Fri. 10/21 – Essay Planning Day


  • Read your novel, 20 minutes per night
  • Report to computer lab 105 on Monday

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO plan your Outsiders essay and be prepared to write it on Monday.

DO NOW #1 – Open your notebook and write the heading – “10/21 – (Name of Novel) Organizer #1”

  • Write today’s date.
  • Look through your notes for The Outsiders for inspiration.
  • Select a chart that will help you organize some information from the story.
  • Take 5 minutes to create a chart that helps you understand the novel you have just started reading.

DO NOW #2 – Open your notebooks and set up today’s page – “10/21 – Outsiders Essay Planning”

Today’s work involves RESEARCH, ORGANIZATION, and THINKING.

Today, you will select a graphic organizer to help you set up your notes for writing the essay.

Choose from the following graphic organizers, or come up with an organizer of your own:

  • Box and bullets
  • Venn diagram
  • Cause and effect chart
  • Web

Your goal today is to organize as much information as you can so that you can begin writing when you come to the lab Monday.

If you finish…

  • Draft your introduction
  • Read your novel

Thu. 10/20 – Outsider Essay Planning

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK: Begin reading your novel.  Goal: 20 minutes per night.  Be prepared to write about your novel in class tomorrow!

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO begin planning our Outsiders Essay, and read our new novel.

DO NOW: When you receive the handout, write your name at the top of the page and read the directions carefully.  Open your notebook to your Outsiders Topics page and decide which topic you would most like to write about.  You may also need your Outsiders novel.

Today you will complete the handout and turn it in.  Be sure to add a second topic choice at the bottom of the page!

When you finish the organizer, you may read your novel quietly, and…

Begin the notebook assignment for your new novel: Look back over your Outsiders notes and choose one strategy you used for taking notes.  Begin that work for your new novel.

Wed. 10/19 – Outsider Topics and New Books II

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – Have your essay topic choices ready for signup tomorrow.  Be sure to include 2-3 specific examples from the novel as evidence for analysis.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO commit to three essay topics and read to make choices about your next unit book.

DO NOW – Open to yesterday’s notebook work on the Outsider topics.

Today you will have a list of essay topics to look over (LINK).  In addition to ideas you have already considered, browse the list and select topics so that you have at least three possible choices to work with.

You should take a few minutes to work on your topic choices.  Tomorrow, you will complete a signup sheet and begin working on preparing for your essay.


You will also have time today to read more books from the collection on the shelf. 

In the next few weeks, you must read at least one book from the shelf.  You will be responsible for specific notes as you read, and for completing several written assignments about the book.  Choose carefully to ensure (1) you can finish in two weeks, (2) you can fully understand the story, and (3) you can analyze the book in multiple ways.

For the rest of the period, work on your Outsiders topic list and read.  You can choose any books you want from the shelf.  You will need to have a first and second choice.  You will make your choices by the end of the period.

Tue. 10/18 – Outsiders Topics and New Books


TODAY’S GOAL IS TO consider topics for writing about The Outsiders, and browse some books for your next reading assignment.

DO NOW – Write down today’s heading – “10/18: Outsiders Writing Topics”


  • Look over your flash review after you receive it.
  • Consider the topics you focused on as you wrote.
  • Consider the notes added by Mr. Huntley.
  • Take a couple of minutes to complete the following exercise…

One Outsiders topic I could write about is _____________

I could include the following details from the novel:

Another Outsiders topic I could write about is _____________

I could include the following details from the novel:

A third Outsiders topic I could write about is _____________

I could include the following details from the novel:

Book Talk

Book Clubs 1 (link)

Books2 Books1

Mon. 10/17 – Assessing The Outsiders


TODAY’S GOAL IS TO write a personal book review about The Outsiders then discuss and defend your position.

DO NOW: Take out your CORE Workout assignment and open your copy of The Outsiders to p. 177.  

Add the following entry to your notebook: “10/17 – Outsiders Wrap-Up”

Write down 5 things you want to say about the novel, The Outsiders.  Consider:

  • THEMES and IDEAS you thought about

10 Minute Review (on loose leaf)

For the next 10 minutes, you will write a flash review of the novel, The Outsiders.  In your review…

  • State your overall reaction to the book in the first paragraph.  Make 2-3 specific points.
  • In the body, discuss your 2-3 points in more depth.  Share specific details from the novel.
  • In the conclusion, state your final assessment of the novel.  Use a rating system.  State clearly whether you recommend it or not.

