VOCABULARY ASSESSMENT FOR LISTS #1-6 ON TUESDAY 5/14 (Sections 1, 5, 7) OR WEDNESDAY 5/15 (Sections 2, 6). Study, study, study! You have only one shot at this. No reassessment will be available.

Edward Tulane cast and crew – you will take the assessment on the assigned day with the rest of your class. These are not the new lists; they are words from the beginning of the year up through WWII, so nothing new. Plan accordingly.

Then, we’re on to our last two vocabulary lists of the year:

For both of these lists, you will complete old-fashioned Word Maps by hand for each word. I will provide hard copies, but if you need more, you can find them here: Template for Word Maps.


Word Map Learning Targets:

  • Determine and clarify a word’s meaning, including its definition(s), part(s) of speech, synonyms, and antonyms.
  • Create an original sentence that shows I understand the word and can use it properly.
  • Create a visual representation of the word that shows its meaning in pictures.
  • Meet the expectations of the 8th grade Writing Specs.

The Use of the Atomic Bomb Formal Writing Assignment

Learning Targets:

  • I can categorize statements into groups that share a common topic or thread.
  • I can compose a main claim that encompasses an entire category.
  • I can support the main claim with sub-claims that fit into the category.
  • I can provide evidence and reasoning for my sub-claims.
  • I can meet the 8th grade Writing Specs, ESPECIALLY ACTIVE VOICE!
  • I can follow instructions and meet deadlines. (0 or 3 – you either do these things or not.)

It’s been called the most important single event of the 20th century, and the short-term and long-term impacts of the use of the atomic bomb have been debated since August of 1945. In class, we discussed and debated the use of atomic weapons as an end to the Pacific War in World War II. Now, look back at the claims presented. Make a decision – should the United States have used the atomic bomb in 1945?

Once you have decided “Yes” or “No,” write a main, overarching claim that summarizes why.

Then, support your main claim that summarizes why with three sub-claims that offer specific examples. All three examples should be related and should fit into the same category.

You know how Mr. Taft explains it — Yes because grapes. Green grapes. Purple grapes. Red grapes.

Turn your main claim, three sub-claims, evidence for three sub-claims, and reasoning for three sub-claims into one coherent paragraph. Use all of the notes you have taken on this topic. You may also want to use the outline provided.

Seek feedback from classmates. Help one another revise and proofread. Turn in what you consider a first-rate, polished, final draft. Turn in what you think is your best work. Reassessment will be available at my discretion, meaning I will decide who should reassess.

When you think your draft is as perfect as it can be, prepare it for submission on GoogleClassroom following instructions provided. Dr. Walczak will accept submissions via GoogleClassroom only up until the deadline. If your work is late, you must print and hand in the hard copy.

Please follow MLA guidelines for formatting your draft: 12 point Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, double-spaced.

Final Draft Instructions:

  1. Double-check formatting listed above.
  2. Use the 8th grade Writing Specs as a checklist. WRITE IN ACTIVE VOICE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
  3. HIGHLIGHT your main claim in YELLOW.
  4. HIGHLIGHT your three sub-claims in GREEN. Make sure all three relate to and support your main claim!
  5. HIGHLIGHT any vocabulary words or other impressive word choices that you’re proud of in BLUE.

Click here for the GoogleDoc of this assignment sheet. It’s also available on GoogleClassroom.

Section 2 and Edward Tulane cast and crew – you may turn your work in by Wednesday 5/15, but you’ll need to print and turn in a hardcopy. I will not check GoogleClassroom after Monday 5/13.



Click here to review MLA formatting.

Click here to review the Writing Specs.

A new reading assignment!

From WWII On: Historical Fiction/Nonfiction

By popular demand! On the 4th Quarter Reading Reflections, many of you asked for another opportunity to choose your own novel to read. We can do that!

Learning Targets ~ I can…

  • Explore a specific genre or topic.
  • Make connections between and draw conclusions about fiction, history, and current events.
  • Identify and explain the overarching theme(s) of a text and point to where the theme appears throughout the course of the text.


Now that we’re in the last part of the school year, we will turn to more recent times in America’s story. Choose a historical fiction or nonfiction book that explores American stories from World War II on to the present. You have tremendous freedom to choose the time period, topic, or aspect of America’s story for this project. Choose what interests you, what you want to learn more about, what you want to read about.

Now that we’re in the last part of the school year, we will turn to more recent times in America’s story. Choose a historical fiction or nonfiction book that explores American stories from World War II on to the present. You have tremendous freedom to choose the time period, topic, or aspect of America’s story for this project. Choose what interests you, what you want to learn more about, what you want to read about.

