My Soul in the Mirror

Howdy, dear reader!

Here is my response to the first Quills and Thrills writing prompt: Use imagery and figurative language to define the importance of writing in your life.

For me,
writing is like
looking at my soul in the mirror.
And I don’t mean writing for
or for Continue reading

Vocabulary Video Feedback

Happy Fridayish Tuesday, Jags!

As we dive into the last six weeks of the semester, I want to get some feedback from you regarding the vocabulary videos. I’ve noticed your quiz grades have dropped significantly the past few weeks, which makes me wonder if the vocabulary videos are working for you.

Please answer the question below before 2:30 today so I can use your feedback to make the Vocabulary 2.4 video this evening.

Enjoy your day off tomorrow! I’ll send out a remind message when All Things Vocabulary 2.4 has been posted.

Ms. Hayes

Have you heard about Quills and Thrills yet?

Want to know more? Read all about it at What is Quills and Thrills?

Ready to start the first writing prompt? Check it out at Quills and Thrills: Writing Prompt Week One!

Download a printable version of the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship Pledge and Permission Form today!

Quills and Thrills: Writing Prompt Week One

Good afternoon, Thrillers!

Welcome to Quills and Thrills: Creative Writing for the Google Generation! Not sure what Quills and Thrills is?  Find out here!

Figurative Language Throw Down Challenge

Prime your mind for creative thinking every week with the Figurative Language Throw Down Challenge! Check out the rules for the weekly challenge before playing.

Thanks to @SSMindSchool for this week’s challenge!

Five Minute Burn

Your first writing prompt will require pre-writing using a nifty method I like to call a “five-minute burn.” Here’s how it works: I’ll set a timer for five minutes. As soon as I say go, you will start writing without stopping until the five minutes are up. If you run out of things to write about, simply write “IDK IDK IDK” over and over again until something comes to you. The trick is to keep your pencil moving. Don’t worry about erasing errors or scratching out mistakes. Just ignore them and KEEP WRITING!


Ready for your prompt? Here it is: How would you define writing and why is it important to you?

If you’re following along at home, use the video below to keep track of your time.

Time is up! How did you do? Take a moment to reread your burn. If you come across a phrase or word that you really like, underline it.

Now, we’re going to revise our burn to be a publishable piece of writing. Here’s your new prompt: Use imagery and figurative language to define the importance of writing in your life.

Before you start revising your burn, check out two tricks of the writing trade below to help you jazz up your writing a bit.

Continue reading

Priority List – November 6, 2015

Hey Jags,

You’ll need your Hero’s Journey Planning Guide and your rough drafts for your Children’s Book Project today. By this point, you should have finished your rough draft and now you should be ready to double check your work to see what you have or haven’t learned. Remember, one of your objectives for the project is to apply the Hero’s Journey Archetype to your own writing by writing and illustrating a modern hero’s journey narrative. Well, today you’re going to annotate your rough draft to prove that you’ve met that learning objective. Simply follow the steps below to prove that you’ve learned what you were supposed to learn:

  1. Read through your rough draft.
  2. As you come across specific stages of the hero’s journey archetype, underline them. Then, label that stage in the margin with the corresponding name or number on your planning guide.
  3. As you come across new characters that fill specific character roles, or as you come across old characters that have started filling a new character role, circle their name and label that character name in the margin with the corresponding role on your planning guide.
  4. If you find that you are missing a stage or character role, revise your rough draft to include it. Repeat steps 1-3 until all stages and character roles are evident in your story.

If you finish before the end of the period, please write the About the Author section and the Synopsis of the Plot for the back cover of your book.

Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll see you on Monday.

Ms. Hayes

Priority List – November 4th and 5th 2015

Hey guys,

You’re taking Cornell notes on theme today by watching the awesome-sauce video below. Then, you’re applying what you’ve learned to the rough draft of your children’s book project. Before watching the video, please set up a blank sheet of paper Cornell Notes style and copy the essential question into the essential question section of your notes. 

Essential Question: How can I intentionally write a story with a strong theme?

Remember to pause and rewind the video as necessary while you take notes! Happy learning! 🙂

Once you’ve finished watching the video, chunk your notes (hint: you should have seven chunks if you took good notes!) and write a possible test question for each chunk in the question section of your notes. Finally, summarize your learning by answering the essential question in the summary section of your notes.

