Thursday, March 29, 2012


Today we will be presenting book talks all day. Please remember that you need to have your book talk completely written out and ready to turn in after you present.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Wednesday, March 28th 


To start class off today, I will be giving my book talk. After I give my book talk, I will open the floor up for any questions about what I did or didn't do; after that discussion, we will give my presentation a grade together as a class. My hope is that you realize what to do and what not to do in your presentation by watching and grading my presentation.

After I am done presenting, you will start to present!

If you are absent, please make sure your book talk is written out and ready to present. You can present when you return to school.

Have a great Wednesday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today in class, I gave you time to finish your written portion of your Book Talk assignment.

After finishing the written portion of your Book Talk, I gave you a copy of the rubric that I will use to grade you during your presentation. You had the time to practice your presentations in small groups. As your classmates presented, I walked around giving specific feedback on your presentations using the rubric.

Tomorrow, we will begin presentations! Your homework tonight is to practice your presentation; if you could, it would be really fantastic to practice in front of a real person: Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, neighborhood friend, cat, dog, goldfish...maybe even yourself in the mirror!? Practice!

Make Tuesday a great day!

-Mr. O'Mera

Monday, March 26, 2012


Today you will begin preparing your Book Talk presentation. In class, we will go over the directions and answer any questions you may have. For the remainder of the day, we will be writing the written portion of your Book Talk.

Tomorrow, you will have time to practice present in front of your small groups. Also, you will have the chance to grade my presentations that I give you.

You have no homework today.

Oh. By the way...there are only 4 days left until spring break! Wahoo!

Have a wonderful Monday,

-Mr. O'Mera

Friday, March 23, 2012


Today we will be putting our new-found knowledge and strategies of conclusions to the test.

First, you will be reading an article titled "Does Red Meat Make You Happier?".

After reading the article, you are going to create two conclusions for the article: a poor or ineffective conclusion and an effective conclusion. After you create those two conclusions, you are going to explain in at least five sentences why your effective conclusions is better than your ineffective conclusion. By completing this activity, you are going to demonstrate your knowledge of what makes a good conclusion and what makes a bad conclusion.

Your homework over the weekend is to finish the book you have been reading during D.E.A.R. for the month of March. We will be beginning book reports next week!

Make your weekend a great one!

-Mr. O'Mera

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Today again, for the second day in a row, we have a half-day *tear*. Today, we will share any of our one-page writer's notebooks we wrote from Tuesday and try out even more strategies for great conclusions.

Your homework for today will be to write three new conclusions to your 1-page WN assignment and also to reflect on which conclusion strategy you feel is most effective and why.

Please keep up your hard work. Your level of commitment and passion for learning continue to inspire me everyday!

Thank you,

-Mr. O'Mera

Wednesday, March 22nd


Today is half-day for conference, so our time is cut short a bit (I know many of you are extremely sad with this idea. Please know that your instructor's heart aches for missed class time, as well :-) ).

First, I will come around and check the conclusions to your homework. After I am finished with that, we will read aloud from our classroom novel "I am the Cheese".

Your homework for this evening is to read 30 minutes.

Have a wonderful day!

-Mr. O'Mera

Tuesday, March 21st 


Today, we will begin a mini-unit on conclusions. Way back in first quarter, we went over strategies for great beginnings. Ever since then, many of your beginnings have been fantastic! Now that you are writing fantastic beginnings and middles of your papers , I want to give you some specific strategies to write better conclusions.

Conclusions, as I am sure many of you realize, are extremely important. Think about it. Have you ever watched a movie or read a book or paper that was good, pretty good, or even great, only for it to be ruined by a poor ending? It happens all the time. Endings can either make or break your paper; similar to a crescendo in a classical music concert, the ending of your writing is going to be the element your reader remembers most. Therefore, if you craft a well-written, thought provoking ending that not only wraps up your paper but gives the reader something lasting to think about, you will go from having a good paper to a great paper.

