Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bridge to Terabithia Movie

A few days ago, someone asked about a movie of the book. There is an old one, but I was looking around this weekend and found a new one. In fact, Disney is making it and will is going to be release in February of next year. Here is a link to the IMDb Bridge to Terabithia page. You can look at the cast, some photos from the movie, and the trailer.

From the trailer, I am a little worried that Disney has taken this great story about imagination and friendship and turned it into a special effects extravaganza. Shouldn't a movie about the power of imagination help to develop imagination?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Quotation Marks Answers - Passage C

We didn't have time to go over the answers for this in class, so here you are. You can check your own.

Fran put aside her books to answer the phone. "Hello," she

"Hey, Fran, take a break," said Nick. "There’s a great party going on here. Why don’t you come over?"

Fran hesitated. She was tired and bored. The party was tempting. She felt like a cartoon character with a devil perched on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

"Go to the party," the devil said. "Forget this studying."

"Stay home, or you’ll regret it tomorrow," the angel whispered.

Interrupting Fran’s thoughts, Nick urged, "Oh, come on, you can cram when you get home."

Fran felt an imaginary stab from the devil’s pitchfork. "I want to, Nick," she said. Then she gave into the imaginary angel. "I can’t. I really have to pass this test."

Note: a comma after "imaginary angel" in the last line is also correct.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Cartagena Games Photos

Here is one of about twenty I took today. Thanks to all my photos' subjects! Click on the picture to see the rest at Flickr.

The Star of the Game
The Star of the Game

Monday, November 13, 2006

Welcome Back to School

Now that we're back from Novembrinas, there are only four weeks of school left before exams and Christmas holidays. It will be fast but busy. There were lots of great posts over the holidays. Maria Paulina shared some of her thoughts about how Halloween has changed as she has gotten older. Natalia Y. wrote about her sister. Stefano wrote about how life has changed for him in seventh grade. Finally, Sebastian wrote about a soccer tournament he and some freinds took part in over the holidays.

Congratulations to all the blog posts of the week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Retelling

On Tuesday, November 15th, 2006, a retelling of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is due. You should use the outline of a retelling found on page 12 of Elements of Literature. Your assignment must also be typed according to the guidelines found here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Respond to Maple Street's Monsters

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street had a clear message for its audience back in 1960. In one paragraph, explain the meaning of the closing comments in light of the events of the story. This paragraph needs to identify the message or theme of the story.

In a second paragraph, tell how you feel about the message in the play (the one you identified in the first paragraph), and explain how the message still has significance in today's world (unless you believe otherwise).

Finally, consider how the play could be updated to make it more relevant for an audience today. What do people now know about aliens and space travel? What equipment would be affected by the blackout? Where would the story be set (country, city, suburbs)? How and what would Tommy know about the cause of the events?

Comma Practice

In light of the test coming up on Thursday, here are a few online exercises to practice your comma usage.
Activity #1
Activity #2
Activity #3
Activity #4

Friday, October 27, 2006

iPod Creativity

Have you ever though that your iPod would be better if only it were a little different?

Here's a few ideas that people have had about the future of the iPod : Apple fans dream up next iPod

Which one is your favorite?

Short Story Checkup

As I have been watching the stories develop, I am adding a few more requirements. Here is a reminder of the ones we began with as well as a couple new ones.

  • You can only have one setting.
  • The events of your story must not take longer than one day to occur.
  • You must use quotation marks to show what people say.
  • You must change the names of the people who inspire your characters.
  • You may not have anyone die in your story.
  • You should have at least one paragraph per element of your plot diagram (basic situation, conflict, each complication, climax, and resolution)

7B should have their stories and free posts complete by Sunday morning (as usual). 7A, since they did not start their story until Thursday, have until Wednesday, November 1st, to finish both their story and free post.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Salt Trade in the Sahara

We have been talking about the role of the salt trade in Africa. Here is an article about a man who travelled with real salt traders in October 2006. Even though the traders no longer are able to trade their salt for gold, they are still crossing the Sahara by camel like people have for hundreds of years.

