A New Quarter: Transformations

Welcome to the second quarter of grade 8. Our overarching concept for this quarter within all of our core subjects will be transformations.

In English class we will explore the transformative power of words and how they can change their own meanings, and our minds.  We will be looking through the lens of poetry to try to capture the power of words.

I will repost our assessments for this quarter to remind you of just what is going on.

Important Nuts and Bolts Issues: 

The parent-teacher interviews have been advertised and will be held next week, (October 20-21). I have spoken to a few parents who could not book appointments because all of the slots being filled- I apologize for this, but this is what happens when we have to limit the time so it doesn’t impact teaching time.

If you did not get a time with me, please feel free to contact Ms Susan in the MS office, and we can arrange another time that can work for you.  Please go through Ms Susan, and not me, because she is in control of the master schedule and can ensure that we get the time right. I feel strongly about trying to meet everyone and I hope that we can do this before the autumn holiday hits.

I look forward to getting together with you and talking about how your child is learning.

Week 8: A CWW Short Week

The first quarter is rapidly coming to a close- as usual, there is much to do, and little time left!

On our educational radar now:

1. This week we have our final quiz on the literary terms; the first class of the week will be taken up with this task.

2. The memoirs are well on the way.  We have two due dates for the memoir: the first is Wednesday, October 8, where the students will need a printed ‘hard’ copy to share at our Reading Carnival in the Little Theater.  This is the time when everyone’s work will be available for peer reading. The final due date is Thursday/Friday Oct 9-10, when the final product will be handed in to me.

3. Stevi Quate, specialist on Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops, will visit our school during the week of September 29-October 3. She will join the MS English team during the week, sharing her expertise with the teachers by applying the workshop model to our time together.  For parents, Stevi is hosting a parent coffee on Tuesday, September 30 at 7:30 where she will give ideas and advice to parents about how you can help to make your children better readers and writers. Please contact the MS office for more details.

4. CWW is upon us! Although it is not an English class, please encourage your son or daughter to take a book to Caliraya.


Week 7: September 15-19

Another 5 Day Week… is a great thing.

I hope that I can say that powerschool has opened seamlessly for you and the numbers are making perfect sense. There just a few items that I would like to clarify for you on our assessment categories; I will include a short presentation in my next blog post about our new way of assessing, but for now, let me point out some important items:

Formative Assessments: We assess for learning but also to help learning. Some assessments will show up on powerschool that do not count toward a final grade. These are called formative assessments, and they are usually a great way for students to know where they stand and how they can improve.
Summative Assessments: These are the pieces presented in the quarterly syllabus and they do count toward a final grade. For this quarter, we have 2 quizzes and a memoir that will help decide each student’s final grade.
Learning Habits: The LHs will show up in powerschool every month, usually in the first week. We assess, and have students self- assess, these. Like formative assessments, the LHs are not part of the final grade, but will be shown in each semester’s report card. The learning habits examine each student’s organization, engagement, and collaboration.

More detail is revealed in the presentation to follow. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me, I’m happy to talk about assessments with you!

Quiz on the Meta-cognitive Reading Strategies:
It is being handed back today and Friday. I am asking all students to show Mom and Dad, and ask them to sign it for me. I don’t usually ask for signatures, but I just want to make sure that you see the first piece of assessment for this year. Some students who have not performed as well as they would have liked will have a chance to show their learning, and improve their numbers, next week in tutorials.

Next Quiz:
We will have our literary terms quiz Thursday/Friday of week 7 (Sept 18-19)

I hope you had a chance to read my explanation of the performance task for this quarter. Your son or daughter is looking for stories that matter, so you may want to talk to them about memories and have them share some of their small moments… and thinking.

Performance Task: Memoir

I have attached the quarter ending writing task for all of grade 8. All students are expected to create a high quality memoir from the practice wring we have done with small moments this month.

The details of the assignment are on the descriptor sheet while the assessment guide is the rubric which I will publish as soon as I figure out how to inset charts into a wordpress posting!

Your son or daughter will, hopefully, start talking about this task next week when we introduce it to the grade.

Memoir Writing- Telling Your Story

You are an aspiring writer who has been given the opportunity to showcase one of your new autobiographical pieces in the prestigious magazine Bearcat Review.

You have been asked to write an original memoir that is 1-3 typed pages, or approximately 300-750 words in length, that recounts the details of an important event in your life that is thought-provoking for readers. You are expected to write a dedication with your memoir to the person who inspired you to create your original piece. The magazine has very high standards and has asked that your personal narrative include the following:

identify who you are writing your memoir for; who has inspired you to write, and why
Clear Point of View:
first person; in your words; about you
Believable Character Development:
thoughts come alive with interior monologue; interactions with other characters come alive through powerful dialogue
Thought-Provoking Theme:
big idea connects important events and scenes with substantial detail that results in your personal growth or change
Vivid Setting:
well defined vivid settings related to your senses; show, don’t tell; uses language that richly describes
Original Voice:
interesting vocabulary and imagery; vivid verbs that reveal your personality through events and actions
Powerful Opening:
provide a hook for the reader; draw them into the memoir so they vicariously share your feelings as revealed in your writing
Structured Organization:
logical order to your events; sequence is purposeful and reinforces your story, theme, and/or message

Due Dates:
You will need a printed final copy for Wednesday, October 8, 11:45-12:45,when the READING CARNIVAL will be held in the Little Theater.
For assessment, you will hand in your final copy on Thursday/Friday October 9-10 in class
Assessment: See rubric

Week 5 in English

Key questions for this week:

What do you want to tell your reader?
What is the author’s intent for each short story we read?

