Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thank you for the Gifts.

With the tragic events that took place in Connecticut last week, I can't help but take a few minutes to share my thoughts as an individual, future parent, and teacher. Last night, with my husband, (also a teacher) we listened to the stories from surviving teachers in that school and we couldn't stop thinking about what we would have done in the same situation. I pray that I would never be in such a place where the fear of death or harm is put on my heart- not for myself but for my students.

Please know that there will always be days where students are upset with teachers and teachers with students, but in the end we are individuals that are separate from those titles. I care for each one of the persons that walk into, and out of my classroom on a daily and yearly bases. I would gladly protect, comfort and nurture any person who needs it.

I adore teaching and though it can be at times a thankless job, the fact that students arrive each day and look to me for guidance, and parents trust me with their most priceless creation is a "Thank You!" in of itself.

This is the season for sharing gifts and I thank every parent for sharing their child, and in my opinion, the very best gift any family can receive, with me. I have grown as a person, teacher, and future parent by knowing all of them.

Happy Holidays,
Mrs. Burman

Monday, November 26, 2012

Digital Collage - Speech

After completing Chapter 5 in Speech class, the students were challenged to think about their own self-concept and self-esteem. They created a digital collage where they could use pictures from their iPads, Internet and friends to help give us an image of "them". They then had to do a write up along with the collage explaining each picture and how said item or person defined them (thus their self-concept and self-esteem!) They turned out great! Here are few from the fourth period class.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Students and their resources....

Today I assigned a chapter review assignments in preparation for the chapter test tomorrow! I took attendance and replied to a few emails and then looked around. Students were using their digital notes from the day before and the book to find the correct answers! This is a great sign- students working smarter with all their resources.

After our test tomorrow students will be sharing their digital collages. They are using a application made for putting photos together in a large format for sharing. I will be sure to put a few up before break!- I am very excited to see what students think define them and in result seeing what they are thankful for.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Group Work

In English 11 students are working on a two day short story project. The project description and evaluations are here. Many student hate group work while others find it helpful. I built this project closely to this article called "Productive Group Work in Middle and High School Classrooms" by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Aida Allen. 

The article describes five principles that are needed for effective cooperative learning: 

1. Positive interdependence of group members such that they need to rely on
one another to solve the problem successfully—a sink-or-swim approach.
2. Face-to-face interaction to promote the personal investment group members
have in one another, both academically and as people.
3. Individual and group accountability focused on goals and outcomes, so
members are acknowledged for their individual contributions and their
ability to be collectively responsible for the results.
4. The teaching of interpersonal and small-group skills to foster the social and
academic skills needed to work together.
5. Group processing so members have opportunities to evaluate their products
and determine how they might improve the ways they work together.

Just a note to those who are absent:

If you are absent during a group project, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to contact a group member that can catch you up. This is not only an assignment on short stories, it is a test of maturity. In college or the work force you must always stay in contact with your group/team.  If there is not contact your peers may use that as a mark on the peer evaluation. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

iPad Worksheets

In both English 11 and Speech students are using a new application on their iPads. This app, called Notability, is allowing teachers to save paper and students to use their iPad PRODUCTIVELY and helps the student not lose worksheets.

Below are a few pictures of students in English 11 using the app to review a reading from the previous day.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Term and New Season

Today was not only the first day of the new term (this means all new Speech Classes!) it was also the first day of mandatory swim practice. I am looking forward to fresh beginnings for both activities.


English 11 - Be ready for our last Unit 3 section this week! Poetry!!

Speech - Chapter 1 test will be happening this week and do not forget your binders, first binder check is Friday!

Swimming- Great job today! Hard work now pays off later! If you did not try on a swim suit today do so tomorrow. Parent meeting is in my classroom at 6pm on Wednesday. Be there!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Let swim season begin!

Monday will be the first pre-season practice for all those girls interested in being part of the 2012-2013 Lady Tiger Sharks! Please see the calendars on the swim page for a look into the season. We have already had a few changes, from dropping the Northrop meet to my already adjusting Thanksgiving break practices!

