Friday, April 26, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

8th grade English: historical fiction novel questions

Please answer the following questions on loose leaf in COMPLETE SENTENCES! You may use your book to help you answer your questions.

  1. Who is the protagonist of the story? How do you know? Is this person real or fictional?
  2. What is the main conflict of the story? Is it internal or external?
  3. List two other major characters and their roles in the story.
  4. Which characters/situations in the story are fictional and which ones are based on true/historical events?
  5. Who was your favorite and least favorite character? Why was he/she your favorite/least favorite?
  6. What do you think was the most important scene in the book? Why do you feel that way?
  7. What did you think of the ending? Explain your reaction in a paragraph.
  8. What questions do you still have about the story/characters that the author left unanswered? (Please refrain from asking, “What if I don’t have any questions?”)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Introduction to Poetry" questions

1. Who is the “them” Collins is referring to in the poem? What leads you to believe that?

2. How would you describe the speaker's tone in the poem? Is this poem meant to be funny or serious? How do you know that?

3. How are we meant to feel about poetry by the end?

4. Choose one of the following images and explain what you think Collins meant by it:

“drop a mouse into a poem

And watch him probe his way out,”

“walk inside a poem’s room

And feel the walls for a light switch”

“I want them to waterski

Across the surface of a poem”

5. What would you ask the poet about this poem if you had a chance to talk to him?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pre-Performance Poetry Reflection

Before you perform your poem, please complete the following in the comments section. Each part of the assignment is worth 10 points:

1. Type your poem here on the blog - be sure to write the title and author.
2. In a paragraph, explain what you think this poem means. Why do you think the author wrote it? What sort of mood or feeling does it give?
3. In another paragraph, explain why you chose this poem. What is it about the poem that speaks to you? (And just so you know, “It was the shortest poem I could find” is not an acceptable response!)

Here is my example:

Fish Story
by Richard Amour

Count this among my heartfelt wishes:
To hear a fish tale told by fishes
And stand among the fish who doubt
The honor of a fellow trout,
And watch the bulging of their eyes
To hear of imitation flies
And worms with rather droopy looks
Stuck through with hateful, horrid hooks,
And fishermen they fled all day from
(As big as this) and got away from.

This is a poem about a fish story, but from the fish’s point-of-view instead of the human.  Everyone seems to have a fisherman in their family who has a tale to tell of “the one that got away.”  The family members all ooh and aah when said fisherman talks about how, “I once caught a fish this big,” and in a flourish, shows with exaggerated enthusiasm, the size of the fish that he caught, though conveniently no one has seen.  Richard Armour takes that fish story cliché and turns it on its heels by giving it a different perspective – from that of the fish.  Of course, the fish doesn’t tell of the size of the human they caught, but instead the size of the one they got away from (rather than the one that got away).  So of course, the mood of this poem is very lighthearted and humorous, which is always what fish stories are, whether told by human or fish!

What speaks to me about this poem is that I have many men in my family who are fishermen (though not very good ones!) so it’s always funny to hear them talk about fishing and their good-natured ribbing of each other’s lack of talent when it comes to catching anything of substance.  My dad, grandpa (who is now passed), uncle, and brother all love to fish so fish stories abound in my family!  When all of them get together and talk about fishing, everyone always has to laugh at the bantering back and forth between them.  When the men talk about fishing, you can always guarantee that laughter will soon accompany the conversation.  So when I read this poem, I always think of the men of my family and smile because I imagine the fish who is telling this story is the one that got away from either my dad, grandpa, uncle, or brother.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What is Poetry?

In class we discussed the ambiguity of poetry in terms of how it’s defined. As we explore this genre, we will continue to return to the question, “What is poetry?”

To show you how varied and diverse poetry is, I thought I’d share with you a mélange of different poetry definitions from poets themselves.

Your task is to choose one definition that you are drawn to and complete the following procedure:
1) Write the entire definition and the author – 5 points
2) Explain why you chose this definition (e.g. what do you like about it? What caught your eye? Did you choose this one because you disagree with it? Why?) – 5 points
3) Write a paragraph explaining what you think this definition means. – 10 points
4) To make sure this doesn’t just become an assignment that you all come on here to complete without actually reading others’ thoughts, you will also be required to refer to a previous classmate’s post. If you’re the first commenter then you will need to come back later and add to the discussion. – 5 points

Here is the list of definitions to choose from:
“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. “ – Kahlil Gibran

“Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” – Percy Shelley

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost

“Poetry is a literature of brushstrokes.” – Nikki Grimes

“Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” – Paul Engle

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” – Edgar Allen Poe

“Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.” – Dennis Gabor

“Poetry is the art of saying everything and reducing it to nothing.” – Barbara Hyett

Friday, April 5, 2013

8th grade research paper on a historical era

Your research paper starts with a book. You will choose a historical fiction, preferably from the following list, and then research the historical period in which your book takes place. 

No more than TWO people may read the same book.

Anderson, Laurie Halse:  Chains, Fever 1793
Barrow, Randi: Saving Zasha
Barth-grozinger, Inge: Something Remains
Bartoletti, Susan: The Boy Who Dared
Brady, Esther Wood: Toliver's Secret
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker: The Lacemaker and the Princess
Bruchach, Joseph: Code Talker
Burg, Shana: A Thousand Never Evers
Chibbaro, Julie: Deadly
Choldenko, Gennifer: Al Capone Does My Shirts
Collier, James Lincoln and Christopher: My Brother Sam is Dead
Compestine, Ying Chang: Revolution is Not a Dinner Party
Curtis, Christopher Paul: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 
Donnelly, Jennifer: Revolution 
Dowell, Frances O'Roark: Shooting the Moon
Draper, Sharon M.: Copper Sun
Elliott, L.M.: Under a War-Torn Sky
Forbes, Esther: Johnny Tremain
Grant, K.M: Blood Red Horse
Harlow, Joan Hiatt: Firestorm!
House, Silas: Eli the Good
Kadohata, Cynthia: Weedflower
Kidd, Sue Monk: The Secret Life of Bees
Klages, Ellen: The Green Glass Sea
Lasky, Kathryn: Ashes
Levine, Kristin: The Lions of Little Rock 
McCarthy, Susan Carol: Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands
McCormick, Patricia: Never Fall Down
Myers, Walter Dean: Riot
Pearsall, Shelley: Trouble Don’t Last
Sepetys, Ruta: Between Shades of Gray
Shaffer, Mary Ann: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Sharenow, Robert: The Berlin Boxing Club
Smith, Roland: Elephant Run
Speare, Elizabeth George: The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Spinelli, Jerry: Milkweed
Stockett, Kathryn: The Help
Taylor, Theodore: The Bomb
Wein, Elizabeth: Code Name Verity
Wiles, Deborah: Countdown
Wolf, Joan:  Someone Named Eva
Wright, Barbara: Crow
Zindel, Paul: The Gadget
Zusak, Markus: The Book Thief

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who should Mr. Schu take on his 2013 summer roadtrip?

Remember at the beginning of the year when I told you about my friend Mr. Schu's road trip where he got to meet Ivan the Gorilla? Well, he wants you to vote for his 2013 road trip mascot.

I voted for Babymouse. Who do you think should accompany Mr. Schu this year?

Vote here.