Monday, December 19, 2011

Tomorrow's Figurative Language Quiz

On tomorrow's quiz, students should be able to:

Define, create examples of, and identify and explain examples of:
- simile
- metaphor
- personification
- hyperbole
- alliteration
- idiom
- onomatopoeia

- the purpose of figurative language
- the difference between the literal and
figurative meanings of words and phrases

Friday, December 16, 2011

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for 12/12-12/16!

Period One - Joshua B.
Period Two - Cason W.
Period Three - Ricky P.
Period Five - Jamal H.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Figurative Language Quiz

Just a reminder that there will be a quiz on figurative language next Tuesday, December 20th. Students will play a review game in class on Monday and will have a review sheet to complete for homework on the 19th. Students should begin studying now!

Can you say examples of alliteration this fast?

"Alphabet Aerobics" by Blackalicious

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Idiom Origin Project

Students will be exploring the origin of many common idioms by completing the project below:

Not only should students understand the meaning of many idioms used in everyday writing and conversation, but it is also important to understand from where idioms originate. By understanding the history behind many common idioms, students will be better able to understand their true meanings.

Wednesday, 12/7/11 – Introduce Project, Choose Partner, Choose Idioms
Thursday, 12/8/11 – ONLY In-Class Work Day (laptops and other materials available in class)
Friday, 12/9/11 to Sunday, 12/11/11 – Finish Project Outside of Class
Monday, 12/12/11 – Gallery Walk of Posters

Students will:
1. choose a partner with whom to work.
2. be assigned TWO idioms to research.
3. use websites on Ms. Short’s portaportal site to research the meaning of the assigned idioms as well as their origin.
4. create TWO posters. Each poster should contain the idiom, a related picture, its meaning clearly explained, a sentence that correctly uses the idiom, and an explanation of the origin of the idiom.
5. share their idioms during a Gallery Walk on Monday, 12/12/11.
6. complete a chart explaining the meaning of several idioms based on the posters presented by their classmates.

guest access - msshortela

Idioms Song

Review common animal idioms with the song below:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Students of the Week

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

Period One - Mukoma M.
Period Two - Fahira M.
Period Three - Ayub A.
Period Five - Erick H.O.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Self Simile Homework

Please copy and complete one of the following similes:

I am as _____________ as a _____________________ because...


I am ____________________ like a ________________ because...

*Please be sure to write your name with your blog entry in order to obtain credit.

Learning More About Personification

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Preparing for the Listening Section of the ELA

Giving Thanks Editorial

On Monday, students will be thinking about what things they should be thankful for this year. Students will use these ideas to create an editorial that describes the things they are thankful for in both words and pictures.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holocaust Memorial Project Checklist

As students work through their projects, they should use the checklist below to aid them in completing it.


c Bibliography information for all websites used

c Paraphrased facts

c 5 direct quotes

c All the basic facts + details about your subject


c Bibliography included

c Uses headings and titles

c Neat and organized

c Explains why the person should be memorialized

c Five direct quotes in proper format


c On unlined, white paper

c In color, neat, and clear

c Offers more than one view of the memorial

c Has labels, details, and other information to help the viewer

Four Perfect Pebbles Final Project

Genocide Memorial Project

Due: November 16, 2011

As a class, we’ve been reading Four Perfect Pebbles, and discussing how and why we create memorials for people, groups of people, and events. The Holocaust is an event that has many memorials dedicated to it: the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, numerous books, movies, and poems, as well as many more physical memorials in the form of monuments, statues, and buildings. We might even consider Four Perfect Pebbles to be a memorial to the Holocaust.

Your Task: You and a partner will research a current day or recent genocide and create a memorial for the people affected by that genocide. You will then turn your research into a brochure that will educate your class members about both the genocide and your chosen memorial.

The Products:

Memorial: You will turn in a drawing of a memorial created by you and your partner. The memorial must be a physical object ( such as a building, a statue, or a monument of some sort), and you should turn in a detailed drawing of that memorial. You must show at least one view of the memorial. It must be in color, on clean, white paper that is at least 8x11 inches.

