Friday, December 11, 2009

Calendar Information

All Students!!! It is very important to note that we are hovering.
Because of the FCAT Scores, and our redesign of the class
infastructure, we will be staying on the lesson for December 8th until
each student is finished with it. This blog will be updating when we
move from December 8th, but we are focusing on this area until we are
finished. Please email rossj(at) with any questions. Oh, and
if you're in group A,B, or C, your research paper is no longer due
until AFTER the break. :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Long Time No Blog

I know...I know! It's been a long time--but do not fear, dear students of enormous consequence! We are up and running like a well-oiled machine!

We are finished with Mary Rowlandson, and as you've seen with the Board Race of Benjamin Franklin facts and the poem about what it means to be a great American, we are now covering Benjamin Franklin!

If you haven't done these things, then this is your make-up work. Also, you should have 9 pages of grammar work so far. If you don't have that, then you're also missing work. Check which pages you've done against the purple grammar book, and do the ones that are missing. In addition, if you are not here for one day, I hereby ask that you bring reading logs with your parent's signature (signing that you read for twenty minutes, just as we do in class each day).

Finally, we'll be starting our Research Papers this nine weeks!!! It's exciting! So, make sure you're up to date with the service learning paragraphs from the syllabus (see below--there are three we have done).

See you in class!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Calendar is updated

The title is true--we are on track--at least adjusted for the sake of sense.

But we have wonderful news for the CASP Program. The Friends of the World Food Program have offered a junior chaptership to CASP. This would establish Colonial as a member site as well as give CASP members blogging rights on the national website. It's a great honor!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Read the Calendar

I will update the calendar. But we're in a sensitive transition, so it has to stay as it is right now. But this is where we're at. We ALL are finishing Organizational Patterns. Honors just finished that. So the next lesson is Cause and Effect. If you're getting make-up work, that's great. Just look through the days surrounding Organizational Patterns (9/4) and Cause and Effect (9/9). If you are in an Honors Class, don't forget that you have homework due tomorrow, 9/29.

And, as always, if you have any questions. Please feel free to email me!

Friday, September 25, 2009

You Have a Report Due

Your Literary Analysis is due (check the syllabus a few posts down) very soon.

Here is the rubric for it:

So my formatting didn't come over from when I posted this. It will. There are several things I can do to fix this. But, for now, you can simply read each section and know that the first point in each section is worth an A, the second is worth a B, the third is worth a C, and the last is worth an F. See below for examples.


4 A

3 B

2 C

1 F

The claim

My paper traces a theme well and ties the theme into the community-service oriented topic of my defense of cause (this analysis shows a theme demonstrating a need for action).

My paper traces a theme that ties into a community-service oriented topic of my defense of cause (this analysis shows a theme related to my project but not exactly demonstrating need).

I trace an unrelated theme or trace a theme poorly.

I do not analyze any themes, but I summarize a story.


My writing has a compelling opening, an informative middle and a satisfying conclusion.

My writing has a beginning, middle and end. It marches along but doesn't dance.

My writing is organized but sometimes gets off topic.

My writing is aimless and disorganized.


I have included and cited five or more examples that support my claim well and appear logically within the paper. They show the theme manifesting in place, person, and plot.

I have included and cited fewer than five examples of the theme I represent as present in my literary connection.

My examples are too short, unclear, or awkwardly introduced.

I do not have examples.

Word choice

The words I use are striking but natural, varied and vivid.

I make routine word choices.

The words I use are often dull or uninspired or sound like I am trying too hard to impress.

I use the same words over and over and over and over. Some words may be confusing to a reader.

Sentence fluency

My sentences are clear, complete, and of varying lengths.

I have well-constructed sentences.

My sentences are sometimes awkward, and/or contain run-ons and fragments.

Many run-ons, fragments and awkward phrasings make my essay hard to read.


I use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

I generally use correct conventions. I have a couple of errors I should fix.

I have enough errors in my essay to distract a reader.

Numerous errors make my paper hard to read.

*Voice and tone (Standard for Honors; plus 16 points otherwise.)

My tone is professional and/or academic.

My tone is OK but my paper could have been written by any high-school student.

My writing is bland or pretentious.

My writing is too formal or too informal. It sounds like I don't like the topic of the essay.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dates Are All off...We Are So Awesome

I know the capitalization of that title looks odd, but it's correct. You don't capitalize prepositions, articles, or conjunctions.

Here's what to know: We just finished up with 8/31 on the calendar at the bottom of this page. Does this mean your faithful teacher is all washed up? No. On the contrary, it means that we have been taking our time. We are not running a race--we are building a foundation. So, yes, we can take our time.

