Holocaust/WWII Unit

We finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Students continue reading books on The Holocaust and World War II.  This unit also helps prepare students for what they will encounter at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.  The unit, in addition to what they read, will encompass current issues of injustice and intolerance, and look at activism in the world today.

Choice of books:
 Sarah’s Key 
Courage and Defiance 
In My Hands
We Are Witnesses 
The Bielski Brothers 


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Extra info on Anne Frank unit

The real avengers? 

Jewish Holocaust revenge squad accounts 

Anne Frank from US Holocaust Museum

Anne Frank- History.com 

10 Secret stories of WWII

Crash course WW2 Playlist


Tour of the Secret Annex

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Stress reducing music to kick off 2017

This song was designed to reduce stress, so maybe you can use it as background music.  Read the link below, that’s where I found it.  The song s pretty tranquil.  We will being another unit that’s always well-received: The Diary of Anne Frank.  I always look forward to teaching this unit: some things we’ll focus on:  courage, identity, irony, suspense, dramatic irony, allusion, flashback, dynamic, flat, round, foil characters, catharsis


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The Outsiders

We are about to begin that classic story- The Outsiders ( please note novel titles go in italics).  Parents are welcome to read along ( 66levon backwards spells novel66- that is the year the book was published).  It only gets better with age.  Read this one for Johnny!!!!


Check out some slang words from The Outsiders


Youtube playlist of Audiobook :https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR4tfl-v6x_rl2SIxu856k_yD4vllznNJ

Cpt 1

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Half-Day Thankful Activities

Schedule   Wednesday 23, 2016
7:30 - Go to the Period 3there-is-always-something-to-be-thankful-for
7:30 - 8:10 - 1st Rotation 
8:10 - 8:45 - 2nd Rotation
8:45 - 9:20 - 3rd Rotation
9:20 - 9:30 - Merit Awards
9:30 - 10:40 - Feast
10:40 - 10:55 - Locker Clean out

Goal Setting  
Thankful Activity: Señora M. (35 minutes)
Random Acts of Kindness Collage (with laptops)
Thankful activity video:

Be Grateful for Who You Are and What You Have / Kindness collage videos

  1. https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/inspiring-resources
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC8OzfiFNdo
  3. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/35-Little-Acts-of-Kindness
  4. http://www.kindspring.org/ideas/index.php?pg=cat&cid=4
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA5Qpt1JRE4
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiUcn06f4zA
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Exam prep

exam-prep-blog-image 315906_7bb3_4

The amazing end of the 1st trimester cumulative exam is right around the corner.  Let’s examine how to prep and study of an exam.


Studying is not the same as doing HW
Create a habit ( a time and quiet place)
Study smarter, not harder ( ask questions, think like the teacher would)
— Long term studying, visualize, move, acronyms, rhymes
–Avoid distraction, key time- right before bed.
rewrite notes in your own words.  Explain meaning to someone else; ask questions and make comments .   “All Summer in a Day:, “Broken Chain”, “The Man in the black Suit”, “The Landlady”, Chains, “Tell- Tale Heart”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, “October in the Chair

 Exam grid 1      exam grid 2 ]

Exam grid 1 for students

Exam grid 2 for students

    1.) Demonstrate your understanding of irony by giving specific examples of different types of irony from our reading this trimester.  Your examples may come from one single work or two separate ones, but they must be specific and of a different type of irony.  You must explain the types of irony and how the situations contain irony.

    3.) Similar themes, morals, or messages can be identified in completely separate works of literature.  Choose a theme, moral or message which appears in two different works we have read this trimester.  State what the theme, moral, or message is, and use textual evidence from each literary work to explain how that theme, moral, or message appears in each.  Two examples of it manifesting in each work is what you should aim for.

5.) From our reading this year, choose a character and show how the author develops that character using at least four methods of characterization



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The Electoral College breakdown

I know many were still unclear on what the Electoral College is and how it works.  It was key to this election, and this video does a great job to explain it

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Election XC


XC- 270 points ( 270= # of electoral votes needed to win the presidency)-

Give me a list of the 5 most important states to win this election ( are they contested swing states? Or just carrying many electoral votes?), and also state who you think will win each one of those five ( you don’t need to say the same person for each)- and finally, predict the overall winner- our next president.     If you get all 5 winners and the overall winner, you’ll get another 270 points)


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Oct 26th Election Day activities

Electoral College map & predictor 

Candidates and their stances

Some vids – candidates and their stances- have to navigate 

Links to all info below on a google dog ( open it; make a copy; add your findings)

By Issue:  Higher Ed 
Procon- Candidates views 
NasFaa ( from National financial Aid site) 
Michigan Times: Trump & Clinton differ on this issue
Threat Monitoring 
NPR on 5 issues with threat monitoring 
on the NSA's Prism program 
Surveillance techniques 
Minimum Wage
Procon on wages 
Info from Time magazine  for kids 
Time magazine for kids 
American Immigration Council 
Time Magazine for Kids 

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This year I am using Remind ( an APP)  to send reminders about items due in my class.  Remind will send out text messages to, well, remind us of the assignments, or anything the students may need to know about. Parents can see the Reminders, too, in case their students get so many text messages mine gets lost in the shuffle….

  • Followers do not need to download an app, they simply need to text to the number…


here is the link to join my remind list:



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Welcome to 216!!!


