Displaying 1-9 of 9 results.

Final Project!
Posted by Abby LeBaron on June 05, 2017 at 1:13pm

Good afternoon,

It’s hard to believe that it’s June already! The students will be introduced to their final project tomorrow and begin work on it immediately.  After 8 weeks of discussing, reading about, viewing, and then discussing Power & Privilege more, students are ready to craft their own call to action speech!

                We will spend two days working together to identify ways writers and speakers craft their speeches, particularly using rhetorical devices (repetition) and appeals: Logos, Ethos, & Pathos.  Students will have two days to then organize and plan their rough drafts (using all their evidence collected from books, films, and articles throughout this quarter). Next week, they will have two days to type and revise, before submitting their written version of the speech/call to action project by the end of class on Tuesday, 6/13. 

                Wednesday they will create a visual aid to further compel their audience to be persuaded, which they will show when they are presenting their speech on Monday, 6/19 or Tuesday, 6/20.

Dates & Reminders:

For Tuesday, 6/6:

Students must turn in all their classroom and classroom library books (any book that says LeBaron followed by a number or 8A followed by a number) – if the books cannot be located, a fine will be assigned.  If they can quickly find the book and return it to me, I can pull the fine, but if not they will need to pay all fines / fees before they are allowed to go on the Henry Moses field trip.

For Friday, 6/9:
A complete plan / organizer is due by the close of class

For Tuesday, 6/13:

A fully typed and revised speech is due by the close of class

For Friday, 6/16:

Visual aid / poster due in the beginning of class

For Monday, 6/19 & Tuesday, 6/20

Be ready to present (in front of a small group most likely)


On the classroom website, through SWIFT, there are several documents posted including the final project assignment sheet, rubric, organizer, class PPT and example speeches.  Please have students reference these materials if they lose their own copy and/or email me with specific questions if needed.


Thank you!

Ms. LeBaron

4th QTR. Book Clubs
Posted by Abby LeBaron on April 03, 2017 at 12:02pm

Good afternoon,

I am sure the students are eagerly awaiting Spring Break and hopefully it will be nice weather! I wanted to let you know a few highlights of 4th quarter and encourage you to discuss the 4th Quarter books with your student.

We officially began 4th quarter work last week with the introduction of our unit: the disempowerment & empowerment of groups in our society – what does power look like and how do groups hold onto, lose, or gain power?  The students read and listened to two texts (The Lesson & Three Miles), which they have now dissected and prepared to participate in a Socratic Seminar tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/4).  I am very excited to see them lead this Socratic Seminar as they have created the questions, found the passages, and created illustrations to help show their thinking as well as bring their peers into the discussion. 

By the end of this week, students will have previewed the 4th quarter book clubs and made their preferences (choices on paper).  There are books and group options that are a little more mature, so I’d like you to preview the PowerPoint and/or talk with your student about their choices, just to make sure we are all in agreement. 

I also want to make sure everyone knows though that we (as a grade/ school) are not teaching students what to think or telling them what is “right” or “wrong” – the books and their discussions around them are an attempt to help students build empathy for those similar or not similar to them.  Students are often encouraged to think about parts of what they read in terms of what do you agree with? What don’t you agree with? Why? What seems fair or right to you?  I do not put my own opinions or beliefs on students and we encourage students to own their thinking, but not to force it on each other either.  Although this unit is more mature, it is a chance for students to engage with their peers and to consider how they want to use their own voice in our society today.  It is usually the best part of the school year in terms of engagement J

Students will receive their first book club book and begin reading after spring break, 4/17; they will be expected to finish in three weeks.  We will have longer reading times in class due to testing, but students are also expected to read 30 minutes a day (this should lead to 20-30 pages read each day).  After the 1st round is over, students will read a 2nd book from that same category, which is also why I want to make sure they choose a category that is important to them and that you approve of. 

The 4th Quarter Book Clubs Preference PowerPoint is on the SWIFT website under Documents & Handouts; the link to the page is below:


If you cannot view the PPT correctly, please just email me and I’ll check the link and send you a copy. 

Thank you,

Ms. LeBaron

Literary Analysis Essay
Posted by Abby LeBaron on March 16, 2017 at 2:18pm

Good afternoon,

Students have been steadily working on their Literary Analysis Essays regarding their Historical Fiction Book Clubs. At this point, students (should) have 2-4 body paragraphs regarding how the author uses the literary element of setting and a 2nd choice (flashbacks, foreshadowing, repetition, or symbolism) to highlight a central tension of the time period.  Students have also drafted their introduction and conclusion, so they are ready to start revisions. 

                We will do some of the revision work through whole-class mini-lessons next week (Monday and Tuesday) plus have the flex time to just address what is needed in particular papers; students will then hand their complete and revised essay in Wednesday, 3/22 or Thursday, 3/23.  We will print the essays at school, but if a student happens to miss both of these dates they will need to submit their work ASAP.

