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Showing posts from October, 2015

Go Animate

First of all, I couldn't resist including a few photos of my students in their Halloween costumes.  

We just finished reading Monsters are Due on Maple Street.   Last year I had my students use Powtoon to create videos focusing on a theme in the teleplay.  Although I liked  Powtoon, there were not too many options in regards to scenes and characters (at least not with a free trial).  Therefore, I decided to give GoAnimate a shot!  I am so glad I did.

First students wrote a theme statement about the teleplay and got it approved by me ( a bad theme statement would make for a bad video project).  They then had to find four pieces of textual evidence to support their theme, as well as explain  the context of the evidence.  Finally, they wrote an analysis of each quote explaining how it helped develop the theme.  The next step was to incorporate all of that information into a video.  

I was shocked at how quickly students caught on to using Goanimate.  Within ten minutes, they were record…

Read 180 this Week

This week I brought in an article that seemed relevant to my Read 180 students.  I read it with students in small group and had them mark the text.  This means students identified  key words and underlined the author's claims.  If you are a Read 180 parent reading this blog, it would be great if you could read the article and discuss it with your child.  Students also wrote a summary of the article using a template I provided.  

10 Benefits of Reading

Students also read an article today about trophy hunting.  Remember the story that was in the news awhile back about Cecil the Lion?  Students seemed genuinely interested in the topic and were surprised to read that there are actually some benefits in allowing trophy hunting.  After reading, I had them look at the arguments for and against trophy hunting and find evidence to support each.   

Of course, students also read in their reading groups, read a Newsela article and took a quiz, and continued to work on their individual software d…

Mission Accomplished....So Far

Yesterday I asked one of my classes, "Do you think we do enough writing in here?"  All 33 of them responded with a resounding, "YES!"  I was thrilled.  You see, over the summer I read several books by Kelly Gallagher  which encouraged  me to reevaluate  the way I had been teaching writing and inspired me to think of new ways to teach writing.  Just a FEW of the things I learned and decided to try:

Give students more choice about what they write.  Give them several topics to choose from.Provide students with mentor sentences and texts.  SHOW them good writing.  Ask them to emulate what they see!Don't correct every little error. For each essay, pick TWO sentences for the students to correct.  Do most writing in class.  Give students feedback DURING the writing process, not after.So far, I have nothing but positive things to say about implementing each of these strategies. So far, my students have written an essay in which they read two articles and had to synthesi…

Week 7

I know that I mainly talk about my English 7 class on my blog, but I also have the privilege of teaching Read 180, our reading intervention class.  I've taught this class numerous times over the past ten years, and it is a very rewarding class to teach!  Students are placed in this class mainly based on their lexile score.  However, we also use other data to make sure we are making the right decision when making a recommendation to parents! To get a lexile score, students take an online reading test.  The first time students take the test,  passages start off easy.  . Difficulty is determined by sentence length and vocabulary difficulty.  Once a student's lexile has been determined, the test is over. 

The Read 180 model is whole class instruction for the first twenty minutes.   Typically, students receive vocabulary instruction and read with me using the cloze reading strategy in their R books.  Then, we break off into three groups.  Currently, students are grouped based on lex…

Week 6

Last week was so busy that I am just now getting around to posting!  Last week students read "Rikki-Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling.  I grew up with this story (and cartoon). I was surprised that most of them had never heard of it!  Back in the day when certain movies only came on once a year-think Wizard of Oz and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Rikki-Tikki  was something I always  looked forward to.  The cobras terrified me almost as much as the  Sleestaks   in Land of the Lost.  Anyhow, it is a great story for character analysis, so students learned about indirect characterization using the STEAL acronym.  S is for speech, T is for thoughts, E is for effect on others, A is for actions, and L is for looks.  Students looked for passages as the read that revealed Rikki's character.  I then taught the how to seamlessly incorporate quotes into a literary analysis, analyze each quote, and cite the source.  I think the kids did very well, especially since it was new to most of the…