Once you completely finish your notes, please work on your rough draft for your children’s story. Remember, you’ll have to write a letter to the reader explaining the theme of your story. Please reread what you’ve already written for your story. Based on what you’ve written so far, will you be able to clearly articulate the theme of your story with textual evidence (i.e. quotes) to support the theme? How will you revise your rough draft to have a strong theme? If you’re having trouble answering this question, revisit the strategies you can use to discover theme in literature, then use those same strategies to develop your own theme!

Priority List – November 3rd, 2015

You need to copy the definitions to the words below from the Literary Terms Glossary section of your textbook (page R15) into the English Class Glossary (page 137) section of your interactive notebook today.

1) Suspense 6) Foreshadowing 11) Symbolism
2) Allusion 7) Metaphor 12) Irony
3) Hyperbole 8) Simile 13) Alliteration
4) Repetition 9) Refrain (not in lit book, see below) 14) Onomatopoeia
5) Personification 10) Rhyme 15) Imagery

Refrain – a phrase of verse recurring at intervals in a song, poem, or narrative, especially at the end of each stanza or paragraph; chorus

When you finish, please work on the rough draft of your Hero’s Journey Children’s Book for the rest of the period.

All Things Vocabulary 2.3

Hey, Jags!

Check out your vocabulary 2.3 video below. As always, be sure to make your foldable and add the new roots, prefixes, and suffixes to the appropriate section of your notebook to earn the full twenty points for the foldable. Also, make sure you study your foldable to prepare for the vocabulary quiz. You guys didn’t do as well on your vocabulary 2.2 quiz, and I suspect that is because many of you made your foldable during the break and then didn’t look at it again before your quiz. It isn’t enough to make the foldable, you also need to study the foldable by quizzing yourself or having a friend or family member quiz you on both the vocabulary words AND the unit two root words.

If you forgot how to make the foldable or if you aren’t sure where to write the other roots, prefixes, and suffixes, check out the video explaining how to make the vocabulary foldables below.

Study study study, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Priority List – 10/20/15

Good morning, Jags!

I’m sorry I was unable to make it to school today. My cold is quite persistent, and I don’t want to infect any of you with my nasty cold cooties. Also, since I am not well enough to make a worthy vocabulary video, your vocabulary quiz has been postponed until next Friday. I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you.

Periods 1, 3, 4, and 5, your priority today is to complete Mr. Rasberry’s bell ringer and exit ticket and to read “Penelope” and “The Challenge.”

Periods 2 and 6, next Monday and Tuesday we’ll have a Socratic seminar in class. For those of you who don’t know what a Socratic seminar is, it is basically a discussion led by the students with the teacher acting solely as a facilitator. In order to prepare for the seminar, you will need to think deeply about how you will answer your assigned questions. You may also decide to bring your own questions about the text to the seminar.

Due to the lengthy process of Socratic seminar, we must split the class into two groups: an A group and a B group. To know which group you belong to, simply consider your assigned class number. This is the same number that determines which book you use and which iPad or computer you use:

  • Odd numbers belong to group A. Click here to access your questions.
  • Even numbers belong to group B. Click here to access your questions.

You have the class period today to answer your assigned questions and to come up with any others you may wish to ask during the seminar.

I’ll (hopefully) see you tomorrow!

Ms. Hayes

Priority List: 10/13

English 9: Periods 1, 3, 4, and 5

Bell Ringer: Odysseus has been through many adventures in Part 1 of The Odyssey. Make a list of his adventures. Of these, which has been the most difficult for Odysseus? Why?

Hero’s Journey

With a partner, fill out the Hero’s Journey chart up to The Reward. Then independently brainstorm ideas for your own hero’s journey narrative.

Exit Ticket

Hero’s journey narrative proposal – who is your hero? What will be the plot of your narrative?

English 9 Honors: Periods 2 and 6


“The Return of Odysseus” (1089-1096)


Odysseus is home, but he can’t go home to see his wife. How frustrating! What effect does this have on the reader?

Exit Ticket

How might you mimic this effect in your own narrative?