Sunday, May 30, 2010

Special Opportunities

The eighth grade class will be entering the busy month of June on Tuesday. In addition to exams such as the state tests in science and social studies, students will be preparing for the last exams or projects in all of their classes. In addition to this, eighth grade students will be participating in their Moving Up ceremony as well as other special days to celebrate their transition to high school. A list of these special events will be posted on our blog as they become available.

Students of the Week

Congratulations to last week's Students of the Week:
Period One - Alex
Period Three - Amir
Period Five - Halima
Period Six - Corey

Modernizing "The Prince and the Pauper" Project

Students will use their creativity and knowledge of drama to create a modern version of the classic story, "The Prince and the Pauper." Students will work collaboratively to write the script, create costumes and props, create scenery, and perform their play. Students will use the following time table to complete their projects:
Tuesday, June 1st - Introduce Project, Select Groups, Review Rubric, Begin Brainstorming
Wednesday, June 2nd and Thursday, June 3rd - Group Work Time (Write and Type Script, Create Costumes and Props, Create Scenery, Rehearse)
Friday, June 4th - Dress Rehearsal
Monday, June 7th - Present Plays

The Home Stretch

We are beginning the home stretch of the school year. Students will be completing both a group project and an individual project that will count for their final exam grade for the fourth marking period. More details regarding these projects including rubrics will be on the blog soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's HOT at HW Smith

No relief from heat for students, teachers

Check out the above link to the Channel 9 News story about the heat at HW Smith. They recorded temperatures of 115 degrees in our classroom!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Half Day on Wednesday

A reminder that there is a half day this week on Wednesday, May 19th. All students will be dismissed by 10:30 AM. For middle school students, we will be running periods four through six.

Photos Needed

Ms. Short is requesting photos of her eighth grade students from years passed. Ms. Short will be creating a video montage for the Moving Up Ceremony and would love pictures of students before they came to middle school. Pics can be brought to Ms. Short who will scan them and then return them OR digital files can be sent to Ms. Short's email at

Career Day Editorial

On Friday, all eighth graders took part in Career Day. Students were able to interview presenters from a wide-array of professions. Students will utilize this information to complete this week's editorial. All editorials are due on Wednesday, May 19th, by 10:30 AM.

Editorial Directions
Every job has specific responsibilities. Every job also things that make it enjoyable as well as those things that make it difficult. Compare and contrast two professions you learned about at Friday's Career Day. Also, discuss which of these two jobs you would prefer if you had to make a choice. be sure to:

- compare and contrast the two jobs explaining specific details about each profession
- explain which of the two jobs you would prefer to do in the future if forced to choose between the two
- use SPECIFIC DETAILS to support your position

Monday, May 10, 2010

Students of the Week

Congratulations to last week's Students of the Week. Keep up the good work.

1st Period - Jouliana
3rd Period - Justin
5th Period - Moo
6th Period - Safi

Field Test on Friday

All eighth grade students will be taking a field test for ELA and math on Friday. The exam will test questions for future state exams. The test will last from 8:00 to 9:35.

Creating a HW Smith Masquerade

This week students will be writing their own version of Bronx Masquerade. Students will be writing poems and explanatory prose just like we read in the novel. Once students have peer edited and revised their work, they will have a chance to publish their pieces. The final product will be a collection of all eighth graders' work. It should be pretty amazing!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Opportunity for Extra Credit

Need a few points extra credit? Here's an easy option. After finishing Bronx Masquerade, think about a book that someone might like if they liked Bronx Masquerade. Post a comment that gives the name of the book and an explanation of why someone would enjoy the book you are suggesting. All book suggestions are due by Friday, May 14th. Please be sure to leave your name in your comment, so you can get credit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Compare/Contrast Essay

Students are assigned a four-paragraph essay in which they compare and contrast themselves to a character from Bronx Masquerade. Students need to include specific details and examples to complete the essay. Essays are due by Friday at 3PM.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weekly Editorial

This week's editorial is slightly different than for other students in the school. A description is below.

Introduction: This time of year is especially difficult for eighth graders because they realize that the majority of their middle school career is over and they are preparing for their new life in high school. Because of this, many eighth grade students do not put forth their best effort and instead miss class work or homework assignments, do not study for tests and quizzes, and even begin acting out in disruptive ways in the hallway and in class.

Your Task: Your job is to brainstorm the reasons why eighth grade students might think the school is over when we have seven weeks left. Also, you will need to think through the consequences of what might happen if a student “checks out” with so much learning left to do in the school year.

The Editorial Format: You will have a choice of how to present your findings. You could:

Write a Letter to Ms. Lane

Write a friendly letter of at least two complete paragraphs explaining why students do not always do their best this late in the school year as well as a description of things that Ms. Lane and the teaching staff could do to motivate students. The friendly letter format must be followed.

Create a Poem

Using Bronx Masquerade for inspiration, create a persuasive poem of at least ten lines to motivate your classmates to do their best in the last seven weeks of the school year. Remember that the goal is to persuade your classmates to do better.

Draw a Political Cartoon

Create a cartoon that could go into the school newsletter that would inform the reader of the problem of students not doing their best in the end of the school year as well motivate students to change their bad habits. Use your humor and creativity!

You will complete the graphic organizer and then create you editorial on your own paper. Both items need to be turned in by Friday, May 7th, at 3PM for full credit.