Welcome Back, Bloggers!

Welcome Back, Bloggers!

It’s the start of a new school year, and I am beyond excited for all the things we will do this year in our English class.  I want to welcome you back to the blog if you have already blogged with me last year, and I want to welcome all the new bloggers in 7th and 8th grade who will get to start a brand new blog this year.


Why do we blog? 

There are a few reasons why blogging is a good way to develop writing skills and ‘find our voices’ as writers.

  1. Blogging gives us a REAL AUDIENCE.  You know how sometimes when you write for school you think, “Who’s going to read this, anyway?  Just my teacher.”  Well, with blogging you get a larger audience which can be inspiring to some writers.  You know that your friends will get a chance to read your stories or poems or rants . . . and that makes you want to say what you have to say!
  2. Blogging give us the chance to give and receive FEEDBACK.  One rule we have on these class blogs is that our feedback must be POSITIVE and ENCOURAGING!  Writing is HARD WORK, and writers need LOTS of encouragement, so this gives students a chance to get positive and specific feedback that reminds them they are doing a LOT of things right!
  3. Blogging gives us the chance to mix media forms.  We can use images, video, and audio to enhance our written words.  That helps us to be CREATIVE!
  4. Blogging is a MEDIA FORM, and designing a blog gives students the chance to express themselves through this medium.

Back To School Memes 2022 - Fun For All Going Back To Class

So, welcome back to you all!  I can’t wait to see what we can create here together.

The Lollipop Moment and First Followers

The Lollipop Moment and First Followers

Watch Drew Dudley’s Ted Talk and then write a blogpost in response to it.  Here are some questions to guide your thinking and writing:

  • Have you ever experienced a Lollipop moment?  Describe it!
  • If you’ve never thanked the person responsible for your Lollipop moment, describe the event and then write a thank you letter/blogpost.  Send it to that person.
  • Write a blogpost about leadership.  Do you agree with how Drew Dudley sees leadership?  Explain your ideas in a blogpost.
  • What are the qualities of a true leader?


The following video has more to say about leadership and how important the first follower of a leader is.  Watch it, think about it, comment on it or write a blogpost about the power of followers.  Some questions to guide your writing might include:

  • Are you following a leader who is doing great things?
  • Are you creating a positive movement by being a follower?
  • Are you the first dancing guy? Do you know someone like him?
  • Now that you know how powerful a first follower can be, will you think more carefully about who you follow and why you are following them?

Discuss in a comment on this blog or in a blogpost of your own.

RESEARCHING and WRITING: Our Expository Essays are Finally Here!

RESEARCHING and WRITING: Our Expository Essays are Finally Here!



We’ve all heard this before and we now have PROOF!  The work began in February, and finally most students are done!

Here’s a quick timeline of what we worked on throughout this process:

Research Research Project Bukowski & McKnight. How will research help you? Buying a phone Buying new sneakers Buying a car Going on vacation Health information. - ppt download

February – Students selected their own topics to make the research and writing process an interesting and personally meaningful experience.  We learned how to narrow a too-broad topic, and identify something that could be manageable for an essay of between 1-5 pages.



Late February – We began the research process by learning how to find information using our databases on the Virtual Learning Commons.  Students learned how to do searches using key words and phrases. We used the VLC exclusively in order to ensure that the information we gathered would be of good quality.  Although it is important for students to learn how to navigate search engines like GOOGLE or BING and distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources, the length of time we had for this project required a level of certainty from the start.

Research Design: Definition, Types & Characteristics | Leverage Edu

March – During the first few weeks of March, we researched our topics.  We gathered articles online, read a lot about our self-selected topics, learned how to take notes in our own words, kept a record of our sources, and filled our Reading Notebooks with interesting information to be used later in our writing.  Putting research into our own words helped us to avoid plagiarism and ensured that we truly understood what we were reading.

Late March and Early April – Students took their notes to the classrooms where they wrote their essays by hand in their writing notebooks.  First we reviewed our notes, made outlines for our essays, and colour coded our notes in accordance with our outlines.  In other words, students decided what each paragraph would focus on and which notes would go in each paragraph.Tips for How to Start Writing in a Journal for Beginners

We spent many days learning what makes for a good introduction, how to write clear topic sentences, how to write transition sentences at the end or beginning of each paragraph, and how to finish our essays with strong conclusions.  Students also learned how to cite their sources by using a Works Cited page at the end of their essays. This informs the reader of where the student-writer found the information in the essay.  Students also learned how to properly use an in-text citation for a quote they wanted to use from one of their research sources.

April – Students had opportunities to read their work aloud to a peer who was ready to offer revision advice.  We revised and edited and then spent the last couple of weeks typing our final drafts!  And, we’re DONE!

Please take a moment to read an essay or two!

We are so proud of all of our hard work!



Freezing Rain – A good time to write!

Freezing Rain – A good time to write!

Since today is a freezing rain day, I thought it might be a good time to build our creative writing muscles.  I’ve got a few writing prompts below for you to choose from.  Choose ONE and copy it over to your own blog.  Write a piece based on the prompt.  Happy WRITING!

