And the winner is …

You know I’m going to say it, but I really mean it: all of us!  The Mockingjay Project started out with a simple (wink, wink) goal of making us better writers.  As one student commented in the project reflection, “Writing is like a sport; you must practice to get good at it.”  We did indeed practice, and with the frequent blog postings and subsequent feedback, we gained confidence and new skills!  However, I think the majority of my students and I learned something even more valuable.  We learned resilience.  Not everything went as we had hoped or planned: disappointing reader comments, voki meltdowns, widgets gone awry, and time poorly managed.  However, we bounced back to blog another day!  We learned how to solve problems, ask for help when needed, and support each other.  We grew together as a community of learners and writers.  I have no doubt that some day in the near future I will be reading that one of you has won the much coveted Bloggie Award.  Please don’t forget to thank your 8th grade classmates in your acceptance speech!

Here’s a sampling of our thoughts on The Mockingjay Project:

We did indeed crown a winner!  I would have been happy with a six-way tie, but I knew no one else would be.  As a result, I decided to award the winner based on brain power out of the arena rather than brawn exercised in it.  Each of the finalists was joined by team members, and together they had to unravel a series of clues in a scavenger hunt around our school.  The first to make it back to the classroom was the winner.  Congratulations to Queen B and her team who turned out to be fierce competitors.  We also had our version of the Bloggie Awards and recognized the following classmates for an outstanding job:

Nominees for Best Comments that Helped Fellow Writers:





Winner of the Bloggie for Best Comments: Kaitlyn

Nominees for Best Blog (based on look of blog, writing, enthusiasm for project):









Winner of the Bloggie for Best Blog: Connor

May the odds continue to be in their favor and yours, too!





Mayhem, Mystery, and Murder! What is Going on in 8th Grade Language Arts?


Photo Credit: ~Aphrodite via Compfight cc

At first, this picture really creeped me out.  What was with the human hand coming out of the computer screen?  Computers are machines, after all.  However, the more I looked at the picture, the more I liked it.  I think it really shows what this blogging experience has meant to me.  I have always been a writer, but my audience has been rather limited – me!  I have kept numerous journals over the years, but now with blogging, I have a wider audience.  I can post my thoughts, invite others to read them, get feedback, and feel connected to others.  That’s what the hands in the picture represent to me: the human aspect of blogging.  I know that after I send something “out there,” I will reach many people who, in turn, will react to what I have to say.

We are in our final days of The Mockingjay Project.  The mayhem of the Games has included tsunamis and poison dart frogs. You will definitely want to read how the tributes survived (or not) the many obstacles put before them.

My students have been reaching out to a wider audience with amazing writing.  Please reach back and let them know how awesome a job they are doing … because they are!  Feel free to leave comments for ANY of the writers.

Here are the tributes who are still in The Games:

J.K. Notrowling (Yasmine)

Juniper Stowe (Shelby)

Gerome Washingbeard VII (Brad)

Bruce “Batman” Wayne (Josh)

Ella Moe (Mollie)

Sydney Ivashhov (Alyssa)

Blake Cooper (Connor)

Anne Foyer (Kaitlyn)

Queen Bee (Mareda)

Tammy Cottonhead (Lizzy)

Delilah Rose Carter (Rachel W)

Lee Sin (Tommy)

If anyone can tell me how I’m going to pick a winner for the Hunger Games, please – and I mean PLEASE – tell me.  I think more than anything I don’t want their audience to go away now that they’ve found it.  I guess that’s why there are sequels!


Write Like Your Life Depends On it … In this Case It Does!

The Eightieth Hunger Games have begun!  Read our blogs and enjoy the action as it unfolds through the eyes of our tributes.  The first day brought many surprises, including our first victims.  The writing has been amazing!  Behind the scenes, we are acknowledging the creativity that is unfolding with various “Reader’s Choice” awards.   In this round, the excellent efforts in writing and commenting earned the student immunity from elimination from The Games.   Here is a sampling: 

Best Character Name: J.K. Notrowling

Best Attention Getter:

Post 1: “Silence: a complete and total blanket enveloping all inside, a crushing weight seemingly bearing down on your shoulders.

Best Simile:

Dependency is like a bicycle: the longer and faster you go, the harder it is to stop.


Bloggers are Born!

Photo Credit: Kristina B via Compfight cc

 The Mockingjay Project is soaring!  We are learning how to blog as we explore narrative writing.  Using Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games as a model text and as a backdrop for our posts, students have assumed a fictitious identity as a tribute from one of the twelve Districts in the country of Panem.  This identity is explained in each student’s “About Me” page.  So far, students have blogged about hearing his/her name announced as a tribute and what each will take as a token into the Games.

Students are offering writing advice to each other, and we encourage you to leave comments on any of the blogs to help our students become better writers over the course of the project.  Guidelines for commenting can be found on the “Commenting Guidelines” page of this blog. 

I’m sure you will be quickly hooked and want to read more!  Stay tuned because THE GAMES will start soon! 

Mockingjay Project: The Mission Explained


Good day, Students!  Your mission should you decide to accept it (which of course, you will!) is to find your own voice through narrative writing.  The mockingjay, a new species that emerged from the mating of the jabberjay and the mockingbird in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, found a new voice. It could recreate songs, and with enough patience from the coach, the mockingjay could sing not only a few notes but also an entire song.

Likewise, we are going to be “singing” to fellow writers, offering them suggestions to improve their writing.  With each other’s ideas, we will be writing posts that will use a variety of sensory details.   We will use the Hunger Games as a model text and as a  backdrop for our posts. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let the fun begin!