Friday, April 28, 2017

Add this file to your drive and drop your feature article in here as a PDF

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Adding Voice

Will your voice shine through in your paper?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Updates + Gerunds and Infinitives

Sentence Clauses Test has been pushed back to NEXT Wed (C/D and E/F) and Thur. (G/H)
This gives you more time to study if you choose to do so.
End of Year Grammar Phrases Test: May 3rd or 4th 
Use these links to practice for the different phrases

Go to NoREdInk - Practice Phrases exercises are waiting for you
General Practice:
Participle Phrase:
Gerund or Participle? 

First dystopian reading responses pushed back until NEXT Tue (C/D and E/F)

Grammar Review

Optional MAP Practice

#Bonus TEST Taking TIP
Often students get the wrong answer because they answer questions based on what 'they' think. Questions that ask your  opinion DON'T really want your opinion - They want  what the 'AVERAGE' person's may think, say, or do.  e.g. In the question below, it is not where YOU would go, it is where the AVERAGE person would go. This accounts for almost 10% of errors. - First and only time I will give you this advice. "Think like an 'average' person!

Test Question Database: Use this google doc. to copy/paste or screenshot any questions that you encounter that you do not understand. You may not understand what the question is asking or why your answer is wrong. Putting your name next to the question is optional. Check back to this file often to learn

TEST PREP H/W All classes
All Classes (Due: Thur)
Language Tests
Proficient Level Proficient Test 3
Advanced Level Advanced Test 3 

Bonus Test - If you are bored - Vocabulary Building

Reading Tests
Proficient Level: Proficient Test 3
Advanced Level: Advanced Test 3  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

You need  to bring your own 'Writing Notebook' to class everyday NOW (any design) This can be any empty notebook that you have at home.  You will need this for the W.o.W. Competition. No notebook - you cannot compete! - Warm Up Rounds- Begin Tuesday

All Classes

You must drop all your notes so far into one file, so that I can inspect your progress so far. Drop this file into the RLA dropbox titled feature article draft.

Optional Practice: MAP

Language Tests
Proficient Level Proficient Test 1
Advanced Level Advanced Test 1

Reading Tests
Proficient Level: Proficient Test 1
Advanced Level: Advanced Test 1

Feature Articles - can you argue that your piece of writing has a voice and attitude? Read this excellent piece below to get what I'm talking about.

United States Of Marijuana
The USA is the largest economic powerhouse in the world. It also has one of the largest militaries and is classified by many as the world’s most powerful country. Now imagine all of that happening...While their youth is showing up to class stoned. C&CAccording to the National Institute On Drug Abuse (online),  Daily use of Marijuana is at a steady, but interesting rate of 0.7% amongst 8th graders, 2.5% amongst 10th graders and an astonishing 6% of all 12th graders which is roughly 1 in 16 students that use the drug everyday. However, these rates only sum up the use of Marijuana which is only one drug. The use of drugs that don’t include marijuana is at 5.4% for 8th graders, 9.8% for 10th graders and about 14.3% of 12th graders.PofA? While these rates are nothing close to their previous peaking rates, the numbers are still surprising as these students are most likely under age and these drugs are most likely illegal. The drug abuse is the USA by teens is pretty high and holds a lot of power over one of the most powerful country’s youth. However, according to multiple sourcesPofA?, the most common ways for a teen to put themselves on the right track for stopping, is by getting support from their family and friends. According to the alcohol rehab onlinePofA?, many countries recommend getting support for their problem by advertising many therapy and counseling sessions which is a strategy that the USA has adopted to help prevent teen drug abuse. There is a solution to this problem, but with the size of the USA and overwhelming population that does abuse drugs, it will be a hard problem to tackle.
Description, Problem-solultion
Strong logos- use ethos consistently

SAS (Singaporean Abuse of Substance) !
The death penalty. Dating back to 1800 BC was established King Hammaurabi of Babylon for 25 different crimes, all worthy of taking one's life. Sequencing/background infoAccording to “The Cabin in Singapore”, The death penalty is easily given to someone who has over $25 (USD) of drugs on them. Merely a “Bundle” in many countries. With the growing numbers amongst teen users being over 40%, it seems that the drug problem is getting worse in singapore, and the death penalty is scaring anyone. Unusually, Methamphetamine and Heroin were the most common amongst the users in singapore? with just over half the people using Meth and 40% of the people using Heroin. PofA?Marijuana didn’t have as many offenders, but did rack up about 18% of users. The drug scene in singapore is increasing amongst teens from all walks of life that does include some of the top international schools that are anchored here in singapore. For example, after speaking to a high schooler at SAS, I concluded that the drug abuse levels are less than 1% for 9th graders but are between 5 and 10% for 10th, 11th, and 12th grader. That is a pretty high number for underagers at an international school, not to mention but one of the most prestigious schools in singapore. Many of my sources had concluded that the exposure to drugs had come primarily from peer pressure as when arrested for drug abusing, teens usually came in pairs or trios. Peer pressure is a very dangerous influencer in a young teens life, especailly in the day and age we live in now where we are expected to uphold an impossible reality to be the best at everything. While it might be overlooked in some cases, peer pressure is not something that the singaporean or any government should rule out has an influencer. The high schooler says “A lot of the seniors (12th graders) are either legal or have fake Id’s to help get them in and out of clubs where some drug dealers hang around. It’s pretty tough to get them here, so a lot of kids decide to vape instead”. Vaping is another problem in singapore because people think it is a solution to smoking, but it has more nicotine content which in return, makes it more addictive. The right solution is to get support, and find a therapy place to talk about the issue while focusing on how to actively stop the addiction. Drugs is not an alternative to more drugs.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

