laura.schmits@ppsel.org719-522-25807th/8th Humanities
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Monday, November 11th - Students spent the day planning and creating a logo that represent their NGO for final product. We discussed the importance of symbolism and how they can incorporate colors, signs and figures into their logo that have a deeper meaning to make their logo more significant. Students then spent time on and created a logo, which they emailed to 

Tuesday, November 12th - We analyzed our dystopian novels for elements of fiction, specifically Freytag's plot diagram with inciting moment and rising action, as well as a protagonist analysis and identifying conflict. Students then had time to continue reading or working on their puzzle pieces. 

Wednesday, November 13 - Students reviewed persuasive rhetorical and played Scoot to enforce and assess their confidence in identifying and applying these techniques. Students then had time to work on their Video Planning packet for their final product. 

Thursday, November 14th - Students will have time to work on their final product planning and begin working with Movie Maker. 

Friday, November 15th - Students will spend class time reading their dystopian novels and working on analysis worksheets and puzzle pieces. 

Monday, September 30th - Students researched reasons why voting is encouraged and looked into counter-arguments against voting. They then had to complete a graphic organizer that defined the word "citizen" and jot down initial ideas about the roles and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. We then read an article titled, "Why it's Important to Vote" and students completed a Rank-Write-Talk protocol with a partner. 

Tuesday, October 1st - students had time at the beginning of class to complete their Rank-Write-Talk graphic organizer with their partner and turn it in. The class then looked into two different texts (one a speech from Susan B. Anthony and the other an excerpt from a historical fiction novel) about women's suffrage. Students had to synthesize the two texts and answer the question, "Why did women fight for the right to vote," using evidence and key details from both texts. 

Wednesday, October 2nd - Students will work together with their literature circle to identify the dystopian characteristics in their novels. Then, students will mix up groups, with each group having one to two individuals from each literature circle. They will share an objective summary of their story, then share with the group the dystopian elements found in their book. Students will then have time to read and begin the first puzzle piece of their set. 

Thursday, October 3rd - Students will re-visit their synthesized statements from Tuesday and add, edit or revise what they wrote to make sure they included key details and evidence from both texts. Students will then read an article titled, "Youth Power" about getting younger voters engaged in the democratic process. They will need to pull out key details and evidence, then synthesize the two articles we read about women voters and youth voters, identifying how they are similar and how they are different. Students will then write in their reading journal a list of 5 responsibilities they feel a citizen has in a democracy, based off our content from this week. 

Friday, October 4th - Students will have time to read their dystopian novels and work on their puzzle piece. Students should be down with the first section of their book by today. 

Monday, September 23rd - Students completing a reading and graphic organizer on economic systems. This was part of a previous activity on "determining importance."

Tuesday, September 24th - Students prepared for our quiz tomorrow by playing "Scoot" with task cards. We then read out of our dystopian novels and debriefed with our literature circles, using reading skills of summarizing and making connections. 

Wednesday, September 25th - Students took their quiz on types of governments and economic systems. We then spent time reviewing and reflecting on our Constitution project and adding work to their portfolios. Students were given progress reports to take home to be signed. 

Thursday, September 26th - Students read (or re-read) a dystopian short story. They were then given a plot diagram graphic organizer and travelled to different centers that broken down the different elements of fiction (characters, setting, initial incident, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution) and were asked to identify each element in their short story. 

Friday, September 27th - students had time to read their dystopian novels, followed by a debrief with their literature circle to cite evidence about what they saw in their novel that was dystopia. 

Monday, September 16th - students will have one final work day to finish the final draft of their constitutions and presentations. 

Tuesday, September 17th - We will be celebrating Constitution Day by completing activities and readings related to the writing and signing of our country's constitution in 1787. Students will have an opportunity to create a poster that can be submitted to the Constitution Fact's competition on their website ( 

Wednesday, September 18th - Students will present their countries and constitutions to the class. With any remaining time, we will revisit our graphic organizers on Determining Importance while reading an article on economics from several weeks ago. 

Thursday, September 19th - Students will be given their dystopian literature circle assignments and begin to read. We will debrief basic facts at the end of class. 

Friday, September 20th - Color Run with shortened classes! We will have time to read our dystopian novels in class before our run. 

Monday, September 2nd - Labor Day, No School

Tuesday, September 3rd - Students will work on researching an existing country's Constitution. They will be able to use this as a basis to write their own rough draft. We will be working on our "Create Your Own Government" project all this week and next. 

Wednesday, September 4th - Students will be working on their "Create Your Own Government" project rough drafts and peer revisions. 

Thursday, September 5th - Students will be working on their "Create Your Own Government" project rough drafts.

Friday, September 6th - Combined class with History through Writing. Students will be working on giving feedback to peers on their two projects: Guess the Commodity papers (HtW) and Create Your Own Government (HtR).  

