Assignments this week

1.  Finish any still missing IRJs.
2.  Work on your digital stories.  Be sure to save the final movie to Rm 12 > Vack >  Digital Stories > 2010/2011
3.  Explore topics for your history research project. 

Assignments for week of Nov. 8 - 10

  1. If you have all of your media accessible work on digital stories.  If not . .     
  2. Revise personal narrative.  
  3. Type IRJ # 4

Assignments for the week of Nov 1 - 5

  1. Finish up El Dia De Los Muertos PowerPoint and email it to me.
  2.  Type  IRJ #3 and/or your personal narrative rough draft.  (share your personal narrative with me and Ms. Walters)
  3. Complete story board for your digital story.
  4. Begin digital story using Photo Story 3.  Be sure to save often!

Assignments Oct 25 - 29

  1. Download "Writing Parables/Fables Self Check" worksheet from  => language arts and use your story to fill it out.  Once you think you have all of the elements of a parable/fable identified in your story you may print it.
  2. If you have read all the comments and revised and edited your story for errors, you may print it and turn it in (stapled to your self check worksheet )for a final grade as well as post it to your blog. 
  3. Sign up for Voice Thread and add to our History of Washington D.C. discussion.
  4. Complete the El Dia del los Muertos Internet Scavenger Hunt. Click on "Play this Game."
  5. When you finish this, make a 3 - 5 slide PowerPoint that expands on one of the topics of El Dia de los Muertos.  Be sure to use images to support your information. 


Assignments For This Week: October 4 - 8

  1.  If you haven't already, post your persona poem to your blog.
  2. Download "Writing Parables/Fables Self Check" worksheet from  => language arts and use your story to fill it out.  Once you think you have all of the elements of a parable/fable identified in your story you may print it.
  3. If you have read all the comments and revised and edited your story for errors, you may print it and turn it in (stapled to your self check worksheet )for a final grade as well as post it to your blog. 
  4. Sign up for Voice Thread and add to our History of Washington D.C. discussion.


Assignments for This Week

  1. Post your haikus to your blog.
  2. Keep revising and editing your parable/fable.  It should include all of the elements of parables & fables we talked about.  Be sure to check for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.  Don't forget to include a title.
  3. Share your writing with your neighbors for editing and revision comments.  No one should be changing your text!


Assignments for this Week

1. Make sure you have all of last week's assignments completed first.

2. Read you neighbor's blogs plus 2 others and make positive and specific comments. Explain why you like someone's writing and/or pick a particular line to comment about.

3. Type your persona poem on google docs and share with me, Ms. Walters, and your two neighbors.

4. Help edit and revise those persona poems shared with you.

5. When you have gotten feedback and revised. You may post your poem to your blog. Be sure to make a title other than "Persona Poem."

6. Go to (you'll see the link to this on the right hand "web links" menu) logster is a poster blogging site. Sign up for a new account. Please use your real name for you nick name and same g-mail password so you don't forget. Once you click "accept" it may take a while to load in at first so be patient. Make an poster that expresses who you are, what your interests are, and what your dreams are. Have fun and experiment.


This Week's Computer Lab Assignments

1. Post your Alchemist review as a comment. (see post below)

2. Revise your summer snapshot using sensory and descriptive imagery. Remember to just pick one moment (under a five minute period) that you can capture with words. Pretend you are describing a scene from a movie to someone who can't see.

3. Revise and post, to your blog, your Alchemist found poem. Be sure to give it a title other than "found poem." Try to get a unique meaning into your poem rather than a summary of the novel.

4. Post your "I am poem." Again, give it a title other than "I am poem"

5. Read the collaborative observation poem we made about Trinidad Head. (I shared this with you, look in your email) You can edit this piece by adding more descriptive or compelling language, just don't change the over all meaning of it's lines. You can also move lines around if you think it makes more sense. Use "insert comment" if you have other ideas or want to share your feedback. Remember that I can see who changes what, so be mindful of your editorial power.

6. Follow and read every students blog. Please make positive comments when you can!

Alchemist Mid-Way Through Review

In 3- 5 sentences post a comment of your impressions of the Alchemist so far. Please be specific in your response. You won't be able to read other students' comments until everyone has posted.


Welcome Back!

Dear Family Members and Friends,
Here’s wishing you a warm and sunny welcome back!
I hope you found some sun this summer rested up for the studies and adventures that lay ahead this school year.  Remember school starts at 8:50 now and Mondays are early release at 2:10. 

