Monthly Archives: November 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
This is what I want in my classroom.
24 Kermits (or students) in each class who gaze at me so attentively with a smile like they are thinking that I am the best thing since sliced bread because I am such a great teacher and they can’t wait to get to my class everyday so they can learn and become wonderful readers and writers and they always do their homework and think while they read and study and try their very best……Oh, wait-was I dreaming???? Apparently so, because in my afternoon class when we started reading the 1st 1/2 of our reading story that they were supposed to have read last night for homework, when I asked what kind of person the main character was I (seriously) only had about 10-12 that could tell me!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t even give much homework because I think that family time is important as well as just plain downtime!!!! Why is it so hard to read 6 pages??????? Especially since the cold hard fact of the matter is that I sent out D/F letters with almost 1/2 of my class today!!! 21 out of 48! What are they not understanding????? I really do want to help them, but they have to be willing to help themselves! OK-that’s the end of my soapbox for now!
Our sentence today that we labeled was ” The mangy, old dog grudgingly went after the almost new ball”. The words mangy and grudgingly threw a couple of them-I’m not talking parts of speech-I mean they couldn’t read them. Sigh. I am hoping that these daily sentences will expose them to some great vocabulary and maybe some phonics skills as well. A few of them figured out that the word almost was an adverb!! Kudos to them!
We started putting our notes that we had written yesterday into paragraph form for our reindeer job application. We will continue working on them tomorrow. One of my students has the last name of Daunhauer. He asked me if he could change it to be “Deerhauer”!! HAHA! Of course I said yes!
We talked about our question of the day-What do you know about Kyoko as a person? Well, those of us who did our homework last night talked about it! It almost makes me want to send the kids who don’t do their homework to the hall while the rest of us analyze the story and prepare ourselves for the reading test! Wait-I wasn’t supposed to go there again!
We worked with our 5 whole vocabulary words today by making a 4 column chart. They wrote the words-I gave them the definitions-they worked in groups to come up with synonyms, antonyms, and sentences.
Ahhhh-on to small group instruction. Today we focused on our vocabulary words-reading them, finding words within them, paying attention to the phonics aspect as well as their meanings. Then we worked on our fluency. I picked a part of the story ( a very important part of the story), and I read it twice with both times being NOT fluent. Once where I read too fast with no emotion or pausing for punctuation. The 2nd time I struggled to read the words and replaced words with incorrect words. Then I read it a 3rd time fluently. We talked about how both of the non fluent readings break down our comprehension. I think they really get that. With my 1st class we had time for them to partner read (fluently) while I listened to them. We didn’t have time with my 2nd class-in fact I didn’t have time to call back both groups of 4 so I just called all 8 of them back at the same time. While they were on the rug and we were talking I noticed 2 students paying more attention to us than what they were supposed to be doing so I told them they were welcome to join us. They actually did. Tomorrow we will focus on comprehension during our small group time. Today was cut a little short because I gave out graded papers and the dreaded D/F letters.
Here is a picture of our predictions chart that we made yesterday about our reading story “Learning to Swim”. I think that what I will do next time so that we can go deeper with our predictions is 1st of all make a bigger chart. AND-add a column where we can track our evidence of rejecting or confirming our predictions. Also, keep interacting with the chart while we read the story so that they can realize that predictions are not just made at the beginning of a text, but the whole way through!
Over and out!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday all day long! Hit the snooze button at 6:00 am and didn’t wake back up until 6:38 am!!!!!! Cold, cold, cold. Rainy. Internet didn’t work when I got to school. Left some books at home so couldn’t make the work packets (I know the kids were sooooooo disappointed!).
Looked forward to going to the dentist ALL day since I didn’t exactly follow the directions they gave me last week when they put a temporary crown on and told me NOT to eat anything chewy on that side of my mouth. Those milk duds made me do it!
Anyway, the school day actually went well! AND I DID SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION! ON A MONDAY! I’m patting myself on the back right now. LOL!
So over the holiday break I did a lot of thinking about reorganizing my teaching to put more emphasis on reading and writing and not so much on spelling and english. Not on the isolated part of those 2 subjects anyway. This is what our day looked like today:
English- We still labeled a sentence (we will continue to do this everyday). We labeled the parts of speech, subjects and predicates, and identified the type and kind of sentence it was. (Declarative, Exclamatory, Interrogative, Imperative) (Simple, Compound, Complex, Compound Complex). Then they wrote a paragraph using this sentence. Sort of a short story. With a title. I think they enjoy doing these. Well, as much as 6th graders can enjoy doing anything remotely related to school! Our sentence today was:
The gobbling, plump turkey trotted hesitantly through the grassy, open field Thursday.
