Writing Surveys/Analyzing & Interpreting Data

 After you have created your survey and taken everyone else's, write a 1/2 page to one page response that reflects on the following questions:

  • How does your quality and type of questions in your survey compare to others?
  • What makes a good survey question?
  • What were the trends in your survey?
  • What results were predictable and why?
  • What results surprised you and why?
  • What did you learn about our class from your survey?
  • Any challenges from this assignment?
  • What did you like/dislike about it?
  • Why are surveys such a large part of business, politics, etc?
  • Anything else?
Please post your final draft on your blog and include a link to your results.  

Cyber-bullying Assignment

  1. Open up this document in your drive.
  2. Save as a copy and rename using you and your partner's name in front of "Cyber-Bullying." 
  3. Share this document with your partner, making sure they can edit.
  4. Read and answer the questions together.  
  5. Save it to the "Cyber-bullying" folder.  You may need to move that folder into your drive first.
  6. Sign into GoAnimate using your first name initial, last name in lowercase letters:  ex:tvack, your password is:  123
  7. With your partner or by yourself make a video that expresses a cyber bullying scenario.  Characters should include the "bully," "victim," "bystanders," and "upstanders."  


The Misfits: Peer Revision/Editing Guide

  1. Make sure you have named your document:  "Your Name:  The Misfits Final Four Responses.
  2. Click on "Share" in the upper right hand corner.  Change sharing settings to "Anyone with Link" and then make sure you select "can comment" in the drop down menu.
  3. Drag your document into folder, "The Misfits:  Final Four Responses."  Click "Shared with Me" if you don't see it in your drive.  
  4. Click in the folder, and read and make comments to the student's response directly to your right.  Read and add comments one response at a time.

Directions for Peer Revision/Editing

  1. Read the response all the way through without adding comments.
  2. Read the response a second time by adding editing & revision notation comments.
  3. To add a comment, click on the word where you want to add a comment, then either right click and select "add comment" or hold down "ctl/alt/m."  Once you add a comment be sure to click "comment" or it won't show up.  
  4. Use the Revision and Editing Checklist as your guide.
  5. If you feel a standard is missing or needs improving, write the first letter of the standard in your comment.  
  6. Add a comments where you think editing errors have been made.  Use the categories provided in the checklist.
  7. Write a few specific positive comments at the end.  
  8. Move on to the next response.
  9. When your are done, follow the same procedure with the student's response on your left.  

Photoshop animal monsters are due Thursday!


Language Arts & Blog Post Assignments This Week

Click here for a a link to the character note taking guide for The Misfits

1.  Write at least two entries for Encyclopedia Entry #4.   Please write thoughtful and detailed entries.  At a minimum, these should be a paragraph.  Make sure your headings are bold and a slightly larger font size.

2.  Post your "In the Garden," scary preposition story.  Be sure to underline, italicize, bold, or change the font color all the prepositional phrases.

3.  (Optional) Revise and post your free response about cliques & groups.

5.  Read the person;s blog to your left and right.  Write a positive comment to them for at least one blog post.  Did they disable the security question?  If not please tell them.

Absolute Zero pt. 1: The Conquest of Cold

Absolute Zero Video Link
Answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper as you watch the NOVA video “Absolute Zero”.     If you miss one of the answers, a transcript of the program is available at:
1. Cornelius Drebbel had a wager with King James I in 1620.  What was it?
2.  What does adding salt do to ice?
3.  What did Robert Boyle discover about cold?
4.  When were the first accurately calibrated thermometers made, and where?
5.  Explain how liquid thermometers work.
6.  What was the biggest problem with these first thermometers?
7.  Describe Fahrenheit’s temperature scale.
8.  What made him so famous?
9.  How did the Celsius scale originate?
10.  What is absolute Zero?
11.  Compare the different theories of heat between Lavoisier and Rumford.  Draw a frowny face next to the not so hot theory, put a smiley face next to correct theory.
12.  What did Faraday discover through his experiment with chlorine?
13.  What property of ice made it possible for Tudor the make millions shipping ice around the world?
14.  Carnot found out that more work could be done by an engine if…..
15.  What did Joule prove?
16.  What is does the unit of Joule a measurement of?
17.   What is the First Law of Thermodynamics?
18.  What is the Second Law of Thermodynamics?
19.  Draw a diagram explaining how refrigeration systems make ice.