In class today, we will first take notes on three important things conclusions must do. If you were absent, I would like you to write these notes down in your writer's notebook. They may seem simple; and really, they are. However, just because they are simple ideas does not mean they are simply done in a piece of writing.

A great conclusion must: 
  1. Feel finished
  2. Give the reader something to think about or do
  3. Meet your reader's expectations
Homework for Tuesday is to write one page in your writer's notebook. What you write can be on any topic; however, it cannot be a story! It needs to be non-fiction!

Make Tuesday a wonderful day.

-Mr. O'Mera

Monday, March 19, 2012


On Thursday, you re-wrote a fake letter that had no commas; today, we will go over that assignment, correcting the paragraph together and talking about any commas that you do not understand.

After we finish correcting the assignment, we will be free reading and writing.

You have no homework!

Have a great day:

-Mr. O'Mera
Friday, March 16th


Today most of you will be departing to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Due to our early departure time, 5th period will not have a class today; therefore, in order to keep all classes on the same page, we will be having a free reading/writing day today! Yes!

Your homework for the weekend is to enjoy your weekend, whether you are at Carlsbad or at home!

Have a great weekend!

-Mr. O'Mera

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Welcome to Thursday, March 15!

Today, we will read aloud from our class novel Walk Two Moons. We are on Chapter 20: The Blackberry Kiss.

After we read, I have a short assignment for you. You will be reading and copying down a letter that I wrote to an imaginary friend. When I wrote this letter, the comma key on my key board was broken, so unfortunately, I couldn't put in any commas at all! Thankfully for me, you guys have just learned how to use commas correctly in sentences! Can you help me out; please?

(Ok, ok. I admit it. My comma key really wasn't broken. But still, you have to admit, that would be an awesome story!)

Once you finish your assignment, you will be able to free read or write.

Have a magnificent Thursday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today we are going to go over your homework sheet together. I will answer any questions you have and we will work through any tough problems together. Our goal is to start to understand the usage of commas; we most likely will not have commas completely mastered, and that is ok. We are just trying to understand them in a broad sense.

After your homework corrections, today will be a free D.E.A.R. or writing day: yay!

If you are absent today, please finish your homework from Tuesday and read or write.

Homework tonight is to read 30 minutes.

Happy Wednesday.

-Mr. O'Mera

Tuesday, March 13th


Today we are going to continue our mini-lesson on commas.

Yesterday we learned three instances where we use commas:
  1. To separate items in a series:
    • Tim wanted rice, chicken, and broccoli for dinner.
  2. After greetings or salutations in a letter:
    • Dear Tom,          Your friend,
  3. After introductory words and phrases:
    • Nervously, Tim turned around.
    • Running and chewing at the same time, Samuel began to choke on his burrito.
Today, we are going to talk about a couple new instances where we use commas:
  1. To separate a direct address:
    • Thank you, Tim.
    • You are welcome, Sally.
  2. To separate appositives. Appositives are phrases that describe a noun. In the sample sentence below, the noun is "Mr. Jenkins" and the appositive phrase "our families doctor" gives us more information about the noun--the phrase describes the noun; therefore, we need to surround it with commas:
    • Mr. Jenkins, our families doctor, is a patient man.
If you were absent today, please copy these notes down in your writer's notebook. Also, if you were absent, you will need to see me to get your make-up homework sheet.

Have a postivie Tuesday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Monday, March 12, 2012


Today, to start off class, we had 15 minutes of D.E.A.R. time. Please remember, we will be having a book report/project/book talk (I am still trying to determine which one!) due near the end of March. Reading is extremely important; please take advantage of the fact that you are able to choose your own silent reading book by actually choosing books you enjoy and by actually reading your book during D.E.A.R. time!

After D.E.A.R., we began our mini-unit on "commas". Today, we talked about three specific instances where we use commas:

  1. To separate items in a list
    • Example: I ate hotdogs, hamburgers, and pickles. 
  2. After greetings and salutations in a letter
    • Dear Jane,            Your friend, 
  3. After introductory phrases or words
    • Nervously, Jane turned around. 
    • Before jumping in the pool, Jane took her cell phone out of her pocket. 
If you were gone today, please see a fellow student to copy down their notes. 

