Friday, September 15, 2017


Grit is courage and resolve; strength of character

synonyms: courage, bravery, backbone, spirit, fortitude, passion and perseverance, endurance, determination

Angela Duckwirth talks to us about the success of individuals who have grit.

Thank you to my friend, Principal Andee Farrar, for sharing this video with me. It applies in school, at work, and even at home. Don't give up! Keep trying. You can do it!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back To School Night 2017

I love Back To School Night!

It's fun to meet the families 
of students with whom I am just getting acquainted.

I know that it can be a hardship 
for some parents and guardians to get to school 
on a Thursday night.
Below are links to the slideshows
I will present to family members in my classroom.

Yearbook students: 

English 8 students: 

The documents I will hand out are links in the presentation.

I am excited about this school year.
Thank you for all you do to make education great!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Yearbook Plans

I am at a workshop today for the yearbook advisers all over the north state. 

There is so much energy here among these adults who want to help kids record their school memories in a special way.

At Chico Junior High School, we have a yearbook staff of 25 students who have all applied to be responsible for capturing the school year in photos and words.

Our special yearbook word this year is "Selfie"
If you are a Chico Junior student, 
send your selfies to Mrs. Davis' email address
along with your name and grade.

This yearbook is going to be the best ever!

Pre-order now at the 
sale price of $40. 
The price goes up October 2

Friday, August 25, 2017

Celebrate Diversity

Mrs Davis celebrates diversity in her classrooms and in her community
I am proud to have stood with about 100 people on August 13th who were opposed to the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia (and organizing anywhere else in the US).

Often I feel powerless against the threat directed at so many Americans who are marginalized. I was able to do this small thing today to show my students and their families, my colleagues and community members, that I support a diverse America.

In my classroom this week, my students are having collaborative discussions about Hate Speech. We are reading this article, formulating thoughtful questions, and using sentence frames to practice good speaking and listening skills. 

Collaboration is a required 8th-grade standard (see the standards below). It is also a skill that can bring people together, speaking and listening in a civilized manner. 

"Learning in Hand" is an educator's resource for mobile and digital learning. According to that website, "Working effectively with others is an extremely complex endeavor. Collaboration skills are complicated to learn because they are actually people skills. Learning these skills takes guided practice and quality feedback. Teachers shouldn't expect their students to work together effectively without explicitly teaching and modeling collaboration skills."

These skills include:
  • Active listening
  • Respect
  • Manners
  • Positive Attitude
  • Focused
  • Social Awareness
Please ask your children about the strategies they are learning in order to have collaborative discussions. This is the first of many such activities. 

We are on our way to an amazing school year where we learn from one another in remarkable ways!



Comprehension and Collaboration:

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others' questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Two Truths and a Lie

1.When I was twelve, I met three celebrities in that one year. One was Samuel L. Jackson, another was Justin Bieber, and the last one was Adam Sandler. I met Justin Bieber in Hollywoodod. I met Samuel in New York, and I met Adam Sandler in San Francisco.

2. One of my favorite types of dance is break dance. When I was seven I went to Las Vegas to watch the Jabbawockeez. They do break dance and stunts. After the show I got to meet them and take pictures. They all signed my Jabbawockeez mask. We weren’t invited to meet them, but my dad asked.

3. My favorite sport to play and watch is basketball. I have been playing basketball since I was nine. I was on a traveling basketball team in Roseville. My favorite basketball team is the Warriors. One time I went to the Warriors game with my parents we got to sit courtside. After the game we were able to be five feet away from Stephen Curry. We recorded the game at home and I was on television.

Which is the lie?
Kaden B

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eclipse on the First Day of School!

Welcome back to school, students!

Just so you know how cool it is to attend our school, 
we have scheduled something 
really special
for the first day of school.

Not only do we have a minimum day 
(school gets out at 12:06),
but we also have a solar eclipse scheduled 
in the middle of the school day!

