Thursday, December 17, 2009

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the following students for earning the distinction of Student of the Week!

1st Period - Alex
3rd Period - Jefari
5th Period - Moo
6th Period - Chiara

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Need a little extra credit?

Students can earn ten points added onto their lowest grade by bringing in two school appropriate magazines. These magazines will be used for future class projects. Don't miss this simple opportunity to improve your grade!

Appropriate magazines could be, but are not limited to, the following:

US News and World Report
Field and Stream
Good Housekeeping
Family Circle
Rolling Stone
Entertainment Weekly
US Weekly
Sports Illustrated
Cooking Light

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Class is on Facebook

Ms. Short has created an account on facebook to share school related information and answer ELA questions as needed. Friend her! The ID is MsShort English Class.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Congratulations to our Talented 8th Graders!

Ms. Short would like to congratulate all the talented 8th graders who participated in the Winter concert today. The orchestra, band, and chorus presentations were wonderful! Keep up the good work!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dear Mayor Miner

This week's editorial is to write a letter to our incoming mayor, Stephanie Miner. Students will outline what they believe the mayor should focus on in order to improve Syracuse. All editorials are due Thursday, December 10th. The best letters will be forwarded to the new mayor.

The Literature Circle Roles

Every week students will be completing a different literature circle role. Students can choose whichever role they would like, but must complete all roles before choosing to revisit a past role. The roles are:

Passage Master - person who finds interesting, important, and/or difficult passages to share with the rest of the group

Word Wizard - person who keeps track of the new, interesting, difficult, or important words in the text

Connector - the person who makes connections between the text and themselves, the text and other texts, and/or the text and the real world

Questioner - the person who creates questions for their group to answer regarding the text

Illustrator - the person who summarizes the main events of the text in pictures

Once a week, students will meet with the rest of the literature circle and discuss the book. Students will share information they gathered and discuss the book as a whole. Each group will address any questions or concerns about information in the book and plan for the next reading week.

Literature Circle Books

Students again are working in Literature Circles, or book clubs, to read one of six possible books. Students have selected one of the above books. Students will be reading these books throughout December into the beginning of January.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Congratulations Editorial Winners

Congratulations to the following students who submitted outstanding editorials on the topic of what makes someone an American. Students' responses were not only organized and well-written, but quite thoughtful, too.

The outstanding editorials were submitted by:
Marian J.
Nick C.
Asmae A.
Blerta I.
Bailey P.
Nermin A.
Zhamir W.
Helena W.
Lloyd S.
Nickoy A.
Donovan S.
Joey S.H.
Alize R.
Arsen B.
Davontae B.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ms. Short wishes all her students and their families a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Expect to Receive Updated Grades

On Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, Ms. Short will distribute updated grades for her 8th grade ELA class. Students are expected to bring these grades home, share them with their families, and have them signed by a parent or guardian. The signed grade report will count as a homework assignment. Parents who do not receive a grade report should contact Ms. Short at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

25-Book Assignment

Over Thanksgiving Break, students can continue work on the second installment of their twenty-five book assignment. Summaries of six more books are due on January 13th, 2010.

"The Medicine Bag" Quiz

Just a reminder that students will be taking a quiz on the short story, "The Medicine Bag," on Monday, November 23rd. The quiz will cover the story, vocabulary from the selection, and literary elements of fiction. Students should use their flashcards to review for the quiz. Important terms to review:

- authentic

- reservation

- stately

- sheepishly

- embrace

- sacred

- antagonist

- protagonist

- setting

- plot

- theme

- conflict

- static character

- dynamic character

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Elements of Fiction Song

Reviewing Elements of Fiction Song

by Ms. Short

Stories are made from many parts,

when they come together it touches your heart.

Characters are the people, animals, and such

a talking dog or a man who’s Dutch.

Dynamic characters always change

while a static character stays the same.

A protagonist is the main one

while the antagonist tries to make his life no fun.

The setting is the where and when

a beach in summer or a lion’s den.

The order of events we call plot

the first, the second, sometimes there’s a lot.

The theme is the lesson we learn

be kind to others or be less stern.

