Monday, November 17, 2014

Make Your Case!

Today, our word of the day was THESIS, which essentially is a statement that makes an argument. We explored why some statements are strong examples of a thesis, and some are not, and you each write a thesis about anything in the world that interested you.

You stood and shared your thesis with the world! (Okay, at least with Room 340.) Then, we dove into a brief clip from the film A Few Good Men. Together, we watched as Tom Cruise provided a strong thesis and tried to support that thesis with powerful, passionate, and purposeful evidence.

After we explored the film clip, you shared some ideas on how being a lawyer is an analogy for a writer making a case with a thesis. Here's the board from our discussion on these ideas:

Finally, we explored our next writing mission--a book review! Here is the link to the assignment in case you need another copy. Or, in case you would like to print off 100 copies and cover your bedroom walls with this writing mission. Or, in case you would like to print off 1,000 copies and wallpaper your entire house with this writing mission. (*Check with your parents first.) 

Just in case you missed that link, here is the link again. 

Did you miss the link again? Really? If so, we will have to build a strong thesis statement that argues why you may be missing so many links. Perhaps space gnomes are invading your ability to click on important links. Watch out for any space gnomes who steal clickable links!

And, in conclusion, the goal for tonight is to write a single thesis statement for The Absolute Value of Mike. Tomorrow, we will roll up our sleeves and work with these thesis statements (after we defeat the space gnomes!). 


Mr. R. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Unwritten Chapter

Today, we finished our first class novel, The Absolute Value of Mike. But many authors sometimes end their novels with small cliffhangers--questions we have about the characters and about what will happen next.

A novel is often like a life: we wonder what is going to happen next. What will the next chapter of YOUR life look like? What characters will you meet in the next chapter of your life? How will those characters inspire or challenge you? What does the plot of your life-novel look like?

These questions apply to Kathryn Erskine's novel as much as they apply to our own lives. What will happen with Gladys? Will she go back to Numnut? How about Misha--will Mike and the town of Do Over raise enough to help Karen adopt him? And will Mike and his dad's relationship look different from this point onward?

In class, we are writing CHAPTER 32--the unwritten chapter! You are all sharing your visions, ideas, and hopes for what these characters will encounter next. And as you write the next chapter for these characters, always remember that your next chapter can always be written fresh--imbued with hope and possibility.

Our word for the day, today, is TUMULTUOUS, which means chaotic, in a state of uproar. It is an adjective, and here's an example of the word in a sentence: The birthday party for the six-year old became tumultuous after the pinata broke up and candy fell like a downpour of rain!

For tomorrow, we have a creative vocab quiz on the following words: obliterate, copious, neuron, impervious, transformation, and tumultuous.

Have a marvelous evening!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Breaking Free!

Today, we crafted inspiring and creative folders for all of our formal writing that we'll do this year. Prior to getting elbow deep in paper scraps, inspiring quotes, construction paper, glue sticks, and New Yorker magazine clippings, we also shared one of our four powerful quotes that you found last night.

Your writing folders are incredibly beautiful and inspiring to me! I loved watching you create with cleverness and joy.

Over this weekend, be sure to read through the end of Chapter 24 in The Absolute Value of Mike.

Our word for the day, today, was OBLITERATE, which means to destroy completely. An example of the word in a line is: Every summer, when I was growing up, my brothers and I would create the biggest sandcastle we possibly could; then the tide moved in to OBLITERATE it.

Our word for the day from yesterday was COPIOUS, which is an adjective which means very plentiful. An example of the word in a line is: You all have COPIOUS amounts of insight when we discuss our class novel.

After reading through Chapter 24 in Mike, share your insights regarding this question: What do you think enables people who are stuck--like Poppy--to break free? What inspires them to move past their walls?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rewiring the Brain!!

What do neurons have to do with reading a novel? What do synapses have to do with English class, anyway!? Today, we began a small project in imagining what the brains of our characters look like.

Our word for the day was NEURON, which is what we call the tiny greyish / reddish cells within our brains (we have anywhere from 100 to 200 BILLION of these little things!). We explored how our brains make connections, and how each of the neurons talks to other neurons.

In preparation for our activity, we read and annotated this article entitled, "Rewiring the Brain." (Click on the link in case you need an extra copy, or if you were absent.) Then, we discussed key lines from the text and shared confusions about other passages within the text.

In pairs, you each chose a character from our novel and began to sketch out the brain (ooey! gooey! neuron-saturated!) of this character, complete with what connections you think this character's brain focuses on. 

We'll continue with our brain project tomorrow, after our vocabulary mission. Be sure to be comfortable with these five words for tomorrow: Outlier, Epiphany, Saunter, Initiate, and Intrinsic

Have an awesome evening--and remember to let the neurons on your brain build a new road!