20.  In what ways is refrigeration one of the greatest human innovations?


Photoshop lesson #1

Tech Skills Assignment

1.  Finish your painted  "Perry the Platypus" and post it to your blog by inserting it as an image.  You will need to save it as a .jpg file first.  Title your blog post Photoshop lesson #1"

2.  Use the magnetic lasso tool to cut out Perry and paste him to a background of your choice.  Use filters and other tweak tools such as smudge and blur to create an interesting scene.  You may cut other images out too make your scene more interesting.  These will be due next Thursday, Oct 3.


Assignments This Week

1.  Finish any assignments from last week first.

2.  Post your "How to Fool a King" response.

3.  IRJ #2

4.  Read other student's blogs and leave specific and positive comments.  (Make sure your own security question for comments is turned off too!)


Matter vs. Weight

On a separate piece of paper or google doc, create an outline with the following subheadings that answer the following questions:

What is weight?

Compare the weights of an astronaut on earth, the moon, and the space station.

What is the equation form of gravity?

How fast does gravity fall?

What is mass?

What is gravity?

What is one g?

Why are all objects weightless on the space station?

How fast is the space station moving?

Describe microgravity.

How is arm-wrestling and Sumo wrestling affected my microgravity?


A Few Words About Student Blogs

Every year new parents and students ask me the same question, "Why do students have blogs?"  So I thought I would answer this question in, what else but, a blog post.

Vack's Top 10 Reasons for Student Blogging.

10. A blog is basically an online writing portfolio where final drafts can be "published."

9.  Because these are final drafts, writings should be free of mechanical and syntax errors.  (don't forget to capitalize your "i"s and remedy those red underlines for mispelled words.

8.  Though they are technically considered final drafts, blog posts can be revised and submitted for a better grade, that is, you can email me.  "Hey Mr. Vack, I added more b.s. to my writing.  Think you could check it out for a better grade?"  (Ask a student what b.s. stands for)

7.  Student writing can be read by family members and friends anytime.  (You may not be able to get grandma off her smart phone!)

6.  Students, teachers, and family members can post supportive and positive comments to writings, making student authors feel all warm and fuzzy.

5.  Blog designs and layout can be customized to a student's personality, as long as it's readable.  (lime green font on white is not the best choice)  You can also add images and video!

4.  All student blogs can be accessed through the side bar menu on my blog,, also where all blog post assignments are conveniently found

3.  Many high school English teachers require their students to keep a blog, so . . . there you go.

2.  Blogging inspires, even the most reluctant writers, to write their best because their ideas will be read members of there classroom community.

1.   "Blog" is just a fun word to say.  Keep on bloggin'!


Blogs and Writings for Sept 13 - 19

1.  Post your "Poem for Two Voices."  Make sure it has a unique title and at least 10 lines.  Give credit to your co-author.

2.  Type up your IRJ #1, making sure you follow the guidelines of the handout .  Print out and turn in with a self evaluation stapled to it.

3.  Write at least two more Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life entries.  This can be titled.  "Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life Entries #3.  Please write a well developed, creative and thoughtful entry.  A couple of sentences just "won't cut the mustard!"

4.  Read other student's blogs and make positive comments.  Be sure to B.S.  (Be Specific!)


Language Arts Assignments for the Week of Sept 2 - 6

1.  Post your "Personal Space"  response.  Make sure you give it a title other than "personal space response"

2.  Post your next two encyclopedia entries, you can write as many as you want.  Title this "Encyclopedia Entries 2"

3.  Post your nature name response.

4.  Write a free response about Morning Girl.  How what did you think about it?  What connections did you make with the book?  What questions does it bring up for you?


emails and blog addresses

Send me your school email address and blog address by answering this google form.