Dying Trade of the Sahara Camel Train

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's Your Story?

This week's assigned post is to write the first draft of your story. Follow the plan that you made in your plot diagram. Your story must use quotation marks to show dialogue between characters.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Halloween Hunt Photos

Here are the photos I took today. I didn't take many, and I deleted most of the ones I took.

This is one that I edited to focus on the blurred face peeking back. Can you tell who these people are?

Sergio, sorry. I like it. It's a good action shot. Not quite in perfect focus but close.

This one, I couldn't decide if I liked it wide or tall. Leave a comment and tell me which one you prefer. The wide one has had the colors boosted a bit more.

Social Studies Test - Chapter Two

Here is the quiz on chapter two. Good luck.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Laptops and Libya

I mentioned this in class the on Friday when we were talking about life expectancy. Here is the BBC story about Libya's plan to provide laptops to all students that caused some of you to consider moving there.

Libyan pupils 'to have laptops'

If you are still looking for an idea for your free post, this might work for you. Remember to give credit if you quote from the article.

Have a good long weekend! (I am already ;-)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Comma, Commas, and More Commas

This week's assigned posting is related to the work on commas we've been doing in class. Your assignment is to write a couple paragraphs that describe a nightmare holiday: the worst possible holiday when everything possible goes wrong. Use the following eight instances where commas are needed in your paragraph:

  • series of objects
  • series of modifiers
  • series of phrases
  • series of independent clauses
  • introductory prepositional phrase
  • introductory participial phrase
  • introductory adverb clause
  • introductory yes, no, or interjection
You may use these sentence structures in any order you want. When you have finished, add a number (1-8) in front of the words that require that the comma is used. Directly below your paragraph, list the numbers 1-8 and identify each cause from the bulleted list above. You may (and should) use the textbook to help you with this activity.


Add a number (1-8) in front of the words that require that the commas is used. (1) Directly below your paragraph, list the numbers 1-8 and identify each cause from the bulleted list above.

1 - prepositional phrase (this shows that the words "Directly below your paragraph" are a prepositional phrase)

After you have finished it is time to make some international links. Head out into the wide world of blogs and leave at least three comments on other student's blogs. Be nice. Be constructive. Use the comment beginnings listed on the blog. I recommend looking for blogs where you can add experiences that you have had that are relevant to the post.

Post of the Week

I know I'm a week behind, but I left my blog scores at the school over the weekend. These are the posts of the week for your most recent posts and I will put up the posts of the week for week before on Monday (promise!).

1. Solving Problems Properly by Valeria
2. Japan!!! by Alexandra
3. Why I Sail by Augusto

Both students have lots of thoughts and ideas of their own, and have really gone the extra mile when it comes to detail and length. Congratulations.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Posts of the Week

This week, the honors go to...

...lots of people.

A couple students that have great reflections on blogging are Paulina and Natalia Y. Lots of students are remembering important (or not so important) times they have spent with their friends and families. Stefano wrote about Holy Week, Roberto about watching the World Cup, Stephanie about having a little Lemonade Sale, and Valentina about going on a Trip on the Radiance. Luis Carlos went back to the idea of responding to developments in the news with this post on an Out of This World Vacation. Finally, Nohora just took some time to think about what is important to her in her Goals and Resolutions for Seven.

Whew! Great work grade sevens. (no wonder it took so long to post.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Test Preparation

Here's a little one about the plot diagram. It doesn't use exactly the same vocabulary as we have, but you should be able to figure out the differences.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Simon Says... Hug Miss Alba

You can almost see the fear in her eyes...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Problems and Solutions

So far, we have read stories about people (and animals) that have to cope with problems around them. In this week's assigned post you must respond to all of the following prompts about your experiences with problems.

How do you deal with problems in your life? What bad habits do you sometimes use when trying to solve a problem? Do you use different strategies when you are under pressure compared to when you are have time to reflect? What are they?