This coming week is NOT mandatory, however if you are not in a fall sport I suggest you come so you can start getting your body, muscles, and mind ready for a demanding season. One of the upperclassman on the team sent this picture to me on Friday and I could not think of a better way to describe swim season.

See all of you who come tomorrow in my classroom at 3pm- bring work out clothes, water and a smile!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

English 11: Field Trip

Next Friday, October 12th, all Juniors are invited to go on an all day field trip to Hartford City, IN for the Civil War Re-Enactment. This will be wonderful since most students in the Junior class will take U.S. History and English 11: American Literature. Both courses cover the Civil War and subjects that pertain to that time period. This would be fun and a learning experience for all.

For more information about the Civil War Re-Enactment please follow the link to the website: 

Field Trip Permission Slips were passed out in class on Thursday and are due back with $7.00 to Mrs. Burman by Monday! Please do not miss out on this great event! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The term is about to terminate.

Just a quick post to show off some of the neat things happening in the classroom during Speech class. I love Demonstration Speeches because so many cool things are explained- and people bring in really good food! We had so many "mini-parties" due to all the food. Here are a few pictures:

Noah teaches first period how to make origami flowers:

All the wonderful treats from fourth period on one of the speech days-Yum!

As for what we are doing now, students in Speech will be taking their final test for the course and starting on the last speech (the Persuasive Speech). This is the hardest speech for many reasons: research, time, expectations and personal beliefs. I am really going to push the students to the brink on this speech. Be ready!

In English 11 the students will continue working on their Expository/Lit. Analysis of Gothic Literature Essay. This essay is very tough and follows the last story we read by Edgar Allan Poe. The essay is Due on Friday (unless we have many issues!!!)

Happy Fall.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I love Fall

This is my favorite time of year! Boots, sweatshirts, football games and colorful leaves are just a few of my favorite things this season. I really love the literature we cover during this time period and that each year during Speech this is when the Demonstration Speeches take place.

In English 11 we will be getting into a few scary stories and it is very fitting for this time of year. Students, do not forget your grammar worksheets on Monday!!

In Speech we are starting and finishing our Demonstration Speeches! Lots of students are bringing in food or something to give to each student, that is wonderful, BUT not required! Please see me if you have any questions.

Please keep checking your grades on PowerSchool, as we near the end of the quarter (October 12th) the final grades become more and more important. Be sure to stay on top of your assignments since I DO NOT give extra credit at the end of the term!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finished Fall Festival

This week was full of crazy costumes, contests and smiles. I loved seeing all the school spirit! The seniors did a great job with all the activities and I can't wait t to see all the seniors tonight at the football game. I still remember my senior night! So much fun- I can't believe how fast it goes by. Enjoy all the good times folks!

This week was not only full of fun outside the classroom, it was full of fun in the classroom too! Each class is finishing up chapters/units/speeches/projects. The midterm was this week! That means we are half way done in Speech! We are over half way done with all our speeches now. Time is really flying by.

Next week in Speech:
Start Chapter 5 and the next project: Demonstration Speech. It is going fast!

Next week in English 11:
Finishing the Cover Letter/Resume project and finishing Unit 2. We are also getting new seats!!! Check out the picture below for a preview.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I was a once a freshman in high school. Just like many of my students, I was outgoing and I loved my elective classes. September 11th, 2001 was just a normal day in my high school. We were finishing first period, I had Drama and Theatrical Studies, and a student came running in from the hallway and said "A freak accident happened in NYC, a plane hit a tower!" So we turned on the t.v. and watched replay of the plane hitting.

The bell rang and I wondered down the hall to my second period class, science. My teacher was very upset and I was confused. As the second period bell rang, the second plane hit. My class sat silently and the news reported the terrorist attacks. There was also news of a plane heading to the Pentagon. My teacher became very upset. I went to school in Dayton, Ohio. Many students had family that worked at Wright-Patt Air Force Base. My teacher's husband was a high ranking officer who was traveling to the Pentagon that very day, by plane. Thankfully, in the end he was on a later flight and never even boarded.

