In class on T 11/13 & W 11/14…

We are super-excited for our first CAT Class session, but CAT means losing our 50-minute classes of NHD time. Thus, we’re going to make up for some of the NHD time lost with 70 minutes dedicated to nothing but NHD in English.

On Tuesday 11/13 and Wednesday 11/14, English is dedicated to NHD. Please use your time wisely! You’ll not have the 100 minutes of NHD time we usually have per cycle, so these 70 minutes are important! You’ll want to dedicate at least 30 additional minutes outside of class to NHD, too.

Your number one priority: Skeleton Bibliography, due Thursday 11/15. See GoogleClassroom for more information.

Now get to it! And, enjoy!

Additionally, due date set for the Fiery Trial Found Poetry Project: no later than Tuesday 11/20. 

Dystopian Novel Final Project

The final project for your dystopian novel is a book talk video or book trailer. The basics of a book talk are listed on the assignment sheet, but if you would like to create a more advanced, sophisticated book trailer (more like a movie trailer), please feel free!

Assignment SheetRubric

You can also check out a version of the slides on book talks I use for my UWM college students!

Final book talk due for everyone: Monday 12/3. Upload your videos to YouTube using your ga account. Submit the link to your video to GoolgeClassroom.

In class W 11/7 & M 11/12…


Reading, Examination, and Exploration of “The Fiery Trial.”

  • Slavery Comes to America – on GoogleClassroom – Read and annotate for Notice & Note Signposts. This should already be done!
  • Solomon Northup excerpt – handout – annotate as you like.
  • Conditions of Life in Antebellum Slavery – on GoogleClassroom – Read and annotate for Notice & Note Signposts.
  • “The Fiery Trial” resources – take Exam Notes.

For all, look for Power Lines and add to your Word Bank for final assessment found poetry project!

Remember, Word Maps for the 19 new vocabulary words are due on W 11/14!

NHD Check-In


  • Theme statement read and certified
  • Topic selected (and still interested) and certified
  • Four primary and four secondary resources found (in your hands)
  • Context established and context summary written
  • External contact(s) found and communication sent
  • Subtopics developed and submitted
  • Research questions developed and submitted
  • Library visited (at USM and outside of USM)
  • NoodleTools project started; sources added to NoodleTools
  • Organizational system established
  • Decent progress on notes
  • Seesaw complete and utilized every 50 minute class
  • Utilizing every 50 minute class seriously and successfully
  • Spending time outside of class on NHD


  • Skeleton Bibliography due November 15
  • Notes and organization meeting by November 29


After the assessments…


Reassessments on NoRedInk can be done next week:

  • recess on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
  • Community Time on Monday
  • or after school on Tuesday.

Make an appointment with Doc for reassessment.

Remember, vocabulary reassessment is not available.

After you finish your assessments…

Go to GoogleClassroom. Read “Slavery Comes to America” and annotate using Notice and Note Nonfiction Signposts ~ find this article and submit it on GoogleClassroom.

Notice and Note Signposts for Non-Fiction:

  • Word Gaps — What words or phrases do I need to look up?
  • Numbers and Stats — Why does the author use these numbers or amounts? What do these numbers help me see?
  • Contrasts and Contradictions — What surprised me? What are the differences between two or more perspectives? Why do the differences matter?

Then, explore and examine more resources on “The Fiery Trial.”

As you explore and examine, look for Power LinesRecord anything that you find intriguing or disturbing — anything that resonates with you or makes you stop and think — anything you think is beautiful, dangerous, inspirational, scary, confusing, chilling, or uplifting.  Add the Power Lines you find to the collection in our classroom.

Collect those Power Lines — words, phrases, sentences, quotations — for your final found poetry! Click here for the found poetry assignmentCopy the language word for word in the order or in the sequence you find it. Cite the source informally, meaning somehow note where you’re taking it from.

Go to the “Fiery Trial” page to find the resources.

NANOWRIMO is here!


During the month of November, we are each taking the challenge to WRITE A NOVEL. Yes, you read that right. You have complete creative freedom. The only instruction? To WRITE.

Go to and sign up using your ga email. Join our American Stories Rule! classroom with this code: YEXSEPBF

If you’d like to use the workbook, of course you can! ~middle_school_workbook_ed4_INTERIOR

Our American Studies word count goal: 2500 words in one month! (The “official” word count goal is actually 50,000 words!)


Here’s a secret, writer: your first sentence doesn’t matter. Your first chapter doesn’t matter. You’ll return to these pieces again and again as you write and revise your story, discovering your characters, perfecting your plot. These pieces will change, and for the better.

As participant Jessica W. said, “NaNoWriMo is the chance to abandon rules and embrace the ‘what ifs.'”

And the only important thing about the beginning? To begin.

So start with some action. Start with dialogue. Start with your character falling asleep at their desk and poking themselves in the eye with a pencil, or with flying monkeys, or with underwater amusement parks and a robot dog who ends up being the villain.

Just start.

Excited to wonder about all the “what ifs” with you,

Marya Brennan,
Young Writers Program Director