Monthly Archives: September 2013

Let the Testing Begin…


acuityToday was the Acuity Predictive A test and I am happy to report that it was a huge success! The students were very focused and were trying their best. It was GREAT! The scores were high and most students showed growth since last year. In the next few days students will be setting goals for the Acuity Predictive B test. Also, I will besimply the best sharing the results from the AIMS Web evaluations, so that the students can see what their Lexile Level is. Even though I already believed this, today showed me that we are going to have a wonderful year.



narrative essay


Tomorrow the NARRATIVE Point of View Essays are DUE. There are several ways they can be turned in: email the paper to me, bring it on a flash drive, print it at home, or hand write it. Make sure and put the planning outline and the draft in your writing folder to use later. This is important!



AGENDA Sept. 30


  • Summative Assessment (Text Structure & AUthor’s Purpose) tomorrow
  • Turn in Final Narrative Essay Due
  • Retesting MUST be completed by October 10, 2013, so schedule your retesting time as soon as possible
  • Charged Netbooks need to be in class tomorrow

Again, let me say, that today was a really good day! Let’s make tomorrow one too, because every day is a good day at North Junior High School.




Finally Friday…


weekendThe weekend is here and we all deserve a rest. Next week, as always, seems like it is going to be a busy one. Here is what is happening:

MONDAY – Acuity Predictive A –  Need charged Netbook to take the test

Finish “Snow White” NARRATIVE Writing – Final

paper due Tuesday

Blocks 1 & 2 – check Achieve Record Sheets

TUESDAY – SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT – Unit 2 –  Text Structure (RL.8.5 & RI.8.5) and Author’s Purpose (IN8.2.7) and INFERENCE Mini-lesson and practice

WEDNESDAY – Author’s Point of View – Mini-lesson and introduction of project

THURSDAY – SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT – Unit 2 – Inference (RL.8.1 & RI.8.1) and

Author’s Point of View (RL.8.6)

FRIDAY –  Yet to be determined

All of this, except testing is subject to change.

acgieve 3000 1

CONGRATULATIONS: Jazmyn Liebhart was the top scorer at NJHS on Achieve 3000 yesterday. Great Job!




  • Retest Vocabulary Unit 2
  • Retest Commas
  • NARRATIVE WRITING – work on outline/planning, draft, and final paper

Reminders for Final NARRATIVE Paper:

  1. If typing, double space, no larger than 12 font
  2. If possible print at home, otherwise, bring in on a Flash Drive or email your paper to me
  3. Do not forget to include the required commas:

commas in a series

the use of an ellipsis

comma after an introductory word or phrase

comma in a compound sentence, must use a conjunction


dont forget


Block 1 & 2 – Achieve 3000 – 5 articles due Monday

Scholastic Book Orders have been passed out. If anyone is interested in purchasing books, I will collect the $$ any time. We appreciate your purchases,scholastic because through them the class gets points to purchase new books for our classroom library.

It has been a very productive week, thanks for the hard work. Enjoy the weekend.

Hello Good Writers…


writingWriting is alive and well in room G134. The wheels are spinning and good things are happening. Since reading and writing are such important skills in everyone’s life, it is crucial that the students become the best they can be at them.

SInce I put so mant posts on yesterday afternoon and evening, today will be a wrap-up of what will happen and what is due tomorrow.



acgieve 3000 1RECOGNITION: ACHIEVE 3000 Top Scorers



Bryleigh Meeks was the TOP SCORER at NJHS one day last week.

Cory Whitaker was the top scorer at NJHS yesterday


  1. Have the retest paper signed and bring back tomorrowdraft
  2. Finish your outline for the Snow White NARRATIVE Writing
  3. At least do 1/2 of you draft from the outline.
  4. Study Vocabulary Unit 2 if you have to retest


Have a good evening and write, write, write.

Really, After This I Am Finished for Today…


evil queenThought you might like to see some examples of how to start your outline/planning/organization. Here are twogrumpy examples; one from the evil Queen’s point of view and one from Grumpy’s point of view. Remember you do NOT have to have your outline finished for tomorrow, but I thought this might give you some ideas when you work on it in class.