There was an announcement for all teachers to turn off the t.v.'s in the classrooms, but no teacher did. I am thankful for this. I saw images that made me grow up and I realized that the world would change forever. There are so many memories from that day. My mom came home early, Air Force One landed at Wright-Patt, my grandmother had just moved out of the World Trade Center after living there for a year while working for a bank.

I knew a day would come where students would only have verbal memories of what people said happened on that day. I plan to share my memories with the students and hopefully they understand how, when I sat in those same chairs, as a high school student my worries went from, boyfriends, homework, and practices to the pain so many people were feeling. For the first time in my life, I felt small and this day will always remind me how lucky I am to be alive.

This website has a graphic timeline where students and parents alike can view the anniversary in a linear atmosphere. There are also victim profiles. People with families and loved ones died that day. People just like you and me. Take a look and reflect on this day with care.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A little view into our Monday.

Today in English 11 we are reading the Declaration of Independence and discussing historical connections from the past to current day issues. We watched this video and many students seemed to enjoy a different spin on a past song.

Just a reminder to all students: this week is Fall Festival be sure to dress up and bring food and nonperishable items for the food drive!

Monday: Mismatch Day
Tuesday: Superhero Day
Wednesday: Class Day
Thursday: Cowboy and Indians Day
Friday: Gridiron - School Spirit Day

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weeks are flying by....

I have few activities to share. Both English 11 and Speech are working hard on new chapters or unit after finishing some tough material and at the same time proving themselves as "top-achieving" students. I am really enjoying the classes and how well they work together.

In Speech a few weeks ago we did an exercise with communication. The students got into pairs and one student faced the board while the other had paper and pencil and could not see the board. Students able to see the whiteboard were told to try and articulate the images I drew on the board to their partner. Sometimes they weren't allowed to use their hands, other times they weren't allowed to use the shape words (like, circle or square). This proved to show some of the students strengths and weakness in communication. Either way, the students did learn how important shared meanings and team work really are. Below are some images from my 4th period Speech class and the image I came up on the board.

Could you verbally describe this image?
In English 11 we just finished Unit 1 and we are starting Unit 2. This new Unit covers early America and all the Nonfiction that helped us gain our freedom. We started of with Benjamin Franklin and some of his funny work and some of his "self-help" writings as well. (Ask your students about all the information). Benjamin Franklin was also famous for some of his Aphorisms (short sayings with a  life meaning of purpose). The students really seemed to enjoy reading some of them and picking them apart to find the meaning behind the small amount of words.

This made me think about "The Shortest Short Story" by Ernest Hemingway. See Ernest was once challenged to write a story using only six words (or so the literary legend goes). His response , which matched his sense of brevity, was:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn. 

I asked the English 11 students to try and make their own six word short story! Though many turned into aphorisms (I am really happy with those too) others really did have some stories in small words. 

  • Broke my leg: shattered all dreams.
  • I haven't lived, until we met.
  • Half court shot. Buzzer Rings. Victory!
  • Bright headlights: over corrected. Never again.
  • We ran: until our hearts hurt.
  • My Drill. My Dot. My Life.
  • Same identity, yet different birth times.
  • Shy to society; Genius by night.
  • We over me; team over superstar. 
  • Fear the beard: Today and Tomorrow.
  • Forever we said: Forever it stayed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Manic Monday

Today was a busy Monday- for me the teacher anyway. I gave each class page a face lift and even added some helpful videos to each page. Classes will be trying some new things in class this week. In Speech we begin our first speech and are in the computer lab for three days! In English 11 we are closing up our first unit and our first essay. Next on the list is persuasive techniques and more essays.

Please be checking the website for update on the weekly agenda and any notes!
We are off and running on yet another fast week!
-Mrs. Burman

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We made it over the hump.

I have a few reminders are we head into the end of the week. All the classes are beginning to fall into a routine and I am really enjoying all the new personalities. Parents, I place to start making phone calls home for good and bad behaviors! Don't be alarmed when you see my number calling. :)

English 11: You all have a Nonfiction quiz on Thursday and a Vocabulary Quiz on Friday! Please be sure to complete your blog posts before school the next day or you will receive a zero. Also- take a look at the Thursday layout on your page, I have added all the information for your first essay.