5 Minute Review Discussion.  

  • Every minute, you will rotate seats. Be ready!  
  • Speak for no more than 30 seconds, then listen to your partner(s).  
  • Focus on ONE POINT.  If you don’t know what to say, you can read from your review, but it would be more interesting for you to just talk!  
  • Take notes on your review of any points that hadn’t occurred to you or that you find interesting.  
  • Take notes on differences of opinion, too.

Wrap-up.  Imagine that you could alter the story in some way.  You could insert a chapter where you wish there was more information about the story.  You could change the ending.  You could change one detail that would change everything.  What would you do?  Describe how you envision a lost chapter, new ending, or what happens next.

Fri. 10/14 – Vocabulary Unit 2 Quiz

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – Finish Core Workout #1 for Monday

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO take the Vocabulary Unit 2 Quiz, and then read The Outsiders.

DO NOW – Clear your desks of everything except a pen or pencil and your Outsiders novel.

When you finish, read Ch. 11 & 12, pp. 161 – 177.

After reading, go back to your notes on the climax of the novel.  Use a page of your notebook to provide evidence of the rising action leading to that moment.  Identify by chapter at least three specific moments that lead up to the climax.

Thu. 10/13: Outsiders – The Aftermath


  • Study for tomorrow’s vocabulary quiz
  • Finish Core Workout #1 for Monday – multiple choice AND four short responses

Missing the packet?  Download a copy HERE. (outsiders-vocab-2-unit)

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO read Chapter 10 of The Outsiders and identify/analyze the climax of the novel.

DO NOW #1 – Take out your vocabulary packet.

Link – unit-2-sentences

DO NOW #2 – Set up a notebook page for today’s work: “10/13 – What is the climax, and how do I know?”

The CLIMAX of a story is the “TURNING POINT” of the narrative.  That’s the moment when TENSION is the highest, when the most important CRISIS occurs.

Take a moment to write down at least one moment in the story that may be the climax of the novel.

So…what is the climax of The Outsiders?  As we read Chapter 10, think carefully about the events that have happened so far, and the events that are unfolding.

FINAL THOUGHT – Identify the climax of the novel.  Support your selection by explaining why the crisis taking place, why it is the “turning point” of the story, or why the tension is the highest at this point.

The climax of The Outsiders is the moment when…

This is evident because…

Tue. 10/11 – CORE Workout!


  • Study for Friday’s Vocabulary Unit 2 Quiz
  • CORE Workout 1 (“The Chase”) due Monday–including all notebook responses

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO get to know your CORE Workout and get started on it!

DO NOW: Take out your Unit 2 vocabulary packet.

Link: unit-2-synonyms

Introducing CORE Workouts!

Here’s the work you need to do:

Read the article

  • Read for purpose.  You are answering questions, so look at the questions before you begin reading.
  • Annotate as needed.  That means circle, underline, highlight and write comments in the margins that will help you answer the questions.

Use resources to help you. 

  • This is not a test you must complete in a vacuum (that’s one of our vocabulary words…remember?). 
  • If you don’t know a word, look it up!
  • However, you should complete the work ON YOUR OWN.  Do not as others to help you.  Do your best.

Answer the questions.

  • Answer the multiple-choice questions
  • Write responses to ALL of the short-response questions in your notebook
  • Select your best response and write it on the answer form
  • Transfer your multiple choice responses

Turn in the answer form on the due date.  Be prepared to show your responses in the notebook at any time on or after the due date.

For your short responses, remember…

Write a FOCUSED, WELL-SUPPORTED paragraph:

  • Goal: 4-6 sentences.
  • Provide an INFERENCE, which is your ANSWER TO THE QUESTION
  • Then, PROVIDE TWO DETAILS (evidence) from the text to support your inference.
  • Make sure that you justify your choice of evidence, or explain how your evidence supports your answer.

Today, you can (1) work on the Core Workout, (2) finish reading Chapter 9

Fri. 10/7 – The Rumble


  • Finish Chapter 9 for Wednesday.
  • Finish Vocabulary Unit 2 packet for Tuesday 10/11
  • Vocabulary Unit 2 Quiz Friday 10/14

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO read Chapter 9 in The Outsiders.

DO NOW – Open to your selected quotes from Chapter 8.  Be prepared to share your insights with the class.

As we read today, add three additional quotes to your notes, including page numbers, as well as your insights as to the significance of your choices.

Thu. 10/6 – Quotes and Insights


  • Finish Chapter 8.  
  • Finish today’s notebook work (3 quotes and analysis)
  • Vocabulary Unit 2 packet due Tue. 10/11; Quiz Friday 10/14

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO continue reading and analyzing The Outsiders.

DO NOW #1 – Open your notebook to the Outsiders Characterization chart that includes Bob and Randy.