MAP Tests.

MAP Test Practice - Next week you will have MAP tests - If you would like to practice the EXACT questions you are asked on MAP then go to NoREdInk - MAP Practice exercises.

Also - Those who are highly motivated - ALL these words occur at the highest levels on MAP -Often these are words that are asked in the questions - many students often do not know what they are being asked as they do not understand the question. Target 10-20 words to learn from this list that you do not know. This is a MAJOR advantage if you want to grow your scores.

Don't just skip level 1 words - you will never get level 2 questions if you get level 1 words incorrect.

H/W - You should have all your supporting paragraphs drafted for Friday's class.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Writing Claims and Text Structures

Suyash's Survey -
Jack's Survey -   Please complete this

Student Sample of strong claims

H/W - You must complete one supporting paragraph using a specific text structure (due Thur)

Drop your claims in here: Claims and 1st paragraph in here

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fill out this survey for a friend Ashley :
ChristianL: survey link

Drop your claims in here: Claims and 1st paragraph

Book Club Presentations:
Due Thur (E/F  class)
Due Friday (C/D  class)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Phrases Test:

End of Year Grammar Phrases Test: Friday 27th April.

Use these links to practice for the different phrases

Go to NoREdInk - Practice Phrases exercises are waiting for you
General Practice:
Participle Phrase:
Gerund or Participle? 

Coming soon - War of Words - Writing Competition

You need  to bring your own 'Writing Notebook' to class by NEXT MONDAY. (any design) This can be any empty notebook that you have at home.  You will need this for the W.o.W. Competition. No notebook - you cannot compete!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ava did a great job of building a 'multiplicity of problems' for her character. Notice how she never mentioned the dead computer  but inferred it. This piece really did a solid job of building the conflict what lots of small problems. Notice also how the character ended 'in the light'

