Dear Imaginary Friend… (Fall 2012 ERP – Post #4)

Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and talked to the screen? I’ll bet you have. I know that I certainly have! Whether I’m telling someone not to go into a dark, creepy basement or to dump the creep they are dating, I get attached to fictional characters and feel like I ought to share my advice with them. Do they listen? Well, no, but that doesn’t seem to stop me.

So, dear students, that inspiration has led me to devise a creative writing assignment for this final blog post.

Your task is the following:

  • Write a short note/friendly letter to a character from one of your ERP books
  • Make sure that you include the character’s name and what book they “live” in so that we know what you’re talking about!
  • In your note/letter, identify a problem (conflict) that the character faces in their book and give them advice on how to solve that problemInclude reasons and details to support your ideas.
When you write your response post to another student’s writing, please consider including some additional advice to the fictional character!
I’ll include an example that I wrote as the first comment on this post to give you an idea of what I’m looking for in your answers.
This should be the most interesting set of responses yet! I can’t wait to read them.
– Mrs. N.


Get Yourself Connected (Fall 2012 ERP – Post #3)

Hey everybody! There was a big improvement with the quality of work that I was reading on last week’s post. Keep it up! I tried to comment on as many people’s posts as I could, but it’s difficult when so many of you wait until the last minute. The earlier you do your first comment, the more we can chat!

A friendly reminder – Please make sure that you are trying to use your best grammar and spelling in your writing. The whole internet can see this blog!

Let’s get to this week’s topic!

  • Explain a connection that you made with the ERP book that you are currently reading.
  • Remember – text connections include text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world. You can click on each of the previous links to get prompts that will help you compose your answer.
  • Please include the title and author of your book in your comment!
  • Describe how the connection with your book made you feel and why it made you feel that way.

Allow me to demonstrate:

I made a text-to-self connection with the book, Ungifted, by Gordon Korman. In this novel, Donovan (the main character) mistakenly gets sent to his district’s school for gifted and talented students even though he does not qualify. This plot point actually reminds me of two events from my own life. #1 – Before I moved here to be LeGrande’s librarian, I worked at a middle school in Lexington that housed their district’s gifted program and I got to know many of those students very well. Some of the characters in Ungifted actually reminded me of the kids I used to teach. #2 – When I was in middle school, I actually became “ungifted” due to a bad standardized test score. Even though I had been in my district’s version of GATS since the 4th grade, the district’s policy said that I was to be removed from the program when one of my standardized test scores dropped way below grade level. These text-to-self connections made me feel both good and bad. Being reminded of the school where I used to teach brought back a lot of warm and fuzzy memories. I got to work with many great students and teachers while I was at Winburn Middle School and I will always be thankful for some of the friends I made there. On the flip side, I was pretty depressed when I became “ungifted”. It really bothered me at the time, but I worked very hard in school from then on and I believe that I proved to myself that I was a smart and talented student through the things I accomplished. I competed in state-level singing competitions, was a 1993 Governor’s Scholar, and won scholarships to Transylvania University for college. For someone that a test said was “ungifted”, I think I did pretty well.

Does your answer have to be as long as mine? Nope. However, we would love to hear what you have to say!

– Mrs. N.

Ready? Set(ting)? Go! (Fall 2012 – ERP Post #2)

If you’ve been to a Language Arts class in the last few years, then you’ve probably heard that the most important literary elements in fiction and other forms of literature are commonly considered to be character, setting and plot.
Last week, we asked you to think about the main character in one of your ERP books and then tell all of us about him/her/it. This week we will be taking a closer look at setting. For this assignment, you will need to use a novel rather than a nonfiction book.
Let’s take a look at Prompt #2
  • Identify the title and author of an ERP book you are currently reading or that you have already read for this project.
  • Describe the setting of your ERP book. 
  • Remember that setting consists of two concepts –  place AND time. If a town, city, country or planet is mentioned, please include that type of information for the “place”. Please think about “time” in terms of time period (i.e. modern day, 1700’s, ancient world) rather than time of day.
  • Please illustrate the importance of setting to this particular novel by describing at least one way that the plot (sequence of events) might change if the setting was different than it is in the book.  
  • HELPFUL HINT – Since you have already told us the actual setting of your chosen book, you need to explain what would be different about what happens in the the story if you changed something about the “where” or “when” of the book. For example, how might what happens in The Hunger Games be different if Katniss was from a another district or even the Capital?