Brochure: You will turn in a brochure that gives factual information about the genocide that you have researched as well as information about the memorial that you created. You must have both paraphrased facts from your research as well as properly punctuated direct quotations from your sources (at least 5). You should also include a properly formatted bibliography in your brochure. Don’t forget to include headings in your brochure to help readers find information easily.


8x11 inch white paper

Markers, pens, crayons, colored pencils

Research (from the computer)

Note paper for note taking


1. Choose a partner or choose to work independently.

2. Take notes on the genocide that you are researching. Be sure to copy BIBLIOGRAPHY INFORMATION!

3. Decide what person or group of people you will memorialize.

4. Create your memorial: draw your memorial on clean, white paper.

5. Create your brochure: fold white paper in thirds and then write neatly in pen or marker to fill in your research. Save the very back for the bibliography.

Turn in your project with your names on both pieces.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Important Reminders

Just a quick reminder that students only have a half day of school on Thursday, November 10th, and Tuesday, November 15th.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Just a reminder that parent teacher conferences will be held next week on:

Tuesday, November 8th - 4 PM to 6 PM

Wednesday, November 9th - 5 PM to 7 PM

Thursday, November 10th - 11 AM to 2 PM

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the following students that earned the distinction of Student of the Week for 10/31 to 11/4:

Period One - Matthew O.

Period Two - Arianna P.

Period Three - Hae Kue G.

Period Five - Philicia N.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chilling Tales for Halloween

Here are a few short scary stories to inspire the horror stories being created in Ms. Short's Creative Writing classes:

Happy Halloween and Start of the Second Marking Period

Ms. Short and Ms. Aspden would like to wish their students a happy Halloween. In addition, today is the first day of the second marking period. Students that did not do their best in the first marking period are reminded that today they can get a fresh start and do a better job this marking period. For those that did their best during the first marking period, Ms. Short and Ms. Aspden encourage them to keep up the good work!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

HW Smith in the News

Click on the link below to learn more about the CCAMP program and the students at HW Smith that are involved with it.

Blog Question Homework - Due by Midnight on November 6th

Every two weeks, students are required to write an editorial. These writing assignments are usually created by Mrs. Birnkrant and help students practice a variety of skills including problem solving, sequencing, exploring cause and effect, comparing and contrasting, and more.

What are two editorials that you would like to write? Explain your two ideas clearly! Please be sure to write your name with your entry.

Continuing Four Perfect Pebbles

Students are continuing to read the memoir, Four Perfect Pebbles. By the end of the week, students should have finished reading through the end of chapter six. Since we only have a class set of books, students that are absent or behind in their reading should come in during lunch to catch up.

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the following hardworking students who earned the distinction of Student of the Week for October 24th to October 28th:

Period One - Tre'Zure J.
Period Two - Tim W.
Period Three - Tawakal R.
Period Five - Yasin K.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for 10/17-10/21:

Period One - Najalik T.

Period Two - Falastin A.

Period Three - Johnny D.

Period Five - Jereline W.

Holocaust Research Project

Students have spent the last two days researching various topics surrounding the Holocaust. On Monday, students will creative informative posters and rehearse for oral presentations on Tuesday. Students have been researching one of the following topics and are attempting to answer the related questions:

Hitler Youth:
Who created Hitler Youth?
What was the purpose of Hitler Youth?
Who joined Hitler Youth? Why did they join?
What kinds of things did Hitler Youth do?
How did Hitler Youth affect WWII and the Holocaust?

Who created the propaganda?
What purpose did it serve?
Who did it target?
How did it help the Nazi party?

Nuremberg Laws:
What were the Nuremberg Laws?
Who did they affect?
What did they prohibit?
What did they force people to do?
Who were they good for?
Who were they bad for?
What are some examples of laws that were included?
Why did the Nazi party create them and how did they help the Nazi party?