Leaving Everything Behind

“I hate myself. No, I’m not kidding. I hate myself, I really really do. Everything I do is wrong. Every word I speak is incorrect. Every step I take is false. Every breath I take is not deserved. I hate myself.” These thought bubble up in my mind as I open my hand me down laptop. I sigh as I see hundreds of rude emails among the one from Mr. W. It’s Tuesday evening. 6:32 to be exact. My weak body lays on top of my gray and purple duvet that is sloppily placed on the bed I have had since I was 8. I look up from my laptop. As I scan my room I see dirty clothes and old homework assignments that I never bothered to finish. I see a test the I completely failed last week. My grades are slowly dropping and I don’t want to spend my summer in Mr. W’s room so I am quickly trying to do his homework. I stare blankly at the email he sent to me.
It says “Dear Skylar, In order for your grades to drastically improve before the end of the year, you will have to complete this extra credit assignment to the best of your ability. Interview both of your parents about how they grew up. Then write a 500-word essay on how they have different lifestyles. Use what we have learned in class about different cultures in this essay. Best of luck. Sincerely, Mr. Wilkinson.”
Unfortunately, this particular extra credit assignment involves interviewing both of my parents and comparing their lifestyles growing up. “This isn’t going to be fun,” I thought to myself. I turn my head to peek out the cracked door. I can hear them arguing in hushed voices that are steadily rising. I hear my dad’s voice. Harsh and angry and loud. I can feel my body tensing up. Clenched fists, I dig my nails deep into my sweaty palms. I slowly slide my laptop off my lap and carefully step down from my bed as if I was trying to be quiet. Stepping over dirty clothes, I reach the edge of my room. With blank eyes, I stare out my door. I look the empty hall up and down, thinking of all my siblings in each of their rooms. I turn around from the door frame and walk back to my bed, and plop down and open my laptop back up.
“Great,” I whisper to myself. I get back up and grab my charger and shove it harshly into the wall. I now have to wait for my stupid computer to charge. I sigh. Finally, my computer comes back to life. I grab it and immediately sign in. I check my email and see nothing but rude cruel words. “The world would be a better place without you.” and “You should just stop trying to do anything” and “Go kys”. I grab my phone, whipping my face quickly every 2 seconds. I run into my small bathroom and reach for the medicine cabinet and yank it open. I turn the lights on but them immediately turn them back off. I grab bottle after bottle and line them up neatly on my sink counter. I quickly search for something, anything that can hold water. All that I can find is the old cup that holds my toothbrush and toothpaste. I grab it and pull the faucet to the side and the cool water quickly fills the cup to the brim. I dump something in my hand not knowing or caring what it is. I move my trembling hand up to my lips and hold it there. My body won’t let this happen. I put down the old cup and reached for my phone. All of the sudden it was like I didn’t have control over my body. I swiped past all of the relentless texts and without my knowing punched in a number and held it to my ear. Someone picks up on the other end.
“Hi, I’m Janie. Can I help you?” All of the sudden I remember when I was 9 years old. “Only 6 years ago,” I think. We had just moved into our old house on the other side of town. I was so excited to finally have a house with a pool. We got to our new house and got out of the car and ran to the door begging our parents to unlock it. We ran in and started playing tag because when the Mosholt’s find a large space, there is always some sort of game. I loved our new house. But unfortunately, 1-2 years after moving our parents started fighting. First, it just seemed like a normal everyday thing that parents go through. It started dragging out for like one year. It started to get worse and worse. I didn’t know why this was happening. It got to the point where I would be lying wrapped in a blanket crying myself to sleep because I was so scared about what was going to happen. I blamed myself. It was my fault. There was no particular reason why, but I always felt like it was my fault. No matter how many times I told myself it wasn’t. People said I became quieter. Keeping to myself just seemed smarter than talking about home. I spent most of my time reading about anything and everything. I put myself in other people’s worlds. Live their lives. And I loved it. At some point, people started whispering about me behind my back. Soon after that, it just came to make fun of Skylar. I hated it. And every single day since then, it has been getting worse and worse. I snapped back into reality and stared down to look at my wrists. I thought about if mom or dad ever saw these or if Anna, Coop, Seb, or Carson ever saw these. I shudder at the thought.
“Yeah,” I said after a minute, no longer caring to whip the tears from under my eyes. I let them simply stream down my ugly face. I managed to say between breaths.“I just want to give up. I can’t take any of the mean things people are saying to me anymore.”
“Don’t give up,” she said as if she really truly believe in me. “You can do this. You can get through this. We are in this together.” a small pause, “Don’t give up,” she whispered on the other end of the line.
“I won’t,” I whispered back. I caught myself by surprise. A complete stranger was telling me not to give up, and I just agreed that I wouldn’t. Wow. I turn the lights back on, and walk out of the bathroom. Leaving everything behind.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

M.I.S.O. Research

Please complete this survey for Kush, for Sarah, for Siri, for Swayer, for Tanisha, for Grey, for Miku. for Luci for keya, for Aaron. for Zack


It is expected that you use 3 out of 4 (for exemplary) of the different types of M.I.S.O.
Media - Interviews - Surveys- Observations

Be thinking over the break:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lesson Recap - DQ to Charing Notes

Sentence Phrases - Check in Assesment - You will be tested on your ability to write sentences using your NF notes and your phrases technqiues: Absolute, appositive, participle - Any practice work you do on these tonight CAN be used in class. (G/H - You will do this NEXT MONDAY)

H/W You need to have started your Charing today. You should have one column of research at least.

Was this piece written by a student or a professional writer or a student that might very well be a professional writer?


