Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Survey About You

Millennials are people born between about 1980 and 2000. This is your generation.

I want you to take a little survey about how you use media and your outlook on life.

Click on the link below to take the survey:

When you are finished, go to your blog and tell me what you scored. Use complete sentences!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sentence Frames for Theme

In this book, the main point is _______________.

One thing the author is trying to show us with this story is ____________________.

In today's world people need to learn that _________ and this story shows us that by ________________.

If there is one lesson I could learn from this story it would be ____________________.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Final Plot Project for The Witch of Blackbird Pond

You have a few choices for your final book project.

  1. Write a book review and post it on (you will need to make an account if you don't already have one).
  2. Draw a timeline with 8-12 important events. You will also need to include a couple of sentences describing how you decided which events were important to include.
  3. Write a "back of the book" review, which will get someone interested in the book, but not give away too much of the story (and NO you can't use the one on the back of the book already!!) :).
  4. Choose an event from the book and write a newspaper article as if you were a journalist in that time period. Remember journalists always include who, what, when, where, why, and how!
  5. Pretend you are working on filming a movie of this book. Choose background music to go with an event in the book. Include a paragraph that explains why this music is the best background music for this section of the book.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fix My Paragraph

The Witch of blackbird pond is a book. About a girl named kit who moves from Barbados to america in 1687. Her grand father has died and she is gonna go live with her aunt. the town she moves to is full of Puritans who are much more religious than she is she is constantly doing things that make her look strange to the people in America be cause her culture in Barbados is so different.

Copy and paste this paragraph into your blog and then fix the problems you find. There are a total of 10 mistakes to change. Try to find them all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Salem Witch Trials Video

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

We're going to be reading a new book called The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The setting is in New England (the northeast coast of the United States) during the Salem Witch Trials.

Go to the link below to watch a movie about the Salem Witch Trials.

After you finish watching the movie, go to your blog and write a summary of the Salem Witch Trials information you learned. Show me that you understand the basics of what happened and why.

Here is another video about what Puritan life in New England was like at this time period.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Evaluation

Here are some things to help you get started on your evaluation of the book we just finished, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Here are a few questions to think about to get you started with the evaluation. DON'T answer all these questions in your essay. Think about them to get you started and try to incorporate the answers into your writing:

  • What did you like or dislike about it?
  • Was it well written?
  • Were the characters interesting?
  • Could the story be set in another time or place? Would that change the story?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this?

And here is a checklist to help with book reviews, but you might find it helpful to get you started with your evaluation.

  • Name the book and the author
  • Give a short summary of what happened in the book (don't give it all away though!)
  • Give your opinion of the book (Examples: exciting, interesting, boring, educational)
  • Support your opinion with examples from the book
  • Tell your readers whether you would recommend the book and why or why not
You may also focus on a particular aspect of the book (like the characters, the setting, racial issues, how it made you think differently, or something else you want to focus on).

Please do a good job and take your time with this essay. This should be a full essay, not just a paragraph.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Days You Just Don't Feel Like Writing...

Some days are difficult. You wake up in a bad mood, or something happens in life that just sets you off on the wrong foot for the day (or the week sometimes!). Even on days like that, it doesn't hurt to get a little something down on your blog. It can be cathartic to write it down, like it helps to get it on the page and let it out. You feel better when you're done and you've gotten a little writing practice in for the day.

Another way to write if you're having a bad day is to use the anger or sadness or whatever emotion you're feeling to help you write something really deep and emotional. Poetry is always good for that. Use your feelings to help you write, rather than getting stuck in them and letting them overrun your life.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Websites

Here are some fun websites that have information and educational stuff on them. Play around with them and enjoy!

Multimedia and Interactive Websites

American Presidency

Artists’ Toolkit

Bio Medical Lab – the Walker

Cells Alive!



Discovery Games

Educational Web Adventures

Smithsonian Education

DNA from the Beginning

World Wildlife Fund Fun Stuff

British History: Battlefield Academy


San Francisco Crimespotting


Gesture-based computing
(this one is a little farther on the horizon and the technology is not built into your own computers right now, so you'll have to simply look at some of the possibilities)

Aukland Museum: The Hybridiser


mt Multitouch Table

From Emerging Technologies class at WOU, Prof. Mary Bucy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome to Family Reading Night

Welcome family and friends to our Annual Family Reading Night.