Writing Assignments for the Week of Aug 26 - Aug 30

1.  Write a separate blog post for each of the following:

  • 6 word memoirs (all in one blog post)
  • tweet memoir
  • encyclopedia of everyday life:  four entries as one post (entries should be in alphabetical order)
2.  Start pre-writing your personal map story in on a piece of paper or g-docs.  


What's your gmail address?

Please follow this link and give me your gmail address.


Requirements for Poetry Porfolios

Your poetry portfolios are due Thursday, May 23.  Here's what you'll need to include:

  • Creative Cover with title and your name
  • Table of Contents
  • Your poems in any order you want, with titles (not name of assignment)
    • Ode
    • Haikus
    • Braggin 
    • list
    • Vs
    • thematic Vs
    • abstract noun
    • limerick
    • "I Have Seen"
    • Magnetic Poetry
    • any others you may have written this year
  • four poetry responses with notated poems
  • Daily Song essay with notated lyrics
  • Poetry example handouts
  • "Elements of Poetry" and "How do Read a Poem" handouts


Assignments for April 30 - May 5

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

  •  Have you posted your "I Have Seen" poem with lots of detailed imagery that makes your "abstract" noun become "concrete?"  
  • Have you posted three poetry responses with links to the poems?
2.  Post your limericks

3.  Post your "Braggin' Rap" verses.

4.  Read at least four student's "I Have Seen" poems.  Choose two students sitting directly to right of you and two students sitting directly to the left of you.  Can you guess the abstract noun? Write a poetry response for at least two of them.  You can write the responses in the same post.  Be sure to include a link to their poems.
5.  Keep reading other student's blogs and commenting.

6.  Try the magnetic poetry too!

7.  If all is done, try out this simple online beat maker.


Assignments for April 23 - 25

1. Post your "I Have Seen"  abstract noun poem.  Make sure you include lots of detailed imagery to help make your  "abstract" noun more "concrete."

2.  Post your three (or more) haikus.

3.  Complete poetry response #3.

4.  Read at least six student's blog posts and write positive comments.

5. If you are 13 and in 8th grade, write a haiku for the Scholastic haiku contest and you could win a trip to Europe, Australia, or China.  Entries are due April 26

6.  Write some poems using Magnetic Poetry.  Make sure they are school appropriate (do I even need to say this?  for some of you, yes!)  You can print your poems for you portfolio and post them to your blog.


Assignments for April 16 - 18

1.  Thinking about ways you can add elements of poetry, revise your list and vs. poem.  Is there rhythm, repetition, do the comparisons make sense, is there a strong ending, and logical flow of ideas?

2.  Finish your first poetry response from last week.  (Look at my last post for the assignment requirements)

3.  Start on this week's poetry response.

4.  Read other student's poems and poetry responses and leave positive comments.


Assignments for April 10 & 11

1.  Type up your list poem , publish it to your blog, and print out a copy for your portfolio.  Make sure it has a title other than "list poem."
2.  Browse and read poems on the sites and poetry archive.  Find two that speak to you.
3.  Copy and paste each of them in a google doc, making sure you keep the original formatting, title, author's name, and date if available.
4.  Print each poem out and crazy notate.
5.  Using the Elements of Poetry and How to Read a Poem handouts, write a (at least 1/2 page) response per poem.  Be sure to discuss the theme of the poem, and use examples from the poem to illustrate use of poetic devices such as alliteration, repetition, metaphor, etc.  Of course include the author's name and poem's title in your first sentence.
6.  Post your responses to your blog along with a link to the poems.  Finally, print out your two response, hole punch, and put them in your portfolio along with your notated poems.
7.  When you're done, read other student's posts and write comments.


