Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How To Write A Quality Comment

Here is the video clip that I showed in class. It includes tips on writing quality blog comments, so be sure to check it out! It was made by a class in California who were also learning about writing meaningful comments on blog posts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to Grammar! Writing Sample...


We will be starting a new unit that focuses on grammar in order to help us become better communicators.

As a starting activity for this unit, all students will write a blog post that examines the MYP Learner Profiles.

Choose ONE of the following questions and write at least TWO PARAGRAPHS for your response:

1.) Being an inquirer means that you are curious about life and try to learn about it. It means that when you see or hear about something that is interesting to you, you do things to help you know more about it: do internet research, ask someone, read a book or magazine article about it, watch a video, etc.

Describe the last time that you were curious about something. What did you do about it?

2.) Being a caring person means that you show respect and compassion to others. It also means that you try to make a positive difference for other people, animals, or places.

Describe a time when you were a caring person. What was the situation, and what did you do to try and make the situation better?

3.) Being a risk-taker means that you try new things and explore new situations. Risk-takers are brave and don’t worry about embarrassing themselves or doing things the wrong way, they just want to have new experiences.

Describe a time when you were a risk-taker. What new thing did you try? How did it turn out in the end?

This should be written as a blog post, and should have the same title and labels as this post.

Good luck and have fun!

Elf Yourself Flash Mob!

We are working on two different skills in class today: 1.) embedding video clips from YouTube, and 2.) writing good comments on other peoples' blog posts. To practice this, we are all choosing a YouTube clip that we like, and that is also appropriate for school! We are going to learn to embed this video in a blog post.

Here is the YouTube clip that I chose, featuring an Elf Yourself flash mob in NYC:

When you have chosen and embedded your video clip, you should write a brief paragraph (5-6 sentences) that explains why you chose the clip, what you like about it, and why you think other people who read your blog will like it. Write this paragraph right underneath your video clip.

For example,  I chose this video for several reasons. First, I love flash mobs! I think that it takes an incredible amount of organization for the people who create the flash mob, and it takes an incredible amount of time and energy for the people who take part in it. Learning the dance moves as such a large group cannot be easy, and the commitment that is shown by the dancers is amazing. I really admire everyone who takes part in these flash mobs. Second, I love the holiday spirit that is shown by having the dancers dress up as elves, and watching this mob dance made me smile. I hope that it makes everyone who watches it on my blog smile, as well.

We will then look at each others' blog posts and use the information that we learned about writing good comments in order to write a comment on TWO other students' posts. These comments should talk about the video clip, and the paragraph that they wrote.

Have fun!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Criterion E Reading Comprehension Quiz- Main Idea and Supporting Details

This article was taken from Time For Kids online magazine.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reading Comprehension- Learning Chinese

 ***Important!! Remember that we are having a reading comprehension quiz on Saturday. If you will not be in class on Saturday, you MUST email me by Friday night to let me know so that I can send you the quiz to take at home.***

OK, everyone, let's crank up our brains for some heavy-duty reading comprehension practice! The other day in class, we discussed how to find the main idea and supporting details of a written text. We talked about the fact that the main idea of a text is the topic (or more simply: what is the text about?). The, we went on to discuss and (hopefully) understand that supporting details are extra pieces of information that help explain the main idea.

Your Task:

1.) Read the article, "Learning Chinese", that is included at the end of this blog post.

2.) You will receive some strips of paper with sentences on them. With a partner,  look at your sentence strips and try to identify which strip has the main idea in the article, and which strips have three supporting details to help explain it. There may be more than three supporting details, but you only need to find three. Try to put the strips of paper in order, with the main  idea first, and the supporting details coming after it. At the end of the activity, you should only have FOUR strips of paper in front of you.

Here is the article:

Learning Chinese

Jingjing Wu greets her American students as they enter the room. "Ni hao [nin how]," she says. In Mandarin Chinese, ni hao means "hello." For the next hour, Chinese is all that the children will hear. They are learning the language through songs, games and talking. "They pick it up really fast," Wu says. "Kids remember so much."

The students go to Lomond Elementary School, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Each week, all students in grades 1 through 5 in this school district have a one-hour Chinese class. "We're trying to generate great interest in the language," school official James J. Paces told TFK.

Other U.S. schools are too. Ten years ago, about 300 schools had Chinese programs. Today, about 1,600 schools teach Chinese. "China is becoming a real powerhouse nation," says Nancy C. Rhodes, a language expert. "It makes sense that we have young people who not only know the language, but understand the culture."

One-fifth of the world's people live in China. Its products, including clothes, toys and electronics, are sold around the world. More people speak Chinese than any other language.

Starting Young

Yinghua (yeeng-hwa) Academy is a K–8 Chinese immersion school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Instead of studying only the language itself, students learn all of their subjects in Chinese. They don't start to use English in class until they are in the second grade.

"When you're younger, it's easier to learn a different language," says fifth grader Zoƫ Lindberg. She has been studying Chinese since kindergarten. Experts say that it's best to start language instruction early.

Opening Doors 

"If you know how to speak Mandarin Chinese, you open a huge door for yourself," says Yinghua's academic director, Luyi Lien.

In Shaker Heights, Paces agrees. "It's really important that all children receive this instruction," he says. "We'd like to do even more."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's The Point?

We are starting a new activity to practice reading comprehension skills. The skill that we are going to focus on is figuring out the main idea, and picking out the important details that go with it (these are called supporting details).

