8th Grade Lessons
for the End of the Unit
The Light in the Forest

NOTE:  This is an overall view.  Some lessons are in addition to an explanation of  the Unit Plans. 
Please refer to the Unit Plans.
    NOVEMBER 1ST, 2008: Students have completed Conrad Richter's The Light in the Forest. They will write a compare and contrast essay to answer the following guiding question: 

     How does what is right and wrong vary with culture?

     Students are to write an eight to twelve paragraph essay.  They are to use two quotes from the novel and use in-text-citation following the MLA Documentation.  They may find examples of this in the Writing Reference section of their textbooks, McDougal and Littell: The Language of Literature, on page R54.  They may also review pages R45 and R46 to write a compare and contrast essay, which we went over in class.

     By writing this essay, students will respond to passages found in
The Light in the Forest in regard to this guiding question with voice, perceptive understanding of this topic and theme, and illustrative elaboration using details, development and support.  In addition, they will relate this question to the modern world, such as the perspectives of different cultures for human rights.

     Since this is to prepare the gifted students for future Advanced Placement classes, and this is their first AP-type essay for this school year.  Guidance has been provided.  Students are to look at how each of the following characters viewed what is right and wrong:
                         True Son
                         Col./Reverend Elder
                         Uncle Wilse
In addition, it is recommended that they look at Al Qaeda and Human Rights in the modern world in writing this essay.

     The essay must have an interesting introduction and conclusion.

     This  compare and Contrast Essay was assigned on October 27th.  Students read from their textbook - R45-46 and R54 - in class.  Students wrote down in their notes the example given on the board for MLA in-text citation.  Students also wrote down that they may always check OWL (The Purdue University Online Writing Lab) and were given directions on how to do so.
     Students may click on the following from my site:
In Text- Citations:  The Basics to get to this site online.

     Students will rewrite this essay after one-on-one teacher comments on how to improve their writing and will choose one paragraph to present orally in front of the class.

True Son believed that killing children is wrong.  He betrayed his Lenni Lenape tribe by warning white settlers on a raft that they were going to be ambushed.   He was part of the war party to avenge Little Crane's death  (Little Crane had been murdered and scalped by Uncle Wilse.)  Thitpan had already scalped and killed a young girl during a raid on a small, white settlement.  His father, Cuyloga, had told True Son that only cowards kill children.
Due Dates
and Grade Value
November 5th:  First Draft
                           (2 grades)

November 13th:  Final Essay
                            (2 grades)
This is the last day that I will accept this assignment.

Note:  The first draft must be stapled to back of final essay.  The final essay may be typed in 12 point Times Roman Typeface or hand written in blue or black ink.

November 13th:  Oral Presentation of one paragraph from your essay         (1 Grade)
   Sunshine State Standards:
LA.A. 2.2.7 Recognizes the use of comparison and contrast in a text. (Instructional Focus)
LA.A.2.3.1 Determines main idea.
LA.A.2.3.2 Identifies author's purpose
LA.A.2.3.3. Recognizes ethical appeals in a text
LA.A.2.3.5 Locates, organizes, and interprets written information for writing an essay
LA.E.1.3.1Identifies the defining characteristics of classic literature, such as timelessness, dealing with universal themes and experiences, and communicating across cultures
LA.B.1.3.2 Drafts and revises writing that is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation.  In addition the student has support that is substantial, specific, relevant , concrete, and/or illustrative.
LA.B.1.3.3 Produces a final essay that has been edited for correct spelling, punctuation,capitaliztion, sentence structure, and correct formatting.
Area of Interaction:  Health and Social Education -
Students will become aware of how the concept of "right and wrong" is a social issue and the effect that this issue may have on different communities including their ow.  They will also learn that interpretation of this concept may vary from one society to the next.  
In The Light in the Forest, Conrad Richter looks at both the white settler's viewpoints and the Native American Viewpoints.  The omniscient third point-of-view narrator atells the reader about the Lenni Lenapes' and the whites'perspctives viewing one acoount with a simmilar one from each group.  As the Reverend Elder tells True Son, both sides have commited atrocities on each other.
The Paxton Boys murdered and maimed the Conestoga Indians and the Native Americans murdered and scalped whites.  When True Son discovers the truth in this statement, his actions alters his life forever.
Agenda for ll/3/08
After reading The Monkey's Paw aloud in class, students will discuss and comment on the folk tale using techniques of Shared Inquiry.  Students will discuss the theme (LA.A.1.3.5), compare and contrast different characters motivations and reactions (FCAT A.2.2.7), and communicates the elements of plot (FCAT E.1.3.2).
Home Learning Due on 11/7/08
Read The Third Wish, by Joan Aiken, (672-679) in your textbook at home.
I.    Do read with the purpose of comparing this story to
The Monkey's Paw.
II.   Aswer questions on page 679.
III.  Write the content found in "Literary Analysis" on page 679 in your Note Section of your ring binder.
IV.   Answer:  How are the lessons learned similar or different for Mr. Peters and Mr. White?