Point of view is how the story’s told

a narrator or a lady who’s old.

Combine these elements and you will see

a complete, effective fiction story.

Reviewing Elements of Literary Fiction

This week students will be reviewing the elements of literary fiction including:
- setting
- dynamic characters
- static characters
- plot
- conflict
- antagonist
- protagonist
- theme

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Half Day on November 5th

Don't forget that students will have a half day on Thursday, November 5th, due to parent conferences. If parents/guardians have not signed up for a parent conference yet, be advised that there is still time. Please call the middle school office at (315) 435-4279 to make an appointment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Underground Railroad/Aboltionist Movement Trading Card Project

Students will be working a project this week where they will research a topic related to the Underground Railroad and Abolitionist Movement. Students will then create a trading card that displays this information.


The trading card should include the following:

Ø The name of your research topic clearly stated on the front of the card

Ø A picture of your research topic on the front of your card

(The picture can be hand drawn or copied from a book or the internet.)

Ø Fifteen specific facts about your research topic on the back of the card written in your own words.

(Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade.)

Ø All facts written in a logical order depending on the topic.

(Go over your text structure notes for ideas!)

Ø A summary paragraph that explains WHY your research topic was important to the Underground Railroad and/or the Abolitionist Movement

Ø A list of resources from where you got your information. You MUST use at least three different resources.

Your project may be typed or hand written.

Students will be graded according to the following rubric:






Needs Improvement



Required Elements

All required elements are included in the project and are thorough, complete, and easily identified.

All required elements are included in the project, but at least one is not thorough and complete.

The majority of the required elements are included in the project, but at least one is missing or incomplete.

Two or more required elements are either missing or incomplete.


All of the information in the project is accurate and complete. The project contains many specific details and examples which are clearly explained and relate to the topic.

The majority of the information in the project is accurate and complete. The project contains specific details and examples which are clearly explained and relate to the topic.

The information in the project is accurate and complete, but many specific details and examples are not explained and/or do not relate to the topic.

Much of the information in the project is inaccurate or incomplete. The project contains few specific details and examples.


All of the information in the project is organized in a logical manner. The facts listed as well as those in the paragraph are easy to follow.

Most of the information in the project is organized in a logical manner. The facts listed as well as those in the paragraph are easy to follow.

Some of the information in the project is organized in a logical manner, but the details are not easy to follow and could be better organized.

The information in the project is disorganized and difficult to follow.

Use of Resources

At least three different resources have been used to gather information for the project. The resources are clearly cited and ALL parts of the project are free of any plagiarism.

At least three different resources have been used to gather information for the project. ALL parts of the project are free of any plagiarism, but all resources are not clearly stated.

The resources are clearly cited and ALL parts of the project are free of any plagiarism, but fewer than three resources were used.

Either fewer than three resources were used or there is evidence of plagiarism in the project.


The project is free of any errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and/or capitalization.

The project contains one to three errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and/or capitalization.

The project contains four to six errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and/or capitalization.

The project contains more than six errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and/or capitalization.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Latest Editorial - Due November 6th

Students are required to write an editorial explaining what lessons they have learned at HW Smith and how those lessons will help them to be successful high school students. Students can include both academic and social lessons in their editorial.

Second Installment of 25-Book Assignment

This is a reminder that the second installment of the 25-book assignment begins Monday, November 2nd and continues through January 13th, 2010. Students are required to read six books and write a one-paragraph summary for each. This will count towards each students' second marking period homework grade.

Happy Halloween

Ms. Short would like to wish all of her students a safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the News

Last week, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The news was meant with mixed reactions from people across the world. Listen to President Obama's personal reaction. Now, what do you think?

New Vocabulary

To help better understand the biography of Harriet Tubman, students will be learning and utilizing the following vocabulary beginning this Tuesday:
- incentive
- cajole
- incomprehensible
- disheveled
- instill
- eloquence

Stay tuned for practice vocabulary cards!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another Extra Credit Opportunity - Due 10/16/09

The Post-Standard is sponsoring a Halloween Story contest. Children's writer Bruce Coville, of Syracuse, has written the beginning of a scary Halloween story, and he needs children to finish it. A winner is chosen in each of the three age groups: kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grades and seventh through ninth grades. (Each winner receives a $25 gift certificate to Dougherty's Masquerade and an autographed copy of one of Coville's books. Winning entries will be published Oct. 29 in the CNY section of The Post-Standard.

