Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Orders for January Going Home Today!

We always love when it is book order time and January has brought an exceptional slew of books for us to choose from.  In fact, I have already placed 8 books into my "to order" pile for the class.  Students were given the book order forms today and they are due to me by next Wednesday, the 28th.  Note a teen catalog was sent home, please be advised that some books are a little more mature.

Remember; you can order books online - every time you do we get a $3 coupon to order more books for the classroom.  They are also running a special deal with extra bonus points this month which just translates to more books for the classroom.    Thank you so much for considering!

To order online

  •  ENTER the one-time Class Activation Code GXJ8R 
  •  SHOP from any of the magazines or enter by book title.  Note: there are more books online than in the magazines.
  •  SUBMIT your order and earn FREE Books for our classroom

Some of my "Can't Miss" recommendations this month are:

  • The Selection Pack by Keira Cass - love, action, and a little bit of drama
  • El Deafoby Cece Bell - a new Graphic novel like Smile or Drama - phenomenal read.
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson
  • Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
  • Guts & Glory: The American Civil War  by Ben Thompson
  • Duke by Kirby Larson - dogs, loyalty, war and adventure.  
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin - amazing read about a gril who is a little bit different.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - this just won the National Book Award - an amazing read.
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - a new classic.
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper - her latest must read!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Do the Letter Grades in English Mean to Us?

We have been deep in grade discussion today as throughout the day I have asked students to define the letter grades that I have to give this semester.  I wasn't surprised at the in-depth discussions this prompted, but more at the harshness with which the students defined certain grades.  Each class got a letter to define and then the other classes added their input.  Tomorrow, students will select their grade and then provide reasoning on a sheet for why they belong in that category.  I will then meet with each student to debate the grade with them and we will set goals for the future.
So how did the students define their letter grades?  Behavior seemed to play a large role which lead to many interesting conversations, since we grade behavior separate from part of understanding. These are their thoughts....
To get an "A" in English, a student is:
  • Participating on topic (large group, small group) even if not called upon
  • An active listener (engaged, awake, doing what they are supposed to be doing)
  • Consistently trying to go above and beyond and shows interest in topics
  • Getting consistent 3's or 4's (even with re-takes)
  • Turning work in on time and completed (95%)
  • Consistently puts in effort
  • (Works well with others/respects others/teacher/classroom/materials - nice attitude)
  • Reads at least 6 out of 7 days 20 minutes or more outside of English
  • Furthers the understanding in the classroom through written or spoken work
  • Showing a deep level of understanding of content covered
To get a "B" in English, a student is:
  • Getting scores that are consistently 3's with a few 2.5's mixed in
  • Reading 5 out of the 7 nights outside of English class
  • Interested most days, as well as engaged in class
  • Putting in best effort
  • Doing required work but not always going for 4
  • Most of the time working well with others/showing respect and helping the class move forward in learning
  • Participating
  • Completing almost all work, as well as handing it in on time
  • Showing a thorough understanding of content covered
To get a "C" in English, a student is:
  • Getting mostly 2's or 2.5's
  • Reading 3-4 days a week outside of English class
  • Mostly turning in work on time and work is mostly completed
  • Mostly engaged but only some participation (large/small group)
  • Homework is almost always complete and mostly turned in on time (2 or more lates)
  • Group effort may depend on students in group
  • Effort depends on topic/subject
  • Mostly prepared for class but does forget items at times (book, pencil, notebook etc) leading to inability to complete tasks
  • Not always spending time in a in productive manner
To get a "D" in English, a student is:
  • Getting mostly 2's
  • Reading 2-3 times a week outside of English class
  • Not always on topic and often distracts others
  • Not always prepared for class
  • Shows little engagement/time not spent productively
  • Has little participation even in small group
  • More than 3 missing assignments
  • Students shows little effort
  • Does few re-takes
  • Shows little understanding and does little to improve it
  • Choices made can harm the learning environment of others
To get a "F" in English, a student is:
  • Missing more than 5 assignments (summative and formative)
  • Getting 1.5's or IE's
  • Only reading one night or none outside of English class
  • Putting in little to no effort in class
  • Distracting students and teacher resulting in wasted learning time for self and others
  • Often not on topic
  • Has little to no participation
  • Does not do any re-takes
  • Is never prepared
  • Has selective listening that results in many misunderstandings

Monday, January 12, 2015

Feb. 5th - A Day in the Life of a Student #Studentlife

Wednesday, January 21st, students in Mrs. Ripp’s ENglish class will be documenting what a typical day in the life of a student looks like.

This is to take part in the #studentlife challenge that is taking place on February 5th, where students around the world will be sharing what a typical day looks like for them via social media.  This challenge was created to highlight what a typical day in the life of a child around the world may look like and build understanding of the world.  

Students will use their devices to take pictures throughout their day from when they wake up to when they go to bed and save them on their device.  On February 5th, we will create blog posts to showcase a day in the life of them, this way students do not have to have a social media account to participate.

