Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Take Home Quiz Questions: "Crispin" chp.9,10

Here is the take home quiz that is due tomorrow (a little early Halloween "treat.") DUE: 10/31


1. In chapter 9, what are some examples of things that Peregrine does to help Crispin? According to her, why does she help him?

2. “It was rather like a new garment that replaces an old: desired but not yet comfortable.”

What is the author trying to say by comparing Crispin’s name to a garment?

3. What are the most likely reasons why Crispin looks on Peregrine with “fear and fascination?”

4. In chapter 10, Crispin pauses at the cross that marks the boundary of Stromford Village. Even though he is fleeing, what makes him stop momentarily? What feelings is he experiencing about leaving?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Characters with Character Continues

We'll continue to work through our current unit on "characters" this week.
We've paid particular attention to the historical fiction novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead, but this week we'll work in excerpts from Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village, which won the 2008 Newberry Medal.
In addition, it's Halloween week, so who knows what tricks we have planned....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Today's home base challenge:

Where does the tradition of dressing up in a costume for Halloween come from? Leave a comment with your answer and win a "valuable" prize!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crispin: Chapters 4,5

I've assigned students to read chapters 4 and 5 of Crispin: The Cross of Lead, due Monday, October 22.

To assist with with comprehension, students may wish to preview the chapters by reading summaries of them.

Chapter four spells out the stark contrast between a Lord's and a peasant's dwellings.

Here's an image of a medieval manor, like Lord Furnival's, in which John Aycliff lives.

Asta's Son and his mother would have lived in a peasant's cottage, like this one.

When they are finished reading, students should write answers, in complete sentences, to the following questions in their notebooks (please be sure to include the date):

  1. What service was a peasant, or serf, expected to perform for the lord of the manor? What did he gain in exchange for this service?
  2. Why did the bailiff and the reeve set fire to the cottage where Asta’s son had grown up? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Historical Fiction: The Dark Ages

Unit two finds us leaving the realm of science fiction and beginning a study of historical fiction.
To begin, we'll study Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi.
We'll read the majority of this novel together in class, and we finished chapter one today.

The Home Base Research Challenge (Update)

After watching the Yankees' diastrous weekend, I've been thinking about The Big Apple. Today's challenge: How did New York City get that nickname? First home base student to leave a comment on this blog with the correct answer wins a great prize!

UPDATE: No takers on the challenge:
You can find the answer the question "Why is New York called The Big Apple?" here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Details: "Halloween Story Contest"

Here are the details about the "Halloween story contest" assignment, as well as a (partial) sample that I wrote:

DIRECTIONS: Write the ending to author Bruce Coville’s story, “Back From the Grave.” Your assignment should be 200-250 words (following the contest rules) in length and typed. It is due Monday, October 15.

Here’s my (unfinished) ending:

Suddenly, a scream exploded in the Avery’s bedroom next door.
I flung off the covers and sprinted toward the sound of Avery’s frantic cries.
I threw open her bedroom door and charged in. She was standing at the window, and I could see Avery silhouetted by the light of the full moon.
“No!” she shrieked.  “Gramma, Run!”
Running to the window, I pushed Avery out of the way. I stared with horrified disbelief at what I saw.
Gramma, in her pink fleece nightgown and furry slippers, scrambled through the back yard. Something was following her.
 I stood there, paralyzed with horror, as the dark figure closed in on Gramma.
Avery sprang into action. Opening the window, she quickly climbed through and lowered herself the short distance to the ground.
“Avery, stop!” I yelled at her.
Ignoring me, Avery ran to Gramma’s tool shed, ducked inside and emerged seconds later carrying a long handled shovel.
Was she crazy? Avery can barely lift that shovel, I thought.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Story Contest

Central NY writer Bruce Coville has issued his annual challenge to write the ending of his Halloween story.  You can watch Bruce read last year's story, "The Wind Up Goblin" here and read the winning endings here.
For Halloween 2012, Bruce has written the beginning of a story called "Back From the Grave," and we'll be working on contest submissions this week in class.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Create a Creature

This week, students will conclude our science fiction unit by working on the research project described below:

Research your solar system planet and create a creature that could live there based on the environment of your planet. Please be thorough and cover at least four topics listed below. Each topic should be related to the environment of your planet.

Use at least four of the topics listed below:

Body design (how is it shaped and why?)

Diet (what does it eat?)

Acquiring food (how does it get it’s food?)

Shelter (where does it live?)

Protection (what does it use for protection? Does it fight back or hide?)

Skeleton (how does it keep its shape?)

Mobility (how does it move?)

Sensory Ability (what are its senses?)

Communication (how does your creature communicate with other creatures?)

Other unique adaptations/behaviors.

Your essay is to be typed, double-spaced, and in 12 pt font.

This project should be about five to seven paragraphs in length.

Please use full sentences and use proper punctuation and grammar.