Open house! Welcome parents and guardians!! We’re off to a great start this year- we love these kids.  It’s great fun to be here every day- we really enjoy our time with them- thank you!  In ELA, we’ve read short stories and are starting a longer novel.  We have reviewed and are working on new Literary terms and concepts, and working on understanding all the stories we’ve read.   We’ve worked on understanding writing as well.


shutterstock_17433295_crop380w screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-12-44-14-pm   Team awesome

Mr. Maslanka’s PPT          screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-12-50-39-pm

CARICATURE BY http://kusocartoon.com/ 

Currently in ELA we are reading Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Our driving questions:

-- What are freedom and  Liberty?   Has the meaning of these things changed over time??
How does the author create suspense in the story? 
How does the author use the methods of indirect characterization to create her characters?
How does setting create conflict in this story?
How does the author develop a theme over the course of the story? 
How does the author use sensory imagery  to shape her writing?
How does the author develop a symbol over the course of the story? 



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Info about Summer reading

summer-reading     book20and20stones   summer-reading1

Ahh, June.  I can almost smell the suntan lotion and salt in the air.  That means it is also almost time for Summer reading fun.

For soon to be 9th graders- please see this link for information from Tyngsborough High regarding summer reading.  Ask Mr. Maslanka if you’d like help selecting a second book from the THS 9th grade reading options.

For soon to be 8th graders- Please see this form addressing summer readings-  2016 Summer reading assignment ( students need to be logged in to their google accounts to view/access these Summer reading docs & forms)!  There are two parts to it- the form and then a written component.  The   2016 Summer reading assignment  details both.





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Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Dear Families:

This is a great time to reach out to families as many 8th graders are about to begin a unit on Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. A wonderfully crafted book, Speak offers much to examine in terms of its technique, structure and style as well as in the topics it brings up. However, the book deals with some mature subject matter. Please Google the book Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, and read some of the Amazon/Barnes & Nobles blurbs for more information. This can be a great opportunity to have some important discussions with your children.

Here is a link to a copy of the book online:


 The only thing with the ‘online copy’ I found is that I think there is one page missing.

Please feel free to read along and discuss this book with your son/daughter. It’s a great book, and well worth the read, not to mention book discussions with your child.

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Our Scholar Leader, Mitch Anderson


New England League of Middle Schools Award is described thus:   “This program is intended to give public recognition to two students from each middle level school in your state who have distinguished themselves in terms of outstanding scholarship and leadership.”

Way to go, Mitchell!

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That Chernobyl video has an extra..

I showed a few classes this video about Chernobyl ( and a company making a VR app about it).  The Youtube video has an extra- it is itself 3d/virtual.  Check out the little navigator in the top left of the screen.


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Washington primers & insta challenge

Over the next few days, I’ll post on my  class Instagram and Twitter pictures with some questions.  These are all in preparation for our DC trip.  They will cue you in to some of the places and things you’ll encounter.  If, after all 7, 8 or 9are posted, and you submit your answers to each part of each one- in complete sentences- with one additional questions- I will grant you XC- 535 points.   The first questions is:  Why am I giving you such a strange amount of points for bonus?  Question 2 is the pic I just posted on Instagram.   Bueno Suerte…




History of the U.S. Capitol Building.

The final video is brought to you by the Illuminati!!

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Research and WWII/Holocaust

We have finished The Diary of Anne Frank.  We are starting Literature circles, so we are in smaller groups.  Look at the calendar below to see which days students are provided time in class to discuss and read their book.   Days marked in green  ( 1/2) means they have 1/2 of class that day to work in  their group and read.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 10.24.38 AM.png

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Letters About Literature follow up

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 10.46.15 AM

And Julia Grimm is on to the final round……

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WWII/ Anne Frank

Anne Frank museum/ virtual tour

for the military historians or map lovers, here are some interesting videos related to our readings!


John Green’s Crash Course history of World War II

My own TED-Ed quiz -http://ed.ted.com/on/798Ei0if

Create a TED account to Take this quiz ( through TED) on John Green’s WWII vid  ( click on ‘think’)


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Valent-Nia’s day Poll

In honor of grade 8’s love connectors Val & Nia- our  1st annual St. Valent-Nia’s Day Poll.    Good thing Mr. Maslanka and Destiny is not a choice for the poll….

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New unit: The Diary of Anne Frank


We will start our unit on The Diary of Anne Frank on Monday, Feb 8th.  We will work on it and finish that play ( not her actual diary, which people can choose to read along with as we go) after the February vacation.  We will also examine the Holocaust, WWII, and human rights after the play.  This helps our students prepare for The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that we visit in Washington DC in April.



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Supplementary Chains stuff

Common Sense- Read it here!   And some info on it...

read Robinson  Crusoe   Really old movie version.    Just old movie version

Robinson Crusoe cartoon

Play some new Mission US games

History of NY city – 1665-1783     NY during the 1st year of the Revolution

more about the Revolutionary War here!

from The History Channel 



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reading goals in Chains


Chapters -in Chains pages have covered by class on 
1(I) -13 ( XIII) 1-84 Tues Dec 8th
14 ( XIV)- 19 ( XIX) 85-122 Wed Dec 9th
20 ( XX) -24 ( XXIV) 123-153  (end PT 1 of book) Thurs Dec 10th
25 ( XXV)- 29(XXIX) 157-184 Friday, Dec 11th
30 ( XXX)- 36 ( XXXVI) 185-231 Monday Dec 14th
37(XXXVII) -39   IXXX pgs 232- 255 Tues Dec 15th
40( XL) – 42  ( XLII) pgs 256-278 Wed Dec 16th
43 (XLIII) -45   ( XLV) pgs 279-300 Thurs Dec 17th…


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Common Sense

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Trying to understand the fighting in Syria?

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Crucible notes- background, etc..

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background for The Crucible

John Green’s Crash Course Cold War- start 10:30 in

The real story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Prezi on Salem Witch Trials


And… one more….

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Open House!

Welcome! Open House 2015-2016!!!    The Show…

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