Be prepared to share notes you gathered while reading the end of Chapter 7.

DO NOW #2 – Set up your notebook for today’s work: “10/6 – Outsiders Quotes and Analysis”

As you read today, look for lines that reveal important details or ideas to you as a reader.  Be sure to copy the quote word for word, include the page number, and explain what you understand or realize about the quote.


Wed. 10/5 – The Elvis Quiz


  • Finish Chapter 7
  • Vocabulary Unit 2 packet due Tue. 10/11
  • Vocabulary Quiz on Friday, October 14

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO discuss Chapters 5 & 6 in The Outsiders and then begin reading Chapter 7

DO NOW – Open your notebooks and write down today’s heading: “10/5 – Elvis Connections”

As you listen to the following song excerpts, spend your time writing down how each song relates to the events and discussions taking place in Chapters 5 & 6 of The Outsiders.

#1 Jailhouse Rock (Elvis)

The warden threw a party in the county jail…The prison band was there and they began to wail…The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing…You should’ve heard them knocked out jailbirds sing…Let’s rock, everybody, let’s rock…Everybody in the whole cell block…Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

#2 Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Elvis)

Are you lonesome tonight, do you miss me tonight?  Are you sorry we drifted apart?

Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?  Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?  Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?  Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Trivia: The night Elvis died, this song was played on many radio stations.  

#3 Devil in Disguise (Elvis)

You look like an angel…Walk like an angel…Talk like an angel…But I got wise…You’re the devil in disguise

You cheated and you schemed…Heaven knows how you lied to me…You’re not the way you seemed

Trivia: Elvis met with President Nixon in 1970 and offered his services to the President as a federal agent.  Who was acting as a secret agent according to information in Chapters 5 & 6?

#4 Burning Love (Elvis)

Lord almighty…I feel my temperature rising…Higher higher…It’s burning through to my soul…

It’s coming closer…The flames are now licking my body…Won’t you help me…I feel like I’m slipping away…It’s hard to breathe…My chest is a heaving…Lord have mercy

Hint: We’re not talking about burning love here…but something was burning in Chapter 6.

#5 Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold.  Her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour.  So Eden sank to grief.  So leaf subsides to leaf.  So dawn goes down today.  Nothing gold can stay.

Not a song, but definitely important to Chapter 5.


Fri. 9/30 – Vocabulary Quiz & Notebook Check

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – Read Outsiders Chapters 5 & 6 for Wednesday (the next time we meet!)


  • Take Outsiders Vocabulary Unit 1 Quiz
  • Complete Notebook Check 1.2

DO NOW – Clear your desks of everything except your notebook, a pen or pencil, and your copy of The Outsiders

WHEN YOU FINISH, you should read Chapters 5 & 6 silently.  If you finish the reading, work on an enrichment writing assignment in your notebooks.

Thu. 9/29 – Notebook Pre-Check

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – Study for tomorrow’s vocabulary quiz.

TODAY’S GOAL is to review for tomorrow’s quiz and then look over your notes to prepare for the notebook check.

DO NOW #1 – Open to Part II of your vocabulary review.


DO NOW #2 – Open your notebooks to your notes from “On the Sidewalk Bleeding.”  We will walk through the requirements for the next notebook check (today if you are ready; otherwise, tomorrow)

NOTEBOOK CHECK 1.2 Rubric – 40 points/10 full pgs

  • On The Sidewalk Bleeding chart and 5 questions answered, 1 pg. (5 pts)
  • Free Choice Entry #2, 1 pg. (5 pts)
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay3 questions answered and epitaph, 1 pg. (5 pts)
  • Belonging to a Group, 1 pg. (5 pts)
  • Outsider Character Charts, 3 pgs completed (10 pts)
  • Outsiders Notes:  Monday questions, Tuesday questions and quotes, Wed. rounded character notes, 2 pgs. (5 pts)
  • Rounded character scene, 1 pg. (5 pts)

(additional credit for enrichment, extra effort, or extra pages of writing)

For the remainder of the period…

  • work on your notebook
  • study your vocabulary
  • begin reading the homework due Wed. – Read Ch. 5 & 6 in The Outsiders.

If you are ready for the notebook check, you can have it done today!

Wed. 9/28 – Rounded Characters


Use your “rounded character” choice from today’s notebook work to create a scene including your character.  Place your character in any setting–for example, Roslyn Middle School in the present day.  Your character’s role in the scene should be true to the details you gathered about him/her in your notes.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO continue reading and analyzing The Outsiders paying attention to how some characters are round, while others are flat.

DO NOW #1 – Take out your vocabulary packet and get ready to go over the synonyms.

