Show What You Know! (Thursday, September 30th, 2014)

Yesterday, the students were able to create super-short stories using a literary device of their choice.  The catch was that it had to be humorous.  Since class time did not allow us to do it as a whole group activity, I offered this activity as an extra-credit opportunity.  Below is some of the literary device-laden silliness they created:

https://todaysmeet.com/ShowWhatYouKnow

We then took the silliness a step further.  The students created longer, mini-stories using a few elements.  They were given a chart of random people, places, things, and events to inject into their stories.

Show What You Know Subjects

They they took those random elements and paired them with a literary device selected at random through a wonderful spinning wheel to create their story.  This also served as a great opportunity to review the definitions of these literary devices for the students still a little fuzzy on them.

Wheel Decide | Literary Devices

We did this for three rounds.

The students then shared their favorite of the three random stories they created with their table groups.  The groups then selected their favorite.  These favorites faced off so that we could determine the class favorite.  (I plan to post some of the winning stories in tomorrow’s blog post.)

REMINDER: Vocabulary Quiz tomorrow!  There will also be a literary devices quiz on Monday.

Homework:

  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for tomorrow’s vocabulary quiz.
  • Continue work on your Genius Hour Proposal (due tomorrow).  It must be posted in KidBlog in order to receive credit.

PowerPoint:

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

——————————-

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.

Wednesday-Friday, November 28th-30th, 2012

I decided to take a moment roll all of the remaining day’s updates into one post.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

On Wednesday, the students were provided with the scores from their first Mock Writing Assessment.  In looking at their scores, they were able to see exactly what their scores meant by looking at the rubric that was used to grade their essays.  The students in my 1st and 2nd period classes were provided with their individual login information, however due to some technical difficulties with logging in, they were not all able to view these scores online.

The second Mock Writing Assessment will be administered this upcoming Wednesday, December 5th during homeroom.  Once those essays are graded and available online, we will take yet another look to see how each student will have grown by that time.

PowerPoint: Nov. 28. 2012 A Look at Writing Folio

HOMEAWORK: Complete any missing assignments and read for 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Henry, our classroom pet, was introduced on Thursday.  As the legend goes, Henry springs to life as a real turkey (instead of a statue) once all the lights are off and no one is around.  Each student then had to imagine Henry’s back story before he arrived in our classroom.  Where did he come from?  What is his mission in life?  Who were his parents?  No two students came up with the same answers and they were all extremely entertaining.

PowerPoint:  Nov. 29. 2012 Portfolio and Personal To Dos

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments and read for 30 minutes.

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Friday played host to our first Writing Relay.  The students first observed a demonstration of water being poured from a 2 quart water bottle into a larger container and back.  This served to illustrate how we “fill” pages with our ideas.  The students then worked together as a class to come up with a list of random topics which ended up ranging from unicorns to basketball.  The writing task was then assigned.  Each student had 5 minutes to create a story using 3 of the random topics.  Each student’s goal was to create a story with the highest word count within that time frame.  The winner then got to read his or her story to the class.

PowerPoint: Nov. 30. 2012 Writing Relay Day

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments 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

 

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” –Henry Ford

As a method of getting ready, we had the first Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment which mimics the 8th Grade Writing Assessment.  Completed within 100 minutes, every student remained in their homeroom in order to remain focused on doing their best on a topic of which they had no prior knowledge.  This mock assessment is hand-scored, just like the actual writing assessment, and is logged online so that the scores of each paper can be accessed from the internet.  Our plan as an English Language Arts department is to use this as a way to help each student know where to improve upon their writing and how.

For the remaining class periods, the students concluded the Sentence Auction started on Monday.  It was a BLAST!

 

HOMEWORK: Read “Out of Bounds” on pages 165-180 in the Reader/Writer InterActive Workbook.  Complete all of the questions in the margins.

PowerPoint: 10-9-12 Fun Times at the Sentence Auction Part 2

Friday, September 21st, 2012 in Brief

Friday was a mixed bag lesson where each class had a slightly different experience based on their lesson needs:

  • First periodreviewed conclusion techniques discussed in Tuesday’s lesson.  This class also dissected a writing prompt (see below) using TAP (we left the last “P” for later). The students are to complete this for homework.
    • Writing Prompt:
      • Writing Situation: Most families assign chores to their children. Families need to work together, and having the children of the house help out teaches responsibility. However, many children and teens object to having these chores imposed upon them. What is your opinion?
      • Directions for Writing: Do you think that children should have assigned chores to do at home, or do you think you have enough to do already? Write an essay to convince the adults in your family of your point of view regarding the children and teens being required to do chores at home. Be clear in your opinion, and use specific details and examples to support your ideas.
  • Second period took time to revisit the computer lab in order to finish the SRI.  The students who finished then began work dissecting the prompt above using TAP(P).
  • Sixth period had the opportunity to briefly visit the Book Fair which was only in our Media Center for one day.  Upon returning from the Media Center, sixth period completed the notes on conclusion strategies from Tuesday’s lesson.
    • Should there have been more time slots available, the other class periods would have also attended.
  • Seventh period completed notes on conclusion strategies from Tuesday’s lesson.

**QUIZ ALERT: Anticipate a quiz over prepositions and gerunds on Monday!

HOMEWORK:

  • 1st: Complete the in-class essay.  It must be 3 paragraphs in length.
  • 2nd: For those who began the in-class essay, complete it.  Those who did not will work on this assignment starting on Monday the 24th, 2012.
  • 6th: No homework
  • 7th: No homework

PowerPoint: 9-21-12 Conclusions Practice + Starting a Timed Writing