For this activity, please follow this link to an article about reusable grocery bags. Read the article, and then we will work together as a group to practice picking out the main idea and supporting details.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

ESL 6 & 7 Unit 1 Reflection: Spoken Words

The end of the unit is here, and our projects are done! It is now time for our unit reflections. You have posted your story and podcast in a separate post with a brief description. Now, you will post your two reflections: the first one is your written reflection on the processes that you used to complete your projects, as well as the learning and skills that you gained from doing them; the second one is your video reflection where you answered the unit question and reflected on how well you showed this knowledge during your project.

Part 1: Written Reflection:

For the written reflection, you should take the information from the reflection questions Google Doc that you shared with me and write it up in three paragraphs:

Paragraph #1: Give a brief description of the whole unit. Answer the questions: what did we study and what did we do? You should hyperlink your Unit 1, Part 1 Reflection in this part.

Paragraph #2: Reflect on the unit. What did we learn? What did we do?
You should use the answers to the Google Docs reflection questions #1-4 in this paragraph.

Paragraph #3: Write a reflection on your podcast and how well you feel you showed your understanding of the unit question. You should use the answers to the Google Docs reflection questions #5-9 in this paragraph.

Part 2: Video Reflection

Your second reflection will be a video reflection. Go to Photo Booth and make a 45-60 second video of yourself in which you answer the following two questions.

1.) What are the main differences between reading a story and telling a story?

2.) How well do you think you TOLD your story in your podcast? EXPLAIN THIS WELL!

Once you have finished making your video, put both your written and video reflections in a blog post and publish it. Remember to give it the same title and labels as this post.

ESL 6 & 7 Unit 1 Final Project Displays

You have created several pieces of work in this class during the course of this unit:

1.) An electronic storyboard, using the website called Storybird. You then turned this into a poster storyboard and added important details to it.

2.) A written story, taking the text from your storyboard and adding to it.

3.) A podcast of yourself telling your story. You showed the differences between simply reading a story and telling a story in this podcast.

In a separate blog post (so this SHOULD NOT be posted with your reflections), please load the following assignments:

 1.) The link to your Storybird page.

2.) The text of the story that you wrote.

3.) The video that you made of yourself reading your story, using PhotoBooth.

4.) The podcast that you made in which you told your story.

Next, write a brief description saying what each one is. Then, publish these pieces of work in your post.

Please use the same titles and labels as this post.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ESL 8, Unit 1 Final Project Displays

You have made two incredible pieces of work during this unit:

1.) A written movie blurb that uses emotive language to try and make people want to see the documentary that you created in Language A.

2.) A movie poster with original titles and taglines to accompany your documentary.

In a separate blog post (so this SHOULD NOT be posted with your reflections), please load your blurb and poster. Write a brief description saying what each one is. Then, publish these pieces of work.

Please use the same titles and labels as this post.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ESL 8, Unit 1 Reflection: The Power of Words

The end of the unit is here, and our projects are done! It is now time for our unit reflections. You have posted your documentary blurbs and movie posters in a separate post with a brief description. Now, you will post your two reflections: the first one is your written reflection on the processes that you used to complete your projects, as well as the learning and skills that you gained from doing them; the second one is your video reflection where you answered the unit question and reflected on how well you showed this knowledge during your project.

Part 1: Written Reflection:
For the written reflection, you should take the information from the reflection questions Google Doc that you shared with me and write it up in three paragraphs:

Paragraph #1: Give a brief description of the whole unit.  Answer the questions: what did we study and what did we do? You should hyperlink your Unit 1, Part 1 reflection in this part.

Paragraph #2: Write a reflection about making your movie poster. What did we learn? What did we do?
You should use the answers to the Google Docs reflection questions #1-7 in this paragraph.

Paragraph #3: Write a reflection on the whole unit. You should use the answers to the Google Docs reflection questions #8-11 in this paragraph.

Part 2:  Video Reflection

Your second reflection will be a video reflection. Go to Photo Booth and make a 45-60 second video of yourself in which you answer the following two questions.

      1.)  How can language be used to influence how people act?
2.)  How well do you think you used language in your project (blurb and poster) in order to influence people to want to see your documentary? EXPLAIN THIS WELL!

Once you have finished making your video, put both your written and video reflections in a blog post and publish it. Remember to give it the same title and labels as this post.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Say "Good-bye" Or "Farewell" Or "Au Revoir" Or "See You Later" To Boring Words!

I've been noticing lately that my students all love to use words such as "Bad",  "Big", "Small", "Good", "Happy", "Sad", "Great", "Ugly", and "Sad".

I am here to tell you that the days of using these kinds of words in my class are over!

I would like to introduce all of you to the new Synonym Wall in the room: Synonym Wall, meet Class. Class, meet Synonym Wall! 

I have posted synonyms for all of your favorite words on the Synonym Wall, words which are different and exciting. I have also tried to display them in the order of their seriousness. For example, "content" means pretty happy, but at the other end of the wall, you will find the word "ecstatic", which means EXTREMELY happy!

So, the next time you are writing and feel the need to write one of these words, look to the wall and choose another that fits what you are trying to say. Your writing and your teacher will thank you!

Coming soon to Synonym Wall: "Pretty", "Nice", "Mad", and "Very".

This Is What Good Storytelling Looks like! (ESL Grades 6 & 7)

Watch this clip of the making of the movie, "Despicable Me". You will notice that the movie is an animated movie, with actors giving the characters their voices. However, we as the audience never see the actors, so they must use their voices to give the movie life and make it interesting. This is storytelling!

As you watch the clip, take note of the way the actors are saying their lines- they are not simply standing at a microphone and reading them. They are moving their whole bodies, using different voices and making faces. All of these things are what we have talked about in class when we discuss how to tell a good story.

