Careykid's Blog

A High School English Class Blog

Halfway There!!

Keep Going!

Keep Going!

Hello Again. I’m finally finding the time to get back to this blog and make notifications.

We have rounded the corner of the halfway point of freshmen year for your students. I love that the image above shows a sign asking people to please “stay on the trail.” I want your students to do the same.

In both English 9 and English 9H we have spent the last few weeks reading John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” Students worked on close reading exercises and analyzed key scenes from the novel. Our final assessment for the book is a performance task where students conduct a trial and act as prosecutors, defense or jurors in the case of the State of California v. George Milton. The book ends with George killing Lennie, so students must use evidence in the text that they feel will either help convict George of a crime or defend his actions. The students all prepared for the trial during class time last week and are conducting the trial this week. Due to Thursday’s snow day, we will be finishing the trials with closing statements next week.

English 9H – Students have continued to engage in their weekly research seminar discussions and introduced so many fascinating topics of research and discovery. The Save the World project has many great facets to it. One of the areas where students have struggled is with the written portion. I have provided classes for Works Cited pages and format, In-Text Citations, Outlining/Organizing ideas and other instructions relative to the written essay. Some students are demonstrating that they do not listen or use the resources that I post to Google Classroom. As a result, they are not achieving the grade they think they deserve on the research essay.

Students are encouraged to come to Writing Lab any day of the week from 7:15 – 7:40 or to make an appointment to meet with me during a study hall or half the lunch period. I have been meeting with students and helping them individually when asked, so there is no reason why anyone should get a failing grade on the essay, yet some students have turned in sub-par work with plagiarized passages (no in-text citations) or incorrectly formatted Works Cited pages.

How you can help: Please ask your student to seek help if they need it BEFORE their paper is due.

REMINDER: All students are welcome to seek extra help by coming to Writing Lab any day of the week. I open Room 36 by 7:15 and am available to assist with revisions, writing tasks for English or any other class or just to answer questions. Students earn extra credit for the quarter when they indicate they’re “Self-Directed” learners by showing up to get help when they need it. I use a sign-in log to keep track of who comes in, what they work on and how often.


What’s Going On??

January - Yay!

January – Yay!

Hello Parents!

We are back and on track again after the  holiday break. You may have heard that I declared January “National Hoodie Month,” and with the cold temperatures earlier this week, I think you can understand what motivated my decision. I will wear a hoodie every day this month.

Both English 9 and 9H are reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. It’s a short novella about two friends working on a ranch in California in the 1940’s. I posted a pdf of the book on Google Classroom at the beginning of last week so that students can read online or on their phones if they don’t have a copy of the book at home with them. This week we got through Chapter 3 and students answered questions about it. The questions were designed to have students read more carefully, then go back to the text to find information that would support their responses. The question sheets for Chapters 1, 2 and 3 will be attached to this post. Here: OMAM Chp1OMAMChp2-docxomamchp3-docx-1

As of Friday, Jan. 13th, students should have completed the Chp. 3 question sheet and turned it in.

English 9H students are continuing their research projects.

How you can help: Please remind your student(s) to do the required seminar discussion preparation EACH WEEK. In addition to their own research they are supposed to be reading about TWO of their classmates topics each week in order to participate in class discussions every Thursday. Students should also be working independently to collect and read material to support their own research topics. In class this week I showed students how to outline their thesis and arguments for their research paper and showed them the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) website that I recommend as a resource for formatting citations and works cited pages. Please call or email me if you have any questions or concerns as your student works on this project.

This Week in English!

Hello Parents:

Here is what is happening this week so far.

English 9 – Yesterday and today students read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” Today we had a literature discussion about the story and reviewed difficult vocabulary and looked at meaning within the text. Any students who were not in class may access the text through Google classroom or here. I have also attached to classroom and here, the questions to be answered by anyone not in class on Tuesday, 12/13.

Short story:

Questions: Poe Story Questions

English 9H: Once again, students did a progress report where they discussed their research with classmates, got suggestions, offered advice and made note of what they plan to do next in the process. We had a brief discussion about time management and students were told that they should plan on doing work on their research project EVERY DAY or NIGHT. Even if it’s only 10 – 15 minutes of work researching, reading, annotating or taking notes, students should work on it every day. Do not wait for me to post reminders here on Google Classroom.

One of the goals of this project is to teach students how to handle larger, complex, long-term assignments. They do that by breaking down the project into smaller increments and accomplishing goals toward it every day.

How you can help: Please REMIND students they should access last week’s post on Google Classroom and read the articles for their class period’s research seminars. They must turn in their answers to the questions for EACH article by 9:00AM, Thursday, Dec. 15th or it will be marked late and they will lost points.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

English 9: Students in each class voted on, chose sides and began researching debate topics. The Period 3 group has a brief reading assignment posted to Google Classroom. The Period 4 and Period 7 groups worked on finding support for their arguments for each side of the issues they chose for their debates. The debates will begin tomorrow.

How you can help: Ask your student about the topic he or she will be debating. Which side did he/she choose? What have they found to support their point of view?