Please feel free to look around, talk to teachers, and eat pizza. In addition, please have your student and any children under 18 pick a book to take home off the table in the back.

We also have some reading and writing info on the front table next to the sign in sheet.

Thank you for being here! You are the best!

Downtown Learning Center Staff

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is the Message of This Poem?

Read over this poem and use the poetry plan to figure out what the author's message is. What is the author trying to say? Think especially about the last couple of lines.


Mac Hammond

The butcher knife goes in, first, at the top
And carves out the round stemmed lid,
The hole of which allows the hand to go
In to pull the gooey mess inside, out -
The walls scooped clean with a spoon.
A grim design decided on, that afternoon,
The eyes are the first to go,
Isosceles or trapezoid, the square nose,
The down-turned mouth with three
Hideous teeth and, sometimes,
Round ears. At dusk it's
Lighted, the room behind it dark.
Outside, looking in, it looks like a
Pumpkin, it looks like ripeness
Is all. Kids come, beckoned by
Fingers of shadows on leaf-strewn lawns
To trick or treat. Standing at the open
Door, the sculptor, a warlock, drops
Penny candies into their bags, knowing
The message of winter: only the children,
Pretending to be ghosts, are real.

The poem is from this site:

Here is a link to the poetry plan

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fun Stuff to do Around Town

Just in case you haven't heard about some of the fun stuff going on around town, here is a link to a bunch of Halloween events. Click on a day on the calendar to see what the events on that day are all about.

Friday, September 24, 2010

2010-2011 School Year

We're back at it again this year, blogging our way to better writing. Students are doing a great job of logging into their blogs every day, coming up with things to write about, and practicing their editing skills. I'm so impressed with how well they do at this, even if they've never blogged before in their life. What great students I have! How did I get so lucky??

One of the things that I've noticed about student blogs is that each one is very different. Everyone has their own idea of how to create their daily paragraph. Each student has their own voice that comes through in their writing and makes it their own. Writers talk about it all the time: finding your voice. On their blogs, students are able to find their own voice, while still learning basic writing and editing skills.

I think learning how to express yourself in writing is one of the things that makes education so crucial. By writing down our experiences and thoughts on things, we not only leave our mark in the world, but we learn to think through our own experiences and elaborate on our opinions. Writing makes us better thinkers, and the world can always use better thinkers!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Books You Just Might LOVE!

It's important to find books that you will enjoy reading. If you don't enjoy it, you probably won't do it, so read something interesting! Something that makes you want to keep turning pages.

Here are a few selections of authors, books, and links that might lead you to books you will love.

Joe Abercrombie
Brandon Sanderson
J.R.R. Tolkein (Lord of the Rings)
Robert Jordan

Here is one person's top ten list of fantasy authors.
And here is a top 25 fantasy list

Yes, I'm making this it's own section because it has gotten so big lately

Stephanie Meyer (Twilight)
Kristin Cast
Mari Mancusi (Blood Coven Series)
Anne Rice (not new, but classic vampire stuff)

Here is a list of Vampire books and series for young adults. It's on the Monster Librarian site which also has a lot of other good lists.

Young Adult:
Meg Cabot
Rachel Hawthorne
Catherine Clark
Loiuse Rennison
Jodie Lynn Anderson
Sarah Dessen

Nora Roberts
Jayne Anne Krentz
Catherine Anderson
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Susan Anderson
Karen Robards
Elizabeth Lowell

Historical Romance:
Amanda Quick
Diana Gabaldon (time travel/historical)
Julie Garwood
Christina Dodd
Teresa Medeiros

Here is a site with a good list of favorites for all styles of adult romance.

Chick Lit
I know this sounds a lot like romance, but it really focuses on women's issues in general. Its fun stuff to read. A lot of the heroines enjoy fashion or shopping or other girly stuff!

Here is a link that will give you more info on chick literature than I ever could.

And here are some of my favorite chick lit authors:

Jane Green
Jennifer Weiner
Sophie Kinsella

Sue Grafton
Mary Higgins Clark
Agatha Christie (old, but classic mystery)
Patricia Cornwall
Carl Hiaasen (humor/mystery)
John Grisham
Janet Evanovich (humor, not scary, but a great read!)
Tom Clancy (military thriller/mystery)

And here is a list of some other types and styles of mysteries.

