Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reading "Toward a Rainbow Nation"

Students will begin reading the article, "Toward a Rainbow Nation," tomorrow in class.  The article is written by a girl post-apartheid South Africa.  She discusses the differences between the old South Africa and the new South Africa focusing on the many diverse friends she is able to have now that apartheid has ended.  Students at HW Smith have a keen awareness of diversity and will likely connect to the author's story.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Meet the Chipsons"

Students in Mrs. Earl's ELA classes have begun an informational text unit.  To help practice determining relevant and irrelevant text-based details, students read the informational article, "Meet the Chipsons."  Use the link below to go to the original Time magazine article.,9171,214099,00.html

Introducing Informational Texts

A New Name

Ms. Short was married on October 27th and is now Mrs. Earl!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Earn Five Bonus Points!

How would you like to start out the second marking period with five bonus points?  Simply rewrite the dull sentence below using the figurative language (simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification) of your choice.  Be sure to:
  • put your name with your entry
  • rewrite the sentence using figurative language
  • identify the type of figurative language being used


The class was as noisy as a crowded mall.  (simile)  Written by Mrs. Earl


It was a rainy day.

All entries must be received by midnight on Friday, Novemeber 16th, 2012.

A Look at Simile School

Here is a reason why we should know how to use figurative language in both our writing and speech.

Notes on the Basics of Figurative Language

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Extra Credit - Blog Question

Earn ten points on your lowest grade(s) by answering the following blog question.  Please be sure to answer the question carefully and post your name with your answer.  If students need assistance in posting, they can see Ms. Short at lunch.  All posts must be completed by midnight on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012.

Question:  The title of the novel, Taking Sides.  Describe a time when you had to take sides.

Students can also watch the tutorial below to see how to leave a comment on our blog.  Students that do not have a Google account should click on anonymous and write their name in the box with the text.

*Please note that comments will not appear right away since they first need to be moderated by Ms. Short.

Interim Reports

The first round of interim reports will be completed by all teachers by October 5th.  Ms. Short will accept overdue or make-up assignments until Wednesday, October 3rd.  Grades will be calculated for the interim reports at the end of the day on the 3rd.  Parents and guardians can expect to receive interim reports by mail approximately the following week.

Our Class Novel

Students in Ms. Short's seventh grade ELA class will begin reading the novel, Taking Sides, by Gary Soto.  Our class's student teacher, Ms. LeVeque, will be leading the reading of this great novel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seventh Grade Behavior Plan

The entire seventh grade team follows the Behavior Plan outlined below.  As a team, we understand that seventh graders are learning the ropes and we are there to help them along.  The behavior plan allows us to support all students while maintainig order in our classrooms and hallways.

First Offense - Verbal Warning
Second Offense - Time Out
Third Offense - Lunch or After School Detention
Fourth Offense - Phone Call Home
Fifth Offense - Referral and/or Parent Conference

Hope to see you!

Tonight is the Open House for HW Smith at Levy School.  It will be held from 6:30 to 7:30.  Hope to see you there!

Reviewing the Elements of Fiction

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Literature Circle Book Question

Every student is reading a Literature Circle book in 8th grade ELA.  

In a post, give the title of your book and your thoughts about the novel so far.  

Think about the things you like, dislike, wonder about, etc.  

Feel free to leave comments for other students that are reading the same book as you.

All comments must be posted by Thursday, May 31st @ midnight.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Students of the Week

Congratulations to last week's Students of the Week!

Period One - Matt O.
Period Two - Kodie H.
Period Three - Ayub A.
Period Five - Fatuma H.

Extended Memorial Day Break

Due to the lack of snow days, students will be able to enjoy an extended Memorial Day Break this year.  Students have school Monday through Wednesday and will then have Thursday through Monday off for Memorial day.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Last Week's Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for May 7th to May 11th:

Period One - Kamara F.
Period Two - Natale D.
Period Three - Sierra D.
Period Five - Jahziel S.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Literature Circles

 Eighth grade students will be reading in Literature Circles, or book clubs, beginning next week.  Students spent this past Wednesday looking over the options and then choosing their top three choices.  You can see what books the students had to choose from by scrolling through the pictures at the left.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Practice Your Grammar in a Fun Way

Practice parts of speech by playing Grammar Ninja.  Follow the link below:


It's free and it's fun!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NYS Math Test

In preparation for this week's NYS Math exam, students in ELA have been reviewing the importance of elaboration and being specific when describing how they solved a math problem.  Students have worked extensively to improve their descriptions of how they solved a variety of Book Three problems.  This skill can also be utilized in many other classes as well as the real world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earn a Bonus Five Points

Would you like to earn five bonus points on your lowest grade for the fourth marking period? 