Narrative Essay Snow White Outline from Queen

Narrative Essay Snow White Outline from Grumpy

Hope this helps. You can refer to it tomorrow to help you complete the plan/organization and draft.

Sorry, I Forgot Something…


Some of you were asking where you could get the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to read, well here it is…

snow whiteSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Once upon a time . . . in a great castle, a Prince’s daughter grew up happy and contented, in spite of a jealous stepmother. She was very pretty, with blue eyes and long black hair. Her skin was delicate and fair, and so she was called Snow White. Everyone was quite sure she would become very beautiful. Though her stepmother was a wicked woman, she too was very beautiful, and the magic mirror told her this every day, whenever she asked it.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the loveliest lady in the land?” The reply was always; “You are, your Majesty,” until the dreadful day when she heard it say, “Snow White is the loveliest in the land.” The stepmother was furious and, wild with jealousy, began plotting to get rid of her rival. Calling one of her trusty servants, she bribed him with a rich reward to take Snow White intc the forest, far away from the Castle. Then, unseen, he was to put her to death. The greedy servant, attracted to the reward, agreed to do this deed, and he led the innocent little girl away. However, when they came to the fatal spot, the man’s courage failed him and, leaving Snow White sitting beside a tree, he mumbled an excuse and ran off. Snow White was all alone in the forest.

Night came, but the servant did not return. Snow White, alone in the dark forest, began to cry bitterly. She thought she could feel terrible eyes spying on her, and she heard strange sounds and rustlings that made her heart thump. At last, overcome by tiredness, she fell asleep curled under a tree.

Snow White slept fitfully, wakening from time to time with a start and staring into the darkness round her. Several times, she thought she felt something, or somebody touch her as she slept.

At last, dawn woke the forest to the song of the birds, and Snow White too, awoke. A whole world was stirring to life and the little girl was glad to see how silly her fears had been. However, the thick trees were like a wall round her, and as she tried to find out where she was, she came upon a path. She walked along it, hopefully. On she walked till she came to a clearing. There stood a strange cottage, with a tiny door, tiny windows and a tiny chimney pot. Everything about the cottage was much tinier than it ought to be. Snow White pushed the door open.

“l wonder who lives here?” she said to herself, peeping round the kitchen. “What tiny plates! And spoons! There must be seven of them, the table’s laid for seven people.” Upstairs was a bedroom with seven neat little beds. Going back to the kitchen, Snow White had an idea.

“I’ll make them something to eat. When they come home, they’ll be glad to find a meal ready.” Towards dusk, seven tiny men marched homewards singing. But when they opened the door, to their surprise they found a bowl of hot steaming soup on the table, and the whole house spick and span. Upstairs was Snow White, fast asleep on one of the beds. The chief dwarf prodded her gently.

“Who are you?” he asked. Snow White told them her sad story, and tears sprang to the dwarfs’ eyes. Then one of them said, as he noisily blew his nose:

“Stay here with us!”

“Hooray! Hooray!” they cheered, dancing joyfully round the little girl. The dwarfs said to Snow White:

“You can live here and tend to the house while we’re down the mine. Don’t worry about your stepmother leaving you in the forest. We love you and we’ll take care of you!” Snow White gratefully accepted their hospitality, and next morning the dwarfs set off for work. But they warned Snow White not to open the door to strangers.

Meanwhile, the servant had returned to the castle, with the heart of a roe deer. He gave it to the cruel stepmother, telling her it belonged to Snow White, so that he could claim the reward. Highly pleased, the stepmother turned again to the magic mirror. But her hopes were dashed, for the mirror replied: “The loveliest in the land is still Snow White, who lives in the seven dwarfs’ cottage, down in the forest.” The stepmother was beside herself with rage.

“She must die! She must die!” she screamed. Disguising herself as an old peasant woman, she put a poisoned apple with the others in her basket. Then, taking the quickest way into the forest, she crossed the swamp at the edge of the trees. She reached the bank unseen, just as Snow White stood waving goodbye to the seven dwarfs on their way to the mine.

