Socratic Circle: Immigration in America

Essential Question:

What does it mean to be an immigrant in America?


After exploring various texts throughout the first quarter, you displayed your collective knowledge in a Socratic Circle to discuss our essential question above. Although any text read this quarter was viable, everyone should have four specific texts analyzed prior to the discussion:

  1. “Blaxicans” by Richard Rodriguez (essay)

  2. “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan (essay)

  3. article (from “A New Birth of Freedom” section)

  4. one article from a credible source (your choosing)

Note- You could have incorporated our other relevant texts (“Immigrant in Our Own Land” – Baca (poem) or “Song of Myself”- Whitman (poem))

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Pamela Perry. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0515-1105-0620-2900.

Reminder: You should have…

  •  a bulleted list of the major points from all the texts of your group members

  • a stance on the essential question that you can explain in one concise sentence

  • created five (5) questions to utilize during the scholarly discussion

Ntoes picNotes from Socratic Circle on Immigration in America

Find notes from our class discussions below.

Period 4:

 Period 4 Socratic Circle- ImmigrationPeriod 4 -Immigration 2

Period 6:

P.6 Socratic Circle- Immigration

Writing Assignment:

Over the first quarter, we have discussed the immigrant experience. Based on both the texts we have examined and our Socratic Circle discussion, what does it mean to be an immigrant in America? In three argumentative paragraphs, fully address your stance on the immigrant experience incorporating at least four correctly cited pieces of textual evidence. You must address a minimum of two (2) counterarguments presented during the discussion.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

NaNoWriMo IconNovember is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo!

Because of our stringent schedule, I cannot have the entire class participate in NaNoWriMo, but I would like to offer extra credit to students who participate.

Sometimes we simply need a bit of motivation to help our writing come to life. Sign up for NaNoWriMo here and get started.

NaNoWriMo How To

Need more incentive? Check out this blog post.


  • To receive the extra credit you must show me the badges you have collected during the month of November, as well as your completed novel.

  • You will not receive credit for only a few pages of writing.

Good luck and happy writing!

Writing w colors

Ms. Ellis’ Literary Duel: How Bookish Are You Really?


I officially challenge you to a duel of literary proportions! Each quarter you will compete against your teacher to see who can read the most books (nonfiction or fiction). If you beat me, you will receive an automatic “A” to use on any project (that same quarter) of your choosing. If you read at least ten (10) books each quarter, I will give you extra credit for the quarter.

Note: It is possible to receive the automatic “A” AND the extra credit. 

Here are the rules:

  1. Your book must be within the Lexile range for your grade level.

    • Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 5.20.25 PM

    • The “Stretch” Lexile Band is for those readers who want to challenge themselves.

  2. Check Lexile levels here by typing the title of your text in the right-hand corner.

  3. You must submit a book review on Goodreads for every book you read. Follow Ms. Ellis on Goodreads so she can see your progress. Your book review must contain the following information:

    • Write a summary of the book including its central idea.

    • Discuss the book’s strengths and weaknesses.

    • Tell whether or not you would recommend the text to other readers.

  4. Keep a hard copy of your reading log posted in the classroom: Ms. Ellis’ Literary Duel Log 

Dead Word Tombstone Assignment

RIP TombstoneDead Word Tombstone Assignment


In order to improve our vocabulary skills and minimize repetitiveness, we are going to eradicate our elementary terms.

  • Create a tombstone for a dead word according to the list below. No words may be reused. Check with your teacher for availability.
  • At the top of your tombstone, write the deceased word.
  • Honor’s Students: Write a eulogy to accompany your term. Your eulogy may be a piece of prose, poetry, or rap. (optional for other classes)
  • Use your thesaurus to locate at least three (3) adequate replacements for the departed word. Include your replacements at the bottom of your tombstone.
  • Please be creative and proofread your work.
  • I will grade you on grammar and the adequacy of the three alternative words you recommend.

Dead Words List:

  1. good
  2. bad
  3. sad
  4. scary
  5. happy
  6. a lot
  7. big
  8. small
  9. first
  10. last
  11. said
  12. gross
  13. like (I Like)
  14. got
  15. exciting
  16. wrong
  17. tired
  18. right
  19. sleepy
  20. take
  21. angry
  22. confused
  23. smart
  24. complicated
  25. dumb
  26. nice
  27. mean
  28. dirty
  29. because
  30. thing/ stuff
  31. funny
  32. beginner
  33. late
  34. new
  35. forgot

Student Example: Tombstone- Student Example

Death Awaits TombstoneDead Word Funeral

The following class period we will have a funeral for our fallen words. Please dress in black to create a somber mood in the classroom.Dead Word Funeral

Helpful Websites

There are so many sites out there and so little time to look through them all. I have often found a site in the middle of lesson planning only to lose it by accidentally hitting the infamous “X” in the top right hand corner. You’re probably familiar with what happens next. That brilliant idea, that phenomenal resource is gone to the internet gods.

In order to avoid that frustrating experience, I am creating a list of helpful websites for teachers. If you have any suggestions, please mention them in the comment section and I will add them.

Finding/ Sharing Lesson Plans

New Florida State Standards and Resources

Language Arts Resources

Grammar Specific Resources

Writing Resources



Computer Typing 


Multi-disciplinary Resources

Classroom Organization/ Reminders


Digital Projects

Spoken Word

Classroom Management

Lectures via Technology

 Professional Development Online

Audio Books

audiobooks imageThere are moments when you simply want to listen to a beautiful story instead of reading each word the old fashioned way. If you find yourself in one of these moods, try to find an intriguing text via audiobook. There are many sites to choose from, but here are a few suggested sites.

If you try one out, tell me about your experience in the comment section. Happy Listening!