Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Anthology Project: Charities and Covers

Today, we'll explore two other facets of our classroom anthology: the charity to which we'd like to donate the proceeds, and the cover design that moves and engages us.

First, to begin to explore some possible organizations to which we could donate finds, do some searches on the website CHARITY NAVIGATOR. This website lists any organization which operates as a non-profit charity, and looks at how the organization spends money, what its mission is, and what it accomplishes.

As you look at charities, open up a blank document, and find one charity that you really think would be a good cause to support. Write the name of that charity, and then list three reasons why you want to support this cause.

Now, keep your document open, but switch to explore possible book cover designs. Use this link, at BARNES AND NOBLE, to explore possible cover designs for previously published anthologies. When you reach the bottom of the page, click "next" to explore more cover designs. After you've seen many, choose one that you really love, then copy and paste that image onto your document. Then, list three reasons this particular cover design sticks out to you, and why you think it works.

Before leaving the library, save your document as LASTNAME_AnthologyIdeas, and be sure to e-mail or share it with Mr. Reynolds.

Thanks--and I am very excited to see what inspires and engages you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Anthology Revisions!

As we are in the library today, we will work on revisions on our anthology writing. I am so excited to see this book coming together, and the harder we work now on revisions, the better our final book will be. Remember that ALL GOOD WRITING IS REWRITING. Remember that Ernest Hemingway (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature!) rewrote the ends of one of his novels 34 times!

Remember that every single writer who ever has a book, or a poem, or a story published has revised that book, or story, or poem many, MANY, MANY times!

So, let's revise! Follow the list of steps below to work through revisions today...

1. Open up your anthology writing in your Google Docs.

2. Read through your piece, and change any errors that jump out at you right away on this first read-through. If you see a need for a comma, that IT'S COMMA TIME! If you see a Comma-Splice Run-On sentence (remember CSRO?) than change that comma to a semi-colon! Or break it into two sentences! Yes! Huzzah! Or, if you hear parts of your piece that sound awkward, rewrite them for clarity.

3. Now, open up our List of Writing Rules and have a quick read-through of our rules once again. (We used these with our synthesis essays.)

4. Go through your anthology writing again with this list of rules open in another window. Check your piece for each of these rules, and make revisions with these Rules in mind.

5. Now, once you've done these two rounds of edits, find a partner who is also finished, and share your Google Doc with them (write their e-mail address in the "Share" space, and they will now be able to open up your Google Doc, and you will be able to open up theirs).

6. Go through your partner's anthology writing with our Writing Rules in mind.

And...YES! You now have three rounds of revisions on your writing. Remarkable. Amazing. Perspicaciously awesome.

Let me know if you've finished all of these steps, and then it's time for a conference with Mr. R.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Handfuls of Mud

Today, our word of the day was RESOLVE, which (in its verb form) means to decide with great force; to commit with determination as in this line: Little Man resolves to fight against the injustice of the school bus that guns down the kids each morning.

We did our Quick Write today on areas in which we want to resolve to do something, or be a certain way. After our Quick Write, we acted out the opening scenes of Chapter 3 from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, in which we see Little Man rage against the injustice of racism. Symbolized by the all-white school bus for the Jefferson County School, racism seems unstoppable. Relentless. A fact.

And yet!

After the school bus guns down the Logan kids and sends them flopping into the muddy gulley, Little Man grabs a handful of mud and chases after them, screaming out in anger and frustration. Against the machinery of racism, Little Man can do nothing but throw a handful of mud.

Yet his big brother, Stacey, has a different idea...

As we acted out these scenes today, running around our classroom and roaring out these lines, I hope we began to feel a tiny bit of what it is like to fight against something so seemingly big, vast, and impossible to defeat. And yet the Logan kids keep fighting! Even a handful of mud can go a long way, sometimes.

In your life, have you ever felt like Little Man? Have you ever felt like you were facing a problem so big with only a handful of mud? What was it? What did you do about it? Or, if you have not felt like that before, can you think of any other scenes from other books, or a film, or from history that are like this? What is that scene?

Share your ideas below, and I look forward to reading your wisdom and insights!


Mr. R

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Little Man, Standing Big...

Today, we finished up Chapter 1 in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and we watched as Little Man stood tall against Miss Crocker. In your reading pairs, you responded to why Little Man is so upset about the textbooks Great Faith Elementary School is given (those in terrible condition, after the white white schools are done using them).

We are beginning to see the world through Little Man's six-year old eyes, and to him it makes very little sense why some students should be afforded certain rights, while others are not simply because of skin color.

Our word of the day today was TRAVERSE, which is a verb that means to cross, as in We traversed the swamp and managed to find the lost giraffe. 

Tomorrow, we have our Vocab quiz on the following five words: Transpire, Concession, Dubious, Inception, and Relentless.

Have an awesome evening!

Mr. R

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Time Travel...

Today, we explored racism in 2015 and discussed how society has changed from 1966 until today. Many of you shared powerful contemporary examples, as well as connections back to our film GLORY ROAD, and then commented on the ways various institutions respond to claims about racism.

Your fruitful discussion today sets us up to travel even further back in time, all the way to 1933, as we begin Mildred D. Taylor's powerful novel, ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY.

We met Cassie Logan today, and her three brothers, and we will continue to see the obstacles the Logan famil faces, and how they respond to these obstacles.

Thanks for your insightful and honest reflections today.

Our word of the day was CONCESSION, which is defined as the act of admitting someone else is right, or has a deeper understanding of what may be occurring.

Tonight, consider the article your read about the 1966 West Texas Miners, and what we discussed in class today, and respond with your reflections to this question: how can people learn to see beyond the surface? Think of our class iceberg. And what helps us get to the 90% beneath? Is it really ever possible? Why or why not?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Barriers, Decisions, and Dreams

Over the past few days in English, we've explored ways thinking, writing, and connecting challenge us and grow us.

On Friday, you each worked with your peers to overcome the "rock wall" barrier without falling into the dreaded lava pits or being consumed by dragons. Holding hands, your entire classes had to find a way to cross the barrier without breaking the tape. You used teamwork, encouragement, creative and critical thinking, and a few people's backs...and did it!

Yesterday, we explored the Boston Photographs of 1975, and the decision of the Boston Herald to print or not print the photos. You each pretended to be in the shoes of the editors, and you defended your decisions with critical and creative problem solving.

And today, we began to explore the civil rights' movement in America, as we prepare for our new novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. You each taught one another what you know already about the movement, then we discussed connections, and then watched and discussed Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech

Our word of the day yesterday was INCEPTION, which means the beginning, and today our word was RELENTLESS, which means not lessening in intensity or strength.

For tonight, share your ideas regarding this question: What do you think are effective ways to fight against injustice? Why? Can you connect to any personal experiences, books, or films you may have read or seen?