Innovative Product Project

Now that you have finished Ender's Game I hope you are inspired to read more sci-fi and ponder what the future holds for mankind (and alien kind?).  The final culminating project will be to design and explain an innovative product for the near or distant future.  In groups of one, two, or three (depending on the complexity of your presentation) you will need to accomplish the following tasks:

  1. Brainstorm ideas from the categories we discussed in class.
  2. "Pitch" your best idea to the class in under a minute.  Answer questions and revise your idea.
  3. Form teams based on similar ideas.
  4. Create a rough draft drawing and narrative about your product.  Be sure to identify:
    • important components
    • how it functions
    • materials it's made of
    • why it's needed/what make's it special
    • product name
  5. Turn this in, so I can approve it and help make and revisions.
  6. Choose a presentation style:
    • Commercial:   Script & poster/or model/slide show
    • Trade Show Presentation:  Script & slide show
    • Common Craft Style video:  Script & video
  7. Get to it!  This project will be due next Thursday, March 21.
  8. If you really want to make a 3D model of your product check out tinkercad.  Somebody say extra credit?


Post your Ode!

Don't forget to post your ode.

Ender's Game Assessment: "Revisiting the Anticipation Guide"

After you have finished reading Ender's Game, go back and re-read your anticipation guide response and reflect on how your opinions have changed or stayed the same in regards the themes in the book.  As you write your new response, be sure to use examples from the book that support ideas about the themes.  You will have two weeks to complete this, so please use lots of supporting detail and thoughtful commentary!

Orson Scott Card Article Response

After re-reading the article, 'Ender's Game' Author's Anti-Gay Views Pose Risks for Film write a one page blog response that includes the questions and arguments we discussed in class such as:  How does Card's views on gay marriage affect your opinion of his book?  Should Mr. Vack remove this book from his class's reading curriculum?  What do you think about the movie company trying to keep Card "out of the limelight?" Do you think this movie should be boycotted?

Ender's Game Questions Chapters 12 - 15

Chapter 12 – Bonzo
1. How did Ender provoke Bonzo?  How did Bonzo respond?
2. Who was Stilson? Why was Ender thinking of him?
3. Why does Ender still expect help from the teachers?
4. Did you know Stilson and Bonzo were dead? Find the specific clues in this chapter about the deaths.
5. Was Ender justified? Why did they not tell him of the deaths?

Chapter 13 – Valentine
1. “Perhaps it is impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” Explain what this quote means. State an example of this idea.
2. Is it a natural, “good” instinct for humans to be killers? (survival of the fittest)
3. Discuss the conversation between Ender and Valentine on the raft. What does Ender reveal about himself and his enemies?
4. Discuss Valentine’s conflicting thoughts about her brothers. How have Peter and Ender’s roles shifted? How does Valentine feel about each?
5. Discuss Graff’s statements about why the war with the Buggers was inevitable.

Chapter 14 – Ender’s Teacher
1. What disturbs Ender about Eros? How does Ender figure out the truth about Eros?
2. Describe how Mazer is going to be the only teacher Ender has ever had?
3. Why had Mazer been dishonest with Ender? Do you think Ender could have
handled the truth?
4. Have they pushed the children too far? Was it worth it?
5. Is genocide, or in the case of Ender's Game where an entire alien race is
annihilated, xenocide, ever justified? Was the xenocide of the Buggers inevitable? Why?

Chapter 15 – Speaker for the Dead
1. Valentine said, “Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to fill the roles given to you by good people, by people who love you.” After what has happened in Ender’s life, what would he think of this statement?
2. Ender listens to the evidence about the deaths of Stilson and Bonzo. What is Ender’s opinion about the deaths?
3. Why did Valentine make sure that Ender could never return to earth?
4. What is ironic about Valentine’s statement about Peter saving millions of lives?
5. What knowledge did Ender gain the enabled him to write The Hive-Queen? Give specific details.
6. Why does Ender publish the book using the pseudonym “Speaker for the Dead” and not his own name?


Practice Those Phrases!