Don’t like these prompts?  Feel free to write your own story, persuasive paragraph, how-to, rant, descriptive piece, whatever you wish!

Please leave some comments for a couple of other bloggers!

Prompt #1:  If you can, you can also find the youtube videos of your playlist and put them into your blogpost.  Don’t forget to tell us why you chose these songs in your writing.

Prompt #2:

Prompt #3:  Write a story!  Don’t like this image?  Find another to go with your story!

Prompt #4

Prompt #5: Write a story that starts here!

Using Visual Writing Prompts in the Catholic Classroom – Catholic School Chronicle

Prompt #6: 


I look forward to reading what you create!

Nonfiction Reading!

Nonfiction Reading!

We are just getting started on our Nonfiction Reading Book Clubs in Grades 7 and 8!  Grade 7 book clubs centre on books about Criminology, specifically how the experts solve crime. In Grade 8, our book clubs are diverse as our books range from graphic memoirs (Two Soldiers), books on strange events in our world (Vanished, and When the Worst Happens), books on crime (Robbers) and several others.

Some of our Grade 7 nonfiction book club books are:

Some of our Grade 8 Nonfiction Book Club books include: (there are quite a few others as well)

Both grades started learning about nonfiction during the Virtual Learning period after the holidays.  We learned about the FEATURES OF NONFICTION TEXTS, TEXT STRUCTURES in Nonfiction, and now we are working on learning how to make concise one-sentence summaries of short pieces of text, a skill that will come in handy during content area study and for our upcoming research projects.




During virtual learning, students were asked to select a nonfiction book to read on Sora or MyOn, or choose one from their home and/or community library.  It was so interesting to see all of the very diverse interests of students!

Students in both grades were asked to write responses to their self-selected books, using the Nonfiction Reading Response Journal Guide provided to them.  Here is a copy of that guide for visitors to see what kinds of prompts students used:



Reading Response Journal Guide for Nonfiction Text


Every new entry in your response journal should be clearly defined by:

  • The date: Right hand side
  • The title of your book: Centred at the top of your page
  • The page numbers that you are responding to: Left hand side
  • Quotes taken from the text: In quotation marks, write the FULL quote from the book with the page number in parentheses right beside the quote
  • Length: Each entry should be at least 3/4 to 1 page (8 ½ x 11”) in length if handwritten. One-two typewritten pages double spaced if typed.

Below, you will find ideas for what to write about in your response journal.  


  • What are some of the main ideas from the text so far? Use your own words to explain the concepts and provide some supporting details.
  • What are the most relevant supporting details from you text? Why?
  • Write about the ideas that surprised you. Why were you surprised? 
  • Talk about the ideas that made you think more deeply about the subject. Did these ideas inspire questions?  Reactions?  Did the ideas provoke strong feelings? Explain and use details to support your thinking.
  • What does this text NOT tell you? What does it assume? What does it fail to assume?
  • What confused you about what you read? As you read further did your confusion dissipate? Why or why not?
  • What questions are you left with after reading this text? If you were to do more research on the topic, what would you want to know?

Author’s perspective:

  • What was the author’s purpose and how do you know?
  • Who is the audience and how do you know?
  • Do you think the author is very knowledgeable on the subject? What makes you think so?  Provide reasons and evidence.
  • Does this author have a bias? Is the author supporting one position on the subject? No matter what your answer – yes or no – provide explanation and evidence to support your idea.
  • Is a perspective missing from the text? Does it consider all possible perspectives or is it one-sided?
  • What was the ‘tone’ of the writing? Was it humourous, mysterious, bland, etc.?  Did the ‘tone’ support the ideas?  Was the tone appropriate for the content?  Explain using examples from the text.


  • What connections did you make while reading this text? How does this text relate to you and your life?
  • What parts of the text will stick with you for a very long time? Why are they important to you?
  • Has this text changed your own thinking on the topic? How? What impact will that have on you and your life?
  • Can you connect this text to others you have read on the same topic? How were they similar?  How were they different?  Explain using examples.

Writing styles:

  • How is the book/text you read today structured? Why do you think the author choose to do it that way?
  • Were there features (subtitles, photos, captions, text boxes, etc.) of this text that you found helpful? How did they help you understand the ideas in the text?
  • Was there a passage or a sentence that you found particularly strong or powerful in some way? Copy it (use the page number in parentheses) and explain why it was powerful to you.
  • Did the author use figurative or descriptive language that you found beautiful, chilling, scary, sad? Copy the passage or sentences and explain how the author used words, sentences, etc. to convey these emotions.
  • Did the author’s word choices make the text more vivid and easy to visualize? Did the author use strong nouns and verbs?  Were there many words that were difficult to understand?  Talk a bit about the author’s choice of words


Here are some examples of some amazing reading responses by Grade 7 and 8 students.  They have given me permission to share their work.



