Civil Rights via Primary Sources, Poetry, Speeches, and Media
Literacy test questions
"I Heard It on the Bus One Day" - A Poem for Two Voices by Jeff Sapp
Montgomery City Bus Codes
Arrest Record of Rosa Parks, December 1, 1955
Montgomery Improvement Association Integrated Bus Suggestions
1961 Freedom Rides Map
Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-in Suggestions
Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech
March on Washington, August 28, 1963
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" - Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech
Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy's speech on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Campaign rally - Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy's speech on the "Mindless Manner of Violence"
Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968
Civil Rights Movement Research & Oral Presentations
Students will be using books and Chromebooks at school as well as working from home, reading through and seeking information related to their chosen topics, such as the March on Washington, Brown vs. the Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall, or Little Rock Nine.
Students will be gathering notes from various nonfiction sources. Next, students will organize their notes into outlines about their subjects.
Finally, the students will use their outlines to give oral presentations to their classmates. Related pictures will be displayed on the SmartBoard for reference.
"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant
Students choose a novel to explore. They will be working with several students in their class to read and discuss the novel.
Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
The two main characters may be the most well-known teenagers in all of literature. Their young love, forbidden by their feuding families, does not stop them from seeking each other. Fate or chance? Which do you believe leads to the play's end? How could their "star-crossed" ending have been avoided?
Shakespeare's tragedy was well received during his lifetime and has been told and retold for over four hundred in plays, movies, and operas.
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
"Pay It Forward is a moving, uplifting novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. Trevor’s idea is simple: do a good deed for three people, and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading across the world. Trevor’s actions change his community forever." - Barnes and Noble overview
Best Books for Young Adults, 2001, American Library Association
Students took time to take a quick dip into poetry from various poets. Together we looked at various noted pieces, such as Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "The Road Not Taken" as well as Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!"
Each student was asked to find two poems from different poets that they liked. They will be celebrating these poems by turning them into works of art, memorizing them and presenting them to the class, writing about the poem's meaning and merits, or taking a stab at creating their own poem in homage to the original.
Figurative Language Unit
Students will be completing a variety of assignment as they continue to learn about literary terms.
1. Draw an idiom poster.
The focus of the poster should be a picture of an idiom in literal terms. The idiom itself as well as how it is interpreted should be written on the poster.
Interpretation - Time goes by very quickly.
2. Complete worksheets.
- the difference between similes and metaphors
- identifying similes, metaphors, and hyperbole
- decoding idioms.
3. Analyze lyrics.
- Choose a song that you believe is rich in figurative language.
The lyrics must be appropriate (i.e no cursing or graphic words depicting violence, etc.). If you’re not sure, ask.
- Provide a copy of the lyrics.
- On a separate sheet of paper, neatly cite examples of literary terms found within.
You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch,
You really are a heel,
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch.
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!
You're a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart's an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch.
I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole!
"You really are a heel." - metaphor
really heel - assonance
"You're as cuddly as a cactus; you're as charming as an eel." - similes
"cuddly as a cactus" - alliteration
"charming as an eel" - personification
"You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel." - metaphor
"bad banana" - alliteration
heel, eel, peel - rhyme
"You're a monster." - metaphor
Mr. Grinch - refrain/ repetition for effect
"Your heart's an empty hole." - metaphor & alliteration
"Your brain is full of spiders; you've got garlic in your soul." - hyperbole
"a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole" - hyphenated modifier
hole, soul, pole - rhyme
4. Write a simile color poem.
- Choose at least four colors.
- In the odd-numbered stanzas, create similes using like and the verbs feels, sounds, smells, and tastes.
- In the even-numbered stanzas, create similes using as and the same verbs.
- Each color gets its own stanza.
- Try to create an alliterative title.
Although the focus is on similes, it is fine to try to add onomatopoeia, a hyphenated modifier, personification as well as an allusion or two if you are able. Your poem will be as original and interesting as the imagery you create with your choice of words.
Blue feels like the ocean breeze cooling my skin on a warm day.
Blue sounds like ice clinking in the bottom of my glass.
Blue smells like the sky after a rain.
Blue tastes like snow in a snowball fight.
Red feels as hot as the noon day sun.
Red smells as fragrant as a rose in bloom.
Red tastes as spicy as Mom's homemade chili.
Red sounds as alarming as sirens in the night.
Extra Credit Opportunity:
After I have looked over your color poem, you will have the opportunity to turn it into a mini-poster filled with color and pictures (drawn or cut and paste) surrounding your words.
Students will look for figurative language in reading as well as try to incorporate it into their writing throughout the rest of the school year.
Sample terminology: simile, metaphor, idiom, hyperbole, oxymoron, onomatopoeia, personification, alliteration, allusion, hyphenated modifier, refrain, rhyme, assonance, and rhythm
Roundtable - Quarters 2 -4
Round Table Guidelines Expanded - Grade 8
Step 1: Choose the book you wish to read. Feel free to read the back cover, and take into consideration the subject matter of the book. If you have read the book before, please opt for a different choice.
Step 2: Make sure to secure a copy of the book with enough time to read before the discussion date but not so much time that you will have forgotten key elements of the story. I have many copies of the books in my classroom.
Step 3: Keep notes while reading or use flags, Post-It notes, or slips of paper in the book to highlight ideas, questions, dialogue, or description that you want to bring up in discussion.
Step 4: When discussion day arrives, be an active part of the discussion. Be willing to ask and answer questions. Be willing to listen to the viewpoints of others, especially those who don’t agree with you. You must contribute significantly to the discussion by adding your own thoughts — not just agree with the ideas of others.
