Class update #32 [Week of 04/22/14 - 04/25/14]

Week #2: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea, journal entries, vocabulary HW/Quiz, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet...

Week #5: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea as well as Of Mice & Men, journal entries, vocabulary HW/Quiz, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 04/22/14 to 04/25/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 5 – Quarter 4[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin reading The Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. During our in class reading, students are required to take notes for comprehension in the following format – Question, Quotation (MLA Format), Characters, Setting, Connect, Conflict & Summarize. Those notes will help students with their ticket out of class via journal entries that they will be completing after daily reading. Journal entry requirements include students selecting a specific piece of text, cite it in MLA Format, and elaborate on why they selected that particular piece of text to cite. As enrichment, students will also be reading Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck. However, this particular reading will only take place 10 pages at a time every Friday of Quarter 4. This week students will be given Week #5′s vocabulary words on 4/22/2014, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 04/23/14 and a quiz on 4/25/2014. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. I will also be pulling all of this year’s regularly scheduled vocabulary words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee & SAT lists for 7th Graders >>> [vocabulary guidelines & instructions]… Please make sure your student is completing their vocabulary homework every Monday because we will have a quiz assessment on those words every Friday. Continue reading

Letter Writing Activity #Dreams

set goal, make plan, work, and stick to it...

set goal, make plan, work, and stick to it…

I decided to do an impromptu writing activity in Language Arts/Writing today. The students will participate in a letter writing activity about their future aspirations. Students will begin class with a bell work question, “Describe 3 realistic life goals that you want to reach by the age of 18.” Once they have completed that, they will be given the following instructions:

 

1) You will be writing a letter about your future dreams and aspirations.

2) Address the letter to yourself (future you)

3) List specific goals that you hope to attain by the age of 18 and beyond.

4) For every goal, give yourself advice on how to reach that goal.

5) Open the letter upon high school graduation or when you feel yourself getting off track later in life. Continue reading

Class update #31 [Week of 04/14/14 - 04/17/14]

Week #4: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea, Journal Entries, Vocabulary HW, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet, and Viewing of Amistad [Permission Slip]…

Week #4: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea, Journal Entries, Vocabulary HW, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet, and Viewing of Amistad [Permission Slip]…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 04/14/14 to 04/17/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 4 – Quarter 4[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin reading The Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. During our in class reading, students are required to take notes for comprehension in the following format – Question, Quotation (MLA Format), Characters, Setting, Connect, Conflict & Summarize. Those notes will help students with their ticket out of class via journal entries that they will be completing after daily reading. Journal entry requirements include students selecting a specific piece of text, cite it in MLA Format, and elaborate on why they selected that particular piece of text to cite. As enrichment, students will also be reading Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck. However, this particular reading will only take place 10 pages at a time every Friday of Quarter 4. This week students will be given Week #4′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have one assessment in the form of homework due on 04/15/14. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. I will also be pulling all of this year’s regularly scheduled vocabulary words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee & SAT lists for 7th Graders >>> [vocabulary guidelines & instructions]… Please make sure your student is completing their vocabulary homework every Monday because we will have a quiz assessment on those words every Friday. Continue reading

One Shining Moment #LifeGoals

On Wednesday, I will pose the following question during bell work, “what will be your defining moment(s) in your lifetime?” I will use the “One Shining Moment” media clip via the NCAA montage of highlights that they have at the end of March Madness to jump start the discussion (below). Students will see this question before we watch the 3 minute clip. Once the clip is finished, we will then open up the floor for discussion about life goals. At this age, students are beginning to define who they are. That being said, they are in the beginning stages of that process, but it’s never too early to start thinking about their future. My main objective is for students to think about their future, and I will reach that objective through multimedia as well as classroom discussions. This should serve as a nice break from AIMS (Arizona’s Measurement for Measuring Standards) that we have on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday… Continue reading

AIMS Week – April 7th to April 11th #7thGradeChallenge

AIMS - April 7th to April 13th!

AIMS – April 7th to April 11th!

I’ve tried to motivate my students in various ways throughout the years (here & here), but this was a little different. I decided to have a little fun with my 7th Graders. On Thursday, we brainstormed for ideas that would embarrass Mr. Sye (me) as well as motivate students if they met/exceeded a certain level on their upcoming state standardized tests. There were several outrageous suggestions, but the classes settled on having me change my hair color. On Friday, I gave each of my Literature classes the following announcement: Have you ever wanted to embarrass Mr. Sye? Here is your chance! Mr. Sye has agreed to bleach his facial hair blonde as well as what little hair he has on his scalp Of course, there is a catch. He has challenged his 7th Graders on their upcoming AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument for Measuring Standards) test. If 95% of 7th Graders either meet or exceed the state standards (Literature Assessment), it will happen at the beginning of next school year…  Are you up for the challenge?

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AIMS #ProperPlanningPreventsPoorPerformances

AIMS - April 7th to April 11th...