English 9H: Today, students worked in small groups again to share ideas and offer research feedback. The progress report sheet looks exactly like last week’s sheet, but the questions are different, so please read carefully and provide detailed responses. I have attached today’s progress report sheet to this post. Research Progress Report 2

The progress reports serve as benchmarks along the pathway of your research. The questions are designed to have you think carefully about your project and to seek assistance where you need it.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 7th, I will be posting the next TWO articles and questions for next week’s research seminar discussions. Please be sure that you are ready for THIS WEEK’S discussions by reading the articles posted last week and answering the questions HERE on Google Classroom and submitting them for credit.

How you can help: Please, please, please encourage your student to set up an appointment with me for one-on-one instruction about their research topic, to continue searching for more information about it, and to keep track of their sources by adding them to the bibliography/works cited draft they set up in the library and stored in their research folder on Google drive. Some students have not met to go over their research or even to discuss problems they’ve encountered with it! Some students have very few sources in their folders. The due dates for their work on this will creep up before they know it.

Monday, December 5, 2016




Hi Folks! As I posted in Google Classroom to all of my classes today, Happy Monday and Yay! It’s snowing!

Every English class had a vocabulary/language assessment today. As usual, students were not required to study for it, they are given most of the definitions and then must respond to questions about how the words are used in context or about the parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb).

Students in all classes also were given a non-fiction reading to do on NEWSELA. I am attaching the link to the article as part of this post. Each of the classes were given the same article and two questions to answer as part of the assignment. I will attach the questions here as well.

How you can help: Please remind students to do the assignment. English 9H students also have TWO important readings to do this week to prepare for a student-led research seminar discussion on Thursday. BOTH articles AND accompanying questions were assigned last week.

English 9H Parents/Guardians: Please encourage your student to make an appointment for a help session with me regarding their research project. Some students reported having trouble with their research topics and searches, but they have not taken the time to come in for extra help. I have posted appointment sheets and my available time periods on the board at the front of the classroom!! I will be calling some parents this week about my concerns for some students who are already behind in their work on this project.

Article Questions 12/5

Monday, Nov. 28, 2016

English 9 – Today we went on a vocabulary scavenger hunt. Students used their independent readings to find, document and define difficult words from their books. Each student had to find three difficult words from the text they’re reading and follow the instructions on a sheet I’ve attached to this post. Vocab Scavenger Hunt

The sheets were turned in at the end of the class period. The results will be used to compose their next vocabulary challenge.

English 9H – Over the weekend I thought about it and decided that our best course of action for the research project is to move back ALL of the due dates, both oral discussion and research papers, by ONE WEEK. The holiday created a much needed pause for all of us and the sense I have been getting is that many of the students are stressed out. The purpose of the research project is to show them how to conduct research, how to work more independently and how to organize their information into a coherent report.

Today, in addition to showing students some strategies for rewording their search criteria, I spent some time addressing individual issues that have come up with regard to the research project. Then, students in class worked in groups to assist one another with suggestions and feedback on the research progress so far. Some students found themselves in the position of being told by their peers that they have to get to work and get some more research done!

I am attaching to this post the new due dates for students in each class AND the progress activity sheet done in class today. Any student who was absent should fill out the parts needed to be answered individually.




Inquiry and Research

Students in all classes are doing research, asking questions and writing. That has been the focus this week.

English 9 – In addition to their independent reading, students began an inquiry series called “Ask Me Anything.” They can type a question about any topic into a search engine and then they have to evaluate the sources where they get answers. They also have to do a journal where they document what they learn. We will be doing that about once a week all year long. Every five weeks I will be assessing their inquiry journals. I am attaching the documents for the activity here: Ask Me AnythingInquiry Journal Prompt

How you can help: Throw out some questions YOU may be curious about. Certainly you have found yourself wondering about a topic such as, “How many four-year colleges ARE there in the U.S.?” or similar things. What do you do? I Google it – on my phone! But that does not always result in the right or even the most accurate answer!

English 9H – Here is what was posted to Google Classroom today:

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, I will be modeling the very first research discussion. To show students how to prepare for their research discussions, I have assigned an article that I am using in my research, along with questions that each student MUST answer in order to prepare for the discussion.

During class time today and tomorrow (Nov. 17 & 18) I am having half of the students complete the narrative assignment from Wednesday and half should be reading the article I assigned. Then, the next day, everyone should switch. I am doing this because I only have access to the 15 Chromebooks cart in my room and not the 30 unit cart I had on Wednesday. This gives us the unique opportunity to conduct a required reading during the class period instead of having to do it as homework. Please take advantage of this because the article is probably the longest non-fiction text you’ve ever been required to read. Get used to it. This is the future of conducting and sharing research. I am posting both the article link AND the questions to this assignment. Be sure to come to class prepared with both the article read and the questions answered for our whole class discussion on Wed., Nov. 23!!

Please continue to sign up for one-on-one meeting times with me to review your research so far, talk about your article and discussion plans and go over your research paper so far.