These are things that I want you to remember when you are making your story podcasts. Even though you are only using your voices, and the audience won't actually SEE you, you still need to put these ideas (body movement, using different voices, making faces to show how you feel)into your recording in order to tell a good story. Remember: Have fun with this!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Huge Movie Poster! (ESL Grade 8)

In class, we have been writing movie blurbs for the documentary which you are making in your Language A class. Now we are going to move on to the next phase of the unit, which includes making a movie poster to go along with your blurb.

To do this task, we are going to use the site Big Huge Labs. This site allows you to upload a photo, give it a title, add two taglines, and include other information such as credits, a rating and additional information. It is a very easy site to use! Here is the example poster which I made:

As you can see, I used a picture which I took myself, so I did not have to cite my source. However, if you are using a picture from the internet (Creative Commons, of course!), then you will need to cite the page where you found the image.

Some advice that I will give you is to notice the EMOTIVE LANGUAGE that I use in my poster. I am clearly trying to persuade students to stop using the word "Said" so much, and it shows in the wording of the poster. Think about what your goal is: to try and make people want to see your movie. Use language that will make your movie seem interesting and emotional.

Also, make sure that you copy and paste your ideas if you are not able to finish by the end of the period, as the site will not save it.

When you are finished making your poster, please print it up IN COLOR AND ON A3 PAPER. Then. save it as a jpeg to your desktop for your final reflection blog post.

Good luck, be creative and have fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"...and then I said...and she said....and he said..."

While we have been working in some classes on writing dialogue to add to stories, I noticed that the word "said" is used WAY too many times! In fact, it is usually the ONLY word used when students are writing dialogue.

I'm here to tell you that is all going to change now! Welcome to the world of Other Ways To Say "Said"! It's a beautiful world, full of a variety of words to describe the actions of the person speaking. Words such as, "Replied", "Told", "Answered", and one of my favorites, "Sighed"!

As in, "Please stop using the word "said" so much," sighed Mrs. Raisdana.

This world is now open to you. All you need to do is look on the classroom wall...or even in the picture on this blog! I've even categorized them as Quiet, Getting Louder, and Loud! So all you really need to do is decide the tone of voice which your speaker is using, and then look on the wall for a word that you can use instead of "said".

Enough said.

Grade 6 and Grade 7 Reflection- Unit 1, Part 1 (Storytelling)

We have just finished Part 1 of our first unit on storytelling. We have finished making storyboards, which we will now turn into real stories and present orally in a podcast.

This blog post is going to be a reflection of this first part. Reflection is a very important part of the learning process. It gives us a chance to stop and think about what we've learned, how we've learned it, and what we might do to change or improve our performance in the next part of the unit.

This reflection blog post should be written as a paragraph, describing what you've done since the first day of class, as well as how you've done it. This should sound like a story of your learning. Include the following information in your reflection:

Give it the title: Storytelling Reflection, Part 1
Give it the labels: Storytelling, Reflection, Tools

* The tools which you used and how you used them
*The sites which you used and how you used them. Make hyperlinks to these sites.
*The skills which you used to accomplish the work in this unit.
*Things which you think you will need to change or improve on in the next part of the unit.
*What you think you did well in this part of the unit and why.

Then: Include the picture of your storyboard which you took in class.

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Flickr and Creative Commons

Now that we are blogging in class, you will need to look up a lot of pictures to insert. Maybe you will include them in your post because they show what you are talking about, maybe because I tell you that you have to, or maybe just to make your post look better! Whatever the reason, you need to be familiar with Flickr and Creative Commons!

Flickr is a site that lets people share pictures. It is a great place to look for images and pictures that you need for your blog posts. It is also a great place to look for Creative Commons pictures. Creative Commons pictures are those which people say are OK to use on your blogs, and in other published work (though you do need to give the person who took them credit by citing them).

Did you think that it was OK to take any picture from the internet and use it for your work? Well, you can't, even if you give the person credit. Some pictures are only to be looked at, and not to be used by other people. These pictures have the label All Rights Reserved (look for this whenever you find a picture that you want to use). So, just to be clear:

                                                All Rights Reserved = You Can't Use It!!!

OK, so now you may be asking, "But HOW do I find pictures that I CAN use?". The answer is Creative Commons. When you go onto Flickr and do a search for an image, make sure that you click Advanced Search. Then, when the advanced search options come up, scroll down to the bottom and click on Creative Commons images. The next set of pictures will be Creative Commons pictures, and these are OK to use. To double-check, look for the label that says Some Rights Reserved.


If you are one of those people who like to use Google images, then you will still need to do the Advanced Search, but on the options page, scroll down to the bottom and click on "Labeled For Reuse" in the License section.

Don't forget, though- you still need to cite your picture source. To cite your source means to tell where your picture came from. To do this, you will need to copy the URL address of the page where your picture is located. There are two ways that you can cite the picture:

1.) Simply paste the URL address at the bottom of your blog post (do this for EVERY picture used).
2.) When you are writing your post and have put in the picture, go underneath the picture, write the word "Source", and highlight it. Then, click on Link and paste the URL address in the space. When you are done, the word "Source" should be in a different color, and when you click on it, it should take you to the page where the picture is located. This is called a Hyperlink.

So, just to summarize all of this information: when you are creating work that other people will see and you need to include pictures, make sure that you are using pictures that you are allowed to use. Then, remember to cite the source of these pictures.