I was never able to go to school. Yet Mama would always bring home books. I never had any idea where they were from. She claimed the local private school would donate them to her when they considered the books to be useless. Some of the books I got were ripped or drawn on but that never ever bothered me. What really bothered me, was that people were considering books to be useless. Books are always full of adventures with interesting characters. Books have their own feelings, their own lesson. Yet, they share their power with us. We are not the most powerful beings on the planet; books controll us. Books controll me, but I never was able to experience the power of books until Mama taught me how to read.
“Jake, come I need help.” Mama’s voice echoed out from the other room. I walked away from the smudged window, away from the empty farms and fields. Walking at a good pace I swiftly moved around the crumbling wood table and entered the cramped kitchen. Moon scurred next to my side and grabbed his green, squeaky bone out from under the couch. Edging me to play with him. His paws moving towards the back of my heels, I continued towards the kitchen.
“What do you need help with?” I asked Mama. She looked up from the pot of vegetable soup on the open fire place and asked,
“Will you open the cupboard to get some matches, please?” My first thought: vegetable soup and bread, the meal we had almost every night. I also struggled to see why she could not do it herself but obeyed her request. I reached up for the highest cupboard handle, my hand curling around the metal knob. And I gently pulled outward.
“Mama, the matches are not in here,” my open hand searching in around the almost - empty space.
“Well could you please find them, I am occupied at the moment.” Mama has always seemed so adult - like since Papa passed.
Growing up in upstate New York, I learned that dirt is dirt and gold is gold. There is nothing in between. You're either on the top of the food chain or not. For the normal week, all of the other “rich” kids are in school. There is almost no one out here, only fields and farms. The closest free public school is 2 hours away. Mama says we could never do that trip 5 days a week, and no bus could reach us.
Living out in the middle of nowhere, and as an only child, I needed someone to play with. So, when I turned 10 my parents decided to get me a dog. This was the first present I had ever gotten. I had declared It was the best moment of my existence. His huge, furry paws hit my chest as he raised his head to touch his nose against mine. Almost instantly, I knew what I was going to name him. Moon. His fur was dark like the night, but somehow he seemed to be the light whenever I needed it.  
The memory hit my head like a stone. For only 3 days after I got Moon, Papa died in a terrible motorcycle accident. Since then, it has been hard for me and Mama. I don’t blame him, all the time. We lost our house and our normal life. I quickly learned you can’t have everything you want.
I brushed a tear from the bottom of my eye, and continued searching. I finally decided they were not in the top cabinet and checked the one below. My gaze followed my eye down from the dark brown cabinet to the white one right below it. I opened the door and peered inside, standing on my toes. The matches were barely visible in the back corner of the cabinet. I reached in a grabbed the matches pulling the out from their hiding place. Exposing them to the single light on the kitchen ceiling.
I opened the packet and pulled out a single match, the last one. Its wood, smooth against my fingers with not a single splinter. The tip a bright fluorescent red. Making my way toward the main table I positioned the match to the side of the dirty, flimsy box. Sitting down in a chair I struck the match with quite some force against the box. No sparks. One side of the match was black. I repositioned the match so the ‘still good spot’ was right up to the striking surface. I struck again, nothing. I knew there was only one chance for the match to light or there would be no light for supper. Last strike, one match, one chance. I closed my eyes for a brief second. And struck.
Opening your eyes to a light, no matter how small, always seems to warm you up. I quickly brought the tip of the match to the single candle on our main eating table. The first time I raised the lit match up to the candle there was no reaction. The candle only slightly burnt from the match's heat. I rose the match to the candle again this time leaving it for slightly longer. Still, no fire. Standing up, I tried a third time, watching the fire burn down the stick getting near my fingers. I shoved the match towards the candle and let go. The candle lit and I quickly smothered the match on the table cloth.
Mama came out from the kitchen with the soup in two bowls and the bread on a plate. She set them down and sat across from where I was standing. I sat down as well. She motioned towards the food. I took my bowl and a piece of bread.
I told her that I had thought about Dad again. And how I had been thinking about what had happened since. She seemed rather offended when I mentioned about that I thought we were below everyone else. Moon also started to whimper from his pillow on the floor.
“I have you,  and you have Moon. We have everything we want. Things we want don’t need to be on a table, or stuck to a wall somewhere in this house. We have everything, Jacob”
I do have Mama, and Moon too. Moon started to bark and give me kisses all over my face. Mama laughed. And that made me laugh too. Whenever the stars shine, Moon just seems to shine brighter.

What the social issue in this piece? How do you know?