We will discuss safety and appropriateness of the types of pictures students may take and share and I will monitor, as always, all content before it is shared with the world.  Also, any student who does not have permission to have their photo on the internet will be notified and precautions taken.

This initiative will take place on Twitter, Kidblog, Instagram and any other social media platform that schools have access to using the #studentlife hashtag.  

Anything that can take a picture will be allowed.  Students will then email their image to themselves to use in their blog posts.  If a child does not have a device, they will be buddied up with someone who does and they can share images.  


Contact Mrs. Ripp

Vocab Quiz Re-takes Information

In order to help students prepare for the re-takes, one of the following options must be completed before a student can request to re-take a vocabulary quiz.  The choice has to be handed in or shown to Mrs. Ripp with within the two week re-take window.

Vocab Studycab

DIRECTIONS: Choose one of the options below to study for your vocabulary quiz. Explanations of each option are listed below.

Pack the Paper
Flashcard Flashmob
Mastervocab Theater
DaVinci’s DaDrawings

1.       Pack the Paper
DIRECTIONS: Write the words and definitions of the words on a sheet of paper. Your goal: Fit the most word/definition and stem/definition combos as you can on a single sheet of paper.   Hand in to Mrs. Ripp to show you are ready to do the re-take.
Tip: Start with the words/stems you don’t know that well.

2.      Flashcard Flashmob
DIRECTIONS: Work with a partner to study your flashcards. First, you should ask them all of the definitions. Then switch. When you’re finished, find a new partner and repeat. Show Mrs. Ripp your flashcards to show you are ready to do the re-take.
Tip: If you find yourself getting stuck on a word/stem, ask your partner to ask you that word/stem more often than the others. For example, if you’re stuck on “inter”, they’d ask 1) inter 2) com 3) stell 4) inter 5) condescend 6) inter

3.     Mastervocab Theater
DIRECTIONS: In groups of 2-3, plan a way to act out the words and stems. Be sure to include everyone in the group.  This will be acted out in class to show you are ready to do the re-take.
Tip: If you’re stuck on how to act out a word, check the blue vocab packets in the back for some sentence tips!

4.      DaVinci’s Drawings
DIRECTIONS: Draw pictures that illustrate the definitions of the words and stems. Use scratch paper, and try to draw pictures in sizes that can conserve paper.  Hand in to Mrs. Ripp to show you are ready to do the re-take.

Tip: Start with the words/stems you don’t know that well.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Optional Project to Show Mastery

Optional Nonfiction Project
This project is for those students who wish to show mastery of the following standards:
Link can be found here

4:  Write informative texts to convey ideas; select, organize, and analyze content.
6:  Use technology to produce writing, interact with others, and cite sources.
7:  Draw evidence from texts to support written analysis.
8:  Command the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and vocabulary.

Final product:  A 5 paragraph essay or an 11 slide presentation on a holiday tradition.  Student must interview someone for this, as well as use an outside source such as a book, website, or magazine.

1st paragraph - Introduction to your topic
2nd paragraph - 1st main idea
3rd paragraph - 2nd main idea
4th paragraph -  3rd main idea
5th paragraph - conclusion

1st slide - title
2nd slide - 1st paragraph
3rd slide - image
4th slide - 2nd paragraph
5th slide - image
6th slide - 3rd paragraph
7th slide - image
8th slide - 4th paragraph
9th slide - image
10th slide - 5th paragraph - conclusion
11th slide - Works cited in proper format

  • Pick a tradition that you are interested  in such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Ramadan or whatever you choose and research the topic.   
  • Interview someone about this tradition, you can ask any questions that you want.  The information you uncover has to be included in the essay somehow.
  • Write a 5 paragraph essay about the tradition, including the interview, as well as the sources you used. Or create a mini presentation about it - 11 pages total.
  • You must have a works cited page attached to the 5 paragraphs or the presentation.


January 16th - or sooner - late projects will not be accepted since this is an optional project to help you show mastery.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Writing Non-Fiction Picture books Feedback Form

Thank you so much to everyone who is offering up their time in giving my students feedback on their finished nonfiction picture books.  Please fill out this form by Jan. 16th if possible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shark Week is Coming!

December 15-19 is SHARK WEEK in Hawaii 7-O.  We have some fun events planned for the students to celebrate our JAWsomeness.  In Connections class each day, we will be participating in a different shark activity.  That will culminate on Friday with a team meeting to hear our creative shark songs.  We will play shark trivia one day and also discover to which shark we are each most similar.  It should be fun!

In conjunction with Shark Week, we will have Spirit Days.
Monday:  Scarf Day
Tuesday:  Ugly Holiday Sweater Day
Wednesday: Dress as a shark Day (creativity encouraged) 
Thursday:  Spiffy Shark Day (dress up)
Friday: Red tie-dye Shark Shirts