Use grammar blast to quiz yourself and practice for the verbals and phrases test on Thursday.  Go to the 8th section and click on "phrases."

Responding to Drones

Post a one page response about drones.  You can make connections to Ender's Game, write about the pros and cons, make up a fictional story, or write a poem.  For more info watch this video.


Ender's Game Questions Chapters 9 - 11

Chapter 9 – Locke and Demosthenes
1. There is a real battle, internally and unspoken, between Peter and Valentine. Who is manipulating whom?  Who really has the power?
2.  Look up the names Locke and Demothenes, how do these philosophers relate to the personas of Peter and Valentine?
3. Why is Ender still angry?

Chapter 10 – Dragon
1. What kind of leader was Ender?  Why was he this kind of leader?
2. What did Ender do to Bean, and why?
3. What does the word Salaam mean?  What could this tell you about the power of religious identity?
4. What is important about the end of this chapter?  Was Ender’s reaction a mistake by the Battle School teachers, or was it the reaction they wanted?

Chapter 11 – Veni Vidi Vici
1. How does the computer know Ender so well?  Does it really?
2. Explain this quote: “Yes. That’s the worst that could happen. I can’t lose any games. Because if I lose any--” (page 198)
3. Why are the teachers pushing Ender so hard?
4. Discuss the importance of the last two sentences of the chapter.
5. “Veni vidi vici” means, “I came; I saw; I conquered.”  Why is this an appropriate chapter title?


Video Game Free Response

Use these idea prompts as you write about video games:

Describe a connection you have with a certain video game:  Think about my Zelda story.

Or you could write about designing a new video game.  What story line would it have?  What kinds of characters.

If you don't play video games or don't like them then write about why that is or observations you have of others around playing them.  

Be sure to post your response to your blog too.


Ender's Game Questions Chapt. 6 - 8

Chapter 6 – The Giant’s Drink
1. What is the purpose of the "Giant's" Game? How should Ender evaluate his
success at this game? Is he a murderer?

Chapter 7 – Salamander
1. What did Alai say to Ender? Why is the exchange between Alai and Ender so

2. What is the "just living" mentioned in this chapter?  Is it true that Ender has never
done this?  What does Ender want out of life?  How would you feel if you were he?

3. How did Petra help Ender? How is Petra’s friendship a hindrance to Ender?

4. What does Ender learn about leadership and tactics from Bonzo?

Chapter 8 – Rat
1. Graff says, “Ender Wiggin is ten times smarter and stronger than I am.”  Explain
what this quote means.

2. What is significant about the quote: “So teach me.”  “So learn.”

3. Why is Ender’s response to an attack so significant?

4. What did the scene with the snake and Peter’s reflection represent?

5. How does the game know?

6. Discuss the importance of the last paragraph of this chapter.


Current Event Journals

  1. Read a newspaper, magazine, or Internet news site.

Local newspapers:

State and national newspapers:  

   These sites are geared for teens:
CNN Student News  includes short daily videos
Up Front Online version of magazine

NY Times Learning Network  Express your opinion on news stories

   Other Internet News Sites & Magazine

2.  Read the news and choose an article.

You must choose an article at least once from each of the following sections:
International or world
Opinion or Editorial
Arts & Culture

  1. Write two journal entries each week.  
Each journal:

  • should be at least 1 page.
  • follows the format below.
  • neatly written or typed.

  1. Present one article to class every other week.

  • Sign up for day on calendar.
  • Summarize article for class without reading.
  • Create at least two questions for discussion.

Current Event Journal Format

Your Name


Article Headline


Author (Last Name, First Name)
“Name of Newspaper, Magazine, or News Internet Site.”
Date of Article
News Section
Pg. #, Section #, or URL

Paragraph 1:  Summary

  • Identify the main ideas and restate then in your own words.  

  • Begin with a general one sentence statement about the event.
  • Identify important details to include in summary such as: who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • Use quotes, facts, and figures to back up your details.  Be sure to credit your sources.
  • Don’t forget to use transition words when connecting ideas.

