Study Skills

For most of us, the thing that keeps us from getting our schoolwork done is difficulty focusing. We watched Thomas Frank’s “5 Ways to Build Focus and Concentration.” from  and discussed the ideas that Mr. Frank presented. If the assignment called “Focus” is marked as MISSING in Aspire, you still need to write down what tactic you think will work best for you, and how you can adapt it to school situations.

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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.


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!

My Whiteboard

Here’s what’s been on my whiteboard recently…

To divide a word into its syllables, try following these rules. If this assignment is “missing” in Aspire, please copy this information down and show it to me, so you can get credit for the lesson.


In Advisory, we are starting over with our portfolios. Last week, we made the cover sheet in class. We had 40 minutes to work on it, but if you didn’t finish it, it is now homework. If this assignment is marked as “missing” in Aspire, you might be missing one of the four items that are required for you to get credit: first & last name, grade, school years, and color; or you forgot to show it to me.


Did you know that there were actual steps to following directions? There are! We learned about this in Study Skills. If this assignment is marked as “missing” in Aspire, you probably forgot to follow the direction of “turn it in!”


What are the four types of conflict in a narrative essay? Man vs man, man vs the environment, man vs himself, and man vs society. Which conflict did you choose for your short story?