Students are required to submit their ending of the story by next Friday, October 16th, to Ms. Short. Ms. Short will then forward all entries to the Post-Standard.

(Please note that submissions can be no longer than 250 words.)

Here is the story:

The reason Mark Anderson wasn't supposed to go into the old Washburn Cemetery was simple - old Gnarly Carker, the cemetery caretaker, didn't like kids.

The reason Mark often went into the cemetery anyway was also simple - it was between his house and his school, and it was a lot faster to go through it than it was to go around it. And as long as Gnarly didn't catch him, it was no problem.

Today - Halloween, of all days! - Gnarly had caught him.

Mark had been creeping along behind the tombstones, pretending that he was on a secret mission behind enemy lines, when he felt a cold, rough hand clutch him by the neck.

"Gotcha!" said a familiar voice.

"Let me go!" cried Mark, trying to twist his way out of Gnarly's grasp. But years of digging graves had given the old man a grip of steel, and Mark was held tight.

The old man turned Mark around so that they were face to face. This did not improve things, since Gnarly's face was one of the more frightening things about the cemetery. It was lean and craggy, with a hawklike nose and a single fierce eye. (The place where the other eye had been was covered by a black patch; according to the older kids at Mark's school, the only thing under the patch was an empty socket.)

"So, it's you," said Gnarly. "I thought it might be. You're the sneakiest of the lot, always cutting through here, disturbing the graves. Disturbing the dead."

"Let me go!" said Mark, struggling to break free from Gnarly's grasp. "I don't think so," said Gnarly. "Not tonight. I think it's time you found out why you shouldn't cut through here."

"What do you mean?" asked Mark nervously.

Gnarly began to laugh. "I think it's time you spent the night in Washburn Cemetery. Then you won't laugh so much, boy. Then you won't be sneaking through here. Then you'll know why Gnarly Carker wants you to stay away!"

Thunder rumbled in the darkening sky as Gnarly hauled Mark between the white tombstones, toward the little shed at the edge of the cemetery. Scarlet leaves fell all around them, seeming to whisper of the night to come, and the terrors it might hold ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Extra Credit Assignment

Due by Friday, 10/9/09, at 3PM.

Find the names of three different abolitionists and two specific facts about each. Use the internet or any other resources to find your information. Submit this information to Ms. Short by Friday at 3 PM.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Acuity Testing

It's that time of year again- acuity testing. Acuity is an electronic testing program that mirrors the NYS ELA assessment and helps determine student strengths and areas in need of improvement. All 8th grade students will be taking their acuity exam during ELA classes on 10/6 and 10/7.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


HW Smith will be hosting an Open House tomorrow evening from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Parents and families will have an opportunity to meet their child's teachers and gain valuable information about each class. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

25-Book Assignment

Students again this year will be responsible for reading twenty-five books over the course of the year. Students will also need to write and submit a short summary of the book read in order to receive credit. Unlike last year when students could read all of the books on their own time just as long as they were finished by June 1st, 2009, this year students are required to read a certain number of books per academic quarter. The first deadline is October 30th, 2009. Students should read SIX books by this date. For those students who turned in the Summer Reading Assignment, he or she is only required to read four additional books for this quarter. Happy reading!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

As part of the Summer Reading Assignment, 8th grade students were required to read the Ambrose Bierce classic, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Students will have the opportunity to watch the film during their lunch on Monday and Tuesday or watch it at their leisure using the links below.

Welcome Back!

Ms. Short would like to welcome back all of her students and their families to a brand new, fun filled year of learning. She would also like to extend a special welcome to those students and families just joining the HW Smith family this year. Below you will find the course outline for 8th grade English Language Arts. As always, if you have any questions or comments please contact Ms. Short via email at or phone at 435-4279.

