Summer Reading!

If you are headed into 9th grade at USM, then you and your parents need to choose and order your summer reading book! The choices are listed below. You’ll have two, one required for everyone plus one choice from the list below.

Here is the order form.

Summer Reading
All current 8th grade students are required to read our All School Read, Run by Anne Patchett.
In addition, students will read at least one of the departmental selections listed below.
Departmental Selections
Science – Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Art – Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley
Math – Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki
English – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
History – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
World Language – Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
Physical Education – The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb

Again, here is the order form.

Reading Without Walls Challenge

RWW Facebook_instagram 1Let’s end the year and the 40 Book Challenge with Gene Luen Yang’s Reading Without Walls Challenge!

From Gene Luen Yang’s blog, entry written May 13th, 2016:

So this crazy thing happened this past January.  The Library of CongressChildren’s Book Council, and Every Child A Reader appointed me the fifth National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature!

Every National Ambassador picks a platform.  Mine is Reading Without Walls.  I want every kid — every reader, really — to explore the world through books.  Books have played a vital role in getting me outside of my comfort zone.  I believe they can do the same for you.

As National Ambassador, I issue you a challenge!  I challenge you to read without walls in one of three ways:

1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.

2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.

3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.

If you really want to go for the gold star, read a book that fits all three criteria!

Read, read, read, this coming month — inspired by Gene Luen Yang’s challenge! Go to it!

Learn more about Yang’s experiences as #NatAmb and #ReadingWithoutWalls here.

The Most Important Stuff

On your Words of the Wiser Collector (light green sheet; has an owl on it), take notes from the anchor charts on what you think is the most important stuff from this entire novel.

  • Key passages
  • Words of the Wiser
  • Themes
  • Again and Agains
  • Relationships, connections, patterns
  • Symbols
  • Changes in characters
  • Contrasts and Contradictions
  • Aha Moments
  • Anything you think we need to take away from this story

You can abbreviate or copy down just a few words of a quote, but be sure to note page numbers.

You will be able to utilize these notes on our major assessment on To Kill a Mockingbird.

Close Reading & Analysis Anchor Charts

Click here for the assignment GoogleDoc.

Learning Targets — I can…

  • Read closely and critically to analyze and determine the meaning of passages in the novel, not just literal meaning but more metaphorical and symbolic meaning.
  • Make connections among and draw conclusions about seemingly separate or very different passages of a novel.
  • Use and cite specific evidence and examples to support my analysis.

What is an anchor chart?

According to the website We Are Teachers, “Anchor charts are a great way to make thinking visible as you record strategies, processes, cues, guidelines and other content during the learning process.” Since each class thought about, closely read, and analyzed separate topics in To Kill a Mockingbird, we are all going to create anchor charts to make our work visible to the other sections. Think of an anchor chart as a kind of handmade infographic.

Close Reading and Analysis Anchor Charts

The ultimate goal of your anchor chart is to answer the essential questions listed for your section on my website (in bold at the top of your section’s post). Use your notes from your Close Reading and Analysis forms to determine what needs to go on your anchor chart.

Include both images and words and use artistic and design elements such as color and lettering to create a comprehensive anchor chart that helps the other sections understand your section’s essential questions.

Use specific evidence and always cite page numbers!

While anchor charts may seem Lower School, really, the close reading and analysis you’re presenting in this medium is very tough stuff — Upper School level stuff! Double- and triple-check that you’re hitting the learning targets.


Digging in with section 2! Other Perspectives


Close Reading and Analysis of Power Passages

What does the novel seem to suggest about judging others, seeing other or new perspectives, or changing perspectives and judgments? What do the characters learn about perspectives and judgments? What might we as readers take away from this novel in regards to perspectives and judgments?


  • learning empathy
  • seeing other perspectives — think Ewell, Cunningham, Finch, Robinson, social status, “caste system in Maycomb”
  • how perspectives change — think the African-American community with First Purchase Church and Reverend Sykes, Mrs. Dubose, and Boo Radley
  • the trial

Page 33 is the key!

  • Boo Radley: 14, 43-44, 60, 81, 311-end, especially 320-23
  • Townspeople: 12, 22-23, 29-31, 149, 153, 174, 179
  • Trial: 174, 179, 194, 203, 218, 228, 231-34

Additional pages:

  • 128 – Mrs. Dubose
  • 142-43 – Calpurnia
  • 149 – “caste system”
  • 174, 179 – Scout vs. the mob
  • 194, 203, 218 – red geraniums
  • 228 – Dolphus Raymond
  • 231-34 closing remarks of trial

Pages you have to figure out for yourself (!!!): 

  • 224
  • 253
  • 258-59
  • 311-end