience? 
  • Add a row to the table in your EJ with this information. (You know the table you started on Tuesday.)
Finish reading your first book asap.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

One more memoir reading

Goal: Reading one more memoir.

Books out, lets make those pages fly by.

Reading a new Memoir: 

  • I've assigned a new memoir to you in GoFormative
  • Be sure you sign in with Google. 
  • You will only be able to access this reading if you have already joined our Google Classroom for your period. 
  • Please ask for help if you aren't able to get to the reading. 
  • Remember each numbered blue square is a question. Answer them as you read. 
  • Finish reading for homework if you run out of time in class. 
  • Keep reading. You should be finishing your first book this week!
  • Do you need to work on your six word memoir? Check Google Classroom. If you see a circle with 1/1 you are done. If not you probably need to do some work and resubmit. 
  • Do you need to finish something in your English Journal?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sharing out memoirs

Goal: Explain the memoir you read yesterday to a new group and make connections to personal experience.

Books out, let's go.

Memoir Groups: 
Talk to your group about the memoir you read yesterday.
Make sure everyone in your group can explain it.
Is it a memoir? Why or why not?
What is it really about?

English Journal: 

  • Open your English Journal.
  • Make sure it has an entry about the memoir you read yesterday. (At the top.)
  • Note: Do NOT make a new English Journal. Do NOT re-share your EJ with us. We already have it.

New Groups: 

  • I'll be moving you to a new group.
  • Make a table in your EJ.  It should look like the one below.
  • As you hear about each memoir make a note about the author's experience.
  • Then note the closest similar experience you have had.

Keep reading. You should be finishing your first book this week!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reading an discussing a memoir with your group

Goal: Reading a memoir with a small group

Read a memoir
Discuss the memoir with your group

Group Reading: 
  1. Click on the number for your group to get the memoir you will be reading:


  • Paste the questions below in to your English Journal (Google Doc) and answer them as you discuss these questions with your group. Talk about the question before you write your answers. 
  • Be prepared to explain more about your reading to another group who has not read this memoir.

  1. What does the writer experience in this text?
  2. What is the writer trying to say about this experience?
  3. What techniques does the writer use to make the story real?
  4. What obstacles did the writer encounter  in this memoir?
  5. What does the writer gain/learn from these challenges?

Be prepared to talk about the memoir you read today. You should probably read it again.
Read your independent reading book.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Catch up and get ready to move forward

Goal: Check in, catch up, get ready to move forward.

Reading Progress Form
Join our Remind Class
Catch up day


  1. Make sure your book is checked out to you. Ask Mrs. R if you aren't sure. 
  2. You should be at least 2/3 done with that book by now to stay on track for finishing on time.
  3. Fill out the READING PROGRESS FORM.
Join our Remind Class: 
Remind is a tool that lets us communicate safely and easily. I will give you the join code in class. If you have a smartphone you will probably want to get the Remind app. 

Catch Up:
Well, these weeks have been a blur of schedule changes, textbook check outs, assemblies etc. So, today we are going to take a breath, look at where we are, look at what we need to finish, and get ready to move forward next week. See the "Things to be done with" list below.

Do you have all your textbooks? (Have you changed any classes that you need to change books for?)
Have you had your picture taken?
Always check the class blog when you are absent. You are responsible to finding out what you missed before you come asking questions.

Things to be done with:
  1. Six word memoir slide. Did you already turn it in in Google Classroom. Did Mrs. R return it with a 1/1 credit? If not then you might need to work on it. 
  2. English Journal: 
    1. You should have a paragraph about 8th grade English.
    2. AOW from 9/1: TWO paragraphs about the article you read last week about climate change and extreme weather. Wondering what your English Journal is? See this post. 
  3. STUDENT DATA FORM: There are a few of you still missing this. We will check in with you if you need to do this. 
  4. Read "Us and Them" in Formative. Most of you did this. Some of you might like to finish it. 
  5. Good with all of the above? You get some extra time to read. Yay, for you!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Close Reading Questions with your Partner

Goal: Read and then show your understanding of your reading of "Us and Them."

Partner work on close reading questions

Close Reading Questions: 

  • Yesterday, you got a chance to finish reading "Us and Them" and we discussed some questions about the end of the story in class. 
  • Today you get to work with a partner to answer very similar questions in writing. 
  • You are working together
  • You will fill out ONE form with BOTH your names on it. 
  • One partner should open the memoir. 
  • The other partner should open the form. 
  • You can take turns typing your answers. 
  • You are BOTH responsible for the quality of ALL of the answers. LOOK at what your partner types!
Did you read all of the directions above?   YES     NO

Complete your 6 word memoir. 
Finish your AOW response (except period 5) 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Looking closely at "Us and Them" with a partner.

Goal: Look more closely and discuss "Us and Them" with a partner.

10 Minutes, read your independent reading book.
You should be about 50% done.

Looking at "Us and Them": 
Go to GOOGLE CLASSROOM and get your own copy of "Us and Them."
Finish reading the story.
Be ready to talk about the story with your partner. 

To be done by now: (You should be finished with these things. If not do them asap.)
  • Six word Memoir Slide (See Google Classroom and posts below.)
  • Welcome assignment with English Journal 
  • AOW in English Journal from 9/1 (except period 5)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Reading, "Us and Them" in Formative

Goal: First read of a memoir, first use of a new tool.

You should be almost 1/2 way through your first book for the semester.

Read a Memoir: 
Okay, new tool. We will use it a lot this year, so it is worth a bit of time to teach you how it works. It's called Formative and it will help me understand more about you as a reader. Basically, I put a short reading into Formative and then I add questions right into the reading. You answer the questions as you read.

  1. Go to
  2. Choose "Student"
  3. Ignore the boxes for the form and choose "Google Sign Up" 
  4. Use your district Google account. That's >>>
  5. Find the assignment called "Us and Them" 
  6. Answer the questions as you read. Do not skip questions. If you change your mind about an answer you can go back and change it. 
To be done by now: (You should be finished with these things. If not do them asap.)
  • Six word Memoir Slide (See Google Classroom and posts below.)
  • Welcome assignment with English Journal (See post below from Friday.)
  • AOW from Friday. (Just period 1. Period 5 skip this.)
  • Complete Student Data Form
  • Read almost half of book #1.  

Friday, September 1, 2017

English Journals and AOW (What's an AOW?)

Goals: Start and share your English Journal, learn about article of the week (AOW).

Start English Journal
Share it with your teachers
First Article of the week

Start your English Journal: 

  • Your English Journal is a Google Doc you will be adding to all year long. 
  • You will always add the newest work at the TOP of the document. (Later this will save you, and your teachers, lots of scrolling.)
  • Today you will start your English Journal and share it with us. 
  • Click the copy link for your period to get started. 
  • Change the file name to remove "copy of" and change the name parts to your name. 


Share your English Journal:
Click the blue share button and type in the email addresses we give you in class.
(Yes, I know we could use Google Classroom for this. We won't. Because reasons.)

First Article of the Week: 
Most weeks we will assign you an Article of the Week.
The assignment is simple: read the article and write two paragraphs about it in your English Journal.
The first paragraph should be a summary of the facts and ideas in the article.
The second paragraph is your thoughts and opinions about what you read.
Click HERE to get to the article. (Sign in with Google.)

Read this weekend. You should be almost 1/2 way through book #1 by Tuesday.
Get a trash bag. You know what to do with it right?
Clean up your room. (The world is messy. Start somewhere.)