Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TKAM - Character Relationships

By the close of Chapter 9, Lee has introduced most of the major characters in the book. One way the reader comes to know these characters is through their interaction with Scout. These interactions help to show how each character resembles or differs from Scout.

Characters who reflect aspects of Scout's own character are known as alter egos. Those who are sharply different serve as foils. 

A careful study of these character relationships help to show the network of personalities in Maycomb and how they shape Scout's life.

Think about the two characters in each pair below.  Note at least two ways they are alike and two ways they are different. From there, decide what relationship each has with Scout and what effect they have on her. You only need to choose one pair to blog about.

Character pairs:
1- Dill and Francis
2- Aunt Alexandra and Uncle Jack
3- Mr. Avery and Miss Maudie
4- Miss Maudie and Calpurnia
5- Aunt Alexandra and Atticus

a. Similarities to each other
b. Differences from each other
c. Relationship to Scout
d. Effect on Scout.

Exploring Nonfiction Reader Response

reader response questions
1- Write a summary of what you read in your book recently. 

2- Copy a short passage that you found to be interesting. Explain what made it interesting for you. 

3- Explain some of the things that you have learned so far that you are not likely to forget in the near future.

Happy Writing:)

Monday, November 23, 2015

TKAM Setting

Review Harper Lee’s descriptions of Maycomb from your novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
You will be selecting a photograph that represents your idea of Maycomb, AL based on Harper Lee’s description.

Incorporating the different criteria from the Visual Literacy Guide, write a thoughtful, thorough, and well constructed response relating the photograph to Maycomb, AL.
Make sure to include:

  • The image of the photograph you have selected for analysis (make sure to cite your photograph)
  • Your written analysis

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Theme Development

Your blog for your 40 Book Challenge this week will focus on theme. You will need to determine a theme and analyze its development throughout the novel. By looking closely at character's actions, the setting, plot events, and/or the conflict, you can identify clues that are written by the author to help teach you (the reader) a message about life or human nature. Start first by looking at your 'Universal Theme' sheet to help you get started.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Narrative Twist - 7th grade

Choose any story in this unit and write a new ending for that story. Your new ending should show a major character changing as a result of the events in the original story. You can rewrite the ending starting from any point in the story that you choose. You need to add dialogue to your story. Try to make the ending as creative as possible.


  • Character is chosen
  • Picked logical events from the story
  • Showed a new/distinct decision the character would make
  • New ending to the story

1st Quarter Reflections

We have reached the end of 1st Quarter...can you believe it?! Now take a moment to reflect on what you have learned so far. Some questions to consider:

Where are you in your 40 Book Challenge? How have your blogs been progressing since August? What strategies have benefited you? What have you learned about the world? How have your research skills improved?

Make sure to include a topic sentence and supporting details that fully support your main idea.

Monday, October 26, 2015

How do Elements of a Story interact with one another?

Based on your reading for your 40 Book Challenge, your blog post this week will be centered on  how elements of a story interact with one another. You may focus on how the setting affects the character OR you may focus on how the conflict drives character development (causes the character to change).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

40 Book Challenge for 2015-2016 School Year


 Poetry anthologies/novels: 2
 Traditional literature: 2
 Realistic fiction: 6
 Historical fiction: 2
 Fantasy: 4
 Science fiction: 3
 Mystery: 2
 Informational: 5
 Biography, autobiography, memoir: 3

 Personal-choice chapter books: 11


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Parallels between Mawi's experiences and the Syrian refugee crisis

Last week we started reading Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom, which starts off by describing Mawi's journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to his relocation in Chicago, Illinois. This week you have picked an article that focuses on some aspect of refugees throughout history, or more specifically the Syrian refugee crisis.

In your blog you will analyze how Of Beetles and Angels and your AoW make connections or distinctions between individuals, ideas and/or events. You must include at least three paragraphs, two of which will focus on a connection made through individuals, ideas, or events. Your last paragraph will center on the question, 'How does war affect individuals and societies?' Follow the TIQA paragraph format, making sure to include textual evidence from your two sources.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top Ten Book Blog

You must compile a list of the 10 books that are personal favorites or which have influenced you the most in your life. After each book title and author, please provide a graphic of the book cover and a brief blurb as to why this is a personal favorite or has influenced you.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
This novel is one of my all-time favorite novels due in large part to the narrator, Scout. We are able to learn about her life and see firsthand the powerful affect her father, Atticus Finch, has on her and the town they live in. I remember the first time that I read To Kill a Mockingbird was in 9th grade and the lessons that I learned about the existence of social injustice and the importance of morals were as relevant then as they are now.