Even NASA has gotten in on the action. 
Read what they have to say about the eclipse here.

Wear your special eclipse glasses to avoid permanent damage to your eyes.
This is important!
The school will supply them; 
you have to follow the directions.

This photo comes from a site that sells these glasses.
They also offer safety information. Click here.

It's always important to have a good soundtrack.
Here's an eclipse song from the 90s.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Setting up for the New School Year

I don't know about you, but I look forward to the beginning of school. 

World Map
Teacher Work Station
Even though I have fun over the summer travelling, sleeping in, reading, and visiting friends and family, I always come back to my classroom earlier than many other teachers. I just can't stay away!

Today, I visited my classroom with two guest helpers.

Ms Jackson

My new resident (student) teacher, Ms Jackson, brings years of theatre experience to my classroom. She is also a great writer with a warm student rapport. Her many hours in my classroom last year as a volunteer make her perfectly suited to work with me and my students this year.

Thank you for your assistance today, Ms Jackson, organizing and preparing for this coming school year.

Josie G

My second helper is a former student, Josie. What a reliable, independent, hard-worker! Josie cleaned and organized for me, so I could look at the calendar and plan some beginning-of-the-year activities. Thanks, Josie!

Eva Jade
Last week, my daughter Eva flopped down on the rug to read on her device. This brought me such joy, as it is my wish that all my students will come in, choose a spot, and nurture their love of reading!

School doesn't officially start until August 21st, but I will surely be in my classroom off and on between now and then. If you know how to find room 303, you are welcome to pop in and say hello. 

Ease into the school year:

Alternative Seating
  • Try some of the new seating options in my classroom. 
  • Bring a book or magazine to donate to the reading shelf.
  • Listen to music with me.

See you soon!

Reading Material

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How To Foster Reading At Home

(This post is adapted from a letter written by Jessica Lifshitz. I will be handing it out in class. Follow Jessica's blog to read more about her amazing classroom and teaching.)

Dear Families,

In my classroom, students will NOT be asked to fill out a reading log in order to keep track of their at-home reading. Still, students ARE expected to read outside of school. It is my hope that throughout the course of this school year, all of my students will begin to find ways to make reading a daily part of their lives. I do not believe that filling out a reading log each night or staring at a clock for twenty minutes is the best way for students to become or remain lifelong readers.

How can you help to ensure that your child is reading outside of school? Here are a few ideas:

Create a sacred time during the day or at night where everyone in the house is reading.
*When everyone in the house is reading, students will be more likely to WANT to read. Creating the conditions for reading allows everyone to find more success in their own reading. I know that we are all incredibly busy, but imagine how powerful even 20 minutes of everyone in the house reading could be!

Read WITH your child.

*One of the greatest things about reading is being able to discuss what you are reading with others. By reading the same books/articles/blogs that your child is reading, you can provide your child with opportunities to have the kinds of discussions that will motivate your child to keep on reading. Your family can also turn on subtitles or captions on the tv; numerous international studies have shown a dramatic increase in literacy skills just from this simple act.

Make sure your child sees YOU reading.

*Even when your child is NOT reading, if he or she sees you reading, they will know that reading is something that you take joy in and that you make sure to make time for. This creates the kind of culture of reading that motivates students to find ways to become readers themselves (even outside of school).

Take your child to the library.
*Books are expensive! And kids can go through books quickly. Taking trips to the local library can provide your family with access to incredible reading material and also access to librarians and other resources that can help guide your child towards even more books. We also have helpful and inspiring staff at our school library.

Ask your child about what she/he is reading inside and outside of class.
*The more kids talk about what they are reading, the more they will want to keep reading! Knowing that there are people at home who are interested in what they are reading and what they have to say about that reading, can sometimes be the push that children need to keep on reading. Even if a child is not enjoying a particular book, you can learn a lot about a person as a reader, and they can learn a lot about themselves, by discussing what it is they do not like.

