Closed for the Summer ;)

Summer Time!

Summer Time!

In my Boys To Men voice, we have come to the end of the road. School is now officially out for the Summer. We’ve all said our goodbyes, and 8th Grade Graduation was yesterday. I will miss that group of students, but it is time for the next step in their academic journey. I wished them well, and told them to make good choices because this is the next step in their life and the choices they make will determine who they will become in the near future…

As for my 7th Graders, the majority of students will be returning for their 8th Grade year, but a few won’t. Those were the hardest goodbyes. I told them my door is always open for them to stop by and say hello. For those leaving the state, I let them know the blog is open to say hello as well.

This year has flown by, and I have enjoyed it tremendously. I know I have given my best effort to prepare this group of kids for 8th Grade academically as well as socially.  Soon it will be time to get ready for the next group of kids. Until the end of July rolls around, I will have a busy summer. My first child will turn 1, so I will have my hands full. I will also start my Master’s Degree in Education this summer, so I will stay pretty active. I will keep this blog updated periodically… Enjoy the Summer!

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 #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

A Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin (Miami Dolphins)

Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin...

Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin…

Earlier in the week, my class participated in a view and respond about Jonathan Martin and his bad experience with bullying while playing for the Miami Dolphins. We decided to write a friendly letter to Jonathan Martin in hopes that it would reach him. The class is working on a unit called Express Yourself  where students will learn how to properly format as well as write poetry, letters, and essays. This particular activity fit perfectly because students are currently working on their letter writing skills with an emphasis on Production & Distribution of Writing – 7.W.4 Common Core Standard

It was also my hope that students would relate to his particular situation. We had a good discussion about this situation as well as other bullying type of situations that the students have experienced themselves. I had several goals for this letter. One was to get students to work on their writing as well as grammar skills (we are a work in progress), and the other goal was to get students to understand that we all go through tough situations like this no matter how big or strong we are.

Class update #13 [Week of 11/04/13 – 11/08/13]

Week #5: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 2: Letter Writing with Problem Solving Letter Assignment...

Week #5: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 2: Letter Writing w/ Problem Solving Letter Assignment…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 11/04/2013 to 11/08/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 5 – Quarter 2[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin 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. These journal entries will be done at least 3 times a week. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills as well. 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 11/05/2013 as well as a vocabulary quiz on 11/08/2013. 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

Class update #12 [Week of 10/28/13 – 11/01/13]

Week #4: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 2: Introduction to Letter Writing…

Week #4: class reading, journal entries, vocabulary HW with quiz, and Unit 2: Introduction to Letter Writing…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 10/28/2013 to 11/01/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 4 – Quarter 2[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will begin Unit Three – Reaching For The Stars in their Literature and Language textbook by reading Rikki-tikki-tavi, The Christmas Huntfrom The Endless Steppe Growing Up in Siberia, and America the Not-so-Beautiful. Prior to our in class reading, we participate in classroom activities that coincide with each reading selection to gain a better comprehension. Students will also participate in journal entries in which they have to select a specific piece of text, cite it in MLA Format, and elaborate on why they selected that particular piece of text to cite. These journal entries will be done at least 3 times a week. Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills as well. Students will also work on Week #4′s vocabulary words. This week students will be given Week #4′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 10/29/2013 as well as a vocabulary quiz on 11/01/2013. 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

Class update #8 [Week of 09/23/13 – 09/27/13]

Week #7: class reenactment of Walter Dean Myer's Monster on 9/24, journal entries, vocabulary HW, & continuing to learn how to correct ourselves w/ an emphasis on Study Skills as well as an End of the Unit Test...

Week #7: class reenactment of Walter Dean Myer’s Monster on 9/24, journal entries, vocabulary HW, & continuing to learn how to correct ourselves w/ an emphasis on Study Skills as well as an End of the Unit Test…

Greetings! Here is an update for 7th Grade Language Arts (Literature & Writing). I have a hyperlink to my lesson plans for the week of 09/23/2013 to 09/27/2013. If you would like to view the lesson plans, please do so here >>> Lesson Plans for Week 8 – Quarter 1[click to open word document].

In Language Arts/Literature, students will get a chance to reenact a courtroom scene from the book, Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Students will have ample time to prepare, they will get to dress the part of their character, and hopefully we will bring the book to life with our own spin. If you would like to view the activity, go [here]. The reenactment will take place on 9/24/2013. Students will also be reading All Summer in a Day & Upon Water via their Language and Literature textbook.  Students will also work on Buckle Down AIMS for various reading comprehension skills as well. Students will also work on Week #8′s vocabulary words. This week students will be given Week #8′s vocabulary words on Monday, and they will have two assessments in the form of homework due on 09/25/2013 as well as a vocabulary quiz on 9/27/2013. Students are  responsible for their Essay Questions based on the class reading of Monster, by Walter Dean Myers due on 09/23/2013.  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;)