Life in the Ghettos:
What were the ghettos? What are some examples of ghettos?
Who lived there?
What were conditions like?
What purpose did they serve for the Nazi party?

Jewish Resistance:
How did Jewish people resist the Nazis?
How did non-Jews resist?
What happened in the Warsaw Ghetto?
What other examples are there of resistance?

What was the kindertransport?
Who went on it?
Where did these children go?
How many children were there?

Nuremberg Trials:
What were they?
How did they get their name?
Who was involved?
What was the outcome?
Why were they held?

Westerbork Transit Camp:
What was a transit camp?
What was it used for?
Where did people go after the transit camps?
How did they get there?
What were conditions like?
What were some other examples of transit camps?
What do we know specifically about Westerbork?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Events of the Holocaust

Studying the Holocaust

Students are beginning a Holocaust unit which will have them researching the historical aspects of the time period as reading a memoir called Four Perfect Pebbles. Students can get more information about the book and its authors at:

Belated Congratulations

Congratulations to last week's Students of the Week:

Period One - Kamara F.
Period Two - Sarah B.
Period Three - Ramesh B.
Period Five - Kea'mar J.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Comparative Characterization Essay

Students read the stories, "Born Worker" by Gary Soto and an excerpt from Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This week students will take their knowledge of the protagonists in these stories to write a comparative essay. Students have two graphic organizers to aid them in this task. Students are reminded that their essay should be FIVE paragraphs and should include:

- introductory paragraph with a hook and clear thesis statement
- a body paragraph that clearly describes Jose from "Born Worker"
- a body paragraph that clearly describes Tom from Tom Sawyer
- a body paragraph that clearly points out the similarities OR differences between Tom and Jose
- a concluding paragraph that rewords the thesis and points out the major findings

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vocabulary Quiz All-Stars

Congrats to the following students that earned an "A" on last week's vocabulary quiz:
Abshiro A.
December A.
Joshua B.
Marissa B.
Sarah B.
Xavier B.
Amina B.
Chantelle B.
Corey B.
Rochelle B.
Jazmine C.
Kapri D.
Sophia D.
Sierra D.
Natale D.
Kiana F.
Ema F.
Asha H.
Shabbak H.
Fatuma H.
Faizan H.
Kodie H.
Kea'mar J.
Quinn L.
Richie L.
Michael M.
Damin M.
Janaja M.
Jaylen M.
Javiyun M.
Philicia N.
Matthew O.
Arianna P.
Eannette P.
Yoan R.
Jahziel S.
Leeban S.
Miranda S.
Katrina T.
Kayla T.
Claude T.
Cason W.
Jereline W.
Katie W.
Tim W.
Lanaya W.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

College Information

As seventh graders, our class wrote letters of inquiry to colleges across the country and even abroad. Students were excited to receive letters and other items back from the colleges to which they wrote. Here are a few pics showing a sample of what was sent back to the students.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for October 3rd to October 7th, 2011:

Period One - Tozziek S.
Period Two - Joseph G.
Period Three - Wa Hi D.
Period Five - Corey B.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Writing a Thesis Statement

In class beginning Friday, our class will be writing a comparative characterization essay. Every essay needs to have a thesis statement or controlling idea. Unfortunately, students often have a difficult time creating thesis statements. To make this process easier, please watch the video below:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Current Reading Selections

Our class is reading two selections with very interesting protagonists. Our first selection is Gary Soto's short story, "Born Worker," with the main character, Jose, who has to make an important decision about both work and family. The second story is an excerpt from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In this excerpt, students will be introduced to Tom Sawyer and his very different idea of work ethic. After reading both selections, students will be writing a characterization essay comparing and contrasting Jose and Tom.

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for 9/26 to 9/30:

Period One - Jazmine C.
Period Two - Richie L.
Period Three - Sierra D.
Period Five - Philicia N.

Practice Our New Vocabulary

Monday, September 26, 2011

Study Your Vocabulary Words