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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yahara River Writers Contest

Yahara River Writers Contest
This December, the English teachers invite all students at OMS to participate in the Yahara River Writers Contest!  This writing contest is open to all students 5th through 8th grade in Dane County.

What can you submit:
There are 5 different categories you can enter your work into:  Realistic short story, poetry, political cartoon, editorial, and the cover contest.  Students can submit to more than one category if they choose.  

Due date:
All submissions are due to your English teacher on January 5th.

How to enter:
On December 11th from 3:20 - 4:00 PM there will be a meeting for those interested in hearing more about the requirements for the contest.  The meeting will take place in the 7-O team area and will then break into smaller groups depending on what you want to submit for the contest.  

If you cannot make it to the meeting:  
Ask your English teacher for the requirements.

What can you win:
This is a county-wide contest where 33 school districts in the area send submissions. All entries will be judged and the top ten in each category, per grade level, will be selected.  From each top ten group, a first and second place entry will be identified.  All top ten entries will be published in the Yahara River Writers Anthology, and all authors of top ten entries will be invited to attend a workshop on the UW Campus.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Instead of THIEVES

Today I have discussed with students what we will do instead of the THIEVES assignment.  I explained to them what my thoughts were behind the change, and many students expressed relief that the assignment had been changed.

We went through the two different options today in class, here are the links to them

Nonfiction Summarizing Sheet - Option 1:  Can be found here
Nonfiction Summarizing Sheet - Option 2:  Can be found here


  • The due date has been changed to December 15th
  • If a student has already handed in their THIEVES sheet this will be assessed by me, if they have mastered that (3's in both standards) then they are exempt from this new assignment.
  • If a student gets 3's or 4's (mastery) of this first assignment, they are exempt from doing the second one that will be assigned in January.
  • The students can use non-fiction text of their choosing.  I encourage them to use texts that they have to read for other classes, for a 2-in-1.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Non-Fiction Picture Book Assignment Revealed

Non-Fiction Picture Book Assignment

Purpose:  To create a non-fiction picture book aimed at a K or 1st grade audience.

Assignment:  Students will create a non-fiction picture book on a topic of their choice aimed at a K or 1st grade audience.  Further expectations are discussed below.  

Due:  December 15th, 2014.

Final Product:  All finished books will be created in Google Presentations for more creative flexibility.  We have not decided if these will be printed or not - it would be a lot of paper!  


  • Finished product should be a 30 to 50 page book that not only includes 5 or so "chapters/sub-topics" but also has a glossary, index, table of contents, sources, and front and back cover.
  • Font size of text should be at least 20.
  • We will use the website to cite all of our sources
  • We will spend time in class researching, writing, as well as sharing our work.  Tech tools will also be incorporated.  Students should be able to finish this in class if time is spent wisely.  

Standards Assessed:
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.

See back of this page for the rubric.  Note, this is a summative assignment!

Sample:  Will be shown in class and linked to here.

Rubric: Can be seen here

Friday, November 7, 2014

Presentation Rubric for My Birth/Adoption Story

Students will share their stories this Monday in class, and will be formatively assessed under standard 10:  Present focused claims with support, using eye contact, volume, and elocution

Here is the rubric I will use for their presentations:

Presentation Rubric

Facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language are used to try to generate enthusiasm, but seem somewhat faked.
Very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.
Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.
Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.
The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.
Student does not seem at all prepared to present.
Speaks Clearly
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, and mispronounces no words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, but mispronounces some words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly most (94-85%) of the time. Mispronounces several words
Often mumbles or can not be understood.
Body Language
Stands up straight, looks relaxed and confident. Establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Stands up straight and establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Sometimes stands up straight and establishes eye contact.
Slouches, fidgets, and/or does not look at people during the presentation.

Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members throughout the presentation.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 90% of the time.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 80% of the time.
Volume often too soft to be heard by all audience members.
Shows a full understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.
Does not seem to understand the topic very well.

Teacher Score:    _____ /28

Time:  _________  (Should be between 57 second and 1:02)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Non-Fiction Reading Requirement for Quarter 2

Standards Addressed:
            Standard 1:  Determine/Analyze the development of central ideas/themes in a text; summarize.
                Standard 4:  Write informative texts to convey ideas; select, organize, and analyze content.