For this reading assignment, you must read books that you have not read before. Rereading isn’t an option.  If you have any question about whether or not a book qualifies for this assignment, please ask Doc.

As you read the novel or nonfiction book, prepare for a final assignment that asks you to briefly summarize the book without giving too much away; identify important themes in the book; make connections to what we’ve been working on in both American Studies History and English; make connections to current events; and draw conclusions about the book and those connections.

If you read novels in verse or graphic novels, you must read at least two, depending on length. If they’re short, you must read three.

If you finish a book quickly, then I’d love to see you go above and beyond by reading more than one!

CHOOSE YOUR BOOK AND CREATE YOUR LOCKER POSTER BY THURSDAY 4/18! You can purchase books, check them out from Mrs. E. or your local library, or borrow books from Mr. Taft and me. Remember, hang a hard copy of your poster on your locker and submit it to GoogleClassroom.

First…Choose your book(s).

Second…Take down your current locker poster(s). Replace it with a new one! See the assignment sheet for your new poster here.

Third…Read your book(s), and we’ll take it from there!


GoogleDoc assignment sheets also available on GoogleClassroom.

Vocabulary Sentences

Once you have drawn pictures for each of the vocabulary words from Lists #5 and #6, I’d like you to write sentences for these words. Please handwrite neatly on loose-leaf paper. (Typing not an option unless you have special dispensation to do so.) There are 23 words total.

Learning Targets ~ I can…

  • Apply the vocabulary words in my own writing, showing that I know what the word means and how to use it correctly and properly.
  • Write clearly and effectively, meeting the expectations of the Writing Specs for 8th grade. PROOFREAD, PLEASE!

For each of the words in both Lists #5 and #6:

  1. Give the part(s) of speech for the word as it appears in the list. If a word can be more than one part of speech, please list all of them.
  2. Write a sentence for each of the words. Sentences must demonstrate clearly that you know what the word means and how to use it correctly. Sentences must also be free of spelling, grammar, and writing mechanics errors. You may change the form or the tense of a vocabulary word, but you must still spell it correctly. Please UNDERLINE, HIGHLIGHT, or CIRCLE the word in the sentence.


  • You may use more than one vocabulary word in a sentence.
  • You may write completely separate, unconnected sentences, or you can write a story of related sentences.

Due for ALL sections by Wednesday 4/17, even if you don’t see me in class that day – please turn it in on Tuesday 4/16 if necessary.

More Vocabulary!

You’ve completed your pictures for List #5. Let’s move on to pictures for every term in List #6! Show the meaning in pictures, without using words. No speech bubbles – show the meaning through the image.

Due: Thursday 4/11 for Sections 1, 5, 7 and Friday 4/12 for Sections 2 and 6.

Don’t forget! We have a comprehensive final exam at the end of the year! (Hint, hint!)

Federal Writers’ Project Found Poetry

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940

Works Project Administration Federal Writers’ Project @ LoC

Search by Subjects

Examples of Subjects:

“This collection of life histories consists of approximately 2,900 documents, compiled and transcribed by more than 300 writers from 24 states, working on the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program that was part of the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1940. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents vary in form from narratives to dialogues to reports to case histories. They chronicle vivid life stories of Americans who lived at the turn of the century and include tales of meeting Billy the Kid, surviving the 1871 Chicago fire, pioneer journeys out West, grueling factory work, and the immigrant experience.”

Turn just one of these amazing life stories into a found poem.

Targets — I can…

  • Communicate a clear purpose or theme in my poem; readers can understand and appreciate my poem.
  • Create an impact with my poem; readers experience the desired reaction or emotional response.
  • Use language from the original sources effectively and creatively; I go beyond the obvious or predictable.
  • Create imagery by using vivid and strong words; my word choices are varied, powerful, and precise.

As you know from past projects, a found poem is the “literary equivalent of a collage” (poets.org). “Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems” (poets.org). “A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet” (poets.org).

Create about 20 lines of found poetry from one of the life histories collected by the Federal Writers’ Project during the Great Depression. Read aloud as you arrange. Arrange the words so they make a rhythm you like. Space them any way you want. Shape them poem however you like. Your job is to arrange the language you found so as to re-create it into something new, something yours.

Reflect the stories of America collected and chronicled during the Great Depression. Make the experiences of those who shared their stories with the Federal Writers’ Project during the Great Depression come to life again in your work.

As you refine and polish your poems, you may add a minor word or two if you need to, but only a word or two. You may also make other minor changes, for example tenses, possessive, plurals, punctuations, and capitalizations.

Print out and turn in a hard copy of your poem.