View & Respond – I Hate School But Love Education

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On Friday, the class worked on (7.SL.1) & (7.SL.5) common core speaking/listening standards during a view & respond activity about I Hate School But Love Education. This view & respond came rather timely considering today was the day that 4th Quarter Progress Reports went home. The activity began with a handout that can be viewed [here]. I instructed students to read the news article to give the background to the poem. Students were prompted to use their active listening skills (who, what, why, where, when) during the viewing of YouTube Media clip. Once the clip was complete, I gave students about 3-5 minutes to jot down any information they couldn’t during the viewing as well as answer the questions (6 of them) to help guide the discussion. I then opened the floor up for discussion by asking initial reactions. Initial reactions were mixed. One thing students struggled with was the concept of school being slightly different than education. However, students all understood that learning does take place outside of school. All in all, some students understood the overall theme of the poem, and some students were working towards comprehension…

This is a controversial topic. That being said, I think it was important to see what my classes thought about school as well as their goals in education.I think it’s important for the students to understand the value of learning in general in whatever format it is delivered to them. Overall, the students and I had a good conversation, and that was my hope all along. One of my main objectives with this type of view and respond is to engage, effectively, in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own point(s) of views clearly. I hope to reach that outcome through the multimedia source presented as well as notes using 5W’s format, discussion, and the view/respond handout. Continue reading

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Class update #19 [Week of 4/29/13 – 5/3/13]

Week #3: Vocabulary HW, Vocabulary Quiz, In-class reading of The Old Man and The Sea,  Direct Instruction on 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (Back To The Future - Unit 4)

Week #6: Vocabulary HW, Vocabulary Quiz, In-class reading of The Old Man and The Sea, Direct Instruction on 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (Back To The Future – Unit 4)

Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 04/29/2013 to 05/03/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>>Lesson Plans for Week 6 – Quarter 4  [click to open].

In Language Arts/Literature,  students will continue reading The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. During in class reading, students are encouraged to take notes for comprehension in the following format – Question, Quotation (MLA Format), Characters, Setting, Connect, & Summarize. Those notes will help students with their ticket out of class via journal entries that they will be completing after daily reading.  Students will also work on Week #6′s vocabulary words. This week students will be given Week #6′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 4/30/2013 as well as a Vocabulary Quiz on 5/3/2013. I will 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

How To Keep Kids Engaged & Involved [#SummerTime]

#ExtrinsicReward

#ExtrinsicReward #SugarFreeCandy

Did I mention, we have about 25 days until Summer Vacation? How do you keep kids active & engaged in class with about 25 days left until Summer Break? All of these questions ran through my head yesterday morning because I noticed a few students checking out. I wanted to do something fun as well as on task with the classroom discussion. I’m lucky that this group of kids is a great bunch as well as easy to please.

The activity is simple, and it occurs during as well as after direct instruction when it’s time to check for comprehension. Whoever has the most amount of money by the end of class will be the winner (see picture). You might be asking, how do the students earn this “money?” It’s pretty simple, the more correct questions answered during comprehension checks equals play money as well as a small prize at the end of class… Extrinsic reward, you bet’cha;)

Permission Slips

Permission Slips

Permission Slips

When handing out permission slips,  kids/students will insist they’re grown – they’re not grown… It’s always a good rule of thumb to keep parents, grandparents, and guardians in the loop. I do this for two reasons. The first being, I am NOT any student’s parent. It says PG for a reason. Second, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Again, keep in mind, kids will insist they’re grown. I repeat, they’re not. Most kids these days watch inappropriate movies with or without their parent’s permission. I know I did when I was a kid. I certainly watched my fair share when I was ages 12 to 18. However, it was always on my own time. Some kids tell me that other teachers and/or adults have let them watch certain movies in the past in other schools. My reply is simple, hope you enjoyed that while you could because that’s not how I run my classroom.

The process is simple, send the permission slip home. Here are a few examples [here] [here] and [here]. Continue reading

Class update #18 [Week of 4/22/13 – 4/26/13]

Amistad

Week #5: In-class reading of The Old Man and The Sea, SSR Journals, Direct Instruction on slavery, and viewing of Amistad (Back To The Future – Unit 4)

Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 04/22/2013 to 04/26/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>>Lesson Plans for Week 5 – Quarter 4  [click to open].

In Language Arts/Literature,  students will continue reading The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway on Monday (4/22). During in class reading, students are encouraged to take notes for comprehension in the following format – Question, Quotation (MLA Format), Characters, Setting, Connect, & Summarize… Those notes will help students with their ticket out of class via journal entries that they will be completing after daily reading.  Students will also work on Week #5′s vocabulary words. This week students will be given Week #5′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 4/23/2013 as well as a Vocabulary Quiz on 4/26/2013. I will 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

Literature Class Activity – “Brain Study”

Brain Study Jumble

Brain Study Jumble

I found this on Instagram, and I thought it would keep my Language Arts/Literature students entertained for about 5 minutes;) I’m encouraging them to read like detectives, so this should be a fun activity for them. I will give each student a handout of the picture to the left. Students will be working on their decoding skills. Students will get about 5 minutes to decode the message. The first student to decode the message will get a prize.

We are currently in the middle of AIMS testing, and today we have a break. I would like to reinforce the idea that it is important to read things carefully in order to gain understanding. This looks like a fun way to bring home that message.

Ps. The validity of the following: “if you can read this, you have a strong mind” is still in question… Continue reading

Saved By The Bell

Saved by the Bell

Saved by the Bell!

Before we continue, I have to let you know that this is rocket science or a breakthrough in classroom management 😉 As a teacher, I have a pretty even keeled temperament. That being said, it’s never a good thing to raise your voice too much inside a classroom. First things first, nobody likes to be yelled at, kid or adult. Second, raising your voice happens, but make sure it doesn’t happen too often. Thirdly, dinging a bell is much easier. This is a new strategy that I’ve tried out this year. I didn’t want to have to contend for attention or be confrontational when trying to get my class back on task.

Things to remember, you will have to raise your voice or change the tone of your voice at some point in time. That being said, if you establish expectations for when the bell is rung, rational individuals will comply. I let my students know that I don’t like yelling and/or raising my voice in class at the beginning of the year. In an effort to prevent the before-mentioned, I needed them to know when the bell rings, it’s time to regain focus and/or their attention. For the most part, it works. It’s by no means a fool proof idea.

Continue reading

Letter Writing Workshop – Persuasive Letter

Persuasion - the art of getting what you want...

Persuasion – the art of getting what you want…

Over the couple of weeks, the class has participated in several Letter Writing Workshops [here]. The first workshop was to review format and rules. Second workshop was a Persuasive Letter Writing Activity w/ format review & ticket out of class using COPS Error Monitoring Strategy to correct mistakes. The final workshop will be similar to the previously mentioned workshop.

[more details] Today the class will be prompted by the bell work to brainstorm about a school problem that they wish to address. The issue may include the following: bullying, school uniforms, school lunch options, school field trips, etc-etc. Students will then proceed to write the letter using the correct format for semi-formal letter writing. Students will focus on 5 key elements in the body of a persuasive letter after they have made sure to properly format their letter. Those 5 key elements are as follows: Continue reading

One Shining Moment

I posed this question to the students, what will be your defining moment(s) in your lifetime? I used the “One Shining Moment” via Luther Vandross. 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 the future…