The light directly above me rapidly flickers on and off. Darkness washes over me, but in a blink of an eye, the brightness returns. I watch as the light struggles to hang on to the last bit of energy it has to illuminate part of the room. Eventually, it’ll go out, drained of anymore fight. I tap my fingers in time with the slow, steady ticking of the wall clock. Time is almost up, and the next period is going to start soon. Where is he? My palms are slick with sweat, and I continue to hastily try to keep the worn out baseball glove from slipping through my grasp. Jer promised he’d be here, and he told me he wanted the mitt. I can practically feel the questioning side glances of the other kids crowding the library, quick peeks from behind books and whispered conversations. I mean, who else stands alone in a library, doing absolutely nothing but stare at a door while fidgeting with a baseball mitt? Jeremy is the only person who willingly talks to me, so there was really no one else to chat with. Glaring at the various leather-bound books lined up neatly on dusty, wooden shelves, I pace back and forth on the carpeted ground, awaiting my best friend, Jeremy Forge, to arrive. Of course he’s late. Jer is never on time for anything. One book catches my eye, the bland, dark gray hue of its cover a stark contrast to the flamboyant colors of the books surrounding it. The title reads “Thirteen Reasons Why”. I vaguely remember my RLA teacher recommending me this book a couple years back, but I never got around to reading it. Apparently, it was about some girl who committed suicide and made recordings of the reasons why she did. I’m assuming the book doesn’t have a happily ever after for any of the characters. I anxiously pick and fiddle with the mit clutched in my hand, accidentally snapping some of the lacings. Unable to hold themselves together, the glove’s fingers fall apart. I’ve tried to repair this glove a million times over, but some things are just beyond fixing. At least it complements the torn leather patches scattered across the whole mit. It used to be my most prized possession back when I was 8 years-old. It used to be my lucky glove. I made the most important catch of my life with it.
A half eaten hotdog carried by an excited fan abruptly appeared right in my face, blocking me from the game. The world series. I still couldn’t believe that Dad got us such good tickets. 14th row. Only 5 above the Indians’ dugout. Cleveland. My home town and possibly the new world champions if all went well tonight. I had my favorite glove positioned in my right hand prepared if anyone hit a foul ball. Jason Kipnis at bat. He gripped his shiny, black bat above his head, ready for the first pitch. “WHOOSH” brisk swing but a miss as his bat barely grazed the top of the white and red baseball that went straight into the catcher's mitt. “Strike!” hollered the umpire, mocking me and my team. “Come on Kipnis,” I whispered into my mit. The next pitch, this one low and fast. No swing. “Strike 2!” NO! We had gotten so close, we had come this far. The next pitch, a loud “THWACK” echoed throughout the stadium as the crowd cheered wildly. The ball rocketed over the left fielder's head and Kipnis flew across the field, he moved swiftly around first base and bolted to second. The outfield struggled to gain possession of the ball but they quickly threw it in making up for lost time. The second baseman made a desperate swipe for Kipnis’ back. His hand hit air. “Safe.” We had just gotten 2 bases. Next batter, Francisco Lindor. Yes! My favorite player, we are going to get a run in for sure. Lindor walked confidently up to the plate. He tapped it twice and brought the bat up over his head, ready. First pitch, too low. Second pitch, too high. The pitcher found his rhythm, and the next two pitches were both solid strikes. “C’mon Lindor we need this, we need to win,” I softly pleaded. The pitcher stood firm on the mound, unfazed. He brought his hands together and lifted his front leg. He went into a big stride and launched the ball towards Lindor with incredible power and deadly precision. I held my breath. Lindor swung. “SMACK!” the ball and bat made contact. The ball soared high. It was an obvious foul ball. But it was close to the field. The first baseman raced over to the stands. The entire crowd rose up, trying to get a good look at the flying baseball. I stood up and raised my mit towards the sky and opened the leather body, hopefully. I clenched my eyes shut. There was a loud noise followed by a powerful, downward force as something struck the web of my mit. I lowered it to my face. The stadium fell silent. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Nothing else mattered. Not even the sound of the third strike. Not even the fact that Lindor was in the dugout. This must be a lucky glove. I had caught the ball.
As I relish in the memory, I absentmindedly run my palm across the smooth, cool surface of a nearby table. A couple of tears well up in my eyes, threatening to spill. How could I let this mitt go? For a slight moment I forget why I’d planned on giving it up in the first place. I squint my eyes, attempting to erase the baseball glove’s obvious flaws if only for a second. My hand reaches the sharp edge of the table, and the wood digs into my skin. The glove’s rips are too big, and all the parts are too detached. Giving it up is my only option. It’s just too destroyed to have any value to me anymore. It’s just some stupid, useless glove that can easily be thrown away and replaced. The bell rings signifying that lunch is over. He didn’t show. I guess Jeremy didn’t care about the glove after all.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Focused and Complex Driving Question

H/W - Turn in your DQ for a grade tomorrow - All classes

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Can you name the different ways the Subi developed the theme in this piece?

