Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blog Update

Due to new commitments, my blog is no longer going to be updated daily. If you have any pressing concerns or comments regarding class, please email me at I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blog Catch-up: What we did 8/31 and 9/5:

Hello blog readers. I am sorry I have not gotten to updating the blog lately. I am really trying hard, although it seems I need to try harder, to keep this updated on a regular basis. Please be patient with me!

Friday, 8/31

We first took a vocabulary quiz. If you missed this day, you took the vocab quiz on Wednesday, the fifth. Remember, all students who are here the day you get the vocab words, which will normally be on Mondays, will have the words for the week: if you miss Monday, be sure to see a student who has them and copy them down. A good time to do this is during study skills. That way, you are prepared to take the quiz on Friday. So far, you have done a fantastic job with the vocabulary; keep it up!

After our vocab quiz, we completed our fourth sneeze. For the sneezes we are going to complete, be sure that you write on a different, totally new topic each time, even if your other sneezes are not done. You will have time at a latter date to go back on finish/polish your sneezes; right now, our goal is to build our collection of just-started pieces of writing.

After our sneeze, I read aloud to you as a class from our class novel "Love that Dog". You took notes in your comprehension journals and we had a lively discussion on what is happening in the book. Unfortunately, when you miss class, you completely miss out on the read-aloud experience. I will do my best, though, to catch you up and fill you in on all the pieces you missed.

Homework for the weekend was to read 1 hour or more!

Wednesday, 9/5

First, we completed our fifth sneeze. Again, we wrote about a completely new topic and started from scratch. We wrote for twelve minutes and we were not concerned with anything but writing as much as we could.

After our sneeze, we did "golden lines". I gave you five minutes to read through your completed sneezes. As you were reading, you were on the hunt for a "golden line"-- a sentence that stands out at you for any reason. Some of you chose funny sentences, some of you chose deep sentences, some of you passed. Once we had them, we all shared them out loud. It was fantastic!

After we completed our sneeze, we completed our weekly vocabulary assignment. Again, there are ten words, and you worked through questions in order to determine the definitions of the words.

At the end of the year (for some of you, this will happen much before the end of the year), we want you to completely fill your notebook with your own writing. Every page! In order to do this, we want to keep all prewriting and first draft writing in your writer's notebook: we don't want to take it out! However, we want to be able to work with your writing, and I need you to be able to turn it in. Therefore, today we copied our favorite sneeze from our notebook onto loose-leaf paper, being sure to double space (or skip lines, which ever term you prefer). Most of you finished this in class, but if you did not, it is homework.

Homework for Wednesday was to complete draft of sneeze and study for vocabulary quiz.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today, Wednesday the 29th of August, we did the following: 

1. Bellwork
2. Sneeze #3
3. Went over vocab and grammar
4. Learned the writing strategy "History of a Name"
5. Read Aloud

Sneeze #3: 

Today, we completed our third sneeze. We chose a new topic, making sure it was different from our first two sneeze topics. We wrote for twelve minutes. If you were absent, please complete your third sneeze. 

Vocab #1 and Grammar #1: 

We briefly went over our 10 vocab words, quizzing each other in order to remember the definitions of the words. 

For our grammar homework, I checked to make sure you had it done; if you had an answer written down for numbers 1-24, you got full credit. If you did not have your homework, you didn't get credit. If you turn your homework in on Friday, you can still get half credit!

"History of a Name" Writing Strategy: 

Names are important, aren't they? What would our world look like if everyone did not have names? Communication would surely be made tougher: instead of yelling, "Hey, Josh!" to a group of people in order to get one person's attention, you would have to yell something like, "Hey, you! No, not you, you! No, no, you in the red, NOT YOU, YOU!" It would be very confusing. 

Also though, names define us as people to a certain extent. Many people are certain that their best friend's "look" like a Timmy or a Susie. You name becomes a part of you, the person, as well as obviously your identification. 

For the writing strategy "History of a Name", you attempt to provide all the details of a name of someone or something. Nothing is off limits. You can talk about all or some of the following: 
  • What is the significance of the name? 
  • Why was the name given? 
  • Who gave the name? 
  • Are there any nicknames? 
  • What do others think of the name? 
  • What do you think of the name? 
  • What or how would it be different with a different name? 
  • How do you feel personally for the name? 
And more! Today, we tried this strategy out by writing our own history of our names. If you were absent, please try this strategy out. Be sure to copy the strategy down on page 11 of your writer's notebook: the section titled "What Should I Write?"

Read Aloud: 

Today we continued our read aloud, Sharon Creech's novel "Love that dog". 

Have a delicious Wednesday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today, Monday 27th, we did the following: 

1. Bellwork
2. Sneeze #2
3. Vocab Lesson #1
4. Grammar Lesson #1

Sneeze #2: 

Today, we completed our second "sneeze" writing. Remember, when we "sneeze", we are simply writing as fast as we can without being concerned about what comes out. The reason we do this is to free ourselves. Sometimes when we write, we get a bit too concerned about if what we are writing is "good"; because of this, we end up trying to hard to write "well", thereby freezing ourselves as writers. So instead of trying to write well, we are just writing to write. We know that at least some of what we write will be bad: that is ok! The more we write, the more good writing will come out!

 To begin, we chose a different topic from the topic we chose on Friday. Just like last time, we wrote non-stop for 12 minutes. 

