Welcome to 8th grade ELA!

Week of Oct. 10
  • Continuing with close reading of TKaM: evaluating director's choices, analyzing character traits, and selecting strongest evidence to support inferences.

Unit 2: To Kill a Mockingbird
Essential Questions:
  • How can I make meaning about characters in a complex text?
  • Why might directors choose to stay loyal to or make changes to an original text/story?
  • How do symbols create meaning in a story?
  • How can authors use diction to create meaning and mood?

Standards Assessed
  • Literature: RL 8.1, RL 8.2, RL 8.3, RL 8.4, RL 8.7, RL 8.9
  • Writing 8.2
  • Language 8.1, 8.2, 8.4, 8.6

Important Links

Class Action Blog

Monday, October 23
First, we reviewed "coming of age" responses from last Thursday's check in with the goal of stating the specific realization the children come to in TKaM. Then, students went over comp. questions for 28-31 in small groups and we clarified a few pieces before watching the ending of the story. Finally, we reviewed steps to generate thesis statements and worked through creating a sample thesis together (below).
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Friday, October 20
Read chapter 28 in table groups--finishing TKaM this weekend!

Thursday, October 19
During class, we analyzed the title of the novel and discussed which characters might be considered mockingbirds in this story. We also went over comp. questions for 25 & 26. Students received a formative assessment back and we went over selecting the strongest evidence to support inferences. Lastly, students worked in partners to practice selecting the strongest evidence & connecting the characters in the story to the concept of coming of age.

Wednesday, October 18
First, students went over comp. questions for chapter 24. We clarified a few questions and also discussed the details of Tom Robinson's death and its connections to current events today. Then, we took notes on the Coming of Age genre (below). We analyzed a novel from last year, MT, 1955, in order to make meaning about how Hiram Hillburn comes of age in this text (below).
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Tuesday, October 17
Students turned in their revised paragraphs. Then, they worked on a formative assessment with RL 8.1, RL 8.3, and RL 8.4. For homework, they are working on grammar work with NRI (due Friday) and reading chapter 24.

Monday, October 16
First, we went over comp. questions for chapters 21-23. Then, students worked on evaluating sample topic sentences, so what's, evidence, commentary, and citation formats based on student work examples and compared their ratings with those of a teacher. They receieved their paragraphs and feedback back and used these pieces to make revisions to their paragraphs (tomorrow's homework).

Friday, October 13
  1. 2 minutes to review
  2. Go over chapter 20 comp. questions
  3. Greek/Latin root summative
  4. OYO: Read ch. 21, 22, & 23 (green sheet) + comp. questions; HW = unfinished reading & comp. questions

Thursday, October 12
First, we went over comp. questions for chapter 19. Then, we went over a formative assessment with RL 8.9 in order to establish expectations for analyzing and explaining how characters demonstrate the Golden Rule in a text. Last, students watched Tom Robinson's testimony & worked in pairs to practice connecting a character's actions with the Golden Rule (model response below).
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Wednesday, October 11
Students took a quick check-in with analyzing characters' words and actions to interpret characters' motivation. Then, we went over comprehension questions and worked on evaluating the strongest evidence from the text to support inferences. Students then read the first few pages of chapter 19 to evaluate the strongest evidence to suppport inference that Tom Robinson is a considerate/selfless person.

Tuesday, October 10
During class, we went over comp. questions for chapters 16 & 17. Students once more examined their feedback on the formative assessment with judging a director's choices before watching and completing another formative assessment to evaluate a scene that Robert Mulligan, director of TKaM, added to the film version of the text.

Friday, October 6
During class, students took the Greek/Latin root summative. Then, we went over comp. questions for chapter 15 along with a formative on comparing/contrasting a film to a text and evaluating director's choices.

Thursday, October 5
First, we went over comp. questions for chapters 13 & 14. Then, we broke into small groups to read my favorite chapter--chapter 15! There are quite a few speakers so make sure you're using those strategies to track a speaker!

Wednesday, October 4
In-class literary analysis writing piece to describe Atticus as a parent. Students typed or wrote their responses using their planning from last night--really proud of your hard work and focus, 8th graders!

Tuesday, October 3
During class, students finished up their Who's Who Character Analysis projects with TKaM. Then, we went over the structure of a paragraph & students worked in pairs to organize & classify the parts of a deconstructed literary analysis paragraph. They will be doing an in-class writing piece tomorrow with tonight's homework: planning for this piece.
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Monday, October 2
During class, students signed up for No Red Ink & have a pre-assessment due Wednesday. They also received this week's Greek & Latin root vocabulary words. Finally, they worked in their groups on finishing the Who's Who Character Analysis project.

Friday, September 28
First, students worked on evaluating evidence and adjectives for their projects. Our goal is to practice making and supporting relevant, deep inferences about character traits based on their STEAL details.

Wednesday, September 27
We went over comprehension questions for chapter 11. Then, students broke into groups to work on analyzing characters' STEAL details to interpret characters' personality traits as well as classify commonalities about characters based on external traits. For homework, students should complete 3 characters' analysis on their group's Google doc. Also, students are reading an informational text & practicing with defining words in context as well as analyzing a short poem about the Scottsboro Case.

