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

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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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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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Class update #20 [Week of 1/13/14 – 1/17/14]

Week #2: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 3: The Art of Story Telling...

Week #2: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 3: The Art of Story Telling…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 01/13/14 to 01/17/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 2 – Quarter 3[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin their in class reading of  The Pearl by John Steinbeck in several weeks (Week 5 of 3 Quarter). 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. This week students will read Medicine Bag, The Arrow and the Lamp,  and A Crush from their Literature & Language textbook.  As enrichment, students will also be reading The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. However, this particular reading will only take place 10 pages at a time every Friday of Quarter 3. Students will be given a vocabulary guide [here] as well as other activities to help with comprehension due to The Time Machine’s difficult vocabulary. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. 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 01/14/14 as well as a quiz on 01/17/14. 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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Class update #19 [Week of 1/06/14 – 1/10/14]

Week #1: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 3: The Art of Story Telling...

Week #1: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 3: The Art of Story Telling…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 01/06/14 to 01/10/14. If you would like to view the lesson plans in detail, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 1 – Quarter 3[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin their in class reading of  The Pearl by John Steinbeck in several weeks. 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 The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. However, this particular reading will only take place 10 pages at a time every Friday of Quarter 3. Students will be given a vocabulary guide [here] as well as other activities to help with comprehension due to The Time Machine’s difficult vocabulary. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills. 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 01/07/14 as well as a quiz on 01/10/14. 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

Class in the news after Ludacris announces contest winner [KGun9 News & Arizona Daily Star]

I always tell my students, “put in the work and good things will happen.” As we went into Winter Break, students received some reinforcement to that notion as well as a little press for a competition in which they all participated in [read more about competition]. Although there could only be one winner, they all enjoyed hearing about their class as well as school in the news. They also, of course, enjoyed receiving a special shout out from Ludacris (see here). Above is footage from KGun9 News, and I was also able to find an article on the Arizona Daily Star. I didn’t have any luck finding KVOA Channel 4’s news article and/or footage, but we appreciate them as well. All in all, it was a good way to end 2013. I’m glad the news was able to shine some light on such positivity as well as help me reinforce that notion that working hard actually paying off. Looking forward to an even better 3rd & 4th Quarter in 2014…

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Ludacris Announces Classroom Contest Winner [Video]

As the holiday season approaches, students have been getting anxious to find out who the winner will be for the Soul By Ludacris Headphone Contest. As an added bonus, Ludacris gave a special shout out to announce the class winner. The winner was extremely happy as well as shocked that Ludacris took the time to give her a special mention.

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Class update #18 [Week of 12/16/13 – 12/20/13]

Week #11: class reading, journal entries, and Completion of Unit 2: View & Respond activities…

Week #11: class reading, journal entries, and Completion of Unit 2: View & Respond activities…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 12/16/2013 to 12/20/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 11 – Quarter 2[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will be completing their in class reading of  The Giver by Lois Lowry. 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. Students will also be completing The Giver Vocabulary Master List which will be due at the end of the novel (12/11/13). Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills as well. 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

Class update #17 [Week of 12/09/13 – 12/13/13]

Week #10: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Completion of Unit 2: View & Respond activities...

Week #10: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Completion of Unit 2: View & Respond activities…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 12/09/2013 to 12/13/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 10 – Quarter 2[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will continue reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. 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. Students will also be completing The Giver Vocabulary Master List which will be due at the end of the novel (12/11/13). Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills as well. Students will also work on Week #10′s vocabulary words. This week students will be given Week #10′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have one assessment in the form of homework due on 12/10/2013. 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

Impromptu Nelson Mandela Activity (5W’s)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

As twitter erupted about Paris Hilton’s confusion between Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King’s famous words from the I Have a Dream speech, I wondered if the younger generation would even know the difference if I pointed out her error (turned out to be a hoax). That being said, my main objective for today’s activity will be for students to gain better comprehension of who Nelson Mandela was. I came up with a quick way when I read an article(s) [here] & [here]. I will begin the activity with a bell work prompt, what do you know about Nelson Mandela? I would like gauge student’s prior knowledge before I assume they don’t know who he is/was. The students will then read a combined article to get a better understanding of Nelson Mandela. After the students complete the reading, we will come back together to converse about the content of the article in order to gain better comprehension. I have created a handout [here] that has the 5W’s on it as a way to guide the conversation in the classroom… Continue reading