NOTE:  If you were absent, you must also read
The Monkey's Paw on pages 680-691.
Election Essay for
8th Grade Gifted Students 11/5/08
Explain the ways in which our society will change as a result of this election.
IF:  FCAT Writing
Students will write an essay within 45 minutes and share their essay in front of the class with other students.
Our President Elect, Barack Obama
Agenda for 11/14/08
1.  Students will present their paragraphs from their final Compare and Contrast Essays.
2.  Time Permitting, Students will read aloud
The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse, by William Saroyan (pages 839-847) in McDougal Littell:  The Language of Literature
Using shared Inquiry, students will answer:
1.  Why does Aram think that they are not eally stealing?
2.  What I don't understand is, why doesn't Johm Byro tell the boys he knows that they have his horse?
3.  Why are Armenians living in the San Joaquin Valley in the first place?
4.  Why does their Uncle Khrosrove shout, "Pay no attention to it?"
DUE NOV. 25TH:  Students must write a 500 to 1000 word essay to respond to the literature read in the first Unit and to answer the following Guiding Question:  How does what is right and what is wrong vary with culture?
TO SEE UNIT PLAN #1 - For 8th
Grade Gifted Students, Click on the Icon
Week of  of Nov. 17th, 2008
Bell Time Work:  Write down Word of the Day definitions and sentence
1.  Spelling Test at the beginning of the week.  New spelling words given for next week's test.
2.  Unit Test on
The Light in the Forest
3.  Read about Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of
The Scarlet Letter
* Instructional Focus:  Locate Information -- How did Hawthorne's friends, Horatio Bridge and future President Franklin Pierce, help him to become  successful?
4.  Students are to read William Bradford's memoir,
Treaty With the Indians, in Glencoe's American Literature Workbook - using reading strategies and answering FCAT questions.   Those who don't finish will complete this assignment next week.
5.  Fiction Book Report Guideline given, using overhead projector.
6.  Reflection on 3 words from Word of the Day used in everyday speech.  This will always be done at the end of the week.
Click on his picture to read about Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem, Massachusetts.
Lesson Plan for November 25th
Bell Time Work:  Write down Word of the Day definition and sentence
1.  Spelling Test at the beginning of the week.  New spelling words given for next week's test.
2.  Start reviewing FCAT Interim Assessment Test - Find out why some students had the same incorrect answers on certain questions.
Students will complete the following assignments;
3.  Read about Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of
The Scarlet Letter
    *  Instructional Focus:  Locate Information -- How did Hawthorne's friends, Horatio Bridge and future President Franklin Pierce, help him to become  successful?
4.  Students are to read William Bradford's memoir,
Treaty With the Indians, in Glencoe's American Literature Workbook - using reading strategies and answering FCAT questions.   Those who don't finish will complete this assignment next week.
5.  First Fiction Book Report Due:  Dec. 3rd 
6.  Teacher will give students the 3 words they must use in every day speech from the list of Words of the day on the board.  Students must write each word 5 times and use each word in two different sentences using definitions 1 and 2.  The refection on how they used these words in their every day speech will count as 2 grades.
7.  Students must read chapters 1-5 of
The Scarlet Letter for Home Learning and complete a handout.  The main instructional focus will be Allusions.
Click on  the picture of William Bradford to read his journal - History of Plymouth Plantation, c.1650,
                  Lesson Plans for the Week of December 1st
Instructional Focus (IF):  Words and Phrases
Because students need to know how to spell to improve their grammatical conventions for writing essays both for FCAT Writes and for the Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (since North Dade Middle School is a Candidate School), students will have spelling tests every Monday and Tuesday on a block schedule.  In general, there will be just ten words.  However, this week there will be a handout on "Help for Common Spelling Problems" for next week's spelling test.  Students will need to learn these basic spelling rules for making words into plurals and adding suffixes.  The handout will be given to them on Monday.

Students are reading
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Some students are reading the original text online.  Those who are doing so will appreciate Hawthorne's original writing and his symbolism of nature more so than those who are reading the Retold Classic Novel: The Scarlet Letter published by Perfection Learning, which follows the original story in modern day language.  On November 25th, students were given an handout to complete on Chapters 1-8 for 12/1/08.  This will be reviewed in class and students will keep the handout to use as a study guide for the midterm.  To see if students read the chapters, the reading comprehension portion will be given as a pop quiz and they may use their handout to take this quiz.

The main instructional focus for this handout is:  Words and Phrases - Allusions

12/3/08:  Last week, the lesson plan was altered for 8th grade students in 6th period.  Fifth grade students came to our class to observe an MYP lesson.  Students in period 6 looked at the guiding question for The Scarlet Letter and explained in writng and class discussion why the Area of Interaction of Health and Social Education fits naturally with it.  In addition, they wrote down questions that they felt could be discussed along with this guiding question.  On Wednesday, students in period 3 will do the same

Instructional Focus:  Words and Phrases  - Literary Terms
                    1.  allusion
                    2.  metaphor
                    3.  simile
                    4.  personification
                    5.  hyperbole
                    6.  tone
                    7.  mood
                    8.  symbolism
                    9.  character traits
                  10. setting  (How is setting important in your novel?)