Enjoy your reading!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Anne Frank/Holocaust Resources

This is the link I showed you in class yesterday:

Here are a few more places to find good information:

Interview with Anne's Father:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Field Trip to the Capitol

Shandi did a great job of getting right up close and taking some great pictures for us!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love is...

...when your sister sends over a care package of soup and salad when you're sick.
...your parents bringing you medicine when you aren't feeling well
...friends calling up just to say hi
...a little niece's eyes lighting up and yelling your name when you come in a room.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Literature Unit: Diary of Anne Frank

We will be starting a new literature book this week. We are going to be reading The Diary of a Young Girl about Anne Frank. During this unit we will be studying some background information about the Holocaust as well.
Here are some good online resources for finding out more about the Holocaust and Anne Frank:
There are lots of other online resources out there, but these are a few good ones from trustworthy sources.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rebekah's Books for Break

One of the things I look forward to most on vacations is staying up late reading. I love that I don't have to worry about getting up in the morning, so I can stay up really late reading a good book that has grabbed my attention. A couple of the books I plan to read this break are:

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Other than that, I'll just see what books catch my eye at the Book Bin or the library and I'll read what I feel like at the moment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Think About Books for Break

Okay, we are coming up on a 2 week vacation and I don't think any of you want to lose the progress you have made in class so far. I know it's busy and it's easy to forget about reading and school, but I would like to help you make a plan for the break.

In your blog today:

1. Read other student's blogs about books they have read and make at least one comment.

2. Write down which books you think you might like to try reading over break. It can be one that you are currently reading, one that you borrow from me, or anything else you have at home or can borrow.

3. Also, tell me when you plan to do your reading. You should try to read 15 minutes to 1 hour per day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fix My Paragraph

The following paragraph has 10 mistakes. Copy the paragraph, paste it into your blog, and fix all 10 mistakes.

Indian reservations are areas of land given to Native American tribes by the united states government. In the 1850-60s the government decided to move indians to land that were unwanted by settlers many of the tribes did not want to move to new lands and refused. Soon the government sent in the U.s. Army force them to move to the new reservation lands. this caused many bloody wars between the Indians and the U.S. Army. Eventually, most Indians did move to the reservations. Today, reservations are run by their own tribal council, and less than half of Indians live on the reservations. Many of the Indians who live off the reservations live in large western cities. Like Phoenix and Los angeles.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome to Our Open House!

Thanks so much for coming and making education a priority. Please feel free to look around the site, have some pizza, and ask any questions you might have. If you want to know about your student's progress or have questions about the program, just ask any of the staff members here tonight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Book

We started a new book recently called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. It is a really fun book. The students love it and are asking to borrow it so they can take it home to read it.

This book is definitely for more mature young adults. I find that my late high-school age students from 16-20 are just the right age to be able to absorb it and also enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We've started our poetry unit for this term and it is going very well. We work off something I like to call "The Poetry Plan".

The Poetry Plan

Most people are scared of poetry, but you don’t need to be. Poetry can be hard to understand unless you know HOW to read it.

You will need to read the poem all the way through about 5 times. Yes, I said 5 times. The more you read it the easier it will be to understand.

The 1st time: Read for SOUND
Just read the poem to hear how it sounds the first time.
Listen to the rhythm
What's your first impression?

The 2nd time: Read for WORDS
Look for any words you don’t understand.
Try to figure out what the word means by looking at the words around it, breaking the word into pieces, or saying it different ways to see if it sounds familiar.

The 3rd time: Read LINE BY LINE
Stop at the end of every line and figure out what the line means.
Try to relate it to the lines before or after it.
Decide what you think the author is trying to say in each line.

The 4th time: Read for THEME (the author’s message)
Try to figure out what the author is trying to tell the reader through this poem.
Why did the author take the time to write this down?
What important thing did he/she want you to understand after reading it?

