Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The warm 3-day weekend wrapped up with the historic inauguration of our President on the same day as we celebrate the achievements and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.  In fact, I found out that President Obama is one of only 17 presidents to give an inaugural address to jump start his second term.  Did you know that his second inauguration is not the first Presidential Inauguration to coincide with MLK Day?  Interestingly enough, President Bill Clinton‘s second inauguration was also on MLK Day.  How fascinating!

On our first day back (and the day before the Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment) we played an ELA version of Family Feud for the activator (the 10 minutes prior to the main lesson) and played Writing Assessment Review Jeopardy.  The students seemed to have a wonderful time.

This afternoon was the last of the Pre-Writing Assessment after-school tutoring sessions.  I want to thank all of the students who stayed after school or came during connections for additional help.  That level of initiative is what will surely be the foundation of success.  I am so proud to teach such students!

PowerPoint: forthcoming

HOMEWORK: Get a good night of sleep!  Read for 30 minutes and work on the Guided Book Review which is due in 1 week (on Tuesday, January, 29th, 2013).

The Week of January 14-18th in Review

In preparation for tomorrow’s Writing Assesement, last week was devoted to review of all of the writing strategies that had been addressed in class.  I held two tutoring sessions during and after school to assist those who felt they needed to practice some skills, ask additional questions, or receive extra teaching.  It was an absolute blast!  As a result, I will be holding weekly after-school tutoring sessions starting within the next couple of weeks.  Finally, on Friday, we wrapped up the week with a timed writing to simulate part of what the students will encounter tomorrow.

PowerPoint: forthcoming

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and work on the Guided Book Review (Due Tuesday, January 29th, 2013)

WELCOME BACK! Tuesday-Friday, January 8th-11th, 2013

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Winter Break!

Tuesday:

On this first day back for the students, we did a writing strategy recap.  As a whole group, we looked at a sample expository writing prompt and broke it down using TAPP-F.  This strategy helps the students look at the key points in a writing prompt to determine what it is that they need to do in order to be successful.

  • T=Topic
    • This is where the students take a topic in its entirety and summarize it in one to two sentences.
  • A=Audience
    • According to the writing prompt (topic), who is going to read the essay/letter/speech?
  • P=Purpose
    • Why is this essay/letter/speech being written?  Is it to persuade or to inform/explain?
  • P=(Organizational) Pattern
    • How should you organize your writing? Should it be organized in:
      • chronological order (in order of time)?
      • logical order (in order of what makes the most sense to you)?
      • cause and effect order (where the cause of something is discussed first and then its effects)?
      • problem and solution order (where the problem is presented and then you discuss a possible solution)?
      • comparison and contrast (where two or more things are discussed for how they are similar and dissimilar)?
  • F=Format
    • In what form are you writing?  Is it supposed to be:
      • a letter?
      • an essay?
      • a speech?

The students had to dissect and brainstorm using TAPP-F on the topic below:

Lunch GMWA writing topic

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and write an introduction paragraph based on the topic presented in class.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Writing Strategy Recap 1.8.13

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Wednesday:

In class, each student continued formulating and organizing their ideas using a graphic organizer to map out their body paragraphs.  I provided some assistance by guiding them through the process using the ELMO document camera.

HOMEWORK: Complete the body paragraph sections in the graphic organizer provided in class. Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Body Paragraphs 1.9.13

__________________

Thursday:

Having mapped out the body paragraphs both in class and for homework the previous night, the students began work on sculpting a strong conclusion.  With the time remaining in class, each student then took what they wrote in the graphic organizer the night before and translated it into a rough draft.  Those who did not finish in class had to complete it for homework, due at the beginning of their class period on Friday the 11th.

HOMEWORK: Complete the rough draft of the letter to the principal.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Conclusions 1.10.13

__________________

Friday:

The week wrapped up with practical application of all of the skills practiced this week in the form of a timed writing.  As a reminder, the students used the acronym of T-BOW ( (c) 2013 Me) to guide them through the writing process.  T-BOW represents:

  • T=TAPP-F (see above under “Tuesday”)
  • B=Brainstorm
  • O=Organize (see above under “Tuesday” as well)
  • W=Write

All of the drafting homework from the previous days this week were due at the beginning of each class with no late work being accepted (except in rare circumstances).

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Remember, this upcoming Tuesday is our next Library Day!  Find your library books and have a wonderful weekend!

