Mr. Ken Malatesta's Classroom News

03/15/2019 | March 15, 2019
We continued to explore the short story this week reading several more samples from Richard Bausch, Ray Bradbury, and Ursula Le Guin. At this stage we are using these stories as models for our own stories, but we will return to many of these stories later on in the trimester for literary analysis. As always I provided as much time as possible for drafting.
The workshop begins next week! You should have a received an email with the updated dates. Please be sure your child’s draft is in the folder 24 hours in advance of their workshop date. Drafts should include two things going well and two things not going well.
We also reviewed for next week’s sentence assessment (Tuesday March 19 for Blocks 1,2, &3 and Wednesday, March 20 for Blocks 4 & 5.)  There are a variety of resources and practice tests on Schoology in the “Grammar” folder. Please prepare as you deem necessary!
The test for vocabulary list #9 will be Thursday April 4 (Block 1) and April 5 (Blocks 2,3,4,5). Please prepare in advance! Students should also be studying list 1-8 as well in preparation for the comprehensive test at the end of the year! I am looking forward to reading the students' stories in the coming weeks!
Have a great weekend!
03/08/2019 | March 8, 2019
I have really enjoyed reading the students’ feature stories this week! I was so glad that so many students interviewed parents and grandparents! It gave me the opportunity to get to know you all more! Please be sure to check section comments on Schoology and in Powerschool for feedback.
We began our short story unit this week by reading several samples. We will be working with short stories throughout the rest of the year and into next year, so I want students to understand the format.
Students will first attempt to write a story of their own, but all of the readings will be used for literary analysis throughout the trimester. I sent an email with the workshop dates this week. Remember students need to have their draft in the folder 24 hours before their workshop date so I can review it and provide feedback.
We have two tests before Spring Break! The vocabulary test for list #8 will be Tuesday, March 12 for Blocks 1,2, &3 and Wednesday, March 13 for Blocks 4 & 5. Students should also be preparing for the comprehensive exam that will take place in May.
03/01/2019 | March 1, 2019
We discussed feature story leads and secondary focus, but most of this week was devoted to work time. As I mentioned last week I extended the final due date for the Feature Story to Tuesday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure your child uploads their final draft (as a pdf) and a self-assessed checklist to Schoology by the 5th!
The vocabulary test for list #8 will be Tuesday, March 12 for Blocks 1,2, &3 and Wednesday, March 13 for Blocks 4 & 5. Students should also be preparing for the comprehensive exam that will take place in May.
The sentence assessment will take place on Tuesday March 19 for Blocks 1,2, &3 and Wednesday, March 20 for Blocks 4 & 5. There are a variety of resources on Schoology for both the vocabulary and grammar assessments. As always we will do some review in class, but please prepare in advance as you deem necessary!
Next week will return to creative writing techniques as we begin our short story unit.
Have a great weekend!
02/22/2019 | February 22, 2019
We used this short week for drafting (all students should have uploaded their feature story rough draft to Schoology by today 2/22) but I continue to introduce sentence tips for avoiding redundancy. In addition to sentence combining, we discussed appositives and adjective phrases this week.
I had originally had the final feature story due next Thursday, but the new due date is Tuesday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure your child uploads their final draft (as a pdf) to Schoology on or before the 5th.
I will continue to provide sentence tips and revision strategies next week, but will allow as much time as possible for students to work in class and conference with me if necessary.
Please be sure you are studying for the vocabulary and sentence type assessments as well!!! I moved both tests to Trimester 3, but students should be prepared for by the second week of March. Please refer to the homework site or this newsletter for updates and exact dates.
02/15/2019 | February 15, 2019
We continued to explore the characteristics of feature stories this week, and took some time to discuss the checklist/rubric. I have been emphasizing the importance of applying our knowledge of sentence structures in order to avoid redundancy. Since much of the content for this assignment comes from a personal interview, organization, transitions and sentence variation and how we convey information will continue to be our focus. I strongly encourage students continue to read as many samples (professional and student) as possible to get a feel for the organization and style of these stories.
All students should complete their interview before Wednesday, when classes resume. Next week, I will be conducting a series of grammatical lessons (appositives, adjective phrases, sentence combining, etc.) that can be applied to our writing immediately, so it is imperative that students have a draft to work from! All students will need to upload a rough draft by next Friday (2/22).
Students should also be preparing for vocabulary list #8. I do not have an exact date yet, and I would like students to focus on their feature story, so we may not have the test until Trimester 3. Scores have been lower on recent tests, so please reiterate at home to prepare for these assessments far in advance!

Have a great weekend!
02/08/2019 | February 8, 2019
We started planning our interviews this week by watching video features from 6o Minutes. I had students pay close attention to the types of questions interviewers asked, and I think they appreciated the content as well (a profile of young adult author, John Greene and a profile of how a small town couple figured out how to win $26 million playing the lottery using simple math). I emphasized the importance of avoiding general questions as well as “yes/no” questions, and we also discussed how an interview and the subject matter for a feature could have multiple focuses. For instance, Greene discussed his books, his online popularity, and his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I allowed some time for students to craft their questions (Due to scheduling some classes questions were due today, 2/8, and others will be due Monday, 2/11). Students should be scheduling their interviews as soon as possible, so we can begin the writing process next week! A rough draft will be due on Friday, February 22. (See homework website)

Remember, there will also be a vocabulary test on list #7 next week as well! I have decided to push the sentence assessment back a bit- probably into Trimester 3 because I want students to internalize this concept as much as possible. We will be applying our sentence structure knowledge in the coming weeks as we begin drafting our features, but students should be reviewing the activities in the Grammar folder on Schoology for practice!