Monday, August 26th - Students worked in groups to complete a Breakout Box activity connected to last week's study of the US Constitution. 

Tuesday, August 27th - Students will practice Determining Importance while reading. Students will be given an article and a note catcher. They will need to read and article on Communism, Socialism and Capitalism and use the skills we will learn in a teacher model to pick 4 words that they think are the most important in the article and use evidence to support their ideas. In partners, students will then need to "battle" for the most important word and why, which they will then share with the class. 

Wednesday, August 28th - La Foret

Thursday, August 29th - La Foret

Friday, August 30th - Students will begin their Create Your Own Government and Constitution project. 

Monday, August 19th - Students will complete a reading on dictatorships and review anchor chart. Students will then complete a Centers activity where they will have to fill in a graphic organizer with the type of government a country has based off of a short, descriptive reading. If time, students will have one more opportunity to build a spaghetti tower according to a dictatorship form of government. 

Tuesday, August 20th - Students will complete their beginning of the year STAR reading assessment. With any left over time, we will be learning how to play "Scoot!" This is a task card game that we will be revisiting throughout the year. 

Wednesday, August 21st - Students will focus on the reading skill of making connections (text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world) through beginning our unit on dystopian literature. Students will learn what "dystopian" means, its characteristics and qualities, then complete a short reading while completing a "Making Connections" note catcher. 

Thursday, August 22nd - Students will be completing a US Constitution scavenger hunt while learning the basics of what a constitution is, why it's important, what the United States Constitution says, then applying that to vocab words that they need to know moving forward. We will also begin an overview of economic systems through a reading that compares and contrasts capitalism, socialism and communism. 

Friday, August 23rd - If we have any tasks that we did not get to during the week, we will complete them today. If time, we will play "Scoot!"

Monday, August 12th - Students will have a "book tasting" in which they will have a few minutes to read over the possibilities of different books that we will be reading for our expedition this semester. We will then go over the differences in a limited vs. unlimited government, as well as how to do a close reading and text code. Students will read an article on democracy, then will be tasked with building a tower out of spaghetti noodles, masking tape and marshmallows using democracy as a model for decision making. In their reading journals, students will need to reflect on their experience by answering a few guided questions. 

Tuesday, August 13th -  Students will learn how to play the game "Scoot" with task cards, a game we will be re-visiting throughout the school year. Students will then review close reading and text coding through an article about oligarchies. Same as yesterday, they will then be asked to build a tower as an oligarchy. 

Wednesday, August 14th - Today will be similar to Monday and Tuesday, but with a focus on monarchies (constitutional and absolute). We will begin talking about text structures and understanding the 5 different non-fiction type of informational readings. 

Thursday, August 15th - We will be playing "Scoot" again as a "get to know you activity. Students will then learn about and build a tower as a dictatorship (totalitarian, authoritarian, fascism, etc.). We will continue with text coding through Centers with students reading a variety of articles and attempting to classify them into the correct text structure category. 

Friday, August 16th - We will finish any tasks we were unable to complete during the week, then practice our Free Read Friday routine with a classroom book. Students will need to bring in a book to read starting next week. With the remaining time, we will begin a U.S. Constitution scavenger hunt. 

Monday, August 5th - Welcome back to school! Students focused on a few "get to know you" activities. There is no homework. 

Tuesday, August 6th - students helped create classroom norms based off of PPSEL's 5 character traits of compassion, respect, integrity, self discipline and craftsmanship. Students signed our class poster that will be hung in the classroom. 

Wednesday, August 7th - Today we began our BBK by completing a gallery walk of a few photos and completing a "notice and wonder" note catcher. Students were then placed into groups of 4 and given a "mystery piece" quote and began to record their ideas, connections and thought. Next, each student in the group received on of 4 different articles (Democracy vs. Republic, Oligarchy, Absolute Monarchy,  and Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism and Fascism) and were asked to jot down some ideas, thoughts, summaries, key words, etc. about their article. 

Thursday, August 8th - Students continued with the readings from yesterday by sharing with their group a quick summary about what they read. As a group, they recorded their thoughts and ideas. The entire class then read a common text article ("Comparing Governments: How Government Works") and worked together to come up with an inference about our expedition. Exit Ticket: Which form of government do you think is the best and why?

Friday, August 9th - Students will practice a Reader Response journal entry by reading the short story "The Fun They Had" and answering some reflection and observation questions.

Mrs. Schmits teaches History through Reading at PPSEL. She graduated from CU Boulder in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs and is currently working on her MA in Curriculum and Instruction, which she hopes to complete next year. Mrs. Schmits has identical twin daughters who were born in April of 2019, and in her free time loves playing with her dog Merlin, spending time with her husband, creating things, and doing CrossFit. She has traveled to 45 countries, loves hiking, being outside, and reading of course!