Sunday, April 20, 2008

Middlebury College

Our trip to Middlebury College was SO much fun! Do you see why I LOVE Middlebury College so much now?! Anyway, I cannot wait to talk to you all further about your experiences at Middlebury College in class next Monday. If you have pictures, please send them to my email address. I want to compile all the pictures for our class. You all are the future Middlebury Class of 2017! We have to work hard to get there, but it IS possible!

Much love,
Ms. Simmons

HW over break

100 Book Challenge:

Read for 20 steps


Do your Parts of Speech packet

Finish your Ebonics essay

Write about your experience on the Middlebury trip. And, if you did not go, write about your spring break. 2 pages. Skip lines.


Do your math packet

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Distributive Property

Credit is due to: Elizabeth Stapel at

Distributive Property
The Distributive Property is easy to remember, if you recall that "multiplication distributes over addition".

Formally, they write this property as "a(b + c) = ab + ac". In numbers, this means, for example, that 2(3 + 4) = 2×3 + 2×4. Any time they refer in a problem to using the Distributive Property, they want you to take something through the parentheses (or factor something out); any time a computation depends on multiplying through a parentheses (or factoring something out), they want you to say that the computation uses the Distributive Property.

So, for instance:

Why is the following true? 2(x + y) = 2x + 2y

Since they distributed through the parentheses, this is true by the Distributive Property.
Use the Distributive Property to rearrange: 4x – 8

The Distributive Property either takes something through a parentheses or else factors something out. Since there aren't any parentheses to go into, you must need to factor. Then the answer is "By the Distributive Property, 4x – 8 = 4(x – 2)"

"But wait!" you say. "The Distributive Property says multiplication distributes over addition, not subtraction! What gives?" You make a good point. This is one of those times when it's best to be flexible. You can either view the contents of the parentheses as the subtraction of a positive number ("x – 2") or else as the addition of a negative number ("x + (–2)"). In the latter case, it's easy to see that the Distributive Property applies, because you're still adding; you're just adding a negative.

The other two properties come in two versions each: one for addition and the other for multiplication. (Note that the Distributive Property refers to both addition and multiplication, too, but both in just one rule.)

When simplifying expressions with parentheses, you will be applying the Distributive Property. That is, you will be distributing over (multiplying through) the parentheses in order to simplify a given expression. I will walk you through examples of increasing difficulty, and you should note, as this lesson progresses, the importance of simplifying as you go and of doing each step neatly, completely, and exactly.

Simplify 3(x + 4).
To "simplify" this, I have to get rid of the parentheses. The Distributive Property says to multiply the 3 onto everything inside the parentheses. I sometimes draw arrows to emphasize this:

3(x) + 3(4)
3x + 12

Written all in one line, this would look like:
3(x+4) = (3 * x) + (3 * 4) = 3x + 12

The most common error at this stage is to take the 3 through the parentheses but only onto the x, forgetting to carry it through onto the 4 as well. If you need to draw arrows to help you remember to carry through onto everything inside the parentheses, then use them!
Simplify –2(x – 4)

I have to take the –2 through the parentheses.
This gives me:
–2(x – 4) –2(x) – 2(–4) –2x + 8

The common mistake to make with this type of problem is to lose a "minus" sign somewhere, such as doing "–2(x – 4) = –2(x) – 2(4) = –2x – 8". (Did you notice how the "–4" somehow turned into a "4" when the –2 went through the parentheses? That's why the answer ended up being wrong.)

Be careful with the "minus" signs! Until you are confident in your skills, take the time to write out the distribution, complete with the signs, as I did.

–2(x – 4) –2(x) – 2(–4) –2x + 8

If you have difficulty with the subtraction, try converting it to addition of a negative:
–2(x – 4) –2(x + [–4]) –2(x) + (–2)(–4) –2x + 8

Do as many steps as you need to, in order consistently to get the correct answer.
Simplify –(x – 3)

I have to take the "minus" through the parentheses. Many students find it helpful to write in the little understood "1" before the parentheses:
–1(x – 3)

So I need to take the –1 through the parentheses:
–(x – 3) –1(x – 3) –1(x) – 1(–3) –1x + 3 –x + 3

Note that, technically, "–1x + 3" and "–x + 3" are the same thing and, in my classes, either would be a perfectly acceptable answer. However, some teachers will accept only "–x + 3" and would count "–1x + 3" as not fully simplified.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Introductory Paragraphs

What you should do in your introductory paragraph:
  1. You should get the reader's interest so that he or she will want to read more.
  2. You should let the reader know what the writing is going to be about.
Your second task can be accomplished by a carefully crafted thesis statement.