Link: outsiders-unit-1-synonyms

DO NOW #2 – Set up today’s heading: “9/28 – Round and Flat Characters”

5 Minute writing

Choose either Dallas Winston or Johnny Cade.  Find his box on the chart.  Based on what you have read so far, create a more updated and detailed list of character traits, behaviors, principles, and choices that help understand who he is.  Use details from Chapters 3 & 4 to “round out” your characters.

When you are finished, write down the name of a character we know little about and most likely will not get to know too well in this novel.

As we read today, pay attention to the character you selected.  Add details to your character study.  

Tue. 9/27 – Can You Relate?

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK: Finish Vocabulary Unit 1 review packet.  Quiz Friday!

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO continue reading The Outsiders, paying particular attention to the different perspectives of the characters.

But first…any questions about the vocabulary words?

DO NOW: Set up today’s notebook entry. “9/27 – Empathy and Compassion”

5 Minute Writing

Make a case for (1) why Ponyboy may be right in believing he and Johnny have it pretty rough, and (2) why he may not be aware of the struggles of Socs, others out there in the world, and you.  Provide examples from the novel, the real world, and your imagination.

5 Questions about Chapter 3

  1. Cherry asked Ponyboy about watching sunsets because…
  2. What did Ponyboy notice that one of the socs was wearing?
  3. What did Cherry say to Ponyboy as they were leaving?
  4. What mistake did Johnny and Ponyboy make as they were headed home?
  5. Why did Ponyboy decide he wanted to run away?

Notebook work as you read today…

Select at least two quotes that seem to be significant to the story.  Copy them down, with page numbers.  Explain why the quotes seem to have such impact.

Mon. 9/26 – Codes and Principles


  • Finish Chapter 3 in The Outsiders
  • Vocabulary packet due Wed.; Quiz Fri.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO continue reading The Outsiders, paying particular attention to the codes and principles of the characters.

DO NOW – Set up your notebook for today’s discussion: “9/26 – Codes and Principles”

  • A CODE is a group of rules that together form a way to live life.
  • A PRINCIPLE is a rule from which all decisions and actions follow.
  • You could say that the code you live by is made up of a set of principles you believe in.


What is the Greaser’s Code, and what are some examples of the greasers demonstrating that code?

INTERLUDE – Do you have any questions about the vocabulary list?


  1. Who is Tim Shepard, and what happened to him?
  2. What is the Greaser’s Code?
  3. What are the rules of a fair fight?
  4. Describe some of the more upsetting details about what happened to Johnny.
  5. Explain Cherry’s point when she says, “Things are rough all over.”


In your notebook, start a “Themes and Ideas” page for the novel.

Loss of innocence


Things are rough all over


Broken dreams


Fri. 9/23 – Greasers and Socs


  • Finish Ch. 2 in The Outsiders
  • Make sure your characterization charts are complete
  • Finish Outsiders Vocabulary Unit 1 Packet by Wed., 9/28
  • Vocabulary Quiz Friday, Sept. 30.

Outsiders Vocabulary Unit

When you receive your packet, fill out the information at the top, including packet due date and quiz date.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO continue developing an understanding about the characters in The Outsiders and the conflict between Greasers and Socs.

DO NOW – Open to your Outsiders Characterization Charts.  Review the details you have added so far.

When you are called on, be prepared to share a detail to include in the charts.

Thu. 9/22 – The Outsiders

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK: Finish Chapter 1 and character analysis chart pages 1-2.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO begin reading The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton and become acquainted with the main characters known as “greasers”

DO NOW: Open your notebooks to last night’s homework.  We will take a few minutes to share insights about belonging to groups.

How does it feel to belong to a group?

How might it feel to be on the outside looking in?

DO NOW #2: Set up today’s notebook pages.  You will need three pages to create the following charts:

(Page 1)

Outsiders NB1

(Page 2)

Outsiders NB2

(Page 3)

Outsiders NB3

Today we will begin reading the novel, The Outsiders. Some interesting details about the novel:

  • S.E. Hinton began writing the novel when she was 15 years old, and it was published when she was 18.  Imagine that!
  • The novel was published before “YA” fiction existed as a genre, and probably helped to invent it
  • The novel has sold over 10 million copies
  • The Outsiders is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where S.E. Hinton grew up.

Outsiders Setting (link)

As we read,

  • Pay close attention to the details about characters as they are introduced.
  • Listen to Ponyboy Curtis narrate the story, and draw some conclusions about him as well
  • Jot down details you learn about “greasers” and “socs” as well.

