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Next Level Stuff (revised)

So, your students are fully versed in many close reading strategies, they’ve noticed, noted, whispered, and have mountains of texts and ideas. Now what? Well, the Short Answer Response and the Funnel/Hourglass analysis, that’s what! I have begged, borrowed, and outright pilfered these ideas from two great mentors, Kim McClung and Holly Stein, and provided some Google doc links, too.

The Funnel Paragraph in Literature Analysis

Funnel Paragraph Lesson Plan Template/Example

What It Says graphic organizer – student example

What It Says for The Raven

Funnel Chart graphic

Example of Funnel Paragraph with my notes/based on Steinbeck

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Wrapping Up a Year…My Gift to You

As I begin to write out the last two weeks’ worth of lesson plans and agendas, it strikes me that I really don’t want this to be quite over. Yes, I can hear you all now, that you can’t WAIT to get out for summer vacation, not have to worry about a darn thing, and mentally and emotionally prepare yourselves for high school. Well, I’m looking forward to summer break, too. But it shouldn’t feel like this permanent boundary, that once crossed, you can never return. I haven’t taught 8th grade students before, and while I was teaching 7th grade, I had a pretty good idea that I would see most of you again. Now that you’re off to high school, this is when you will really need a friend, a mentor–I just wanted to let you all know I’m still here for you, so please email me, let me know how you are, and ask questions.

Some of the things we’ll be finishing up are:

  • Writer’s Portfolio: In my overly ambitious attempt, I don’t think it will be possible to bind and laminate your writer’s resource guides, but you will have your Writer’s Portfolios, and those are still heavily graded.
  • Make sure all missing assignments (blue sentence packet, set 1 and set 2 of the grammar vocabulary words, your burning questions summer reading list) are all completed by June 12. Grading begins then, and I must have my grades done before school is out.
  • We will conference over the Writer’s Portfolios:
  • We still need to add poetry
  • We still need to add a small expository piece

So, write, write, write! Get your assignments done! Don’t worry, be happy!

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Writing Summaries

Putting It All Together…

Last week, we worked on writing summaries. Remember, summaries have some key elements:

  1. They are not copied word-for-word. You must re-state in your own words. You may use some key words from the text, but always put in your own words.
  2. Summaries have a TAG: Title, Author, and Genre. (The T.A.G. doesn’t have to be in that order).
  3. A summary is not your opinion — just the facts, M’am. However, you might use a summary to start a persuasive piece of writing.
  4. A summary includes the important details, main message or theme of the piece.

For more information, there are many websites that can help:

“Chicken Little” artwork from

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