Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So much done this week!

Okay. I admit it. I am frustrated. We have done a lot this week. The WWII poem (which, by the way, second had everyone hand theirs in. Wow!!!!) those are graded, back or up and also on the blog. I've talked about them.

It was a hectic couple of days with students going in and out for the science test. Yesterday was wonderful. Students came in and out and jumped in and worked on their DBQs or finished at home. I was soooooooooo impressed with how students understood what we were doing and what they did. Thank you.

Unfortunately, some, like in 9th, didn't ask the right people--ask hardworking, diligent people, not necessarily your friends, or, at least, ask people who will be nice enough to help you. On the other hand, maybe you didn't really want them to walk you through it. Whatever.

As some teachers have said, it's too easy to say, "I didn't understand," and then think that you will not be responsible. You are. I will say it again, You are headed to high school. You miss a class? It's YOUR job to get the work and make it up or see the teacher. Yours, nobody else's. So, the DBQs were a mixed bag. Great work yesterday and then a little slacking today. We will be doing two more. I hope you learn how to do them.

Today, we finished, supposedly, the Old Yeller test. I will hold judgement yet. There was a time when students could do 50 multiple choice and an essay in one period. With this class of students, it has taken two to three days. IF the essays are better, more detailed, and with few errors, okay. If you were hoping for God or some god to come help you with the multiple choice, don't. You're supposed to read it and pick the best answer, not wait for divine guidance. Again, high school is not going to just let you get away with meadering along. Get with the program.

Okay. This 'howler' is done. Tomorrow is a reading day. Sp/vocab Friday.

Poems and DBQs overall? All right. Now, I'll grade the test and quiz and we'll see how the week ends. Go for it!

New blog, just for the newspaper!

I am sooooooooooo proud of myself! I made a new blog and with no help from Mr. Devoe. Okay, so it literally was about four steps that they walked me through, but still. So cool!

Here's the address:

Check it out! Tell a friend! Leave a comment! (I know, I know. Calm down, Ms. B.)

Newspaper, 4/28

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WWII poems

I have finished reading the WWII poems. Many did very well. Did the paragraph example of Shania's help? It seemed to. I was impressed with many of them. I will post a few of the best here after I've picked them, and I will be putting more down toward the cafeteria. Look for them.

Capitals are still a problem. I think because the computer automatically does them, but also because it's a step that might be hard to learn in poetry. Not all lines start a new idea or thought. Only those that do need a capital.

Editing out of needless verbs (is, was, has) and other words needs work. Poetry does not have to be in full sentences. Again, maybe that will come more in high school. It's funny; we work so hard to get you to write in full sentences and with capitals, and here I am trying to get you away from them--aren't English teachers awful?!?!

It did seem that some, many maybe forget that there should be a theme running through your poem. Mine from Shania's was the theme she had in her paragraph: the trenches being awful.
Did you remember to start with an idea, even if you were doing a summary of the book?

Also, proofing for little errors continues to hound us. Do you, seriously, take the time to go over your writing before you copy it over or hit the print button? You should. At the end of 8th grade here, you should be writing with few errors.

Finally, how many people used my directions as a checkoff list? Title and author were to be at the top, not quoted nor underlined, with your name at the bottom. And, terms? Did you doublecheck to make sure you had at least two? You should have.

Overall, though, a pretty good bunch of poems on, what could have been, a tough assignment. Good for you all!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Night Out on the Town for the winners!

Courtesy of Mrs. Smith, we have pictures of the fun the Drug Quiz Team had on Friday night. They sure deserved it, spending many lunches working on their knowledge. Of course, it all paid off by them winning in Ithaca, which then took them to Syracuse, and doing a good showing there. The fun then came with a limo ride, dinner at Joe's Restaurant, a movie and ice cream afterwards. Wow, what a night!

Mrs. Filzen donates a great book

Mrs. Farrell, the reading teacher, found this book, and it has been a big hit with in her room. It is a novel told through writing, yes, but it is also a novel told through pictures. You read a few pages and then the writing stops but the story continues through pictures. You have to 'read' the pictures or you will be lost.
Mrs. Filzen had told me that she wanted to be on the lookout for great t-shirts. Instead of finding a tee shirt this weekend, she found the book. So, if you see Mrs. Filzen this week, thank her for donating to our classroom. Used books are just as good as used t-shirts!

Brandon's winning essay!

Newspaper, 4/28

Mrs. Scaglione's picture from vacation in the Carolinas

Mrs. Scaglione shared with me a picture she took from her vacation. No, that is not an outhouse, like Kyler thought. It is of a post office, a real, live, in-use post office! Makes ours here in upstate New York look like high risers! Thanks for the perspective Mrs. S.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday and can't attach, so here are pics

I can't attach with my email. We can't figure out why but I can't. So, to get pictures to Mrs. Romeo and my sister, I'm putting them on the blog.