                All students can access their essays outside of class, because they have all been typing in Office365.  Students simply need access to a web browser.  They are also allowed to stay after-school next week to work on it in the library during Homework Help time.

 Office365 log-in reminders:

Link from Nelsen Library home page:

                www.rentonschools.us/nelsen --> Library à Student Links #2 (Email Access for Students)

Student username: same as computer log-in at school – just add: @rentonstudent.us

Student password: same as their password each time they log-in at school

Thank you!

Ms. LeBaron

Book Club Check-in & Extended Response
Posted by Abby LeBaron on February 15, 2017 at 2:34pm

Good afternoon,               

                Students are quickly approaching the end of their Book Club text (finish by March 1st), so we are crafting an Extended Response in class around the prompt: How does the author use the literary element of setting to illustrate the central tension of the time period and develop theme?  It is quite a complex task, but students are well on their way after today – an organizer, guide, and example were given and they have access to any of their reading notes, post-its, or discussion thinking that they have done together the last two weeks.  The due date is set for this Friday, 2/17, and students will use these responses again as part of their larger Literary Essay in March. 

                If you would like to discuss the ideas with your student, we are using the language of Levels of Setting to consider the Macro (big world), Meso (middle view), and Micro (character’s personal situation) to consider how the setting and changes in setting create conflicts and illustrate deeper ideas.  You could ask a guiding question like, what is the most important setting for your character? How do they act or react in this setting and how does it help you understand theme?  Students are reading historical fiction, so many of the character’s experiences do reflect a much bigger struggle across humanity and a time period – they have been having such thoughtful discussions and working hard. 

                Grades will be updated by the end of the week, so if a student is missing Reading Notes, Sketches, or other assignments (like reading their text to be on track to finish by 3/1) then please know assignments can be made up over break and handed in when they return.  Please let me know if you have a question or concern regarding the assignments. 

Thank you,

Ms. LeBaron

3rd Quarter Preview & Book Clubs
Posted by Abby LeBaron on January 23, 2017 at 10:23am

Students are finalizing their Argumentative Essays today and there are due, in class, tomorrow: Tuesday, 1/24 (we will print together at the library).  Students will spend the rest of this week reflecting and setting up for Historical Fiction Book Clubs, which will start on Monday, 1/30. 

On Wednesday, students will receive an introduction to each time period and will preview each book that is an option, so that student interest is valued and choice is the dominating factor in creating the groups. 

The time periods & book options are:

  • o Slavery in the United States
    • Copper Sun
    • Chains (listening option) 
    • The Glory Field
    • Elijah of Buxton
  • o Japanese Interment
    • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet (listening option)
    • When the Emperor was Divine
    • Weedflowers
    • Farewell to Manzanar (possible option)
  • o The Holocaust
    • Night
    • Prisoner B-3087 (listening option)
    • In my Hands
    • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (less copies of)
    • The Boy on the Wooden Box (less copies of)
  • o 9/11 & The War on Terrorism (Contemporary Wars)
    • Sunrise Over Fallujah (listening option)
    • The Long Walk (mature language –permission slip)
    • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (impressionistic & more mature)

I would like to invite you to look into these books (see attached PowerPoint and/or discuss with your student if you have concerns about certain topics or maturity.

Once students are assigned their book (based off of their preference survey), they will be given a copy of the text to keep track of each day (bringing it home and back to school); students will create a Book Contract with their group and a reading schedule, so that each responsibility is clearly outlined.  There will also be a listening option for 1 book in each time period (via use of 4 classroom Kindles). 

All students may listen to their book as well as read along if they are willing to find an audio-version through the public library or using an app like Audible.  It is also possible that some books are available on CDs from both our library and the public library. 

Ms. LeBaron 

Student Survey: 1st Quarter Reflection (Monday, 10/31)
Posted by Abby LeBaron on October 30, 2016 at 4:15pm

Please select the correct survey below by choosing the link matching the class period you have LA. Please answer each question appropriately and completely, so we can best adjust our learning time together.

1st Period: click here! 

2nd Period: click here!

3rd Period: click here!

5th Period: click here!

2nd Quarter: Genre Study
Posted by Abby LeBaron on October 29, 2016 at 2:05pm

Happy Saturday,

It is almost the end of 1st quarter (officially this Thursday, 11/3) and most of the students grades are current except for their Narrative Vignettes (due Monday) and their Theme Post-Assessment, which will take place in class this next week (Wednesday and Thursday).  Students left yesterday with their final peer editing comments on their Vignettes and we will make any last changes on Monday before submitting the final copies, but students are also welcome to access their writing over the weekend (through Office365 – username = student log-in @rentonstudent.us and the password is their regular computer password).  We have been logging into Office365 all week, so most students are now able to do so without trouble J  We are sharing the writing with each other on Tuesday in a celebration of their hard work and reflection, but please ask them to see their vignettes if you haven’t already!