January 14, 2022

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements

My book explains the 118 elements and what they do. The book explains how to read the periodic table. The atomic number is how many protons are in an atom, and this is what

determines which element they are. When two or more different elements are put into one olecule they are called compounds. So, I am starting to wonder what will happen if you mix all the elements together in one compound. Carbon is my Favorite element. Why you ask, well you wouldn’t be reading this without it. My book says that “Carbon is the foundation of all life.” (Page 28) That is right. Carbon is in every single life form we know. Not only is carbon essential for life itself, but diamonds are also an allotrope of carbon which means they are pure carbon.

That is why carbon is the best. I wonder how many allotropes carbon has.

What are the deadliest elements? One of the deadliest elements is plutonium. Why? Well because it emits gamma, beta, and alpha radiation. Second place is polonium. Just one gram of polonium could kill 10 million people. That is about half the population of New York! I am terrified of that stuff and I hope it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Third place is arsenic, a deadly poison that I

don’t want to come across.

Another thing I learned in this book is that the elements after 100 have no use. This part I found to be boring because they do nothing and they are all human made. It makes me wonder why we

even made them.

What makes solid a solid? Well for something to be solid the atoms must be close together or as the book says “when an element is in solid form, atoms are attracted to each other and locked into a tight position.” (Page 14) Fun fact: helium is the only element that cannot be a solid. What about liquid? Well for liquid the atoms are kind of attracted, but not as much as solids. Gases are barely attracted to each other or how the book explains it “When an element is in a gas form, the atoms are weakly attracted to each other and move in different directions.” (Page 14)

Another cool element is mercury. The book says “Mercury is a fascinating element because of

It’s mystifying and dangerous. It is the only metal element that remains liquid at room temperature.” (Page 116) I find that quite fascinating. Fun fact: The saying “mad as a hatter” is said because in the eighteen hundreds hatters would put mercury on hats for health reasons!

Because they handled it so much, they inhaled it and that made them go mad.

In the past I have talked about radiation, but what is radiation? Well, the book says that

“Radioactivity happens when a nucleus becomes overcrowded with nucleons (the protons or neutrons in a nucleus), causing the elements to become unstable.” (Page 131) Although it sounds cool it can be very dangerous. Fun fact: Every element after polonium is radioactive.

I hope that you enjoyed my reading response journal on the elements.

By Connor


This one is shared anonymously:

January 14, 2022

Iceberg, Right Ahead!

Page 28-45

Everyone knows the basics about the Titanic, but I was interested in finding out more detail, that’s why I chose this book. 

“More passengers jumped or simply slid off the boat into the water. Others, like baker Charles Joughin, held on until the last possible moment. ”I cannot look any longer,” said one lifeboat passenger just before the sea closed over the ship. “She’s gone,” whispered the man on boat B almost reverently.” (Page 40)

I found this quote from the text very powerful. Thinking about what those people went through made me very sad. I was sad because as I kept reading, I found out that a captain of the Californian ship didn’t do anything to help save the people. His ship was only 18miles from the Titanic when it went down. Many people on board the Californian saw the Titanic’s white flares but because it was the middle of the night, they all went back to sleep. Later in the book it says that after this tragedy a rule changed that ships must always have a wireless operator on duty all the time.

There were many other ways almost everyone could have been saved. First there was enough lifeboats, but people said it was “unsinkable”, so they took off over half the lifeboats. Which left not even enough lifeboats for half of the people that was going to be on the great ship. Also, they kept going after they hit the iceberg but if they stopped right after they would have floated for a lot longer and the Carpathia (58 miles away) may have made it there before the ship went down. 

There is a very interesting chart on the Titanic demographics. 

“Overall, 63% of the first-class passengers and 43 % of the second-class passengers survived. Only 25% of the third-class passengers survived.” (page 45) I can’t believe that people were divided up by classes way back then.

There is so much detail in this book I might have to read it again.

One more from Grade 7

Reading Response Journal Entry- pages 1-20                                                                             January 14, 2022


By Tammy Gagne

This book is very interesting. I think it is very cool to learn about animals you don’t know much about. Especially animals that you don’t keep as a pet like jaguars. I never really think about animals like jaguars, and I wouldn’t know any of the stuff I learned if I hadn’t read this book. So far in this book I have learned about how jaguars hunt, about their cubs, the things and animals they eat and lots more. Some things I found interesting about jaguars are that they are the biggest wildcat in west of Africa, and they are the third biggest wildcat in the world!Only lions and tigers are bigger than jaguars!

Another thing I learned about jaguars is how big they are. An adult jaguar can measure up to 6 feet long and male jaguars can weigh up to 120-300 pounds! To me, that is very heavy! I learned that jaguars don’t have any predators other than humans and that they aren’t nocturnal nor diurnal. They just hunt when the time is right! In my opinion, I think that is a good idea because you never know what you may come across in the day or the night. One of the things I learned that I found very interesting is that when cubs are learning to hunt; a mother doesn’t always kill the prey. Sometimes she will injure it so the cubs can learn to kill the animal. Another thing I learned about how jaguars hunt is that a jaguar’s teeth and jaws are strong enough to crush the hardest reptile shells. But a jaguar will not use teeth to kill smaller animals, such as rodents. It uses its huge paws to crush them instead. Jaguars also spend time in water! I wouldn’t have thought that because they are in the cat family and cats usually don’t like water. Something I would never have known before reading this book is that black jaguars have spots. You just have to look very closely to see them! 