Of course, if you still have any questions, please ask me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ESL Grade 8-Emotive Language Reflection

As we have discussed in class, reflection is very important in the learning process. It gives us a chance to stop and think about what we've learned, how we've learned it, and what we might do to change or improve on our performance.

For the first part of our unit on The Power Of Words, we learned about emotive language: what it is, examples of it, and how it can be used to improve our class writing. Then we made a slide show with pictures that we chose to show emotive language.

For your assignment, you will write a blog reflection post on Part 1 of Unit 1, The Power Of Words. In your reflection, include the following:

1.) The tools which you used in the unit, and how you used them.

2.) The sites which you used and how you used them. Make hyperlinks in your post to these sites.

3.) The skills which you used to accomplish your work in the unit.

4.) Things that you think you will need to improve for the second half of the unit.

Then, include the slide show which we made as a class to practice and show emotive language.

Good luck and have fun!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grade 7- Adding Vocabulary To Your Storybird

Boy Overboard Vocab.

We have been working on the program Storybird to create a storyboard. You will use this storyboard to write an original story. Then, you will record yourself reading this story, using the storytelling elements that we talked about in class.

This part of the assignment mixes the Language B class with the Language A class. In your grade 7 Langauge A class, you are reading the book "Boy Overboard". Above is a visual list of the new vocabulary that you have studied during the unit (well, except for the word "suppose"- it is VERY hard to find a picture of that!). The Grade 7 Language B classes put together this visual table to help students understand the words better.

I would like you to look over the vocabulary list and choose 7 words that you think you will be able to include in your story. Once you have chosen the 7 words, go back into your storyboard and put them in.

Please make sure that you are using the words correctly and appropriately. You may need to change your story a little bit in order for some of the words to make sense.

Again, please look at my Storybird story as an example. To my story, I have added the following vocabulary words:

Dazzle, Mutter, Realize, Argue, Inherit, Suppose, and Scramble

The Magic Flowers by mrsraisdana on Storybird

Good luck and be creative!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Your First Blog Post!

Welcome to the fun and wonderful world of blogging (yes, even if it is for school!). Now that you have set up your own class blog, it is time to learn how to create and publish a post. So, for your first post, I'd like you to complete the following simple tasks:

1.) Click on "New Post" on the top of your blog page.

2.) Give your post the title "Welcome to My Blog!"

3.) Your first sentence in your blog post should say:

      My name is ________ (write your first name only), and I am a student at Sinarmas World Academy.

4.) Highlight "Sinarmas World Academy" and create a hyperlink to the school's website. If you don't know how to create a hyperlink, then please look here. If you still need help, please ask for it!

5.) Now write a short paragraph (let's say at least 8 sentences, shall we?) that introduces yourself to your readers. Please remember the following:
                       - DO NOT give any personal information about yourself (last name, your home address, email address, etc. ) in your paragraph.
                       - This should be written as a paragraph, NOT as a list of 8 sentences.

Don't know what to write about? Here are some ideas (use some of them, all of them or none of them!):

- Your hobbies (what do you like to do when you are not in school?)
- Music that you like
- Your favorite school subjects (explain this one)
- Movies that you like
- Where you are from
- Your favorite television shows
- Your favorite video games
- The kinds of things that you might like to do with your blog (besides posting your school assignments)

Have  fun with this!

Grade 8- Documentary Blurb Project

We have discussed what a blurb is- it is a short summary that gives important information about a book, movie, story, etc. When we are talking about books and movies, the blurb is usually found on the back, or on a website that provides the book or movie.

In your Language A class, your task is to make a documentary about an environmental issue, and using emotive language to try and make the audience feel the same way about the issue that you do. Remember, emotive language is a type of language that makes people feel emotions!

In our ESL class, we are going to be creating a blurb for your documentary that uses emotive language. In order to start this assignment, you must complete the following tasks:

1.)  Go to the shared class Google Doc and fill in the necessary information about your documentary. Please pay special attention to the part where it asks who your audience is, what emotions you want them to feel, and what kind of language you will use to make them feel that way. I have provided the model that we did in class on the Google Doc, as well.

2.) Create your own Google Doc and share it with me (no need to share it with others in the class). Copy and paste the checklist from the class Google Doc, as well as the part that asks you to talk about what you will write in the introduction, body and conclusion.

3.) Start to fill in the information on the checklist and about the introduction, body and conclusion.

When we have finished these tasks, we will be ready to begin writing and editing our documentary blurb!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ESL Grade 8- Emotive Language in Movies.

Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 11.32.14 AMAbove are some words that could be used to make an audience feel the emotion of "Misery". Do I know what all of these words mean? Yes. Did I know what all of these words meant when I was in Grade 8? No! That is why it is important to use a dictionary to help you understand the meanings of words which you may not know when doing this assignment.


1.) Last class, I asked you the question: "What emotion do you want the audience to feel when they watch your documentary?", and you wrote your answers in a Google Doc. Now take a look at your answers.

2.) Next, go online and find 3 words that you feel would show this emotion in your movie. If you don't know what they mean, LOOK THEM UP! Write these words with your emotions in the Google Doc.

3.) Using Flickr.com/Creative Commons to search, find one picture for each of your 3 words that shows what the word means. This is when it will be very important to UNDERSTAND the meanings of the words that you picked, so if you haven't looked them up in a dictionary yet, do it now! Download and save each picture.

*Remember to make sure that the picture is OK to use (Search only Creative Commons, and if it says "All Rights Reserved", it is NOT OK to use the image. If it says "Some Rights Reserved", it is OK).

