• Week of October 7

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 10/4/2019 6:00:00 PM

    This week in GT...

    I have several fun things planned for the students this week.  One is that we are going to come up with the Theme song for the movie Peak.  We will be looking at the structure, tone, and interpretation of poetic text using music, and the students will make a connection to the novel. 

    It will also be a challenge this week because we are going to begin writing literary analysis.  The students will learn how to make a claim, create a controlling idea, and use text evidence to support their claim in relation to character.  We will also continue the analysis with an understanding of how to create an effective literary summary.  Finally, they will have to analyze the author's craft through writing an expository essay about the craft of Roland Smith in Peak.  

    And then we have a holiday on the 14th!

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  • Week of September 30

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/28/2019 3:00:00 AM

    Happy Fall, Y'all


    This week in GT, we will continue writing our Fiction Text...it is due on Thursday!  I am so excited to read these, for they are going to be greatness.  I hope we find some we can send away to contests or for publication.  

    We are also going to be doing a Socratic Seminar over Peak as we continue to process our literary analysis of the text.  

    Just a note on the way we are analyzing Peak...rather than reading the text aloud, having kids answer questions, and turn them in, I am giving kids the freedom to analyze the literary elements of the text in preparation for writing about fiction text.  It is different from the way it is traditionally done, but I am far from traditional.  


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  • Week of September 23

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/23/2019

    This week in GT we will begin with the beginning.  OK, that was a bad pun, but we will have a lesson on how to hook the reader in a writing piece.  We have done several prewriting activities that will lead us into writing our own fiction text.  We will work on this as we continue to read and analyze Peak.  We will also take the Common Assessment #2 on Thursday.  AOW #3 is also due on Thursday. 


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  • Week of September 16

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/17/2019

    This week in GT we will continue the literary analysis of Peak.  We will look specifically at characters, author's craft, and exposition of the plot.  

    The book trailer is due on Thursday of this week as well!  

    Students will begin the drafting stage of their imaginative story.  They may not realize it, but they have been prewriting for quite some time in preparation for this.  

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  • Week of September 9

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/9/2019

    This week in GT we will begin Reading Peak by Roland Smith and make connections across genres with the subject matter of taking risks, celebrating "coming of age," and analyzing the ethical implications of teens engaging in high adventure behaviors.

    Our Wylie Way Day is Wednesday.  Students are being encouraged to wear western attire...I will be in jeans and boots with my straw.  

    The AOW is due on Thursday of this week. Students will have some class time to read and write their analysis, but not much. 

    We also have a common assessment on making inferences on Thursday.  This is an assessment that all 8th graders at McMillan will take in order to identify their ability to understand the metacognitive process of reading text.  There is nothing for which the student to study except knowing the signposts of fiction literary analysis. 

    And finally, students will receive the Book Trailer Project.  This is an exciting project for all of us.  

    It is going to be a GREAT week!!!


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  • Week of September 2

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/2/2019

    This week have I have split the newsletters between GT and Pre AP since the curriculum will become more different as the year progresses.  

    Speaking of the differences, while the GT and the Pre AP students all learn the same Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills at very high levels, they learn very differently.  If you could be a fly on the wall in my classroom all day, the difference is amazingly apparent.  Please understand that one is not "higher level" than the other, but while both GT and Pre AP students are very bright, they just learn differently.  

    This week in GT, we will continue with making inferences in text by working in small groups this week.  They will be reading 3 different short stories as a group and completing an analysis of each one using the signposts of literature we learned about last week.  As I meet with each group, I will be reviewing the elements of fiction: plot, character, setting, theme, language, etc.... They should already know most of these concepts, but it is always important to discuss them.  On Friday, they will do an analysis of a short story independently.  I will take what they have done collectively as well as what they did independently and evaluate it for their "Close" reading grade, which will be done on Friday.  

    I will assign the next Article of the Week later in the week that will be due on September 12.  

    Also, please make sure the students have a copy of Peak by Roland Smith by next Monday, September 9.  

    By the way...I love your kids.  

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  • Week of August 26

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/26/2019

    I hope that everyone had a fantastic weekend.  I could not wait for it to end.  I missed your kids!

    This week is MAP testing.  We began today, and I hope that all the students will be finished by Friday.  I do this in 20-minute segments in order to prevent lethargy while taking it.  

    In both GT and Pre AP we are working on close and critical reading techniques that help readers to understand what the author wants us to know, think, feel, believe, do, or understand.  The instructional strategies and methodologies are based on the work of English Teacher and Researcher Kaylene Beers.  

    In PreAP, the students will make sure to have completed the #hashtag paragraph by Thursday. 

    In GT, the students will make sure to have completed the #hashtag paragraph and the article of the week, each due on Thursday.  Students should acquire the novel Peak by Roland Smith by September 9.  Note:  this is for GT

    Please let me know if you have any questions.   

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  • Week of August 19

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/19/2019

    Week of August 19

    Last week was a whirlwind, and I fully expect this week to be the same until we all find a rhythm.  I did indeed enjoy meeting my students last week. They are a great group of kids, and I know we will have fun together this year.  

    This week we will continue to get to know each other, learn about who we are as a reader and a writer. 

    In GT, the students will begin the process of drafting their first Article of the Week (AOW) analysis.  They will also work on the draft of their #hashtag paragraph.  

    In Pre AP, students will be drafting their #hashtag paragraph and collecting more ideas for writing.  The students will understand the process used in becoming a better writer. 


    I don't like the grading system, but I won't walk that path now.  However, we will not have many if any grades this week or next.  Please don't become alarmed if you don't see grades in the grade book right now.  I will tell you that most assignments will be due on Thursdays. 

    The district policy is 3 major grades and 9 minor grades.  I will never have less than this number and probably won't have many more.  I am not a believer in "busy work," and my classroom does not have daily practice that can be evaluated on a daily basis in the sense you would see in a math class.

    Please reach out to me if you have any questions whatsoever.    

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  • Week Of August 12

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/8/2019 6:05:00 PM

    Week of August 12

    It was a pleasure to meet so many of you at Meet the Teacher.  I am excited to begin this journey with you.  As a reminder, school starts on Thursday, August 15.  

    The question of supplies still comes up, so here is the official list again:

    • Pen or Pencil
    • Paper
    • Chromebook
    • Book to read

    The School District Supply list has things such as crayons, glue, and scissors.  I will let students know when they need to bring these things for special activities. 

    PreAP & GT English

    This week we will take some time to get to know one another in our classroom and begin creating a culture conducive of creative and collaborative learning.  We will establish our social contract and begin talking out who we are as readers, writers, and thinkers.  I will be taking a black and white photo of the students on Friday for the purpose of our picture wall.  


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