Create an original description of our crazy weather using an example of figurative language and submit it to our blog.  Your description could contain a simile, a metaphor, an example of personification, a hyperbole, or even an idiom.  Be sure that your description is original!

Example - The weather has lost its mind!
                      (use of personification)

Test Question Thrown Out

Do you remember the story of "The Pineapple and the Hare" from the state test?  Were you confused by the story and the questions?  Well, you weren't the only one.  In fact, people from across the state were confused.  Check out the links below to learn more about the confusion:

As a result of all the confusion, those test questions associated with the article were thrown out.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trip to SUNY Cortland

Tomorrow all eighth graders will be taking a trip to the State University of New York at Cortland. Students will have the opportunity to take a tour of the campus and sit in on a variety of workshops that will expose them to a number of possible career paths.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Fourth Marking Period

Just a reminder that the fourth, and final, marking period of eighth grade begins on Monday, April 2nd. Students are reminded that this is a chance at a new beginning. Get your homework in, stay up to date with your class work, and study for your tests!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Looking Ahead

Eighth grade students will take a walking field trip to Nottingham High School on Friday, March 23rd, 2012. Students will be able to tour the building, ask questions of students and staff, and watch a variety of skits that address issues facing incoming freshman. Students will leave after homeroom and will be back at HW Smith before lunch.

New Editorial - Should students pay when they receive a referral?

For this week's editorial, students will explore the pros and cons related to having to pay a fee when a earning a referral. Some schools in Chicago have instituted a policy where students have to pay a fee when they receive a referral. Is this fair? Will it help improve student behavior. Check out the link below to learn more:

Stuedents of the Week for 2/27 to 3/2

Congratulations to our Students of the Week for 2/29 to 3/2. These students continue to show diligence and commitment to improvement:

Period One - Kamara F.
Period Two - Amina B.
Period Three - Linda A.
Period Five - Muneerah S.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anti-Smoking Presentation

Thanks to our Say Yes site coordinator, all eighth grade students will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive presentation about smoking in their ELA class on Wednesday, February 29th. In addition to learning about the health risks of smoking, students will also learn about advertisements used to target their age groups and ways to avoid such marketing.

Students of the Week

Congratulations to the Students of the Week for February 13th to February 17th:

Period One - Vishma B.
Period Two - Natale D.
Period Three - December A.
Period Five - Jamal H.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Preparing for the NYS ELA Exam

Beginning next Monday, students will begin preparing for May's NYS ELA exam. Students will spend the week reviewing strategies for all three parts of the exam and will put those strategies into practice by completing a practice exam. Most importantly, students will utilize the rubrics for short and extended responses in order to create successful and complete answers.

Earn a Homework Pass

Students can earn a homework pass by answering the question below on our class blog:

Test preparation is a necessary part of preparing for May's New York State ELA exam. How could we make that test prep more fun?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

25-Book Assignment

Students are reminded that they can earn credit for reading seven (yes, seven) books by simply reading two related books during the third marking period.

  • Students need to select two books with a related theme or some other element that ties them together (written by the same author, same topic, etc.).
  • Students then need to complete a summary activity for each book.
  • Finally, students need to complete a DETAILED Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two books.
  • All projects are due by March 30th at 3 PM.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Break

Ms. Short would like to wish all of her students a restful and safe February break!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take Home Poetry Exam

In lieu of a traditional exam on the topic of poetry, students were given a take home poetry exam yesterday. The exam covers the vocabulary related to the topic, an analysis of a poem by Langston Hughes, general questions regarding how to analyze poetry and what differentiates poetry from other writing, and the creation of an original poem. Students must turn in their exam by 2:05 PM on Friday, February 17th.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Prove It's Poetry Project

Students will have the opportunity to take their favorite song and through close analysis, prove it is poetry. Students will create a poster using the lyrics of the self-selected song and identify
  • At least two of the three R’s of poetry

- Write examples of RHYME in green

- Write examples of REPETITION in blue

- Write examples of RHYTHM in red

  • An example of ALLITERATION – underlined once
  • At least three examples of FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, personification, idiom) – circled and identified
  • At least one example of IMAGERY or SYMBOLISM – underlined twice and explained in margin

Students will also write a paragraph on the back of their poster that clearly explains the theme or message of their song. The paragraph should be five to seven sentences and free of any grammatical errors.

Students will also present his or her findings to the class in a two to three minute presentation. Students will explain the elements of poetry found in the song, its theme, and a final conclusion as to whether or not the song is actually poetry. Students can use music and/or video clips to enhance their presentation.

Project Timeline

Monday, February 13th – Introduce Project

Tuesday, February 14th and Wednesday, February 15th – In-class Work Days

Thursday, February 16th and Friday, February 17th – Presentation Days