I went to my daughter's art opening at Thou Art Gallery at the old church on Church St. Friday night. Some of the artwork from the elementary was there. The artwork was beautiful and so was the work at the Gallery. A huge thanks goes to Mrs. Romeo for doing the showing and to Thou Art Gallery for giving the space to the school for the showing.

I never go to places like that - where there is beautiful, handcrafted work (not exactly what you'll find at the Salvation Army, my favorite store) - so when I do, I get lots of presents and even a couple of things for myself.

I bought a couple of presents for my sister, a thank you gift (a bowl of Mr. Donovan's), some soaps, a great print to have at my washer and dryer so I'm happy doing laundry, and my husband and I even agreed on a pair of salt and pepper shakers, made by the owner, for our kitchen table (If you knew us, you'd be amazed. We agree on very little!). Benny even got a handmade treat to nibble on, but I digress.

My sister just bought a new camera with some pretty good zoom and she's been sending me pictures of her flowers. I had told her about how I'd learned from my children's artwork from school how you draw the flower right past the frame. So, she tried that and sent some to me.

At that point on Friday I realized we could use her original photos to do poems on your final. I usually have students write one and this year it can be on her photos. Then, throughout the summer, I can update my blog with your work. Cool, yes?

So, I took some of the flowers that were in the exhibit. The owl that seems to be flying off the page is Rori's. My favorite flower is probably the sunflower, and I love the portraits drawn full sized. I'm not sure how long the exhibit is on for, but I definitely recommend stopping in to see it. (And, with Mother's Day around the corner, there are gifts from 3 or 4 dollars and on up.)

You are very lucky in Groton to have so many wonderful shops. I always love Brittany Station and that has been a Christmas stop every year (now I'll add in Thou Art too!). Just this week Mrs. Smith took me into the meat shop and the hardware store, both great stores. And, of course, Baker Miller was where we bought most of our supplies for redoing our house. Mr. Higgins did it. You have restaurants and grocery stores. Groton is a vibrant town and you should be proud of it. (If I have missed any, please let me know.)

What's your favorite store in town? (Have I mentioned lately that I like comments?)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Post 7 for the day: read them all.

A great day of discussion on tolerance

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 8th graders today. Whatever your feelings on issues, that's not to be discussed. What I saw today was tolerance.

For some, I heard tolerance for people who are different than you or I might be. For others, I heard discussion on what might make us feel uncomfortable, and we discussed how we might all feel that way and what that feeling is and how we can address it. I heard students vocally agree and I heard no disrespect from people who might not agree.

It's not about everybody believing the same; it's about letting people believe in what they believe in. Whether it's a tee shirt supporting differences or the Norman Rockwell print I have had up in my room for years. We try to understand people who are different than us.

Thank you for being students open to discussion and differences. Groton is a good place to be.

What a Great day for Literature

It was a very good day of finishing up discussion with Old Yeller. Two of my classes are taking the test today and 3 discussed the theme possibilities of the book. Their test will be next week.

A theme is reasonable is you can pull from most parts of the book. In this case, we had seven themes that we could in fairness pull from having read Old Yeller. With four of those themes you did a great job of showing how we could pull from all parts of the book. In the last three, they only showed up in 3, but that's more than half, so they're reasonable themes.

I was very impressed this week with how well all of you worked on the last two worksheets. Being able to see how action is connected and being able to find themes and proving them are valuable skills to take to high school.

In organizing thoughts, remember, you only have to write enough to jog your memory when you go to actually write your essay. When you write, then you follow an organized format, write with that detail that your notes remind you of, while proofreading so you have good writing.

It was a good, good unit of notetaking, thinking and now cementing your thoughts. Good job!

Brandon, the Man of the Day!!

Just in!!!!! Brandon won 1st place in the area of 6-8 essay writing in the BOCES writing contest for his essay on sportsmanship. To the few who participated, I am proud of you all that you took the time to try. Do try again next year in high school. To Brandon, wow! You are an accomplished and award winning writer!

Chris's vacation pictures from Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettyburg occurred because the Confederates wanted to get to Washington to control the Union capitol. General Lee wrote a letter to his ranking officiers to tell them to bring their regiments to Gettysburg so that they could launch a fullscale attack. One of the messages was intercepted and the Union then knew the path that the Confederates would take.

The battle lasted for three days. The first skirmish was on an open field, which is different from today, since they were just walking up to eachother and firing.Chris's great times 4 grandfather lost his leg in the battle.

The Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863. The Union won because the Confererates had so many losses in the battle. (all this just came from Chris's head: what we call Prior Knowledge, now, for Chris to pin more knowledge onto!)

This is the General Lee Memorial. He's on the back of his horse, Traveler. It's a memorial dedicated to him.

The second one is of Devil's Den also (remember the one from yesterday?). Men were actually hiding under that very rock as cannons and muskets were firing. Next we have the handmade fences from the battle. All the posts were handmade, handcarved from trees in that area. The fourth picture is a view of Little Round Top from Devil's Den. The final one is a view of Devil's Den from Little Round Top.

Can you imagine the fighting, the fallen soldiers, the smoke, cries and calls for help?