Final Score
Like glass eyes, my vision was locked to the screen. I scooted forward in my seat and leaned closer to the television as Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, raced across the field, dodging other players while holding a football. He crossed the goal scoring a touchdown! I was the first to stand up and cheer, my arms flailing around as if I had just scored the winning point for my team.
Well, at least that’s what I wished had happened. Instead, I sat alone on a plastic chair because my parents and brother had taken up all the space on our cracked and stained, dark brown leather three-seater couch. I watched as an army of muscular men dressed in chunky armor of bright colors battled furiously, comprehending nothing. Okay, maybe a bit like I knew the leather 3D rhombus is called a football (I think), but that’s pretty much it. You see ‘football’ isn’t my first language, in fact it’s not my second or third or fourth. Instead of trying to learn how to ‘speak’ football, I was focusing on some more important things. You see when you are someone like me, your priorities are just different.
As I was saying, I sat there on the hard, plastic seat, waiting until I could finally go back up to my room. I could feel my legs getting numb from sitting down so long, which is why I switched it up a bit and placed my right leg over my left. Ah, comfortable again.
But I immediately changed this when I saw how my older brother, Bart, was sitting. I studied the positioning of his legs, how he placed his arms and how much his head was tilted. Why am I doing this you may ask, well who else better to copy that Brawny Bart. You see Bart speaks fluent ‘football’ plus fluent baseball, soccer, hockey and pretty much any sport you can possibly imagine. Surprisingly, Bart doesn’t bother me about knowing how to speak effortless ‘kitchen’, but instead is especially supportive, especially during my Easy Bake Oven phase, or maybe this is just because he likes cookies. On the other hand, my parents, who were sitting on either side of Bart, cannot stand it when I’m in the kitchen instead of out in the scorching sun, throwing some ball around. Which is why I am here watching this football game in the first place. After my careful analysis, I then uncrossed my legs and spread them out, placed my feet flat on the floor, draped one of my scrawny arms over my left leg and leaned forward just enough so that my elbow could rest on my right thigh as my chin rested on my knuckles.
How is this natural at all? I thought to myself as I awkwardly stared blankly into the screen.
My thoughts strayed away from the game, and instead drifted to what I was going to wear the next day- Ripped, baggy jeans beneath a dirty, navy shirt like Bart or my floral button-up shirt paired with navy short-shorts. In other words, sporty guy I want to be or me. Why is it so hard, don’t ask me. I hadn’t yet finalized my outfit before my thoughts turned back to the game.
Stop losing focus! The only way you can be more like Bart is to make sure you do what he does, if you aren’t paying attention how is anyone supposed to believe you? I scolded myself. I glanced at the timer at the top right corner of the screen. Only a few minutes left, thank jesus. The Green Bay whatever were behind by 5 points (I don’t understand football but I can still do math okay) and according to what Bart was muttering to himself, the only way they could still win is by scoring a touchdown (um what even?). But really, 6 points and less than 3 minutes left? No way.
That is where I was completely and utterly wrong.
I guess christmas miracles, I mean just miracles happen because with barely anytime left I watched as the brown pointed cylinder thing shot across the field like a bullet and landed right into the hands of a man dressed in white and green. Feeling as if I made a dent, my feet hit the wooden floor and my hands shoot up. I had stood up just a split-second before the rest of my family and in that time my thoughts seemed like race horses, all competing to think of the worst possible things. Oh god, no. Why has no one else stood up? Am I cheering for the wrong team? No, no, no, I’m so stupid! What are they going to think of me now?
Simultaneously, I heard the commentators recap the sensation that had just taken place. “Jordy Nelson wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers...,” The race horses in my head slow down, “Straight into Aaron Rodger’s hands...,” I can no longer hear the animals. “Scoring a touchdown!” I, no- my whole family scream so loud we could break a window.
Final score: 33-32.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Can you spot the strong use of symbolism in Isabel's piece?

Last winter, the winter I turned twelve, was the winter Brandon came. Ever since then, things were either Before Brandon or After Brandon. Today, twelve months After Brandon, my mother and Sam and I get another evening alone.
Sam and I sit on the sofa, staring at Jennifer, my mother, looping holes with string, creating intricate patterns on the scarf she was knitting. Should I tell her? Does she even realize?
“Jennifer,” I blurted out, shattering the cold silence that had fallen between us, “we gotta tell somebody. We gotta go get help. We can’t let him do this anymore. He’s mistreating us and he’s mistreating you, too, Mother. We gotta get away from him!”
“Don’t you say that about your father, Sophie!” Jennifer scolded, her eyes flashing, abandoning her knitting to rise up to stand above me, “Brandon was kind enough to take you in and he’s the one who pays for your food and your clothes and your home! He’s trying his best! Don’t you dare talk that way about your father ever again, you hear me?” She stormed out of the room.
Sam’s hand shook, tightening his hold on my arm. His lips trembled. A single tear traced down his cheek, then the tears burst forth like water from a dam, spilling on his face, “I’m scared of Brandon, Sophie. He’s big and scary and he says he’s gonna kill us if we tell anyone about him.” His cries filled the room, sobbing in my arms unceasingly. I’m scared, too, Sam. We all are. I held him, silent, rocking him as his tears soaked my shirt.
“Then we go, Sam, “ I whisper, stroking his hair with my hand, feeling his heaves slow into breathing, “We can, like, go take a train and get far, far away from him. And like, we’ll go live in our own house and make sure he’ll never find us. And I’ll bake you your favorite cookies and we can play in the snow...” He’s gonna find out. He gonna find out that we’re running away and then, then… I take his hand, trailing him behind me as we watched the snow melt under the sinking sun through the hole on the door. The snow covers the roofs of the houses, decorating the trees with thick pillows of white. The Christmas tree that I had salvaged from a neighbor's backyard stood, a lonely trunk covered by some shriveled leaves, shaking in the wind, harsh and bitter and cruel. The blue bauble that I found under my chair hands on to the fragile branch for its dear life. My hand pushed against the scratchy surface of the pine wood door, but it doesn’t budge. Instead, the pain of an old bruise flared up like fire, spreading red hot through my body. Ten seconds passed, then twenty. By forty seconds, the sharp pain had finally settled into dull ache. I pull my sleeve further down my arm, covering the red and purple and blue spots, turquoise veins that flowed down through my arms, the bony fingers that stuck out like branches of a fallen tree.
“Guess we can only look from here, then,” I whisper. I’ll stay here, for now, I think, maybe I should just wait.
“Hey, I’ve got a Christmas gift for you,” I say softly, squeezing Sam’s hand. He brightens up instantaneously, his face filled with a warm glow of wonder.
“A-a gift? Show me, sh- show me!” he stammered, unable to hide his excitement. I grab the box that had held my last pair of shoes, holding it out to him precariously with my hands. Sam nearly leaps with anticipation, taking the box with his trembling fingers. Peering into the slit on the box, he screamed with delight. “A caterpillar!”
The tiny caterpillar is curled up in a ball, its yellow dotted back trembling slightly with cold. Sam’s arms wrapped around me. Time seemed to fade away as we held each other, brother and sister, as if we would float away with the wind the moment we let go. The rays of the sun reach through the hole on the door, filling the room with its warmth. I stroke my hand through his hair, glancing out towards the tree basking under the sunlight. The blue bauble fell onto the ground, breaking the blanket of snow that hid the shards of rocks that lay underneath.
“I’m going to tell somebody, Sam. I have to. Trust me.”
    Spring is coming soon.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Big Q

