Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Break Extra Credit

Hello happy middle schoolers!

I hope you're enjoying your break. Several of you expressed an interest in working on an extra credit assignment over break -- so here is your opportunity.  There is a writing contest for students and the question/prompt is:
“How does technology make the world a better place?”

 If you are interested in extra credit/participating in this contest, you need to write an answer to that question in 100 words or less (Yes! 100 or LESS!). You need to type your response and email it to me - everyone who emails me an answer by January 2nd can earn up to 12 extra credit points. Once I have all of the entries, I will select the best 3 and enter them in the contest (that is a requirement of the contest people - essays can only be entered by teachers, and I can only enter 3). If your response is chosen as one of the top three, you will earn an extra 5 points.

If you have any questions, check out the contest information page here: or email me.  I highly recommend following the entire writing process that you practice in Language Arts class - and good luck!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

8th gr Extra Credit

Happy (snowy) Day!

As per Romel, Kayla, and Susie's request, I have an 8th Grade Extra credit opportunity for you today! This must be completed and turned in to Ms. Michalak by THURSDAY, December 9th. You may either write the answers on looseleaf and turn it in to me, or you can email me the answers.

Log in to, and use the pull down menu to select Chapter 21. Click on "Animated History" and select Ch 21: Woman Suffrage. Click through the questions by using the yellow arrow in the top right corner. There are 3 questions, and the fourth screen gives you 5 different categories of people - you may select any of the 5 and follow the directions on the screen.

Let me know if you have any questions ... and as always, a box of kleenex is worth 5 extra credit points. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend! If you are looking for some extra credit options, you're in luck:

6th Grade:
- Watch the news for at least one hour. Write down the channel, time, and at least 6 stories that were covered during that time. You should include both the subject of each story and at least one detail about each.

7th Grade:
- On, go to Chapter 6 and selected Animated History. Go through "News of the Fighting Spreads" and answer the questions. You can put your answers on looseleaf and give it to me on Monday, or you can email me the answers. (We looked at this in class, but didn't have a chance to answer everything!)

8th Grade:
- On, go to Chapter 20 and select Animated History. Go through Chapter 20: "Industrial Growth 1860-1900" and answer the questions. You can put your answers on looseleaf and give it to me on Monday, or you can email me the answers.

Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to SPIRIT WEEK!

THANK YOU to all of the Middle Schoolers who worked so hard on our banner! I'm excited to see what the results are of the judging contest!

Some pictures from Thursday's "Class Color" Day:
Check out those spirited 8th graders!  (Hi Niyah!)

 And some members of my Advisory:

Happy Spirit week everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lots going on...

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF! This weekend only!
Come support your classmates and buy a ticket to "Fiddler on the Roof" - everyone who saw it last night said it was great! Tonight at 7pm and tomorrow, Saturday, at 2pm. Show me your ticket on Monday for 5 extra credit points!

Congratulations to Damari for scoring a THIRTY ONE on his ACT! As promised, I bought him lunch:

Mmmmm cheeseburger!

6th Grade:
- 6.2 Questions due Monday, Current Event due Wednesday

7th Grade:
- Tax Brochure due Monday (Project Grade - turn in Scoring guide with brochure!)

8th Grade:
- Research Web and Works Cited page due Monday - You can email it or bring me a hard copy, but either way make sure you bring your rubric to class on Monday.
- Typed journal due on Wednesday

African American Studies:
- Test on Monday. It will cover the early 20th Century - Harlem Renaissance, World Wars I and II, Great Depression, Great Migration. Email me if you have any questions.

Still looking for extra credit?  Kleenex boxes are worth 5pts each! Redeemable once per quarter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parent Teacher (Student!) Conferences are tomorrow!

Parent Teacher Conferences are tomorrow (Friday, Nov 5th) from 11am - 2pm, or 4pm - 7pm.

- Remember, if you have more than 1 mandatory conference, your parent needs to be there at least an hour before closing time.
- Students are welcome and encouraged to attend conferences - we're talking about YOUR grades and YOUR behavior, so please come and be a part of the conversation!
- 8th graders, make sure you bring that written response from today's test to me tomorrow at conferences if you want the extra credit points!

Any questions? Email me, or leave a comment here.

... and yes, I WILL be at Saturday tutoring this week. Will you be there?!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Updates

LOTS of things to tell you this week: Halloween, homework assignments, extra credit opportunities, Honors Assembly, Parent Teacher conferences ... check it all out: 

Happy Halloween weekend!  I hope you have a great weekend, and please stay safe :) 

6th Social Studies:
- "I Love My Mummy" Project is due Monday
- (5pts for set up: proper heading, mummy outline. 10pts for design: hand drawn, in color, no pencil showing, done neatly. 10pts for explanation: 5pts describing your symbols of Ancient Egypt, and 5pts for describing why those things were important in Ancient Egypt)

 7th Social Studies:
- Research Web about your colony AND the works cited page due MONDAY
- Email me if you have any questions/need clarification!

