Reading Lab

Today in Reading Lab, we had a check-in for the third peer review.You were expected to have finished your creative choice, or levels A and B. Those of you who were completely unprepared had time during class to do a “hail Mary” and try to get something ready for Ms. Jessi’s class, when this assignment is due.

As a class, we did the Venn Diagram for the Inside Out & Back Again unit. In order to complete this assignment, you still need to write a paragraph. We had work time today, and will have work time again on Wednesday and Friday to work on this.

Our next peer edit is due on Friday. You are expected to have the Venn Diagram and paragraph completed.

Reading Lab, p 36 – 83

Today, we read p 36 – 83, and had time to work on the assignment that is due on Friday.

To help us understand the historical context, what was happening in Saigon during the time that the story was set, we watched these short videos:

(p. 45) Operation New Life: Vietnamese Refugees Relocated to the United States in 1975:

(p. 55) Fall of Saigon and Boat People:

(p. 69) The Fall of Saigon, 40 Years Later:

As we read, we continued to add to our list of metaphors for the assignment that is due next Friday.

Reading Lab: Inside Out & Back Again p 1 – 36

Today we read pages 1 – 36 on Inside Out & Back Again. This book, written in the form of a collection of poems, is about a Vietnamese refugee during the Vietnam war. This was a very controversial time in history, and I encourage everyone to talk to their families about their views on the war.

As we read, we paused to watch several videos to help us understand the context for what was happening in the book:

The Tet holiday:

The author reads the Papaya Tree poem:

A news video about the bombing of the presidential palace:

Today, we brainstormed ideas for the two paragraph essay we need to finish by Friday, on the symbolism in the Papaya Tree poem


We began a list of metaphors and their page numbers, in preparation for the second Peer Edit assignment.

The Outsiders Checklist


In Reading Lab, I passed out a checklist for the “C” level assignments. All of these assignments need to be completed by December 10th. Several of you had already lost your hard work, so today we made envelopes to store our projects in. When every item on the checklist has been checked off, you will turn the whole envelope in to Ms. Jessi.


The Outsiders citations

Before beginning to read The Outsiders, we talked about the assignments that we must do in Ms. Jessi’s class for this book. We made mini-deadlines for ourselves, and prepared four pages in our binders for taking notes as we read aloud.

I have reminded you frequently to make these notes in your planners or binders. We pause our read-aloud to give you time to do this. I model what it should look like on the whiteboard. I know that some of you don’t write these things down, despite all the opportunities to do so.

By posting this photo, I am giving you ONE LAST CHANCE to make these notes. I may not choose to update this post when we finish the book, because I fear that some of you will use “it’s on the blog” as an excuse not to take the notes. Know that the board will continue to be updated in class, and you will continue to be prompted to copy the board into your notes.

The Core Curriculum Standards for language arts requires that you learn how to cite a reference to support a claim. To help you learn this skill, Ms. Jessi requires that you provide a quote and a page number to prove each of your Level C works.


Teen Troubles

In Reading Lab, we did the first step of one of our The Outsiders unit projects. The directions from Ms. Jessi say that we need to brainstorm the troubles that teens today face. We did that together, and then used the brainstorm to create some word art with at least five teen troubles. We will turn in this word art with the second part of the assignment, which you will need to do on your own in Ms. Jessi’s class or at home.



The second part of this assignment is to list at least five troubles that the teens in The Outsiders face. Support your list with a quote and page numbers where an example of this conflict can be found. As we have been listening to the book in class, we have paused to write down these page numbers when we come across conflicts that we thought we might use for this assignments. These should be in your binder in the Language Arts section.

Then, you need to write a reflection on how you relate to the troubles that the teens in The Outsiders faced. Did they handle the trouble in a healthy way? What would you have done if you were in their shoes?

Writing a Story in One Hour

Staring at a blank page can be daunting, and many of you did not write your story that was due last week (first draft), and will be final-draft-due on (A) Nov 30 and (B) Dec 1. In Study Skills A4, we did an activity based on the Snowflake Method of Novel Writing. The full Method is found at .

Our shortened version began with writing down just one word on each of five cards:

protagonist, antagonist, setting, conflict, conclusion

Then, we turned each of the words into a sentence.



The assignment in Ms. Jessi’s class requires dialogue, so we next made a card that contains a conversation between the antagonist and the protagonist. We put that card in the place where it belongs in the story. My dialogue was in the conclusion, but others could be in the exposition or in the conflict.

Then, we placed the cards on a story outline. We put characters and setting in our exposition, the conflict goes on the rising action, and the conclusion goes at the end.



Our homework: If you have your story finished, check and make sure each of the cards is in it somewhere. If your story isn’t written, turn each sentence into a paragraph, or a scene, and you will have a story!