Sept. 28, 2016

Today 8LC and 8W read to the end of Chp. 13 of our novel.  8M read to the end of Chp. 11.

Following their reading, the students were asked to come up with a social media hashtag for the novel’s main character, Steven.  The kids had fun with this task and it allowed me to get a quick picture of their understanding of the character and his experiences.






Sept. 27, 2016 – LA Update

Our reading of “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie” continues with 8W and 8LC having read up to the end of Chapter 11 by the end of classes today. 8M will reach this point tomorrow.

This week all classes have been assigned a “Think About It” activity following their reading to the end of Chp. 9.  This activity allows students to respond to  their reading of the novel thus far by completing a number of short prompts.  8W and 8LC handed this  in today. 8M will pass it in tomorrow.

Additionally, below you will find copies of some materials for Chapters 8 & 9 and Chapters 10-13:

Sept. 22, 2016 -LA Update

Our journey through “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie” continues and I thought that I would provide copies of answers generated by students to some of the questions they have worked on in class over the last week or so.  Followers will know that the questions themselves were posted last night.



Sept. 21, 2016 – LA Update

Our reading of Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie continues.  Students seem to be really enjoying the novel and, while the focus has been on reading, there has been some time spent looking at some vocabulary and some comprehension work.

The documents below will provide one with the vocabulary and the questions for the sections of the book which we have looked at to date:

Please note that not all questions have been answered individually by students in their binders.  Our habit has been to individually respond to a few of the questions and to use the others to guide discussion. Thus far this strategy has proven useful in speeding up the work while still allowing me to gauge student understanding.

September 19, 2016 – LA Update

Today in class 8W and 8LC were introduced to the vocabulary list for Chapters 4 and 5 and then they listened to those the audio book as they read along in their own copies of the novel.

For homework they have been asked to work on the following question based on their reading last week (although today’s reading will also prove useful):

  • Steven’s first thought when his mother told him Jeffrey had leukemia was
    relief. Explain why Steven felt guilty after this.

Their answer should be thorough.  This means that evidence from what they read should be used to support their response. To do this effectively will require more than a sentence or two – a good paragraph will be needed.

September 16, 2016 – LA Update

Today in LA Class the work that 8W and 8M completed can be broken down into two areas of focus:

  • First we reviewed of some vocabulary from the first three chapters of “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie”. The words we worked with are: ambitious,  asphyxiated,  unrelenting, fiasco, and sophomore.  Students are expected to have a general understanding as to the meaning of these words as opposed to a “dictionary” definition.
  • Secondly, we had a look at some “… Lyrics That Work As Poetry”as I dug into the musical time machine and shared some lyrics (see below) and asked the kids  to explain (1) What does the writer mean?  and (2) How do you know?  This led to a discussion about Figurative Language in general and ,specifically, the use of metaphors and similes.

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September 15, 2016 – LA Update

Welcome to another year of fun and learning at Harry Miller Middle School.  Classes got off to their official start this week and everybody in  8 Wornell (8W), 8 Melanson (8M) and 8 LeClair (8LC) was eager to get started.

Our first week has been spent working our way through the first three chapters of “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie”, a novel by author Jordan Sonnenblick.   This is a heart rendering story that the kids genuinely love.  It allows for lots of discussion, generates a lot of excitement and, at this time of year, allows me to delve into teaching about the elements of literature while getting to know the kids and their learning styles a little bit better.  Information about the novel can be found here.

Looking for a convenient way to stay up to date with what is going on in class?

Take a quick look at the column on the right hand side of this page. There you will find a spot where you can subscribe, by entering an email address, to “follow” this blog. I would encourage you to take advantage of this. When you subscribe you will receive an email which (1) lets you know that this blog has been updated and (2) actually provides you with the contents of the update.

Another option is to receive a link to such updates by following me on twitter @MrWornell.

My hope is that these options provide everyone with an easy way to stay informed about what is going on in class.

– M. Wornell