To meet the outside reading requirement, you must complete the following:
            --Earn 5 total points, using at least (2) categories (listed below)
            --Complete (2) THIEVES sheets
                                    **1st THIEVES sheet is due MONDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2014
                                    **2nd THIEVES sheet is due FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015

Category A
1 point each
Category B
2 points each
Category C
3 points each
Letters/journals (published)
Newspaper articles
Magazine essay
Journal article

List of Completed Non-Fiction Texts
Name of Text
Date Completed
# of points

** “Bouncer’s Beware”


                                                                                                                   TOTAL POINTS_______

**Please put a star in the left margin next to the texts for which you completed a THIEVES sheet.

**See THIEVES sheets for “Go for the 4!” information.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Birth Story Assignment

A Birth-story
Assignment:  Research your own or someone else’s birth story.  This means interviewing someone to find out the details of when/where/how you/they were born.  Synthesize (pull together) this information so that you can present it to the class on the due date.

Due:  Monday, November 10th in your English hour - you will present that day.

Final product:  A presentation of your choosing to showcase the information you have gathered.  Ideas could be: A slide show, movie, poster, speech, paper, interpretative dance, or whatever else you can come up with.  You decide what you want to share!

Length: Up to you.  It cannot take longer than 1 minute to present the information to the class!

Questions you may want to ask:
  • Location of birth?
  • Weather the day of the birth?
  • People visiting?
  • Time of day?
  • Big events happening in the world on the day of the birth?
  • Your ideas!

Standards assessed:
Formative assessment of standards
4: Write informative texts to convey ideas; select, organize, and analyze content.
6: Use technology to produce writing, interact with others, and cite sources.
8: Command the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and vocabulary.

Need help?  Ask Mrs. Ripp in school or email her at

Graphic Organizer to help you work, can be found here 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yankee Candle Fundraising Info

Yesterday marked the beginning of our two week Yankee Candle fundraising sale.   Here is a little more specific information about it:

Why are we doing this?

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help to offset the cost for the Potency of Poetry Workshop that runs in March of 2015.  This one-week workshop is for all 7th graders, and is presented by an Artist-in-Residence from the American Players Theatre.

How long does this run?  

Until November 11th.

Who should checks be written to?

Oregon 7th Grade English

Do all students have to do this?

Nope, but the more the merrier!  We will award care cash for any child that does.  

Will we get an order form?
Yes, one was sent home on Tuesday, October 27th.

When will the candles arrive?

A few weeks after the order has been placed so in time for Christmas and Hanukkah.

Can we order online?
There is an online option, go to and enter in the group number 990057653 

More questions?

Contact Mrs. Ripp at  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MEL-Con 2 "Conflicts"

MEL-Con 2  “Conflicts”
Assignment:  Write a MEL-Con discussing the types of conflicts in your text.  This means you identify what the type of conflicts they are and then discuss, with text evidence and links, what they may mean.

Due:  Monday, October 20th.

Submit:  Please print or hand write and submit to me in class.

Length:  One paragraph or more.

Text used:  Your choice or the Global Read Aloud book we are using.

Reminders - you need to have:
  • Correct capitalization
  • Accurate spelling
  • Good grammar
  • Transition words
  • Your own thoughts (links!)
  • Here is a link to the graphic organizer

The Different Types of Conflicts:
  • Person vs. person
  • Person vs. Self
  • Person vs. Society
  • Person vs. Nature
  • Person vs. Supernatural
  • Person vs. Technology

Assessment:  This will be assessed under standards 1, 3, 7, and 8 as summative. Here is a link to the rubric we will use.

Sample answer:
In the book, Dissonance, there are many types of conflicts, including Man vs. Self, Man Vs. Society, and Man vs Nature.  The first type of conflict is Man vs. Self, which is shown by the way that Del doubts her feelings for Simon and whether she is allowed to feel this way.  She says in the text “I know that loving him is wrong, but how can I go on without him?” which makes me believe she ultimate cannot help but love him, but she does not feel good about it.  Thus she is battling against herself.  The second conflict in the book is Man Vs. Society in that Del goes behind the back of the elders and “walks” into Echo worlds whenever she wants, even though she knows she shouldn’t.  She does not believe that it is right for the Elders to decide when a world should be cleaved and therefore continues to sneak away even though it may destroy the society she belongs to.  The final conflict is Man vs. Nature, in that Simon discovers there is another alternate reality that he has to be careful not to destroy.  The words in the alternate reality do not obey the same rules as the world we live in, which means decisions that Simon make puts him at war with the world.  All three conflicts drive the action and the plot and make the characters more believable, that is how I know there are three different conflicts in the book.

If you want to print this sheet, here is a link