Talk to your child about what you are reading.
*Tell your child about the book/magazine/blog you are reading, but also make sure to tell your child about how you selected what you are reading. Talk about the publications you love and the ones you do not like. Letting your child see that you struggle at times and are still a reader will help your child to see that even if he or she struggles, he or she is still a reader.  

Do not judge what your child is reading as not being “good enough.”
*Sometimes, it is tempting to tell our children that what they are reading is not “real” reading. I believe that all reading has value. In school, we are exposing children to many different types of texts and teaching them the skills they need to navigate through those texts. At home, they need to be able to read what they love (books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes, recipes, the comics, instructions, manuals… in any language); when they find reading material they love, they will be choosing to read more often.

Help your child to use online resources to locate new reading material that is similar to what she/he has loved in the past.
*Finding good reading material can be the hardest part of being a reader. We are lucky to live in a world that has lots of incredible resources to help people find good matches for them. Most of the books and magazines that I read, come from the online suggestions of others or from lists of good books at

Throughout the year, we will be working to build a culture of reading and a community of readers inside of our classroom walls. Extending this culture and community outside of the classroom walls can have huge benefits.  

Thanks for your support in helping your child become a lifelong reader.


Mrs. Davis

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What Am I Reading?

I am a lifelong reader.

As a child, I don't think my mom read to me much (although she did sing to me often 😃). Reading was not something that was modeled for me at home. Nevertheless, I developed a fondness for it. 

In elementary school, I remember looking forward to independent reading time. I enjoyed the little books that I got to choose from out of the blue bucket. I would finish the book and answer some questions about it, then move on to the next one.

Whenever I would visit my grandma in the summertime, she would take me to the public library where I would spend hours walking around and looking at books. I like the library. People are quiet there and generally friendly. It's cool on a hot summer day. I even like the way libraries smell of old paper.

There are so many choices at the library! Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers... Just about any topic I could think of could be found in some reading material at the library. I would check out a bunch of books and take them home. Sometimes I would read them; sometimes I would just look at them. I liked having them around.

In high school, I did not read as diligently as my teachers would have liked. We were assigned some great novels to read, but I had other interests. I would generally read the Cliffs Notes instead so I had just enough information to join in the conversation or take the test. Of course, I don't advise that anyone do this because they miss out on the richness of the text, but I am aware that some people want the shortcut. These days, I would use Shmoop.

Throughout my life, reading has served many purposes for me. I have used reading to learn about a subject or read to escape into another place and time. I read to get to know characters and feel empowered or sad with them. I read to find out what is happening in the world. I read to stay in touch with my friends and family. I read recipes so I can make good food. I read comics to laugh. I read directions. I read a variety of texts to be inspired. All the time, I read about countries and cultures I want to visit because my family is always planning our next travel adventure!

This week, I am reading several things.
  • I am reading It Won't Be Easy. It's light and funny. I chose it because I follow the author on Twitter. I like his positions on social justice. He speaks in a voice I can hear and identify with. Teaching is hard and wonderful. It is definitely not easy, but I wouldn't want to do anything else.  
  • I also receive a weekly subscription of "The New Yorker" magazine. It is dense reading; I generally skip around and don't read it cover to cover. It contains current event news articles and fictional stories, comics and poems, movie reviews and interviews. There is a comic caption contest every week that my daughter and I participate in sometimes.
  • I read BBC news on an app just about every morning. It contains news from places all around the world. I like being informed about other countries as well as our own. It's also interesting to read their news about the U.S. (from another country's perspective).
  • I am also busy reading on social media every day. I have a personal Facebook account where I read the things my friends and family members post. I also read a lot of teacher blogs and participate in professional development on Twitter. I post about my travels and (as of today) my auto-immune disorder on Instagram. (That last one is more about writing, but reading and writing really go hand in hand.)
  • Finally, I have been reading travel blogs about Iceland. That is our next destination.

