Skip to main content

Week 3

I love the third week of school.  I finally know most of my students' names and am already seeing their personalities starting to emerge!  We are starting to get comfortable with each other!

This week English Honors read three texts:  "The Truth about Talent," "Secrets of Straight-A Students," and a poem called "Dig Your Starting Holes Deep."  I taught the students to circle key words and underline claims in the articles.  When reading the poem, we talked about  both literal and figurative meanings.  All three of the texts were about working hard to achieve goals.  We also watched a short clip of Michael Johnson discussing how he goes about running the 400 meter!  Ask your kids about it!  Afterwards, they had to synthesize the ideas of all three texts by choosing words and phrases from all three and creating their own found poem.  They turned out really well.  I told them they should print them out and hang them in their rooms for inspiration.  It was a great way to start the year.


Displaying IMG_0756.jpeg
Here are some examples:  

Run Hard

Dig your starting holes deep and firm.
It’s not how long you sit there with the books open.
It’s what you do while you’re sitting.
Everybody can master the curriculum if you give them time.
With all the power that is in you,
Look straight ahead to the finish line.
Make sure you hit the deadline.
Children aren't born smart.
They get smart.
Run straight.
Run high.
Run hard.
Save nothing.





You can Always get Better
Everyone knows about straight­-A students.
Kids who think you can get smart.
Kids who are not threatened by a difficult task or failure.
Children are not born smart they get smart. 
Think only of the goal.
Make the most of your innate abilities.
Believe in hard work.
Dig your starting holes deep. 
Top grades do not always go to the brightest students .
Study anywhere or everywhere. 
and hurtle through the tape to victory.





Both College Prep and Honors read a story called "Three Skeleton Key."  It is one of my favorites, and I am sure they think I am crazy, because I get so excited about reading it!  Our reading focus was looking out literary devices the author uses to create suspense.  I showed them a short clip from Jaws and The Birds to illustrate examples of foreshadowing.  They got a kick out that and had no trouble finding examples.  Does anyone else remember watching The Birds on television?  I thought it was so scary; now it's comical.  We also talked about choices writers make in movies and books.  For example, how would the movie The Birds  have been different if hummingbirds had been used?  Why was it appropriate to choose a black bird?  You get the idea!  

My hope is that my blog will provide conversation starters for you and your child!

Popular posts from this blog

Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  



After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definit…

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Making Comments on Student Writing Meaningful

As any English teacher knows, we spend countless hours grading and commenting on student work.  What I realized after a few years of teaching was that many students did not read my comments at all; they just looked at their grade. Some didn't even look at the rubric!   However, many students valued my feedback and relished every comment.  I felt as though I was wasting my time on more than half of the essays.   As evident from the next essay the students wrote, the majority of the students did not heed the advice I gave in the previous essay.  I came up with a solution!  Using Google Forms, I created a detailed survey for my students to fill out about the comments they received on their writing.  I will include pictures of various questions and answers.  Better yet, I told them that all responses would be read and a graded  for the thoughtfulness.  I had a sub that day, so I created a link to the form in my daily blog post for my class!  SO easy!  Students were forced to go back t…