Think of a time that you made a mistake when you were trying to solve a problem that involved other people. (Everyone has problems and everyone makes mistake, so don't even dare to say "That's never happened to me.") What was your mistake? What caused you to make it? What did you do about it? Did you try to fix it? Did you apologize to the other people?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Posts of the Week

It was a hard choice this week - there were so many very good posts. There are a couple extras that get an honorable mention.

The posts of the week are:
When I Had to Adapt to Something New by Nohora and
My Old and Big House by Catalina

Honorable Mention:
Shakira and Her Life Story by Ana Caro
4-Shopping Lovers by Valeria

This week there is also a blog of the week. Luis Carlos has spent some time fixing up his blog by adding links to everyone's blogs and to some other websites. Check it out.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reflections of a Blogger

Now you've had your blog for two weeks. Go back and read your expectations about blogging from your first post.

  • How has your blog lived up to your expectations?
  • What is harder or easier about maintaining your web log?
  • How do you feel about it now?
  • Has your feeling changed since the beginning?
  • How do you feel about the technical aspects (links, pictures, settings, etc)?
  • What has surprised you most about your experience so far?
  • What have you learned from blogging?

Write a post that describes your blogging expereinces so far that answers some or all of these questions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Print an Assignment on the Computer

First, you title should be centered at the top of the page. Use size 14 font and make it bold. Don’t use quotation marks around the title. You should not skip any lines after the title either. Never use text art.

The main part of your assignment must be in Arial font (not Arial Black or any other font). You should use size 12. Print the whole assignment in the normal font. Save bold, italics, etc for places where you need to emphasize a certain word. Set the line spacing to “double” or “2.0”. To set the line spacing, select all your writing, go to the “Format” menu and then choose “Paragraph…” Now you can set the line spacing.

When you start you second paragraph, do not skip any lines. You should use the “Tab” key to indent each of your paragraphs. Another important setting is the page margins. The margin on each of the four sides should be 1 inch or 2.54cm. Some versions of Word use metric and you will need to set the margins using centimeters and other versions use the imperial system and you will have to set the margins using inches. In either case, the margins size is exactly the same since 1 inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters. To set the page margins, you need to go to the “File” menu and then choose “Page Setup…”

If you follow these settings, you will produce a piece of work that looks the same as everyone else’s. It makes things fairer since students who write more will hand in assignments that are actually longer. No matter which printer you use, your work will look the same if you use all of these settings. Believe it or not, part of your grade for your work will be for following these directions. If you don’t, you will lose points.

Note: Blogger does not allow you to indent paragraphs - so you leave spaces between paragraphs. On typed assignments you must indent paragraphs and must not leave spaces between them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Posts of the Week

Well, I have finished correcting your first week of blogging, and I would like to congratulate you on a job well done. Your blogs look great and we're ready to face the world. A extra-special congratulations to the top two Posts of the Week:

My Trip to New York City! by Isabella G. and
Reggaeton by Maria Paulina F.

Both of these posts are carefully written with lots of personal opinion along with some information.

Take a look at them to see if you can take the Post of the Week crown next week! (but not if you should be studying for social studies ;-) )

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chapter One Review

Here is a little quiz made by the publishers of the textbook to test your knowledge of chapter one. Note: All the online questions are multiple choice, but the test will have written questions as well. I recommend that you answer the questions on page 28 in writing as part of your preparation for the test.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Response to Literature

This week, your assigned entry is a response to "Three Skeleton Key." The purpose of the response is to explain how you reacted to the story we read.

DO NOT RETELL THE STORY! Do I need to repeat that? Do not retell the story. You should only tell about something that happens in the story if you are going to also explain your reaction in the same sentence. For example, "The Sentinel walked into the bedroom and returned Duffy's Jacket," is not appropriate for a response to the story. Instead, you could say, "When the Sentinel walked into the room and gave Duff'y jacket back I laughed out loud. It reminded me of a student trying to avoid a teacher because he or she doesn't have their homework done, when the teacher is trying to tell them that they can hand it in tomorrow."