In this book, I found the photos, captions, and text boxes very useful. On some pages of the book, there would be little captions which would give the definition of a difficult word on the page, so I think that was very helpful. I think the author is very knowledgeable on this subject. I know anyone could just research facts on jaguars and write a book, but I don’t think the author did. I can tell by the way she follows up with something after the fact. For example: “Jaguars do not roar when hunting. They usually roar to scare other animals away. They will also roar when defending their territories. Many other animals back away when they hear this loud sound.” She doesn’t just list the fact, she goes into more detail. Over all I really enjoyed reading this book, and I learned a lot! 

 Elizabeth K.


GRADE 8 – The following responses are by grade 8 students.  They chose a wide range of topics when they selected their books.

(pg.100-110).                                                                                                                                                1/14/22

Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

Journal Entry

By Kaleigh M.

Anne Frank is a young girl hiding from the Nazi with her family. The main idea of the story is, Anne lives behind a hidden bookcase in her house and rarely leaves it to protect herself. Ever since world war 2, with a person controlling it Hitler, Jewish people have had to go into hiding to prevent themselves from being taken into concentration camps or being killed immediately. All the people living in the secret annex were Otto Frank, his wife Edith, their daughters Margot and Anne, Herman van Pels; a German Jewish businessman, his wife Auguste and his son Peter and lastly a German dentist; Fitz Pfeffer. 

A connection I made in the book with Anne when she was cutting potatoes and a man named Mr. Dussel said (pg.104), “No, not like that-like this!” then Anne said, “I get on better like this, Mr. Dussel.” I can relate to this because, when I was little, I would always like to do things my own way and try before anyone else told me to do it differently. Like whenever I wanted to ride my bike without training wheels and a helmet and got really hurt after. My mom and dad would get angry at me sometimes for doing things like this, but I wouldn’t listen to them most of the time.

A part in the text that surprised me was on pg.107 whenever at half past eight Anne’s dad must go into the living room where people who work in the office come in. At this point everyone must be as quiet as possible in the secret annex since anyone in the warehouse would be able to hear them. At 9 o’clock they’re able to leave for breakfast. This part of the book really surprised and scared me at the same time. It was impressive how everyone was able to stay so quiet while at risk for possibly being caught. I can imagine this experience is scary every time they have to hide and wonder what they’re thinking when it happens.

To talk about the tone of the writing, from experience from reading Anne’s diary so far, its fair to say she has a very carefree personality and doesn’t consider the bad things that could occur from her actions. She seems like the type of person who would get hurt badly after falling off something then laugh, smile, and say “I’m alright!” In traumatic occurrences, she writes all happy, for example going back to when they had to hide, at the end of the paragraph she wrote (pg.108), “Pim is drawn into the discussion… nine o’clock! Breakfast!” She wrote it as if nothing bad were to happen. So, I would have to say she has a very humorous writing styles that makes her diary enjoyable to read.

While Anne was writing her diary, she made it very easy to visualize and understand what was happening, for example in this sentence (pg. 110), “One day Kraler wanted to be extra careful, put on his coat at ten minutes to one, and went to the chemist round the corner.” It was easy to see what was happening in the story and I could visualize it well in my head. I’ve always noticed that when Anne wrote her diary, she used lots of details that were very specific. She made it easy to read you could always notice everything going on.

I’ve been reading Anne Frank’s diary for awhile and i’ve really liked it. It’s a very relatable and educating book to read for classes. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t heard of it or out of the people who have read it that doesn’t like it. WW2 books have always been one of my favourite genres and this book is probably the best i’ve seen out of them all. In conclusion, great book so far, and I encourage others to start reading it or continue to.


Women in the Military

Pg. 33-185                                                                                                                                         January 14, 2022


When I first decided on this book, I had an idea of what was coming: sexism, discrimination, and lots on women’s rights. Now, I’ve learned about all of that, but I’ve also learned about these strong military women’s stories.

How late the USA was to opening up combat roles to women in the military was astounding, especially since stories of some women who have posed as a man in combat. For example, Deborah Sampson in 1782 was twenty-two years old when she enlisted in the Continental Army as ‘Robert Shurtleff’. At one point she was injured by two musket balls to her thigh, she refused to let the doctor treat her because her gender could have been exposed. Instead, she dug one out with her own penknife and sewed the wound all by herself. But, in 1783 she fell ill with a fever and the doctor discovered her gender, “General George Washington, the leader of the Continental Army, ordered her to be honorably discharged in 1783.” (Chapter 1, pages thirty-five and thirty-six) There are many other cases like this, and in each one given in this book these women served fiercely.  Yet, I am surprised two hundred, thirty-three years later in the USA they have the mind to open combat roles to women instead of opening it up earlier.

