During Fall break this course will migrate to a Google Classroom.  You will receive an email notification when the Classroom is open.  Follow the instructions in that email to sign in to the Classroom.

For a few weeks, homework notices will continue to appear on the WEBsite, and will also appear in the Classroom.  Beginning in November, assignments will be posted solely in the Classroom.  

Homework due Wednesday, October 25, 2017


  • SHORT STORY: Write the first 5-7 paragraphs of your short story.  Use your Suggested Plot Chart and the handout from class this week for guidance on story structure, verb tense, transitions, and dialogue.  Typeand print your story or write it on notebook paper, DOUBLE SPACED.  Bring it to class next week prepared to share it with another classmate and edit as necessary.  The story does NOT go in your journal.  SUBMISSION: Bring your short story to class.

  • JOURNAL: Write a paragraph about the role of spies in Bomb.  Your paragraph should include a topic sentence, three details, a closing sentence, and at least one quote from the text.  Use the hamburger paragraph organizer if you need help.  Remember to cite your quotation: (author's last name, p.#)  The questions below can guide your thinking on what to include in your paragraph.  SUBMISSION: Place your journal in the white basket when you arrive at WEB.

    • Who were some of the spies that shared American secrets with the Soviets?

    • What were their reasons for doing so?

    • How do you think their actions contribute to the race to build and steal the bomb?

    • How do you feel about their role in the race?

  • NOTE: I forgot to print out a rubric for this week's journal, so just write your paragraph on the next clean page and add it to your table of contents.  Make sure to title your paragraph and write the date.


Homework due Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Read "Part 2:  Chain Reactions" of Bomb.  You are looking for signal words that indicate sequence of events, or cause and effect.   Use the handout you received in class to help you annotate as you read.  If you need a copy of the handout, click HERE.

Bring your annotated text to class.  We will use your notes to facilitate the discussion on this part of the book.



Use words and phrases, not complete sentences, to complete your Suggested Plot Chart.  This will be the outline for your short story.  You do not need to write your story, only outline it on the handout.  Refer back to the short story "Boar Out There" that we read in class to help you.  I marked the parts of the plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. 

SUBMISSION: Please place your Suggested Plot Chart in the white basket on the table upon arriving at WEB.  There is no journal assignment this week. 

Fall Semester Free Choice Project due November 29, 2017

  • Click HERE for project information.

  • Choose and acquire your book of choice by September 27, 2017. Please bring a copy of your book of choice to class next week.  You will be asked to write down your choice and show your book.  If you did not bring your book to class this week, please bring it on October 18.   

  • Your goal is to finish reading your book of choice by the end of October.  You will then have the month of November to complete your project.  

Homework due Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Read the Prologue and Part 1 of Bomb.  In my edition that is pages 1 through 41;  your ediction may vary.  Annotate as you read.  You are looking for clues that explain why Part 1 is called "Three-Way Race".  The kind of details that will help are things like names of people, dates of events, and locations.


Complete the handout "Features of a Good Short Story".  This is the handout we discussed in class.  Click HERE if you need another copy.  Choose one of your story ideas or an idea from the handout.  You will begin brainstorming ideas for your story.  Next week, we will begin outlining our stories. 

When thinking about your character, think about what the conflict will be and what character traits might be helpful or harmful as your character faces the conflict or makes a decision.  Think back to Tony's advice about character and point of view as you make your plans.  You will have time to brainstorm with each other in class next week, so this is not set in stone.  I would also encourage your to share your story ideas with a parent or sibling.  Sometimes talking through them out loud can help you narrow down your ideas. 

SUBMISSION: Please place your handout in the white basket on the table upon arriving at WEB.  There is no journal assignment this week. 

Homework due Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Read the rest of Jim the Boy.  Annotate as you read.  You are looking for instances of conflict.  


  • In your journal, make a list of 5-10 ideas for a short story.  Not 4 ideas;  not 11 ideas.  Stay within the parameters of the assignment.

  • Write a paragraph in response to the author talk by Tony Earley.  What did you find most interesting during the interview?  (If you were absent, you are not expected to complete this assignment.)

    • Remember to include a topic sentence (topic and main point), at least 3 detail sentences, and a closing sentence.  Make sure to indent and use the margins on your paper.  

  • SUBMISSION:  If you arrive for first block, place your journal in the white basket at the top of the stairs.  If you arrive for second block, you can turn your journal in at the end of class.  Journals will be available for pick up on the sign-out table at the end of the day.  You are responsible for picking up your journal.  



Homework due Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Read "Book III" of Jim the Boy. In my edition that's pg. 73-136.  Annotate as you read;  you are looking for examples of conflict in the story.  Include icons with your annotations, to help you easily locate passages for discussion in class.

Use the conflict chart in your notebook to help you decide what type of conflict each example represents.  You may wish to add a few words to your annotation to bump your memory later.

SUBMISSION:  Bring your annotated text to class.  



  • Write a paragraph explaining an example of one type of conflict found in your reading of Jim the Boy this week.  Use the table titled "Types of Conflict" in your journal to help you identify conflict as you read this week.  Use my example paragraph to guide your thinking.  You will need to include a quote from the text in your paragraph this week.  Look at my example paragraph to see how to cite the quote.  Click HERE for a Hamburger Paragraph Organizer to help organize your thoughts before you write.  If you choose to use the organizer, please turn it in with your journal.

  • SUBMISSION:  Place your journal in the basket upon arriving at WEB for first block.  If you don't attend first block, I will take your journal after class and return it to you on the sign-out table at the end of the day.