... 6th and 7th graders, please focus on your projects this weekend. You will have an extra credit opportunity next week!

8th Social Studies:
- 19.4 notes due on Monday
- Extra Credit:
- Go to, Ch 19, "Chapter Links"
-  Choose an event from Ch 19, Sections 1-3, and using the links provided on the page listed above, summarize the event in the 5W + H format. (Write one sentence each for: who it involved, what happened, where it happened, when it happened, why it happened, and how it happened.) 

 African American Studies:
- Vocabulary Quiz on Monday: Terms from Reconstruction to 1920
- Cornell Notes: Pgs 435-442 (due on Tuesday) 

The Honors Assembly for Quarter 1 Honors will be next Tuesday, November 2nd at 8am. Please feel free to invite your parents - especially if you are on the honor roll!

Conferences are NEXT Friday, November 5th from 11am - 2pm, and 4pm-7pm. Please remind your parents about these and make sure to tell them if you are going to have any mandatory conferences - if you have more than one, your parent needs to be at school at least an hour before closing time.

 Have a GREAT weekend everyone - and as always, GO STATE! Michigan State is looking to go 9-0 this weekend against Iowa!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Homework/Extra Credit: Oct 22nd-24th

Hello! Here is the weekend homework:

6th Graders:
- I'll be checking 5.1 notes in on Monday, Oct 25th
- Current Event #2 is due on Wednesday, Oct 27th - get a head start and do it over the weekend! (Reminder: Event must take place OUTSIDE of Chicago)
- EXTRA CREDIT: NewsWatch! 30 mins, 4 stories (Detail about each one), Channel, Parent Signature. Due Monday.

7th Graders:
- 5.1 notes due Monday, Oct 25th  .... and get excited for an upcoming project!

8th Graders:
- Chapter 18 Test is on MONDAY, Oct 25th. You have a review sheet, so please use it and study! Email me if you have any questions.
- EXTRA CREDIT: Create a visual diagram showing the cycle of sharecropping. It should have both words and pictures that clearly explain each step. Please do this on plain white paper, no pencil lines should be showing! Use color/ink, and put your heading on the front of the paper.

Extra Credit Reminder (for everyone): A box of kleenex = 5pts! Redeemable once per quarter.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Homework

Email me or leave a comment if you have any questions / need any help!

6th Grade Social Studies:
- 4.3 notes due Monday
- Current Event due Wednesday (event must happen outside the city of Chicago)

7th Grade Social Studies:
- 4.2 notes due Monday
- Salem Witch Recipe (Project Grade!!) Due Monday

8th Grade Social Studies:
- Civil War Letter (Project Grade!!) due Monday

African American Studies:
- Reconstruction Quest (Quiz? Test? Somewhere in between...) on Monday

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The rest of the high schoolers were testing today, so we only had seniors in African American Studies this morning. They took the opportunity to develop a lesson about Booker T Washington and W.E.B. DuBois using what they're learning in class and finding ways to teach it to the 8th graders, who will be learning about these two men soon. Here are some pictures from their planning session:
Marvin, outlining the beliefs of each man

Hortensia and Nadia, gathering information to present a skit

Nadia, Ariel, and Tanicia brainstorming...
Ariel and Tierra, preparing a debate

Nadia and Hortensia, pausing in their script writing for a quick picture!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Both the 8th graders and the 7th graders were working with maps today. The 7th Graders were learning about the Triangular Trade and the 8th graders were identifying which states were in the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Here are some pictures I took in class today:

Teshaun and Chris, describing the goods being traded in the Triangular Trade

Kayla and Samantha, coloring in the states that seceded and made up the Confederacy

Lee, identifying the Border States

Desiree, Sania, Zharia, and Mariah identifying the stops in the Triangular Trade

Friday, October 8, 2010


Exams are over - you made it through Quarter One!

For those of you who might like a head start, you can start reading/previewing what's coming up next week:
6th Grade - Chapter 4: Early Empires
7th Grade - Chapter 4: The Colonies Develop (we'll see which of your colonies survived the long winter!)
8th Grade - Chapter 18: Reconstruction (You may want to review Chapters 15-17, The Civil War)

Get some rest, and get ready for Quarter Two ... I'll see you on Monday, ready to go!

... in the meantime, it's a big game for my Spartans this weekend - GO MICHIGAN STATE!! :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

8SS Constitution Review Schedule

8th Graders, the Constitution Exam is on Thursday, October 7th - giving us just over a week to study! Here are some review times - you should attend at least one of them. You may attend as many as you wish.