If you were absent Monday, please complete your second sneeze on a new topic in the writing section of your writer's notebook (which starts on page 71). 

Vocab Lesson #1:

Vocab lesson 1 is titled "Prometheus and Epimetheus". If you missed Monday, please get the words and definitions from a classmate. 

Grammar Lesson #1: 

We began the first grammar lesson, "Four types of Sentences", in class. You do not have to write the complete sentences; rather, just write the answer. Your assignment was to finish 1-24. 

Have a great day! See you on Wednesday!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today, 8/24, we did the following: 

  1. Exchanged ideas for writing topics using our writing territories
  2. Picked a topic and wrote on that topic for 12 minutes
  3. Setup our "read aloud" journals
  4. I read aloud from Sharon Creech's Love That Dog

Exchanged Ideas for Writing Topics: 

We continued trying to add to our writing territories today by exchanging notebooks and adding topics from other student's lists that worked for us. As you can see from my new list of topics, I was able to add at least 25 new topics; making sure not to add topics that do not interest you, building your list of topics will help you tremendously throughout the year. When you get bored with a piece of writing, you will be easily able to get another topic from your extensive list. The bigger and more diverse your list, the better!

Picked a topic and wrote for 12 minutes: 

After we had gotten many new topics, we chose one that seemed to call out to us that day. During first block, I chose "Rainy Days/Cloudy Days". 

For 12 minutes, we wrote. I told you to not pay attention to mistakes, to not worry about spelling, to not be concerned with how messy your writing became, to overall go for it: to write like your pants were on fire! Writing in this manner is "freeing", as many of you commented after we were done. It allows you to not worry so much about writing "good", thereby allowing you to produce some great stuff! Overall, many of you won't be happy with your writing; this is ok! First draft writing is hardly ever good; however, it is extremely important because I will show you how to polish your not so good writing. 

Setup "Read Aloud" journals: 

Throughout the year, I will read aloud great literature to you. Your goal during read aloud is simple: enjoy! While I read aloud to you, I will not stop to explain or answer questions; that is why you have your journal. You can write down any questions, comments, observations, etc. in your journal while I read. After I am done reading, we will discuss anything you want to! 

Also, before we begin to read aloud, we will take notes and do many different forms of writing and interactions in order to remember where we are in the book. 

Read aloud was one of the favorite activities we did as a class for students last year: it was also one of my favorites, as well! Go literature!


Your homework for the weekend is to read a great book you love for at least 40 minutes. If you missed Friday, please complete a draft of one of your topics from your writing territories. You can write in any form, and your piece does not have to be finished. Just go for it! Write for about 12 minutes, and no matter where you are, stop. We will do more with it soon!

Have a great weekend. 

-Mr. O'Mera

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today, 8/20, in 7th Grade English we did the following: 

  1. Set-up our writer's notebooks
  2. Passed out grammar textbooks and workbooks
  3. Developed our reading territories 

Writer's Notebook Set-up

First, starting with the first clean sheet of notebook paper, number your pages 1-75. Put the number, preferably in pen, in the lower right-hand corner of your page. Do not number the front and back of your papers; the first sheet, counting the front and back, will be considered page 1. 

After you have numbered your pages 1-75, you need to write the section headings. Write the following section headings at the top-center of your page. 

Page               Section
1               Table of Contents
5               Reading Territories
8               Writing Territories
11             What should I write?
17             Writing/Literary terms
20             Spelling Demons
22             Craft Lessons
49             Editing Lessons
71             Writing

Grammar Textbooks/Workbooks

If you were absent on Monday, please see me when you return so I can assign you a textbook. 

Develop Reading Territories

Developing your reading territories is all about discovering yourself as a reader. In your writer's notebook, on page 5, just under where it says "Reading Territories", I want you to make a subheading that says "Why do I read?" Under this subheading, list as many reasons you can think of for why you read. Once this list is over, I want you to make lists of the following: 
  • Favorite Authors
  • Favorite Genres
  • Favorite Books
  • Books I want to read in the future
  • Subjects I like
Also, make any other lists about reading that you feel like you want to have. Again, this is all about figuring out your identity as a reader. Go for it!

Homework 8/20

Read a great book for thirty minutes or more!

Welcome to 7th Grade English 2012-2013!

Welcome Parents, Students, Friends, Family, Grandma Candi (this is my Grandma...she said she occasionally reads my blog :) ) and anyone else who has mistakenly stumbled upon the blog!

This year in 7th grade English, our goal is to improve our literacy.

Literacy is extremely important. Let me tell you why.

 Our world, more than ever before, is a world of change. It is a world rapid, constantly changing and morphing in ways unpredictable. Teachers and students today are preparing for jobs in fields that do not yet exist. Each day, the average person produces the equivalent of 6 newspapers worth of information. From the moment we wake, until the moment we go to bed, we are bombarded with information in myriad forms: radio ads, television ads, billboards, newspaper ads, flying planes with ads, clothes with logos, pop-ups (ahhh! I hate those!). The list goes on and on.

Luckily enough for us, there is one essential ingredient that greatly simplifies life’s navigation; turning a bumpy, stressful, and oftentimes blind voyage into a voyage of choice and purpose is literacy. I define literacy as the ability to successfully communicate and navigate yourself in today's world. 

Thank you for enrolling in this class. I cannot wait to get started.