A problem brought to my attention in this book was sexual assault and harassment towards women in the military. Not only was it assault, but the way the men viewed these women as only objects of their sexual pleasure. “In January 2017, the US Marines accepted its first group of women trainees for a marine infantry combat unit. Less than a month later, a disturbing pattern of behavior surfaced among male marines.” (Chapter 6, page 185) This behavior included taking pictures without consent or their knowledge when these women were showering or changing. Then the pictures or videos would be posted to a private site where all the men could view them. If this is the result of having a group of women trainees, then that is a major issue. Not only did these men view them as unequal, but they also acted on their views in an illegal way. This makes me think, how many other cases are there of stuff like this? How many are yet to be discovered?

I believe that the author Connie Goldsmith believes in equality and is a feminist. It is clear she supports all roles for women in the military and brings the issues of inequality to the audience’s attention. As a girl growing up in society where women now have opportunities, they have not had in the past is uplifting. But there is still discrimination in all aspects of future jobs. In my opinion, the targeted audience is anyone who is interested in women of our past, the military, and equal rights. So far, this book has inspired me to explore my potential as a woman.


Pg.1-45                          I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings                        Friday, January 14, 2022  

Mia F. 

The book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is about the life of Maya Angelou. I wonder why the book is called that but it will probably explain later on. What has surprised me so far is how young Maya and her brother Bailey were when they got sent away on train.At only the age of 3 and 4, they were traveling alone. It doesn’t describe how they were feeling because she doesn’t really remember but in my opinion, I would be scared being alone. As, I was scared going with my brother at the age of 8 on the train, I can’t imagine being younger. Another thing that has surprised me, is how little they get payed as it says on page 25 “We rang up 5 cent sales”. It even mentions how their wages wouldn’t get them out of dept. With 5 cent pay checks it would be hard to live or even buy food. Although things were cheaper years ago I can’t imagine that. It makes me feel bad for them.  

The author’s perspective is of her own but I think it would be cool to see other people’s perspectives. I get why it’s only hers because she can’t feel other people’s emotions. The reason why I want to know other people’s perspectives is because on page 31-32 it talks about Uncle Willie wants the strangers to think good of him and his life and I wonder why? Another thing I wonder is why they’re so scared of “the boys,” that Uncle Willie had to hide under potatoes, In a bin, in the store to stay safe after the old sherifs warning. It would definitely be scary having to hide for your life wondering “what if they find me?”I don’t think I can make many connections to this book so far, although I haven’t experienced being judged for the colour of my skin. People in my life and family have told me stories about their experiences and I don’t think anyone should have to go through that.  

One of the things I enjoy in the book so far is the sibling bond between Maya and Bailey. I think siblings who have gone through a lot of things together grow closer and try to protect each other. For example, on page 45 it describes how her brother was graceful where she was the opposite but it says “And yet he still loved me.” Another thing is, it says when their elders said unkind things about her features, Bailey would wink at her from across the room and no matter what she knew in a matter of time he would get revenge. I love reading/watching about sibling bonds because they’re usually very wholesome. To conclude, I think this book is good so far and I would like to read more about Maya’s life. 

One last one from Grade 8

1/14/2022                                                                                                                                        pg.1-186

  The Forest City Killer


(I must start this with a message that this book genuinely made me sick with the details being given, so I might skim over some details meaning it might not be very good writing, as it was hard for me to write.  I really think the reason this book rattled me so much compared to others is because almost all the victims were under the age of 20 and they hadn’t lived any life yet.)

The main idea of the whole book is that the residents of London, Ontario are trying to figure out who a serial killer who rampaged the town during the 1960s and on. They’re not really looking to solve the case per say but they want closure for the family and themselves to “know” who the sick person who committed the murders were.  

They haven’t got into many suspects yet because I haven’t finished the book yet and I’m still reading about the murders. So, the main idea of the text is currently trying to figure out if certain murders were linked or not, which spoiler alert I think they were. The circumstances of the murders were just way too similar for them not to be. I am aware this would be considered circumstantial evidence and wouldn’t hold up in a court of law but just wait until I get into the details, and I think you will understand where I’m coming from.

The first murder was that of a fifteen-year-old girl named Jackie English. She was found in a river chocked to death and unclothed by two men who called the police. Who a couple of days later confirmed her as the missing girl Jackie English. This is the main murder that takes place in the book and all the details are really saddening. I almost cried at her funeral scene when the family said they only had one picture left of her from her eighth-grade graduation, as the detectives took all the rest as evidence. That line reminded me she was only a year older than me currently and it was just horrible reading that. 

The next murder that took place was of sixteen-year-old Jaquline Dunleavy, a cop’s daughter. She was found hidden behind a school in a snow-covered field chocked to death with parts of her clothes torn off exposing her private areas, she also had a pack of pink tissues stuffed into her mouth.  She was found by 3 deaf boys who were suspects at the time because the way she was placed you would have to know about the spot to find her and their story made no sense as they stated they were going sledding but had no sleds. The boys were ruled out later as the ones who killed her when they were dragged down to the station, them being taken to the station brought a negative light on them into the media because they kept the boys at the station separated overnight and didn’t let them call their parents to inform them of their whereabouts even though they had already been cleared. 

