Careykid's Blog

A High School English Class Blog

Archive for the category “General Stuff”

Welcome, Parents!

parentsThis is a blog/website I’ve set up so that I can communicate with parents about what’s going on in English 9 and 9H throughout the year. Students have indicated that they do not like having their parents linked on the Google Classroom accounts because of misunderstandings about due dates and assignment turn in and the like. That’s fine. I will often post on here exactly what I’ve assigned or covered in class on any given day and sometimes will do a full-week summary if things have gotten busy.

How you can help: I added the “How you can help” subtitle as a feature in my posts last year. The feedback I got was quite positive. Parents told me they found it helpful to know what was going on in class, but also how they could support their student in learning.

Because this is a public website, I do not use students’ full names, nor do I give out my contact information. You may contact me via phone or email, both of which are provided to you during Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 4th.

I look forward to a great year working with you and our 9th graders.

Syllabus 2017 Syllabus 2017 9H


Research Revisited

Hello Parents!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here because, as the year progresses, the expectations are that students will become more mature and self-directed, thus eliminating the need for me to be in such frequent contact with the parents.

To bring you up to date: In addition to regular readings, some poetry reading, writing and reciting, the students continued to work on their research projects. I am now busy reviewing and grading the research outlines and works cited pages. It is a really long process. I have occasionally had students return to their research folders to revise errors or re-format in-text citations. My goal is for each student to have learned and engaged in the research PROCESS, including the pre-writing phase. I admit, getting some students to outline was a challenge.

How you can help: Please encourage your student to ask for extra help or come to writing lab (before school, 7:15-7:40am)to get some individualized instruction about research, reading habits and test-taking strategies.

Your students have been exceptionally helpful in being patient about a year-long study I’ve been doing with vocabulary and language. They have provided me with valuable feedback that I have used to modify and revise the types of tests I give. I hope to eventually use the data from this year to develop some better ways to assess students’ English language skills. PLEASE NOTE: Every single vocabulary test is open to revision in order for students to improve their grade. If your teen is unhappy with vocab/language grades, then they have not taken the opportunities given them to revise!!

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.

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.

Some Plans For This Week…

Hi Folks!

There are a few noteworthy activities this week. I will detail a bit about each class and then add posts during the week if needed.

English 9 – Students had two tasks today. One was to sign up for, a website that allows me to post assignments and word lists for the students to practice. Each time they log in and practice lists of words, their scores are saved and then compared to other high school students nationwide. Basically, we are competing as Shen and each week I’ll get a report that shows our standings. You can check out the site at:

The second task today was to re-read part of Act IV in Romeo & Juliet and then to do an assignment on Google Classroom that asks each student to detail THE PLAN that Friar Lawrence puts into play with Juliet in order to save her from having to marry Paris. Tomorrow, in class, we’ll be doing an “on-demand” writing where the students will have to write the letter that Friar Lawrence has to send to Romeo.

How you can help: encourage your student to re-read the passages on pages 183-185 to get the details of THE PLAN so they can write their letter in class tomorrow.

English 9H – We are finally finishing The Odyssey presentations this week! As part of the discussions about the reading, I’m going to have the students refer also to another text I had them read, Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat.” We’ll be discussing how it connects to The Odyssey and what the broader implications are of each text.

I had students sign up for, a website that will prompt them to practice new vocab on a regular basis. They will have an assignment to do on there this week sometime. Please remind your child to do the assignment.

We will be getting started on the year-long research project this week as well. I will keep you posted about our progress.

How you can help: Discuss the readings with your student, check out the website or share news articles and conversation about issues of importance in the world that you think might interest your child and inspire him or her to explore the topic further for the research project.

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