1. Explore both fiction and non-fiction texts in a variety of literary genres including novels, poetry, folklore, drama, short stories, and the like
2. Build vocabulary by developing a wide-range of word recognition strategies
3. Explore literary elements such as imagery, characterization, point of view, foreshadowing, conflict, etc.
4. Use comprehension strategies to monitor own reading and clarify meaning of text
5. Use a variety of note-taking strategies to record significant details from informational and literary texts, lectures, and listening selections
6. Utilize a variety of graphic organizers to both plan and organize writing as well as enhance comprehension of written texts
7. Review and use all aspects of the writing process to compose a variety of texts for both student-selected and teacher-selected purposes
8. Explore the various types of text structure in order organize and categorize information for a variety of purposes
9. Review and utilize the conventions of the English language including proper spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar
10. Utilize technology in a variety of meaningful ways in order to enhance comprehension as well as publish written texts

25% Class Work
25% Class Participation and Preparedness
25% Assessments (Tests and Quizzes)
25% Homework

The text for 8th grade English Language Arts is Glencoe’s Literature: Course Three. However, students will be using a number of supplemental texts and resources provided by the school to enhance their learning of the 8th grade curriculum. In addition, students with computer access can log into the class blog at to find additional resources related to the topics of study.

Students are expected to turn in all work on its due date. Students who turn in work a day late will be subject to a 25% penalty. Work that is more than one week late will not be accepted. Special consideration will be made for students who are out for an extended period of time due to personal illness or any other excused absence. It is the responsibility of the student to get any missed work and obtain assistance from Ms. Short to compete it if needed.

All students in the Syracuse City School District are required to read twenty-five books over the course of the school year. Students who begin this assignment prior to their eighth grade year may obtain credit for those books read during the summer. Each book must be at least one-hundred pages in length. Books that are longer than one-hundred pages do not count for more than one book. If a child reads a 200 page book, it does not count as two books read. After finishing the book, students need to prepare a summary that includes the book’s title and author as well as a brief review of the important characters and events.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Enjoying the Summer

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer break! Be sure to be working on your summer reading assignment. If you have questions, please contact me at school or through email. Do not wait until September. See all of you soon!

Ms. Short

Sunday, May 31, 2009

20-Book Assignment

The summaries for the twenty-book reading assignment was originally due on June 1st. Ms. Short has extended the deadline to 3 PM on Friday, June 5th. No late summaries will be accepted unless a student has a legal documented absence on the 5th. If you have questions, please call Ms. Short at HW Smith.

Proud and Happy!

Ms. Short is ecstatic over the very creative projects that were submitted for the Four Perfect Pebbles project. Students went above and beyond the requirements of the project and did an amazingly fantastic job. Ms. Short is going to attempt to digitally photograph some of the projects and link them to this blog. Stay tuned!

Winner of Legacy Project

When our student teacher was here, she submitted a few student projects to a nationwide contest known as the Legacy Project. Recently, we were notified that one of our submissions was designated as one of only twenty runners up in the entire country. We are so proud of Miss Aitnajim for her outstanding work. You can read the winning submission by following the link below:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reading in Literature Circle

Students will be spending the remainder of the school year reading one of the above five books in Literature Circles. Like reading in a book club, students will read their chosen book independently and then meet periodically with their group to discuss what they have read.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Four Perfect Pebbles Final Project

Students need to turn in their Four Perfect Pebbles projects on Tuesday, May 19th by 3 PM. Students are required to select three of the nine options on their Think-Tac-Toe board that would create a straight line either diagonally, vertically, or horizontally. If students have misplaced their Think-Tac-Toe guidelines, they should see Ms. Short ASAP.

Reminders for Checking Grades

Remember that if a student would like to check his or her grade, he ro she should go to Each student will need to know both the username for his or her class and individual password to sign in.