Speech: You all have Chapter 2 test tomorrow in class and then we will begin Chapter 11. One more Chapter before our first speech- get excited!

Have a great rest of the week- see you all in class.
Mrs. Burman

Friday, August 17, 2012

Positive Thoughts

In Speech we are about to close on our first chapter. This means a test! We are also working on our group atmosphere. We did an activity where a student stood against a white board and the class wrote positive thoughts around the persons head, then erased them so the student being wrote about  was not able to be seen.....until now! Please enjoy the positive thoughts movies in my Speech classes:

Period 1

Period 4

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We don't mess around.

We are in our first FULL week of classes and we are already getting work done! I am so proud of all my classes. I am sure many people were worried about how the iPads would change the classroom climate, I was one of them. I will say though, the students have been great! We are all learning new ways to use the iPad and all the free applications.

I try to find a new way to use the device everyday. I love the way the students use this website on the iPad. They use it as a reminder, a calendar, a place to find links and even as a study tool.

Today we even had a few really nice visitors at the Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District and my room in particular -(more about that later). We also covered a ton of information in each class.

In English 11 we are in the beginning of Unit 1, we are working in the Native American myths. We even did a work sheet ON THE IPAD! We also watched a short film about the first myth covered:

In Speech our first chapter test is tomorrow so we are spending time reviewing and doing activities to help us remember the important role that communication plays in our everyday life. 

Next week is very packed so be ready to keep moving along on our educational journey!
-Mrs. Burman

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let the games begin!

Though the Olympics are now finished, the real games are just beginning. The classes are starting to fall into a routine and the iPads are coming in handy! I love that the students can save this website to their homepage as an icon and access it whenever I ask! It makes me, and the students, feel so organized.

Please see both Speech and English 11, via the tabs above, for a quick lesson plan of the week. Each week will be be just like that- sometimes more information and sometimes less. It all depends on what the learning objectives are that week and how much is being assigned.

Parents and students- please be sure to read and sign all material sent home. Both classes were sent home with "Student Home Information Sheets" this helps me stay in contact with all my parents and students. Also, English 11 was sent home with a "Blog Contract" and that supplies the parent with information about a new form of journal! Speaking of supplies......

Reminders on supplies:

English 11

Binder Tabs (4)
Note Cards (3x5)

There are a lot of fun things happening this year, just you wait and see.
-Mrs. Burman

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome Back!

Summer is over.
It is time to start
Math and reading
To make us smart
No more swimming
Or laying in the sun.
But now I think 
School is fun!

Welcome to another wonderful school year at Bluffton High School! This is going to be a year of change and exploration for many educators and students. I look forward to all the amazing things we as a classroom can accomplish with the new tools we have acquired over the summer.

My name is Amanda Burman and I am a Purdue University graduate with a degree in English Education and Reading, I also minored in Sociology. I played four years of water polo while at Purdue University and I was also a member/officer and future President of Higher Ground Dance Company. I love all things aquatics and art. I will be teaching all the Speech courses, English 11 and English 12. I love to laugh and have fun, but I feel better when I have accomplished all on my to-do list.

This post is full of information for students and parents. This is my website and you are able to save this website to your iPad or iPhone and it turns into an icon, much like an application. (Add to Home Screen) This will be much like a textbook. When in doubt check the website. Each course I teach or activity I coach will have its own page. See the links above!

The first day of school is fast approaching. Below you will find the first day of school schedule and iPad pick up information.