Snow White was in the kitchen when she heard the sound at the door: KNOCK! KNOCK!

“Who’s there?” she called suspiciously, remembering the dwarfs advice.

“I’m an old peasant woman selling apples,” came the reply.

“I don’t need any apples, thank you,” she replied.

“But they are beautiful apples and ever so juicy!” said the velvety voice from outside the door.

“I’m not supposed to open the door to anyone,” said the little girl, who was reluctant to disobey her friends.

“And quite right too! Good girl! If you promised not to open up to strangers, then of course you can’t buy. You are a good girl indeed!” Then the old woman went on.

“And as a reward for being good, I’m going to make you a gift of one of my apples!” Without a further thought, Snow White opened the door just a tiny crack, to take the apple.

“There! Now isn’t that a nice apple?” Snow White bit into the fruit, and as she did, fell to the ground in a faint: the effect of the terrible poison left her lifeless instantaneously.

Now chuckling evilly, the wicked stepmother hurried off. But as she ran back across the swamp, she tripped and fell into the quicksand. No one heard her cries for help, and she disappeared without a trace.

Meanwhile, the dwarfs came out of the mine to find the sky had grown dark and stormy. Loud thunder echoed through the valleys and streaks of lightning ripped the sky. Worried about Snow White they ran as quickly as they could down the mountain to the cottage.

There they found Snow White, lying still and lifeless, the poisoned apple by her side. They did their best to bring her around, but it was no use.

They wept and wept for a long time. Then they laid her on a bed of rose petals, carried her into the forest and put her in a crystal coffin.

Each day they laid a flower there.

Then one evening, they discovered a strange young man admiring Snow White’s lovely face through the glass. After listening to the story, the Prince (for he was a prince!) made a suggestion.

“If you allow me to take her to the Castle, I’ll call in famous doctors to waken her from this peculiar sleep. She’s so lovely . . . I’d love to kiss her. . . !” He did, and as though by magic, the Prince’s kiss broke the spell. To everyone’s astonishment, Snow White opened her eyes. She had amazingly come back to life! Now in love, the Prince asked Snow White to marry him, and the dwarfs reluctantly had to say good bye to Snow White.

From that day on, Snow White lived happily in a great castle. But from time to time, she was drawn back to visit the little cottage down in the forest.

Will You Recognize Snow White?


First let me get a few things out-of-the-way and then I will continue to explain the NARRATIVE writing assignment.

super starFirst, Conley Yates in Block 1 was the high scorer from North Junior High School on Achieve 3000 yesterday!! That is quite the accomplishment and we are very proud of him. Here is a challenge to all Block 1 & 2 students – who can be the next TOP SCORER from not only North Junior High School, the state of Indiana, or the nation. WOW! Those are amazing goals.

Parents – papers will be going home tomorrow to show what skills/standards that need to be retaught, practiced, and retested to achieveparent signature proficiency. It does need a parent signature and returned to me as soon as possible.

AGENDA – September 25, 2013

AGENDA Sept 25


  • Vocabulary retest Friday Unit 2 UNIT TWO VOCABULARY
  • Achieve 3000 Blocks 1 & 2
  • LIBRARY tomorrow
  • Comma Retest Friday


  1. Look at the Power Point again if you need review Narrative Essay Plan Power Point
  2. IMPORTANT: look at the end of the Power Point at the example of the plan for The Adventures of the Speckled Band essay written from Dr. Roylott’s point of view
  3. Assignment: rewrite Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the point of view of either one of the dwarfs Seven Dwarfs, the prince, or the wicked queen.
  4. Start you planning/organization using this outline Narrative Essay Snow White Outline (make sure and use the example on the Power Point as a guide)
  5. A few things to consider before starting your draft, after it is reviewed.

