Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Introducing the #bookaday challenge... and #BookItForward

The book a day challenge is a simple one: read a book a day over Christmas break. Then post a shelfie with the book on Instagram. Use the hashtag #bookadayMS9 to see what everyone else in class has read. Any book counts: novels, nonfiction, picture books, graphic novels, comics, etc. Don't forget to give a quick review of the book too if you can.

For example, this is what I wrote about Little Roja Riding Hood on Instagram:
This is a fun, modern twist on Little Red Riding Hood told in unabashed, bilingual rhyming verse. Little Roja Riding Hood subverts the traditional fairy tale trope with style and swagger.

And while you're thinking about reading... maybe #BookItFoward

Monday, December 8, 2014

English 8 Midterm

First semester will soon be coming to a close. For your midterm, I will not be giving a test per se, but instead will ask you to write an essay in Google Docs.

The prompt for this essay is a simple one:

What have you learned in this very short semester? 

Don't just think about the tangible things you have learned (the 6+1 traits of writing, how to write dialogue, etc.) but also think about the intangible things - what you have discovered about yourself as a writer and as a student.

In addition to a minimum 2-page, double-spaced essay, you will also be asked to include the following:

  1. Use 3 vocabulary words (IN CONTEXT!) in your essay and highlight them.
  2. Using the comments feature, point out 3 places where you used a particular trait of writing well and explain why you feel that way.
  3. Using the comments feature, label an example of each of the 8 parts of speech.
  4. Using the comments feature, show me an example of a contraction, possessive noun, and plural noun. (If you leave one or more of these things out, mention that at the end of your essay and give a separate example)
  5. All pronouns of I must be capitalized or I'm taking off an automatic 3 points. 
  6. If you use a fragment or run-on, point it out and explain why you made that stylistic choice.
  7. Please make sure you find a way to effectively introduce your essay as well as create a satisfying, resonating ending.  

Things to consider when writing your essay (you don't have to include all of these, they're just suggestions of things you can discuss):
Thoughts about your writer's notebook
How have you been brave? 
Our author visit from Carrie Harris 
Article of the Week 
Formal writing assignments you have turned in:
  • This I Believe 
  • Superhero assignment
  • NaNoWriMo
  • Words are Powerful
Texts we have shared this semester:

Also, separate from the essay:
  1. Share your favorite passage from your NaNoWriMo novel and explain why it's your favorite.
  2. Share a passage of dialogue from your NaNoWriMo novel -- punctuated and indented correctly.
  3. Provide a synopsis of your NaNoWriMo novel. (Think about how novels are described on the backs of books or inside jacket flaps to entice readers)

Extra credit:
Design a cover for your novel and write a short explanation about how that cover  + title works for your novel. (You can turn this in separately from the Google Doc)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” - Tom Stoppard

"Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary. How potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." - Nathaniel Hawthorne


The old adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie. Words have power. They often leave scars more painful than physical ones. So your task is to write to this prompt:

Words are powerful.

Think back to our article of the week, the poem we discussed, the passage from X: A Novel that we talked about, as well as the We Need Diverse Books video we watched in class.  

The genre you choose to write to this prompt is up to you. You can write an essay, story, poem, article, etc.  Whatever you write though, needs to speak to the prompt in some way.

Assignment is due Monday, December  8th.