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).

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

 

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Monday was the first of two days where the students were in centers to practice their writing skills.  There were a total of six stations to which the students had the opportunity to visit.  These stations included focuses on:

Center #1: Organization

1.     Read the articles on the pay of female tennis players.

2.     Next, compare and contrast the two articles.

3.     Then, identify the problem in the article and suggest a solution.

o   Write at least 2 sentences explaining why that would be a good solution.

4.     Guess what might be the cause for the inequality in pay.

o   Then, write what the effect has been in at least one sentence.

Center #2: Ideas

1.     Think of 5 topics and write them down on your own sheet of paper.

2.     Then pass your topics to the person on your right. 

3.     Brainstorm at least 5 points for each topic. (Use a bubble map or a bullet point list)

4.     Turn to your elbow partner and share the two topic brainstorming bubble maps (or bullet pointed lists).  KEEP YOUR VOLUME LOW.

Center #3: Style

1.     Read the article “Text Talk” on Reality Central page 49. 

2.     Find the paragraph you think is the strongest.  Write down:

o   What page it is on,

o   What number paragraph it is from the top of the page,

o   And explain why you think it is the strongest.

3.     Next, Choose one of the paragraphs to rewrite with more style.

4.     Make the vocabulary stronger, add DRAPES, and overall make it more interesting to read.

 

PowerPoint: Writing Centers Dec. 3, 2012

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (due Friday) and read for 30 minutes.

 

October 29th-November 2nd, 2012 in Review

On this Halloween week, we reviewed, researched, solved a crime, critiqued the writing of others, and tried to persuade friends to vote as we would.  As the old saying goes, “variety is the spice of life!”  The goal of this week was to prepare the students for creating more substantive long-form essays in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 29th, 2012

  • The students participated in review activities to become re-acquainted with the grammar and writing concepts we have addressed to this point.
  • 10-29-12 Grammar & Writing Check Up

Tuesday, October 3oth, 2012 (Library a.k.a. Media Center Day!)

  • As a preview to online research, the students participated in a Web Quest where they followed specific instructions to learn more about things going on in the world.
  • There were some broken links in the pre-made Web Quests presented so I compiled a a couple of articles to which the students were to respond with their thoughts.
  • 10-30-12 Library Day!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 (HALLOWEEN)

  • The students worked whole group to deduce who was guilty in “The Case of the Fallen Roses.”  I enjoy the use of mysteries because it requires the students to use context clues, draw inferences, demonstrate their reading comprehension, in addition to using common sense to find the answer.  The best part of it all is that it is fun, engaging, and does not feel like work either (oh, and I get to read in funny voices too).
  • After the mystery was solved, the students worked on a differentiated assignment.  They all had the same essay from which they were to pull out information (much like in the mystery) but the requirements varied based on whether they were Extremely Advanced, Advanced, On-Level, or Struggling Learners.  In order to disguise this fact, I color-coded the requirements and assigned them to each student in that manner.
  • 10-31-12 ELASI-ELA Scene Investigation

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

  • The students worked with me to identify the strengths and weaknesses of up to three model papers.  These model papers were ones written by actual Georgia 8th graders for the annual Writing Assessment.  The scores of the papers we discussed were either a 1 (the lowest), a 2, or a 3. **A paper with a score of a 5 is the highest.
  • 11-1-12 Upgrade It!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

 

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