Here are the questions that go along with the article I assigned. Journalism ArticleArticle Questions

How you can help: Please encourage your student to set up a meeting time where they get to have one-on-one instruction about their research topic, methods and troubleshoot problems they encounter. This project demands a high level of independent work and I’m willing to help anyone who asks.


Q2 Begins!


It’s the start of the second quarter and students are busy learning how to be more independent. To help them, both classes are engaging in some learning that requires them to take more responsibility for keeping up with assignments and due dates.

English 9 – Students are reading the books they chose from the library last week. While reading, they are being asked to fill out regular progress reports. They will have several assignments to do with regard to their Independent Reading. I am attaching the progress report sheet that was done IN CLASS today and attached to Google Classroom for anyone who was absent. Ind. Read PR1

English 9H – Today, in class, I modeled how I do research. It sounds boring, I know, but I wanted students to see how an adult moves from a general idea or interest to creating an opinion or argument. Then, I demonstrated my search using one of the library databases. I showed students how to track their sources using proper MLA format and a draft works cited document. On that, I also included the LINKS to the articles I had found, in case I’d like to return to them again in the future. I’ll attach the instructional document I used in class and posted to Google Classroom right here -> Model Research Process

How you can help: Keep checking this blog for updates about assignments and expectations. Ask your student if he or she has work that needs to be completed for English class, read the comments next to any grades or flagged assignments on the portal. For students who earn a less-than-stellar grade on some assignments (writing or vocab, mostly) I usually write a comment about how they can improve their grade. I also write a comment next to any assignment grade that reflects extra work or revision done by your student. Please encourage him or her to come to Writing Lab in Room 36 before homeroom any weekday to get extra help or to catch up on work.

Decisions, Decisions!

Veterans' Day Students in all of my English classes had to engage in some decision-making this week.

The English 9 students had to define what they like to read and then decide on a book they will read in order to write a book review in December. Today was actually a great day where students were given time to JUST READ in the library. It was quiet and relaxing on this rainy, fall day. All students should come to class each day with their independent reading with them. They will be given class time to read several times each week.

How you can help: please remind your student to take his or her book to school each day and to continue to read it at home. They should know how many pages they need to read each day and how many days per week they anticipate reading.

In English 9H the students had to decide on topics they’d like to research and some of them had to decide how they could narrow or generalize their topics. I am pasting the content of their Google classroom post here for you to read:

This post covers Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 9 and Nov. 10! Wednesday, Nov. 9: Library Research Day – students continued searching library databases to find articles on their topics. Thursday, Nov. 10: My plan for period 2 is to have students discuss their topics during class. Those in period 8, will have to conduct their discussion with a partner using Google chat or Google docs sometime over the weekend. I will have them set up times and dates at the start of class on Thursday before we begin the last few Odyssey presentations.

Student Goals: Have one printed article to bring to class on Thursday to read, annotate and highlight; discuss your research topic and research so far with at least ONE classmate; identify what you need to do next to continue your research; set up dates and times to meet with Mrs. C about your discussion date and research process. Period 8 – finish Odyssey presentations; get moving on research steps as soon as possible.

Teacher Goals: Help students solidify research topics; review discussion rubrics with students; assign an article to students based on modeling a sample discussion next week; assist students in generalizing or narrowing research topics; make appointments with students to discuss research details.

Reminder: Friday is MORE THAN just a day off from school. It is Veterans’ Day!! Please remember to keep our veterans in your thoughts and to thank any veterans you know for their service to our country.

Library Days

Tuesday and Wednesday this week are library days. Here is what is going on in both English 9 and English 9H.

English 9 – Students are being given time to choose a book to read for the purpose of writing a book review.  Monday, in class, they had to fill out a card indicating what type of reading they like to do. I gave those cards to the librarians and they selected a number of titles that should interest the students. Today, the students were shown the titles and were given the sheet attached here Independent Reading 1 . The sheet gives them directions, goals a deadline and asks them questions about their reading choice.

How you can help: Please engage your child in discussion about what he or she is reading. Talking about it helps them to remember various details of the story and sometimes realize the multiple levels of meaning in a story. Ask him or her how many pages they will be required to read to finish their book by the deadline of December 20, 2016.

English 9H – Students are being given time in the library to begin their research projects.

GOALS: Both today and tomorrow in the library, they are expected to explore at least THREE of the online databases, read at least ONE article on the computer and PRINT at least ONE article that they will read and annotate on their own time.

They must bring TWO articles to class on Thursday – one that they get during our library sessions and another that they find independently outside of class.
They should continue to use the research prompt sheet that I will attach here. Research Step 1
In my next post I will include a grid or calendar of presentation and research paper due dates with students’ names on them. I couldn’t get it to work for this post.

How you can help: Remind your student to do some research on their topic by accessing the library databases from home. They were shown how to get to them using the district website. Please also encourage your son or daughter to check Google Classroom for postings about assignments EVERY DAY!! I will try to post messages and assignments there EVERY DAY so they get into the habit of doing them.

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