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Showing posts from November, 2015

Fish Bowls and Common Core

Middle school students are very social creatures (for the most part).  They enjoy talking, debating, and listening to what others have to say (well, okay, maybe they are working on the listening part). 
Anyhow, after reading Readicide by Kelly Gallagher,
 I decided to revisit my approach to teaching The Outsiders this year.  Last year, I required students to find quotes from each chapter that addressed our essential questions.  Not only did they have to find the quotes, they had to provide the context and an analysis of each one.  I will admit that we had some great discussions using this method. However, what better way to kill the love of a book than to require students to stop every few pages and complete a quote response?  Gallagher asserts that there is a happy medium, and I agree!

This year I assigned three chapters as homework.  Students read the chapters without interruption.  In class, I numbered them off.  Each number correlated to an assigned chapter, and students had to then…


I am really excited about how the final projects turned out using GoAnimate!  I really feel students created thoughtful theme statements and gathered excellent evidence from the text to support their theme.  Their analysis was also impressive.  Here's a link to one of my favorites, which also happened to win the Best Video Award for that period.  

Monsters are Due on Maple Street Theme Video

And another Honorable Mention:

Another Great Example

After the project, I had students complete a reflection in a Google Form.  Most of the students enjoyed the project.  A few were frustrated at times (but they powered through)!  Almost all students agreed that it was a nice change from the usual essay.

Celebrating the Good Stuff

Another idea I stole from Kelly Gallagher,  my favorite author of books about reading and writing, -bulletin boards with a focus.  Rather than displaying entire student essays, (which nobody actually reads) select a focus for the board and display work that demonstrates excellence in that area.  A few weeks ago, my students wrote personal narratives.  My bulletin board this week focuses on great hooks. The students were excited to see their work on display.  Next time I will have another focus!