You have no homework today!

Have an awesome Monday!

-Mr. O'Mera

Friday, March 9th


Today during class, we worked on completing our outlines and beginning our drafts to our literary analysis papers.

As you wrote, I walked around and had individual conferences with anybody who was having trouble or who needed help understanding an element to the outline.

If you were absent, your homework for the weekend is to finish your first draft of your paper.

Have an amazing weekend!

-Mr. O'Mera

Thursday, March 8th

Today, we spent more time finishing up the introduction paragraph.

We really focused on creating a thesis statement that was arguable: for example, if I was writing my literary analysis paper about a book that talked about horses, my thesis statement could not be "My book is about horses." Of course it is! Instead, to make it arguable, I would need to do something like, "My book is unrealistic and offensive to horse owners."

If you were absent today, please see me to get the literary analysis packet in order to continue your essay.

Have a fantastic Thursday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I am doing a bit of catch up here, students. I will post what we are doing in today's class, Thursday, the 8th, later in the afternoon. Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, March 7th 


Today we will be going over how to correctly format your TAG, brief overview of the story, and thesis statement. 

All of these elements together in this exact order will make up your introduction paragraph to your literary analysis paper. 

If you were absent today, March 7th, please see me to get a quick explanation of how to fill out these elements. Also, please feel free to see a classmate so they could explain it to you. 

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 6th


Today I will be introducing you to our next form of writing and essay: Literary Analysis

Your purpose in literary analysis paper is to react and respond to a piece of literature you have read. When you write a literary analysis paper, the possibilities of the paper are endless. You could do some or all of the following: interpret the story (tell what you think it “means”), analyze the story (examine what happened in detail), give your opinion about the story, or tell your feelings about the story. 

In class, we will have discussions about the two short stories we recently read, Barrio Boy and Young Ladies Don't Slay Dragons. In our discussions, we will be trying to develop an opinion about one of the two stories that we would feel comfortable writing about in our literary analysis papers. 

If you miss today's class, please be sure to see me when you return so you can get a Literary Response packet. 

Your homework for today is to read 25 minutes. 

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, March 5, 2012


Today, students in 2nd period will be reading the short story Young Ladies Don't Slay Dragons and responding to the story in their writer's notebook.

Students in 3rd and 5th period have already done this, so in order to let 2nd period catch-up, 3rd and 5th period will be having a free writing and reading day.

There is no homework today!

Make today a great Monday: there are only 10 more Monday's left until the school year is over!

-Mr. O'Mera

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thursday, March 1st and Friday, March 2nd


Sorry for the lack of updates the past two days; I have been reading and grading essays like a mad-man! Here is a brief recap of what we got done the past two days:

  • On Thursday, we read aloud from our class novel Walk Two Moons. After that, we had a class discussion about 4 statements to prep us for the next short story we are going to read called Young Ladies Don't Slay Dragons. I wrote the four statements on the board, and then we wrote about each one, telling whether or not we agreed with the statement and why. After we wrote our feelings on the statements, we broke off into groups to share and compare our thoughts and feelings. If you were gone on Thursday, I would like you to respond to the following statements in your writer's notebook. Tell whether you agree or disagree, and most importantly, explain why you feel that way.   
    1. Young ladies don't slay dragons. 
    2. You have to be big to change the world.
    3. Intelligence is as important as strength. 
    4. Stereotypes can be overcome. 
  • On Friday, we read the short story Young Ladies Don't Slay Dragons and answered questions both individually and as a group. If you were gone Friday, you will need to read the story. 
Thanks so much students for all of your hard work! You are really doing great, and I feel that all of you are improving as writers, readers, students, and human-beings. 

Have a wonderful and positive weekend, 

-Mr. O'Mera