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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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

Class update #9 [Week of 2/4/13 – 2/8/13]

Week #6: Literature and Language Textbook reading, Vocabulary HW & Quiz, and Investigative Reporting activities...

Week #6: Literature and Language Textbook reading, Vocabulary HW & Quiz, and Investigative Reporting activities…

Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 02/04/2013 to 02/08/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>>Lesson Plans for Week 6 – Quarter 3  [click to open].

In Language Arts/Literature, we have completed our third in class reading novel, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Students will now move to Unit Five – Doors of Understanding in their Literature and Language textbook. Students will be reading and responding to the following stories: Last Cover, A Minor Bird, and Primary Lessons from Silent Dancing. Students will participate in AIMS preparation as well via AIMS Buckle Down – Lesson 9: Poetry Elements Pgs. 105-112. 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 02/5/2013 as well as a Vocabulary Quiz on 2/8/2013.  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.

In Language Arts/Writing, we will continue Unit Three – The Art of Storytelling. Students will learn how to write a short story, write a children’s book, participate in investigative reporting,  oral history/interviewing, and a write a research paper. During week #5, students completed their Children’s Book Assignment. If you would like to view that assignment, please go [here]. During week #6, students will continue to master their storytelling with an emphasis on Investigative Reporting via class lecture, activities, and notes. Students will now be given direct instruction (audio & visual). Specifically, student will participate in a lecture(s) based on The Investigative Trail, Skills Needed, Useful Tips, and Reviewing Material. Students will also participate in two view and respond activities in order to gain a better comprehension of what investigative reporting is. The two view and responds will be College Inc & The Choice – 2008 Presidential Election. Students will continue Continue reading