Monday's review session is mandatory for anyone who does not already have a "B" average on tests so far this quarter (check the list by my classroom door)

- Thursday, Sep 30th: 7:20am - 7:45am (No pass needed, I'll leave a note in the cafeteria excusing you)

- Monday, October 4th: 3:45pm - 4:20pm. (I'll be here until 4:45pm if you'd like to stay longer)

- Thursday, Oct 7th: 7:20am - 7:45am (The morning of the exam)

PLEASE let me know if you have any questions. Remember, there will be a celebratory breakfast for anyone who scores at least an 88% on the exam!!! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Extra Credit

psssst! Looking for extra credit?

Scroll down a little bit to see the entry I posted on Sep 12th - that extra credit assignment is still open for all students, but must be completed by the end of this week - Friday, October 1st!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

8SS Review!

8th Graders, we have our next Constitution Quiz tomorrow, Sep 15th. If you'd like to come upstairs and review with me in the morning, I'll be hosting a review session at 7:25am. Just go into the cafeteria and let the supervisors know you are an 8th grader going to my room, and you should be just fine!

This is a picture from an impromptu review session after school today ... the girls were reviewing the separation of powers amongst the three branches by using flashcards!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Extra Credit!

A quick, easy extra credit opportunity, for all of my students:

- Go to
- Find your textbook
- Click on "Current Events"

Take the Weekly current events quiz.
Then email me your results! Include the topics of whichever questions you got right.
(Example: I got 3/5 correct. The ones that I got right were about the NFL, the oil spill, and hurricane season.)

That's it! Good luck :)
~ Ms. Michalak

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Friday! / 7SS ECO

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

- Remember that we do not have school on Monday. I'll see you Tuesday morning bright and early, cheerful, with all of your homework completed :)

7th Graders, read below for an extra credit opportunity:
- Log into
- Select your textbook, then use the pull down menu in the left corner to select Chapter 2
- Click "Animated Maps"
- Click on the 3rd one: "Chapter Two: North America"

There is a series of questions on 4 different slides. You should write down the answers to each of the questions. You may either email them to me ( or write them down on looseleaf and bring them in on Tuesday morning.

- Using the yellow arrow in the top right corner, go through each of the 4 slides
- Answer each of the questions (email or looseleaf). For slide #4, it tells you to move around to a corner of the room - don't do that! Just select one of the 4 options, and explain why you chose that one.

Email me if you have any questions!

Have a GREAT weekend everyone :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Extra Credit - TONIGHT!

Good afternoon!

This evening, President Obama will be delivering a presidential address to the nation. From what I understand, the topic is to be about how the last of the combat troops have left Iraq and what that means for us as a country. You can find out more about this today here, at the White House official website.

If you would like to earn extra credit, here is what you need to do:

1. Watch the President's address
It will begin at 7pm Central Standard Time (here in Chicago).
It will be on all major news stations - ABC, NBC, etc. Channels 2, 4, 7 ...

looseleaf paper:

2. Summarize what the president talked about in his speech. The summary should be at least 6 sentences.

3. Write down 3 observations / questions you have about the speech, the topic, or anything the president said.

... turn it in to me on Wednesday or Thursday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to school!

I hope you all enjoyed your first day back. It was wonderful to see so many of your smiling faces this morning! I am looking forward to a really great year, and I hope you are too. Please let me know if you have any questions at any point, I'd be happy to help if possible.

Just a few reminders from today about deadlines:

- Needs to be signed by you and your parent/guardian. Due WEDNESDAY.

- Needs to be covered, I will be checking on FRIDAY.

Summer packets:
- Returning Students: They were due today. You may turn in tomorrow by the start of class as a late assignment. If you don't turn it in tomorrow, you will be in Supper Club this Friday.
- New students: Your packet is due NEXT Thursday, August 26th. You may turn it in any time before then, but if you don't turn it in on or before the 26th, you will be in Supper Club on Friday, August 27th.

See you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Doodle for Google votes!

Hola, Middle Schoolers!

Unfortunately, none of our entries into the Doodle for Google contest made it to the state/regional finalist round ... however, I'm still proud of all the great work you did in creating them!

If you are interested, cruise on over to the site (Doodle for Google) and take a look at the finalists. While you're there you can vote for your favorite doodle in each age group. You can also see the level of work that went in to those that were chosen as finalists so you are more prepared for next year! :)

On another note --

EXAMS begin TOMORROW! I know you've been studying for awhile now, but keep on going until you have a strong finish on Friday. Summer will come soon enough - don't start "checking out" early! Let me know here, or via email, if you have any questions ...