Many great things are in store for us:

Overnight Backpack Trip
Our fifth annual 7 & 8 backpack trip is tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Friday , September 23 & 24. We will be hiking the Redwood Creek or Ossagon Rocks trail. There will be a $10 cost for students renting equipment plus the obligatory smorgasbord group food item. As always we will need parents to drop off and pick up at the trail head: more details in the weeks to come.

8th Grade Ski Trip and 7th Grade Aquatics Camp
It may seem like a long way off now, but these epic adventures will be underway before we know it, and now is the time to start planning and, most importantly, fundraising. The eighth grade trip costs around $450 per student and aquatics camp could cost $150, so begin talking with your child about fundraising opportunities such as: mowing lawns, babysitting, recycling, car washes, bakes sales etc. Because of the high level of maturity and motivation present in the eighth grade class this year, I’m putting much of the fundraising into their hands. I think in this way, students will develop a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation of this, once in a lifetime experience. Of course I’m happy to help organize events any way I can. Let’s brainstorm ideas soon.

School Supplies
By next Monday, all students need to bring to school the following school supplies: solar scientific calculator, pencil box or desk storage tray, 2 inch binder with subject dividers, hand pencil sharpener, pair of scissors, glue sticks, one package of graph paper, a compass, two pocket folders, and a set of colored pens.

Cell phones, i-pods, & hand held video games
Despite my love for technology and all things geekdom, cell phones and other gizmos can be a source of great distraction for some students. For this reason, all cell phones brought to school must be turned off and stowed away while your child is at school. A failure to follow this rule will result in your child’s phone being confiscated for the day and possibly banned from school. Personal music players and hand held games can be used in class at my discretion (rainy day recess for example), but cannot be used outside of room 12, and risk being stolen or broken if brought to school.

Weekly Progress Reports & Homework Assignments
In order to ensure the success of your child and keep you well informed, weekly progress reports, along with class/school news and reading records, will be sent home with your child every Tuesday. Progress reports reflect grades and assignments we have covered in the previous two weeks. Please sign the progress report and send it back with your child the following day (Wednesday). This is also a good place to write me any questions or comments.
Homework is generally assigned daily, Monday through Thursday, with occasional weekend work for projects. Weekly homework assignments are always written on the chalkboard and posted on my website, Expect your child to spend around an hour on homework each day. An hour long “Homework Club” is also available after school, Monday through Thursday, for any student that needs academic assistance, access to computers and the internet, or just a focused place to work. If absent, students have one week to make up missing assignments before the grade becomes a zero. Otherwise, 10% will be subtracted from the homework assignment each day that is late. More than one late or missing assignment per week will result in the student attending recess detention.

Reading Records
Reading records should be initialed by a parent and returned with progress reports every Wednesday. For full credit, students need to read at least 30 minutes a day, including weekends and vacations. Students are also responsible for writing, at home, a one-page independent reading journal response that will be due every Friday. These may be typed or neatly written, and remember, spelling counts! More on this in the weeks to come.

Best regards and have a happy school year,

Tyler Vack


The Case for Year-Round School

As an introduction to our persuasive writing and debate unit, I thought we might read some examples of persuasive writing or, as they're called in journalism- editorials. For this "response-as- commentary activity," read the editorial Year-Round School? My Kids Love It. Yours Will, Too and respond to the following questions by adding comments. You won't see comments posted by your peers until everyone has answered. After you have written your responses, answer the survey.

Response Question 1

What is the author's thesis? (her main argument?)

Response Question 2

Before the author presents her formal thesis, or argument, how does she "hook" the reader?

Response Question 3

What is an intersession? What kinds of classes can students take during this time?

Response Question 4

Who are the experts that the author uses to support her argument? What do they say about year-round school?

Response Question 5

What does a modified, year-round school schedule look like? How does it differ from a traditional one?

Response Question 6

What are the some of counter-arguments this author includes in her editorial? That is, what do people who support the traditional school year say? What does the research show?

Response Question 7

The author uses "loaded", or persuasive words like "sacrosanct" when referring to a traditional school year. Look up the word sacrosanct to find how it might be considered "loaded" in this editorial. Find two or three other persuasively loaded words and comment how the author used them and why you think she picked them.

Response Question 7

What do you think about this Ms. Schultes' editorial? Explain why you agree or disagree with her argument. Use evidence from her article to support your opinion.