Wed. 9/21 – Nothing Gold Can Stay

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – In your notebook, write about a group you “belong” to. In your response, be sure to discuss:

  • Identify who is in your group, where you meet, and your main purpose for being together
  • Describe the culture of the group – what interests you share and the good times you have experienced together
  • Describe the history of the group – how you came to be friends, and what newcomers have added to the culture
  • Describe the importance of this group to you and your growth as an individual.
  • Include details from your life to illustrate your points

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO analyze the poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” by Robert Frost, and make thematic connections between the poem and the short story, “On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” by Evan Hunter

DO NOW: Set up a notebook page for today’s work – “9/21 Nothing Gold Can Stay”


Frost – Nothing Gold Can Stay

10 Minute Notebook Discussion and Writing

Consider the poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” as you recall the story of Andy, the Royal, in “On The Sidewalk Bleeding.”  

For the next 10 minutes, discuss and write about one or all of the following prompts:

  1. How does the idea of “Loss of Innocence” relate to both the poem and the story?
  2. How does the statement, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” apply to Andy’s situation?
  3. Although Andy’s story isn’t about nature, what is “natural,” predictable, or true about what happened to Andy?

Final thought:


Write an epitaph to Andy in your notebook.  An epitaph is a statement made in memory of someone, usually found on a gravestone or memorial.  Use the imagery and main idea of the poem in your epitaph. 

Mon. & Tue. 9/19-20 – Summer Reading Assignment

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK – Complete second personal notebook entry by Wednesday.  Select from the list on the back of the English Handbook, or choose a topic of your own.

YOUR GOAL FOR MONDAY AND TUESDAY is to select three topics for the Summer Reading Assignment and write a well-crafted, well-detailed paragraph for each.

DO NOW – Make sure you have everything you need to write.

  • Notebook
  • Loose leaf
  • Pencil or pen (black/blue ink please)
  • Your summer reading novel, if you have a copy
  • The Plot Outline handout you prepared on Friday

When you receive your “Circuit” writing assignment, re-read your work and then the comments.

Example 1


Observations about Example 1…

  • Good length for the assignment, since you will be writing three of these responses
  • Sufficient details for the assignment
  • The organization of ideas could be improved by presenting positive traits together  
  • The analysis could be improved by discussing how these character traits contribute to Francisco’s experiences throughout the book

Example 2

Observations about Example 2…

  • Good length for assignment, since you will be writing 3 of these responses
  • Strong use of quoted text
  • The response would have better focus if the topic sentence explained why this setting was significant to the story
  • The analysis could be improved by adding discussion about how the setting related to main conflicts or themes in the story

Summer Reading Assignment Handout (PDF)

Important Tips:

  • Read the topic choices carefully and be sure to stay focused in your response!
  • Avoid “I” statements such as “I think,” “I believe,” “In my opinion”
  • Refer to the TRANSITIONS section (p. 7) of your English Handbook to improve the flow of your writing
  • Avoid repeated use of the same details.
  • The assessment of conventions will focus on proper use of capitalization and commas


  • Re-read your responses.  Revise and edit as needed.
  • Insert changes by writing in the margin or below the paragraph.  Use arrows or (*) to indicate where additions will go.
  • Make sure you have used commas correctly and capitalized where appropriate
  • Submit your assignment.  Read quietly or work on the homework.


Fri. 9/16 – Plot, Character, Setting, Mood, Theme


  • Be prepared to write about your summer reading selection on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Bring your summer reading novel to class

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO review comma usage and organize your thoughts and ideas about the details of the summer reading selection.

DO NOW -Take out your comma review handout.

Comma Review Answer Key

Part II – Make sure you have a copy of the plot chart/organizer handout.

Summer Reading Plot Outline

Part III – Provide any additional information you will need to write thoroughly and thoughtfully about your novel.

On an additional page in your notebook, take time to add details and ensure a confident, well-supported analysis.  Your additional notes should include:

  • Character details, such as (a) personality traits, (b) important choices/actions, and (c) conflicts faced by him/her
  • Setting and mood details
  • Themes presented by the author – lessons learned by characters, important ideas worth discussing
  • Vivid imagery created by the author
  • Ways in which your book possibly inspired you


Wed. 9/14 – “On the Sidewalk Bleeding”


  • Complete your comma usage review sheet.
  • Summer Reading Assignment begins Monday.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO review the rules of comma usage and finish our discussion and analysis of “On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” by Evan Hunter.

DO NOW: Locate your English Handbook and open to page 8.

Comma Rules Review

Part II: Open up to your notes about “On the Sidewalk Bleeding.” Start a new page with the heading, “9/13 – On the Sidewalk Bleeding Analysis”

Respond to the following questions in your notebook. Write in complete sentences.

