New Year, New Wordle

It’s a New Year and I want you to REFLECT on the amazing person you are by creating a Wordle Image that represents you via many descriptive words.

Use any of the following Websites to create your original Wordle.

Make sure you create a Wordle with at least 15 different descriptive words about yourself.  Please save the image and click on ADD MEDIA to add the image to the NEW BLOG POST.  Then, please write at least a 50 word reflection over the words you chose to add to your Wordle as well as the image you chose to represent yourself.  I can’t wait to learn more about you!



This week is Thanksgiving, a National American Holiday. and it’s time to share your traditions, thoughts, and knowledge about Thanksgiving.

Please write 150 words or more about Thanksgiving on any of the topics below.  Images would be great to add to your blog and give more visual appeal.  Remember, that people from other countries will be reading, so educate them about a National American Holiday.

  • Research and share historical information about the First Thanksgiving and the meaning behind American’s celebrating Thanksgiving. Make sure you share your resources and links. (Feel free to use this resource
  • Describe your family’s traditions for Thanksgiving.  What do you do during the Thanksgiving holidays?  What do you eat for the main meal? Do you do any activities? Is there a tradition that has to happen every Thanksgiving? Is there something you look forward to during the Thanksgiving celebration or holiday?
  • Share who or what you are thankful for this year.  Who do you cherish? What are you grateful for?  Hopefully you can share this blog post with those special people in your life; it’s always nice to tell someone they MATTER to you.
  • Share some Thanksgiving movies, commercials, etc.  What do they focus on?  What’s their point?  What do you like about these Thanksgiving movies, commercials, songs, etc.?
  • Educate the public on some misconceptions about Thanksgiving. What have you been taught about the holiday that may or may not be factual? Why might some people not want to celebrate this holiday?
  • Do you have any favorite recipes for Thanksgiving?  Share some recipes of your favorite meals, side-dishes, desserts, etc.  Giving directions to how to prepare these delicious foods along with their tasty pictures might persuade others to want to add these to their Thanksgiving meal this year.
  • Analyze some Post-Thanksgiving activities.  Some people watch sports, like football. Others peruse flyers to get ready for their Black Friday sales.  What are some Post-Thanksgiving activities or traditions that you like and/ or dislike.  Please explain in detail.





Positive Current News

Type a 150-200 word Blog Post about Current News that is POSITIVE. Peruse the news sites and read an article about something that interests you: sports, national news, local news, education, politics, entertainment, health, etc. After you read the news article, do the following in your blog post:

  • Summarize your article and insert a link to the article. If there is an image that you could also share on your blog, please do so.
  • Evaluate whether you believe the article is one-sided (biased) or if it seems neutral and allows the reader to come to his/her own conclusion.
  • Analyze what you found positive about the article.
  • Synthesize and share your personal thoughts.
  • Ask your readers questions to get them thinking about the article’s topic
  • Scan the article before you submit it to make sure it’s appropriate for all age levels (there are topics on the news that may not be appropriate for younger kids, so please refrain from those overly sensitive topics)

TOP 15 Most Popular News Websites

Book Talks and Silent Sustained Reading

Reading Penny Kittle’s book Write Beside Them motivated me to try Silent Sustained Reading in my high school classes. I love reading and want my students to enjoy reading as well.  More and more research shows that there are many benefits from reading on a regular basis, which include better reading skills, better writing skills, enhanced vocabulary, and so much more.

I truly appreciate the efforts of the librarians at Joliet West High School, especially including Amy Lingafelter and Amy Walsh for preparing the library and book talks as well as showing students how to find books in their interest and where to locate them in the library.  I’m extremely proud of all of my students for listening carefully to all the book talks and taking their time in the library seriously while searching for a book of their choice.

Today was our first Silent Sustained Reading day.  In all my classes, the first 10 minutes of class were silent reading and then a few minutes of writing.  I was very excited to see that my students brought their books and truly took the time to enjoy reading in the classroom. I want to set an example so I also brought a book and read with the students during this time.  I think that as a teacher, I need to Practice What I Preach with my students to show them that I truly do believe in the learning activity and want to continue promoting positive classroom behavior and habits.

It’s going to be a great year!  I love seeing so many students reading and as I scan the room, I see so many different types of books.  Students are reading and they had a choice in what they read. I can’t wait for our own book talks once the students start finishing their books and want to share their book choices with their classmates.