First Day of School Schedule: 

7:40 Students Report to Homerooms
7:45 Announcements
7:50 9th Grade - to Cafetorium
7:55-9:10 9th Grade Meeting
9:15-10:10 10th-12th Grade Meeting
10:15-11:10 First Period
11:15-12:40 Third Period (Lunch)
12:45-1:40 Second Period
1:45-2:40 Fourth Period

School Year Calendar:
Printable Copy

iPad Information:

Informational Meetings

8th Grade6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.         Wed. 
July 25th         
12th Grade      
7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
7th Grade6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.Thurs. 
July 26th
11th Grade    7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
6th Grade6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.Mon. 
July 30th
10th Grade7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
5th Grade6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.Tues. 
July 31st
9th Grade7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.       
5th – 12th     Grade
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.Wed. 
August 1st
K – 4th Grade6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.Thurs. August 2nd

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Of Mice and Men - Meme

Today, as review in English 11 we made memes that pertained to the recently finished novel, Of Mice and Men. Our final is tomorrow and I was looking for a fun new way to review. This is what we came up with:

Successful Baby
Getting a new ranch. Gets to tend the rabbits.
Hands get chopped off. $250 reward.
I keep my mouth shut. We get the job.
Get into trouble. Remember where to go.
Grabs dress. Gets away.
Need some money for a farm. Sugerdaddy Candy to the rescue.
George made me throw out mouse. Find it in the brush.
Answer Lennie’s questions. Got the job.
Fought Curley. Crushed his hand.
Splashed Water. Made Ripples.
Talked to giant rabbit. Feels better.
Condescending Wonka
So you like petting things… Why do they always die?
So you think you’re tough? Show me how soft your hands are.
So you lost your wife? Tell me she’s not a tart.
Oh you play Solitaire? Please tell me how many times you win.
So you think you’re tough? Tell me how your crushed hand feels.
So you have a German hand gun? Tell me how many wars you’ve been in.
So you breed dogs? Tell me how many puppies you drown.
Oh you are married to Curley? How many others guys do you love?

One does not simply…
Touch the dress
Pet soft things
Find their wife
Arrive on a Friday
Eat beans without ketchup
Talk to a huge rabbit
Tend the rabbits after killing a puppy
Hide a mouse in their pocket

End of the Year - Schedule Madness!

For those of you who love to be organized or just in the know- here are the schedules for the end of the year. I also have the end of the school year plans for each class on their respective pages. Check it out!

Thursday, May 17th
Finals for Seniors - Periods 2 and 4

Friday, May 18th
Finals for Seniors - Periods 1 and 3

Monday, May 21st
Senior Class Breakfast 7:30-8:30
Graduation Practice 11:00-1:00

Period 1 7:40-9:05
Senior Class Day Program 9:10-11:00
Period 3 11:00-1:00
Period 2 1:05-1:50
Period 4 1:55-2:40

Finals for underclassmen- Periods 1 and 3

Tuesday, May 22nd
Period 1 7:40-8:05
Period 2 8:10-9:45
Period 3 9:50-10:15
Period 4 10:20-11:55
Clean Lockers 11:55-12:10
Class Day 12:10-12:55
Picnic 12:55-2:40

Finals for underclassmen- Periods 2 and 4

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The end is near!

This week will be busy but delightful at the same time. All classes are finishing up final projects, novels or speeches. I love this time of year because students often don't realize how much they learn!

English 11 will be finishing Of Mice and Men and taking a final test. They will also be making their final post on their blogs!

Speech will be starting in the computer lab and finishing in the classroom as they begin the toughest speech, The Persuasive Speech. I sent home requirements for this speech on Friday and will continue to go over them this week.

Keep pushing folks- the last few steps are the hardest!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Manic Monday

Today I,  along with all the Language Arts Department, will be having a professional work day. We are cleaning and updating our curriculum for each class, as well as preparing ways to use the iPads in our classrooms next year. This means my classes will be having a substitute teacher.

I am a solid believer of showing any adult that steps into the role of leader with respect, therefor I expect all my classes to not only behave but to be respectful.

English 11 - Both classes will be in the the computer lab (B-06) doing a peer edit on their completed research paper projects. The directions and worksheets are on each English Classes respective blog. Good Luck - you never know when I will stop in :)
Speech - We have seven more Demonstration Speeches to complete on Monday. I will be stopping back in the class to get things rolling but will be taping the speeches to grade later.