  1. Select a vividly detailed description from the story that made you feel what was happening. Put the description in quotes and identify the page/column numbers.
  2. Explain Andy’s greatest fear as he lay dying.
  3. Based on Andy’s thoughts in the story, describe something he might have done in his life if he had survived the stabbing.
  4. At the end of the story, the police officer saw Andy only as “A Royal.” Who is to blame for that – Andy, the gang, the officer, or someone else? Explain your answer.
  5. Write a different title for the story that reveals an idea the story made you think about.

Tue. 9/13 – Portmanteaus and Six-Word Memoirs

WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK: Complete your portmanteau and 6-word memoir.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO review capitalization rules, then learn about and create a portmanteau and a six-word memoir.

DO NOW: Take out your capitalization handout.  Have a pen or pencil ready to correct and annotate your work.

Capitalization Review Sheet

Part II: Portmanteau and Six-Word Memoir Assignment (link)


A portmanteau is a word that is formed by combining two other words in order to synthesize meaning. For example, a SHARKNADO combines sharks and tornadoes to create the most terrifying natural disaster you can imagine. Here are some more you may recognize:

  • CRONUT (croissant + donut) 
  • FRAPPUCINO (frappé + cappucino) 
  • BRUNCH (breakfast + lunch) 
  • TURDUCKEN (turkey + duck + chicken) 
  • CHILLAX (chill + relax)
  • FRENEMY (friend + enemy) 
  • THREEPEAT (three + repeat)
  • CYBORG (cybernetic + organism) 
  • STAYCATION (stay home + vacation)

Today you will create a portmanteau that will combine two words that best describe you. It’s important to choose two words that describe you well, but they should also blend together well to create an interesting-sounding word.

FIRST, CHOOSE TEN ADJECTIVES/CHARACTER TRAITS that describe you. Make sure you know the meaning of the words. They should not be words that would describe most other seventh graders; your portmanteau will be unique! 

Use this list of Personality Words to help you find words that describe you.

THEN, TRY COMBINING YOUR WORDS IN DIFFERENT WAYS. Try at least 5 different combinations. Say each word to yourself. For each, ask yourself: is it natural and easy to pronounce? Does it sound unique? Avoid a combination that sounds like a familiar word. Make changes if needed, and decide which portmanteau best describes you. 


In 2008, a book entitled Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure became a New York Times bestseller. The book is a compilation of hundreds of 6-word memoirs that were submitted to the book’s publisher. Not Quite What I Was Planning remained on the best seller list for six weeks. This book demonstrates that it doesn’t take a lot of words to communicate emotion and ideas.  Everyone has a story to tell! 

A memoir is an autobiographical piece of writing that focuses on specific events, experiences, or themes in one’s life. Today you will create a special kind of memoir that can only be six words long. 

Six-Word Memoir Examples:

  • Next to normal would be okay.
  • I need more than 24 hours.
  • Xbox doesn ‘t want me to study.
  • She is my missing puzzle piece.
  • Math books make really good pillows.
  • I lose myself inside the music.
  • Outcast. Picked last. Surprised them all.
  • Dabbler in much, expert in none.

FIRST, start a new page or section in your notebook titled “My Six-Word Memoirs.” 

NEXT, WRITE A SHORT SENTENCE THAT EXPRESSES SOME IMPORTANT FEELING AND/OR IDEA ABOUT YOURSELF. It can be about your whole life, the past year, your most recent summer, or just today. Work on the statement until it is only six words long. 

As with the portmanteau, craft your six word memoir carefully. You want A UNIQUE STATEMENT about yourself. AVOID CLICHÉS found in popular culture (songs, online posts, camp slogans, television, etc.). Definitely do not plagiarize another person’s words. 

Repeat the process. WRITE AT LEAST THREE STATEMENTS. Read each one to yourself: does it say something deep and meaningful? Is it unusual? Does it make sense? Make changes if needed and decide which six-word statement best describes you. 

For homework, follow the directions on the handout.  Submit your best portmanteau and six-word memoir tomorrow.

Mon. 9/12 – Capitalization


  • Complete capitalization review handout.
  • Be prepared to write about your summer reading novel selection early next week.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO review the rules of capitalization and read the short story, “On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” by Evan Hunter

DO NOW – Locate your English Handbook and open to page 7.  

Capitalization Review – These reminders are printed in your handbook.

