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Showing posts from October, 2017

Have a Dance Party Before Class Starts

This year I decided to play music as students are entering my classroom and before the final bell rings.  I had no idea what a difference it would make!  Why didn't I do this before?  It creates a positive, upbeat mood and seems to energize my students and ME! 

At first I thought they'd complain when I blasted disco tunes by artists like Chic, The Bee Gees, and Vickie Sue Robinson ("Turn the Beat Around").   I thought they'd groan when I played Bon Jovi, Journey, and Whitesnake. I thought they'd roll their eyes when I played clean versions of songs by Tupac and Snoop Dogg.  I really thought they'd lose it when I played Gypsy Kings.  NOPE!  They loved it!  I had NO idea that my kids would react they way they did.  Here are the results:

If I don't have time to put the music on, several kids will ask, "Where's our dance party?" I really like Pandora because I can create my own stations.  If you're looking for a way to create a positive vi…

Creative Writing: Teacher Utopia

By the end of the week, we have a minimum of four pieces in rough draft form. Every other week, students are required to choose one piece to work on and bring to their writing group.  On the days we meet with our writing groups, students must bring enough printed copies for each group member. They read their piece aloud to the group and get feedback from each person.  They are given the option of having their paper "blessed, addressed, or pressed." I stole this from my idol, Kelly Gallagher.  In other words, they can receive just complements, ask for feedback on a particular part of the piece, or both!  All of my students chose to be "pressed" and get both types of feedback.

Whichever piece is taken to their writing group is then revised and published to our classroom writing blog.  Here, the entire class can read each other's work!  

Teaching this class is a dream come true. It's not just because I enjoy teaching writing though!  It's the kids themselves…