The usernames for each class are as follows:
Period 1 - ELA7P1
Period 4 - ELA7P4
Period 5 - ELA7P5
Period 6 - ELA7P6

If a student has forgotten his or her password, he or she needs to see Ms. Short.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

20-Book Assignment Reminder

This just a reminder to all students that their 2-book assignment is due by June 1st, 2009. Students were required to read twenty books throughout the school year writing a one-paragraph for each. Many students have been submitting summaries throughout the school year. However, some students are still lacking the required number of books read. Please remember that this assignment will account for 50% of each student's homework average for the fourth quarter. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Short at

Please note that the assignment has been reduced from twenty-five books to twenty books.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Introducing Literature Circles

As students continue to read "Four Perfect Pebbles," they are learning about the roles involved in effective literature circles. Literature circles are like book clubs where students read the same book and get together on a weekly basis to discuss it. Students read the way people in the real world read a book - highlighting interesting or important events, discussing difficulties in the text, and making connections between the text and the world. Students are learning the five main literature circle roles:

- Passage Master
This person is responsible for finding interesting, important, or difficult passages for the group to review.
- Illustrator
This person summarizes the main events of the text in pictures. The illustrator can also bring in maps, graphs, charts, etc. to help the group understand certain aspects of the text.
- Questioner
This person creates questions for the group to discuss. The questions created might have a definitive answer or they might not.
- Connector
This person creates connections between the text and other texts, the text and him or herself as well as the text and the world at large.
- Word Wizard
This person selects words in the text that are particularly important, interesting, and/or difficult. This person helps build their group's vocabulary through words in the text.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Understanding Hitler and the Holocaust

As we continue reading "Four Perfect Pebbles," it is important that all students understand Hitler's rise to power and the ways that Jewish people amongst others were treated under the Nazi regime. The following are links that can't help students understand the time period in which Marion Blumenthal lived.

Students can earn five points extra credit by submitting the name of any online or print resources they have found that can help another student understand what the Holocaust was all about.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Enjoying Break

Ms. Short wishes all of her students a restful break. There are only four days left. Make each one count!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reading "Four Perfect Pebbles"

Students will begin reading a novel called "Four Perfect Pebbles" by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan. The story recounts the story of Lazan and her family's time during the Holocaust specifically in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Students will begin the novel over Spring Break and will continue the novel through the end of April. Students who want to learn more about Luzan and the novel can go to the following helpful website:

Beginning of the 4th Marking Period

On Monday, April 6th, students began the fourth and final quarter of the 2008-2009 school year. Students and parents are reminded that the 25 book assignment is due on June 1st. All students need to turn in summaries for the books read by this date. The 25 book assignment will account for 50% of the 4th quarter homework average.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekly Editorial

This week's editorial asks students to write about their favorite sport or physical activity. Students should describe this activity in detail as well as how he or she feels while participating in this activity. All editorials are due on Friday, April 3rd.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

End of the 3rd Quarter

Just a reminder that the 3rd quarter ends this Friday. Students need to turn in all assignments by the end of the day on Friday. Because teachers do not need to turn in grades until 4/9/09, the 7th grade Drama Project will count for the 3rd quarter.

7th Grade Drama Project

As a culminating activity for our drama unit, students will be creating original plays to dramatize a specific theme. Students will be writing and editing scripts, creating costumes and scenery, and staging their productions. Students have the choice of creating a comedy or tragedy based on the assigned theme and their group's personal preference. Students will be working on this project throughout the week and will begin presentations next Monday, April 6th.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SUNY ESF Science Fair 2009

Many students participated in the SUNY ESF Science Fair. Use the link to look at photos of our budding scientists.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

In class, we have been dramatizing the teleplay, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." Written by Rod Serling, the play was actually written as an episode of "The Twilight Zone." Follow the link below to watch it on

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drama Vocabulary

This week we have embarked on a new unit studying drama. The following are some definitions that we have been studying to help us understand drama and the elements that comprise it. Students should have and be actively reviewing these terms.

drama - a story intended to be performed by actors on a stage or before television or movie cameras

comedy - type of play that is often humorous with a happy ending

tragedy - type of play that involves a main character who suffers a downfall, the downfall often affects the character and those around him or her in a negative way

script - the way the text of a play is written, contains dialogue and stage directions

dialogue - the conversations held by two or more characters in a play, helps to move the action of the story

monologue - when one character from a play gives a speech on the stage by him or herself

stage directions - instructions written by the playwright to describe the character's appearance or movements, lighting, sound effects, and/or scenery

scenes and acts - the way in which a play is organized, a group of scenes make up an act

Fun With Drama

Students have begun a unit on drama. Last week, we kicked off the unit by performing the play, "The Trial of Goldilocks." This week we will be reviewing elements of drama as well as exploring a variety of improvisational games to help improve our dramatic techniques. Here are a few examples of improvisation from the television show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway."


