Monday, June 14, 2010

Last Week of Half Days

Just a reminder that beginning next Monday, June 21st, all middle school students will be dismissed at 10:30 am.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Schedule for the Last Few Weeks of School

The end of the school year is just around the corner. In ELA, our class schedule is as follows:

June 10th - Drama Presentations
June 11th - Finish Drama Presentations and Choose Summer Reading
June 14th - Introduce Final Project
June 15th - Reading Day
June 16th and June 17th - Work Days
June 18th - Project Due, Special Awards Ceremony in Class
*June 21st - 1/2 Days Begin

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blog Question - Due 6/11/10

Please choose one of the following questions to answer. Please be sure to type your name beneath your response, so you can get credit.

1. Describe what our drama project has taught you about creating and/or performing a play.
2. Explain what contributions you made to insure your group's success.
3. Explain why your modernized version of "The Prince and the Pauper" is the best version. Describe what makes it special.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Final Installment of 25-Book Assignment

Just a reminder that the final summaries for the 25-book assignment are due to Ms. Short by the end of the day on Friday, June 11th. Some students have completed two out of the six books by reading Bronx Masquerade in ELA and Out of the Dust in AVID.

Summer Reading Choice Three - Hurricane Song

Here is a review from Booklist regarding this choice for summer reading:
Appropriate for grades 7-12. In the wake of his mom’s remarriage, Miles moves to New Orleans to be with his father, a professional musician, who lives and breathes jazz. Miles, who has always resented his father’s single-minded devotion to music, focuses on making his new school’s varsity football team and dreams of someday playing a championship game in the Superdome. That dream becomes a nightmare when Miles, Pop and his uncle Roy must seek refuge there from the advancing storm that will become Hurricane Katrina. Volponi pulls no punches in his visceral depiction of the horrors that New Orleans’ black residents experienced in a place that became, he suggests, an appalling combination of homeless shelter, war zone, and slave ship. The effect of this experience on Miles’ troubled relationship with his father seems a bit programmatic, and an epilogue feels tacked on to bring closure. Yet Volponi’s passionate outrage is palpable, and his infectious indignation will surely invite much reflection and discussion.

Summer Reading Choice Two - Gym Candy

Here is a review of Gym Candy from Booklist:

Having grown up in the shadow of his father's failed NFL career, high-school football player Mick Johnson is determined not to make the same mistakes. But when he's tackled just short of the goal in a pivotal game, he decides that vitamin supplements aren't enough and begins purchasing "gym candy," or steroids, from the trainer at his local gym. His performance starts breaking records and his father couldn't be more proud, but along with gains in muscle, he suffers "'roid rage," depression, and unsightly acne. When his secret finally comes out, he attempts suicide. Even after therapy, Mick is left wondering if he'll continue to be tempted by steroids. Deuker skillfully complements a sobering message with plenty of exciting on-field action and locker-room drama, while depicting Mick's emotional struggles with loneliness and insecurity as sensitively and realistically as his physical ones.

Summer Reading Choice One - The Rules of Survival

The following is a review of this possible summer reading choice from Booklist:

Appropriate for grades 7-10. Living with an unpredictable, psychotic mother has taught Matthew how to survive. Constantly on alert, he and his sister, Callie, devotedly shelter their younger stepsister, Emmy, from their mother's abuse and worry about staying safe. Matt insists that "fear isn't actually a bad thing . . . . It warns you to pay attention, because you're in danger. It tells you to do something, to act, to save yourself," but his terror is palpable in this haunting, powerful portrayal of domestic dysfunction, which is written in retrospect as a letter from Matt to Emmy. Unfortunately, the adults in the children's life, a distant father and an apathetic aunt, don't help, though Matt sees a spark of hope in Murdoch, who dates his mother, Nikki, and then leaves when he becomes another target for her escalating rage. It is Murdoch, with a violent past of his own, who is willing to risk getting involved and eventually becomes the change agent that the children so desperately need. The author of Double Helix (2003),Werlin reinforces her reputation as a master of the YA thriller, pulling off a brilliant departure in this dark but hopeful tale, with pacing and suspense guaranteed to leave readers breathlessly turning the pages.

Incoming 9th Graders Summer Reading

The school district has recently identified the three possible summer reading titles. ALL eighth graders will choose one of the following to read before beginning ninth grade. The choices are:

1. The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
2. Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
3. Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi

Further information including reviews will be posted on our blog shortly. Students will have a chance to investigate each book next week before making their selection.

Half Day Next Tuesday

This is a reminder that all students will be dismissed on Tuesday at 10:30 AM for the half day. Students will attend periods one, two, and three on the half day.

Modified Schedule for Monday, June 7th

This is a reminder that the written portion of the 8th grade state science exam will be on Monday, June 7th. The exam will take place in the large cafeteria from 8:05 to 10:25. This means that students who have ELA periods one and three will not have class on Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Props, Costumes, and Scenery

Students are writing and performing original plays based on "The Prince and the Pauper." This means that students will need to create costumes, props, and scenery for their performances. Although students will be able to create some things in class, many students will be borrowing items from home to use in school. Please be sure to remind your child that they should drop off any items in Ms. Short's room in the morning for safe keeping. Also, if there is any question on whether a child should bring in an item for their performance, please contact Ms. Short at 435-4279.