Friday, January 28, 2011

A visit

...from KGB, if only in pictures. But, if she were here, here's what I think she'd be saying to you:

"So, you've been having a hard time of it with Ms. Bassette lately? She seems cranky, unhappy, just basically a lady of complaints?

Well, you know, it is winter, cold, and she is teaching middle schoolers--you. We can't do much about the weather, but how about you? Are you doing what you should?

May I come in? Talk a bit more?

Is this what my great aunt's been looking like? Talk, talk, talk while pointing the finger at you?

Yeah, I've heard teachers can do that. Parents too (not mine, of course, but some do, I guess).

Should we look from Ms. B's point of view for a minute? What does she see?

Ahhhhhhhh, that? She sees you supposedly reading or doing, but really focusing on your friend or what's happening at the next desk? I suppose that might get tiring after a while, since, what? You've got 5 more months of school left?

How about this, try this, if only for me: shake it off. Decide to focus, concentrate, do what the lady asks.

Think you could try that?

Try it. Get serious. Listen to what my aunt's trying to teach.

Focus on the topic at hand, not your friend or what you want to say about the topic, but focus on learning.

I mean, come on, look at all the books I've got to get to, and I'm not even one yet!

There is sooooooo much to learn. See if my aunt can help you.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I gotta go; I've got my own lady, my gramma, to drive crazy.

Is she back there?

I sure hope so; I'm not supposed to travel the house without her!


February's calendar'll go by quickly.

Read--maybe even push yourself to read all three of the books on WWI. Go for it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Poetry, the last of the

...poems of the second format.

Snow days and repetitionPersonification and for reaching for all you can

Basketball action and stanzas

Snow and wonderful vocabulary

Running and such detail

Fog and repetition and personification

Our blessings and simile
Sports and an action title

Personification and nature's ways

Volleyball stanzas and repetition

Babysitting and effort to type
Waiting and organization

Calendars and metaphor

School and repetition with detail

What are you using when you put effort into your poem? Or, should I first ask, "Are you putting effort in?"

New set next week. Please get involved with your learning. I can only lead; it's up to you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


...our first of four short stories. Today it was important to key in on point of view. If you were taken in by the mother and how she believed her son and what he said about kindergarten, you were probably surprised at the ending.

For the reflective piece today, look at what some of your classmates thought about today's lesson.
Each day you're in a classroom, you could be asking yourself, "What was the important idea for me today?" If you're doing that, you are working at being a student, not just a kid who is meandering through the halls wondering what's for lunch.

Next week we'll do another. Entertainment through reading, reading comprehension, understanding what the author was doing, those are our three goals, with good notetaking thrown in for good measure.

To those of you who were students today--best of class goes to Shannon, quiet Shannon!--thank you. To the others, spring is a ways off; decide to be students or have seats assigned. It's up to you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Studying literature

...and the reasons why we do it.

We study literature for 3 reasons:
One, to enjoy the written word. Reading a story or a novel can be entertaining.
Two, to continue our understanding of reading. Except this time, you make the questions for your classmates.
Three, to see how a writer works their craft. There is so much more to literature than at face level.

We will also be continuing our work with notetaking, a skill that is so necessary moving into high school. I have been so pleased with the number of students who use their bookmarks to have detail about their books. Now, we move into two new ways of taking detail. There is the clock method, much like the summary chart we've done. That can be done at the end of the story. Or, you can take notes as you read it, using the literature terms. Whichever you do, you must take notes.

We're doing short stories now and then a novel after that. Read, think, and enjoy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


...of the second group.

Courtney's is best of show this week.

It's wonderful!

Curtis does a different type of poem and it's terrific too. How true that goals can be so 'far away'.

I might have capitalized the second far and in the second stanza the and because those are new thoughts, which is how I'd like you to see the use the caps in poems. I so like his up attitude about trying and improving. Both Courtney and Curtis didn't have to do poems this week, but they did. Thanks go to them!

Shaine's poem uses repetition to make his point. I like it.

It's a good poem to show the use, or overuse, of repetition. Use it but try not to overuse repetition because then it becomes repetitious and not a good thing. Certainly, in upstate New York, we can all agree that weather is all sorts of things!

Sam writes his poetry with some good humor.

What a picture in my head! And what a surprise! My one suggestion here would be to edit out those needless commas--are they really needed in the second stanza? You make the call.

Alexis' has the air of possibility, the possibility of magic.

I like it. With the last question, she invites the reader into her poem. My suggestions, though, here? Should the last thought be all one line? And, is the first question mark needed?

Many students either didn't have to write one this week since they got a 100 last week, or some just aren't doing. That's too bad since poetry writing is one more way to practice thinking, writing and conveying one's thoughts.

Last one due next week off the two sentence format.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reading comprehension

...and how you did.

Inquiring minds, like KGB, want to know. How did you do in this long unit of focusing on reading and pulling out the right info?

Where are you on these charts?

So many of you improved. Some improved from missing 4 to missing 2 or less. Others started way down the way, with 18 or so, and then continued to work to get down to 5.

If you improved and you truly started to miss less, that's great. It takes effort to not only improve, but to stay down, and so many of you did. I'm proud of you all. 41 of you improved. Wow!

If you had a great day and did the best in the class, then you're on Best in Class, a fun place to be.
It's fun to be the best and to be recognized for it. 21 different people were best in class.

But, really, the best place to be is on the Consistent chart. To be consistent, you had to have 3 or less wrong 2 times in a row. 27 people made it onto this chart. Wow!

To be consistent means you can read and pull out info all the time. That's what we want.

Like the smart girl she is, when KGB needs a break, she quits where she is.

Here's hoping you took your well deserved rest over the weekend and have come back ready to do more learning. We're moving into our short story unit and will be continuing with reading comprehension skills with you developing the questions now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cool Survey

...from Mr. Devoe.

Go here, survey, (as in click on it and it will take you there) and be counted and heard here at Groton Central School.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


...of the next set, working off of 2 sentences for added detail.

Helena's on memories

Dillon's and others on the sports that we love

Our hectic days

and our childhood lives

Horses free and making a mood

Girls growing

and hamsters going 'round

Memories made

and compliments coming in

A love of reading

It's all here in our poems of this week.

Welcome back to weekly poetry writing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reading a question, outlines,

...and writing essays from two articles.

Here's what your classmates learned.

What did you get from this unit of four questions, outlines and essays?

For me, I believe most can read a question, knowing what they are to do. The outlines are getting there, especially the intro part. From there, many are having the topic sentence and a lot are starting to use transitions to show change. Many still need to continue to work at getting the right/best detail to make their case. Surprisingly, a good share of you are using your concluding sentence to bring home the point being made. That is really a must. Everyone really needs to learn to state clearly what they were trying to show.

As for the essays, it's all the same as the outlines. Errors in writing hurt too, but I didn't take off for them much. We concentrated on thinking, and detail in this unit. Errors matter, though. Continue to work on proofreading for few errors.

To end: 7 students in 2nd got a 100 on their essays for this unit; 5 in 7th did and 3 in 9th did. Those are some good numbers, not great, but good. It was a last and best averaged.

Tomorrow I will do the same for the reading comprehension MC portion of the unit.