Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years. Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years.

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August 31, 2006


Today's warm-up expanded our understanding of "respect" and how we can demonstrate respect for others.

We continued to review infinitives and prepositions and MARK other parts of speech in sentences. Can you find the infinitives and prepositions in the previous sentence? We will have a quiz next week over these.

Great site for practicing prepositions

More preposition practice

BONUS points:
Make a simple Venn's Diagram and show how infinitives and prepositions can be the same. Then show which parts are different.

Finish Worksheet 11
Write a GREAT, descriptive, summary sentence using at least 3 of the 5 W's!

Posted by Beals at 04:55 PM

August 30, 2006

Wacky Wednesday!

It was wonderful meeting and visiting with parents last night. I am excited about the positive support parents expressed and their interest in our class. Thank you for coming!
If you did not have the opportunity to come last night, your son/daughter is bringing home a 2 week progress report for you to sign and return. Please contact me if you have any questions. While considering this progress report, please remember, as we continue to add skills and concepts to improve our writing, our work and assignments will become more complex. Students will build their knowledge and independence as I stretch the expectations for successful grades.

Today we joined another LA class, worked in groups, and explored "mundane" verbs and "vivid" descriptive verbs. Ask about the dog bones.
We also made and flew airplanes. Ask why.

Read/Record (Read for 20-30 minutes and record on your reading log.)
Write a summary sentence (on your Reading Log) with 10 or more words. Include 3 of the 5 "W's", the "who, what, where, when, and why" in your summary sentence.

Posted by Beals at 04:42 PM

August 29, 2006

Open House Tonight

I am looking forward to meeting everyone. I hope you find the evening informative and supportive.


Posted by Beals at 10:50 AM

August 28, 2006

Welcome Young Authors!

Thank you for checking our blog.
Today we introduced/reviewed infinitives (to + verb).
Our warm-up was:

I feel good about myself when I ___ ______________, because ______________ ______________________________________ . This helps me to have self–respect, and I can demonstrate my self-respect when I _____________________________________________________ . Another way I build my self-respect is choosing to ____________ ___________________________ which helps me to believe in myself. Although I have some self-respect, I would like to believe in myself even more, and I can if _______ ______________________________________ .


Posted by Beals at 08:46 AM

August 25, 2006


Sentence construction and analysis this week has been instructive. Our focus is in applying the grammar skills we know and adding the next level of complexity in sentence structure to our own writing. By practicing what we learn we will eliminate many of our writing flaws.

Everyone should have a non-fiction book that they can begin reading (and recording) as soon as they finish their current book.
Have a great weekend!

Weekend homework:
Remember, if you missed read/record one day this week, you can make it up by read/record an extra day over the weekend. I will collect Reading Logs on Tuesday.

Read/Record (Read for 20-30 minutes and record on your reading log.)
Write a summary sentence with 10 or more words. Include 3 of the 5 "W's", the "who, what, where, when, and why" in your summary sentence. If you need to, you may use several blocks to write your summary sentence.

Posted by Beals at 04:30 PM

August 22, 2006

Wacky Wednesday

Thank you for checking in – Write Away!

School is hard work (labor)! John Ruskin said: "…the greatest reward is not what we receive for our labor, but what we become by it."
What will you become and how will your writing shape you?

Tomorrow we will go to the media center. Mrs. Hendrix will explain how to select a challenging chapter book. She will give examples of each of the genres on the Genre Chart.

windows format Genre Chart-1.doc

or pdf format Genre Chart

Students will have time to check out a challenging chapter book.

Read/Record (Read for 20-30 minutes and record on your reading log.)
Write a summary sentence on your reading log. Include the "who, what, where, when, and why" in your summary sentence. If you need to, you may use several blocks to write your summary sentence.

Posted by Beals at 05:37 PM

Terrific Tuesday!

Thank you for remembering to check our Language Arts blog tonight!

Read/Record (Read for 20-30 minutes and record on your reading log.)
Write a summary sentence on your reading log. Include at least three of the "who, what, where, when, and why" in your summary sentence. If you need to, you may use several blocks to write your summary sentence.

DOL/DOG Quiz tomorrow

Posted by Beals at 05:03 PM

August 21, 2006

Write On!

We will continue working on the classwork assignment on the four types of sentences tomorrow. This classwork will be graded for accuracy, so please work carefully. You can also review tonight using the web sites listed on Friday's blog post.

Read/Record (Read for 20-30 minutes and record on your reading log.)
Write a summary sentence on your reading log. Include the "who, what, where, when, and why" in your summary sentence. If you need to, you may use several blocks to write your summary sentence.

Posted by Beals at 04:39 PM

August 18, 2006

Fabulous Friday

This has been a terrific first week! We finished the week by completing our LA pre-test and baseline writing sample, and we reviewed the four types of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory). At the end of the school year we will compare some of our Spring essays to this baseline writing sample. I know each student will be surprised at the changes in their writing and proud to be a young author.
Read for 20-30 minutes (or more)
Record pages read in your Reading Log

Monday we will go over the four types of sentences again and then complete a classwork assignment (for a grade). You may want to check out these fun web sites. They are a great way to practice identifying the four types of sentences. (We explored them a little in class today.)

Identify the four types of sentences
Add the correct punctuation - end mark
Build the club house

Print a page from one of these activities for bonus points.
Have a super weekend!

