Thursday, December 15, 2016

Classwork: 12/15

Image result for scrooge donate poor

Don't be like Scrooge: Use this website  to find out some basic information about a charity or organization that is working on a cause that is important or interesting to you.
Complete the "Charity Comparison" sheet (front and back).

1). visit your charity's website to learn the "purpose"
2). to find programs, click the "programs" tap at the top of your charity's page on "Charity Navigator." See an example here.
3). to find "money raised yearly" look for the "TOTAL REVENUE" listing.
4). look at the pie graphs in the "Financial Charts" section to find percent spent on programs, fund raising, administrative costs.

Monday, December 5, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes From ELA Class

Image result for december

It's December!

Here's a look back at some of the journal topics students have written about lately:

What's the nicest thing you've ever seen anyone do?

If there could be a special school that would teach you something you really wanted to learn, what would that school be?

If someone gave you $100 what would you do with it?

This month will find us continuing to write in journals and also read independent books. In addition, we'll study some of the themes and ideas related to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." 

Monday, November 7, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes from ELA Class

Last week students wrote journals about the best thing they've ever eaten. Yum.
We then spent some time thinking, talking, writing (and drawing) what they know about the "First Thanksgiving."
This week we'll begin to look at this event through different perspectives and points of view.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes From ELA Class

Last week we read a version of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving. 
This week we'll be on a field trip to Sleepy Hollow, NY! Ok, it's actually a virtual field trip in the form of a webquest...

Monday, October 10, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes From ELA Class

An annual tradition: this week students will write stories (or rather, the endings of stories) as part of author Bruce Coville's Halloween story contest.
Last year a student from Saranac Lake Middle School won honorable mention in this contest, so here's hoping we'll have similar success this time around.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes from ELA Class

Last week students continued reading, discussing the work of Edgar Allan Poe and looked at the literary devices "mood" and "tone."
They wrote in their journals about "favorite childhood toys" and "fall."
Students had another bout with (a new Champ will be crowned this week!).
We also spent some time working on a combined social studies/ELA project on local history (students were inspired by watching this episode of Curiously Adirondack; this one too.
This week we'll look at some poetry ahead of students writing their own local history poem, then write drafts in class.
The end of the week will see a visit from Mrs. Kennedy for book talks.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What's the Story? News and Notes From ELA Class

Last week students filled their journals with writing on topics like: "If a genie granted you three wishes, but you couldn't use them to make yourself rich, what would you do?" and "Write directions for how to do or make something."

Students also talked about the literary device "mood" and identified it in a play based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."

This week we will continue to talk mood and Poe. In addition, we'll continue our weekly independent reading and journal writing, editing practice and vocabulary.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This Week in Journals

Here are the topics students have written about during journal writing time this week: 1). Is there something that really gets on your nerves, like watching someone scratch themselves, or seeing a classmate chew on a pencil, or hearing your little brother making weird sounds at the dinner table? 2). Think about being in kindergarten (or the earliest grade in elementary school that you can remember).  What do you remember most? 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Letter to Future You

Based on this lesson by a teacher in Canada, students will be writing a letter to their "future selves."
Ok, so it's not too far into the future (I'll be collecting these letters and returning them during the last week of school in June).
The letter should be handwritten on loose leaf paper in class and should include:

A). a greeting (Dear ____)

B). a body in which you tell: 

1. How you feel about school starting

2. Goals you have for this school year (inside and outside of school)

3. Things you are currently into/interested in (favorite song, friends, etc.)

4. Things currently going on in your life

5. Things you predict will happen this year

6. What you plan to do to achieve this year's goals

C). a closing (sincerely, yours truly, etc.)

Here's an example written by a student last year:

Dear (name):                                                                          September 11, 2015

    If you’re reading this, then you made it to the end of 7th grade. Congratulations.  This is from your old less cool, non-lacrosse playing self.

What’s up?  I’m just writing this letter to let you know how I intend to be awesome in 7th grade.  