Quarter 2 Book: The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Fantasy – An unexpected journey takes the main character far out of his comfort zone as he meets unexpected creatures and faces daunting challenges.
Discussion Date: Wednesday, January 10
Quarter 2 Book: Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Fiction - This Civil War-era story is about the bond of four sisters with very different personalities.
Discussion Date: Thursday, January 11
Note: Quarter 2 book projects completed before Christmas break will earn 5% extra credit.
Quarter 3 Book: To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Fiction - The atmosphere and issues within a small, Southern, Great Depression-era town are exposed through the eyes of two children, but even more so the character of the people who make up the town. In many ways, these townsfolk represent all people, and the story asks for dignity, which should be given to everyone. (Some mature language and subject matter)
Discussion Dates: Wednesday, February 7 (Chapters 1-15) & Wednesday, March 14
Quarter 3 Book: I’ll Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifireenka
Non-fiction: The story depicts how a pen pal relationship changed lives.
(This round table is not available to Ms. Ketcham’s Book Club members.)
Discussion Date: Monday, March 12
Quarter 4 Book: Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition – Margot Lee Shetterly
History – In the pre-Civil Rights-era before computers or space flights, four African-American women mathematicians were hired to complete calculations in order to help develop faster planes for the war effort.
Discussion Date: Monday, May 7
Quarter 4 Book: Hiroshima - John Hersey
Journalistic war account - This story recounts the stories of six individuals who were in Hiroshima, Japan, on the day the atomic bomb was dropped. (Mature subject matter)
Discussion Date: Tuesday, May 8
Note: Discussions date may have to shift slightly if something comes up on our school calendar.
Students will be reading and analyzing several of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poems. They will explore the elements of literature as applied to his works. The students will consider how Poe's life may have affected his work, and they will compare and contrast the mood and themes found in both the stories and poems.
"Deep in Earth"
"To My Mother"
"Tell-Tale Heart" ( read 7th grade and referenced)
"The Masque of the Red Death"
"The Cask of Amontillado"
A few students also delved into "Murders in the Rue Morgue" for extra credit.
Students will discuss and look for literary elements in a variety of works throughout the rest of the school year.
Sample terminology: character, protagonist, antagonist, setting, plot, rising action, complications, conflict, crisis, types of conflict, climax, denouement, conclusion, resolution, theme, foreshadowing, point of view, mood, atmosphere, allusion, irony
Reading Comprehension Exercises
Independent Reading Projects
Reading is a vital way to learn information of various types, and it can be a huge source of enjoyment. In addition to reading together in class, I would like you to do some independent reading. Ideally, I would love for you to be able to do a great deal of reading, but I know that life keeps all of us busy, and sometimes we cannot always fit in as much as we would like. I would like you to try to read about ten pages a day. (Of course, you may read more!) The reading should be at your ability level, and you should choose various genre.
What is genre? Genre is the category that the book falls under: biography/ autobiography, historical fiction, fantasy, nonfiction, drama, science fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, etc... Eighth grade students need to read a World War II or Holocaust-related book at some point during the year. I own many from which you may choose if you cannot decide.
Each quarter, you will need to present one book in one of the following ways: orally, with the use of technology, written, or in a round-table discussion (available quarters two through four). For example, one quarter you might present a book talk with a poster to the class, telling your classmates about the novel and making them interested in reading it. Another quarter you might choose to do a mini newspaper, writing articles about major events in the story. A Power Point presentation, puppet show, or series of diary entries are just some of the possibilities. Presentation options are limitless as long as they show effort and creativity as well as demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the book. (Before you spend a great deal of time on a project, please run it by me first.) Just as with the genre of the book, please choose a different presentation method each quarter.
Projects are due one week before the end of the quarter. If you plan to present a monologue, a book talk, or any other form of presentation to the class, it must be ready to go at least a week before the end of the quarter so that I can schedule some time for your presentation. Please ask questions if you have them and do not wait until the last minute to complete this assignment. If you finish and there are still three weeks left in the quarter, that is okay. Turn it in early. Then you will not have to worry about it as the quarter draws to a close.
Independent reading will also be the basis for written responses to some classroom lessons.
Due dates: Friday, October 13; Friday, January 12; Friday, March 9; Thursday, May 3
Thomas Jefferson said, "I cannot live without books." I hope that you find some authors and books that you love, too.
Independent Book Project Guidelines
Show understanding of a novel you have been independently reading in an interesting and creative way. (Always pretend the teacher/class knows nothing about the book.)
Keys Elements to ALL Projects:
Key Elements to an Oral Presentation:
Key Elements to a Written Project:
Do NOT go online to look for your own thoughts.
Key Elements to a Technology-based Project:
Key Elements to a Round-table Discussion:
Examples of Projects: book talk, Power Point, character talk, book review, puppet show, book (movie) trailer, graphic novel presentation, photographic journey, character diary, letter to a character/ author, feature article for a newspaper, live TV/radio report of a breaking event from the novel followed by backstory, movie, scrapbook,
(Please talk to me before you invest a great amount of time.)
Stories with Surprise Endings
"The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry
Another quiet, sleepy town is the setting for one of O. Henry's most famous short stories. The characters are humorous, and the twists and turns lead to one ironic moment after another. The students will be discussing foreshadowing, irony, allusion, and perspective as they read through this classic tale by O. Henry.
"Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Issac Asimov
A seemingly perfect family does have some odd quirks, such as going inside every time a cloud rolls by. Will their neighbors figure them out? A day at the park may help. Less subtle foreshadowing should be picked up by students as they read.
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
A seemingly peaceful town lends its setting to a story about conformity and resistance to thinking and change. Students will begin looking for foreshadowing as the story unfolds.