Posted by Beals at 04:11 PM

August 16, 2006

Wonderful Wednesday!

Thank you for visiting your Language Arts blog.

Your summary paragraphs were a wonderful way to begin your journey to becoming a young author.

Homework: Read/Record
Read for 20-30 minutes
Record pages read on your Reading Log

Last day to turn in summer reading assignments is tomorrow (Thursday).

Posted by Beals at 04:28 PM

August 15, 2006

Language Arts Parent Info & Today's Homework

Again, welcome to 7th grade Language Arts! I hope you have had an opportunity to explore this blog (this is the 3rd post for this year).
Our daily minimum homework for the year involves Reading and Writing. I encourage everyone to "Read everyday they eat", however, for grading purposes and to allow for family schedules, students are to read and record their reading on their Reading Log a minimum of 5 days a week.

I am also including an article on new research regarding learning and distractions. I hope you find it useful.

Too many distractions get in way of learning

Multitasking makes it harder to remember knowledge later on, study finds
The Associated Press

Updated: 4:54 p.m. ET July 24, 2006

WASHINGTON - Your parents were right, don't study with the TV on.
Multitasking may be a necessity in today's fast-paced world, but new research shows distractions affect the way people learn, making the knowledge they gain harder to use later on.
The study, in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides a clue as to why it happens.
"What's new is that even if you can learn while distracted, it changes how you learn to make it less efficient and useful," said Russell A. Poldrack, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
That could affect a lot of young people. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year found third-graders through 12th-graders devoted, on average, nearly 6 1/2 hours per day to TV and videos, music, video games and computers.

As Poldrack explains it, the brain learns in two different ways. One, called declarative learning, involves the medial temporal lobe and deals with learning active facts that can be recalled and used with great flexibility. The second, involving the striatum, is called habit learning.
For instance, in learning a phone number you can simply memorize it, using declarative learning, and can then recall it whenever needed, Poldrack explained.
A second way to learn it is by habit, "punch it in 1,000 times, then even if you don't remember it consciously, you can go to the phone and punch it in," he said.
Memorizing is a lot more useful, he pointed out. "If you use the habit system, you have to be at a phone to recreate the movements."
The problem, Poldrack said, is that the two types of learning seem to be competing with each other, and when someone is distracted, habit learning seems to take over from declarative learning.
"We have to multitask in today's world, but you have to be aware of this," he said. "When a kid is trying to learn new concepts, new information, distraction is going to be bad, it's going to impair their ability to learn."
That doesn't mean he thinks a silent environment is essential — music can help in learning because it can make the individual happier, he said.
But in general, "distraction is almost always a bad thing."
What Poldrack and his colleagues did was to use brain imaging to study the parts of the brain in use when 14 people were learning.
Participants were asked to predict the weather after receiving a repeated set of cues. During part of the learning, researchers added a second task where participants had to keep a running mental count of high tones that they heard, thus adding an element of distraction.
The results showed that when doing single-task learning, the brain used the region associated with declarative memory, while the habit memory region was associated with dual-task learning.
The dual-task learning did not affect the participants' ability to predict weather at the time, but it reduced their knowledge about the task during a follow-up session later.
"In my opinion, this article represents a significant step forward in understanding the interaction between the various memory systems possessed by healthy human adults and task demands," commented Dr. Chris Mayhorn, who teaches psychology at North Carolina State University.
The results suggest that at least a bit of the information is being learned even when we are distracted by a secondary task, said Mayhorn, who was not part of Poldrack's research team.
By relying on the habit memory system, he said, "We may find ourselves in situations where we have picked up information about performing some task but we are unsure where that information came from."
In some situations this could be dangerous, he added: "For instance, we may find ourselves making decisions based on 'gut feelings' that utilize this implicit information and not realize that our decisions may be biased by where we learned that information."
Mayhorn noted that the experiment was small, looking at 14 people from a limited age range.
"It is difficult to determine how far we can generalize these results," he said. "But I still believe that the results are interesting because they extend previous results and provide direction for future research in the area."
Poldrack's research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by Beals at 10:39 AM

August 14, 2006

Language Arts Homework

Marvelous Monday!

Welcome young authors! This was a great start to an exciting year.
Don't forget, everyday you eat - Read!
Tonight's homework:
Read for 20-30 minutes.
Record your reading on the Reading Log.
(Do not worry about the summary sentence, we will talk about that tomorrow.)
Have a parent sign your LA Syllabus.
Summer reading project is due by Thursday. This is a quiz grade in all 7th grade LA classes.

Posted by Beals at 06:53 PM

August 08, 2006

Welcome! Let's explore our world.

handWelcome to 7th grade Language Arts. I'm so excited about this year and the wonderful opportunities for each of you to become fantastic authors. I'm familiar with many of you, your talents and your great imaginations, from last year, so I expect this year to be amazing.

We will be producing a variety of multi-media projects in conjunction with our writing. Please take the time to listen to my podcast (my first), and start developing some ideas for yours.

Some important information:
Plan to check our Language Arts blog every day.
Please have your parents email me so I have their current email address.
Have your parents sign your Language Arts' syllabus.
Bring all materials for your Language Arts' notebook and we will organize.
Bring your summer reading assignments to class.
Earn your first bonus points for the year by bringing in a printed copy of this post.

Posted by Beals at 01:35 PM

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