    I want to try to give my all in all of my classes.  I want to get projects in on time.  I want to stand up for others and myself.  It would be great if I could learn French, so I’ll try to accomplish that.  Part of middle school is trying  new things also.  I want to play lacrosse this spring.  I want to score a few goals.  In soccer, I want to win all of our games if possible.  The Plattsburgh team is going to be hard to beat, so if you’re reading this and you beat them, give yourself a pat on the back.  

One of my biggest goals in soccer is to bicycle kick it into the goal this season.  I could probably do it.  Another one of my goals is to make a shot at the goal from midfield, which would be pretty awesome.  

    If not, that’s fine.  Now, what about band? Was Mr. Vanier a good teacher? He seems like it.  Right now, in September, I plan to be awesome at the band concerts and in Jazz Band.  I’m considering joining chorus, even though my singing voice compares to the sound of gravel being ground together.  Maybe I could play the drums and sing at the same time.  I could steal the whole show. On a different note, I hope to excel in gym this year.  I know I could make the presidential fitness level.  

Another thing I want to do is run a mile that’s under 5 minutes and 30 seconds.  

That’s going to be hard, but I know I can do it.   

    One thing I definitely don’t want to do is stress about everything, like homework, and grades.  Those have never been a problem for me and they won’t be this year either.  If I just take the time to complete the homework and do my best, then I have no worries.  So, I hope that you, in the future, didn’t stress.

    On a more fun note, I plan on longboarding a lot this year.  If you’re reading this now and you have the badges of honor from falling off the longboard, congratulations.  Also, I want to ski a lot.  One of my top goals is to ski at Whistler-Blackcomb this winter, in Canada.  I want to get a pair of Line skis, which are pretty beast,  so I can shred the gnar.   Going to Jay Peak in Vermont would be sick also.  Of course, I also have to go to Whiteface at least 11 times this winter.   

    So yeah, this is just your old me writing to you way back in the school year, telling you my plans just in case you wonder why you became so awesome.  

See you soon!




Here's another example written by a student last year:

Dear (Name),
Hello. How are you? I am doing fine. I can’t wait to witness what this year has in store for me. I am sure you already know. What are you doing? I am just sitting here thinking about you and decided to write you a letter. I went to the most exciting soccer game ever last Friday. We won by the way. School started last week. I’ve currently had 14 math pages I’ve had to do for homework. This is my first ELA assignment I’ve had. I have also had to do that 9/11 assignment for social studies. Also on Friday I had my first 7th grade science quiz.
What are the different things you learned in all your classes? We haven’t learned a lot yet. I hope to read more this year and learn more about books in ELA. I also hope to learn about different presidents in social studies. I hope to learn about the human body in science. I also just want to be more confident and better at math in general.
 I am afraid about making my teachers mad at me and when I mean mad at me I mean MAD at me. I am afraid about advanced math too. I don’t know if I am going to drop it or just keep going with it.
I intend to do well in all my subjects. I hope to get at least reasonable grades in subjects like math and science. I also hope to get at least higher than a 95 overall in math.
I am going for my best time in the mile.I also have to goal to get really good times in all my exercises for gym. What was your time for your exercises in gym? I am also setting the goal to not drop out of advance math.
My favorite subject right now is ELA. My least favorite subject is Math. Social Studies and Science have always just been a tie in like and dislikeness for me. I really enjoy animation design and compositing which is what I want to be when I grow up. Do you still want to be a animator and compositor?
Right now while I am writing this I found out that I sort of like apple pie. And I also love chocolate milk. I also love all sorts of pasta but nothing cold. My favorite food is spaghetti. My favorite drink is chocolate milk. Chocolate milk and spaghetti don’t mix by the way. 
Right now my favorite computer game is Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and my favorite mobile game is Infinity Blade 1. What’s your favorite mobile and computer game right now?
Are you even into Minecraft right now? Do you still play cobracraft?
Do you have an Alienware X-51 Gaming Desktop yet? How about an IPhone 6? Or a new TurtleBeach Earforce X-12 headset? How many new posters for your room do you have? Do they all have frames? Have you painted your room yet? Do you have those videogame themed shelves for your room? 
That’s really all I wanted to write I hope you had a great year in 7th grade!
                              Sincerely, (Name)



