Monthly Archives: April 2011

Poem to share with your students

I just found this poem online and am definitely going to share it with my students. It really opens your eyes as a teacher!

Here is the link to the author’s website:

Revolution for the Tested


But don’t write what they tell you to.
Don’t write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Put your pencil down.

Don’t write to fill in lines.
For a weary scorer earning minimum wage
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.

Write for yourself.
Write because until you do,
You will never understand
What it is you mean to say
Or who you want to be.
Write because it makes you whole.

And write for the world.
Because your voice is important.
Write because people are hurting
Because animals are dying
Because there is injustice
That will never change if you don’t.
Write because it matters.

And know this.
They’ll tell you it won’t make a difference,
Not to trouble over grownup things,
Just fill in the lines
And leave it at that.
Tell them you know the truth.
That writing is powerful.
Just one voice on the page
Speaks loudly.
And not only can a chorus of those united change the world.
It is the only thing that ever has.


But don’t read what they tell you to.
Don’t read excerpts, half-poems,
Carefully selected for lexile content,
Or articles written for the sole purpose
Of testing your comprehension.

Don’t read for trinkets,
For pencils or fast food coupons.
Don’t even read for M&M’s.
And don’t read for points.

Read for yourself.
Read because it will show you who you are,
Who you want to be some day,
And who you need to understand.
Read because it will open doors
To college and opportunity, yes,
And better places still…
Doors to barns where pigs and spiders speak,
To lands where anything is possible.
To Hogwarts and Teribithia,
To Narnia and to Hope.

Read for the world.
Read to solve its problems.
Read to separate reality from ranting,
Possibility from false promise.
And leaders from snake oil peddlers.
Read so you can tell the difference.
Because an educated person is so much harder
To enslave.

And know this.
They’ll say they want what’s best for you,
That data doesn’t lie.
Tell them you know the truth.
Ideas can’t be trapped in tiny bubbles.
It’s not about points
On a chart or a test or points anywhere.
And it never will be.

Copyright 2010 ~ Kate Messner


Acrostic poetry anchor chart

I made an anchor chart to help my students with the idea of what acrostic poetry can be(yes, I made it BEFORE class and not WITH them-I know that anchor charts are supposed to be made WITH the students to “anchor” their learning, but I teach 2 classes each day so the chart is made before class by just me-of course, I can always have the kids add to it.) 🙂

I found this on someone else’s website-in one of my previous posts I put a link to their website.

Most of my kids still wanted to just do the simple type of acrostic poetry where you just write one word for each letter in your name. However, I had a couple that branched out (one especially) to include the more free flowing format. 🙂 I’ll post a picture of his poem later for you to see! I think I might have them create an acrostic poem for our next Scott Foresman story-maybe have them work in groups(just thinking out loud here). 🙂

Demonstrative Adjectives

I introduced the concept of demonstrative adjectives today-I think they are catching onto this easily. But how come we STILL have problems with basic parts of speech????? Since this is my 1st year teaching 6th grade I don’t know if all 6th graders are not knowledgeable about the 8 basic parts of speech or just this class. I wish I knew what to do to help them with it-what’s bad is that parts of speech are not even in my course of study for 6th grade english so I don’t want to spend gobs of time on it, but they are the foundation for everything else in english. What to do?????

I do know that they need to learn more english “stuff” in context, I’m just not sure how or when to do that. I want to spend more time writing with them because that is an area that has been left behind this year with all of the reading that we do. But I’m not real sure how many have made tons of progress in their reading even with the amount of time we have spent on it! I do wish I had more 6th grade teachers at my school to talk with about reading, english, spelling, and writing and the right way to teach all of this. Is it from the countless workbooks that we are given?? Nobody in our school district does workshop methods-we were told to implement small group reading instruction this year in 4th-5th-6th grade but I’m not sure how many teachers are actually doing that. I tried it about 7-10 times this year and the kids really loved it, but of course I couldn’t get to everything that I was supposed to do so something gets left out.

I know that one problem/weakness that I have is trying to do too much-surely nobody else has that problem??? 🙂 I want to be an effective teacher and deliver effective instruction-I think sometimes I just skim the surface and don’t have time to really dig deep! I am currently reading 2 books- R5 in Your Classroom-A Guide to Differentiating Independent Reading and Developing Avid Readers by  Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace  and The Cafe book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (The Sisters). These are excellent books, and I’m thinking I want to try and implement a combination of the 2 methods into my classroom, but not quite sure how to do that!!!

This was my schedule for the day (and we rushed!!!).

1. Partner read “The Pasture” poem by Robert Frost. Briefly discuss.

2. English-Introduce demonstrative adjectives-Workbook page and study guide sheet. We worked with partners, groups, and independently.

3. Introduced 5 high frequency words-They wrote them and sorted them.

4. Practice reader’s theater

5. Scott Foresman Reading Textbook-I read aloud the read aloud story-we discussed. They worked in groups to develop the concept web.

6. We read almost 1 whole chapter in “The Westing Game” and discussed.

7. I introduced acrostic poetry and showed an example. (They got a little excited about this!)

8. I reveiwed the comprehension strategy-MAKING CONNECTIONS-We read our choice books independently and kept a tally of when we were able to make a connection.

Whew!!!! 🙂 We worked the entire time-they stayed engaged. But we didn’t get to read our choice books for the length of time that I was wanting to-we only read for about 10 minutes! I just wish I had more time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boys and girls separated

We tried something new today in class-we divided the boys and girls into 2 different classes. I had the 23 girls for the first half of the day and then the 14 boys for the 2nd half of the day. There were only a few students who said they didn’t really like it-the rest of them loved having it that way. Our school actually did this a few years ago with the 6th graders, 7th graders, and I think the 8th graders. My daughter was in the 6th grade class that was divided that way-she liked it because she didn’t feel as self conscious when speaking out and participating! 🙂

I think the participation in both classes increased today-I liked it. We’ll see how it goes for the rest of this week. 🙂

Acrostic poetry

I’m really not sure if my 6th graders have ever written much poetry-I’ll find out tomorrow. However, I am going to teach them how to write Acrostic Poetry” over the next couple of weeks-try to anyway! 🙂

Here is a link to an image of an acrostic poem based on-well, and acrostic poem!

I think I will take it slow-Day 1-we will talk about poetry and different kinds-Day 2-we will talk about acrostic poetry and what it is-Day 3- we will look at some examples of different acrostic poems-Day 4-I will assign the whole class a specific word to write an acrostic poem about and have them work in groups to do this-Day 5-we will share the acrostic poems-Day 6-they will have to write acrostic poems for their names-Day 7-they will have to write an informational acrostic poem about Greece since that is the Scott Foresman story that we are currently reading-Day 8 through Day 10-they will choose a topic to create an acrostic poem about and illustrate