Let's take stock of what we've done so far in about four weeks:

We've learned 15 new words, and started another 5 for the next test.

We've learned about compound, collective, proper, common, abstract, and concrete nouns.

We've covered inference in depth, learned thesis/main idea, discussed strategies on figuring out new words and phrases, and we're moving on to author's purpose.

We've also written a paragraph about what we care about and discussed our role in the community.

Finally, after four weeks, we've done a total of 200 minutes of silent sustained reading per student! Many of you have already finished books, and some of you finished your first book ever.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here is the Syllabus

Mr. Ross 4-104 407-482-6300, ext. 4104

1. We will complete a survey of American literature that will take us from early settlers through modernist writers. At the end of each literary period (settlers, transcendentalists, Harlem Renaissance, etc.), there will be a test. Some tests will be essay tests, some will be multiple choice, some will be creative writing. Unfortunately, the due dates for these assignments cannot be assigned in advance because they will be determined by our individual progress as a class. Percentages are below (3).

2. This is a service learning classroom. Service learning is an innovative new approach to teaching that uses community service as a cornerstone of the lesson. You are required to do community service as part of this class. All students must complete one hour of community service.

3. Your grades will be broken up into the following percentages: 10% vocab, 10% participation, 20% projects, 20% class-work, 20% essays/tests, 10% homework, 10% reading.

4. You will read at least four books and have one report due each nine weeks. This report is called a Literary Analysis. It is only one page long, double-spaced. It will tell me how any book you read has something to do with the community service you have decided to do. You can read ANY book—it doesn't have to be about your community service. Use your creativity and ingenuity to find the connection between seemingly unrelated topics. For the report, I take one point off for each mistake, no matter how small. I take ten points off if you go even one word over one page. A is excellent, B is good, C is average, D is poor, F is failing. Completing an assignment without anything wrong does not earn you an A. Completion is average; A is for excellent. Furthermore, this is the grade I assign BEFORE I take points off for mistakes. Due dates are on the back of this sheet.

5. I do not assign much homework as I believe that practice of our concepts should be guided by me in class. I do have several assignments, though, that you will need to work on at home. The dates are on the back. Please check the dates for the major projects.

6. I am always available for help during lunch. At busier times (before a large assignment, end of the term, etc.), you may want to make an appointment. Students should not be in the building during lunch unless they are getting academic help. Personal problems should be directed to the guidance department.

7. Honors assignments must be typed. You are getting an entire letter grade higher for this class. The media center is available for computer use during lunch and before/after school. There are computer labs at this school. Many students also go to the public library or friends' houses. These are all free options. "Typed Assignments" is a requirement for which there will be no exceptions.

Each of these should be answered and checked off by the corresponding date. This is your responsibility. You must see it checked off after I have read and graded it in front of you. Each response should be one sentence to one paragraph.

September 1: What do you care about?
October 1: Who does it affect?
November 1: What's being done about it?
December 1: What can you do about it?
January 1: What have you done about it?
February 1: Why should other people care?
March 1: How can you make them care?
April 1: What will you tell other people about your service?
May 1: How do you pledge to get involved in the future?

Four creative projects:

Write a freeverse poem (focusing on line break, grammatical statements)
Write a short story
Creative Three
Creative Four

One oral presentation: 3-5 minutes

Two research papers: 1-2 page essays in MLA Format: A) What's wrong with the world (using research); B) How can we fix the world?

Four literary analyses (two weeks before the end of each grading term 10/15, 01/06, 3/11, 5/27); one page, typed, double spaced, MLA.

If we do not meet on a due date, which is likely, assignments are due the next class meeting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lesson Plan Notification

Okay, so we're not flying through stuff--that's good! But we're a little behind. So far, all odd classes are about halfway through the day one (8/25) lesson. We'll be a half-day behind then. But we may take another whole day to get that half caught up, so we'll be a whole day behind then. At least it will be neat and clean that way.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day

Met some great kids today. Can't wait to start the year!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

paperless syllabus? Totally.

I was wondering how to do this--and then it came to me--POST IT THE BLOG! So that's what I'm going to do. The syllabus will be posted by Monday night for the reading of students, parents/guardians, other teachers, and everyone else in the whole world.

By the way, if students can find ANY grammatical errors on my blog, I'll give them a Homework Pass. Just respond to the post where you find it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Paperless Teaching

Today we did our syllabus for the first day of the paperless classroom. Last year my syllabus was 4 pages long, and this year it's half a page. I'll have probably 150 kids (?), so that's 75 pages. That's a lot of paper. How could I cut down on syllabuses? Please post ideas!!!