Weekly Overview:
We will continue to read our short stories this week; in fact, we will focus on The Dinner Party. Early, we will review the 7 metacognitive reading strategies; students need to be able to define them, give examples from their short story reading, and use them as they start new readings.
We have 2 quizzes scheduled in the next few weeks: On Monday/Tuesday, September 8-9, we will have a quiz on the definitions and applications of the metacognitive reading strategies. On September 18-19, we will have our second quiz on our shared and expanded literary terms.
It is vital to remember that our Story Tracker Sheets are the best way to review for these 2 quizzes along with the Literary Terms Review Sheet.

Writer’s Workshop:
All students need to be reminded that it is your responsibility to do a little writing in your WW notebook every night. Expand out your small moments. This week we will choose 1 of these moments and start to expand it with the structures of writing (description, action, dialogue and introspection)

Performance Task Quarter 1: Memoir
The assignment description and rubric will be published later this week on the blog and in the students’ googledrives.

Open House

Dear Parents,

Thank you for coming to open house on Wednesday evening; it was an energetic and informative night for me. Please email me if you have any questions about our class, or if you need to meet, email me. I am happy to talk shop on reading and writing.

My blog is in transition, but I will be updating weekly on what we are doing and ways that you, as parents, can support your sons or daughters as readers and writers.

All the best, and I hope to hear from you soon.


David Burke

Welcome to Grade 8 English

This is the first official post of the year.  Please visit World of Words regularly to find out about what is going on in Grade 8 English as well as the Honors English class for Mr Burke.  I will be updating upcoming events and assignments as well as trying to keep you, the parents, in the loop on what we are learning.

As you will hear from me- there will be more to come!  Welcome to the new year and I’m looking forward to meeting you at the Open House on Wednesday, August 27.

Task 2: Research Brain Frame

Task Overview:
We will review the steps to complete research on your chosen poet and poem. You will research your poet’s life and achievement to see how he or she is connected to transformation; how has your poet had a transformative effect on you, society, and/or culture. Essential questions to answer: You will collect information and then create a brainframe that demonstrates your understanding of the poet. This large size (a3) brain frame will be included in your poetry scrapbook. You will use your metacognitive reading skills to achieve a deep understanding of the poet’s achievements while demonstrating your research skills.

Step 1: Poet and Poem selection
Poetry Off the Wall selection process (in class)

What will my final product be? (what kind of brain frame?)
Why am I doing research?
How will I collect and save information for this task?
Will I be using my ISM GoogleDrive?
How will I be using GoogleDrive?
What are the format requirements of the final product?
Do I need to do some of the research at home and some of the research at school?
Will I get time in class to complete the product or will it be assigned as homework to complete?
Do I need to write a thesis statement?
Do I need to submit a works cited page (aka bibliography)?
What is the due date?

STEP 3: Key Information
Poet’s full (real) name
Born – where & when
Died – where & when
Family background
What sparked the poet within?
Types of poems written by the poet and most important poem

STEP 4: Choose Brainframe!
select the type of brain frame that works best with your information
Create a rough BF and start to arrange your information within the structure
Put your notes together into a rough brain frame
Complete your BF at least 2 days before the due date for submission so you have time to evaluate it.

STEP 5: Evaluate Brainframe!
Evaluate your work by using a checklist.
You need to have this checklist available for writing conferences with your teacher.
You will be required to hand in this checklist with your essay.

Other ITEMS to think about:
Have you formatted the BF correctly?
Have you completed all the parts of the BF?
Does the product have your name, your block, your teacher’s name and date of submission?
Does the BF have a title (Poet’s Name)?
Have you found all of the key information?

Task 2 is due November 14-15 (last class of the week)

EH Week 3 Transformation (November 4-8)

Welcome back from your autumnal break- I hope everyone is recharged and ready to go.

We have only 6 weeks until the end of semester- and many things to do. Here is a simple list of the larger assignments and due dates for the remainder of our time with Transformation:

Task 1: Creating a ‘Things Poetic’ Scrapbook *DUE DECEMBER 12-13*
Ongoing through the quarter, you will create your own collection of things poetic; your goal is to create and collective transformative pieces that deal with change (personal, societal, world).

Task 2: Research Brainframe *DUE NOVEMBER 14-15*
You will research one important poet of your choice. Your research article will be worked on throughout the quarter and completed by the assigned due date. It will be published in your poetic scrapbook as well.

Task 3: Looking at Poetry from Three Sides *DUE NOVEMBER 28-29*
You will analyze one of your poet’s pieces that best represents his or her contribution to change (personal, societal, world). This analysis will become a part of your scrapbook.

Task 4: Transformative Performance *DUE DECEMBER 10-11*
You will use your research and poetry analysis to create a transformative presentation on your poem and poet. You will have a choice board to select your approach to poetic transformation so that you can display personal, societal, and/or world transformation.