Friday, November 27, 2015

Wanted: Elf on a Shelf

I don't have an actual Elf on a Shelf that I use in my classroom, but so many of my fourth graders were obsessed with him anyway.  I have a blank wanted poster that I created for other assignments and I decided this would make a quick writing assignment and bulletin board.

 To download a blank wanted poster for this and other assignments, please click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Middle School: My Brother is a Big Fat Liar by James Patterson

Georgia Khatchadorian wants to succeed in middle school, but she has one problem.  Her brother Rafe has a reputation for being a big, fat liar.  Can she establish her own reputation?
This was the first book of this series I read, because it was nominated for an award here in Washington State.  I loved the book, but I recommend reading the series in order.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Book Review, Honesty, and Internet Safety

I have been posting a book review every Wednesday for about three and a half years.  I love reading and sharing my finds.  Most of my reviews are positive meaning I don't bother to share the ones I don't like, so most of my reviews are blue or red ribbon books.

One day I received a comment on my blog asking me how the book ends.  I wondered if it was a student who was asked to write a book report.  I clicked on the Blogger Profile and found her name, her school, access to her classmates' blogs, and her teacher's name.  I emailed him explaining who I was and what I suspected.  He talked with her and the next day she deleted her comment and wrote a more open ended discussion type of question.

I share this story with my students because I want them to know that what they do on the internet is public and can be traced back to them.

I share this story with other teachers because I am concerned with the liability we place on ourselves.  I was a concerned teacher who reached out to a student and her teacher about integrity and love of literature.  What if my motives had been different?

Last year my district issued Google Accounts to every student in the district.  It took one of my students about three hours from the time I introduced the account to start misusing her email.   It was frustrating because I wanted to teach my students to use the platform, but I didn't want them to get into trouble with it.

I want my students to use technology as they learn.  I'm just concerned that sometimes we give them more than they can handle all at once.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Quote of the Week -- November 22, 2015

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have a great week,


Friday, November 20, 2015

Writing Prompt: My Unusual Thanksgiving

This lesson started with a guest poet in my classroom and I have added a little bit to it each year.  The original prompt was describing "My Unusual Thanksgiving."  The visiting poet's family was a mix of cultures and she shared some of the traditions that her family celebrates this time of year.

We collected ideas in our writing notebooks and then wrote list poems.  I also did the assignment and created the poem shown above.  To download a printable copy of "My Unusual Thanksgiving" click here.  

The next year I taught the lesson myself, but this time I used a simple graphic organizer to collect sensory details.  To download the Five Senses graphic organizer shown below, click here.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

Hillary Westfield wants to defy her society's expectations for girls and join a league of pirates.  She finds a way to leave home and start her adventures on the High Seas carrying her magical gargoyle with her.

I think tweens will love this mix of fantasy and adventure.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

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