Friday, November 21, 2014

Dialogue Homework

Hi there students and parents, and Happy Weekend!

Just a reminder that all students have a homework assignment to prepare for our lesson on writing realistic dialogue.  Students have been asked to "eavesdrop" on a conversation that fills up one side of a sheet of lined paper.  Students should bring the transcribed dialogues to class on Monday, and we'll be using them to note the difference between believable dialogue and the less-convincing stuff that sometimes ends up in our stories if we're not careful.

There are some stipulations to the assignment, so I've listed the task and all conditions below.

1. Sometime before Monday, you must record a conversation between two speakers.  YOU should NOT be one of the speakers, and the speakers should  not know that you're recording the conversation.

2. After you've listened to/recorded the conversation, write it down on a sheet of paper, starting a new line each time the speaker changes.  Label the speakers as Person A and Person B--do not use actual names.  Your conversation SHOULD NOT REVEAL ANYTHING THAT THE SPEAKERS WOULD NOT WANT OTHERS KNOWING.  THEY SHOULD ALSO NOT INCLUDE ANY INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT OR LANGUAGE.

3. In class, we'll be looking at the dialogue strings that you've found and determining what makes them authentic.  We'll then translate our observations into strategies to improve the dialogue in our stories.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Hi everyone!  Happy Wednesday!

Just a reminder that the first SRC of the marking period was due YESTERDAY 11/18/14.  Overall, I'm pleased by how many students showed responsibility in getting them in on time.  BUT, if you look in Genesis and your SRC is marked missing, please aim to get it to me ASAP so that you don't lose a bunch of points for lateness.  I'll look forward to receiving them tomorrow from students who still owe them to me.

Have a great day!
Miss Whitman

Monday, November 17, 2014

Today's Language Arts HW

Hi everyone!

Today we learned about conflict, and the four types of conflict that we most often see in literature.  For homework, students are to look at their independent reading texts and identify two different conflicts (of two different categories from the four that we discussed) that they can find in their story.  They should write the title and author of the book, the two types of conflicts, and a short sentence telling me what the conflict is.  I'll be checking for it tomorrow.

Also, EXCELLENT work on the benchmark!  SO many of you did really well!  I'm so impressed and proud to call y'all my students!

Much love, and happy Monday!
Miss Whitman

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Benchmark Exam Tomorrow, Y'All!

Here's the text of the study guide I provided to students today after school.  There are links to practice exercises that you can do online.  Please come to school prepared to do your best!

Benchmark Exam Prep

Context Clues
What are context clues?
Practice figuring out what a word means based on the words close to it.

Narrative POV
Be able to name and define the four narrative points of view that we’ve discussed (first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient).
Be able to identify the narrative point of view of a passage.  To practice online, go to this link:

Author’s Purpose
Know the acronym PIE and what it stands for.
Be able to identify the author’s purpose in different types of writing.  For extra practice with this, go here:

Plot Structure
Be able to identify and define the five components of a plot diagram (exposition/introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution).
Be able to determine where different parts of a story belong on a plot diagram.  To practice this skill, go here:

Be able to identify the meaning of S.T.E.A.L. and give examples for each.  For a practice organizer, go here:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Important Reminders

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to school after that nice, long weekend!  I hope you're all refreshed and rejuvenated.  A few important items of note...

1. Your homework, due TOMORROW for A/E and D/G and WEDNESDAY for B/F, is to complete the class survey found on this very website under the "Links" tab.  Under the "Links" tab, click the word "survey" and it will take you to the form you must fill out.  It's entirely optional to put your name, but the rest of the items on the form are required for submission.  Thank you for helping me to become a better teacher!  Your thoughts and ideas matter to me a lot.

2. This FRIDAY, you'll be taking your BENCHMARK EXAM for Marking Period One.  The exam will cover the main topics you've learned about in Language Arts so far this year--narrative point of view, plot structure, author's purpose, characterization, and context clues.  Please begin reviewing your notes NOW so that you're super prepared for Friday!

3. This Wednesday and Thursday, we'll be having "student-led" conferences, meaning that YOU, the STUDENT, will be facilitating a discussion with me about your performance over the past marking period and your goals for improvement.  You have received (or will receive tomorrow) copies of your grades from MP 1 and a reflection sheet that you must fill out and bring up when you conference with me.  I expect you to be thoughtful and specific during our conversations.  I think you all know how much I want you to succeed, but if you don't want it for yourself, then we've got a problem...don't forget that you're all WAY better than adequate!

4. This Friday evening is Collingswood's Book Fair at the Barnes & Noble in Cherry Hill.  The event will take place from 3-8 PM, and a $100 gift card will be raffled off to a lucky someone.  A portion of all money made--on books and on food purchased at the in-store cafe, will go to Collingswood if you mention our school when you make your purchase.  Come on out and join in the fun!

I think that's all for now.  It's a busy week--make sure that you're keeping track of what's due in your agenda books.

See y'all tomorrow!
Miss Whitman

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HOMEWORK for 11/5 - DUE MONDAY 11/10/14

  1. Your first piece of homework is to finish drafting your story by the start of next week when you come back from the long weekend.  It doesn't have to be your final copy, but the draft should be completed. I will be checking!

  1. Your second piece of homework is to think about, and look at, some endings--endings of books you’ve recently read, articles from class, etc., and think about what makes them effective (or not effective).  Jot down some thoughts in your writing notebook (with the entry dated).

Opportunity for the girls...

Attention, ladies in my grade seven Writing Workshop and Language A

Opportunity for the girls...

Attention, ladies in my grade seven Writing Workshop and Language Arts classes!  Here's a great opportunity for you to engage with other young writers AND professionals in Philadelphia.  Check it out!  If you go, I will happily give you some extra credit points for the second marking period!

Have a great long weekend!
Miss W.