What are you reading? 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Southeast Asia Travel

My wife and I have just returned from three and a half weeks of travel. While it wasn't always comfortable, mentally or physically, it was definitely educational. I find that visiting cultures different from my own help me build empathy and compassion. I have definitely grown from being somewhere I cannot read or speak the predominant language. I like to think that learning about other social institutions and customs makes me a better person; at least it gives me more stories to tell.

Here are some of the highlights:

Bangkok, Thailand

  • Hello: Sawasdee
  • Met up with my friend, Liz
  • Trains and tuk tuks
  • Lots of walking
  • Street food
  • Night markets
  • Hot and humid
  • River taxi
  • Mango sticky rice
  • Intestinal parasite
  • Bed & breakfast (Inn a Day) and fancy hotel (Mandarin)

Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Cooking class
  • Currency exchange
  • Temples and shrines
  • Farmers' Markets
  • Street food
  • Hot and humid
  • Lush tropical forest
  • Air B&B cottage (Uma's)
  • Thank you: Kab kun ka

Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Rice farming
  • BBQd dog, rat, bird, snails
  • Teaching English to students
  • Rented a motorbike
  • Street food
  • Waterfalls
  • Tried Mexican, Korean, and Pizza in Laos
  • Guest house (Oudomsouk)
  • Hot and humid
  • Fed the guest house manager
  • Hello: Sabaidi
  • Thank you: Khob chai

Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hello: Xin chao
  • Street vendors
  • Street food tour
  • Millions of scooters
  • Glass-front hotel (La Selva)
  • Hot and humid
  • Lots of walking
  • Women's Museum
  • Prison
  • "American War"

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Cu Chi tunnels
  • Motorcycle tour
  • Rubber plantation
  • Street food
  • Landmark tour on scooters
  • Hot and humid
  • Air B&B apartment (Christina's)
  • Thank you: Cam on

I hope you are having a great summer as well. Tell me in the comments below what your experiences were.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Enjoy Your Summer


Movie ReviewIn English class we watched Life is Beautiful. The movie is about the Holocaust and takes place in Italy. The movie is about Guido, the main character, who tries to make everything funny and he keeps on running into this girl named Dora that he likes and is always trying to impress her. Then one day Guido and Dora got married. Soon after that they had a son name Giouse and then got deported to camp Auschwitz. The kid’s dad told him that it was a game and whoever got to 1000 points you won a tank. The son believed it the whole time and he stayed alive until the end. Right at the end of the movie Guido gets shot in the camp because he was looking for his wife, and the kid was hiding in a box because his dad told him to hide until everyone leaves and he wins the tank. Right when he came out of his hiding spot and everyone left, an American tank came around the corner. It came at the right time at the right place. So he thought he won the game even though there was not a game.

Jesse C.

Question of the Week: If you could travel anywhere where would it be?My dad says that if he could travel anywhere in the world that he would probably travel to England or Scotland. The countryside seems kind of interesting, has a lot of history and is the scene for lots of movies, like Robin Hood and James Bond. He would like to see what it looks like and see what an English village looks like. Then there are settings that he really likes because he reads a lot of books and some of them take place in that area or parts of the book are in England or Scotland. The part that he likes about Robin Hood is all of it, but he especially likes the part where they are in the Sherwood Forest. The part of the James Bond movie he likes is when he is driving around in the countryside and when they are at his dad’s house protecting him and that kind of stuff.

Jesse C.

Question of the Week: I asked my sister who is in college now, what do you think is your purpose in life? I decided to ask this question because she is a really big dreamer and she has a really open mind.

