Stargirl starts on the first day of eleventh grade for our narrator, Leo Borlock. The buzz around the school is, “Did you see the new girl?” Stargirl goes to school for the first time as a tenth grader. Up till then, she had been home schooled. Due to Stargirl’s unusual behavior including carrying her pet rat to school, singing while playing the ukulele at lunch, wearing strange clothing, and so on, most students peg her as an outcast even though she is extremely friendly to everyone. Leo develops a crush on Stargirl. He even follows her one day after school just to see where she is headed. He discovers that she is delivering a congratulations card to a stranger.
After attending a football game in which Stargirl runs across the football field playfully cheering and stirring up the crowd, she is asked to join the cheer leading squad. Students began to like her. At this point, students love Stargirl’s upbeat, quirky actions. People begin attending the football games, not to watch the game, but to see Stargirl’s playful antics including cheering for the opposing team. By Thanksgiving, Stargirl is the most popular person at the school.Continue Reading
In 1874, Knowles Shaw wrote the famous hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves.” It was inspired by a verse in Psalm 126. “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” Most adults know that sheaves are bundles of cereal plants such as wheat or rye. A youngster, however, has never heard the word sheaves. SO, just imagine the youngster singing this hymn in church bellowing out “Bringing in the sheets.” Smiles, chuckles, and out and out laughs can be heard in the church. This is an example of a malaprop.
A malaprop is a mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect. The term came from the eighteenth-century play The Rivals by Richard Sheridan. Throughout the play, Mrs. Malaprop purposely made blunders by mixing up similar sounding words for humor. From this came the new words: malaprop and malproposims.Continue Reading
‘Famous People Interviews’ is a hugely successful activity to use in the classroom. During this activity, each student ‘becomes’ a famous person and is interviewed by another student in the class.
This activity not only teaches students to recognize many famous people, but also covers a large number of Common Core State Standards. Students must research, prepare a presentation, speak publicly, and so on.Continue Reading
In I Survived the Battle of D-Day, 1944, eleven-year old Paul lived a carefree life until the Nazis invaded his town in Normandy, France. Soon, his father and best friend Gerard were sent to work camps in Germany. Paul sees his favorite teacher, Mr. Leon, get shot and killed right before his eyes. Food and money are scarce. Nazi soldiers are everywhere and life is difficult.
What is an appositive? An appositive is a word or group of words that explain or define a noun. Appositives follow the nouns they explain.
When to Use Commas
Appositives can be either restrictive or nonrestrictive. I teach students to first locate the appositive by finding the phrase that describes the noun. Next, I ask students to read the sentence skipping the appositive. If the meaning of the sentence is clear without the appositive, then it is nonrestrictive [CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.A]. Use commas to separate nonrestrictive elements from the rest of the sentence. Continue Reading
Ghost Boys begins with the death of twelve-year-old Jerome Rogers and slowly unfolds through a series of flashbacks. Jerome lives in an improvised neighborhood in Chicago. His walk to school is dangerous including going past drug dealers. Jerome is bullied for being a good student.
One day a new kid comes to school, Carlos Rodríguez. Jerome knows right away that he is going to be a target for bullies. Jerome decides to help Carlos by showing him how to grab his lunch then eat it in the upstairs restroom. Unfortunately, the bullies find the two and begin beating on Carlos. Jerome draws the attention of the bullies away from Carlos. When he does, Carlos pulls out a gun. The bullies back down and leave. Carlos tells Jerome the gun is just a toy made from plastic. He carried it to school because he was afraid.Continue Reading