The next 3 murders are the murders that some believe are linked to the previous 2 murders. Those murders are of nine-year-old Frankie Jensen, nineteen-year-old Scott Leishman, and twenty-two-year-old Helga Beer.

Getting into the first murder of Frankie, which in my opinion this murder is the most devastating. After the previous two murders the town was on high alert and people were advised not to travel alone, so the neighborhood parents set up walking groups for the kids to get to and from school. As mentioned in the murder of Jaquline it was winter, so when the walking group showed up Frankies mother was still helping him into his snow gear. Most notably a green knit hat that his mother made, and she told the group to go ahead without Frankie. When she was done getting him ready, she sent him on his way thinking he would be fine as the walking group was say 10 ft ahead of him so he could probably catch up. But because Frankie was so far behind, he decided to take a shortcut to school, which involved him going through the woods. After Frankie went into the woods he was not seen until his body was found months later, missing his green hat. In the same lake Jackie English’s body was found in. He was found caught in a fishing line which the detectives believe is the reason he drowned because there was evidence of choking on his body which could have been caused by him getting his neck wrapped in the fishing line. The reason why the family didn’t think this was possible is because Frankie was deathly afraid of the water and would never get in because he was terrified of drowning. 

People believe this murder was connected to those of Jackie and Jaquline because of the location he was found in and the choking. They say that if the murderer went back to where he dumped Jackies body, a common thing serial killers do to relive the joy of the murder, he could have seen Frankie walking to school by himself and taken him and killed him. Another reason was the choking, suffocation was the method the killer used to kill both Jackie and Jaquline, they think it’s too much of a coincidence that Frankie had been killed by suffocation.

Another murder they think is related is that of Scott Leishman, his murder didn’t have much detail in the book so bear with me here. Scott Leishman disappeared during the time that they were still looking for Frankie. It took them a long time to find Scott after he was reported missing by his parents, but he was eventually found in a river by a fisherman in a boat. He was so deep and hidden in the lake that it would have taken a person with a lot of boating skill to hide his body, which doesn’t fit with the other murders as they were more carelessly tossed away.  But when the officers did get there, they determined his cause of death was suffocation. Now you might be asking how this connects to the other murders, it can’t just be suffocation, that’s too common and you’d be right. Scott was found with a pack of pink tissues stuffed in his mouth; the same type that were found stuffed in Jacqline’s mouth. He also had evidence of being undressed and redressed. Which fits in with the killer’s other victims who all had something done to his clothes; Jackie and Jacqline’s clothes were torn or missing to reveal their genitals, Frankies hat and coat were missing they just disappeared with no trace. So, this leads people to believe the murder is connected. 

The last murder they think is related is that of Helga Beer, this murder made me a new type of angry and I think you will see why. Helga Beer was a partier, she liked to party, and she was said to be very promiscuous. Now this might be said because she was an unmarried openly bi-sexual at twenty-two which was unheard of in the 60s. But one morning after a party Helga was found in her car dead by a valet working opening shift at a parking lot. She was strangled to death and most of her clothes were removed. This death was seen by many detectives as something Helga had coming for who she was, so they didn’t investigate the case at all they just closed it. People believe if the cops had investigated this murder more, they could have linked it to bot the deaths of Jackie and Jaquline as they were almost the same.

 I do believe that all three of these murders above were connected to those of Jackie and Jacqline. The way the murders took place all seem a little too similar, although Scott’s murder, I’m iffy about. I think it just is a coincidence that he had the same brand of tissues used to gag him, because it was a small town and they probably all used the same tissue, from the same store. I also think it’s extremely strange that the killer would go to such great lengths to hide Scott but not the other victims. Most serial killers wouldn’t hide one person very well like they were ashamed, especially not when all the other victims were easy to find.


I am pretty impressed with the quality of the above student responses.  There were many other excellent ones, and I hope they will appear on individual students’ blogs in the coming days.  I do want to thank all of the students who said, “Yes!” when I asked for permission to share their work.  I hope you all can see how they used the Nonfiction Reading Response Journal Guide to prompt some excellent thinking about their reading and some excellent writing about their reading!


Wrapping Up our Novel Studies!

Wrapping Up our Novel Studies!

Students in all 4 of our English classes have wrapped up the novel studies this week!

We’ve worked hard over the last several weeks, reading, writing, quizzing, and discussing our novels.  During these novel studies we learned about:

  • character development

  • point of view

  • settings

  • conflicts

  • plot arcs

  • themes!

(Thank you mistersato411 for all the great videos about the elements of a narrative.)


We practiced our understanding of these elements of narrative using short stories and excerpts, watched videos about them, and discussed them in the context of our novels.  Great learning!

