Monday, March 25, 2013

Wonder reflections

Please answer the following questions in COMPLETE SENTENCES. Most of your responses should be multiple sentences in length. 

1. What is the theme or message of Wonder? What leads you to believe that? 

2. Why do you think RJ Palacio chose to write the book in multiple points-of-view instead of just Auggie’s? 

3. In a paragraph of 5 or more sentences, choose a book that either we have read together as a class or one you have read on your own and make some connections to Wonder. Suggestions: One by Kathyrn Otoshi, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

4. The last line of the book is August’s precept: “Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world.” Explain why this is the perfect precept for Auggie.

5. Many people who criticize Wonder say that the ending is too perfect and that real life stories just don’t end that happily. What do you think of how the story ended? 

6. Explain how August is a three-dimensional character.

7. Choose three of the following characters to write your final impressions about: Jack Will, Julian, Summer, Charlotte, Via, Miranda. 

8. How do you think August would be treated if he came to St. Paul for the first time as a sixth grader this year? Explain your answer.

9. How can you live the words Mr. Tushman quotes from J.M. Barrie in his graduation speech:
"Shall we make a new rule of life... always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?" 

 10. None of us have the circumstance of having a major physical abnormality. However, we feel as if we can relate to many of the characters in the book, including August. In what ways do you personally relate to Wonder? Poor answer choices: “I don’t.” “I’m a student.” “I have friends.” Go deeper into this. You are a student and you have friends, but in what specific ways are those situations like the ones in the book? (Thank you Brian Wyzlic for this question!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Great video + journal topic

Great video of my friend Sarah's classroom

This video is from the STEM school in the article we read last week.

So what are your thoughts about what they're doing in class? How do you feel about using newspapers as textbooks?

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Book Madness: The Final Four

Here is the breakdown of the brackets for the Final Four:

The Hunger Pains: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Wonder by RJ Palacio

Vote here and vote wisely

Book review project

Your book review must include:
  • The title of the book and the author
  • A picture of the cover
  • A picture of the author
  • A few sentences about the author
  • A summary of the book without giving away the ending
  • Your opinion of the book with specific examples from the story.

Here are some examples of book reviews I've written on the blog:
The Running Dream
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Turtle in Paradise

Here are some other book reviews you might want to check out:
Requiem by Lauren Oliver, written by Brian Wyzlic
The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen, from Stacked
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, written by John Green

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March Book Madness: The Sweet 16

Here are the breakdown of the brackets:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Pains: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
The Way of the Wandering Wizard by Michael E. Novak

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
No Easy Day:The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by RJ Palacio
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Vote here and vote wisely

Prudence Essay

Our virtue for our 3rd quarter at St. Paul is prudence.  Prudence is called the auriga virtutum, or the charioteer of the virtues.  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes, prudence “guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure.  It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience.”

With the guidance of prudence, we are able to make well-informed and thoughtful decisions that will benefit not only ourselves but those around us.  As it is written in Proverbs 14:17, “The quick-tempered man makes a fool of himself, but the prudent man is at peace.”

St. Thomas Aquinas named prudence the first of the Cardinal Virtues because it allows us to decide correctly between what is right and what is wrong.  Prudence is a beautiful virtue because it allows us to grow and learn with Jesus Christ as our model.  As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, prudence is “right reason in action.”

With the guidance of a parent or guardian, each student is to write an essay on prudence.  In their essay, each student must choose a person in their life whom they believe is prudent.  Explain why this influential person is prudent and provide examples of how they live a prudent lifestyle.  

This essay should be at least 5 paragraphs and be typed.

Please be sure to share your thoughts on prudence and your essay on a prudent person with your parent or guardian.  

Due:  March 21st

Monday, March 11, 2013

March Book Madness: Vote for the Sweet 16

Click the link below that will take you to the Google form to vote for your top 5 picks for the Sweet 16 of March Book Madness.

Vote for March Book Madness here

Reading Month project: A letter to your favorite book or author

For Reading Month we are going to be doing lots of fun bookish projects, the first of which is a love letter to your favorite book. This could be a book that has recently become close to your heart (like mine) or a book that holds fond memories for you from your childhood. The important thing is that you express your love and devotion for that book in only one page so that  it will fit on your locker.

Also necessary to include in your letter is a picture of the book cover. Here is the example that I wrote:

A thank you letter to John Green

Dear John Green:

This is a letter to thank you for writing one of the most brilliant books to ever grace the literary world.

Last January I spent an entire day reading The Fault in Our Stars. I never do that. I don't have time anymore. I read upwards of 100 books a year, but it is done so in little pockets of time: listening to audiobooks while I cook dinner, reading as a passenger in the car while my husband drives us to Home Depot, finding a miniscule moment of time in my hectic day as a teacher to sit down at my desk and read a few pages while my students are taking a test.

So when I started to read the first pages of Hazel and Augustus's story, I wanted to stay up all night: I was that sucked into their world. But alas, my body does not allow me to stay up all night anymore, so upon awakening Saturday morning, I continued with their story. I did not move from my chair until I finished.

I don't even know how to express my feelings in words. Hazel and Augustus were real people to me. They were two of the most wonderful teenagers ever to have graced this planet, even if only in the pages of a book. So as their tragic story unfolded, I grieved for them, as I'm sure you did as you wrote their story. As I sat there reading, a pile of sodden tissues in my lap, my thoughts ping-ponged between sadness and joy. Conversations that were supposed to be tragic ended up making me laugh out loud at their light-heartedness and humor. Scenes that would have been cliche and caused me to roll my eyes in any other book made me weep at their tenderness and romanticism.

I planned to write a review for this book. I marked pages. I wrote notes. But the closer to end I crept, the more I realized that this book can't be reviewed. It can't be intellectualized. It must merely be felt. Don't get me wrong, there are so many great moments worthy of discussion in any book club or literature class, but to sit here, only 24 hours after turning the final page? All I can do is marvel.

In my 33 years on this earth, I have yet to declare one favorite book. When people ask, my students especially, what my favorite book is, I always tell them, "I have lots of favorites. I can't choose just one." Today and from here on out, whenever anyone asks me what my favorite book is, I can tell them, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is The Fault in Our Stars. So thank you John Green. Thank you for Hazel and Augustus and Isaac and for all of the other amazing characters to grace this brilliant story. When I turned the last page, I grieved. Not just for the characters and for the end of the book, but also for the fact that I don't know if any book I read from here on out will ever live up to this one. You have made my reading life from this day forward a much more challenging endeavor. So thank you for that.


Beth Shaum

Monday, March 4, 2013

Religion assignment: Who could be Pope?

With the Papal conclave beginning soon, your religion assignment is to make a list of some of the possible frontrunners for Pope, where they come from, and why they are considered a frontrunner.

Also, what are people saying about the likelihood we will have an American Pope?

In addition, you need to make a list of your sources with proper bibliographic formatting.

Due Thursday, March 7th.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Need help better understanding in-text citations?

Here's a great video better explaining the need for in-text citations and how to format them:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lit circles test

You should know what these things are for your test on Monday:

  • protagonist/antagonist
  • conflict: internal vs. external
  • other major characters in the story
  • one-dimensional/three-dimensional characters
  • How the title and cover art are significant to the story

In addition, you will also have some other interpretation questions to answer based on what you thought about the book.

Remember: you will be allowed to use your book and the biggest thing you need to know for the test is that you need to write your answers in COMPLETE SENTENCES! If you don't heed this instruction, most people will lose points for this than for getting answers wrong.