2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

3. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

6. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

8. Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

9. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

10. Night by Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Reading!!

You have made it to Summer Break!!! Congrats...now get reading! For this summer you are required to read at least two novels and complete two blog posts per novel. Therefore, you will have a total of at least four blog posts.

You do not need to comment on other's blogs, but it is highly recommended.  Please have your two books read and four blog posts completed by August 17th. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at slarson@bsd100.org.

Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Final Reflection: 9 Questions to really make you THINK!

Final Reflection - Please incorporate these nine questions into your final reflective blog for the school year. Keep in mind these questions should be focused on your time in Mrs. Larson's Accelerated English Language Arts classes.:)

1- What are the three most important things you learned this year?

2- What is something we did this year that you think you will remember for the rest of your life?

3- What was the nicest thing someone in our class did for you this year?

4- What is something you taught your teacher or classmates this year?

5- In what area do you feel you made your biggest improvements? What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?

6- What was the most challenging part of this year for you?

7- What was the best piece of writing that you did this year? Why do you think it is your best?

8- Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite? Why?

9- What advice would you give students who will be in this class next year?

Of Mice and Men: The Movie

Choose one section from Section I, II, or III to explore more closely in your blog for this week. Everyone will be completing Section IV.

Section I
There are several directorial choices that Gary Sinise made that differ from the novel. Comment on these choices.

  1.  In the film, the director shows us “the incident in Weed” differently from how we find out in the book. What’s different? Why do you think he chose to do it that way? How does it change the story?
  2. The book begins with the “stage” set by the pond. In the film, we see George on a train first. Why would the director do this? What is the director telling us about George’s life?
  3. What do you think of the director’s choice of Sharilynn Fenn to play Curley’s wife? Does she look the way you imagined her in the book? Whom would you have chosen?

Section II
There are several scenes added to the movie in which Curley’s wife talks to George. These scenes are not in the book, or they appear differently in the book.

  1. Briefly describe at least two of these scenes.
  2. How do these new scenes change or add to your opinion of Curley’s wife? What do they show the audience about her? Why do you think the director (or screenwriter) chose to add those scenes?

Section III
Although the plot has the same ending in both the book and the movie, the actual ending moments of each piece are different. The movie ends with a flashback; the book ends with dialogue.

  1. What does the flashback show?
  2. How does the flashback leave the audience feeling at the end of the movie?
  3. Does that feeling match the feeling at the end of the book? Why do you think the director chose to use a different ending rather than just showing exactly what’s in the book?
  4. What is the line of dialogue that ends the book?
  5. What does that line tell us about the speaker?
  6. What feeling does that line leave the reader with? How does it make you feel when he says that?

Section IV
What are your general thoughts, feelings, reactions of Of Mice and Men? What had the most profound impact on you or your understanding of the novella? Who would you recommend this  book to and why?

Courtesy of svms.rocklinusd.org

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Final Passion Project Reflection

Questions to consider answering for the last Passion Project Blog

1- Why did you choose your topic?
2- What things have you accomplished with your project?
3- Have the steps you thought you would take changed over the course of your project?
4- Have you finished your project?
5- Is your project ongoing?
6- If your project something that will ever end?
7- Are you satisfied with the outcome of what you have done?
8- What kind of things have you learned about your project?
9- What kinds of things have you learned about yourself as a result of your topic?
10- Did the challenges you faced or did not face during this project surprise you or were they things that you expected?

Morrie's Aphorisms - Final Project

Poster Part 1 directions: Choose one of Morrie’s aphorisms that you have been collecting and create a poster based on its meaning. Your poster should be completed on 8 ½” x 11” computer paper and mounted on a complimenting color of construction paper. You may use graphics, and/or pictures, but the bulk of your illustration should be hand-drawn and may incorporate color or black/white with pencil shading. Also, the aphorism should be legible and should stand out (readable from a distance). Your poster will be assessed by the following: readability of the aphorism, color and illustration choices, theme, creativity, and effort.