** Remember also to copy the URL for each picture that you use (this is the address of the page in the address bar at the top of the screen- just highlight and copy the whole thing). Then, paste the URL next to the correct word on the Google Doc for this project. I've put an example in the Google Doc, as well.

*** Please remember that each picture you choose must be appropriate for school!

4.) Using Picnik.com, upload each picture that you chose and make a slide of it. To make a slide you, will need to:

-Edit (any way you like)

- Create- This is where you add text (see Text in the menu bar between Effects and Stickers). Your text should be simple: Just the word that the picture shows. Make sure that the font color and style matches the mood of the picture (so if your picture is a dark room that shows "gloomy", you would not want to pick a funny font and make the color of the font pink!).

-Save and share. This will create the slide of your picture. Make sure that you are saving them! Here is an example slide that I made for the word "suffering":


So, you should end up with 3 slides with pictures and the words which they represent.

Good luck and have fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Storyboarding with Storybird- Grades 6 & 7

Storybird Quick Tour from Storybird on Vimeo.

We are talking about making storyboards in class. We have gone over what storyboards are (they are a plan that you make before you actually write a story, and has the order in which things happen), and why we write them (so that you don't get stuck or mess up while you are writing your story, and so that you make sure to include everything that is important).

Now, I want you to practice making a storyboard using a website called Storybird. Storybird is a great site for making storyboards because it has amazing artwork that you can use, and there is a very large selection of pictures. In this post, I have included a video explaining how to use Storybird. Please be sure to watch it if you have any problems, or just if you want to be sure that you understand the tasks assigned.

Here are your tasks for this assignment:

Step 1: Go to the Storybird.com and sign up for an account (be sure to follow ALL of the steps, including checking your email and clicking on the link in order to finish signing up).

Step 2: Create a storyboard:
a.) Click on Create
b.) Choose the artwork with which you want to make your story
c.) Click on "Start a Storyboard"
d.) Make a storyboard that has 15 pages. This storyboard should have pictures ONLY and have NO WORDS.
* Your goal is to create a story that people can understand even though there are no words explaining what is happening. This means that your pictures should be good for the story which you are telling , and the order of things that happen should be clear.

Step 3: Add scene descriptions to each page of your storyboard.

Scene descriptions are very brief. They should be 1-3 sentences that tell what is going on in a scene without giving many details!

Here is an example storyboard that I made on Storybird:

The Magic Flowers by mrsraisdana on Storybird
Please look at this example if you are not sure what a scene description looks like, or how long it should be.

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grade 8 Unit Overview- The Power of Words

In order to save trees and become as paperless as possible, I will be posting your Assessment Overviews here on the blog. You can read it below, download it or even print it out (if you really need to. Otherwise, let’s save a tree!).

Grade 8 ESL Cover Sheet- Power of Words Copy

This will be stored in the category Assessment Overview Grade 8, if you need to find it in the future.

Grade 7 Unit Overview- Spoken Words

In order to save trees and become as paperless as possible, I will be posting your Assessment Overviews here on the blog. You can read it below, download it or even print it out (if you really need to. Otherwise, let's save a tree!).

Grade 7 ESL Cover Sheet- Spoken Words

This will be stored in the category Assessment Overview Grade 7, if you need to find it in the future.

Grade 6 Unit Overview- Spoken Words

In order to save trees and become as paperless as possible, I will be posting your Assessment Overviews here on the blog. You can read it below, download it or even print it out (if you really need to. Otherwise, let's save a tree!).

Grade 6 ESL Cover Sheet- Spoken Words

This will be stored in the category Assessment Overview Grade 6, if you need to find it in the future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ESL Grade 8- Emotive Language


Hello, Grade 8! Yesterday we started talking about Emotive Language, which is specific language that is used in order to bring out some emotion or emotions in others. I asked you to choose an emotion, then start searching the internet for an image which YOU feel shows this emotion . Continue this today, using Google Presentation. Once you have found your image and saved it, log into your Gmail account, and there should be an invitation from me to a Google Presentation called ESL G8 Emotive Language. Open this and create your slide in this program.

Once you have finished that task, go to the Google Doc which I have also shared with you, called Emotive Language in Advertising. In this document, you will find examples of advertisements which use emotive language. I would like you to carefully study each advertisement, then complete the two tasks listed in the instructions.

Good luck and have fun!

Why Do We Tell Stories?

Hello, grades 6 & 7! Today we are going to continue with our storytelling unit. Yesterday, we heard examples of dull vs. interesting stories, and we discussed what makes storytelling boring or exciting.

Today, I'd first like you to watch this video about storytelling:

Then I want you to think about the answers to the question: Why do we tell stories?

Using all of this information, I now want you to do the following tasks:

1.) Think of some of your favorite fairy tales, movies and/or stories from your culture.

2.) Write a paragraph describing these, answering the questions:
- Why do you like them so much?
- Which ones does everybody know?
- What is it about them that makes them fun to listen to?

3.) Copy your paragraph and paste it AS A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG POST. If you do not remember how to do this, please ask me or another student in the class for help.

Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let's Talk About Technology!


Welcome back! Today let's talk about technology and its uses in our lives. What I would like you to do is follow this link to a technology survey. While you are taking the survey, I would like you to remember to do three things:

1.) Read all of the questions carefully and think about your answers before clicking on them.

2.) Write complete answers.

3.) Ask me if you are confused about what any of the questions are asking.

Take your time! When you are finished, MAKE SURE THAT YOU HIT "SUBMIT"!

Next, start on a little introductory activity that is designed to help me learn a little bit more about my students:

Step 1: Choose another student in the class to interview.

