Hickory Hills Middle School

Hickory Hills Middle School
English in 210

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

UNIT 3 OUR MORAL COMPASS. (Starting in January)

Unit three is called "Our Moral Compass". Where do we get our moral values from? After the first of the year we will be doing some writing. Students will be writing expository essays and persuasive essays. The expository essay will take a more philosophical bent. They will write about values and heroes; people they wish to emulate. Later we will tackle the persuasive essay.

Our reading will include "Freak the Mighty" by Rodman Philbrick and "Flowers for Algernon"  the short story by Daniel Keyes. This will give us some good chances to read and write about people who inspire us to be better and more than we think possible.

At the last Professional Development (MRI) training I went to Kae Daugherty gave us a set of instructions that enabled us to write in more depth. I am going to provide this for the students when they get back from break. It's called the 5 Modes of Writing.  You first choose a subject; you first write as an Artist,  Scientist, Philosopher then as a Storyteller. These are all then combined to make for some good writing. The storyteller is written last and this part is devided to make up the beginning and end of your piece of writing. I had our newspaper students use this on a couple of stories and their work was brilliant!
Here are the instructions:

Write as an Artist #2
Study your object closely noting sensory qualities.
Examine Texture shape color and size.
If words escape you create a visual version first as in an illustration sketch or diagram.
Refrain from mentioning yourself.
Keep word choice simple and concrete.

Write as a Scientist #3
  1. Ask yourself questions like: 
  2. How/Where do we place this object in the world? 
  3. What is it related to? 
  4. How does it work? 
  5. Where does it come from? 
  6. Look up your word/event in the dictionary to determine its classification. 
  7. Compare and contrast your object to others 
  8. Determine possible causes and effects related to your object/event. 
  9. Remember to separate the fact from opinion 

Write as a Philosopher #4

  1. Move from concrete as in the Artist and Scientist modes to abstract thinking as this point. 
  2. Note personal and universal assumptions. 
  3. If words escape you consider how your object could serve as an emblem on a social concern poster 

Write as a Storyteller #1 and #5

  1. Construct sentences to frame the other sections of the paper 
  2. Describe your interaction with the object on a given day. 
  3. If connections escape you, follow this framework. 
  4. #1 Enter the room/space/area where the object/event takes 
  5. Describe seeing the object/event. 
  6. #5 Pick up or enter the object/event to study it. 
  7. Replace/exit the object/event. 
  8. Exit the space. 

Once you have written all five parts put them together in the order specified and you will have a wonderful story/article.


Headbands I madly tried to make for students without gifts.
 I need to start now for next year I guess.
Students exchanged gifts in class today. This had to do with their unit on Anne Frank. In the play she made gifts for all the people in the annex, even the ones she didn't like. It pulled the group together and changed some of the adults opinion of Anne herself. Many of them saw her as a superficial girl with little depth. They began to see another side of her and I would dare say even some respect developed at this point.

I was hoping that "making" gifts for each other would be an eye opening experience for them. Several kids did not end up getting gifts because someone "forgot" theirs at home or some kids just didn't show up so it made others do without. I made a few gifts to try to help ward off the no gift problem, but I didn't get anywhere enough made for the unfortunates who were forgotten.

I think they enjoyed their time and were genuinely grateful for what they got. That was good to see.
Those who ended up getting my contribution also seemed grateful. It takes time to make a gift. Many of the gifts were gifts of food, but those gifts were not liked any less. There were gifts of artwork and craft. One student received a hat knitted by a girl in the class. Wouldn't we all be more grateful if the gifts we received all had to be hand made?

I had one student come in at the end of the day hoping a present was left for him...it wasn't. Somehow I will have to address those feelings on the part of both the students who didn't give and the one who didn't receive. I'm not sure how that will work out.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Students will answer the driving question: How do we react in times of war and conflict and what does that say about us?

We will read about Anne Frank, Winston Churchill, and look at various facets of World War II. After studying that era, you will write an argumentative essay that answers the question above.