Blog Part 2 directions:

1- Explain the aphorism in detail. what was Morrie's main message?
2-     Relate the aphorism to a movie, song, historical event, current event, personal experience, etc. and explain in detail how the example you have chosen relates to the aphorism.
3-     Evaluate the aphorism by explaining why you agree/disagree with it. Give specific reasons for your position and specific evidence from the text to support your position.
4-     Take a picture of your aphorism to use as your graphic.
5- Include your own aphorism regarding life.

Due Date: In class May 14th

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dreams of OMAM

Using "To A Mouse" by Robert Burns as inspiration, write a short poem expressing what happens when you have a dream and it doesn't come true.


Based on your brainstorming via Edmodo, write a short poem elaborating on your dream and/or why dreams or visions are an important part of life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Conflict in 'Of Mice and Men'

Conflict is the struggle between opposing forces in a story. Three common types of conflict are:
  • Man vs. Man
  • Man vs. Self
  • Man vs. Nature
  • Man vs. Society
In Of Mice and Men, conflict surrounds the plot and is a major part of the action. Several conflicts emerge at the same time, and ultimately cause the plot to materialize into an interesting and suspenseful story.

Brainstorm the different types of conflicts via your Google doc, creating a chart that addresses the conflict, types of conflict, and the effect that the conflict has had on the plot so far. 

From your brainstorming session, choose at least two conflicts to explore more in depth in this blog. Be sure to include textual evidence and support and also identify the effect that the conflict has had on the plot so far. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Which 'Tuesday' Has Inspired You?

Based on the 6 Tuesdays you have read about in Tuesdays with Morrie, choose which topic (The World, Feeling Sorry For Yourself, Regrets, Death, Family, or Emotions) that has had the most impact on you or inspired you. On your blog discuss the importance of this topic with your own opinions, including textual evidence (direct quotes) from the book. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesdays with Morrie - Bucketlist

What are your initial reactions to what you have read in Tuesdays with Morrie thus far? One of the main themes developing in Tuesdays with Morrie is not to take your life for granted. Based on this premise, what is on your Bucketlist? You can write a paragraph leading up to a bulleted list of what you would like to do/accomplish in your life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Of Mice and Men

Describe the atmosphere of the ranch and bunkhouse. Be sure to include characteristics of different characters that were formally or informally introduced to us in this chapter. Support your choice with textual evidence and interpretation.

Why doesn't Curley's wife have a name?   What message, if anything, is John Steinbeck  trying to send by not giving her a first name?  
Support your choice with textual evidence and interpretation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life Is Beautiful

Based on the Holocaust literature and poetry we have read, what connections can be made between Life is Beautiful and our reading?  What events, scenes, or situations are similar or different? What is similar or different about the mood or tone of the pieces?

How is life shown as beautiful throughout the film. Pull out at least two examples from different parts of the film and explain your rationale.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Focus Question: How do Elie's experiences during the Holocaust change him as a person?
Throughout your reading of Night, you have witnessed many significant changes that Wiesel experiences as a result of his time in the concentration camps. I encourage you to delve deeply into his character and focus on important aspects, such as: his personality, morality, beliefs or values.
Your goal is to identify at least two major changes, and 'prove' using textual evidence and interpretation, how Eliezer transforms by the end of his memoir. Please use TIQA as your tool for organization.

*You must finish Night before you can complete this blog post*


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poetweet - 6th grade

Poetweet is a popular form of poetry inspired by Twitter. Twitter users post tweets that are limited to 140 characters; users can create original poems in their tweets, thus creating poetweet.

Write a poetweet, limiting yourself to 140 characters. Each letter, number, and punctuation mark represents a single character. Spaces between words, sentences, and punctuation count as one character blank; line breaks count as one as well.

Make sure to include a graphic that represents your poetweet. Have fun!

Poetweet and Twaiku Poetry Exercise - Tracee Orman, 2011

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poetry Reflection - 7th Grade

Based on our study of poetry, please take the time now to reflect and respond to what you have learned.

1~ Poetry can be a vital, real part of everyone's life. What place or importance does poetry have in my own life? Does poetry belong to everyone? How do I know?

2~ How does the life and experiences of a poet affect the poem he/she creates?

At the end of your poetry reflection, please attach the links to your poems in the following order:

- Extended Metaphor Poem
- Bio-Poem of a Literary Character
- Where I'm From Poem
- Two-Voice Poem
- Spine Poem
- Found Poem
- Nonsense Poem
- Any additional poems that you may have written and submitted via Blogger