Step 2: Ask them questions about their likes and dislikes in the following areas: Music, movies, books, class subjects, and sports. Ask them why they like or dislike certain things.

Step 3: Type up a paragraph about that person. Introduce them to me with their name, then write what you learned about them during your interview. Again, this should be written AS A PARAGRAPH.

Step 4: Save the document, give it the title: "ESL Student Interview", and email it to me at mrsraisdana@gmail.com

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello and Welcome to My New Students in Jakarta!


Welcome to Mrs. Raisdana's ESL class at SWA! I am so happy to meet all of you and to finally begin our new journey together. Before we start, though, I have a few short tasks for you to complete today. Don't be afraid! They are quite simple.

1. The first thing I would like you to do is set up a Gmail account. You can get started by clicking here or just goggle Gmail. I hope you can figure it out on your own. If you need help, you can work with another student or watch a YouTube video about setting up your account.

2. Once you have done that, please email me your new address to mrsraisdana@gmail.com I will create a group for you and send you a quick response.

3. After you have done that, see if you can leave a comment on this blog. Simply click on this post, scroll to the bottom and click on comment. Leave a line or two that says hello and introduces who you are. Use your first name only and which class you are in! Then tell us THREE THINGS that you like to do in your free time.

This will get us started during our first class session together! Welcome again, and let's have a great year!


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sentence Fluency!

Picture 4OK, we have gone over the trait of Sentence Fluency in class. We've even practiced it a bit. So, now you are going to COMBINE your skills at Word Choice and Sentence Fluency with this fantastic assignment. Here are your instructions:

1.) Open the screen shot of the original text that we worked on with Word Choice last time (See above). This was emailed to you.

2.) You have also received an email with an attachment of the text, which you can work on. First, go through the text and make your Word Choice changes (these were done last class). Highlight and save these changes.

3.) Next, go through the text and edit it for Sentence Fluency. In a different color, highlight the sentences which you changed. YOU MUST MAKE  AT LEAST TEN SENTENCE CHANGES!

4.) Now, take a screen shot of your new, edited text (apple + shift + 4).

5.) In the SAME blog post, include both the Before and the After screen shots of your text. Then, write a reflection about what you learned about Word Choice and Sentence Fluency, how/why your second draft reads better than the first draft, and how you are going to try and include these new skills into your writing for all of your classes.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mood and Tone

We've been talking about mood and tone in class. Tone is the way that the writer/narrator feels about the piece or characters, and mood is the way that the piece makes the reader feel when reading it.

Your assignment is to look at the topic which was given to you in class. Choose THREE different tones/moods which you will create (for examples, perhaps your topic is walking to school in the morning. You might choose Happy, Frustrated and Scared as your three tones/moods). THEN, write one paragraph (MINIMUM 6 sentences per paragraph) about that topic for each mood/tone that you've chosen.

After EACH paragraph, write a short reflection that discusses:
* What the tone/mood of the paragraph is
* Specific words that you used to show this tone/mood (give examples)
* The style of writing that you used

So, just to recap, you need to write:

* THREE paragraphs
* THREE reflections

Have fun!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Trait #4- Word Choice

We've been working on the trait of Word Choice. So, for your assignment you are going to be editing and peer editing for strong word choice in your writing. Here are the tasks for you to do:

1.) Choose the Quick Write that you did today, along with ONE OTHER that you feel is descriptive. SO, you are working with two Quick Writes.

2.) Type up your pieces on titanpad.com. They can go on the same pad, just be sure to put them separately, label/title them properly and leave a good amount of space between the two.

3.) Email your titanpad page URL to a partner.

4.) When your partner sends you their link, go through EACH piece and highlight at least 10 adjectives that you feel could be replaced with better or stronger words. If they do no have 10 adjectives in their piece, put a space and highlight some places where strong descriptive words should go. Just remember, you are doing this TWICE.
* Underneath each piece, you can write some notes about the changes that you feel your partner needs to make.

5.) When your partner is finished, take a screen shot of your titanpad page BEFORE you make any changes!
(To take a screen shot: Apple + Shift + 4)

6.) Go through your pieces and make the recommended changes, plus any other changes that you think are necessary (in your color).

7.) Take a screen shot of your finished piece.

8.) Post your two screen shots, PLUS a reflective paragraph underneath that describes how and why your second piece is improved by the changes which you made. This paragraph should be at least 5 sentences long. To be clear, EVERYTHING should go into one post. The title of this post should be "Word Choice Practice".

Have fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Glogster is a great, new way to make posters...virtual posters! Check out my sample below:


You can follow this link and it will take you to my example.

What I want you guys to do in class is to make your own Glog illustrating the charity which you created in class. You can use mine as an example, or do something completely different. Be sure to include pictures, music (must be appropriate for school), some text giving info about your charity, and creative use of color and graphics.

When you are finished with your glog, update your original post about your charity and include the link to your glog at the end. THEN I would like you to visit the glogs of all of the other students in the class and comment on each one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing With Voice!

OK, we have been talking about the trait of Voice, so now let's put it into practice...

Your assignment is to choose one of the following topics:

1.) A newspaper article about how to make your school dances more exciting
2.) A persuasive letter trying to get people to recycle more.

Once you choose your topic, write two different articles/letters that are CLEARLY geared towards two different audiences (you can choose your audiences). Your articles/letters should be a MINIMUM of 15 sentences long and be labeled according to your audience.

When you have written your texts, write a one-paragraph reflection on your two different texts. Describe the things that you had to keep in mind when writing for each audience, the different way that you wrote, the different types of words/vocabulary that you used, and the tones that you used. Then explain WHY you chose each of these for your particular audiences. Be sure to include all of this information.