PowerPoint:  Timed Writing Day 1.11.13

 

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It has been said that preparation is the key ingredient to success.  With the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment, the students had the opportunity to mimic the conditions of the actual 8th grade Writing Assessment that will be administered on January 23rd, 2013.  Much like the actual exam, the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment is hand-scored on a rubric similar to the one used by the State of Georgia for the GMWA (Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment).  We should receive the results of these writings within the month where they will be posted online for viewing. 

After 100 solid minutes of writing in the morning, my 6th and 7th period classes took part in an ELA review game which can be found here.  They were paired up based on mixed ability and interests to create a dynamic collaborative learning environment.

PowerPoint:

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (DUE FRIDAY) and read for at least 30 minutes.

October 15th-19th, 2012

Last week we focused upon the development of ideas since it is the most heavily-weighted domain in the Georgia 8th Grade Writing Assessment (you will also see me refer to this as the GMWA or Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment).

Monday, October 15th, 2012

  • Socratic Seminar Day!
  • Since most teens LOVE to discuss and debate topics, we worked on the enhancement (and justification) of one’s ideas through a Socratic Seminar.  The students were given the opportunity to respond to the topics below but they had to support their responses with specific details:
    • Should school lunches be reformed?
    • Is debt ever okay?
    • The U.S.A. is currently over $16 trillion in debt.  What do you think we should do as a nation to get rid of this debt?
    • People can now print in 3D.  Do you think there is anything people should not be allowed to print?
    • What about guns (firearms)?
    • What is the difference between art and craft
  • PowerPoint: 10-15-12 Socratic Seminar

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

  • On Tuesday, the students practiced researching topics related to our extended text The Project by Brian Falkner
  • These topics included:
    • DaVinci
    • Cyphers
    • Time Travel
    • EMA (Emergency Mgmt. Agency) protocol for disasters
    • Propaganda
    • The Most Boring Book in the World
  • PowerPoint: 10-16-12 Everything We Do is Research

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

  • Like Emeril Lagasse adding a little “BAM” to his cooking, on Wednesday, the students learned about how DRAPES could enhance their writing ideas.
  • DRAPES is an acronym which means:
    • D= Dialogue
    • R= Rhetorical Questions
    • A= Analogies
    • P= Personal Example or Experience
    • E= Examples or Facts
    • S= Statistics
  • Through including these elements into one’s writing, the students will expand upon their ideas more successfully.
  • PowerPoint: 10-17-12 Beef Up Your Ideas

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

  • On Thursday, the students were able to work  as a think tank where they brainstormed on three topics of their choosing.  There are too many topics to list here but they are included in the PowerPoint below.
  • PowerPoint: 10-18-12 Inside the Think Tank
  • The students also had to complete a pop quiz identifying what each of the letters in DRAPES stood for.

Friday, October 19th, 2012

  • Assessment Day!
  • The students completed a quiz on DRAPES where they had to identify what each letter stood for, identify examples, create a BCR on a topic of their choosing (out of three options), and finally create examples of DRAPES related to that topic.
  • 10-19-12 Quiz & Timed Writing Day

 

Friday, September 28th, 2012 Recap

What a busy week this has been!

On Friday, the students took a quiz on brainstorming, TAPP, and clauses.  Overall, the students did well.  These scores will be used to determine the students’ groups and pairings for next week’s activities.

Once the students finished, they had the opportunity to begin brainstorming on a topic of their choice from the ones below (1st and 2nd periods did not have the opportunity to do this):

1. Should state colleges be free to attend?
2. Should all American citizens have to complete a year of community service?
3. Should students be required to take Spanish classes?
4. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?
5. Should the driving age be raised to twenty-one?
6. Should immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally be given legal status if they have been here for a certain number of years? (this one was created by a student in 2nd period)

The plan right now is for these brainstormed ideas to serve as the basis for a writing assignment next week.

HOMEWORK: None.  Have a wonderful weekend.

PowerPoint: 9-28-12 Assessment Day

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Wednesday plunged us deep into class discussions on the following topics:

  1. Should college athletes be paid for playing?
  2. Should the elderly receive free bus rides?
  3. Should state colleges be free to attend?

The students really enjoyed discussing these and their opinions varied widely.  It was quite exciting!  We then took a step back to channel these ideas into a mind map and just practiced brainstorming.  In fact, the students were able to use the points brought up in discussion to assist them.

HOMEWORK: Complete week-long assignments

PowerPoint: (Forthcoming)