Friday, October 31, 2014

SRC 4 Grades are IN GENESIS

Please check Genesis to make sure that all of your SRC grades are accurate and entered.  The end of the marking period is looming before us, and I want to be sure that we're all on the same page with regard to your grades!

Happy Halloween!  Hope it's full of Edgar Allen Poe-tastic eeriness!

Miss Whitman

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marking Period One - Check Genesis!

Hi students and parents,

Just a reminder that Marking Period One is coming to a close very soon.  Please be sure that you're checking Genesis for your grades and taking note of any missing assignments that you can still turn in for partial credit.

If you are missing one or more SRC grades, you are likely to receive a D or an F for the marking period.  Please don't let this happen!  

Some of you have been reading, but haven't been submitting SRC assignments, which is just silly!  PLEASE come and see me if you have questions or concerns about your grade, and I will happily sit down with you and help you to think things through, and, if needed, come up with a plan to do better next marking period.

Have a beautiful Wednesday!
Miss Whitman

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Final SRC for the Marking Period

Just a reminder that the final SRC for the first marking period is due this coming Thursday, October 30th.  Please be sure to turn it in on time to receive full credit!

Also, here's the link to the wonderful interjection song video.  I'm pretty sure you're going to say, "WOW!" after you've watched it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Having trouble remembering your usage rules? There, their, they're, it's okay...

Hope y'all caught my funny words of comfort in this blog title.  The correct reassurance is actually, "There, there there," but I'm hoping that you already figured that out for yourself!  Today, we went over the proper and distinct uses of "their," "there," and "they're."  I wanted to share the distinction with all of you, students and parents both, so that you can utilize it in all future writing, and also rock out all future weekly usage quizzes.

Here are my tricks...

THERE - This word has to do with location, as in, "I put my toothbrush over there."  One way to remember it is to think about the fact that if you knock off the "t" in front, you get "here," which is also a location.  You can also use this to remember to use "where" instead of "were" when you're saying something like, "Where is the movie theatre?"  So, THERE you are--a nice, simply way to remember the meaning of "there."

THEY'RE - This is a contraction for the words "they are."  The apostrophe tells us that two words have been sort of fused together to make this new word.  You should also know that a contraction is a pair of words connected and made shorter by adding an apostrophe.  If the opposite of contracting is expanding, it makes sense that when a word/phrase "contracts," it gets shorter.

THEIR - This word has to do with possession.  In fact, it's a possessive pronoun.  That means it can take the place of a noun AND it has to do with ownership.  So instead of saying, "Emily and Bill spent months preparing for Emily and Bill's wedding," I could say, "Emily and Bill spent months preparing for THEIR wedding."  We know that "their" is a pronoun substitution for "Emily and Bill's," and we know the wedding belongs to them, so we use "their."

For my video people, here's a cool video that details - in under two minutes--which word to use when.  It includes those little green army men too--bonus!

Also, if you want to review past quizzes to prepare yourself for future ones, here are links to each of them:

Usage Quiz One:
Usage Quiz Two:

Have a beautiful Wednesday!
Miss Whitman

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Hey Y'all!  Happy Friday!  This week really flew by!

Yesterday and today, we infused a bit of math into our language arts class, which I hope was at least a little bit fun!  From a practical standpoint, it should help you students to manage your reading time in a way that ensures that you finish your current books before your final SRC of the marking period is due (on October 30th).

Just a couple of quick reminders:

  • If your reading reflections are marked as missing, you can show them to me before the end of the day tomorrow for partial credit.  After that point, you will NOT be able tot get credit for them.  BE PREPARED FOR FUTURE CHECKS LIKE THAT ONE.  Hint, hint, nudge, nudge....
  • If I haven't received your third SRC, I've marked in "missing" in Genesis.  Please make sure it's submitted ASAP, as missing SRCs have a sizable impact on your class average.
  • Make SURE that you have your "Understanding Perspective and Point of View" homework with you in language arts class tomorrow.  I will be giving you a grade for completion and we'll be going over it in class.
  • Sometime in the near future, expect that I'll be doing a random "book check" to make sure that all students have brought their independent reading selections to class.  This is something that you should have EVERY day, no excuses.  Now you can't say you weren't warned!
  • If you are struggling, have questions, or need extra help, please know that I am here to assist you!  I am here in the morning by 7:15 each day, and in the afternoon most days until at least 3:30 (often a lot later).  Stop on by!  I'd love to see your face, hear what's new, and help alleviate any confusion you might have.
Have a great day!
Miss Whitman

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homework 10/14/14

Hey there, y'all!