7B Read “Freak the Mighty” by Rodman Philbrick

Grade 7A read “No Fixed Address” by Susin Nielsen



8A Read “Refugee” by Alan Gratz

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And 8B read “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton

We will be switching things up later this year by having Grade 8s switch novels (Grade 8B will read Refugee, Grade 8A will read The Outsiders; Grade 7B will read No Fixed Address, and Grade 7A will read Freak the Mighty), so I’ve asked all students to avoid discussing their novel studies with other classes.  Thank you for not spoiling it for others!

I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I hope you all are too!  


Reading Response in Grade 7 – Thank You Ma’am!

Reading Response in Grade 7 – Thank You Ma’am!

As promised, I have asked for and was granted permission to share some Grade 7 Reading Responses with you to help you better understand what an excellent reading response might look like.  Grade 7 students have all read the short story called “Thank You Ma’am” and they were asked to write a response that included: 2 character traits, along with supporting evidence and explanation for each of the two main characters – Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger.

For those who have not read the story (Grade 8 students or parents/guardians and guests to our website), I am posting the file here:

[embeddoc url=”https://rdeighton.edublogs.org/files/2021/10/Thank_You__Mam-teacher-1.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

Thank you to all the students who were willing to share their work here!


Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Hannah


Mrs. Jones is very empathetic in this story.  She is empathetic because she feels the pain and sorrow Roger is experiencing and understands why he acted the way he did.  A good example of this is when she makes him cocoa and gives him a towel to clean off his dirty face.

Mrs. Jones is also very honest.  I know this because she comments on when Roger tried to steal her purse and said that she also did things she wasn’t proud of as a kid, like stealing others’ things as well, but learned and wants to help him learn better ways.  A very important factor showing Mrs. Jones is honest is when she has faith that Roger will not try to steal her things again, even though she can’t see him while making the food.

Roger is a little bit desperate in this story.  He is desperate because he comments multiple times that his family is out of the picture, and he obviously isn’t in the best physical nor mental state.   He really demonstrates that he’s desperate when he first tries to steal the pocketbook and then proceeds to say he wasn’t try to after he got caught by Mrs. Jones.

Another trait for Roger is trustworthy.  Although he was more on the cowardice side for the beginning, he ended up changing for the better thanks to Mrs. Jones.  Roger is now trustworthy because he learned his lesson about doing wrong and was shown through Mrs. Jones’ kindness that it is always better to do the good thing.  A main example of his trustworthiness is when Mrs. Jones left the room, he had every opportunity to steal her pocketbook, but instead he wanted Mrs. Jones to know he’s very thankful for what she’s done and that bringing him home wasn’t a mistake.  I think from then and one, Roger will continue to be a better person, also from how Mrs. Jones had faith in him then, especially since Roger probably would have succeeded had he tried to take everything and leave.  Overall, even though Roger started off a coward, he learned through kindness the way to trust people and become a happy, better person.



Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Abby

Mrs. Jones is one of two protagonists in the story.  Mrs. Jones can be scary sometimes because when Roger tried to take her pocketbook she kicked him, picked him up by his shirt, and yelled at him.  This can be very scary especially when you are a kid and have no one else with you.  Roger was scared because he just needed some money, but Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones was not OK with someone touching her ag.

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is also understanding because she took Roger to her house, then helped him wash up.  She gave him some food and combed his hair.  She also gave him money to buy the shoes he wanted.  She is trying to show to not judge a book by its cover and trust them because everyone goes through rough patches and has bad days.

Roger is the other protagonist in the story.  I think Roger is determined.  I think this because at the beginning he is determined to get money from Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones which takes a lot of determination, because she can be scary.

Roger then continues when they get to Mrs. Jones’.  He was so determined to gain her trust.  Throughout the whole story, he showed determination with smaller things as well.  In the beginning when he tried to steal the money, he didn’t give up when the bag didn’t come right off Mrs. Jones.  He still tried to run even though it didn’t work.  Then, more towards the middle when he needed to gain her trust, she already trusted him, but he still put himself in her sight so he knew she could see he wasn’t going to do anything bad.

I think Roger is also honest.  When she asked why he tried to steal her money, he told her exactly why, because he wanted to get new shoes.  He continued to be honest like when he sat in her sight to be trusted.  I think this shows honesty and truth or when he almost made a run for it to leave, but didn’t.  Overall, I think Roger is a kind, honest, determined person and he shouldn’t try and steal people’s money, but he should keep up the honesty, kindness and determination.


Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by R.J.

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is one of two protagonists in the story.  She is kind and trusting.

I think Mrs. Jones is trusting because she let a young boy who tries stealing from her into her home and then left him unattended.  He could easily run or stolen something. Roger even thinks about running in paragraph 32 when he thinks, “He could make a dash for it down the hall.  He could run, run, run, run, run.” Personally, I wouldn’t let someone who just attempted to steal from me in my house and cook them a meal.

My second trait for Mrs. Jones is kind.  I think this because she cooks a meal for Roger, makes him cocoa, and gets him to wash his face.  All of this happened between paragraphs 26 to 41, and I think it represents kindness. Roger was probably scared, and I bet Mrs. Luella Bates Washing Jones’ acts of kindness made him feel better and learn a lesson.