In your Ebonics essays, it would be important to let your reader know about the Ebonics debate. You should tell the reader what Ebonics is and some pros and cons people have found with using Ebonics in schools. Then, you should finish your paragraph with your thesis statement, where you will state whether or not you believe that Ebonics should be taught in schools.

Remember, if you are going to say something, you have to back it up.

What I will be grading are these focus corrections areas:

1) Strong thesis statement
2) Backing up statements with good examples from text or from life
3) Five paragraphs with solid topic sentences

I expect only THE BEST!

HW due on Tuesday


Write your WWW's 10X and find the definitions
Finish the introductory essay of your Ebonics essays

Finish today's classwork

Read for 2 steps

NO HOMEWORK, NO CREDIT. I am no longer taking make-up work. You have to take responsibility of your learning if you want to get anywhere in life!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

WWW #19

Inhibit (verb)
Inspiring (adjective)
Disillusioned (adjective)
Senseless (adjective)

HW due on Monday


Write the introductory paragraph of your essay arguing for or against the use of Ebonics in schools. I expect strong thesis statements. Make sure you use information from the text. Look on the class blog. I posted the article a week or so ago.

Write topic sentences for your three body paragraphs and your conclusion for your five-paragraph essay on Ebonics. Use the worksheet I gave you in class as a guide.

Math: Do the worksheet I gave you for Type 2 writing.

100BC: Read for 6 steps.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

HW due tomorrow

ELA: Study for your quiz
Math: Study for your quiz
Do your worksheet
100BC: Read 2 steps

Election Results Tomorrow

Many congratulations to everyone who ran for a position. It takes much courage and leadership to run for a position and to offer up your time to lead your class. I commend you all.

I know the results and will tell you all tomorrow before lunch.

All my best wishes,
Ms. Simmons

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Making Connections to Text

Text-to-self connections are highly personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of reading material and the reader’s own experiences or life. An example of a text-to-self connection might be, "This story reminds me of a vacation we took to my grandfather’s farm."
Sometimes when reading, readers are reminded of other things that they have read, other books by the same author, stories from a similar genre, or perhaps on the same topic. These types of connections are text-to-text connections. Readers gain insight during reading by thinking about how the information they are reading connects to other familiar text. “This character has the same problem that I read about in a story last year,” would be an example of a text-to-text connection.

Text-to-world connections are the larger connections that a reader brings to a reading situation. We all have ideas about how the world works that goes far beyond our own personal experiences. We learn about things through television, movies, magazines, and newspapers. Often it is the text-to-world connections that teachers are trying to enhance when they teach lessons in science, social studies, and literature. An example of a text-to-world connection would be when a reader says, "I saw a program on television that talked about things described in this article."

Text-to-text connections are when you connect what you are reading to something you have read in the past.

Reasons why connecting to text helps readers:
It helps readers understand how characters feel and the motivation behind their actions.
It helps readers have a clearer picture in their head as they read thus making the reader more engaged.
It keeps the reader from becoming bored while reading.
It sets a purpose for reading and keeps the reader focused.
Readers can see how other readers connected to the reading.
It forces readers to become actively involved.
It helps readers remember what they have read and ask questions about the text.

Text-to-self:What does this remind me of in my life? What is this similar to in my life? How is this different from my life? Has something like this ever happened to me?How does this relate to my life?What were my feelings when I read this?

Text-to-text:What does this remind me of in another book I’ve read? How is this text similar to other things I’ve read? How is this different from other books I’ve read?Have I read about something like this before?

Text-to-world:What does this remind me of in the real world?How is this text similar to things that happen in the real world? How is this different from things that happen in the real world? How did that part relate to the world around me?

What is a thesis statement?

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

* tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.

* is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.

* directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
* makes a claim that others might dispute.

* is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively.

How do I get a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a "working thesis," a basic or main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement.

WWW #18

Attempt (verb)
Conflicted (adjective)
Begrudgingly (adverb)
Sporadic (adjective)

Homework due tomorrow

Math: Do questions that you copied from the board today

SS: Study for your test

Science: Finish cartoom

100BC: 2 steps

ELA: WWW sentences
Study for your WWW quiz

Math Problems for HW

3x + 2 = 4x + 1

5x + 3 = 6x + 2

7x + 1 = 5x + 3

8x + 3 = 5x + 2

7x + 2 = 4x + 1

10x + 2 = 5x + 3