Archives for September 2012

Quest English 8 – Week 4 – September 24-28



Today was basically a work day for your autobiographies. Please check the slide show for reminders and some information about what’s happening next.


Everybody believes that our logical fallacy presentations are a SMASH HIT, so obviously they are awesome. Here’s Andrew’s presentation on Appeal to Belief.

Here’s the rest of our time together.


Quest English 8 – Week 3 – September 17-21


Homework: Talk with your parents about you as a reader. Get them to sign your list.

Autobiography of Self as Reader
Reading – Experience Points
Writing – Experience Points
Speaking/Listening/Viewing – Experience Points



Publications Writing – Week 2

Observation Activity


We began the hour by checking out a DeWitt Jones video on creativity and vision in the Bison Room. You then shared the most inspiring quotations about creativity.

Next, you met with your editors for your first deadline stories and they explained to you their expectations or tried to help you get off on the right foot with your research.

McCallum had some things to talk to you about in regards to your first story assignment as well. You received your Story Starter sheet at this time.

Remember to make first contact with your businesses today or follow up with the ones you need to call back.

We closed the day with Yearbook Terminology

Homework for tonight: Your Story Starter.

Homework for next Friday: Make contact with all 8 of your businesses.


We started the hour with instructions and handouts on Advertising sales that we didn’t do yesterday.

You also will be receiving the rest of your assignments for the year.

After that you met with your editors for second, third, and fourth deadlines to talk about how to plan ahead.

Next, we started going through Story Starter Sheets and you had some time to get those started.

Finally, we took a few more notes on yearbook terms.

If we had time, we did a great activity. Check in later for an update.


We are going to finished terms today before doing anything else.  We’ll have a quiz on terms on Monday and we’ll review tomorrow.

We also took some time to start doing some basic design principles. Check back here for the notes.

Finally, you got work and research time.


We started the block reviewing Yearbook Terms though a fascinating game of YRBKS Bingo!!!! Our quiz on terms is tomorrow, so I hope you feel ready by the end of the time today.

Next, we did a reporting-related activity that I hope you loved.


I’m gone today, so please be nice to the sub.

You guys we started to look at a reading called “Focus on Reporting”. We did an activity as a class with it. Sine reporting is such a major part of this class, please learn all you can about it. If you miss today, please see me to get a copy of the packet, because it’s important information.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week.

J1 – Week 2

Observation Activity


We started the hour by finishing and presenting your Focus on Reporting posters. The rest of the class took notes as you presented. We will have a short quiz on these concepts tomorrow.

Next, we went over your upcoming deadlines for your first story.

  • Background Research: Due Wednesday
  • Five interviews and observations: Due next Wednesday, September 19
  • Rough Draft: Due next Friday, September 21
  • Final Draft: Due Friday, September 28

We took some time to start your background research process.

Your background research is due on Wednesday.

Finally, after all of this as done, you did an activity either involving Legos or a visit to the courtyard. We’ll see how the weather looks.

If we still had time after that, we ended by starting to go through the Hoofprint Writer’s Guide.

Due Wednesday: Background Research:

Find out enough basic information about your topic to be able to write thoughtful, open-ended questions and know who to contact for interviews.


REMINDER: Your background information and research for your first deadline story is tomorrow. Don’t forget!

We started the day with a short quiz and reflection on Focus on Reporting. If you missed today, you need to respond to these questions:

1. Describe how all six elements of reporting work together when done correctly.

2. How would you define the job of a reporter?

3. What are three things that you need to keep in mind as you begin the reporting process?

After that, we talked a little bit more about your expectations for research and what you should bring to class tomorrow. You will not have homework beyond your research tonight. Please make sure you give it an honest effort.

You had some class time at this point to do some research.

After the class time, we continued Journalism Writing Style instruction. We almost completed it today.


Your background research is due today.

We took time and wrote 10 or more interview questions at the start of class.

The next big due date is to get five quality interviews done by Wednesday, September 19.

We finished our Journalism Writer’s Guide today.

Finally, we read a chapter called “Find an Angle” that should help you think about your story and finding the most interesting thing to write about.


At the start of class today, you worked with a partner to illustrate a Journalism Style rule from the packet we concluded yesterday. You presented to the class at about the halfway point of class.

After that, we did a brief review of the style manual and filled in any gaps that you may have had in your notes.

Finally, we did a great activity that illustrated the job of a reporter.

Tomorrow: Style and Rules Quiz #1!


Here’s the quiz. Shhh…. don’t tell anyone. Journalism Style and Rules Quiz 1 – 2010

We started the block with the quiz.

After that, we took some time to check out the forum as a class.

