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Today's Reminders (soon to be a VERGE-only exclusive!)
Tuesday, 1/8:
Bring in a short list of THREE books you'd like to read, along with some minor research into the plot, characters, etc. -- you will present these books to me tomorrow, in conference.
For example, if I wanted to read Frank Herbert's Dune, I would write:
"DUNE is a really big deal in science fiction, and I love science fiction. Also, I read that it won a lot of awards. There's a movie about it, but I don't want to watch the movie until I read the book. The plot is about a boy named Paul and his journey towards becoming some kind of intergalactic savior. I want to read this because it sounds like Star Wars." 
or, if I wanted to read Tina Fey's Bossypants, I would write:
"Tina Fey is an actress and writer I admire. She is very funny and very smart -- she wrote for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, and she wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls. Her memoir Bossypants is about her early life, how she got started in writing and comedy. People on Goodreads seem to really like it. Plus, since it's funny, it won't even be hard to read."
Bring a copy of your list and explanations tomorrow.
Unit Overview
The following information is only a guide -- always check with your teacher for due dates, scoring guides, projects, etc.

Unit 1: Independent Reading and Foundational Skills
2 Weeks 

Essential Questions and Corresponding Big Ideas
1. Why is it important to develop literacy skills?
- Literacy allows for sharing of perspectives and meaningful self-expression.  
2. What strategies do good readers use to help them understand difficult texts?
- Developing an awareness of strategies of a successful reader develops metacognition thereby enabling academic success. 
3. In what ways does writing allow for an expansion and expression of worldly thoughts?
- Writing allows for expansion and expression of worldly thoughts through extended self-expression, sentence fluency, and a flow of useful ideas.

4. What does it mean to be a successful high school student?
- Developing an awareness of clear expectations of a high school student develops metacognition thereby enabling academic success and personal growth. 
5. How can we effectively communicate our ideas to the world?
- Writing allows for expansion and expression of worldly thoughts through extended self-expression, sentence fluency, and a flow of useful ideas 

Engaging Scenario
In high school, the expectations of a student are different than those of a middle school student. In order to prepare for the demands and rigor of high school, you will create a portfolio demonstrating the essential skills needed to be successful in 9th grade. You will also choose challenging independent reading for this unit to strengthen your critical reading skills. The portfolios will be used as resources for the incoming 8th graders next year. 

Performance Task Synopses
Task 1: Note-Taking and Annotation Guide
Students will learn different annotating and note-taking strategies from a variety of sources. They will then create a guide with a model for their portfolio.

Task 2: Constructed Response Graphic Organizer
Students will create a constructed response item with an accompanying graphic organizer that shows evidence of claim analysis supported by textual evidence.
Task 3: Plot Diagram and Narrative Writing
Students will complete a plot diagram for an Independent Reading text and will transfer those skills to composing original narratives about initial experience in high school. 

Task 4: Goal Setting Letter
Students will utilize personal data to set academic and personal goals for themselves in a formal letter.
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