Her response: “My purpose in life is my passion and my actions. I feel like over-thinking things doesn’t get you anywhere so why not just do it? Trying new things is always very fun and scary but it’s worth it. My actions are what are going to take me to my dream, more specifically, my passion. Your purpose is what you’re here for, what you are going to do to help the world even if it’s just a little bit. I still want to travel and do nice things for people. I feel like my future job is going to help people which makes me very happy. (She’s going to be a therapist). I still need to figure out what exactly my purpose is because at my age it’s still hard to figure out but for now, that is my idea.”

Yureli M.

Two Truths and a Lie
  1. Last summer I used to play video games all the time and used to eat lots of junk food and sweets, but not a lot of healthy food. But, I weighed over 200 pounds and had a heart attack. Then I got motivated and lost 80 pounds. 
  2. I have a dog named Vicious and he is super aggressive. He eats trash off of the ground all the time. He eats my trash everyday. He just got a haircut. He is 3 years old. He hates other dogs and also other people. He loves to dig holes in the backyard. He loves to take walks and I made a sonnet about him. 
  3. I play a lot of Call of Duty Black Ops 3. I am prestige 3. I am trying to get all diamond guns so I can get dark matter. I want to get dark matter because it looks cool and only the good people have it. 
Jesse C.

Question of the Week: What Would be Included in your Favorite Meal? In my dad's favorite meal there would be tacos. There are a lot of reasons though. For example there are so many different options like, what kind of shell you want there can be a crispy hard shell that you can cook up in oil. Then you can mix all of your favorite foods together like beans and meat or lettuce because it adds a crunch. It is good for the environment too because the taco is your plate and you do not really need utensils. Another reason is that our aunt just sent us a book about tacos. So he can try out a bunch of new recipes on top of all the recipes he already knows. If you're by yourself you can eat as many tacos as you want. Everybody can make tacos too because they are really easy to make. The only reason you wouldn’t want to make them is if you don't like tacos or you are a bad cook.

Jesse C

Question of the Week: What were your highs and lows today? My dad did not have a lot of highs and lows today. One of the lows is when my sister, Lilia and my mom left town today for their sixth grade camping trip. He says he is always is sad when they leave for a while, or when anyone leaves for a while. A high is when my mom got her last radiation treatment for her cancer. Now all she has to do is heal and then she can go on normally with her life. But on Lilia and Mom’s camping trip he knows that they are going to have a lot of fun even though they are only there for two days. Another high is when he took Vicious, our dog, on a walk this morning. He likes it because there were not a lot of people outside so it felt like he had the whole town to themselves. It was a forty minute walk and they made it to Bidwell Park. So I guess he had more highs and lows today then he thought.

Jesse C

Question of the Week: Who do you Admire? My dad admires lots of different people, but the one he admires the most is my abuelito, my Grandpa. He was a poor little indian born in Mexico and he did not have a lot of money. His dad was what they called a vagabond. Because he was not a hobo but he went from town to town looking for jobs. My abuelito did not see too much of his dad while he was growing up. But when he did he told him about all the places he saw in Northern California. Then one day when he was grown up my abuelito was on a train in a town called Weed. Someone on the train told him that there's a lumber mill right there and you can get a job. So he hopped off the train and began to work there. Then slowly by slowly he made it his town to live. At first he had lots of family and friends there that he stayed at their house. But then he got a wife named Jesse and got a house so they can live together. Then eventually he started making a family there. And 68 years later he still lives in that town.

Jesse C

What Would be Included in Your Favorite Meal?In my sister’s favorite meal there would be lots and lots of sugar. There would be a huge cake that’s pink with pink frosting with lots of sugar. The type of cake would be red velvet. But for the main meal she will eat pasta. Her favorite pasta is fettuccini alfredo. She likes it because she says it is delicious and it is less meaty than the other pastas. On the side dish she would want buttery bread sticks because they are bready and they add a nice flavor and go good with pasta. For the drink she would love to have a Shirley Temple because she loves cherries. Also she loves soda and the Shirley Temple is refreshing. Since my sister loves cheese and bready stuff, she wants to have mozzarella sticks. She loves how the cheese and the bread taste together when they are cooked right. Plus everywhere we went to try mozzarella sticks, she loves them.