In your point of view narrative, be sure to include these things:

commas in a series

the use of an ellipsis (I will explain)

comma after an introductory word or phrase

comma in a compound sentence

The PLAN should be at least started for tomorrow’s class. Do NOT start your draft until we go over your outline together.

One last item, please consider everything that happened in your class today. Tonight think of ways that you could show improvement tomorrow. The rest of your class and I would greatly appreciate it. Have a good evening.

Reading is the Key…

reading is funJust as an athlete who hopes to become  the best in his selected sport must  dedicate time to developing his athletic abilities, those who hope to read well  must put time into the task.  The more you read, the better you will become at reading.  Select reading material you are interested in, enhancing your natural  motivation to read, and set aside a regular block of time  to read.
Reading is an effective way to gather information and an enjoyable means of  passing time.  However, those who are not strong readers may find their ability  to read  with a purpose or their enjoyment of reading for pleasure hindered.  If you   struggle with reading, you don’t simply have to accept your deficiency.   Instead, you can actively engage in activities designed to build your reading  skills and, in doing so, allow yourself to reap the maximum reward from your  reading efforts.

How to be  a better reader

The importance of reading

Reading is an extremely important skill. It is by reading that you learn much of what you need to know for your different school subjects. Reading is also an excellent way to improve your general English. You can only learn from reading, however, if what you read is not too difficult. For this reason, it is important to know what makes texts difficult and how you can improve your chances of understanding them.

What makes texts difficult to understand

Most of your reading difficulties will be caused by a problem on the list below. Of course, when two or more of these problems happen together, your chances of understanding will be even smaller.

  • the text has many unknown words
  • the text has long, complicated sentences
  • the text is about a topic you know nothing about
  • the text is about a topic you find boring
  • the text has small print, long paragraphs, no pictures
  • the text has been badly written
  • you are feeling tired
  • you are distracted
  • you don’t know why you have been asked to read the text

How to understand more of what you read

You can do nothing about some of the reading difficulties: for example, you can’t change the print in a book or make poor writing better. But there are many things you can do that will give you a better chance of understanding what you read. Here are some suggestions:

1. Know your reading purpose – The way you read a book or a text depends very much on your reasons for reading it. This is why it is so important to know your reading purpose. You should read a question in your math exam read purposedifferently from an entry in an encyclopaedia which you are looking at quickly to find out the date of an event. The kind of reading you do in class or for your homework is different from how you read a novel for pleasure in the summer vacation.

If you know your reading purpose – perhaps by looking first at the questions you must answer after reading – you can choose the best reading method.

If your teacher gives you something to read and doesn’t tell you what you need to find out from the text or what you will do after the reading, ask her (or him)!

read speed2. Choose the appropriate reading speed – ESL students often take a long time to do their work because they read everything slowly and carefully. Often, however, one of the following speed reading methods will be the best choice:

  • Skimming – this is reading a text quickly to find out what information it contains. You should skim when, for example, you want to check if a text has the information you need to answer some questions or write a project. It is often enough to look at the first (and last) sentences in each paragraph.
  • Scanning – this is reading quickly to find a specific piece of information. You should scan when, for example, you are looking for the answer to a question which you know is in the text.
  • In general, students should be trying to increase their reading speed. (Click to do some speed reading practice.)
  • Get background information – Find something out about the topic you have to read. The more background information you have, the easier it will be to understand the text. You can get this background information background in your own language. For example, if you are studying the Italian Renaissance, you could read an encyclopaedia or textbook in your own language to find out the most important details about this historical period. Your parents may also be able to give you useful background information. Talk to them in your language.

You can sometimes get background information from the text itself. Many writers include a conclusion or summary; if you read this first, it may give you a good start.

  • Use all the information in the book – Good textbooks are well-organised, with titles, sub-titles, introductions, summaries or conclusions. Many books also have pictures with captions. Look at all these first before starting to read.

Another aspect of good writing is that each paragraph has a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a sentence, usually the first one in a paragraph, that contains the main idea of the paragraph. If you concentrate on understanding the topic sentence, this may help you to understand what comes next.

