Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Favorite Read Aloud # 8 -- Extra Credit

Fifth grade is a great level to teach: the students are becoming more aware of others.  They begin to realize that the school they take for granted and even complain about is something most of the world would treasure.

I enjoy reading Extra Credit by Andrew Clements for just that reason.  We are learning about the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  As the two main characters exchange letters and learn about life in the U. S. and Afghanistan, we learn that not every student enjoys the same rights and privileges we do.

Here is a link to a compare/contrast graphic organizer.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Signs that the publisher didn't work with real children

Back in December I complained in a post that the publisher of literacy materials must not have used them with real children.  Last week I had more evidence of this.

I am giving my students Running Records with a kit from the new materials.  The selections I am supposed to have them read come from the middle of chapters -- out of context from the whole.  One frustrated student asked, "Why can't we start at the beginning?  Are they trying to hide something from us?"  I laughed.

I want to see how my students behave as readers when I assess them.  When we give them a section of text disconnected from real reading, I don't think our results are accurate.  Just saying....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Favorite Read Aloud # 7 -- No More Dead Dogs

My stepdaughter recommended I read this book.  Her teacher read it to her class and I could see why.  Wallace Wallace gets detention for writing a bad review of his teacher's favorite book.  He has to miss football practice and sit in on practices for the school play.

As a school story, students will relate to events in the book.  It is a good book to discuss character development. Update June 2014: Click here for a link to a free printable character sketch.

This post is in my series about reading aloud novels in the middle grades. 
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Question of the Week -- What do you need in an instructional coach?

I am applying for an instructional coaching job in my district.  I want to be the type of coach that helps teachers -- not just someone who gives them more to do.  I want to help others create their own systems -- not just become a clone of me.

What do you look for in an instructional coach?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quote of the Week -- May 20, 2012

“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.” – Anonymous

Friday, May 18, 2012

Picture Writing Prompt -- UFO

A ship from outer space lands in your back yard.  The creature inside asks you to go with him because you have a skill that can save his planet.
What is your life-saving skill?
Do you decide to go?
What happens if you go with him?
What happens if you don't?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Favorite Read Aloud #6 -- The Series of Unfortunate Events

I enjoy reading aloud from Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events.  The first three books are my favorite in the series, however  I was disappointed with later books.

I teach my student about voice and varying sentence length using passages from these books.  If you analyze some of the opening sentences in each chapter, you will notice that Snicket's sentences are long and complex.

I also use this series to teach supporting an opinion with evidence from the text.  I post the statement, "Count Olaf is an evil man," and students collect examples from the stories.  You can hardly read through any chapter without finding evidence of this.

For a simple graphic organizer to collect evidence that supports an opinion, click here. The sentences may then be written as a paragraph.

This post is part of a continuing series that starts here.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Question of the Week -- What is your favorite teacher gift?

This last week was Teacher Appreciation Week.  I received coffee cards, lunches, letters and morning coffee.  My favorite gift was from another staff member who wrote me a personal note.  She works in a lot of different classrooms and sees many struggling students.  She wrote how much she appreciates the work I do with difficult students.

What was your favorite teacher gift?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quote of the Week -- May 13, 2012

“Problems only exist for those who don't look for solutions.”
Simon Sinek

Friday, May 11, 2012

30 Days Till the End of the Year

Sometimes when your computer becomes unresponsive and slow, the only thing you can do is shut it down and start over.  Sometimes when your students become unresponsive, it's time to start over. 

Today was one of those days.

I retaught procedures and classroom rules.  We talked about the difference between rights, responsibilities and privileges.  We established new rewards for good choices.

I have updated my free packet called "Privileges and Coupons" to include the work we did today.

Here is the link to "Privileges and Coupons" in my Teachers Notebook store. 

Two months ago, I wrote a blog post about John Stephen Aquari, a marathon runner who finished his race despite injury.  I remember the quote, "My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start this race, but to finish it."

It's time to finish this race.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Favorite Read Aloud # 5 -- Holes

The first time I read Holes, by Louis Sachar, the writer in me was impressed with the plot: nothing was wasted.  The movie closely followed the book.

One of the units in our literacy program has the students read and write book and movie reviews.  They focus on books that have been made into movies. This year, I chose Holes as my book to compare and contrast.  We talk about creating our own images in our mind as we read and compare that to what we see in the movie.  We also talk about why movie versions of our favorite books don't always work. (Although I have to say this movie version is a good one.)

Here is a graphic organizer for comparing and contrasting.  Students put the similarities in the box and the differences in the t-chart.

This post is a part of my series Four Reasons Why I Read Aloud. 
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Question of the Week -- Unplanned Events

Last week, I wanted to make a video observation of one of my math lessons.  I planned the lesson, and I arranged for someone to operate the camera.  What I didn't plan for was the fire alarm that went off because another class was cooking pancakes and the grill got a little too warm.

I went ahead with the lesson and the video.  My students were frozen and atypically quiet.  I didn't think it went well.  I plan to keep the video, because it is a slice of reality.

When did you have an important lesson that didn't go as planned?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quote of the Week -- May 6, 2012

“In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe twenty years.”

Jacques Barzun
We are in the middle of our state standardized testing right now.  I am not teaching to the test.  I am teaching for their futures.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  To honor teachers, I am participating in the Teachers Pay Teachers Appreciation Sale.  My entire store is 15% off.  Enter the promo code TAD12 at check out to get an additional 10% off.  The sale runs Sunday, May 6 through Tuesday May 8.

To find more Teachers Pay Teachers stores that are participating in the sale, visit this link up from Teacher 2 Teacher.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

Laura Candler,(3-6) April McNair,(K-2) and Adrianne Meldrum (7-12) are teaming up with some Teachers Pay Teachers sellers to bring teachers some free classroom materials.  Teachers work hard and this time of year, it is nice to have some new lessons to keep students focused.  We hope you feel appreciated.

I will be giving away one item from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I won't reveal which one until May 6.  Teachers who are participating will be linking up to bring teachers a jackpot of free teaching materials.

Updated: May 7, 2012
Thank you to those teachers who participated in the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot.  I hope you received some great resources for your classroom.  Playing with Rhyme: Creating Couplets, Tercets, and Quatrains will be on sale today and tomorrow as well as other products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Updated: May 5, 2012
I have just made Playing with Rhyme: Creating Couplets, Tercets, and Quatrains free for the Teacher Jackpot.  Stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store and pick up a copy.  It will be on sale Monday and Tuesday and return to its regular price $3.25 on Wednesday.

Updated: May 3, 2012
Over 130 teacher bloggers are participating in this event.  The blog hop for third through sixth grade teachers is below:

Favorite Read Aloud # 4 -- Frindle by Andrew Clements

I read this book aloud to teach my students the power of words and to explore the idea that one person can have a huge impact.  In fifth grade, we begin writing persuasive essays.  Learning to influence others positively is a theme in this book.

Nick Allen starts out by rebelling against his vocabulary teacher Mrs. Granger.  The battle between two strong wills teaches both of them some lessons.

New (June 2014): I just included a graphic organizer called Elements and Events that helps students determine the important characters and events in the book.  Click here for Elements and Events.

This post is a part of my series Four Reasons Why I Read Aloud. 

Find me at Goodreads.
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