Today, we learned a different system for collecting our thinking

By end of class Monday - you should have chosen a narrow focus for your research

For E/F - While we got off topic today - if there is one major takeaway - question evidence - validate your sources - seek corroborating evidence from respected authories -  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Student Samples

Summary NF Recap

H/W - Write up a brief summary (100-150 words) of your notes so far using one of the text structures below:
Main idea and details
Causes + Effect
Problem + Solution
Compare and contrast

You might want to use these transitional devices to help you depending on the structure you use:

Enjoy Anika's excellent piece. Can you spot how brilliantly she showed 'power' and also used her sentence tools?
By Anika Rudra
((Girl’s POV))

“Next!” A voice shouted from inside the room. My heart skipped a beat, because finally, my turn came. I straightened my school uniform skirt. I swung the door to the office open, my ruby hair swaying behind me. “Yes, come in please,” A deep voice boomed. I glanced around the small room. The school’s secretary was seated at his oversized desk, as he squinted at his two monitored computer. “Come, sit here.” The secretary mentioned me to sit without looking up. As I pulled out the chair to sit, it screeched. With the noise, the secretary looked up at me. He wore a confused expression, then inquired, “What’re you doing here, miss?” I rubbed a hand on the back of my neck, red hair curling on my shoulders as I sat down, I cleared my throat. The secretary groaned and twisted his chair to face me, “Your name is..?” “Mila Bonterilli, sir.” The secretary frowned and leaned forward, “Ah yes, Mila. Why are you here now?” I took a deep breath, “I’d like to sign up for the school’s engineering fair.”
The secretary arched his eyebrows, his lamp flickered as if on cue. Wincing, my hands clutching the hem of my skirt. The line of boys waiting to sign up for the competition outside the office leaned into the window eagerly. My heartbeat seemed to echo through the room, the air stood still as if watching the scene unfold. The secretary glared at me, focus unwavering. Anxiousness filled me, my eyes began to burn.‘Stop it, Mila, you can’t show any weakness,’ I chanted to myself. The secretary sighed and said at last, “Alright then...”
He pulled out a sheet from his desk drawer and placed it infront of me, the engineering form! I looked down in disbelief, then back up at the secretary. He had a forced fake smile plastered across his face, I returned an small grin. As I moved my attention to the form, I reached for the pen. Then the secretary bumped the table, as if it was an accident. It wasn’t. The pen rolled off his desk.
“Um,” I laughed awkwardly, “Let me just…” I bent down to pick up the pen. Except it wasn’t there. Frowning, I felt around. Nothing. I searched for a visual of it again. Still nothing. It must’ve rolled under the secretary’s cabinet. Shoot, I grimaced. Sitting back upright, I tugged at my crimson fringe, “Do you happen to have a spare pen that I may use, sir?” The secretary ignored my words. “Uh, excuse me, sir?” I asked again, a bit louder. He turned to me, “What is it, Mila.” That was a statement, an order. “I, ah, need something to fill this with?”
“I already gave you one.” He began to turn his back to me. I frowned, “Sir, it’s lost. I need another one.” The secretary muttered a curse under his breath, “Then go find it. You are wasting my time.” It was my turn to raise an eyebrow, “Sir, it rolled under your cabinet, I cannot reach it, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.” The secretary grumbled,“Fine, here,” as he pushed a black capped pen towards me. I picked it up gingerly, as if it was a bomb counting down. Uncapping it, I watched the dark blue globby ink start to spill out of the nib. I sighed, it was gross but it’d have to do for now.
I finished the form in a flash, I had memorised all the information needed by heart. Recapping the pen, I placed it onto the form and pushed the paper to the secretary, “Here.” The secretary flinched when he went through the form. I got up, wondering why that took longer than it should’ve. As I got to the door, I could hear the boys waiting in line outside snickering. I grasped the handle when the secretary spoke again, “I’m sorry, miss, I can’t let you compete.”