AIMS – April 7th to April 11th…

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve always followed the notion that proper planning prevents poor performances. I began class by letting students know that we won’t be scrambling around or making any last ditch efforts to prepare because we’ve prepared all year to be proficient readers and writers. As the AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) test approaches, I decided to give the students a chance to gain some confidence. Before we participated in the practice test activity, we spoke about test anxiety as well as a few other concerns about the upcoming test. I let the kids know to relax, and that they should try their best. I also let them know that I have prepared them for the many things throughout the entire year, and the AIMS Reading/Writing Test is one of them. Prior to this activity, we have done several things during the year to specifically prepare for taking the state standardized test -  AIMS Buckle Down, Galileo Benchmark Assessments, Galileo Interventions/Quizzes, Reading Comprehension Worksheets, etc-etc. I continued to give them a few encouraging words about preparation, and I opened the floor back up for questions, comments, and/or concerns…

I digress, we took the practice AIMS/Reading Test that ADE (Arizona Department of Education) provided. You can view it [here]. The material was rather dated, but the object of the activity was to give them a good idea as to what type of questions would be on the test. Once the students completed the practice test, we came back together for a comprehension check as well as test taking tips to answering the previously mentioned questions.

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Class update #30 [Week of 03/31/14 - 04/04/14]

Week #2: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea, journal entries, vocabulary HW/Quiz, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet...

Week #2: Class reading of The Old Man & The Sea, Journal Entries, Vocabulary HW/Quiz, Unit 4: Back To The Future w/ Reading Packet

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 03/31/14 to 04/04/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 2 – Quarter 4[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin reading The Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. During our in class reading, students are required to take notes for comprehension in the following format – Question, Quotation (MLA Format), Characters, Setting, Connect, Conflict & Summarize. Those notes will help students with their ticket out of class via journal entries that they will be completing after daily reading. Journal entry requirements include students selecting a specific piece of text, cite it in MLA Format, and elaborate on why they selected that particular piece of text to cite. As enrichment, students will also be reading Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck. However, this particular reading will only take place 10 pages at a time every Friday of Quarter 4.This week students will be given Week #2′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 04/01/14 as well as a quiz on 4/04/14. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. I will also be pulling all of this year’s regularly scheduled vocabulary words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee & SAT lists for 7th Graders >>> [vocabulary guidelines & instructions]… Please make sure your student is completing their vocabulary homework every Monday because we will have a quiz assessment on those words every Friday.

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Learning Signatures – Part II

ABC Worksheets

ABC Worksheets

We broached this problem once again during the 4th Quarter when I gave students a Roots Letter Writing Activity in letter format. As one of the assignment requirements, I stipulated that they must sign their name at the end of the letter. I found it puzzling that a good portion of the 7th Graders weren’t taught to write in cursive, or they had forgotten how. To their credit, they picked up on it in a matter of less than 30 minutes. Did I mention these kids are resoundingly awesome? I’ve read multiple articles on various news outlets saying there isn’t a need to emphasize cursive writing anymore. I’ve also had discussions with other educators about the matter. Personally, I see both points of view. I think we are in an information age where emphasis doesn’t necessarily need to be placed solely on penmanship. That being said, we are also in an age where everybody doesn’t have access to a computer inside the classroom or at home, so penmanship is still pretty important – print and cursive. The overall point of communicating your intelligence in as many formats as possible should always be valued whether it be on a computer, in print, in cursive, in pen, in pencil, or crayon;]

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Class update #29 [Week of 03/24/14 - 03/28/14]

Week #11: Roots view & respond, journal entries, vocabulary HW/Quiz, and Research Paper Assignment Due…

Week #11: Roots view & respond, journal entries, vocabulary HW/Quiz, and Research Paper Assignment Due…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 03/24/14 to 03/28/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 1 – Quarter 4[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will view Crossing Over – How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation. I wanted the students to watch the documentary to get the background about the miniseries that we will be watching for the next 10 days. In the future, the students will be viewing an adaptation of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a novel written by Alex Haley , first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his alleged descendants in the United States. Due to the graphic nature of this miniseries, I have sent home permission slips [here] to inform parents that we will be participating in this view & respond to this miniseries in Language Arts/Literature from March 11th to March 22nd. This view & respond will also serve as a precursor to our Language Arts/Writing class’ Back to The Future Unit during the 4th quarter. Students will be given a viewing guide [here], and they will be expected to actively watch as well as participate in class discussions. This week students will be given Week #1′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 03/25/14 as well as a quiz on 3/28/14. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. I will also be pulling all of this year’s regularly scheduled vocabulary words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee & SAT lists for 7th Graders >>> [vocabulary guidelines & instructions]… Please make sure your student is completing their vocabulary homework every Monday because we will have a quiz assessment on those words every Friday. Continue reading

Are You Smarter Than an NFL Football Player? (#WonderlicTest Part II)

Take Sample Test [here]

Take Sample Test [here]

This will be the second year that I’ve decided to have a little fun with my Language Arts/Writing classes. I know you’re thinking, how does taking a test equal fun? Last year, I was reading an article, How Smart Are you? Take the Wonderlic Test and Find Out on the Bleacher Report, and I thought I’d take it. I wanted to say I aced the 15 sample questions, but I didn’t. I received an embarrassing score of 8 out of 15 last year – this year I scored a 10 out of 15 ;) I know what you’re thinking, you only improved 2pts and knew the questions! I’ve never been a good test taker. Give me a written exam, and I will make magic happen;] I digress, for those that are scratching their heads wondering what exactly a Wonderlic Test is, it’s basically a cognitive test that NFL football players are given to gauge their intelligence. In more specific terms, “Players are presented 50 questions to be completed in 12 minutes. The questions are designed to test a person’s capacity to learn and ability to problem-solve, although the correlation between a high Wonderlic score and NFL success is debatable.” If you would like to take the sample test and see how you measure up, go [here]. Continue reading