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.