Today the Surgeon General also made an announcement about a disease that is sweeping the nation one high school at a time.  This disease is affecting several teens and should be regarded as serious. Please take precautions. One article defined the new disease as such:

a disease that is rapidly spread among students the last few weeks of school before summer break. symptoms include extreme laziness, back-talking to teachers, sudden lack of effort and concern about grades, and falling asleep in classes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sneak Peak

DVD's are being made and list for those who would like one will be posted soon.

Monday, April 30, 2012

One for the Money, Two for the Show!

The Tiger Dance Co. Spring Showcase was amazing! The girls were wonderful in all their dances and we even raised more than last year. I am currently working on getting a date for a banquet of sorts, getting together one more time!

We even made the Journal Gazette for the Weekender!

I am also working on a DVD that I will have ready and will sell when I finished. The work of a director is never done. I hope all who came to the show had a great time!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It is going to be a CRAZY week.

Today English 11 began their Research Projects.....(insert the freak out music.) I love watching them try to process every loop hole possible in the process. Good news, there isn't one. If you would like to see the details and possibly a calendar for all things due please see the English 11 web page.

Speech class was busy as well- we just finished our Mechanic Speech today and are well on our way to the Demonstation Speech. The only thing we have in our way is Chapter 5. Bring it on CHAPTER 5!

Then, of course we can't forget Tiger Dance Company! Our dress rehearsals are this week and we have a few more things to work on... but other than that, I LOVE THE SHOW!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Scottsboro Boys- English 11

This week we finished To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and are currently working on a Facebook Project. The students have also been watching a movie from PBS about the Scottsboro Boys. We were not able to finish the entire video so I have posted it here for any of those who wish to finish it on their own. This would be a great source for the upcoming research project!

Just a reminder that the final for this novel is Monday, students will also be turning in their reading guides, character sheets and Facebook projects. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Let your heart move your feet."

The Tiger Dance Co. Spring Showcase is fast approaching! The costumes will be passed out on Saturday and we have three dress rehearsals next week. All the music is cut, news papers informed, and almost all props are ready. All I need are clean dances and pretty smiles.

The Andrea Rizzo Memorial Foundation is looking forward to our show and donation, so be sure to get all your family and friends to come support our dancers as well a children in need. Here is another video putting the foundation into better perspective.

Just a reminder about what Tiger Dance Company is all about:

Mission Statement: Tiger Dance Company is an organization of individuals who feel passionately about the art of dance and who also feel strongly about helping the community.

Background: Tiger Dance Company will produce one show at the end of second semester. The proceeds from the show are donated to a charity of our choosing. This year we are going to support the Andrea Rizzo Memorial Foundation, which is dedicated to Andrea Rizzo, who survived cancer as a young child but was killed by a drunk driver while attending graduate school for Dance Therapy. Through the help of donations, this foundation provides dance therapy to children with cancer and other special needs.

How: All the new members will be required to attend a workshop one week following the callouts. This is NOT A TRYOUT. No one will be turned away; we welcome all levels of dancers. During this workshop, we will have you do small combinations in Jazz, Lyrical and Hip Hop. This is simply to get a feel for what level you are so we are able to place you in dances that fit your ability and style the best. Following this workshop the list of dancers for each dance will be posted. We try out best to put everyone in the dances they select but if there are too many people requesting one dance, we will look at your workshop evaluations and try to place you in a similar styled and leveled dance. From then on you will meet just with your dance and practice. Practice times are on the calendar attached. We will come together as a group for another Showings and Saturday Practices later in the semester. We will then have one public show at the end of the semester.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Welcome Back!

The return from Spring Break is always bitter sweet. Yes, we all love some time off, BUT the events and activities after Spring Break are so much fun. We have Prom, the Spring Play, the Tiger Dance Company Show, not to mention all the Spring Sports! I love this time of year.

Not only are the activities fun, so is the curriculum. English 11 will be starting To Kill a Mockingbird this week and turning in their textbooks! Speech will also be starting their first Speech. It is going to be a fun and fast week- no school on Friday!

I am so happy to have everyone back- now lets get to work!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Break... in two days!

This term has flown by! Spring break is two days away and students (who are here!) are still working diligently and keeping up with their assignments. Each of the courses I teach are on the tale ends of either chapters or units.

