From Outline to Letter

Class began the usual way. Students completed a WA that had them reviewing certain grammar concepts.

During IR, students who did not yet complete their This I Believe speech reflection had time to completed it. If you were absent today or, for any reason, have not yet completed the speech reflection, it is now marked as “missing” in the gradebook. You can access it by going to this link. If we recorded your speech on the iPad, it is shared with you in your google drive.

After reading, we moved into Notebook Thinking, and the prompt is attached below. Students who are fans of Harry Potter were encouraged to write about any of the prompts below, and those that are not were encouraged to develop an app they wish they could have on their devices – even if it is outside the realm of what is possible.


After NBT, we moved into working on our argument projects. Students should have come to class today with a completed outline. I showed them my completed outline and explained that there step today is to take this outline and turn it into a letter. There is a video on my website that walks them through this process, and I suggested they watch just a minute or so of the video, pause it, and then complete the step themselves. When they are done, their letters should look very similar to my example; however, the date at the top would be the day we are actually sending them out – May 25th.

If students finished, they were able to go to the library to print after I looked over their letter.

Once done, they were encouraged to review grammar or vocabulary as we have tests in both coming up next week.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Rough draft of your letter is due tomorrow for peer revision

FYI: Again, here is our calendar for the end of the year:


Deadlines Are Approaching!

Class began the usual way today. During IR, I finished conferencing with students about their argument checkpoint.

Since it is Friday, today was four-prompt Friday for NBT, and those prompts are attached below:

  • Write a story about someone who wakes up, and he/she is the last person alive on Earth.
  • You have the special ability to see how dangerous people are. When you look at someone, a number appears above their head – 1 being the least dangerous and 10 being the most. The new kid in your class just registered a 10. He smiles at you.
  • Explain your opinion on President Trump. Do you like him? Dislike him? Why?
  • Someone once said, “Failure is success if we learn from it.” What does this mean? Do you agree with it? How has it been relevant to your life?

Today was also a W.O.W. day, so after students wrote, they had time to volunteer and share as well.

We spent the rest of our time in the library, so students could work on their projects. They outlines should be done on MONDAY, and this page of my website will be crucial to them finishing – primarily the video about completing the outline and the review on explaining evidence.

I’ve also attached a few handouts below that the videos reference.


Arg Letter – Reminders for Explaining Evidence


  1. Read for 60 minutes.
  2. Finish your outline for MONDAY.
  3. Bring headphones next week.

Also, for your reference, here is our calendar for the end of the year. If you’re going to be gone any of the last few days of school, please make arrangements ahead of time to to complete the work you will miss.


Vocab Review and Work Time

Class began the usual way. Students completed a WA that had them reviewing different grammar concepts. With the grammar assessment less than two weeks away, these reviews are becoming more and more important!

During IR, I continued conferencing with students about their argument checkpoint. All students have the opportunity to review and reassess, and for some this is a required step to get them where they need to be.

After IR, we moved into NBT, and today’s prompt was CNN10. It covered concepts like demilitarization of North Korea, the volcano eruption in Hawaii, and this Laurel vs. Yanny debate.

When we were finished writing, students completed sentences for their last set of vocabulary words of the year, and then they had time to get in a group and review the latest words by playing memory.

We spent the last 25 minutes in the library working on our letter projects, and I was available to help and answer questions.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Bring headphones through the end of next week.
  3. Outlines are due on MONDAY.

Hyphens and Outlines

Class began the usual way. Students completed a WA that had them practicing with hyphens. I’ve attached the activity below.

Hyphens Welcome Activity 1

During IR, I continued to conference with students about their argument checkpoint, and students who wanted to/needed to reassess had the opportunity to review and then reassess. This will continue throughout the rest of the week, so I will meet with every student at some point.

After IR and conferencing, students moved into Notebook Thinking. Since we didn’t have video Tuesday yesterday, we had that today, and it was an example of the impact the students can make when they send their letters.

After writing, students came up with synonyms and antonyms for their weekly words, and then I gave some directions for how to students should go about moving from their research to their outlines by watching the video I made for them piece by piece as they complete their work.

They also received this handout to help them with the cohesion of their pieces. How and when to use different types of transitions is explained more in-depth in the video.


We spent the rest of the time (about 30 minutes) in the library, so students could work on their outlines. I was available for that entire time to help students with questions.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Outlines are due on MONDAY. We will have time on Thursday and Friday to work, but if you are behind (meaning you were still researching today), you should take some time at home to get caught up.
  3. Bring headphones the rest of the week.

Grammar Assessment Practice and Research

Class began the usual way. Students completed a WA that had them looking at different evidence and using that evidence to figure out a reason to support a claim. This is very much like what they have to do for their projects – look at all of the research and figure out what reasons shine through from that evidence.

During IR time, I conferred with students about their argument checkpoint from Friday. Students had the opportunity to review and reassess if they needed/wanted to.

After reading and with their partners, students discussed the following questions before talking about this as a class:

  1. What reason can you draw from this evidence?
  2. Which piece of evidence doesn’t fit the reasons?
  3. Which evidence should we eliminate because it isn’t as good as the others?

The last question is one that I highlighted. There was one piece of “evidence” listed on the handout that was not necessarily evidence; instead, it was someone just restating the reason. It’s important students stay away from stuff like this because it doesn’t make more a very convincing argument to say “This is a reason because someone said it is a reason.” Instead specific numbers, facts, or experiences are much more convincing and worthwhile.

We didn’t have Notebook Thinking today. Instead, students took a practice grammar assessment. In two weeks, they will have their grammar test, and, as I explained to them in class, this isn’t something they can retake because we don’t have time for them to retake it. Also, they HAVE already taken it twice and have seen their scores, so this is the third and final time.

To prepare for this, I game them a practice test where they looked at seven different sentences and made corrections. Then, we went over it as a class, so they could have an idea of how they were doing. I suggested that they take a look at where they missed points and visit the grammar review section of my website to work on these things. For example, if they noticed they made a lot of mistakes with homophones, they could do one of the homophone reviews.

I have also linked the grammar practice assessment here and there, so they could retake it and check their work. An answer key is included.

The second half of class was spent in the library finishing up research. This is our third, solid day of research time, so research is due tomorrow. Students should be able to answer “yes” to all the statements at the top of their research document. Note: Only RESEARCH is due tomorrow. The OUTLINE is not due yet.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Bring headphones.
  3. Research is due tomorrow. Make sure to turn in your document!