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Journals: 9/9 Topic

Image result for summer's end
Several times each week, students will write in their journals.
Here's the topic for Friday, 9/9: "What will you miss most about summer now that it's over?"
During the first quarter, students will be working on building up writing stamina and sharing their writing in small groups in class.
Effort counts and at the end of the marking period journals will be graded.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day One

What an opening day!
Between the singing, dancing, Pokemon hunting and researching there was a lot of excitement at Saranac Lake Middle School.
The rest of this week in ELA class we'll spend launching independent reading and journal writing, as well as getting to know each other, classroom routines, etc.

Monday, August 29, 2016

'Twas the week before the night before...

In one week it'll be the night before the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.
This will be my 21st year as a teacher and, yes, I still get nervous about the opening of school. 
I'm getting ready by working on some new things for day one (a graphic syllabus and a word search puzzle with the titles of last year's most popular books in our library, for example.)
I'm also getting ready with title recommendations to launch this year's independent reading program (right now I'm really liking Towers Falling.
Just like the students, I'll experience a few more nervous days and nights, but ultimately just like them, I'll be ready.
In fact, together, we'll ALL be ready. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Classwork: 4/5-4/8

As discussed in class, you will be making and writing about editorial cartoons.
Click here for a reminder about what student created editorial cartoons might look like.
Follow these steps to complete this assignment:

1). Choose any topic you wish, but you must A). find an article to read with background information, B). print it out, C). print and complete this worksheet based on it.
NOTE: here is a link to 200 topics you could use for this part of the assignment. You may wish to look in the middle school library for back issues of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise  or online at North Country Public Radio if you are interested in choosing a topic based on local interest.

2). Make a cartoon that persuades people about your opinion on the topic you selected. Here's an example of two cartoons which express an opinion about the long winter of 2014 and an article that explains the issue.

Your cartoon should: 

  • be hand drawn or created digitally (with an animation program, photo editing program, etc.)
  • clearly convey an opinion about the topic you selected
  • use one or more illustrations with text to persuade the reader of your opinion on the topic
DUE DATES: cartoon, article, and 5 W's worksheet due Tuesday, April 12.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Update: 2/6/16

To mark Black History Month we read a dramatization of the life of Langston Hughes  called "Hold Fast to Dreams."
Next we'll compare what we can learn about Hughes' life from "Hold Fast to Dreams" to what we can learn about his life from the poem "Theme for English B" which Hughes wrote in 1949.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Class work: 1/13

Work independently or in a small group to write the script (using Google Docs) of a play based on a topic related to local history.
You may wish to use the topic from your prior work in Mrs. Jones' class as the basis of your play.
You might need to do some additional research to gather details to include in your script and this link will be helpful:
Also, please look back at the sample script about "Christy Mathewson" for ideas about format, etc.
Remember, the script you write could become a final copy that you submit as part of Pendragon's Young Playwrights' Festival.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Update: 1/2/16

Winter vacation is winding down and it's time for a look ahead. But first, a look back...

In December, grade 7 students studied two pieces of literature featuring well-known "classic characters" and a similar setting. Works in which Sherlock Holmes and Ebeneezer Scrooge appeared had us dusting off our British accents.

Students continued to write in their journals about topics including:

  • "The oldest person I know"
  • What holiday gift would you give if money was no object?
  • "Alphabetical advice"
  • If you started your own business, what would it be?
  • "2015 memories"
Students kept up their independent reading as well, and Mrs. Kennedy shared some titles during her monthly visit for book talks. Among her suggestions in December: Faceless, and Adrift .  

What's in store for January? Our first order of business in grade 7 ELA will be the annual Pendragon Theatre Young Playwright's Festival. You can read about last year's winners, including my former student Rosemary, here.