Then we watched a video or two and talked for a bit about awareness and observations.

After that, we had work time. You guys should all have a great weekend!

Quest English 8 – Week 2 – September 10-14


Most of what we’re doing can be found on today’s presentation:

The stuff we’re looking at can be found here:

  • Those that what to lead, read

    Here are the notes from our discussion today.


    Here’s Nicole’s presentation. It is awesome, by the way.


    Article for today: For those who want to lead, read.


    We had a sub today. You were in the computer lab putting the finishing touches on your blog.

    For the smart people who check here frequently, the good news you’ll get today is that your blog isn’t actually going to be do until Sunday night, so you can take more time if you wish.

    Publications Writing – Week 1


    Welcome to Publications Writing!

    Here are some of the notes and handouts from today.

    Course Description and Outline

    Tatanka K-W-L.

    Writer Information Sheet

    Due tomorrow:

    1. Your Summer Yearbook assignment.

    If you want to see examples of this assignment from students from previous years, take a look at the following links. Keep in mind that these are one of many right ways to do this assignment. Yours can and should be unique and fit your writing style.

    Sample 1

    Sample 2

    Sample 3

    Sample 4


    As a class, we focused on the concept of theme today.

    Publications Writing Notes: Day 1 – Theme

    You took a look at a variety of books from around the state and country; public schools, private schools, middle schools, and high schools. The books had different standards of quality, but they all had one thing in common: Theme. You broke down the theme and presented it to the class.

    You also took a look at a very short Theme Project Evaluation guide to help you judge the quality of the book.

    Your knowledge went toward helping you think about the homework for tonight.

    Please take time today or tonight to sign up for the stories you want to be involved with this year.

    If we had time, we got in to small groups with editors and working on getting your questions from our KWL sheet answered.


    If you haven’t signed up for stories yet, please do so tonight. I want to have all stories assigned by Friday of this week.

    We then workshopped your Summer Yearbook Theme assignments aloud in small groups. We read aloud frequently in this class, and there will never be an opportunity to “pass” on reading. Each small group will pick one member to read aloud to the entire class.


    Once everyone has read, you will be working on creating a front and back cover for your Summer Yearbook. You will be graded on creativity, clarity, and the ability to portray the theme in an appropriate, attractive way. Your cover should reflect the theme of your book clearly. You will need to finish your cover by the middle of the block tomorrow.

    Take a look at these examples from last year.


    Your homework for tonight is to finish your summer yearbook cover and bring it to class tomorrow.


    Right away, you shared your summer yearbook covers and we learned everyones name a little better. Let’s see if we can greet everyone by name on Monday next week. I think I’m at that point. Let’s all get there soon.

    After that, we finished the theme assignment that we started on Tuesday and continued our conversation on Theme.

    Next, we talked about Business Ads, how important they are to the book, and your role in selling them.

    Your homework for tomorrow is to bring in the names and phone numbers of 8 businesses who may be interested in adversing in our yearbook. You don’t need to do anything else.

    Finally, we reviewed the first few terms in the big Yearbook Terms presentation. A scaled back version of the presentation is below.

    We have so much left to do! We’ll continue learning tomorrow.


    First, we quickly finished and shared your summer yearbook cover. When you’re done sharing, turn them in with your writing sample.

    We then learned how to use Google Docs and talking about what to do with your advertising contacts.

    We used this document. Add your business to the spreadsheet and sign up for eight businesses that you would like to be responsible for.

    After that, we watched a video about creativity featuring DeWitt Jones from National Geographic.

    Your homework for Monday (if you didn’t accomplish it during class today) is to update the Advertising Contact spreadsheet on Google Docs with your businesses and then sign up for eight business that you will be responsible for.

    Journalism 1 – Week 1


    Welcome to Journalism!

    This can be a demanding, difficult class, but I really believe it will be the most fun you’ll have with a class all year. I promise you that I haven’t been this excited to teach a class in a very, very long time. Thank you for being a part of something great.

    Don’t forget your 10 interview questions and your message board registration for tomorrow.


    Handouts from Day One.

    Journalism Syllabus.

    Staff Contract.

    Writer Information Sheet.


    Notes from Day 1

    Interview Notes – We looked at Background Research and Personal Interviews today.

    Stuff to do this week:

    1. Bring in your signed Staff Contract.

    2. Sign up for an account on the Message Board. Do not use your full name in your account. Customize your profile and then get posting! You’ll need to make 50 posts on the forum each term. That’s about one per day. About 30 will be taken care of with regular assignments, but the other 20 are up to you to make.

    3. Bring your class materials – a notebook, (you’re going to want a large, empty one), a folder.


    Welcome back to journalism!