Hope you all enjoyed the picnic today, even though it was quite chilly! I'll post some pictures soon ....
~Ms. Michalak

Thursday, April 29, 2010

8th Grade Extra Credit

Yesterday in class, we were fortunate to have Mr. Adams visit and talk with us about the Civil Rights movement. However, not all students have this opportunity, to be able to talk with him and ask questions in a small group setting. Because of this, I would like to be able to let the school know about our afternoon with Mr. Adams by submitting an article to be published in The Knightly News.

Here's what this means for you as an extra credit opportunity:
- Write an interesting and grammatically correct article describing Mr. Adams' visit to 8th Grade Social Studies.
- I would recommend including some background information about what we have been studying, why we invited Mr. Adams to speak with us, the things that he talked about, and the 8th graders' reaction to all of this.
- If you have exact quotes written in your notebook, feel free to include one/a couple. If you are quoting him/someone in class, make sure they are EXACT quotes with proper punctuation!

Mr. Ramin has said that I can submit the best article to him and if it is newspaper-worthy, it may be published in the last edition of The Knightly News for this year! Additional extra credit will be awarded to anyone whose article makes it to this point!

I will need your articles emailed to me, or typed and printed, no later than Monday afternoon (May 3rd) at 4:25pm.

If you have any questions, send me an email!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Middle Schoolers, you continue to impress me and make me proud to be your teacher. Your latest accomplishment - this year's Terra Nova scores - are just one more example of how awesome you are.

School average: 77% (2 points higher than last year, and 27 points above the national norm!)

Middle School average: 79%!!!!

Averages by grade:
6th Grade: 78%
7th Grade: 75%
8th Grade: 83%

Congratulations, and thank you, for all your hard work during testing and every other day of the year. I am so very proud of each and every one of you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4th Quarter, Here we come!

Well, it's official - we made it to Fourth Quarter! We are in the last quarter of the school year, but it is not a time to relax and "take it easy" - just the opposite! We want to work hard, stay focused, and finish strong.

Things to look forward to this quarter:
- Terra Nova Testing (next week!): Scholarships are awarded for students who have high scores on this test! Sleep well, eat a healthy breakfast, and work hard!
- Career Day: Featuring guest speakers, all of whom are PSM Alumni!
- March Madness Basketball Tournament: You know this is Ms. Michalak's favorite time of year and for some of you, the focus of a project in your math class!
- The Easter Assembly: Presented by the Middle School! (Thursday, April 1st @ 8am)
- Spring Break :)
- School Picnic Day!
- 8th Grade Graduation

.... on a content-based note:
6th Grade:
- We'll be studying Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome - and learning about mythology of the gods and goddesses!

7th Grade:
- Get ready for Westward Expansion (We're ready for the Oregon Trail!), and the build up and eventual fighting of the Civil War

8th Grade:
- The Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War ... along with the American Dream of the 1950's, the Civil Rights Movement and the Counter Culture of the 60s and 70s, and taking a look at our recent presidents. (And some pretty awesome music along the way).

As always, if you have any questions - post them here, email me, or see me at school. I'm excited for 4th quarter and I hope you are too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Olympics

Hola Middle School Social Studies students!

Has anyone been watching the Olympics? Did you catch the Opening Ceremony? For those of you who have been watching -- what is your favorite event to watch? Do you have a favorite athlete?

Leave any/all of these answers in a comment on this post and you'll get some extra credit points!

Looking for more extra credit?
-Turn in a current event write up related to the Olympics and gain even more extra credit. (Turn in no later than Monday, February 22nd. You can turn it in any time before that, including during Saturday tutoring) Email Ms. Michalak or see her in person if you have questions about the format.

6th Graders:
- You will need to turn in an *extra* CE in order to gain more bonus points.
- The answer to our class question from earlier today? The 2006 Winter Olympics were in fact held in Turin/Turino, Italy. Stay tuned for more Olympics trivia!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union - Extra Credit

This extra credit opportunity is for ALL Social Studies classes!!

- This evening, President Obama will deliver his "State of the Union" address to Congress and the nation. If you are taking advantage of this extra credit opportunity, you need to watch the speech (it starts at 8pm and will be on all local news channels) and write the following on piece of looseleaf paper:

1) BEFORE the speech, tell me 3 things you think he will/should talk about and why.

2) At the beginning of and during the speech, write down 5 observations - about the room, people, outfits, reactions, protocol, etc.

3) During the speech, write down at least 3 things he actually DOES talk about.

4) After the speech, write down at least 2 questions you have or 2 opinions/things that stuck out to you (or a combination of both)

* Start time: 8pm local Chicago time
* Where to watch: ABC, NBC,, or a live stream on Hulu

* Due date for this assignment:
7th/8th grade: Due Thursday in class
6th grade: Due Friday in class

* If you have questions, post them here or email me at - I'll be checking my email during the speech and will get back to you as soon as I can!!