Far Far Away

When we finished To Kill a Mockingbird, we had to pick a theme that we thought fit the story. I chose friendship. We were instructed to choose three quotes from the book that represents the theme and how it relates to the story.  We were not told how to present our project. I decided to make a friendship tree. What I did well was choosing three quotes and deciding how to present the project. The tree symbolizes the oak tree outside of the Radley place. It was difficult to choose only three quotes. There were so many quotes about friendship to choose from. Next time, I might find a better way to hang my writing from the tree branches. There is a lot of friendship throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is defending Tom Robinson; he believes Tom because he trusts him. Atticus stands up for Calpurnia because they both depend on each other. Calpurnia also treats Jem and Scout like they are her own children.

This is a modeled paragraph from To Kill A Mockingbird. I learned how to use a lot of semicolons with very few sentences instead of writing many separate sentences.

Winter was creeping up on us; my family and I waited for it with anxiety. Winter was the most jovial season of all: it was sliding down a snow-covered hill and having snowball fights; winter was gazing at the fire; it was the Christmas stockings hung on the mantle of the fireplace; but most of all, winter was welcoming.
1. How does this story relate to middle school behavior? In other words, what parallels do you see between the behavior and characters on the island and the behavior and “characters” in school? How does each group and/or character relate to middle school?

2. Early in the unit, we discussed human nature. Most people agreed that our ”savage” self is more powerful than our “civilized” self. What must we do to make sure our civilized nature stays in control? What should the boys have done?    

Lord of the Flies relates to middle school behavior; I think the story is very much like the way kids behave in middle school, even though it is an exaggeration. There are separate groups in middle school and on the island. For example, Jack and the hunters represent the “cool” group that everyone wants to be around. Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric represent the smaller group that no one likes even though they may be the only ones that see reason and might help everyone. Sometimes, the leader of the “cool” group will have so much control over the other kids that they will do anything the leader wants. Jack had so much control over the other kids that they would follow him without knowing what Jack was doing. This quote from the book explains Ralph’s thoughts on the situation, “Lying there in the darkness, he knew he was an outcast. ‘Cos I had some sense.’(page 186)”

I think that our savage self is more powerful than our civilized self. Today, it seems that we are not savage at all, but there is some savage inside every person. We do a pretty good job of not letting the savage take over. We must make sure everyone is happy, if there is a big argument, there is a chance that we will become our savage selves. However, on the island, most of the boys let the savage take over. Jack and his tribe were not themselves anymore. “But really, thought Ralph, this was not Bill. This was a savage whose image refused to blend with that ancient picture of a boy in shorts and shirt (page 183).” The boys needed to listen to Ralph and Piggy, who actually knew what needed to be done, but instead, they revolted against them. “There was no Piggy to talk sense. There was no solemn assembly to debate nor dignity of the conch (page 196).”

When we finished reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we were asked show our understanding of the story. My partner, Kanoa, and I decided to write a story. I learned how to write a story with vocabulary from A Christmas Carol. It was difficult to use Dickens vocabulary in such a modern story. It was easy to write the story once I got going. Next time, I would set up specific times when my partner and I could work on the project together.






with invisible wings


the classroom,

out of lockers,

and behind teachers backs.

A straight shot

towards the professor

and an arc that lands

by someone’s feet.

Covered in designs;

pink hearts

and blue “Happy Birthday”s

who think the concept

of being naughty

is revolting.

Just plain yellow

with Ticonderoga #2

who are evil

criminal masterminds.

They all can fly.

Mechanical and new

like spaceships.

Everything perfect,

no dents,

and no paint,


battered and old

like planes

from World War Two,

the pink eraser broken off

with only the silver band

that holds them together,

the bright

yellow paint peels

to reveal

the pale wood underneath,

and the lead,

like the nosecone

at the tip of the aircraft.

The children,

eyes wide,

watch as pencils fly.


made that pencil

a flying pencil?

Did someone

Throw that vessel

through the air,

or did that pencil

actually fly?

The Explorer

the owl prepares for the midnight flight

his strong wings take him through the frigid air

until the appearance of morning light

his large glowing eyes are ever aware


eyes that can spy anything that’s below

in the midst of the trees he sees a house

through the window the firelight’s aglow

there’s a hole in the wall fit for a mouse


through the moonlit landscape the wind howls

on the forest floor there is a feather

inside a cave an animal growls

as he flies through the cold winter weather


every night and year after year he soars

he’s ever exploring the great outdoors

When we were reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we were assigned the “In Came…” project. We used some of Dickens’ writing as a model. I learned how to write in different styles. It was difficult to figure out a scenario; there were so many to choose from. I described the scenario I picked very well.

In Came

            In came the pilot with his brief case, and went up to the spacious cockpit, and sat down on the gray chairs, and prepared for take off like he was in a hurry. In came the copilot, a tall thin frown. In came the three flight attendants, smiling and jovial. In came the four pre-boarders who graciously accepted help from the attendants. In came the young girl with her boyfriend. In came the woman, with her baby, that was sobbing. In came the college student, with her uncle and his friend, the professor. In came the unaccompanied minor, who was scared of strangers; hiding from everyone but one, the flight attendant who gave him candy. In they all came, one after another, some tiredly, some anxiously, some angrily, some joyfully, some laughing, some weeping; in they all came, anyhow and everyhow.

1.    To try to do extra work to push myself.

2.    To continue to increase participation during discussion.

3.    To specifically address people during discussion and bring them into the conversation.

So far, I have been working very hard on my goals. I have been increasing my participation in class discussions. I have specifically addressed people during discussion and have brought them into the conversation. I have been trying to push myself to do my best on all of my assignments.

Eighth grade is a Warhead because it can be sour, but then it becomes sweet. This year, there will be hard times, but there with also be good. You have to get through the sour part to get to the sweet. The wrapper is the first week of school. You don’t know what you are going to get; the rest of the year might not be what you think it will be. When you first put the candy in your mouth, there is a burst of sour flavor. This is your first night of homework or your first big test. You will have to do a lot of studying to get the questions right. The middle part of the candy is sweet. These are the times when you are at Science Camp or Big Sur. You can relax and not have to worry about doing anything and yet learn many new things at the same time. Eighth grade is over when the candy is gone. You are on your way to high school. 

This is where I will post all of my assignments from English class with Mrs. Gates this year. I have worked very hard on all of my work, and I hope you enjoy it! This is my second year having Mrs. Gates as my teacher, and she has taught me to be the best writer I can be.