I spun around, “What, sir? Why can’t I compete?” A shadow grew across the secretary's face, “Mila, you can’t, now take a seat.” I broke out of my shock, sitting back down. “Sir, can you explain to me why not?” I whispered, eyes stinging. The secretary leaned forward, trying to look genuinely apologetic, “For starters, you are a girl, and the only girl who dared to enter.” I felt my eye twitch, but the secretary went on. “You can’t be part of the fair, we’re going to have a very highly viewed guest judge there.” He explained haughtily, stacking some other forms. “We must not ruin or change this school’s reputation.” That broke me. I shot up, the chair falling back, “Reputation? Then you must let me compete! You said it yourself! I am already the only girl who has dared to enter.” I took a short breath, “Diversity will change your reputation for the better, do you not want that?” The secretary slammed his fist onto the table, “Mila, I will not tolerate this nonsense anymo-”
“Mila!” A recognisable voice called, as my engineering professor entered the room. He shot a smile to the secretary, “Signing up for the engineering competition, I see!” I straightened my back, reaching to pick up the fallen chair, “Yes of course, sir! I’ve been waiting all year.” My tech professor turned to the secretary and his grin grew wider, “With Mila in the competition, our school is sure to receive gold!” The secretary turned bright red in embarrassment, realizing what he had done, and stuttered, “G-gold! Yes, she’ll do, uh, excellent…” My professor picked up my form, “She’s is the top of her class, and has been since the beginning of time.” The secretary turned to stare at me, his jaw visibly dropped. My professor went on, “It’d be a huge mistake if she wasn’t allowed to compete for us.” “Oh, of course,” The secretary replied, a bit too fast, “I was just submitting her form.” The professor smirked and handed him the form. I wore a smug smile as the secretary shoved the paper into the submission box, his face as red as my hair. The professor placed a hand on my shoulder as I proudly strode out of the office. That year, our school won the engineering competition for the first time. Even after so many years, I still have the gold trophy sitting on my workshop desk.


The story ‘Fair’ is about one girl’s dream and the initiative taken to help her reach her dream. I wanted to convey the issue of gender discrimination, but instead of the story taking place among adults, I wanted it to happen in a community that is familiar to the readers. Gender discrimination is one of the issues that can be found in most societies, and this is a big problem to me. Gender discrimination and stereotypes blocks off women and girls from many opportunities, but also keeps men and boys from simple things such as crying. ‘Fair’ focused on discrimination against girls, since this is the slightly more visible type of discrimination.

I named the story ‘Fair’ because not only is the story about a engineering fair/competition, but because the way the secretary was acting was extremely unfair. Gender discrimination can only be solved by fairness, equality and acceptance along with powerful actions.

I believe that none of the characters were ‘bad guys’. Each character had their own opinion and perspective on the issue, and they did not intend to put down anyone. The secretary seems like the antagonist in the position in he is in during this story, but he had valid reasons on why he acted this way. Yet, the secretary can easily called the antagonist, because he had his priorities in the wrong place and put the school’s reputation over Mila’s feelings and the school’s representation.

With craft and structure, I tried to make more use of silence and lessen how often I use dialogue than I have in previous pieces. I believe I was very successful at doing this. I also attempted to add in more subtle imagery. I used a mix setting description and action to start my piece, and ended it with a ‘future glimpse’, as I like to call it. On symbolism, I kept this piece very literal, but I did slip in one symbol. The pen in story is meant to represent the ability to cause change, or control ‘destiny/fate’. Pens are typically permanent, and the person with the pen can write whatever they choose to. Mila, the main character, receives the pen, but it is taken back from her. She went to the office to sign up for the engineering fair, which gave her the control over her fate. When Mila loses the pen, she loses control over her future. This is what gender discrimination does, majority of the time, giving men power over the women’s decisions. Then the secretary gives her another pen, which she describes as gross because of the ‘dark blue globby ink’ spilling out of the nib. This shows that usually when men do give women the power to make their own (bigger and more effective) decisions, it usually isn’t as good as what the men give themselves.
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