Speech - They just took their Chapter 1 Test! - The class had a test grade average of 94% A. They set the bar high and I know they can keep it up! Chapter 2 is under way and we will test on this chapter Friday before Spring Break.

English 11 - They are currently working on a technology/short story/research/group project! It has been crazy but in groups the students read different short stories and are currently creating static blog pages (pages built to just hold information) that will be their presentation guides on Friday as they show off their hard work! If you would like see your students work go to "English 11" and then choose their respective period of class. At the top of those blogs you will see short story titles, go ahead and browse!

I hope everyone has a safe a warm Spring Break. I have lots of plans and I can't wait to come back to speeches and novels!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nice Weather-Nice Reading

Today in both English 11 classes we were reading a rather lengthy short story "An Occurrence at Owl  Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. The weather was so nice, even early in the day, so after some convincing from my second period class we went outside to the benches and read aloud. it was so nice and so fun!

Enjoy the nice weather this afternoon and tomorrow! Don't forget that Parent Teacher Conferences are tomorrow in the commons from 4pm-7pm!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Extra Credit - and Parent Teacher Conferences

Extra Credit:

Just a quick reminder that students who would like extra credit need to bring in their tissue boxes by tomorrow, March 9th. One (1) large box = 5 points and one (1) small box = 3 points. Students may obtain up to 10 points!

Parent Teacher Conferences:

Conferences are next Thursday from 4pm-7pm. I sent home a slip to remind parents and students alike, it was blue. If you did not receive one, follow the link to print one off! Parent Teacher Conferences.

More SAT help

The SAT is a standardized test which is required for college admission by many colleges and universities in the United States. The College Board designs and administers the SAT to test "critical thinking and problem-solving skills" in Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing. In other words, the SAT primarily tests reasoning skills, not knowledge in any particular subject area. However, a certain amount of knowledge in these subjects is necessary in order to excel on the exam.
The SAT includes three sections, each of which can earn a maximum score of 800 and a minimum score of 200. For the test-taker's final score, the College Board adds the three scores together. On average, students answer 50 to 60 percent of questions correctly. The test is 3 hours and 45 minutes long, broken into ten separately-timed sections. Nine sections count (Mathematics, Reading, and Writing each get three sections); the tenth section is an "experimental section" that does not count in the student's final score.

In the United States, the SAT is offered seven times a year; the exam can also be taken at test centers overseas, for students there who wish to apply to American colleges.

The Layout:

The first section is always the Essay, so be prepared to write for twenty-five minutes straight. The order of the rest of the test is never predictable, but you will see:

  • Two more writing sections (one 25 minutes and the other 10 minutes)
  • Three math sections (two are 25 minutes and one is 20 minutes)
  • Three critical reading sections (two are 25 minutes and one is 20 minutes)
  • A 25 minute experimental section which could include writing, math, or reading, but ultimately does not count for your final score.

Remember, you cannot skip around between sections. If you finish early, check your answers, do not move onto a new section, and when you feel confident with your answers and you still have time, check them once again.

The Essay is a response to a general prompt that does not require specific prior knowledge, and is graded by two separate readers on a scale of 1 to 6, for a total score of 2 to 12.

The Mathematics sections of the SAT are composed of both multiple-choice questions and "student-produced responses" (or "grid-ins"). The questions require knowledge of basic Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and a small amount of Algebra II. Most questions use these basic math subjects in order to test critical thinking and reasoning skills.

The Reading sections contain multiple-choice sentence completions and reading passages. The sentence completions ask the student to fill in one or two blank words in a sentence, requiring a combination of reasoning and vocabulary knowledge. There are single-paragraph as well as longer reading passages, matched with questions on the content, meaning, and style of the passage and its parts. Often two passages are paired together for the purpose of comparison and contrast.