Instead, your writing should describe how you felt about the story while you were reading it and how you feel about it now. You should do some (or even all) of the following
  • Make connections with your own experience. What does the story make you think of? Does it remind you of anything or anyone?

  • Make connections with other stories or events. Do you see any similarities between this text and other? Does it bring to mind other related issues?

  • Ask yourself questions about the text: What perplexes you about a particular passage? Try beginning, "I wonder why..." or "I'm having trouble understanding how..." or "It perplexes me that..." or "I was surprised when ...."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Capitalization Quiz Practice

Hi-ho grade sevens,

Here it is: the quiz practice. Go to Quizstar and login with the username and passsword you created in the first class in the computer room. You should have your username written in your English notebook very close to the beginning. Even though the capitalization quiz is for English class, you will find it in the social studies class in Quizstar. The quiz is called Capitalization and you can take it five times. At the end of each try, you can see the correct answers.

Happy capitalizing!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Response Posting

One of the things that the internet is good for is the ability to connect ideas together. If you want to give your opinion about something that others might not know about, you can give them a link so they can find out more about it.

Your assignment this week is to create a post that responds to another webiste.

Here is an example that links to a site.

Why I Might Be Wrong About School

Sometimes, when I have to go to school in the morning, I don't really feel like going. For me, school is the place where I work. I think that a lot of students feel the same way too. Cassandra Nelson's report for Scholastic News where she travelled across Afghanistan and talked to young people about their lives shows a group of people that feel completely differeently about school. For them, school is an important part of their goal of improving their life. A 12 year-old girl describes her day:
"I get up before sunrise to say my morning prayers, and after that I study and prepare for school. Then I have to bring water from the well, make tea, help my mother cook breakfast, sweep the house, and help wash the dishes. I go to school at 8 am. It is just a short walk from our house. School gets out at noon. Then I come home and help my mother cook lunch and clean house. I do homework for about two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon. In the evening, I get more water from the well and help cook dinner. After all my housework is done, I study a little more and work on my embroidery. We usually go sleep at about 8 p.m. We do not have any electricity so there is not much to do after it gets dark."
Wow, that girl does a lot of work during the day! It sounds like she spends three or four hours on homework a day on top of all the housework she does. I think that she must feel like the work she does at school is for herself. It will make her life better. Why else would she work so hard?

How different is her school from the one that we go to? Why do we think of school as work, when she works so hard for school?

When you respond to another internet site, you should:
1) Give the title, author and website of your source.
2) Link to the source.
3) If possible, quote from the source (using the quotation marks button).

Here are a couple places where you can go to look for ideas to respond to:
1) Scholastic News - check out the News and Special Reports sections
2) CBBC News - Look on the left for the news areas like World, Sport and Sci/Tech.
3) Time for Kids - The magazine Time publishes an online edition for young people.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Quality Comments

A teacher named Anne Davis made this list of beginning for comments to help people make thoughtful comments.
  • This made me think about…….
  • I wonder why…….
  • Your writing made me form an opinion about…….
  • This post is relevant because…….
  • Your writing made me think that we should…….
  • I wish I understood why…….
  • This is important because…….
  • Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….
  • I discovered…….
  • I don’t understand…….
  • I was reminded that…….
  • I found myself wondering…….
    • Tuesday, August 29, 2006

      Weekly Blog Requirements

      By now, you can comment, post, and include links and images in your posts. You're ready. Starting this week, you will have a regular assignment for your blog. Each week you are required to:

      • post two entries to your blog, one will be an assigned entry from class and the second will be a free entry on any subject you choose.
      • make three comments on blogs from students from 7A and 7B.

      You may make more than two posts and extra points will be given for posts of quality. You are encouraged leave comments on other people's blogs, but cannot receive credit for them since I cannot go out and find them all. I will look at all the 7A and 7B blogs and will see all the comments made there.