Tuesday, September 26
We went over comprehension questions for chapter 10. Then, students re-read the scene in chapter 10 in which Atticus shoots Tim Johnson, a mad (rabid) dog. We watched this scene in the film to compare/contrast and evaluate the director's choice to keep this scene in the movie. For homework, chapter 11 & comp. questions--Mrs. Dubose is a salty lady!

Monday, September 25
First, we went over comp. questions for chapter 9. Then, we analyzed several quotes related to the Golden Rule to identify similarities and differences (below). Last, we applied our understanding of this philosophy by analyzing characters' behavior to see if they "live out" the Golden Rule. Students completed a Socrative to demonstrate their understanding of if/how Jem lives out the Golden Rule in chapter 3 of TKaM.

Friday, September 22
During class, we went over the context clue practice from yesterday's classwork. Then, students took Lesson 1 WW test and worked on homework: chapter 9 and comp. questions.

Thursday, September 21
We checked comprehension questions for chapter 8, had a discussion about word choice in TKaM and why the author might use racially charged language, and students voted on keeping or altering the text. Then, we went over Tuesday's context clue quiz and broke into pairs and groups to continue practicing using context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words.

Wednesday, September 20
During class, students self-checked their Wordly Wise homework. Then, we went over comprehension questions for chapter 7. Next, students met in pairs to work on evaluating and selecting the strongest evidence to support an analysis of Jem as considerate and thoughtful of others.
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Tuesday, September 19
First, we went over comprehension questions for chapter 6. Next, students took a formative quiz on context clues in chapter 2 of TKaM. Then, we reviewed the difference between character traits and emotions before splitting into small groups to practice interpreting STEAL details to determine character traits.

Monday, September 18
During class, we went over comprehension questions for chapter 5 and evaluated two responses with evaluating director's choices. Then, we reviewed context clue strategies (below) and students worked in pairs to identify the type of context clue provided along with the part of speech and definition. For homework, chapter 6 of TKaM & comp. questions.
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Friday, September 15
During class, students self-checked their Wordly Wise work. Then, we went over comp. questions for chapter 4 and students completed their partner work with evaluating director's choices. After that, we examined the "dialect" side of the TKaM bookmarks to define and "translate" some examples of dialect found in the dialogue of our characters. Our goal in reading is to also examine dialect to make meaning about characters based on their word choice & how they speak.

Thursday, September 14
First, we went over comprehension questions for chapter 3. Then, we viewed "Scout's First Day of School" to compare & contrast the film against the text. We then zeroed in on one specific similar incident: Walter eating supper at the Finch house to evaluate the director's choice to keep this scene by asking: How does this scene help the audience make meaning about characters & setting?

Wednesday, September 13
During class, we went over comprehension questions for chapter 2 and reviewed students' analysis of Miss Caroline to discuss how a character can be described in many ways, depending on which STEAL details readers examine. Then, we broke into small groups and working on examining and interpreting STEAL details to make meaning about characters in chapter 3.

Tuesday, September 12
We went over comp. questions for chapter 1 and clarified that Boo Radley = same person as Arthur Radley, neighbors to the Finches. Then, we broke into small groups to practice identifying and examining STEAL details to make meaning about Scout's new teacher, Miss Caroline, in chapter 2.

Monday, September 11
Students received Wordly Wise schedule and choices for assignments. Due Friday: pick two out of A (full sentences), B, and/or C. Then, students applied our "tracking the speaker" strategies to annotate a conversation between three characters in TKaM. Finally, we worked on identifying STEAL details in a text and interpreting these details to make meaning (analyze) characters.

Friday, September 8
First, we reviewed comprehension questions from last night's short reading. Then, students took the pend Greek/Latin root assessment and started working on the weekend's short reading.

Thursday, September 7
During class, students made observations and predictions about TKaM based on the novel cover we will use in class. Then, they read the first 3 paragraphs in small groups to determine the point of view. Finally, we read most of the first 6 pages together while pausing and stopping for comprehension checks.

Wednesday, September 6
First, we went over options for Greek/Latin root vocabulary homework. Students worked in pairs to examine three different covers of To Kill a Mockingbird and make specific, deep predictions about plot, characters, and conflict based on colors, text, and pictures. For homework, log in to postit and watch + take notes on the characterization video (in Reading section).

Tuesday, September 5
We continued exploring primary sources to answer our essential question. Students finished summarizing Jim Crow Laws in partners. Then, we discussed how these laws would affect day-to-day lives as well as people's perspectives about race. To wrap up this unit, students are creating a colorful visual (backed up by evidence!) to express their understanding of life in America during the 1930s.

Friday, September 1
Students created word clouds in small groups to demonstrate their understanding and analysis of the photos from the Great Depression. Then, they worked in pairs to summarize Jim Crow laws and determine how these laws might impact perspectives.

Thursday, August 31
Grammar practice for bell work. Then, we analyzed the imagery, word choice, and punctuation of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" in order to draw conclusions about the 1930s, the setting of our first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Wednesday, August 30
Baseline persuasive essay during class. Students worked really hard during the 32-minute on-demand essay!

Tuesday, August 29
Students received books and materials for ELA. Then, we worked on breaking down prompts and brainstorming ideas for tomorrow's on-demand writing pre-assessment (remember, not for a grade, just a communication tool!).