The 5th time: Put it all TOGETHER
How do you feel about the poem now compared to the first time you read it? Do you understand it better?
You should be so familiar with the poem now that it will be easy to answer questions about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

  1. Look over this chart.
  2. Find at least 3 things you can learn from this chart.
  3. Make a list of the three things you learned about obesity.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School Speech

This Back-To-School speech by President Obama has been very controversial. What do you think about it?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Books I Want to Read This Summer

  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  • The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Lovely Bones By Alice Sebold?
  • Cold Rock River By J. L. Miles
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twenty Years in the Future

It's almost time for my dinner party. Why don't you come on in and see my home. It's a small place, but I like it. I have a nice dining room where my friends always like to gather and eat. I have a great patio with a barbecue and places to sit and eat and chat with friends. I am also really proud of my yard and garden area. I spend a lot of time taking care of my garden and I love to use the produce from it when I cook for my friends and family. I also have a lovely kitchen area with a big countertop for cooking and chopping and making foods. My friends love to hang out in my kitchen as well, eating and drinking the delicious foods I cook up. My bedrooms and bathroom are at the back of the house and are cozy as well. I like to spend time at home reading, hanging out with family and friends, cooking, and working in the yard. I have lots of time in the summers when I'm not teaching to do all the things I love. Oh, here come my friends now. Why don't you come on in and eat dinner with us?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blog Night Info

Dear Families and Students:

Thank you for coming to Spring Blog Night 2009!

There are lots of other things you could be doing tonight. You are making education a priority in your life by coming here tonight. That is a great statement to make to your family, yourself, and your community!

We invite you to do three things tonight:

1. Eat! Help yourself to pizza and drinks.

2. Check out your student's blog on the laptops around the room. (Make sure they show you what they did at the beginning of their blog and what they are doing now. You'll be impressed!)

3. Ask Beka any questions you have about your student's progress.

Bienvenidos a todas las familias y los padres. Los invitamos a cenar esta noche. Por favor hablen Uds. con las maestras y miren los "Blogs" de sus hijos/as. Esperamos que les disfruten este momento que pasamos hoy aqui. Gracias por su atencion.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Believe Brainstorming

Today we are brainstorming things we believe in so that we can choose one for our This I Believe essay.

  1. I believe that reading is the key to knowledge.
  2. I believe being nice is more important than being smart, rich, or successful.
  3. I believe love is more of an action than a feeling.
  4. I believe people need each other.
  5. I believe in singing loudly to myself in the car.
  6. I believe in using only what I absolutely need.
  7. I believe in making up your own mind about what you believe.
  8. I believe in ghosts.
  9. I believe that every situation in life is a chance to learn something we need to learn.
  10. I believe coming home is a gift.
  11. I believe happiness is a choice.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Root Word Poem

We used poetry, rap, or creative stories to study root words this week. Here is my attempt at a poem using as many of our root vocabulary words as possible. Check out the student's work on this on the Blogamundo Homepage. They did very well!

I see pedestrians in cars,
psychologists going psycho,
cardiologists losing heart.

I see corporations running wild,
manufacterers running the world,
CEO's making a spectacle.

I see a suicidal population,
homicidal corporations,
pharmaceuticals deforming the nation.

I see the populace conform
to the patron saint Consume,
rupturing morals and home.

A prescription for disaster.
I predict a nation of conformity,
deformity, cardiac arrest.

The spectator becomes captain,
the populace becomes the patriarch,
the videographer becomes the actor,
the audience becomes the speaker.

With complete transformation,

Progress Report

Things are going along really well on the Blogamundo Project. I have been amazed at the gains I've seen in student writing. I think the main thing I have noticed is that the organization of their writing has increased amazingly. Just getting them to write something is often difficult at first, but as time goes on they start to write quite a bit. Then the work is in making sentences flow and organization of ideas. Amazingly, the organization of the ideas seems to come quite naturally with practice of writing in general. I have focused mainly on editing sentence structure (as well as the age-old capitalization, spelling, and punctuation) and after time, the organization of the rest of the writing seems to come quite easily.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Instructions for Adding a Header to Your Blog

  1. Go to Blogamundo and click on the link to Blogamundo Project Blog (this page)
  2. Choose a header from the post below this
  3. Click on the header you choose to see a full size version
  4. Right click on the full sized picture and choose Save Picture As
  5. Save the pic to My Pictures
  6. Go back to your own blog
  7. Go to Customize (in the upper right hand corner when viewing your blog) or Layout (from the dashboard)
  8. Make sure you are in the tab called Page Elements (it should go directly there)
  9. Click on Edit in the box that says Header (it is across the top)
  10. Click on Browse and look for the pic on your computer
  11. Double click on the picture header to add it in
  12. Choose the option that says "Behind title and description"
  13. Click SAVE in the pop up box. Click SAVE again in the Page Elements page.
  14. Tada! You should have a new header.
If you have problems with your old header showing up behind the new header, let me know. That is a more complicated process.


These free headers were found on this site: