Friday, March 11, 2011

A Test Is Not The Only Way To Show What You Know...

This week, after finishing reading Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in literature circle groups, the 7th grade reorganized into groups based on student interest and began work on body biographies: life-sized portraits of some of the main characters from the novel.

Although students feel that they need a little more time (just one more day!) to finish adding the perfect symbols, words, and quotes from the novel to represent their characters, the results of just two days of work are impressive! Watching the 7th grade work on this project (while barking orders and trying to keep everyone on schedule), I was reminded how important projects like these can be. Small group work not only helps us to better understand our stories and characters through discussions, debate, and re-reading, but can also help to prepare us to work well with others and improve on solving problems with patience and compassion when issues arise (and they usually do when we work with others!).

Students, check out the video below of your body biographies and answer the following questions for this week's blog prompt (due Friday, March 18th) in complete sentences. Commentaries with sentence fragments, or one word answers, will receive a zero.

  • What are your body biography’s strengths? (What are you most proud of?)
  • What do you wish you had had more time to accomplish?
  • What is one thing you learned or realized about your character or about ROT during this activity?
  • Comment on another group's body biography.  Which details: symbols, colors, quotes worked well and why?
  • Appreciations. Who do you appreciate working with in your group and why?
**As always, remember to compose your commentary in a google document.  Proofread for CUPS (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, and Spelling before posting).  Commentaries that do not use TAGS (Turn the question around, Answer the question, Give examples, and Summarize) will not receive full credit.  

Roll of Thunder - Body Biographies from lacey boland on Vimeo.

Music from the video by Sam Cooke and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.


  1. My body biography strengths are coming up with ideas and listening to what everybody has to say.I'm mostly proud of the fact that my art skills came in handy.

    I wish i had more time to work on the art work and a couple more thoughts that I had that would have been great for the body biography.

    One thing that I realized about my character in ROT was that Cassie wasn't all about sass she was caring for her loved ones and even T.J who was the cause of her mothers unemployment.

    Dontae's groups was good I liked how they put the shackles on T.J legs. I also like Asiah and Sad'dia's group because even though there was only two of them they got a lot of work done.

    I appreciate working in a group with someone who on their free time actually made a poem in which I thought was really good and I could tell she worked hard on it.

  2. My body biorgaphy are trying to listen to whet the group has to say. Also trying to compromise so we can put everyone's ideas in.I wish that we could have had more time to work on the art itself and the comments. My group had a couple of ideas already written down. But we never got it down, but having them is good for me. I realized that T.J. is a jerk but at the end you forgive him and feel sorry for him. I like the group who did Jeremy because like how they put the heart and it had the Logan family kids in it. Also how his lips were zipped shut. I thought that really represented how no one would let him talk. I believe that everyone is contributing a lot. So I appreciate that everyone has done something to help.

  3. My body biography strengths are coming up with ideas and listening to what everybody has to say.I'm mostly proud of the my tracing and drawings a little was good most of the time.I wish i had more time to work on the detalied work and a couple more images that I had that would have been most help full for the body biography group.One thing that I realized about my character in ROT the book was that Cassie logan wasn't all about sassy she was caring for her loved ones and even T.J who was the cause of her mothers unemployment and also that started hagnig out with R.W and Melvine.Dontae's groups was good I liked how they put the put a gluck on T.J hand.I appreciate working in a group like mines becouse when said jokes a cuple of times but still got back to work and that is the type of group that i would like to work with in the futre group work and furter project group partners.

  4. I am very proud of the quotes and symbols in our project, I feel as though we worked hard on finding things that represent T.J. I wish that we had more time to work on the face. I feel that it is a little messy, but we are 7th graders, not artists. I realized that T.J. can be mean and inconsiderate, but he values his friendship with Stacy. I really like the picture with Cassi that has the rose around her arm I think it is very pretty and symbolizes her a lot. And I liked working Janaeha because she works hard and I can tell that she wants to make this nice.

  5. My body biography’s strenghts that I think I have is that I am good at coordinating things like: who going to draw, who has the nicest handwriting meaning so how is going write. I wish we had more time to draw and add color. In ROT,HMC they really explain how whites treated blacks back in those times. I like the group that is doing Lillian Jean Simms because they have very good details. I appreciate working with everyone in my group because each of us has a special qualities that will help us with this task. For example, David and Ryan are very artistic so that helps us with the “body figure” of Cassie Logan. Also, Sydne knows the book like the back of he had so that helps with the quotes.

  6. I think I’m most proud of the symbols I came up with. I think they really show/express who I think my character is. The way I showed what I wanted to say through form of picture is cool. The way two hands are put are my favorite symbol. I think I wish we had more time to put into adding detail into the Body Bio pictures. I think if we had the colors that really express the character, it would add that extra kick.

    I learned that Liliean Jean may not be to take all the responsibility of her behavior. NOT to say that she is way out of line but I think that her family in particular her father has simply brought her up that way. I think my group was awesome they brought all different qualities to the tables. We had a great drawer. A great articular. And a person that brought new ideas to use in the project.

  7. Our body biography’s strengths are mainly the work and detail that is going on in the body biography. Each symbol is different from the rest, but they all connect to one main point. I am most proud of the heart that I drew. The heart had black wings and a black outline to show T.J Avery’s evil and yet even though he has an evil side he also loves his mom, so I traced mom in with red to symbolize red. Another drawing I am proud of is the shoulders. The shoulders had Stacey on one side being like the “Angel” guiding T.J to do the right thing and R.W and Melvin on the other side acting as the “Devils” leading T.J into the wrong places at the wrong times.

    I wish I had more time add a little more symbols because although it does have some it isn’t a whole lot and I’m not proud of that because usually “I break out the hammers” and get stuff done, but not on this. I also wish I could have added the Stacey and T.J fight because that was a dramatic scene. Lastly I wish I could have written more and bigger quotes.

    By doing this project I have realized that T.J is a vile, vindictive, good for nothing type of guy. He only cares for himself and uses others. He treats others disrespectfully and expects respect from those he treated badly…what inhumane thing to do. T.J also feels as though life should be easy. And T.J treats life that way, getting out of trouble by blaming others, lying to get out and almost killing those that he despises.

    I think for T.J Avery body biographies that the chains worked well because they show the trouble he was in and that life has consequences. I also like the use of the heart saying “Claude” on it because it shows that Little man has respect for him. And lastly I like the heart for Jeremy Simms because it shows that he loves the Logan's and is a kind and sweet guy. I would like to appreciate all my group members because without them none of this would have happened…So THANKS!!

  8. Our strength was definitely the symbols and artwork. I think it really came out quite great, but we needed a little more time, because we ended up discussing if Lillian Jean Simms was actually thinking Cassie was her friend. I wish we had more time to add some color, and maybe a few more quotes. I think we all helped each other understand the whole situation with Cassie and Lillian Jean. I think whichever group did Jeremy Simms in the video, they did a very nice job with the symbols. I would of never thought of putting a zipper over his mouth, or a handcuff, but now I realize that that was an important part in the book, and really represented Jeremy's character well. I appreciate working with Naomi, because she came up with most of the symbols. Also, I think she volunteered to be traced! :) Danielle was my "model," and I drew her hands, and her collar. Ayanna helped by making sure we stay on task, and overlooked our work more than anyone else to make sure it looked alright.

  9. Dear Tr.Lacey,
    I love doing the body biographies. It was a good way to build team work. With my group we did Cassie. We really tried to show our opinion on what she would ware, her face, hair. My group & I found alot of quotes and examples of her look.

    Something I wish we had like 1 more day to work on our person. I would love to finish some minor details on her body. Maybe even color the jumper we gave her, and put in bows on her braids. I even liked my group members we all shared equal amount of work to do. No one did more work than the other person.

    Our strenghts were the quoutes we had alot but we didn't get enough time to write them all. We could of did better with the symbols we got good ones but we could of did a little more. Our weekness is getting of topic there was one perticular person who would goof off then that got the whole group to get off topic but at the end we got our work done as a team.

  10. I'm most proud of every person in my group giving out ideas and we all are exicited about discussing about what we want to take out or leave in or just change. I like it how we weren't off task at all. We would all work our hardest. That's what I'm most proud of in my group.

    I wish we had more time to accomplish more coloring and quotes that demestrate Cassie's better/good/non-evil side. We also need to focus on little things because we're worying about symbols and other things besides quotes

    I learned that Cassie is more bad than good in some sort of way. As i worked in my group,everyone had more ideas for her bad side and not her good side. Cassie is also brave and less devious because brave also means that she isn't scared to fight or do anything

    I like everones group. (I'm not saying that just to make every one feel good.) I enjoyed seeing every ones different ideas about their character. I love seeing how different the character apperence was from what I visualized. Seeing everyones body's image was amazing and I was really impressed.

    I appreciate everyone working together and hard. There was no problem with working together. Every has participated and given some great ideas. Thanks you guys.

  11. I am most proud of actually almost finishing my groups body biography. I am also proud of our group for coloring it to almost perfection.

    I wish we had more time to actually have good braids.

    I learned that Cassie is actually pretty smart from braiding her hair to going deep in the woods so nobody sees them.

    I didn't like everyones group but that's only b/c everyones group needed more work.

    I didn't like everyone in my group but we still worked hard doing the body biography. There were a lot of problems in our group but we never figured out how to solve them.

  12. A definite strength of our group is the artwork. I think that our drawing of Lillian Jean is pretty much exactly what the most of us expected her to look like (blond, girly). It was great that we're friends with everyone in our group. We all got along really well and there were no "heated discussions." The symbols we did were really good, I think. Then we got in this psychologist where we were thinking if that she's racist because she was simply brought up that way by Mr. Simms and she doesn't want to disappoint him because she sees the way that he treats Jeremy (I mean really, he lives in a tree). I really wish we had more time to work on it, though. We didn't color it in very much and I think that it needed more symbols or quotes.

  13. Dear Tr. Lacey
    I think my body biography strengths are good because I try to include all the important facts of my character. I think of symbols about them and what they did or do.
    I wish we had more time to complete are body paragraphs because my group couldn't finish are important facts and symbols.
    I learned that Cassie got a lot more brave by the end of the story. I also learned that she still didn't like T.J.
    I liked working with Imari because she tries to help the people in are group and she does her work, but she's easily distracted.

  14. Our group body biography’s strengths are that we came up with good symbols to represent Little Man character traits and quotes from the book. The thing I'm proud of is that we got to agree in all the symbols and quotes as a group.

    I wish we had more time add a little more symbols and quotes because although it does have some of everything we would liked it to look a little more real than what it looks.

    I learned that Little Man has more good than bad things and that being adventurous can bring good and bad things even though you don't expect it.

    I appreciate everyone's comments that helped us come up with things to make our work better on which took us hard work to complete as a group on time.

    There was no problem with working together. Every appreciated given great ideas for our project.

  15. My body Bio strengths was to listening to every idea and staying on task.

    I wish i have no time to finish it because it was a great idea we just need time to finish it
    One thing i realize about mt character Cassie is that she became more indenpent.

    No i have no commect on no anothers body bio because it all look the same to me but just different characters.

    I apprecite both of my group members (Brandy,Markeem)because even when they was off task they manger to get focus again and they both had great ideas.

  16. ilker *--------------*March 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    My body biography’s strengths are my ideas and my creativeness. I am most proud of how good my ideas are coming out of my head and getting on to the paper in a very creative way. I wish I had more time to accomplish my 1st draft because I could have to been more detailed and could have been able to concentrate for a longer period of time. I realized that my character has a temper and that he is determined to fight back in any situation he is put into. He stands up for his friends and family. I think that all of the other groups’ body biographies were good because of the detail and the symbols they used. The symbols I thought were the best, because people really dug through the book to find the right facts about their character. I have to give it to everyone in my group because they all worked hard and searched top to bottom of the book to find quotes, symbols and good features of the character. Everyone worked equally as hard and no one should get all the credit. That is what I think about the body biographies.

  17. Some of my body biography strengths are coming up with new ideas and just keep talking about the book with things that happened with my groups character T.J. Avery. Our pictures represented main events which caused trouble for two or more people in the story. Like Stacey and the Logan family like Mama getting fired which means that they couldn’t buy much food for the family. I’m proud of how we worked together and everybody had something to do.
    If my group had more time I wish we could have time to draw more pictures and examples and evidence from the story for our pictures. I also wish that we could make it more interesting with color and stuff like that. I also think that we should have had at least a week if this was supposedly a huge project for the finish of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.
    I learned that T.J. Avery caused a whole lot of trouble in Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry. I also learned that T.J. really cared about Stacey and the Logan’s but did not know how to show it until the end of the story. He shows and does this when he goes to the Logan’s to see Stacey after he was brutally beaten by R.W. and Melvin Simms.
    I appreciate all my group members because they never stop giving their opinion about what they think that should be on the body biography. We all accepted what we were working with we hardly complained about it and just did the work. In my opinion we did not have any problems worth talking about so therefore no we did not have any problems.

  18. My body bio strengths are the way my group members worked together. I liked how we used different fonts on the body and also the details we put into it.
    I wish that we had so more time to accomplish the very small details that we didn't get to finish. Also I would like to have more quotes.
    One thing that I realized is that Stacey fought a lot! AT one point all the quotes we had were quotes that he was talking about fighting T.J. Avery.
    I appreciate ALL of my group members because we had no disagreements and we worked together very nicely.

  19. My body bio strengths is his protectivness and also his good sibling role. I chose these two because Stacey would keep all his siblings close.For example Stacey is a good sibling because he will put his younger siblings first.Another example is when one of his siblings are in trouble he will protect them. That is what my body bio strengths are.What I wish I had more time on is his upper section because there is a lot of things that happen that involves his upper section.For example I would like write about how both hands caught T.J. Another example is I would like to draw Stacey's family because that is all he thinks about mostly.That is what I wish I had more time on.
    One thing I realized about Stacey is how caring and loving he is at most times.For example in Strawberry he told Cassie to come on because she was going to get hurt.This shows how caring he is. Another example is when T.J was really hurt bad and when he drop Stacey was there.This shows his loving kindness. That is what I realized about Stacey.
    I honestly thought that some body bios needed to have more symbols and mainly more quotes.Som did get my attention.They did a nice drawing of the character and got the close right as well.That is what I think about other body bios.
    I appreciate Tyreek because first of all he is the only person in my group and also because he gets his work done. For example when someone is distracting him he ignores them and continues his work.Another example is when he is off task he is able to get himself back on track. That is why I appreciate Tyreek Baston.

