Monday, September 29, 2014

Vocab Work Explained

Throughout the year, students will work on 50 vocabulary words or roots to broaden their language skills.  In the chosen weeks of vocab work, we will

  • Introduce 2 words on Monday
  • Introduce 2 words on Tuesday
  • Introduce final word Wednesday
  • Review on Thursday
  • Test on Friday
Students will be tested on the words/roots of the week and also some of the previous words/roots.  This helps with memorization as well as utilization.  This is part of their summative grade for standard 8.

All vocabulary words can be found right here

Some students are given a different list of vocabulary words, the words for this group can be found here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Dog Assignment

Your assignment is to do a MEL-Con on the text My Dog by Kevin O'Neall.  You may use the graphic organizer provided in class to gather your thoughts, but the final product should be written as one succinct paragraph.

Please interpret this: Why did the author end with Mrs. Barney saying “My dog.”?  (What does that mean?, where did she get the dog from?)

Due:  Monday, September 29th.  Time will be given in class Wednesday and Friday to work on this.
Length: One paragraph or more.
To Submit:  Paper copy, or submit your link to your Google doc here 
Assessment:  Student and teacher will assess using the rubric found here
Text used:  My Dog by Kevin O'Neall
Graphic Organizer:  Can be found here 
To see a sample:  Go here 

To Submit Your Mel-Con

Please fill out the form below to hand in your Mel-Con due Monday, September 28th.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MEL-Con's Explained

Tomorrow in English we will start  our work writing about reading in the MEL-Con (Main Idea, Evidence, Link, Conclusion) format.  I will work through this with students as they write their first one due this coming Monday.  We will use the shared text My Dog by Kevin O'Neill to construct our response and a sample MEL-Con will be modeled with the students tomorrow.  

This is a way for a reader to respond to the text by using evidence to support their inferences.

What am I looking for?
  • Shows evidence of making meaning from the text (Can you tell I read?)
  • Responds to the question (Did I answer the question?)
  • Provides text-based evidence to support the response (Did I include proof from the text that relates to the question?)
  • Provides extension or clarification in relationship to the question to show enhanced understanding of the text (Did I make an interpretation?)


  • Introduction (List title and author)
  • What is your main idea? (1 sentence)
  • What is your evidence? (3-5 sentences)
  • Conclusion (1-2 sentences)

Name:   Section:

Main idea/conclusion
Topic sentence and conclusion sentences are clear, well-stated
Topic or conclusion are unclear
Focus unclear, topic sentence or conclusion not evident
Includes quotes from the source
Evidence is specific and detailed
Evidence is not specifically related to the essential question
No specific evidence described or evidence described is unrelated
Sophisticated interpretation of non-literal evidence
Explains what evidence means or connects evidence to main idea
Evidence is not clearly explained of connected to main idea
Links missing throughout paragraph, no explanation,of how evidence supports or connects to the main idea

Sample response:
Mrs. Ripp Sec. 1
Interpretation of My Dog
In his text My Dog by Kevin O’Neall, the narrator is frustrated because Mrs. Barney doesn’t make any sense.  First, Mrs. Barney claims that her dog would be 38 years old.  This is not biologically possible as the narrator says, “I have one client with a dog that’s nearly twenty, but no dog lives to be thirty-eight.” The world has not seen a dog that has lived to be that old, thus Mrs. Barney is a lunatic. Also, Mrs. Barney claims to have seen her dead dog.  In the eyes of the narrator that does not make sense, since she says that her husband shot the dog, therefore the dog must be dead.  Finally, the narrator is frustrated because Mrs. Barney won’t listen to him.   She, therefore, keeps repeating herself which shows that she is not listening. When you have to repeat yourself, it is obvious that the other person is not listening or understanding.  In the end, the narrator never believes Mrs. Barney and thinks she is a crazy person.  I believe that he has a right to not believe her because she does not seem sane.    

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We are Bloggers!

I am excited to announce that the students have written their first blog posts today introducing themselves and their blogs to the world!  We would love for you to come by and leave us a comment as this is what makes blogging so special.

There are two different blog sites, one for the morning classes (Hours 1, 3, and 4) and one for the afternoon classes (Hours 5 and 7).  We will do blogging challenges every other week with time provided here in school, however, if a student does not use their time wisely in class it may be considered homework.

Morning classes, click here 
Afternoon classes, click here 

If at any time you have questions about our blogs, please ask.  This is a wonderful way for the students to develop as writers writing for an authentic audience, while displaying safe internet behavior.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Scholastic Book Order

I asked the 7th graders if they still did book orders and they answered with a resounding  "Yes!"  So our first book order will go home tomorrow with interested students.  They are due back to me by Next Wednesday, the 17th of September.  Note that there is a teen catalog of choices too and that some of the books in it are more mature.

Shop Online:
One-Time Class Activation Code: GXJ8R To order books either send in a check or do it online:
  •  ENTER the one-time Class Activation Code (top of this letter)
  •  SHOP from a carefully curated selection of the best books, value packs, and Storia eBooks
  •  SUBMIT your order and earn FREE Books for our classroom
  •  All book orders will be shipped to our classroom so we can celebrate the joy of reading together!
Some recommendations for this month are:
  • The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare 
  • Sisters by Raina Teglmeier
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Four by Veronica Roth
  • The Selction by Kiera Cass
  • The Eye of Minds by James Dashner 
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Pollisner
  • Lunar Chronicles Pack by Marissa Meyer
  • See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles

Some recommendations for this month from me are:

How We Stay Safe While Blogging

As you know, we have been working on our paper blogs as we get ready to discuss commenting and how engage others in conversation.  Safe internet behavior is something I take very seriously and something we discuss throughout the year, but particularly here in the beginning.  So far we have discussed the rules for staying safe on the internet using the analogy of how the internet is like the mall.  We have also discussed how a public blog is different from a private journal and the types of posts someone may write.

Throughout the entire year as we blog, I am also a line of defense.  All posts have to be approved by me (there is no way around this) and all comments have to be approved by me (also with no way around it).  All links that get to a student through a post have been clicked on by me and viewed.  In the 4 years of blogging with students, I have never had an unsafe situation, nor any type of cyber-bullying.  The most we have ever gotten are spam comments, which I simply delete before they reach students.  I feel that Kidblog is an incredibly safe way for students to write for an authentic audience and engage in a  global conversation.

If a child does not have permission to have their blog open to the public, they will still blog.  Their posts will only be seen by me and not widely published.  That way no one sticks out and everyone still has the same chance at reflecting.

If you would like to see students blogs from previous years and where your child will be blogging this year, please go to