Roger is the other protagonist in this story.  I think that a good character trait for him would be desperate.  I think that because he literally tried to steal an old lady’s purse.  I would never dream of stealing, especially not from an old lady, but then again, I’m not desperate.  In paragraph 27, he said he had no one home and no one has fed him, which makes me believe either he doesn’t have parents, or he has parents but they just don’t take good care of him, which again brings us back to the fact that he’s probably desperate. I would definitely be desperate if no one took very good care of me. Even Mrs. Jones said he looks filthy in paragraph 26 and said to wash his face.  This is why I think Roger is desperate.


Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Connor

Mrs. Jones is one of two protagonists in this story.  She is kind.  I think this because she helped Roger get food helped him get shoes, and cleaned him up.  She did not have to do these things, but she did to teach Roger.

Mrs. Jones is also understanding.  I know this because she understood that Roger can’t get these things he wanted and that his family won’t get it for him.  She even got him the shoes he wants.  She could have just called the cops, but instead she let him eat with her.

Roger is honest.  I know this because in paragraph 9 he told Mrs. Jones he would run away if she let him go.  In paragraph 23, he told Mrs. Jones his name.  This is honest because he could have lied so she would let him go.  Then the cops couldn’t have gotten him.


Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Elizabeth

One of the protagonists in this story is Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.  Mrs. Jones is a very kind person. I know Mrs. Jones is kind by the way she treated Roger.  Whenever Roger tried to steal Mrs. Jones’ pocketbook, she didn’t take Roger to the police like a lot of people would have done.  Mrs. Jones took Roger to her home, washed his face, and cooked him a meal.  These are all extreme acts of kindness, but one think in this tory that was very nice of Mrs. Jones is that she actually talked to Roger.  She didn’t automatically assume that Roger is a horrible person.  What he did was not good, but like I said before, she didn’t take him straight to the police.  Instead, she taught him a lesson with kindness.

Another character trait for Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is that she is understanding.  I know that she is understanding by the way she forgave Roger.  Not a lot of people can forgive someone or understand them like Mrs. Jones did.  In the story, Roger said, “I wanted a pair of blue suede shoes,” and then Mrs. Jones says, “Well, you didn’t have to snatch my pocketbook to get some suede shoes. You could have asked me.”  And then Mrs. Jones said, “I were young once, and I wanted things I could not get.” Whenever Mrs. Jones said that I thought that she was a very understanding person.

The second protagonist in this story is Roger.  In this story, Roger starts out bad, but at the end of the story he is kind of good. So, I think in the end of the story, a character trait for Roger would be respectful. He is respectful in an off sort of way.  I know he is respectful by the way he treated Mrs. Luela Bates Washington Jones.  Whenever she brought him to her house and cooked him a meal and washed his face, he had the opportunity to run away from Mrs. Jones, but he didn’t.  To me, that shows respect.  Also, whenever Mrs. Jones said, “I were young once and I wanted things I could not get,” and when she said that I thought that she had gained his respect.  And that is why I think Roger is respectful.


Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Laila

Mrs. Jones is forgiving because she gave Roger food and money to buy him shoes.  Mrs. Jones didn’t need to bring Roger to her house and give him food and money. She could have taken him to the police for trying to steal from her, but she decided to forgive him instead. That shows that Mrs. Jones is forgiving.  She admitted that she did bad things as well when she was young, instead of just saying how bad Roger was.

Roger is trustworthy because when Mrs. Jones took him to her house and left him alone with her purse, he didn’t run or take the purse.  He wanted Mrs. Jones to trust him, and she did.  When Roger took her purse, he didn’t run away and that shows he is trustworthy. 

Roger is determined because he wanted Mrs. Jones’ trust, so he tried to be good for her.  If I were Roger, I would be tempted to take her purse when she left the room, but he was determined to get her trust.



Thank You Ma’am

Reading Response by Anonymous

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is one of two protagonists in the story.  She is kind.  In the story, Roger tries to steal Mrs. Jones’ handbag, but when Mrs. Jones catches him, instead of punishing him, she shows him kindness by feeding him dinner, washing his face, and giving him money to buy the shoes he wanted. She knows what it feels like to be in his position. 

Mrs. Jones is empathetic. In the story, after Roger tries to steal her handbag, she takes him home, feeds him, and tells him, “I have done things too” after telling she was young once.  I believe that changed Roger’s perspective on Mrs. Jones because she showed him empathy.

Roger is also one of the two protagonists in the story.  He is well-mannered.  In the text, when Mrs. Jones caught him stealing, he remained polite throughout the entire story.  For example, Roger was grateful when Mrs. Jones let him wash his face, gave him money and fed him.  When he was leaving and Mrs. Jones said, “have a good night! Behave yourself, boy!” Roger said, “Thank you” to her.  Those are my traits for both the protagonists in the story!


I hope this helps us all to envision all of the possible ways we can make a statement or claim about an idea in a text and support it using specific evidence and explanations to support our thinking!  Thanks again to all students who shared their work here.

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