Thank you Penny Kittle for the genius idea, proving that silent sustained reading can work at the high school level as well.  I’m excited to see more and more students fall back in love with reading and learning more vocabulary as well as being exposed to a variety of writing styles.  They will turn into better writers as they become better readers.

Here are some of the photos I took of our first day in Silent Sustained Reading.



Back to School Letter to Students and Parents

Dear Students and Parents,

Can you believe it? Another school year is upon us! I am extremely excited to begin the new school year with you next week.  Yes, August 21st is YOUR first day; yet, I have been working hard all of July and August to make this school year amazing for all of us.

I believe in fresh starts and new beginnings. I want to let YOU know that YOU MATTER to me: I want you to enter my classroom with a smile, feel the joy of learning, and leave my class filled with confidence and a passion for becoming the best YOU can be.  I truly believe that EVERY student has a genius within and I will motivate and encourage you to utilize that genius to be a successful student as well as a successful member of society.

I want you to TRY your best and learn from all your first attempts. I’m a firm believer in FAIL before you SAIL, which means First Attempt In Learning leads to Successful Attempt In Learning. Learning is a process that requires time and effort and I expect you to try your best so that you can show yourself and the rest of the world how intelligent and capable you are. Yes, we all make mistakes; and it’s our duty to learn from our mistakes so that we progress and improve.  I’m not perfect and I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect you to work hard and show the world your genius!

I promise to value your opinion and your thoughts.  Please be honest with me when you are struggling or need extra help on a concept.  I am here to assist you in the learning process. And, I ask you to promise me (and yourself) to NEVER GIVE UP and continue striving for the best you can be. I believe in you and I know you can achieve greatness. Let’s make it happen together!

Parents and Guardians: I hope we can work together to ensure that your child has a successful school year. I truly believe that education is a team effort and I will look to you for advice about how to assist your child and I want you to always feel welcome to contact me with any questions or concerns.  Better communication leads to better education! Together we can unleash major potential and overcome any challenge. Let’s make this school year the best and fill it with laughter, learning, and love!

I want to make you aware of two major components of my classroom beliefs that will impact your child’s learning:

1: I do NOT believe in homework: Students are expected to work diligently in class.  Students will have time to revise and redo assignments to improve their learning. As long as students use class time effectively; there is no reason to work at home.  I will not assign homework. I will assign assessments and expect students to follow the timeline.  And, we will work together in class, so I can guide them to do their best. I want my students successful, not stressful!

 2: Students are assessed with Standards Based Grading: In an effort to further emphasis student learning, growth, and achievement, students’ grades will be calculated based on the standards-based assessment model in my classroom.  The basic goal of standards based grading/learning is that students have formative assignments, which are meant for practice of skills.  Then, their summative assignments are worth the most because they are assessing the students’ mastery of skills, concepts, and learning. I truly believe that students are different and some may need more time or re-direction to master a skill or unit; yet, I don’t believe that students should be penalized for learning differently.  I expect them to learn in my classroom; therefore, it makes no sense that they would understand everything prior to class.  Along with the Standards Based Grading Model, I will assign formative work and we will use these practice assignments to learn and grow so students become more and more comfortable with reading, writing, researching, and presenting skills for our curriculum; yet, formative work will be worth 0% of their grade. This does NOT mean they shouldn’t do the work.  We all need practice before we master a concept.  For example, in sports there is practice and there are the actual meets and games against opposing teams.  The team’s season score is counted by their actual games/meets; it is NOT counted on their practice times or games.  Same with my class.  They will practice, learn, and practice some more before they truly understand the curriculum.  Yet, I do not want to penalize them for their mistakes made during learning.  Nobody deserves that stress. The summative work they do, like essays and presentations will be worth 90% of their grade.  Yes, they will be encouraged to revise and redo their work until they attain a successful grade.  I will not accept incomplete work and I expect passing grades from all my students. The goal is to learn, not just to do meaningless work. Ultimately, as long as students take time to reflect, learn, revise, and redo work to truly learn from their mistakes and master the concepts, every child should be earning A’s and B’s in my class.  The other 10% of their grade is the semester final.

Summer 2017 READING Choices:

Yes, each book exemplifies a JTHS Character Attribute.