One title that struck my fancy was “The Hunter and The Hunted”. We then discussed one student’s paragraph using the ELMO. We ALWAYS give stars (things we noticed they did well) and wishes (things we would like them to focus on improving). We do this EVERYDAY. I hope it pays off!
Writing- I am introducing persuasive writing this week. We are going to fill out a job application to try to get Santa to hire us to be a reindeer. I got this fantastic idea from pinterest-I think a 1st grade teacher had posted it, and then I found where a 5th grade teacher had modified it to suit her older kids. I read them the picture book “How Santa Got His Job” so that we could discuss things we noticed about Santa Claus during all of his jobs leading up to his Santa job and how they prepared him for that ultimate job. It’s a CUTE read aloud! Then we brainstormed for all 3 sections of the job application in our writing notebook.
1. Talents and skills
2. Why I want to be a reindeer
3. What makes me a good reindeer
Tomorrow we will take these notes we jotted down and put them into paragraph form as a rough draft. This will probably take a couple of days.
Reading- Mondays will be devoted to building background knowledge for the upcoming story exposure to the reading strategy and skill for the week. So here’s an outline for today. Our story this week is an auto-biography “Learning to Swim”.
Read Aloud-I chose NOT to use the 1 page story in the textbook and to instead use a picture book “The Ant Bully“. Since our strategy for the week is predicting that is what I wanted to focus on with the read aloud. BUT-it is HARD to predict when the majority of the kids have seen the movie!!!!!!!!!!!! So really we just enjoyed a good read aloud today!!! Gotta remember that for next time!
Strategy- We created an anchor chart for our predictions for the story. They talked with their partner about their predictions, wrote them on a sticky note, and placed on the chart (forgot to take a picture!). I discussed the difference between simple and complex predictions and the importance to KEEP predicting as they read a text!
Question of the Day-Discussed this. The question was “Why is it important to stay calm during a crisis”.
Skill-We read the skill story (short 1 page) in the textbook and practiced the strategy and skill for the week. Then we did a sequencing worksheet together using the ELMO.
Small groups-We had about 35-40 minutes left in class to do small group instruction. I only pulled 2 groups of 4 students each in each class. Not everyone will be pulled in a small group each week-it just depends on their needs. I used the below level leveled reader which has the same vocabulary that is in our weekly story. It’s also to build background knowledge. The title was “Rip Current Rescue”. I read it aloud to them while they followed along. We only got to page 8 out of about 20!!! Why do them make such a loooooong leveled reader if we only are supposed to use them on Mondays and Fridays??? I won’t be using them on Fridays, just Mondays. Anyway-we made predictions, inferred, discussed vocabulary. Then they had to go and partner read the rest of the book (the 2nd group will partner read tomorrow). It went VERY WELL!!!!!!!!!!! I even had one of my reluctant readers ask if he could take it home and finish it because he liked it!!!!!!!!! YEA!!!!!! He ended up finishing it at snack this afternoon!!!
I LOVE SMALL GROUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO MUCH MORE INTERACTION WITH THE KIDS!!!
Check back tomorrow to see if it goes just as well!
For those of you Scott Foresman Reading Street followers who have been looking for the study guides for unit 3-Newsflash! I am a procrastinator, and I just finished them and uploaded them this afternoon! Sorry so late! I uploaded them in pdf and word-so you can change them to suit your needs! They are on the pages at the top of my blog.
Have a great week!
If you are like me and try to read kids’ books (and like them!) then you MUST read The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt!! I read it because someone had recommended it, and I was not disappointed. It’s a mixture of humor (I love Holling’s sense of humor-he is the main character), crazy happenings at a middle school in the late 60′s, and some deep issues like war, grief, and just life in general. Holling will keep you laughing (and sometimes out loud)!
So make that trip to Books-a-Million or get it on your kindle or nook or ipad or……. :) I give this one 5 stars!! Big golden ones!
so that I don’t have to PAINT for a living!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I decided (today) to paint my bathroom. Disclaimer here-I’ve had the paint for over a year. Yeah, I’m
sort of definitely a procratinator!! Then I couldn’t even find a paint stick so I just used one of those over the door wreath hangers!!! The plastic kind-it worked pretty well.
I had already painted 1 wall brown about 2 years ago as an accent wall, but then decided I wanted the other 3 walls to be a “smoky blue”. A little darker than I planned for-or at least it is according to my hubby-he said he can’t see in there anymore! LOL! I still love it!
There might actually be 1 more thing that I hate worse than painting (and cleaning): BEING SHORT!!!! So I had my own pity party about 1/2 way through this project today. It was sort of a sighing, laughing, cussing, almost tears kind of a party!!
And I don’t know how I finished the part above the shower-I think I blocked all of that out of my memory!!
So here are before and after pictures of of my 9:30-6:15 didn’t watch the Alabama/Auburn game project!
Have you accomplished any projects over your Thanksgiving break?