The Writing sections consist of multiple-choice questions on English grammar and contain three types of questions: Improving Sentences, Identifying Sentence Errors, and Improving Paragraphs. Improving Sentences questions will offer a sentence that may contain a grammatical error and ask the student to choose an answer choice that is a grammatical improvement over the original. Identifying Sentence Errors questions have four underlined words or phrases in a single sentence, and ask the student to identify which, if any, contain a grammatical error. Improving Paragraphs sections offer a longer paragraph that is poorly written, and ask a series of questions similar to Improving Sentences, as well as some broader questions on the content and style of the paragraph as a whole.

The Plan:

The day before the SAT (Friday)
Review and Relax
You should be prepared by now. You shouldn’t be trying to work your way through more questions today. Rather, review your math notes, grammar rules and the examples you’ve prepped for you essay. Try and avoid going to practice and tiring yourself out too much today. I’m sure your coach and teachers will understand if you need to take it easy. Don’t spend more than one hour reviewing your notes; at this point, you just want to feel confident and relaxed.

SAT day (Saturday)
Breakfast Strategy
Wake up an hour or two before you need to leave and eat a good and balanced breakfast. Make sure not to overeat or have anything too greasy – more blood will be redirected to your stomach to digest everything, leaving less blood to keep your brain sharp and alert. While you’re eating, do a quick review of your math and grammar rules and then spend some time reading a difficult article (e.g. an editorial or report in the New York Times). Often, the first complex thing people read on SAT day are the reading comprehension passages. Reading a report at breakfast will help wake your brain up before hand. When you’ve finished, you’re all set to go! Good luck!

Test taking tips:

Take an educated guess by ruling out one or more answer choices for a multiple-choice question as definitely wrong; your chances of guessing correctly among the remaining choices improve.
  • Omit questions only when you really have no idea how best to answer them. You don't gain or lose points for omitting an answer.
Use the test book for scratch work to cross off answers you know are wrong, and to mark questions you did not answer.
  • Be sure to mark your answers on the separate answer sheet. You won't receive credit for any answers you marked in the test book.
  • Avoid extra marks on the answer sheet. The answer sheet is machine-scored, and the machine can't tell an answer from a doodle.
Become familiar with the organization of the tests you are interested in, the SAT Subject Test answer sheet, types of test questions on each test, and the test directions ahead of time.
Answer the easier questions first.
  • The easier questions are usually at the beginning of a grouping of questions.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SAT Prep.

This Saturday Bluffton High School is one of many SAT Testing sites. Since the most popular time to take the SATs are a students Junior and Senior year I like to take some time review testing skills and even give a practice test to my Junior classes. Even though some students will not be taking the test this Saturday, they will need to take it in the near future. Below are helpful links.

College Board - This is where you sign up and find out your score for the SATs.

Practice Test - This includes an essay and what the questions and answer format will look like.

Practice Test Answers - The answer to all the questions. There are also examples of how scoring is completed.

SAT Vocabulary - There are 1000 words on this list, do not try to memorize them, just become familiar with them!

Remember: The SAT is traditionally thought of as a test that measures a student’s reasoning or critical thinking skills while the ACT is considered a curriculum-based test, meaning it tests a student’s knowledge of subject matter covered in high school. See the graph for more comparisons.

Good luck to all those that test in the near future- see you in class!
-Mrs. Burman

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Emerson and Thoreau

In English 11 we are in the middle of studying the Transcendentalism Literary movement. This is by far one one of (if not my most) favorite time in the classroom. We get to discuss why going against conformity and the "comfortableness" of society is good. It also allows students to see that silence can also create great ideas and that all things tie back to nature.

After doing research on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau we find that these two gentlemen were often found in trouble for voicing their opinions and making sure many people heard.

This movement and idea of "do-it-yourself" and "individualism" is ever present in our current culture. We discussed current popular movies that have Transcendental ideas, like The Matrix, and Avatar. Ask your student to fill you in on how those movies are snap shots of Transcendental thought.

Today we are actually reading "Civil Disobedience" and will be watching a few clips from a great movie that truly illustrates Emerson and Thoreau's ideas, The Dead Poets Society.

Up Coming Date to Remember:
  • March 9th - End of Term 3
  • March 15th - Parent Teacher Conferences 4pm-7pm
  • March 26th-30th - Spring Break 

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