Perseverance:              A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (1993)

Responsibility:              Trinity by Jonathan Fetter-Vorn (2012)

Respect:                       The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (2003)

Integrity:                      Unwind by Neal Shusterman (2007)

Confidence:                   Gabi A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (2014)

Compassion:                 Every Day by David Levithan (2012)

Tolerance:                     Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

Please visit  to learn more about these summer reading books.  The best info is towards the bottom of the padlet source. Enjoy your learning.

(I wanted to remind you about summer reading.  Yes, you should have read at LEAST 1 of these books this summer.  We will begin discussing them the first week of school.  And, I truly believe in setting a positive example, so….even though you only have to read one of these books, I was determined to read all 7 of them.  I want to be able to have conversations with ALL of you about ALL of the books. Yes, I actually read all seven of these books and highlighted some interesting parts for class discussion.  If I can do it, I know you can do it. Anyone up for the challenge to read more than 1 book?!)

Set yourself up for success!  It’s never too late to start being awesome!

 Can’t wait to meet you,

Mrs. Maslowski

twitter @jthsmaslowski

Edublog Challenge: Digital Footprint

This week’s Edublog Challenge is about your digital footprint. “Being connected with all this technology means everyone is leaving a digital footprint.”

Go to the Edublog Challenge for this week and check out your options for your 200 word Edublog: 

Please Specify which Edublog Digital Print Activity your are Blogging about!

Basically here’s a summary of your options:

  1. Watch the two videos on the challenge link above and write a post explaining the differences between the videos.  Which did you prefer and why? These show how easily a footprint can be created.  It is not only you but your relatives, friends, newspapers, etc also add to your footprint.  How do you think this impacts your life and/or the way others view you?
  2. Watch the two videos on the challenge link above and write a post about your digital footprint. Is it positive or negative? Would you be proud to have your grandparents or your future grandchildren look at everything you have included in your digital footprint? Why or why not? Maybe Google your name to see what is online about you, that you might not have put there. Remember to Google your nickname used in online games etc as information might be included there.
  3. Imagine you are debating this topic: It is better to have a negative digital footprint than no footprint at all. Give three reasons to support each side of the debate.
  4. With so many students now involved in social media such as facebook, instagram, snapchat, pinterest and twitter, how much information are they leaving by not checking their privacy settings but leaving things on default? Watch the Social Media Experiment video on the link above for Activity 4. Watch this video to see how easy it is to find out information about you. Jenny Luca, director of ICT and eLearning at a college in Australia used this with her grade 7-12 students. Read her post to find out their reactions. Jenny then directed me to another tweet from Doug Peterson in Canada linking to this post from lifehacker. Why is it important to check out the settings whenever you buy a new device? Default settings often allow the manufacturer to gain information about you without you realizing it.
  5. Should all teachers,principals and parents have a digital footprint in this time of technology? Google your teacher (Google Maggie Maslowski or Magdalena Maslowski…You have my permission) or principal (with their permission first) or even your parents. What have they got online? Do they have some information you think should not be there? Discuss it with them. Write a post about the discussion you had without giving away personal information to your readers.
  6. Write a post about 5 of your favorite web tools or apps. In your post mention how old you need to be to use it, whether you had to sign up to use it and what type of tool or app it is ex mindmapping, poll/survey, slideshow. Also tell me why you enjoy using the tool or app.
  7. Here are some websites to visit related to cybersafety and digital footprints. Visit some of them and write a post, create a poster or glogster, create a cartoon about what you found out. Your teacher might also give you other websites to visit.
  8. Mainly middle and high school students – There are 9 elements to being a good digital citizen. Read this post then write your own post about what you consider are the most important parts of the nine elements. Are there certain areas you need to improve on? Why?
  9. There are both advantages and disadvantages to being able to connect and communicate more easily. Write a post or run a debate on this topic. Maybe create a comic strip showing each side.Security


Documentary Smore Audience Reflection

Write an Edublog Post about the TOP 5 documentaries students your age should watch. Include the links to your classmates’ SMORES so your audience readers can read more info about them.  And, make sure you add some images and relevant info to persuade your readers to go watch these documentaries.