    Due today:

    • 10 interview questions.


    After viewing some important reminders about how to do interviews, you had time to complete an interview with your partner today.

    We will spend about 30 minutes of class doing interviews. You will get about 15 minutes to interview your partner using the interview questions you prepared for homework. Be sure to ask follow up questions to get full stories and to take plenty of good notes. You should leave your interviews with about 5 paragraph-long quotes. More is always better.


    After you interview, take time to fully write out your longest quotes. They should be written word-for-word as your partner said them. You can type or handwrite these quotes.


    Due Tomorrow:
    A 300-400 word story about your partner. The majority of your grade is made up of how well you present your angle and how good your quotes are. You will be expected to write in Lead-Transition-Quote style, but that will not be a large factor in your grade. Make sure you focus on the correct aspects of this assignment.

    Your story will be written in Lead-Transition-Quote format. Here are the notes we took on Lead Transition Quote Format.

    This assignment can be handwritten or typed, but it is due at the start of the hour tomorrow.

    If you want help with writing in Lead-Transition-Quote format, check out this guide. If you want, you can write your story right on the guide sheet!

    If you missed the notes today, want to read the sample story, or if you need clarification, download the Lead Transition Quote Overheads or The Smart Board presentation on Lead Transition Quote Format (both include asample story).

    If you get stuck, check out this Sample 1st day assignment from last semester.

    For a full project description, download this, or just read on.

    Due Tomorrow:

    Write a 300-350 word story about the person you interviewed. The two things you are bing graded on are:

    Angle – Your story must have a clear angle. You will focus on only a few key pieces of information about the person you are writing about. You don’t want to try to tell their whole story. Stories that have a unique angle presented in the first one or two paragraphs and carried throughout their story will receive full points.

    Quotes – Your story must contain unique, story-telling quotes from your subject. Your quotes should be lengthy and contain evidence of a good interview. Make sure you write down what your subject says word-for-word during your interview and use those quotes in your story.

    Your story can be typed or handwritten. It will be due at the start of class tomorrow.


    Bring your stories that you wrote about your partner. You’ll be sharing them today.

    During the first part of the hour, you’ll be getting together with the person you wrote about and another pair of students. You’ll read your story out loud to the group and then listen and critique other stories that are read aloud in your group. After that, one person from your group will share their story with the class.

    The reason we read stories aloud in this class is to get used to accountability in your writing. You need to get used to other people reading and reacting to your writing because you’ll be putting your writing out for everyone in the school to read very soon. If you are embarrassed about your writing, that’s a sign that you could have done better. Work to a level where you would be confident with anyone reading what you wrote.


    Next, we learned about what makes something newsworthy.

    The presentation is below if you need to review or missed some notes.

    After that, you toured the school and tried to find five story ideas in the hallways.


    Search for seven ideas that would fit in one or more of the sections of our paper. The sections are as follows:

    1. News
    2. Sports
    3. Features
    4. Opinions
    5. Arts and Entertainment

    TONIGHT, you need to sign up for the four stories you’d like to write about the most. You must sign up for your four top cho

    Sign up here.

    Please follow the instructions in the sign up topic carefully.

    Make sure you’re signed in and click “Reply.” Leave a post with:

    1. Your first name an last initial.
    2. The three or four stories you want to write about the most.
    3. Why you’d be great at writing about your story.
    4. If you want to work as a team with another students and who that student would be.


    We began the day by making a GIANT list of potential story assignments on the whiteboard. We came up with over 100 potential ideas.

    This weekend, you need to sign up for the four stories you’d like to write about the most. You must sign up for your four choices by Saturday night at Midnight. I’ll assign stories by the end of the day on Sunday.

    Sign up here.

    Please follow the instructions in the sign up topic carefully.

    Make sure you’re signed in and click “Reply.” Leave a post with:

    1. Your first name an last initial.
    2. The three or four stories you want to write about the most.
    3. Why you’d be great at writing about your story.
    4. If you want to work as a team with another students and who that student would be.

    Next, we read the introduction Focus on Reporting as a whole class. If you missed today, you need to read the entire chapter, because we’ll be taking a short quiz on Monday at the start of class.

    After we read the introduction, we divided in 12 groups. Each group was assigned a concept from the chapter to read, study, summarize, and illustrate. After that, each group presented their summary and illustration to the class.

    The concepts you need to understand for Monday are:

    1. Theme
    2. Research
    3. Angle
    4. Focus
    5. Order
    6. Transition
    7. Clarity
    8. Accuracy
    9. Word Choice
    10. Description
    11. Interpretation
    12. Unity

    Come back for examples from this year’s class.

    Examples from last year’s Block 2 class.