  • Capitalize the first word of a sentence


  • Capitalize the names of persons, places, days, months, holidays, places of worship, names of deities, religious scriptures, schools, buildings, races, and organizations

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team; 

Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland…

(from “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” by Billy Joel)

  • Capitalize the first word of a direct quotation

Go for it!” said Rocky Balboa.

  • Capitalize the title of a book, play, poem, article, or movie, and…
  • Always capitalize the pronoun I

Rogue One,” is coming to a theater near you in December.

I will read To Kill A Mockingbird before I watch the film.

I like the poem, “Digging,” by Seamus Heaney.

Complete the capitalization review sheet for homework.

READING: “On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” by Evan Hunter.

Create a new organizer in your notebook.  You will need three sections: Plot (story details), Character Traits and Conflicts, and Setting and Mood details.  Here’s a suggestion on how to set it up:


As you listen and read along, add details to your organizer.

Fri. 9/9 – Friday Flash Draft



  • Bring your summer reading book to class next week.  
  • You may have time to read, so bring another book if you are finished with the summer novel.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO provide written analysis of the book The Circuit, by Francisco Jimenez.

DO NOW: Clear your desks of everything except a pen or pencil, loose leaf, the paragraph topic sheet you received yesterday, a copy of The Circuit, if you have one or can borrow one, and your notebook.

  1. Use the first T-chart you created yesterday (and any other notes or details from The Circuit) to write an insightful, well-detailed paragraph.  Use loose leaf paper.  Label the paragraph with your topic choice.  Remember to include a heading with your name, period, and date.  Follow the directions on your topic sheet.
  2. If you finish the first paragraph, go on to compete the second t-chart in your notes.  Provide sufficient examples from the book.  Include a heading that makes your topic choice clear.
  3. If you finish the t-chart, write a second analysis paragraph.  Follow the directions on the sheet and in #1, above.
  4. At the end of the period, turn in all paragraph writing (even incomplete work) with your topic sheet attached.

If you do finish your two paragraphs, you may read quietly.

Thu. 9/8 – The Trusty T-Chart


  • Be prepared for tomorrow’s notebook check – personalized cover, first entry, in-class work on Tuesday, Wednesday, and today’s organizer (6 pages minimum).
  • Consider bringing your summer reading book tomorrow; you may have time to read.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO use t-charts to help you draw conclusions from details you have gathered from The Circuit.

DO NOW: Write down the heading for today’s work – “9/8 – T-Chart Organization”

A T-chart is an effective, easy-to-use tool to help you think more deeply about a topic.

  • T-charts help you compare and contrast
  • T-charts help you make connections between topics and ideas
  • T-charts help you express inferences or draw conclusions from details you have uncovered

For two days, you have gathered details about characters, conflict, setting, plot, mood, and imagery.  Today you will be able to choose which topics or ideas to explore in The Circuit.

  • Listen carefully to the topic choices.
  • Revisit your work from the past two days.
  • Select two topics to write about.
  • Spend your time today creating a t-chart for each topic with the following structure:


Scan Sep 6, 2016, 5.34 PM



Wed. 9/7 – Imagery Creates Setting & Mood


  • Read at least one chapter of The Circuit or review the chapters to refresh your memory of the book
  • Be prepared for Friday’s notebook check – including a personalized cover, your first entry, and all in-class work this week

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO look at how imagery in The Circuit helps to create the setting and mood of the story

DO NOW: Write today’s notebook heading on a new page – “9/7 – Plot Diagram”

Part I – Plot Diagram.  

Review all the details on the back chalkboard.  Draw the following diagram in your notebook to help you organize important details in The Circuit
[Suggestion: create the chart across two pages or turn the page sideways for more room.]
Plot Diagram

Part II – Gathering and organizing details from The Circuit

  • Start a new page of notes with the heading, “Imagery, Setting, & Mood”
  • As you listen to the excerptmake a bulleted list of any details you hear that appeal to your senses – sight, sound, taste/smell, touch
  • Pay particular attention to setting  details and descriptions that affect the mood
  • Be as specific as you can – write down the exact words that help you sense what is going on


Take some time to compare notes with your partner. Make sure you your list is as complete as possible.

Organize your details by labeling them:

  • Setting – details that help envision the place & time
  • Mood – details that help you feel a certain way
  • Interesting imagery – other details that caught your attention and help you sense (see, hear, etc.) what is happening

Determine how to label your details:

  • Use colors/highlighters
  • Use symbols or numbers
  • Use another system that works for you

Add and label additional details to your list that are shared in class.

Tue. 9/6 – Character Details


  • Bring your copy of The Circuit (if you have one) to school and keep it in your locker.
  • Be prepared for your first notebook check on Friday (personalized notebook cover, first entry, plus work completed in class this week)

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO begin using your notebook to recall and gather details about characters in The Circuit, by Francisco Jimenez.