  • NOTE: Some students left their journals in the basket on the sign-out table yesterday.  If that is the case, please do your work on a sheet of paper that we can glue into your journal on Wednesday.  I will put links to the handouts below so that you will have them to complete your work.  Please get into the habit of checking the basket at the end of the day.

  • Types of Conflict Chart

  • Example Paragraph by Mrs. Hayes


Homework due Wednesday, September 13, 2017


  • Choose one of the paragraphs in your journal to rewrite.  Choose the paragraph that could use the most improvement.  Rewrite it in your journal using THIS RUBRIC (the one you glued into your journal during class) to check your work.  This paragraph will be graded based on the criteria in the rubric.

  • If you feel that your paragraph was off topic, look below at the past three assignments to make sure your paragraph is addressing the assignment.  Remember to include the two parts of a topic sentence when beginning your writing. 

  • Use this STOPLIGHT DIAGRAM for help with color coding.

  • SUBMISSION:  Place your journal in the basket upon arriving at WEB for first block.  If you don't attend first block, I will take your journal after class and return it to you on the sign-out table at the end of the day. 



  • Use the feedback you received in your peer review to improve and finish your Poem for Two Voices.  Refer to the notes on your rubric for areas that need your attention.  If you want me to look over your work before you turn it in, please send me a copy by email no later than noon on Sunday, September 10.

    SUBMISSION:  Bring three copies of your poem to WEB on Wednesday.  Put one copy in the basket on the homework table when you arrive.  Bring the other two copies with you to class to use in your recitation.  

  • Read Jim the Boy, from the "Prologue" through the end of "Book II:  Jim Leaves Home".  In my edition, that's pages 1-70;  your edition may vary.  Annotate as you read.  You are looking for passages where the author takes a position on this statement:  "You alone are responsible for your success in life."   Every passage you mark must have an icon with it that indicates why you marked it.  Bring your annotated text to class to use in discussion.

Homework due Wednesday, September 6, 2017


  • Read the rest of Seedfolks.  Continue annotating your text.  You do not need to transcribe your annotations;  your text markup is all that is required for class.

  • Write the first draft of your Poem for Two Voices, following the process we covered in class.  Use material from the text as your framework, but feel free to adjust it to suit the needs of your poem.  If you need a copy of the instructions, click HERE.   Feel free to email me if you need any help.

SUBMISSION:  Place your poem with the rubric in the designated basket when you arrive on Wednesday.  If you do not come for 1st block, please find me as soon as you arrive and turn in your work to me personally.  Make sure your name is on every page in case they get separated.



  • Read "From Seed to Seedfolks" located in the back of your copy of Seedfolks or click HERE to read it online.

  • Write a paragraph in your journal explaining what you found interesting about Paul Fleischman's process and inspiration for writing Seedfolks.  Remember to refer to your hamburger paragraph structure and to include the two parts of a topic sentence. 

SUBMISSION:  If you arrive for 1st block, place your journal in the basket at the top of the stairs.  I will review your work during first block.  If you arrive for 2nd block, I will collect your journal after class and review it during 3rd block.  After review, journals will be placed on the sign out table downstairs.  You will be responsible for collecting your journal when you sign out.  

Homework due Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Read the next five chapters of Seedfolks ("Sam" through "Nora").  Continue annotating your text.   Look for the same details as last week (age, nationality/ethnicity, how they got involved, what they contributed).  For the new chapters you are also looking for information on what effect the characters have on each other and on the garden.  

You do not need to transcribe your annotations;  your text markup is all that is required this week.  If you need an Annotation Bookmark, click HERE.  There are two on the page;  cut out one and fold it vertically, so that the icons are on one side and the citation guide is on the other.   

SUBMISSION:  Place your annotated text in the designated basket when you arrive on Wednesday.  If you do not come for 1st block, please find me when you arrive and turn in your text.  Make sure your name is on your book, so you get back your own copy.

REMINDER:  If you have questions about any part of your assignment, please contact me sooner rather than later. You may download a refresher on how to write an email by clicking HERE.   The email should come from you, rather than your parent or guardian.  However, you may copy your parents/guardians on the message so that they will be in the loop.



After completing your reading assignment for this week, write a paragraph about your favorite character (so far) in the book Seedfolks.  Make sure to include details that explain why you connected with or liked this character. Your paragraph should be 5-8 sentences long.  It should include a topic sentence and closing sentence.  Click HERE for help organizing your writing.  We will talk more about paragraph structure in class next week. 

Remember to use your rubric to help organize your work in your journal. Click HERE to see a copy of the rubric.

Homework due Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Read the first five chapters of "Seedfolks".  As you read, annotate your text according to the procedure we discussed in class;  use your Annotation Bookmark for reference.  The items you are looking for are:

  • The age of the main character of each chapter.

  • The nationality/ethnicity of thIS character.

  • The reason this character gets involved in the garden.

  • This character's contribution to the garden.

You will use your markup to facility your group discussion in class.

Please also familiarize yourself with the poem "Grasshoppers", for discussion in class.  You may download a copy of it by clicking HERE.


Decorate the cover of your composition notebook.  This will be your Writing Journal.

  • Use fabric, ribbon, magazine clippings, photos, etc. to decorate your journal.

  • Your name should be clearly placed on the front of your journal.  

  • Your journal should tell me something (or many things) about you!  Make it your own!

Write a five sentence paragraph explaining what your journal cover says about you.

  • Skip the first three pages of the journal to be reserved for the table of contents.  We will set up the table of contents next week in class.