If You Could go Anywhere in the World Where Would it be?If my mom could go anywhere in the world she would go Mexico. She would want to go there with the whole family because my dad’s side of the family is Mexican and used to live there. She would want to see the ranch my grandma grew up in and meet cousins we never even knew about. She would love to try all the food, sightsee and tour. My dad’s mom’s side of the family is from Guanajuato. It is north of Mexico City. She would like to learn more of Spanish. My mom would want to go tour the Mummy Museum and The Diego Rivera Museum and House. She would like to go to The Callejon Del Beso, which has steep stairs and attracts couples. But she really wants to go to this one ranch called The Saldana Ranchero which is my dad’s mom’s ranch that her family owns.

Jesse C.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

You're A Star

My publications staff decided to recognize a few teachers and staff for the hard work they do on campus. 
We wish we could thank everyone here at Chico Junior because they all do so much for so many.
This is how their Thank Yous took form.
You're a Star, Diana Burdine!
Our Custodians are Stars!
Mrs. Hislop is a star!
What would we do without our counselors?
Just a few personal Thank Yous



Question of the Week

This week I asked my mom, who works at a daycare, “What do you like about working with kids?” She answered, with a smile on her face, “Kids are amazing. They’re creative and imaginative; they're always laughing and playing; and I love their innocence. They don't discriminate by race, gender, or religion. They play with you no matter who you are.” She also said, “I love when they learn and try new things. Whether it be food or learning a new word, their joy brings me joy”
I also asked her, “What made you want to work with kids, and when did you know that’s what you wanted to do?” She answered, “One day I was asked to help with the kids at my church and fell in love with it. They were so fun to work and play with, and I decided that this is what I want to do with my life.”

Iyanah B

Sports Update: Warriors Playoffs Round 2

The Warriors are in the second round of the playoffs after sweeping the Trail Blazers (4,0). The Warriors are going to play the Utah Jazz for the quarter-finals. The Golden State Warriors are the number one team in the Western Conference and the Utah Jazz is the fifth team in the western conference. The Jazz made it to the quarterfinals by beating the LA Clippers (3,4). In my opinion, the Golden State Warriors are going to sweep the Jazz because the Warriors are number one in about everything. The Jazz has a pretty good defense but not a very good offense and that is where you put points up on the board. It will be very hard for the Utah Jazz to beat the Golden State Warriors. I think that this year the Golden State Warriors will go all the way and win the trophy.

Marcos B

Movie Review

I recently watched the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. I know many people have not seen it and know what it's about, so I won't do any spoilers or a summary. I love all things Disney, and I can say hands down that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney live action adaptation. What I love about it is that it stays true to the original movie and makes it come alive. All the songs, characters, and costumes are the same. Also, the live action makes it 10 times as real, because you seeing actual people tell the story. My favorite scene is Be our guest. I loved the beautiful colors and the incredible animations. Seeing all the dishes flying and dancing was incredible. My second favorite scene was when everyone turns human. In the animated version you don't see everybody, and I like that you do in the adapted version. I suggest that all go see this incredible move, you won't be disappointed.

Iyanah B

Question of the Week: “What would be included in your favorite meal?”

My mom's favorite meal would be Japanese themed. She would order sushi. What she means by sushi is a big bowl of rice with lots of different types of fish. Her favorites are salmon, tuna, yellowtail, eel, mackerel, and she would like to try fish she does not usually eat. There would have to be vegetables like soup or green salad. She would drink a big glass of cold water and eat slices of ginger. She would have the meal with me, my sister and my dad at Big Tuna or in Japan in a restaurant by the beach. But that would be for a special occasion like on a birthday or anniversary because it is expensive. She says, with food that good, there's no room for dessert. But I always have room for dessert so I would have a root beer float.

Jesse C.