Next, look at the writing assignments for two other students and comment on their use of voice. You will want to write MEANINGFUL comments about their choice of voice (did you agree with the voices which they chose? Do you think that they fit the audience? Why/how?).

Have fun!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ietherpad- "Night Sky" Revision

Picture 2

We have working on Trait #2 of the 6+ Traits of Writing, Organization. For this lesson, we've examined the idea of the "Wandering Spotlight", or getting off-track and adding details that take away from the main idea of the piece. Using a tool called ietherpad, you will collaborate with other students in the class to practice recognizing and revising texts in which the author has let the spotlight wander! The first piece which you will work on in small groups is the "Night Sky" activity which is found in the 6+ Traits Student Book. Work with your group and CROSS OUT (DO NOT delete any writing) the details which you think are not relevant to the topic, and which cause the piece to get off-topic and look poorly organized. BE SURE to discuss with your group members the changes that are being made and why you are making them. You will need this info for your reflection.

After you complete the revision task, you will complete the following tasks on your own blog:

1.) Take a screen shot of your finished revision (if you do not know how to do this, please ask me for help).
2.) Start a new blog post on your class blog.
3.) Up load the picture of the original text of "Night Sky" (you can get this from my blog)
4.) Then, upload the screenshot of the final version, after your group has finished revising it.
5.) Write an INDIVIDUAL reflection about the changes that your group made to the piece, why you made them, and how you think these changes made the piece sound better. Be detailed and descriptive in your answers. THEN, discuss whether or not it is easy to keep the spotlight on the topic when you are writing, and why or why not.

Please make sure that you are reading ALL of the directions carefully, and following them completely.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kids are amazing!!

Watch this video, featuring a 12-year-old who has all kinds of fascinating things to say!

Your task for this assignment is to watch the entire video, then write a post on your blog that gives a summary of what she says. Then, in a separate paragraph, DESCRIBE TWO THINGS that she says which you agree with, and explain why. THEN, write TWO things that you think adults can learn from kids (explain this well).

Obviously, you will have to read two other students' posts and write a meaningful comment for each one responding to what they say.

Have fun with this! I hope you like it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's Learn Wordle!

Wordle is a fun little tool that you can use with any type of text. It takes text and creates a "word cloud" with it. Here is an example that I made using the poem "Homework Machine" by Shel Silverstein:

Picture 2

The Homework Machine, oh the Homework Machine,
Most perfect contraption that's ever been seen.
Just put in your homework, then drop in a dime,
Snap on the switch, and in ten seconds' time,
Your homework comes out, quick and clean as can be.
Here it is--"nine plus four?" and the answer is "three."
Oh me . . .
I guess it's not as perfect
As I thought it would be.

So, here is your class task:

1.) Find a poem that you really like. It has to be appropriate for class, and must be at least 10 lines long, but aside from that, you can choose any poem that you like.

2.) Go to Wordle.net and create a word cloud out of your poem by copying and pasting the text.

3.) Take a screen shot of your Wordle (apple + shift + 4, then be sure to select all of the image. When you are ready to take the picture, let go of the mouse).

4.) up load your Wordle into your post, then paste in the regular version of your poem. DO NOT forget to put the title and author of the poem first.

5.) Next, write a reflection about the poem. Describe the reasons why you like it, and what you think it is about. For example, I would not just say that "Homework Machine" is about a homework machine; I would say that it is about not doing things the easy way, because often when we try to get out of doing something (or when we try to do it as quickly and easily as possible), the outcome is not what we want or need. It's better to put in the time and effort in order to have a positive result.

This reflection should be in two separate paragraphs in the post.

6.) Post everything to your blog (Word cloud, poem, and reflection).

7.) Lastly, read the poems and reflections of two other people, and write a meaningful comment for each one.

Have fun!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poetry Month Continues!

Below are two pictures that create very different moods. Your task for today is to look closely at the two pictures, then write one poem for EACH picture that has the same mood. The poems do not need to rhyme, but they must each contain 10 OR MORE lines! Post the picture with each poem (the link for each is included).

Then, look at the blogs for two other students in the class. Read their poems, and comment on each one. So, in the end, you will need to have written FOUR comments total. Please make your comments meaningful.



Good luck, and have fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poetry Month Kickoff!

April is Poetry Month, so let's start a mini-unit on poetry in ESL class. As our starting assignment, we are going to write an illustrated poem. All students were given a list of 20 words, and told to choose 10. Now write a poem using these 10 words; the poems can be about anything and don't have to rhyme. Next, students will find a picture that they feel illustrates their poem, and add it to their blog post.

When everyone is finished, students will read the poems of all of their classmates, and comment on two.

Here is mine:

(The words that I chose were: Difficult, Educational, Love, Ridiculous, Strong, Peaceful, Knowledge, Crazy, Laughter, and Homework)


A peaceful class
can quickly turn
crazy and ridiculous
when something educational
leads to laughter,
such as asking students
if they love to do homework.
It can be difficult
to get back on track,
but in the end,
their strong desire for knowledge
will always win.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something to think about...

Here is a very popular new video that has come out from the people who made the video "The Story of Stuff". Since it talks about bottled water, I thought that it would be an appropriate addition to our unit about water and the environment. Your tasks include the following:

1.) Watch the entire video, "The Story of Bottled Water". Please keep in mind that you do not need to agree with the content of the video. You are more than welcome to agree or disagree with it, but I thought that it would be something interesting to get you thinking.