PLEASE make sure that you are answering all of the parts of this question by paying extra attention to the BOLD sections. If you need help, please feel free to ask/email me or Mrs. Scott.

Happy typing!

Mrs. N.

It’s ERP Time Again! (Fall 2012-Post #1)

Hey there, student-type people! Mrs. Scott and I have been crafting yet another Electronic Reading Project (better known as the ERP) for your English/Language Arts enjoyment and it’s time to begin the blogging. If you’re a 6th grader or new to LeGrande, you’ll catch on fast. Returning 7th and 8th graders, on the other hand, should be able to do this in your sleep at this point!

I always love getting to read what you’re written here. Lots of times I find new books to read based on what you have to say. We will be giving you more time to craft good posts this time, so I hope that you will use it to your advantage!

And so, without further adieu, I bring you your discussion topic for Post #1!

  • Identify the title, author and genre of the book that you have chosen as your first ERP selection. Please also state whether your chosen book is a personal choice selection or is it from the KBA/Award Books category?
  • Identify the main character (or subject, if nonfiction) of your chosen book and describe 3 of its important traits. You should include both physical and personality characteristics for a character.
And how will we be scoring your responses to this post, you might ask? Well, check out this handy document for an explanation – Prompt #1 Scoring Guide 2012 It very closely resembles a Constructed Response answer, if that helps you know what to do.
Please remember that in addition to answering my prompt that you will need to respond to another student. Your response AT LEAST needs to include a statement and a question. Just saying, “That’s cool” or “That sounds good” is not enough! We need to start translating the great stuff I hear you say in person into your writing. Please try to get a conversation going!
All righty then. Take it away, students!
Mrs. Northcutt

And we’re back!

Hello, hello! Here in Hart County, KY we have been in school now for about a month and a half and it’s about time that I started back to posting. We’ll be gearing up for another round of the ERP after fall break, so it’s never too soon for me to start booktalking again.

With that said, I made the Prezi embedded here to promote the books on the 2013 Kentucky Bluegrass Awards Master List for Grades 6th-8th. The KBA is a student choice book award that young people across the state vote for every spring. The 2012 winner was Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm. Who will win this year? Who knows?

It’s all up to Kentucky middle school students! Have you read any of these awesome books? I’ve read them ALL.

Feel free to comment on books on the list that you have read and that you want to read!

Almost to the Finish Line! (ERP Week #6 – 4/17 to 4/23)

It’s getting close to time for us to wrap up this year’s ERP with our final projects! Be aware that you need to be finishing your reading, blogging, quizzing, reviewing and working on a video or dramatic performance all at the same time! Projects need to be finished by APRIL 27th. If you need help, PLEASE ASK! 

Enough chit-chat though, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt!

  • Identify a significant conflict (AKA problem) contained in one of the books that you have read for the ERP. You may choose from the following types of conflict:
    • Man vs. Man
    • Man vs. Self
    • Man vs. Nature/Supernatural
    • Man vs. Society
  • Identify the title of the book that you have chosen to use for this response and describe the specifics of the conflict including the main characters who are involved and their situation.
  • Explain why this conflict makes the book interesting.

And the Winner Is… (ERP Week #5 4/10 to 4/16)

I just thought I would let you know that the votes are in from across the state for the 2012 Kentucky Bluegrass Award and this year’s winner for grades 6th-8th is…

Woohoo! I LOVE this book, so I’m really excited that students across the state did, too. Since the 2012 winner has been announced, that means the 2013 Master List is now available. You can check it out at the official KBA website by clicking on this sentence!

And now, this week’s prompt!

  • Do you think that A Tale Dark and Grimm deserved to win the 2012 Kentucky Bluegrass Award for middle school? Explain the reason(s) for your opinion.
  • If you do agree, describe why this book is an example of high-quality literature.
  • If you do not agree that it deserved to win, what book from the 2012 list should have been the winner and why?

If you’d like to also comment on the 2013 nominees, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

– Mrs. N.