Also, I wanted to highlight a few upcoming details for 2nd quarter.  Students will be participating in a Science Fiction and/or Dystopian genre study for the first part of the quarter, which means they need to select and appropriate Science Fiction or Dystopian novel.  There are several options for this within the classroom library, the school library, and for sure the public library. 

Students will need to have their 2nd quarter JR Sci-Fi or Dystopian book selected by Tuesday, November 8th.  If a student is between books at this point, I have encouraged them to select a Sci-Fi or Dystopian book ASAP.  Students will need to finish their JR Sci-Fi or Dystopian novel by Tuesday, November 29th in order to be fully prepared to quickly draft their Extended Response on Setting and how a character’s perception of the setting changes throughout the novel (connects directly to theme).  This last quarter, many students read their JR books on average in 3-4 weeks; however, some students took an entire quarter to read. 

There are a few options available to help encourage more consistent reading: students should be carrying their JR Books between school and home each day and marking their reading time on the bookmarks (they are a different color every two weeks).  The expected time per day is 30 minutes, which turns into an effort grade, but if students are not consistently reading it almost always directly influences their academic grades.  Please remember that it does not need to be a 30 minute block of time, but could be 30 minutes or more across the day.  Students could also listen to their books through the KCLS app (free to Renton students) or through Audible (fee) and if you like more information regarding listening as an option, please reach out. 

Thank you!

Ms. LeBaron

Updates: October!
Posted by Abby LeBaron on September 30, 2016 at 4:14pm

It’s been a very full month of September with new standards for Discussion (Speaking & Listening) and adding in more complex thinking around theme and analysis work.  I have added grades this week, so feel free to check for updated progress and please know that on Monday I will be re-teaching theme levels 2 to level 3 and addressing how to form the complex thinking, so that students who may struggle with organizing the thinking on paper have more access to show what and how they understand a text. 

Also, we are at a time where we will starting brainstorming and collecting ideas around the personal narrative unit.  The unit is structured with close readings through vignettes from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros with days built in to draft writing based around 3 central parts of identity:

  • What places in your life have helped shape your identity?
  • What people in your life have helped shape your identity?
  • What objects (symbols) have helped shape your identity? 

Students will be drafting their initial quick writes in their Reader’s Notebooks, but will do longer versions on paper with final copies on the computers.  The writing process will be broken across several weeks with time for peer revisions, teacher feedback, and partner work before the final submission date at the end of October. 

Additionally, in mid-October students will compose their first Extended Response (Literary Analysis) on their Just Right book – we will begin purposefully planning the evidence and analysis this upcoming week, but so far students have learned how to analyze and interpret their JR books through:

  • Conflict
  • Character Change & Development (traits not feelings)
  • Setting

The best way for students to be successful at crafting their Extended Response is to use a book that they have carefully and closely been tracking their thinking in.  Their options include using post-it notes to mark evidence and analysis on (they can transfer them to their Reader’s NB at school), to take notes a different way, to complete learning segments like Sketch-a-Scene to determine how the setting influences their character and to always be prepared for class so that anytime given in class (daily) they will be able to either read and/or record evidence and analysis in their notebooks. 

Students independent reading books are those Just Right (JR) books that they need to be reading 30 minutes a day (can be broken up).  They receive an effort score for their independent reading while all other scores are academic as they include the skills of interpreting their books.  If you know your student is not reading at home / outside of school, I need you to know that it will be hard for them to be successful on the assessments or deepening the skills they have.  Please let me know if you want more information on how books that might engage them better, suggested next books, or even options for listening to audiobooks while following along. 

I will be updating the calendar on SWIFT over the weekend, so please check on the site if you want to know more specific due dates.  Also, if you know your student struggles to get started on writing a pre-thinking conversation around identity and places, people, and objects could be very beneficial. 

Thank you,

Ms. LeBaron

Getting Ready for 8th Grade Language Arts
Posted by Abby LeBaron on August 05, 2016 at 10:14am

Parents, Guardians, and Students,

I cannot wait to meet you and start this new school year.  In the meantime, if you are purchasing school supplies, please buy a Composition Notebook of at least 100 pages (college rule preferred) for this class.  The spiral notebooks will not last through the school year. I will have a small amount of Composition Notebooks available at the start of school (purchased for 55 cents at Walmart and Target).  If you cannot find a Composition Notebook I would be happy to talk with you on the first day of school. 

We will be decorating our Composition Notebooks as a way to make them more valuable to us as readers and writers, but also as a way to share about ourselves.  I would encourage you to think about what songs, people, places, hobbies, interests, or other memories you would like to share on your notebook.  You can print out ideas, bring in photographs (or copies of photographs), cut out of magazines, or even draw out what and who represents you.

Until then -- enjoy the rest of August and see you September 1st! 

Ms. LeBaron

Image result for composition notebook