Family Tree and Stories
Students will be researching their family tree as well as family stories by talking to parents, grandparents, and other relatives when possible. They will be looking for maiden names, names of grand and great-grandparents as well as places of birth -- or where their ancestors ended up living -- if the information is available.
Additional information that has a place on the tree includes special events in the family's history, jobs or trades that the family has worked, and holidays that the family celebrates, especially ones stemming through tradition.
There will be places on the tree for a picture of the student as well as a family picture. Additional photos may be added as wished.
The family tree should be completed neatly and filled in as accurately and completely as possible. It will be laminated when finished.
A small family tree is available for the purpose of writing down information. Students will be given the larger family tree to complete as soon as they have shown that the basic information has been gathered.
Students may work on the large tree at school if they'd like when they finish daily assignments.
During the same time period, students will be trying to track down interesting, unusual, or sentimental family stories. They will choose three or more of those stories to write.
Old pictures could be a great starting point. What was happening when that photo was taken? What was life like for the family at that point in time? What was captured at that moment in history? Was it part of a family tradition? The questions are endless.
Pictures might not be available. Talk to relatives! With technology today, it's easier than ever -- email, call, text, Skype, or sit down and talk face to face. Prepare some questions to begin, but let the conversation take you back in time. (Examples: What was your great-grandpa's favorite toy when he was young? What does your grandmother remember about her grandmother? Did any relatives fight in a war? How did that affect the family? Do you know when your family came to this country? What was their first experience with America?) Don't forget to take notes so you don't forget important facts.
Active & Passive Voice
Students chose a genre --science fiction, mystery, fantasy, contemporary fiction, etc.
Then they created characters, a conflict, and some exciting adventures leading up to a solid resolution.
In class, we talking about and practiced using strong verbs, varying sentence structure, incorporating rich vocabulary, creating worthwhile characters, including dialogue, adding conflict, crafting an interesting beginning and satisfying conclusion, and using good mechanics.
Veterans Day Reflection
Eighth graders attempted to track down family stories of those who served in our armed forces. Those who did not have family members who served explored themes such as honor, patriotism, courage, and sacrifice.
Students took their notes and wrote a short, reflective piece that may double as a thank you to the veterans who will attend our Veterans Day celebration this year.
The Veterans Day committee will select the writing they believe best honors our guests and exemplifies what the holiday celebrates. Writers will be invited to read their pieces.
Popsicle Stick Puppet Dialogue
Finding Addresses and Formatting a Business Letter
Students searched online for the addresses of the people or businesses they plan to write. Each student will fleshed out the information he/she wants to include in the letter, which should be both straightforward and interesting. Facts, examples, and details to support the purpose of the letter should be included.
After the letters are typed, edited, and revised, they will be mailed.
Business Letter Proposal
The following are the concepts the class covers in the mechanics unit:
* capitals & end punctuation - How lovely today is!
* interjections - Wow! What a day it was.
* proper nouns - Middle East, Biology I
* proper adjectives - Mexican pizza, French accent
* commas in compound sentences - Are you going to the play, or are you playing golf?
* commas in a series - I'm reading, listening to the radio, and lounging.
* commas between two or more adjectives before a noun - The old, rusty car broke down.
* commas after introductory words - Oh, I didn't know.
* commas after introductory phrases - Sitting at home, he worried about rain.
* commas after introductory clauses - Because she wanted to do well, Nancy studied.
* interrupters - She, however, did take a break.
* appositives - Christmas, December 25, is a holiday.
* nouns of direct address - Are you going to the mall, Ann?
* dates, addresses, & letters - Dear Sir:
* quotations in dialogue - "Which do you like?" asked Lucy.
Indent each time a new person speaks.
* titles of short works - "The Raven"
* Titles of long works are underlined or put in italics. - Are You My Mother? Are You My Mother?
* colons - You should bring the following: homework, paper, pens, and textbooks
* semicolons - I wanted to go to the play; therefore, I saved money.
* abbreviations - MA, mph, NATO
* numbers - There were 327 students in the gym. -- Three hundred twenty-seven students were there. -- There were eighty people standing. -- seven o'clock -- 7:00 -- Chapter 13
* apostrophes in contractions - I'm, they're
* apostrophes in possessive nouns - child's toy, children's toys
* apostrophes form the plural of numbers, letters, words, & symbols - How many 3's are on the paper? -- You want ten A's on your report card. -- There are too many and's in your letter. -- I don't like to use too many &'s.
* hyphens - She had an I-know-what-you-did smile. He was the runner-up.
* dashes - The championship -- it went into overtime -- was so exciting!
* parentheses - Mandy Donald (1934 - 2010) was known for her caring nature.
I Am Poem and Puzzle Piece
Students are writing poems, trying to describe who they are.
The poem starts with the words "I am," and it ends with "I am part of the whole, one piece of the puzzle." Middle lines may continue the "I am" pattern, or they may utilize various other action verbs: I play, I hum, I dance, I wonder, etc...
The puzzle pieces will be decorated with graphics, words, and quotes that visually reflected both the poem and themselves.
Old magazines appreciated.