2.) Write TWO comments about your reaction to the video while you watched it. This should be done on your blog in a new post.

3.) Write TWO questions that came into your head either as you watched the video, or after you had finished watching it. These can be written along with your two comments, just be sure to separate and label them appropriately.

4.) Go onto other students' blog pages and read their comments and questions. Respond to TWO comments, and answer at least ONE question.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

6 + 1 Traits Writing- Ideas, Narrowing Down Your Topic

[caption id="attachment_61" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Web Model"]Web Model[/caption]

In class, we've been talking about how to narrow down writing topics from "Oversized" topics to "Manageable" topics. As a class assignment, you and a partner were to choose three oversized topics and narrow them down, using the web model that we went over in a lesson. Now I am giving you the final step of your assignment: (note: this is INDIVIDUAL work, not pair work)

You will choose one of the webs that you and your partner created. Create a Word document that illustrates your web, then take a screen shot of it. Next, you will embed the web illustration on your blog. Finally, you will write a two-paragraph reflection on the process, detailing the following information:

* Why you chose the "Oversized" topic to begin with

* The steps in which you and your partner used to narrow it down (this means that you will EXPLAIN your thought process as you walk us through the narrowing- down motions)

* Your final thoughts on why this is now a "Manageable" topic about which to write a class assignment

* What you learned from this lesson and assignment

This assignment should be categorized as "Six Traits"

NOTE: If you need help with any of these steps, there is an instruction handout that walks you through them posted in the Course Documents section of your NVS page.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Made This!

Here is a fun little movie-making site that I found. I wanted to make one for myself to see how it works before assigning it in class. If there is an assignment that can be used with this, I think we can try it out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This is amazing!

If you are looking for something to awaken your creative spirit, then look at this cool video on YouTube! A friend of mine showed this to me, and when I watched it, it completely blew my mind. What I find the most fascinating is the amount of planning and calculating that must have gone into this in order to have everything perfectly timed. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend watching it, then tell me what you thought about it. Which part was your favorite?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wordle- "Forgotten Language" by Shel Silverstein

Picture 1

I love this poem, and honestly, I think about it a lot as I walk around the Commons or the Dining Hall at school. The poem is a metaphor for childhood, and how once you lose it, it is gone forever. All day, I see middle school students who want to be older, look older and act older; I want to go to them and tell them that they will be older soon enough, and being older is not always much fun. I would love to tell them to enjoy being kids for a bit longer, and appreciate the fun that can be had by doing chidish things. So why don't I tell them these things? I know that they won't believe me, or listen to me. How do I know this? I know this because when I was their age, I wouldn't have, either. These are things that most people don't realize until they ARE older, but by then, it is too late. The language is forgotten.

If you are an adult, what is something that an older person told you when you were younger that you wish you'd listened to?

If you are a student, what is something that you would really like to know about being older?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Look At This...

I was looking for some interesting videos about water conservation to show my class, when I came upon this short video by GOOD. The video is 2.5 minutes long, which seems like a very short period of time for me. However, as I watched the video and read the numbers about how many people die every minute from diseases caused by unclean water, I realized that in the time that I watched the video, two people in India had died, and one was halfway there; ten people across the world had died from unclean water!

What I found extremely interesting, though, was the fact that in the US, the average person uses about 400 liters (105 gallons) of water a day! And in the country of Mozambique, Africa, the average person uses 5 liters (1.3 gallons) a day. The reason why I found this so interesting is because about 10 years ago, I lived in Mozambique as an "average" person. I was doing volunteer work teaching in a village school, and my husband and I shared a tiny 2-room hut that had no electricity or running water. When I tell people this, they usually ask me if it was difficult to live in such a different way, but the answer is: not really. Yes, it took some getting used to, but once we finally figured out how everything worked, it became quite easy to adapt. When I think back, I am amazed at how little water we actually used! Here is what our daily life was like:

* We had a large, ceramic container (like an over-sized bathtub) in our yard that we filled with water when it rained. It rained quite a bit, so we were usually able to fill the whole thing up within just a few days. This was the water that we used for everything.

* Instead of an indoor bathroom, we had a pit latrine in the back of the house. This was basically a deep hole in the ground with a cement seat over it, and some reed walls around it. With no flushing toilet, we didn't use any water.

* For drinking water, we just took water from the rain container and boiled it. We did not drink any bottled water, unless it was an emergency.

* For showering, we took what is called a "bucket bath". We would fill up a regular-sized bucket of water, dump a bunch over ourselves using a big cup, lather up with soap and shampoo, and the rinse off by dumping more water over ourselves with the cup. Surprisingly, one bucket of water was usually more than enough to get very clean, which made us realize how much water is really wasted by showering.

* To do laundry, we had the local woman who worked for us take our clothes to a water pump/washing area where most of the village women would gather and wash clothes together. She would fill a big tub with water from the pump and use that to wash all of our clothes. Then she would fill another, smaller tub and rinse the clothes.

* We had very few dishes, so washing them just required very little water. If there was food stuck on something, we used sand to scrub it off, then rinsed with soap and water.

* When brushing our teeth, we used only a little bit of water. First, we poured a little on our brushes in order to get them wet, brushed, and then used a little more water to rinse off our brushes and swish around in our mouths.

Do I think that everyone should resort to this way of living in order to save water? Well, no, I know that is not realistic...however, I think that I need to remember how simple it was to give up some of my comforts and luxuries without really being bothered by the sacrifices.

Which of these things do you think would be the hardest to adapt to? Do you think that you get used to a lifestyle like this?