Great classes today--lots of good discussion and participation.  Just wanted to share the homework assignments and information so that you can stay on top of your game!

All Writing Workshop classes should bring to their next class meeting the narrative writing checklists that I distributed to you in class.  Before next class, you must review the criteria listed on the sheet for a quality piece of seventh grade narrative writing.  Once you've reviewed everything, I want you to circle three areas that you want to particularly focus on as you compose your first narrative pieces.  You do NOT need to check off anything on the checklist, as you haven't yet written a draft.  Just circle the little blurbs for your three areas of focus.

All Language Arts classes must finish the "Understanding Perspective and Point of View" sheets that you received in class.  Remember that they are double sided!  If you need to re-watch the clip to help you as you write your answers, here's the link:

Looking forward to seeing your smiling faces tomorrow!
Miss Whitman

P.S. If you want to see the clip from "Dead Poets Society" to understand why I made you stand on your desks today, here it is:

Monday, October 13, 2014

:-) Happy Teacher

Happy Monday, my dears!

While y'all are gallivanting all over town, I'm here at dear CMS about to begin a day of professional development!  I'm looking forward to seeing my smiling students tomorrow!

I wanted to extend a GIANT thank you to all of the students who were able to make it to Saturday's book festival in spite of rain and general busy-ness.  It was such a great experience to see CMS students so engaged in literary conversation with a real, live author--whose work they've read and enjoyed.  I was extremely impressed by the caliber of questions asked by our CMS seventh graders, and I know Mr. Rothwell is proud as well.  I hope that many of you were able to find some great book bargains too!  I bought about 15 myself, plus a few good-looking selections for our classroom library.

At the end of Mrs. Connor's talk, she said to me, "You are a very lucky teacher to have these kids for your students."  I quite agree.

Thank you for being wonderful!  Don't forget--your next SRC is due TOMORROW!!!  Don't be late!  If you need a copy of the alternate assessment list, you can find it in the Scholastic Reading Counts menu on this website.

Happy Reading!
Miss Whitman

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Festival!

This is your final reminder, everyone!  Tomorrow is the Collingswood Book Festival!  If you would like to receive extra credit (in the form of a 100% SRC grade), just show up at 1 PM on the 2nd floor of the Collingswood PUBLIC Library.  Be prepared to ENGAGE in the conversation by listening actively and asking thoughtful questions.  Make sure that I stamp your paper so that you can receive the extra credit.  If you lost your paper, here's the link to another one.

IN THE EVENT OF RAIN, the show will go on!  But the festival will be held at CHS, and the conversation with Leslie Connor will be in Room 121 of the high school.  You can keep track of the final decision--it will be made by 6:30 AM tomorrow--at the Collingswood Book Festival website here.

Looking forward to seeing many of your smiling faces!  Happy long weekend!

Miss Whitman

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Free Compliments

Hi all!

Kudos to my wonderful students for doing a great job breaking down the "wall of disrespect" today.  You were awesome, and you had great contributions to our class conversation.  For those of you who may want to watch them again, I'd like to share the link to the two videos we watched in class.  Here they are:

Jeremiah's Story -
The Free Compliment Guys -

As I mentioned in class today, I will provide a bit of extra credit to students who decide to emulate the upstanders featured in the above videos, either by doing what they've done or coming up with your own awesome initiative.  To receive extra credit, I'll require you to present some kind of photographic or video proof of your efforts.  I'll also require a reflection paragraph telling me about what you did and how the experience affected you.  Be as creative and thoughtful as you can!

Thanks for being wonderful and making my job a joy!
Lots of love,
Miss Whitman

P.S. SRC THREE IS DUE ON TUESDAY 10/14!  DON'T FORGET!!!  I will NOT be providing class time for students to take SRC quizzes, so if you need to take a quiz, you'll need to find time before or after school, or during advisory, to take your quiz.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week of Respect

Hi there, students and parents!

This week, we are celebrating the Week of Respect, and we kicked off today by having students enter CMS to find inspirational messages posted on their lockers.  Students, if you are lovers of "words of affirmation," as I am, then you probably took great delight in finding a special message to brighten your day!  To reiterate the positive messages in those notes, I want to say that one month into the school year, and knowing y'all a lot better than I did in early September, I still really do believe that every one of you is smart and capable of doing great things!  Please, parents and guardians, encourage your young people to seize the day (Carpe Diem!), because they are the leaders of tomorrow.  I hope that this Week of Respect is simply a reminder of the behaviors that we exhibit throughout the year.

Have a beautiful week!
Miss W.