Paragraph 2:  Personal Response

  • Reflect on what the information in the article means to you, your community, nation or the world.

  • Look for words that communicate the author’s point of view about the topic.  Is there a bias?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the event or opinion in the article.
  • Why or why not?
  • Use examples from your own experience or what you know about the world to back up your ideas.
  • What connections to this article can you make to books you’ve read, history or science we’ve studied, or anything else?
  • According to what you know now about this event, what do you think might happen next?


Ender's Game Questions Chapters 1 - 5

Due Thursday, Jan 31

Chapter 1 – Third
1. What attitude motivates the adults to lie to Ender?

2. Explain what it seems to mean for Ender to be born a "Third". Show whether this is
a negative or positive fact to:
- his parents,
- his brother, Peter,
- his sister, Valentine, and
- his classmates.

Chapter 2 – Peter
1. Was Peter joking when he threatened Ender and Valentine?  Support your answer
with evidence from the novel.

2. Why is Peter’s behavior at the end of the chapter so completely different from the
rest of the chapter?

3. How do you feel about each of these characters (Ender, Valentine, Peter)?  What
did the author do to help create these feelings?  Give examples.

Chapter 3 – Graff
1. What did Graff mean about evolution working against girls?
2. Ender is leaving to learn how to fight a war, yet he takes Graff’s hand. Why does
Orson Scott Card (OSC) include this action?

Chapter 4 – Launch
1. Explain the meaning of the following statement: “Individual human beings are tools
that the others use to help us all survive.”

2. Explain the following quote: "Isolate him enough that he remains creative -
otherwise he'll adopt the system here and we'll lose him." Your answer should
include the terms: isolation, creative, adopt, lose.

3. Did Ender mean to break the other boy’s arm?  What does this incident tell us about
Ender?  Is it acceptable to do despicable things for survival?  Why or why not?

Chapter 5 – Games
1. Ender works hard to express his feelings in private and not show homesickness in
front of any other person. Is it healthy for him or not?   What is positive and what is
negative about showing feelings?  What is positive and what is negative about not
showing feelings?

2. How did Ender beat Bernard?  Is this an unusual solution to his problem?

3. List the different coping mechanisms (ways of dealing with difficulties) Ender
shows. For each one describe whether the overall result of each is helpful or
harmful to Ender.


Ender's Game Anticipation Assignment

Throughout the next six weeks you will be reading Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and writing all of your responses on your blog.  You will also be responsible for reading and commenting on other student's blog posts.  So make sure you are following everyone's blog and everyone is following you!

1. Fill out the Ender's Game Anticipation Guide, but DON"T HIT SUBMIT!
2.  Create a  new blog post called "Ender's Game Anticipation Guide."  In this post you will write about how and why you ranked each statement.  Write a brief but thoughtful paragraph about each statement.  For example:  "Lying is justifiable if it's for the greater good. - I am undecided on this statement so I gave it a 3.   I suppose it is important for the government to have spies that need to lie in order to keep our country safe, however on the other hand telling lies rarely comes to any good and people often get hurt through dishonest actions . . ."
3.  Once you have completed your blog responses for the anticipation guide, press submit and, when the whole class is finished, I will share with you the results.
4.  Start reading!  By Monday next week you will have read to pg. 53. (chapter 5)


Language Arts Assignments This Week

For language arts computer lab this week:
1.  Post your personal narrative to your blog.
2.  Make sure you have added your blog address to the shared blog document.
3.  Read at least twelve blogs and write positive and specific comments.  Refer to the personal narrative       rubric as you read and comment.
4.  Print your final draft of your personal narrative along with a personal narrative rubric and turn in.
5.  Finish your pixon cartoon save and submit it to me.
6.  Add any other writings on to your blog such as your poem for two voices.
7.  Take the learning styles survey and write a blog post about your two highest scores and one of your lowest scores.