  20. Our team had great ideas. We worked very hard. We were careful about what we wrote. We worked hard at thinking things through. Afterwards, we discussed our ideas for a long time.
    We could have spent more time on the body biography. We also could have had more time working out our thoughts on the face. Sometimes, we could have stayed more on a topic. We could have done less arguing. With all of these changes, our work would have been better.
    My character made me think a lot about myself. In some ways, Jeremy and I are similar. Like me, is independent. He is also quiet like me. One thing that separates him from me is that he does not like to spend time with his family.
    I appreciated working with Angel because she always tries her best. She is fun to work with and is a team player. Her ideas were good. She also is a good worker.
    We had trouble with the face. Some of the ideas we had fights over. We changed the way the face looked so that some ideas were part of it. This was fair to the group.
    If this problem comes up again, we could work together more and try to find new ideas that everyone agrees one. This way, we would get along better.

  21. When I was making my body biographies I felt great about the drawings and the quotes we found were great.

    I wish I had more time to find more quotes. One thing I found out about Jeremy is that he could be a great friend.

    A comment I have for the group that drew T.J. was that I like how they made T.J.’s stomach look cut up because it was similar to the image in my mind.

    I appreciated my entire group because they all worked well.

  22. Tyreek isnot'A HumanbeingMarch 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    My body biography strengths are really working together with my partner.I am proud that everybody had a fun time creating their characters and I’m proud of my self for doing a good job.

    I wish i had more time to accomplish the quotes and the little bit of coloring on my character, Stacey Logan.

    One thing I’ve learned about Stacey is that he was a very quiet guy in the first few couple of pages in the book, but then as he started to go to school and the incident between little man and the book, Stacey has been a tough guy.

    I really liked Jeffer’s group and Allure’s group. I liked the way how miles drew the angle and devil on T.J’s Shoulder to represent the good and bad illusions.

    I appreciate Joshua for working so hard on our project.And i really appreciate all my fellow classmates for doing a good job as well, Thank You.

  23. My body biography strenghts really my character. I am proud of my self because i stuck it out and did a good job. I wish i had more time to accomplishto try to find more quotes and try to put myself in my character "T.J Avery" shoes. One thing I've learned about T.J is that he has made mistakes like evrybody else but isn't as bad as everybody thinks he is. I really liked Bryant, Ronaee and Jason's group and how they had little man actually ripping the paper and having an extra saying" NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!". I appreciate everyone in my group because they got off topic sometimes but we got our work done and got it right.

  24. Daniela (this is late turned in Friday 10:15 pm)March 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    My strength are to work hard and to have good ideas. I'm really proud of of my group and the work we did. I also like that we got done and did most of our thoughts done.
    I really wish we had more time to finish details. Also to finish coloring. I also wanted more time to talk more in a group about our character.
    I really liked how me and my group worked together. Also i liked how the other groups did their work and their thoughts popped out.

  25. My body biography strenghts were the drawling and the symbols. I think if we had more time to accomplish we could of wrote more quotes for our character Lillian Jean Simms. I appreciated all of my group members(Ava,Danielle H, and Naomi) because I think that we did a good job working together and staying on track.

  26. Dear Tr. Lacey,

    My group's body biography's strengths are quotes where they're most meaningful and correct physical characteristics. For example we put the quote about Jeremy saying he doesn't like his siblings around he outside of his heart, then we put ice around it to show how they were stopping him from being friends with the Logans. We also gave Jeremy the right features, for example the book said he had blue eyes so we gave him blue eyes. In conclusion my group's body biography's strengths are accurate physical characteristics and quotes in meaningful places.

    I wish my group had more time to finish coloring in Jeremy's shirt and pants. I also wish we had more time to work on his hair. We did most of it but we still need to add the finishing touches.

    Doing this activity I realized how lonely Jeremy really was. When we were discussing what symbols we should use we started talking about him being trapped by racism and his family. Then I started thinking, and I realized that he doesn't like his family, and Papa doesn't want Stacey to be friends with him, so he's truly lonely.

    I liked the group who drew T.J. because I thought it was very creative putting Stacey on one shoulder and R.W and Melvin on the other shoulder to symbolize good and bad friends.

    I want to appreciate my whole group because we all worked hard and everyone contributed something to our body biography. I think our group should be proud of our body biography.