      Monday, August 28, 2006

      Social Studies Test Review

      Try to complete these paragraphs.

      At the June Solstice: The date is June 21 or 22. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude ___________ . This latitude is called the Tropic of ____________ . The length of day is ______ hours at the North Pole, and _______ hours at the South Pole. On this day, every location south of the ________ Circle is in darkness for 24 hours. Every location north of the ______ Circle gets 24 hours of daylight.

      At the December Solstice: The date is December 21 or 22. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude ___________ . This latitude is called the Tropic of ____________ . Length of daylight is ______ hours at the equator, ______ hours at the North Pole, and _______ hours at the South Pole. On this day, every location north of the ________ Circle is in darkness for 24 hours. Every location south of the ______ Circle gets 24 hours of daylight.

      At the March Equinox: The date is March 20 or 21. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude ________ . This latitude is called the ____________ . Length of day is ______ hours at the Equator. Every place on Earth has ________ hours of daylight. This is the beginning of ________ for the Northern Hemisphere and ________ for the Southern Hemisphere.

      At the September Equinox: The date is September 22 or 23. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude ________ . This latitude is called the ____________ . Length of day is ______ hours at the Equator. Every place on Earth has ________ hours of daylight. This is the beginning of ________ for the Northern Hemisphere and ________ for the Southern Hemisphere.

      Click here to check your answers

      Wednesday, August 16, 2006

      Sevens Are Doing It for Themselves

      Today is the big day... The day when you create your very own blog and post your first ideas for the world to see.

      Before we get started, I have one important thing to say... I try to post clear directions in this blog so that you can do most of what you need to do by yourself by reading carefully and following the steps one by one. But, I am getting lots of people asking questions that whose answers in the directions, or handing in work that doesn't follow the directions. Please check the directions carefully when you are doing your work. Links in this blog will now leave this window and open a new window to do your work. That way you can flip back and forth when you need to check the directions.

      With that said, we can get started.

      1. Go to
      2. Click in the orange arrow that says "CREATE YOUR BLOG NOW".
      3. Create a username and password for yourself. Write your username down in your English notebook.
      4. Your display name will be what people see when they look at your blog and when you comment on other blogs. Your display name should be your first name(s) and the inital of your last name only. (remember the bathroom at McDonalds). You'll need a working email address to do this, so if you don't have one, open a new window and create one now.
      5. Click the box to agreee to the Terms of Service. Now click the orange arrow that says "Continue".
      6. Think of a title for your blog. Our class blog is called "Mr. Hide's Class", which is a little boring, but it is clear what the blog is about. Pick a title for your blog.
      7. The next box is where you pick the web address for your blog. It will be "". It would make sense to pick a web address that is similar to your blog's name. A short blog address is preferable because it is easier to type in.
      8. Type in the letters in the word verification box and click the orange arrow that says "Continue".
      9. Now you get to choose a template. This is what your blog will look like, except it will have all the information that you put in in instead of "Sample Blog". Click the orange arrow that says "Continue".
      10. Yeah! You're done. Now click the orange arrow that says "START POSTING".
      11. Type your reflection on education and technology into the post window.
      12. Click on the spell check button to check your spelling. (One thing I think is really funny is that the Blogger spell check tells you that the word "blog" is wrong - lol)
      13. Give your post a title that tells what the main idea of your post is.
      14. Take a deep breath and click "Publish Post"
      15. Click on "view your blog" to see what you have created.
      16. Send an email to me with your blog address so I can add your blog to this blog.

      Sunday, August 13, 2006

      Going Blog Hunting

      Alright! Now that you have begun to blog, you are ready for your first blog hunting trip. You're on the lookout for great blog posts. There are three things that bloggers do to make their posts more readable:

      1st - Depth - They really have got something to say about their topic. Bloggers who explain their ideas and opinions in depth give the readers something interesting to read and respond to. Find a blog post that gets deep into its subject.