  • Increase your vocabulary – Of course, reading itself is   an excellent way to improve your vocabulary, but there are many other things   you can do. (More advice on learning vocabulary.)   The better your vocabulary, the easier you will find your reading.
  • Use your dictionary sensibly – A common mistake of ESL   students is to look up each   unknown word in the texts they are given to read. dictionaryOccasionally this is necessary – for example, when reading examination   questions. But it takes a long time and can be very boring. It can even make   understanding more difficult because by the time you reach the end of the paragraph you have forgotten what you read at the beginning! (Advice on how and when to   use your dictionary.)
  •  Learn the important words that organise text – When you read texts in your science or history books, you will find that most good writers organise their writing with cohesion markers  (also called transition words). These are words that connect different parts of the writing and help writers  structure their thoughts. If you learn the important cohesion markers, you will find it easier to understand the text.

Here are some important cohesion markers: also, therefore, except, unless, however, instead, (al)though, furthermore, moreover, nevertheless, on the other hand, as a result, despite, in conclusion.

  • reading beachChoose the right place to read – You can’t really expect to understand a difficult book if you are trying to read in the same room with the television on and your little brother distracting you. The same goes for reading in the bus on the way to school. You also can’t expect to read a textbook and listen to music at the same time. Try to find a quiet and comfortable place with good light, and your dictionaries and other materials nearby.
  • Choose the right time to read – If you have a difficult text to read forread time homework, it’s probably best to do this first. If you leave it until last when you are tired, you will find it even more difficult.

Important: If you have tried the advice above and you still cannot understand a  text, then it is simply too hard for you. Stop reading and ask someone to help you (your ESL teacher, for example!). Nobody likes to give up, but you will just be wasting your time if you continue to work at a text that is beyond you.

What to read

Most of the time you have to read what your teachers tell you to read. But as you know, reading is an excellent way to improve your English, and so you should try to do some extra reading each week. Here is some advice on how to choose what to read:

  • Try not to read something too difficult – There should be no more than about 6-10 new words per page; reading for pleasure should not be hard work!
  • Reading easy books is good for you – you will improve your reading skills even if you read simple books, as long as you read lots of them. (But you may find you don’t really enjoy stories written in English that has been over-simplified.)
  • Try to read some non-fiction – Reading non-fiction books or magazinesnonfiction will help you learn some of the words you need to do well in your subject classes. There are millions of pages of non-fiction on the world-wide web!
  • Choose something that is interesting to you – This is clear. In fact, if you are really interested in a topic, you will probably be able to understand texts that would normally be too difficult for you.
  • interenetSurf the internet – You can learn a lot of English just by surfing around on the websites that interest you. This is particularly true if the webpages contain pictures that help you understand the writing.

With all of this being said, the focus on reading this year will be very strong. Regardless of the reading level, a student (or adult) can always find room for improvement.

AGENDA – September 24, 2013:

AGENDA Sept 24


  • ACUITY will be given in 8th grade ELA next Monday, September 30
  • Free reading books are needed in class EVERY DAY!
  • Blocks 1 & 2 Achieve 3000 articles due Monday
  • Retesting for Unit 1 skills will begin this week. It is your responsibility to see that you have practiced the skill/standard and then signed up to retest
  • Narrative Writing will continue tomorrow – see below for instructions


1. Review Power Point Narrative Essay Plan Power Point

2. FIll out outline for Dr. Roylott Narrative Essay Snow White Outline

3. The assignment is to retell the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from a different point of view – either one of the dwarfs Seven Dwarfs, the prince, or the wicked witch.

4. Start the ideas portion of your paper. Think about what you will write about and from what point of view, will the story change?

5. Start your planning/organization – this is the outline.

6. All of this will be continued tomorrow and you will have class time. Questions can be answered then. This will take several days in class to complete.

7. DUE FOR TOMORROW – know what the assignment is, your ideas, your beginning planning (does not have to be complete)

8. I will be checking for ALL of this.

I know it seems like a lot. but it will make tomorrow much easier. Also, you can have these links for reference if you need them.