Mrs. DeFors's Desk

Information and Conversation for 8th graders

The Outsiders October 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdefors @ 3:56 pm

This week students began a novel study unit on The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton.

Themes of the book include friendship/peer relationship, cliques, honor, and social class.  In my humble opinion, this book is perfect for 8th graders!  It’s become very clear to me that after just one chapter, many of my students are making very strong connects to characters and events.  Stay tuned for more information regarding this novel study and other upcoming classroom events.


New Book Report Project October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdefors @ 6:17 pm

Today, students selected a biography or an autobiography for their next independent reading selection.  The follow paragraphs provide an explanation of the project students are expected to complete:

After reading their biography or autobiography, students will create 10 open-ended interview questions for a pretend magazine interview.  Students will also have to create answers to their questions based on the information they gather from their biography/autobiography.  

Based on the subject’s sport/hobby/claim to fame, students will then choose an appropriate magazine in which this interview might be found.

Design a cover for your magazine by drawing a detailed picture of your person on it. You may complete the work by hand or you may use a computer to add other touches to make it look like an actual magazine cover.


Example ERR October 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdefors @ 1:58 pm

The following link will allow you to review and print the Flowers for Algernon Extended Reading Response example we created today in class:


Example ERR





8th Grade Narratives October 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdefors @ 1:40 pm

8th graders have been hard at work on writing narratives.  We started the unit by pondering the Haper Lee quote,    “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” from To Kill a Mockingbird.  Students then engaged in a thoughtful discussion about empathy and perspective.

The following day, when they walked into class, each student discovered they had a shoe placed on top of their desk.  For 35 minutes, students journaled about the shoe’s appearance.  They also created a fictitious owner of the shoe.   They answered questions to help them develop the character of  the owner of the shoe.

The next day, students reviewed the elements of a narrative in preparation for writing their first big essay of the year.  The owner of the shoe they created became the main character of their narrative. Students are writing their rough drafts so that they are prepared to revise/edit by the end of next week.

I’m really looking forward to reading what students were able to create!


Welcome to My New Blog Page October 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdefors @ 12:00 pm

My wedding was the BEST day of my life!  I had such a great time and made so many wonderful memories!  Thank you to the students and parents who drove all the way into the city of Chicago to watch the hubby and me tie the knot.  It was wonderful to see your faces as I walked down the aisle.  We are so touched by all of the kind words and well wishes we have received over the past few weeks.  Thank you!


I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you to my new blog!  I figured that changing my name would be a great opportunity for me to graduate from blogger to wordpress.  This is now where you will find weekly information regarding what’s going on in the classroom.  I’m hoping the transition is not too difficult for you!  my new email address is

Please let me know if you have any questions!