Students created profiles of an adult of importance in their world. Some students interviewed an actual person and others did research on a famous person in African American history. Ms. Porzio helped students create podcasts or audio boiradcasts that can be listened to over the computer. Although we tried to link the podcasts to this site, it was unsuccessfuul. If you would like a copy of the podcasts, please have your child let me know and I will make you a copy. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting Healthy at HW Smith

Take a look at the kickoff celebration of the "Healthy Steps to Albany" Program.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Economic Bail Out - Yes or No?

This week's editorial asks students whether the government should bail out failing businesses like those in the banking and automotive industries. Here are a few video clips to give students background on the problem.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, February 27, 2009

Other People to Research for Project

Here's a name you might not know - Elizabeth Alexander. She is the poet who wrote a moving poem for President Obama's inauguration.

Watch CBS Videos Online

The Greensboro Four

Watch CBS Videos Online

Michelle Obama - How is she adjusting to life in the White House?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Look at What Singer/Rapper, Wyclef Jean, Is Doing to Improve Life for Those in Haiti

Watch CBS Videos Online

President Obama's Road to the White House

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Even More People and Moments in Black History

The Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics

African-American Astronaut: Dr. Mae Jemison

Nobel Prize Winner, Toni Morrison

Maurice Ashley: First African American International Chess Grand Master

An Overview of the Movement

Looking Back at the Civil Rights Movement and Its Heroes

The March on Selma

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

A Speech Given by Malcolm X

The Freedom Riders

Dr. King on "Meet the Press"

Even More Important Events in Black History

The integration of American schools was a significant part of the struggle for Civil Rights in this country. Take a look back at this important part of history.

The Struggle for School Integration

James Meredith and the Integration of the University of Mississippi

Integrating Little Rock's Central High School

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, students can view some biographies of notable African Americans.

Stevie Wonder

Muhammad Ali

Medgar Evers

Michael Jackson

Billie Holiday

Tyra Banks

Sidney Poitier

Michael Jordan

Oprah Winfrey

George Washington Carver

Rosa Parks

Frederick Douglass

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Examining Greek and Roman Mythology

As Ms. Porzio continues teaching the folklore unit, students will take a look at some Greek and Roman myths. We will be reading the story, "Echo and Narcissus," and will also turn ourselves into our own mythical heroes with special powers and talents. Students can watch a myth we won't be studying in class by clicking on the video below. For a few extra credit points, students can submit an explanation as to the story's theme. Be sure that all submissions explain the theme and contain the student's name.

Studying Heroes

As part of our folklore unit, we will begin studying King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Additional resources can be found at the following links:

Also, students can watch a humorous take on the King Arthur story by watching a clip from "Monty Python."

Students can also get an idea about what life was like during the medieval period by watching the following:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Studying Folklore

Students have begun a fascinating unit studying folklore. Students will be exploring a wide variety of folklore ranging from fairy tales and myths to tall tales, legends, and trickster stories. Not only will students be reading these stories, but they will also be creating their own stories both in small groups and independently. After kicking off the unit with an investigation of the traditional "Aladdin" story and its Disney version counterpart, students will then go on to investigate folklore from around the world by completing a webquest created by Ms. Porzio. Parents and guardians can also view this webquest and the connected assessment by going to

Welcome. Ms. Porzio!

Our class is privileged to have the addition of Ms. Allison Porzio to our classroom. Ms. Porzio will be working as a student teacher in our classroom until mid-March. Ms. Porzio is a very qualified teacher who completed her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University and as currently completing her Master's work at SUNY Cortland. You can learn more about Ms. Porzio and the topics she will be teaching by visiting her website at

Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrate MLK Day!

Here is a great version of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. May we never forget its message!