                   (Click on to Hester walking down the street to see a Lesson Plan on                      Characterization in Literature to be used as a future lesson, while                         reading The Scarlet Letter.)
                  Character Traits:
1.  What the character says and thinks
2.  What the character does
3.  What others say and think about the character
4.  How others act toward the character.
5.  Physical characteristics

Click on to the photo of Lillian Gish as Hester Prynne to get a Character Map - graphic organizer.
Lillian Gish as Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (1926)
I.  Objective:  The student acquires and strengthens an active vocabulary in speaking and writing.

II.  Objective:  The student analyzes symbolism in
The Scarlet Letter (Home learning Packet on chapters 6-10 due 12/9.

Objective:  The student analyzes characterization of Pearl in Chapter 6 of The Scarlet Letter.

IV.  MYP Objective:  Students will explain why the Area of Interaction of Health and Social Education (HSE)is the best fit for the Guiding Question for this unit.

V.  The student will understand the use of literary terms - theme, symbols, and metaphor.

WEEK OF 12/1

If:  Words and Phrases --
     A.  BellTime:  Word of the Day everyday (Pop Quiz is possible)
          1.  Spelling Test #3. (12/1)
          2.  Literary Terms (see above) - Students copy definitions and put them  in their vocabulary section of their notebooks
          3.  Reflection of using umpteen, trepidation, and exasperate (Words of the Day) in everyday speech. (12/5)
II.  Handout for Home learning - Main focus - symbolism
III.  Characterization of Pearl (12/1)
     A.   Read aloud half of Chapter 6, and then have students read quietly to answer the  following questions:
          1.  Explain her name.
          2.  How does Hester dress Pearl.  Why?
          3.  Explain Pearl's strange look and its consequences.
          4.  Why does Hester question whether Pearl is a human child?
IV.  Area of Interaction and the Guiding Question (12/3)
          1.  Pass out handout on The Areas of Interaction
          2.  Write down the guiding question and explain why it fits best in the Area of Interaction of Health and Social Education,
          3.  Then write questions you think would be good to discuss along with this question.
V.  Themes and Symbols found in the Scarlet Letter
     A.  Teacher goes over objective
     B.  Using the computer and the television screen, students will read one of the themes found in The Scarlet Letter"Sin, Knowledge, and the HUman Condition."
     C.  Students will summarize this theme.
     D.  Students will read about the symbol of the rose bush and take notes
     E.  Using the Overhead Projector, students will answer questions on
The Scarlet Letter
VI.  Metaphor
      A.  Students will read a September 7th, 2008, news article, "Bhutto's widower elected"
and answer reading comprehension questions.
     Guiding Question:  How do our beliefs influence the choices we make and our personal relationships?
1.  Retold Classic Novel: The Scarlet Letter by Perfection Learning
2.  Home learning packet from the Teacher Resources for this novl.
3.  The Scarlet aLetter Online -- See link above (The painting of Hester, Dimmesdale and Pearl)
4.  Handouts - Teacher made for MYP Areas of Interaction and "Bhutto's widower elected" - The Miami Herald Front Page, Setember 7, 2008.
5.  Television screen and computer for notes from the Internet and my Web sitel
6.  Overhead Projector for teacher made questions.
Lesson Plan for 12/9/08
For 8th grade students, the analysis of the Baseline and October Interim Tests showed that the Lowest Benchmark showing improvement was Fact/Opinion/Arguments and the Lowest Benchmarks showing decline were Compare and Contrast and Reference and Research.  Looking at the questions where most of the students chose the same wrong answer, it was determined that students were either confused by or did not understand key words and phrases, especially in figurative language.  Therefore, Words and Phrases along with Implied Main Idea will be included in the Instructional Focus for 8th grade students.

Instructional Focus:

1.  Words and Phrases - Metaphor (a verb) and a key adjective phrase
2.  Compare and Contrast (Metaphor)
3.  Reference and Research - Locating information

MYP:  Reflection Essay:
Since we are a Candidate School for the Baccalaureate International Middle Year's Programme and our final visit will be in January, it is of the utmost importance that we focus on having MYP Lesson Plans and Units.  In addition, in past years I have asked my students at the end of each semester to tell me what they have learned in language arts in the form of a reflection essay.  Today students will write such an essay and will pair-share and edit their essays.  They will take them home to type them or write them over neatly in blue or black ink.  These essays will go into their MYP folders. 
          For this essay, students will have an opportunity to look over their graded work in their file folders, reflect on the improvements they have made, or need to make, in their reading, vocabulary and writing.

Objective:  The student will use aspects of process writing with the use of student conferencing. (LA.B.1.3.2)

Approaches to Learning (ATL) - Students wil write a reflection on what they have learned and what other students could learn from them.

4.  Handouts - Teacher made for MYP  Reflection Essay and "Bhutto's widower elected" - The Miami Herald Front Page, Setember 7, 2008.