(List to Period 4 Documentary Smores:

List to Period 6 Documentary Smores: )

You can make 5 bullet points and number from 5 down to 1 (#1 being the best) and make sure you name the documentary and why it’s important for teenagers or for any age.  Each documentary explanation should be between 25-50 words.  Your Entire Edublog Post about the Documentary Smores should be at least 150 words and must include links to the Documentary Smores.  Adding Documentary Film Trailers Embedded video links will earn you bonus points.  Remember that visuals always engage your audience more!

Health Article SASE Reflection

After watching a couple health-related documentaries, it’s time to read some current health articles that relate to the documentary topics.

Pick ONE of the following article links, read it, then create a new blog post analyzing the article, making sure you answer the list of questions.  Your goal is to reflect on the information in the article in at least 150 words.

LIST OF POSSIBLE ARTICLES (READ ONE): (Please make sure you include the link to this article in your blog post)

Viewpoint: Are Doctors to Blame for Prescription-Drug Abuse?



  1. Summarize the main points of the article as well as their key supporting details. (What was the article stating?)
  2. Analyze the author’s purpose with an explanation.  (Was the article meant to persuade, inform, entertain?)
  3. Synthesize how you connect to this article and its message? If you don’t connect to it, who do you believe is the intended audience for the article?  Explain.
  4. Evaluate the impact this article may have on the lives of those who read it? Has the article impacted you? Did it make you believe something? Do you agree with its info? Please explain.

Mock Interview Reflection 2017

So far you have completed job shadowing, created a resume, cover letter, and reference list.  Recently we conducted mock interviews in the classroom, where you were able to practice your interviewing skills.  You had a chance to act like an employer who was interviewing others for a job and you were able to practice your own interview skills by pretending to be at a job interview and responding to questions. Now, it’s time to reflect on the process.

Please type a 200 word (or more) reflection on the mock interview process by answering the following questions.  Feel free to Bullet Point each response or write as a one paragraph journal reflection.

  1. How did you feel while you interviewed a classmate?  Do you believe that seeing an interview from the employer’s perspective makes you more prepared or not?  Please explain.
  2. How did you feel while you were interviewed by a classmate?  Did you feel anxious, nervous, scared, prepared, overwhelmed, confident, etc.?  Please explain why you felt that way.
  3. How do you feel about your responses?  Do you think your responses to the questions were adequate or do you feel you could have done better? What question did you find easy?  What question did you find difficult to answer?
  4. What advice would you give someone who is participating in a mock interview or a real interview? What advice would you give yourself; in other words, how do you think you could improve for your real interview?
  5. Yes, I know these mock interviews weren’t real, so imagine how you would perform in the interview if it was real.  What have you learned you need to do to be better prepared?  How should you dress for an interview?  How should you behave before, during, and after an interview?  What should you bring with you to an interview?
  6. Evaluate the activity.  Be honest.  What do you think was good about this class activity?  How do you think we could improve this activity for next time, next year? Do you believe this is a skill you do need or do not need in real life?  Please explain.
  7. Take one of the 20 interview questions below and write a response that would be GOOD and one that would be BAD, then explain the difference with reasoning. It’s always good to practice job interview questions so that you become more and more comfortable.

Sample Interview Questions for High School Students

Prepare for Perfection!

Possible Interview Questions: Personal

  1. Tell me about yourself? What made you apply for this job?
  1. What clubs or organizations are you a member of?
  1. What have you learned from your hobbies, interests and outside activities?
  1. What qualifications do you have for this job?
  1. If I asked your teachers or your guidance counselor to describe you, what would they say?

Possible Interview Questions: Cooperation

  1. How do you feel about working with others and as part of a team?
  1. Describe a time when you worked with a team successfully? How do you handle team conflicts?
  1. Do you follow instructions easily? How do you work under pressure?
  1. When required, would you be willing to work overtime?

Possible Interview Questions: Self confidence

  1. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths, weaknesses or faults?
  1. How do you think a teacher who knows you well would describe you?
  1. Why do you think you are suitable for this position?
  1. Why should we consider you for this job instead of other applicants?

Possible Interview Questions: Motivation/initiative

  1. How did you prepare for this interview? What is important to you in a job?
  1. If you didn’t understand an instruction, what would you do?
  1. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  1. Describe your most rewarding experience in schoo
  1. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
  1. What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives?
  1. When and why did you establish your goals, and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?

*If you find any creative job interview images to add to this blog, please post them so that you can enhance your blog post and have more people visit and comment on your blog post.