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Showing posts from January, 2017

Sidewalk Chalk to "Get the Wiggles Out"

Wow!  Can't believe the semester is over!  We finished The Outsiders, wrote an essay about whether or not it should be considered a classic, and I  needed something light and fun to wind up the semester.  My honors classes conduced mock trials instead of the essay. Anyhow,  I decided to revisit the six-word memoir.  My students wrote one about themselves at the beginning of the year.  It's a great way to teach students the importance of word choice.  It's also not as easy as it sounds.  As Mark Twain once said,“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” We had a nice discussion about this quote!  Students had to select a character from the novel and write a six-word memoir as that character.  After publishing them to our classroom blog, I grabbed a bucked of colored chalk and took them outside to the quad where they were asked to write their memoirs.  Of course, I made sure to spell out the expectations beforehand.  If you teach middle …

Another Great Semester in Read 180

Some days in Read 180 can be pretty monotonous, especially the software. When Read 180 first came out over ten years ago, kids were thrilled to use it! For most of them, it was the only computer they used all day. However, as computers and cell phones have become ubiquitous on our campus, the novelty of the program has definitely waned! Therefore, I have had to look for ways to not only help my students improve their reading but to also keep them engaged! I have written about a variety of these activities in my previous posts.

Yet, it is all worth it when students take the SRI test at the end of the semester. HALF of my students met the requirements to exit the class. TWO of them are now reading at ADVANCED and are even talking about taking English Honors next year. I had my students write a reflection about the semester (I provided them specific questions and an example).

Here are a few:

I started Read 180 at the beginning of the school year. My first lexile score began at 669…

Grades: Something Else Matters

When I first started teaching, I didn't even have a computer.  Grades were recorded in a mysterious, teacher-owned blue book.  I used a point system, so every six weeks when progress reports were due, I'd grab my trusty calculator and begin the tedious task of tallying each student's points.  As a kid, I remember bringing my report card home to my mom in a sealed envelope and eagerly waiting for her to open it and share my grades with me.  It was a big deal and there was always a little mystery as to what my grades would be.
Fast forward to the digital age, where students and parents are privy to grades twenty-four hours a day.  At first I thought this was a good thing!  For one, I wouldn't have to spend countless hours adding up points on my calculator.  Now I am not so sure.  Students have become obsessed with points.  Some check their grades several times a day.  In fact, there is now an app that many of my students use which allows them to create a "mock" …