      2nd - Connections - The internet is full of information and ideas that good bloggers use. Your posts don't need to say it all when they can link to the other sites that inspired them. Find a blog post that has at least one link to another great website inside the post.

      3rd - Interaction - Posting your blog is the start of the game, but having people read and comment on it is a victory. Find a blog post with a set of comments that is a conversation between the readers and the writer. To qualify, the person whose blog you are reading has to have commented on their own post by reacting to another comment.

      Here's what to do:
      1. Put the title "Blog Hunting" in your notebook. Make three sections: In depth, Connections, and Interaction where you will write down the results of your blog hunting.

      2. Go to this class blog from Australia or this class blog from Brazil or this class blog from Canada or this other class blog in Australia. Look down either the left or right side of the blog for a list of the names of the students. Click on a name to go to that student's own blog.

      3. Do your best to find one example of a blog post that goes in depth. When you find one, write down the web address of the blog (ex. or and the date of the post (ex. August 14th, 2006 or November 27th, 2005) in the In Depth section in your notebook.

      4. Repeat step 3, but looking for a post with Connections.

      5. Repeat step 3, but looking for a post with Interaction.

      6. If you finish early, go back and look for a second, even better post for each of the three sections.

      Thursday, August 10, 2006

      The First Blog Experience

      Congratulations! You made it. This will be the website where our class meets and works this year. We will be using the computers and the web as a tool for publishing, reading and responding to each other's ideas. Since this is day one, your goal is to post a comment to the question at the end of this entry.

      Here's what to do: (read this whole post before starting)
      1. Click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post.
      2. Click on "Show original post" so you can see this again.
      3. Write your comment in the box on the right. Pay careful attention to grammar, capitals, spelling and punctuation as you will be graded on these. (This is your schoolwork, not MSN!)
      4. Where is says "Identity" under the box where you typed your comment, click on the button for "other".
      5. Type your first name and only the initial of your last name (ex. "George W."). Leave the "your web page" box empty, even if you do have a webpage.
      6. Type the letters and/or numbers that you see into the word verification box.
      7. Click "Publish Your Comment."

      Tips (I hope you are reading this before you make your comment)
      1. You can use Word to type your comment, then spell check it and cut and paste it into the box - that way Word can help you find some of your mistakes.
      2. What you write can and will be read by many people - all of the grade 7's plus your teachers, some parents and maybe even by people around the world. Think about what you are going to say, because once it's posted, you can't change it.

      Now, here's the question:
      If you could wish to be either smarter than you are now or happier than you are now, which would you wish for? Why?

      I look forward to reading your answers. If you finish early, go back to the main page and you can read the comments other people have left. Or check out this blog entry from another teacher about students from different places in the world and their blogs. Take a look at some of their entries.

      Tuesday, August 01, 2006

      Review Answers

      At the June Solstice: The date is June 21 or 22. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude 23.5 degrees north. This latitude is called the Tropic of Cancer. The length of day is 24 hours at the North Pole, and 0 hours at the South Pole. On this day, every location south of the Antarctic Circle is in darkness for 24 hours. Every location north of the Arctic Circle gets 24 hours of daylight.

      At the December Solstice: The date is December 21 or 22. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude 23.5 degrees south. This latitude is called the Tropic of Capricorn. The length of daylight 0 hours at the North Pole, and 24 hours at the South Pole. On this day, every location north of the Arctic Circle is in darkness for 24 hours. Every location south of the Antarctic Circle gets 24 hours of daylight.

      At the March Equinox: The date is March 20 or 21. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude 0. This latitude is called the Equator. The length of day is 12 hours at the Equator. Every place on Earth has 12 hours of daylight. This is the beginning of spring for the Northern Hemisphere and fall for the Southern Hemisphere.

      At the September Equinox: The date is September 22 or 23. The part of the Earth closest to the sun is latitude 0. This latitude is called the Equator. Length of day is 12 hours at the Equator. Every place on Earth has 12 hours of daylight. This is the beginning of fall for the Northern Hemisphere and spring for the Southern Hemisphere.