The Theme of Compassion

In Phantom of the Opera,  Christine’s compassion for the Phantom leads to his redemption and transformation:  he lets Raoul and Christine go free, he himself is set free from his bitterness and hatred, and he escapes the mob after physically transforming himself to elude capture.

Think about other stories you have read or seen in which a character  showed compassion for another.  How did that compassionate act change a character or move the story in a new direction?  Name the story or character and share your observations.

Another way to think about the question is to turn it around:  can you think about a story in which the withholding of compassion has turned a character or a story in a direction different from where it might have otherwise gone?

Write a comment in order to respond to the question, or respond by elaborating on another student’s comment.

***Your comment should inlclude:

-Title and author of work

– The character’s name and explanation of how the character changed when compassion was / was not shown

– How this change affected the events of the story

– Closing sentence

Expository Writing Ideas

Need an idea for your next expository writing assignment?

Let’s think about this together. We know that expository writing can explain: it can explain why you think something or how something is done. Perhaps you’ve been reading some articles this week about the Olympics, explaining the history of how certain sports have developed over time or explaining an opinion as to why Russia should or should not have been awarded the games.

You can think about aspects of your own life and explain the how or why of topics you know well:

Think about family vacations.

Explain why _______ is a great place to visit.
Explain why your family will never again vacation at ______.
Explain how to make the best of a rainy day stuck in _______.
Explain why air travel is _______.
Explain how to survive a long flight (or a long airport delay).
Explain why family road trips are _______.
Explain how to irritate your siblings on a family road trip.
Explain why Disney World never gets old, no matter how many times you’ve been before.
Explain why _______ is the best ride at _______.

Think about your school life.
Explain why _______ is your favorite subject.
Explain how to make ________ grades in class.
Explain why school dances are _______.
Explain how the school day could be better organized.
Explain why the school’s technology policy is ________.
Explain why grades are ________.
Explain your ideas for improving the appearance of your campus.
Explain why homework is _________.

Think about your social and extracurricular life.
Explain why being the new kid (or a cheerleader, or a ”nerd”) is ________.
Explain how to crash a friendship in three easy steps.
Explain why participation in sports is ________.
Explain what participation in ___________ has taught you.
Explain how __(insert social media)__ can ________relationships.
Explain how your parents’ rules for you should change.
Explain how you are different now than you were in sixth grade.
Explain why students need more down time during the week.

Think about your hobbies and passions.
Explain why ________ is a favorite activity.
Explain how to play a better game of ________.
Explain why you love ________.
Explain how your love of _________ enriches your life.
Explain why the haters are wrong about your passion/fandom/celebrity crush.
Explain what your most important possession is and why.

Think about the people in your life (those whom you know or have read about).
Explain why you admire _________.
Explain why ___________ is an example for others to follow.
Explain how ___________ achieved success or overcame adversity.
Explain how ___________ has taught you ___________.
Explain why you are grateful to __________.

Think about what you have learned recently.
If you like history, explain how a key event happened or why it is significant.
If you like science, explain why an experiment was successful or how a process happens. Explain how discoveries in __________ will change the future.
If you like health and PE, explain how __________ affects the body or why people should stop/start ______________.
If you like math, explain how you solve a type of problem.
If you like English, explain how a certain character ________ or why a certain character ________. Explain why you ________ reading or why a favorite book has been important to you.
If you like your independent studies, explain how ________ is done or why _________ is something you want to learn more about.

Think about the wider world around you and life’s bigger questions.
Explain why it is important to help others.
Explain how one person can make a difference in the world.
Explain why it is important to speak up for what is right.
Explain how technology is making life more _______.

Once you’ve found your topic, remember to organize your thoughts into paragraphs:

  • an introduction to establish your controlling idea (don’t give your reasons or make your points yet);
  • body paragraph(s) to develop that idea with your reasons, supporting them with specific support/elaboration/commentary;
  • and a conclusion to echo the controlling idea and leave your reader with something more to think about.

Painting a Picture for Readers

We have spent the last few weeks really focusing on descriptive writing. Using various writer’s craft tools–concrete language, figurative language, use of inner thoughts and dialogue, paragraphing for effect, and interesting punctuation– to create pieces of writing that truly illustrate a picture in the minds of readers.

To view some examples written by students, check out the links below:

Alexis and Sean write about their experiences during a hot summer day.

Rayan writes about a cold day.

Camille “explodes a moment” when she fell out of a tree.

Peter and Cassandra zoom in on the last five seconds of intense sporting events.

Julia writes about her first successful back tuck.


Glitter Text for Your Blog

Some students have asked about how to add some special text effects to their blogs. Enjoy playing with the possibilities below! You can search the web for more options. If you find more cool bling for blogs, leave your recommendations in the comments!


Get this text and many more glowing fonts here . After you create your message, choose “get web code” and paste it into your post. Remember to use the “text” option when pasting in codes.


Do you like Minecraft? Check out this site for generating text. When you finish designing your message or header, there is no html code to copy. Just download your text for use in your blog, or use a tool like the snipping tool to cut out and save the image for upload as you would any photo. That’s what I did for “Purple Power.”

A Closer Look at A Christmas Carol

Scroll through Dickens’ handwritten manuscript page by page by clicking HERE.

Turn the pages by using the buttons in the upper left corner. Zoom in to more clearly see Dickens’ revisions by using the controls at the bottom of each page.

Notice that even the most talented writers (especially the most talented?) revise their work!

For more background information on Dickens and A Christmas Carol, see the link in the “Explore More” section of this blog’s sidebar.

Poetry and The Hunger Games

We recently finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in 7th Grade English. As a mode of reflecting on the novel, students have been experimenting with writing poetry that connects to this captivating story. We discussed two different types of poems, found poems and sensory emotion poems.

Click on the links to the students’ blogs to see what they wrote!

Preposition Poems

Inspired by this lesson from Read, Think, Write, we are writing poems to help us learn prepositional phrases. Here are two that Mrs. Kriese and her daughter Karen wrote together:

Between the cursed lines of a diary’s pages,
Within the ring upon a blackened hand,
From the locket beyond a lake of monsters,
In a cup among glittering jewels,
In a diadem among abandoned treasures,
Inside a snake under a cloak of scales,
Behind the lightning scar of the boy who lived,
The Dark Lord survives

Harry Potter
Out of the cupboard
On to Hogwarts
At age eleven
Beside loyal friends

Across the years
After so much pain

Into the forest
Among those he loved
With new understanding
Beyond fear of death
Toward Voldemort

Write a poem of your own using prepositional phrases. Students, perhaps you could revisit your Writer’s Notebook entry about your favorite shoes and where they have taken you and turn it into a poem. Other ideas include writing a poem about a favorite hobby, sport, book, movie, vacation, game–anything goes!

Responding to The Giver

Think about the following concept from Chapter 10 of The Giver and respond.

How would life be different if we were only aware of ourselves and of the present day — if we had no knowledge of the past? What might be some advantages and disadvantages of such limited awareness?

Your response should be at least 4-5 sentences and be thoughtful! Make sure to proofread for proper capitalization, spelling, and punctuation before you post!

Welcome to 7th Grade English!

Hello, students!

I am so glad to be your English teacher this school year. It has been so nice to finally meet all of you, and I am looking forward to getting to know you better as the year progresses. We are going to have a wonderful year together, full of new opportunities to challenge ourselves as readers and writers. Some of our writing and reading experiences will take place right here, on Edublogs! This will be a place for you to explore your thinking, share what’s on your mind, and even read entries posted by your friends and other students around the world. It will be an adventure in learning that we pursue together. Did I mention you will be able to use your iPads for blogging? 🙂