DO NOW: After writing down the homework, open your notebooks to a new page and write down today’s heading – “9/6 – Character Details in The Circuit”

Part I: Character Details from The Circuit

Listen to the passage from The Circuit. As you listen, jot down details you hear about the main character, Francisco.  These details might be:

  • Descriptions of the character’s appearance, feelings, attitudes
  • Actions the character takes/ Choices he makes
  • Conflicts or problems faced by the character

Here is a way to organize the details.  Divide your page into four sections:

Scan Sep 5, 2016, 2.59 PM

Part II: Story details from The Circuit

DO NOW: Start a new page in your notebook with the heading, “Circuit Story Details”

  • For the next few minutes, you and your group will write down details from the story.
  • Use the chart paper and work together to create a brief synopsis of the story’s events.
  • Try to keep the events in order; you can draw arrows or number them after you are finished

Wrap up: Take a few minutes to jot down your own personal timeline of story events.  Use the page you set up in your notebook.

Fri. 9/2 – Grammar and Notebook Work


WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK: Personalize your composition notebook for next Friday’s notebook check! Minimum requirements:

  • First and last name in ink (Sharpie recommended in any readable color)
  • Room 110 in ink
  • Mr. Huntley in ink
  • At least one picture that reveals something about you – can be a photo, a drawing, or graphic
  • At least one quotation that expresses something you believe in – and identify who said it!

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO take a grammar diagnostic and then write your first notebook entry.

DO NOW: Take out your English Handbook for the signature check.  Clear your desks of everything else, and make sure you have a pen or pencil ready.


  • Browse the topics on the back cover of the English Handbook
  • Choose one topic you can write about for at least two pages in your notebook (for college ruled notebooks, 1.5 pgs.)
  • For your heading, write today’s date (9/2) and either a title of your choosing or the title, “First Entry”
  • Take your time and write thoughtfully, descriptively, and passionately!

IF YOU FINISH THE WRITING ASSIGNMENT, you may finish writing your summer moment assignment from yesterday, get started personalizing your notebook, write about another topic, or read a book (there are books available on the shelf by the door)

Row of colorful flip flops on beach against sunny sky

Enjoy Labor Day Weekend!


Thu. 9/1 – Welcome, 7th grade English students!


WRITE DOWN THE HOMEWORK:  Review your English Handbook with a parent/guardian and have PAGE 2 signed by TOMORROW.

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO familiarize yourself with some of the expectations for Grade 7 English and write about a recent experience.

When you receive your English Handbook, write your first and last name on the cover, clearly and legibly.  While you wait, you may browse the book.

Keep your handbook in the English section of your binder for quick reference.

ENGLISH HANDBOOK 16-17 (Periods 1, 4)

ENGLISH HANDBOOK 16-17 (Periods 5, 8)

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 6.08.50 AM

Writing topic: A Summer Moment

For the next few minutes, write about a moment from your summer.  As you write, be sure to include specific details, descriptions, and emotions from your experience.  This is a chance for you to demonstrate your writing skills and look back on a moment you would probably rather be experiencing right now!  Immerse yourself in the experience and help your reader experience it as well.

Quick survey:  On the back of your “Summer Moment,” answer the following questions.

  1. Did you enjoy your summer reading choice book?  Why/why not?
  2. Did you enjoy The Circuit?  Why/why not?
  3. What’s the best book you have read in the past year?  Why?
  4. What question(s) do you have about English class this year, or about 7th grade in general?

See you soon!

See you September 1!

In the meantime, remember to read The Circuit and your summer reading selection.

Below you will find some advice from last year’s students…

On NOTEBOOKS – Keep your notebook ready to go at all times.  Write MORE than enough.  Provide a TON of evidence.  If you do well on your notebook, you will get a good grade his class.  Keep your notebook organized with dates and headings.

On READING – Read EVERY NIGHT.  Choose your books carefully so that you ENJOY THEM.  Do the assigned reading as soon as you find out about it.

On ORGANIZATION – Use the WEBSITE to keep track of assignments.  Start projects right away.  DON’T PROCRASTINATE!  Pay attention in class and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS carefully.  Turn assignments in on time.

On WORK ETHIC – Just DO THE WORK!  You are developing habits and skills that will help you later–maybe in an hour, or in 10 years.  Take advantage of EXTRA HELP.  And don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS.

ALSO – Relax, it’s going to be fun…Always smile…Be prepared for a lot of revision…Be sure to English good…Behave!…Don’t leave your imagination home; you’re going to need it!