Tuesday, October 19, 2011
Phonics has been long forgotten. 🙂 It was difficult for my morning class to figure out what I wanted them to do with their word study words. With some of the words we are focusing on spelling, the rest of them we are focusing on meaning. So what I wanted them to do with the spelling words (all 4 of them) 🙂 was to generate 2 more words that fit the same spelling/sound pattern. Our 4 words this week are:
disturb, ignore, artistic, nervous
“ur”-“or”-“ar”-“er” These are the 4 patterns. FINALLY, they understood what to do! Whew!
We finished reading 6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think everyone was sad to finish this book-they can’t BELIEVE that the author did NOT write a sequel to it! 🙂 I’m still not sure which book we will start reading next week-here are the 3 that I plan to read to them this year:
Walk Two Moons
Out of My Mind
The Watsons Go To Birmingham
We finished reading our basal story-Old Yeller. And boy did we analyze some characters today. They had to write a paragraph analyzing the character of Little Arliss. I’m trying to teach them that when they use an adjective (character trait) to describe a character they need to explain why they think it best describes the character. Proof from the text. We worked on this one and then another one on Travis, Little Arliss’ brother. I had them swap their paragraphs with a partner and underline the character traits that their partner used. I think they were getting the hang of it by the 2nd one. This should REALLY help them when they write their reading response letters.
More individual conferences today-YEA! The only drawback that I have seen is when I call a student back to my table and they can’t find the CAFE reading menu or the reading goals sheet. That makes Mrs. Shannon NOT a happy camper! 🙂
I am having DAILY requests from students to “meet with me”. 🙂 Gotta love that!
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Fun with action verbs today! First we did what we always do-labeled a sentence. They’re getting pretty good. 🙂 Then I had them work with partners to identify and highlight 29 action verbs on a page that I had typed from a book-The First Day of School…Forever. I chose this certain page because of the good action verbs on it. Here is the page that I typed up:
Then I read the page out loud and emphasized the verbs so they could check themselves. THEN, I assigned different paragraphs to different rows of students and they had to act out the part that I read. Too funny! With my 2nd class we actually went outside after we did this and the WHOLE class acted out the WHOLE page. I was laughing so hard-I told them I felt like I was in the “Thriller” video!! 🙂 You’ll understand after you read the page! Hopefully, I engaged most of their senses to help them remember what an “action verb” is!
We did our interactive read aloud-they are becoming great predictors. This is one of my favorite times of our day!
I attempted to teach them how to identify the main idea of a text, and then explained to them that a summary includes the main idea with a few details to support the main idea. I just want them to understand that a summary is NOT retelling the story! I’ll really show them tomorrow how to write a good short summary. Here is a picture of the main idea graphic organizer that we will use to remember how to identify the main idea.
I wrapped up my review of how to write our reading response letters-from now on I will just work one on one with each child if they are still struggling to write a good one! I think their eyes were beginning to glaze over! 🙂
CAFE mini-lesson #1-The main idea lesson
Round#1-Small group#1 and #2-Finished up our little story from Monday/Tuesday. I tried to combine 2 groups to see how that worked which would leave me more time for small group/individual conferences. Well, 9-10 students in a small group make it NOT A SMALL GROUP anymore! 🙂 Didn’t like it. Too many mixed abilities-too many kids. I think I have it figured out-will tell you about it at the end of this post.
CAFE mini-lesson#2-I read a picture book to them, Big Smelly Bear, but didn’t show them the pictures. They had to try and create images in their mind while I read. Then they chose a part at the end of the book, had to write about their visualization, and 1 person shared. First I shared mine. Both students that shared had written good visualizations-can it be that they are catching on???? 🙂
Round#2-I conferenced with 1 student about a behavior plan.
OK-this is my solution for small group time thanks to a 5th grade teacher that I talked to after school. I am ONLY going to work with my most struggling readers in small groups each week, the rest of my time will be spent individually conferring with ALL students. That is the only way that I am going to have time to do individual conferences each week, and I think these will benefit my students even more than small group instruction. Make sense?? Gonna try it and see-will post about it over the next week!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Pretty good Monday! Started with getting a lot done on my planning period this morning and ended with my daughter’s volleyball team winning tonight! 🙂
Here’s what went on in between.
We only spent about 15 minutes today on word study AND english! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are focusing on action verbs this week(trying to keep it simple again so as to not overwhelm their little brains).
We moved right along to our read aloud-spent about 15 minutes on this. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Moved right along to our whole group reading. We practiced our reciprocal teaching (sort of) with our passage. We did this in whole group. So I read a section of our passage out loud (while they followed along). We all did the job roles at the same time. So before we read we made predictions-wrote them on our sheet-shared. I read. We summarized-wrote them down-shared. We generated questions before continuing to read-wrote them down-shared. I read the next section. We connected and/or clarified-wrote it down-shared. We will do this tomorrow with the rest of the passage. I think last week I sort of threw them to the wolves by having them work in small groups before modeling it a BUNCH!!! I tend to forget sometimes that I can’t just “tell” them how to do something even though they are in the 6th grade-I still need to “show” them. 🙂
Moved right along to our writing time. This week I’m going back over how to write their reading response letters on their choice books. Maybe next week we can do some kind of jazzy writing-I’m tired of procedural writing (if that’s even what it’s called?). I want to do some FUN kind of writing!!!!! BUT-the majority of them still need to see what good writing looks like on these response letters so they can improve!
AND NOW-MOVING RIGHT ALONG TO SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION!!!!! This is what it was like:
1. CAFE mini-lesson#1-I talked to them again about metacognition -thinking about your thinking. This was short.
2. Small group#1-We read 2 pages of a short story in a “Spotlight on Literary Elements” book that I bought from Really Good Stuff. We REALLY talked about our thinking as we read it. It’s so funny because it’s not even a story that I thought they would be interested in, but they couldn’t stand the fact that we had to stop and not find out what was going to happen next. If only I can get them thinking about their own books and wondering and prediction and being interested! 🙂
3. Mini-lesson#2-I read the 1st 2 pages of a chapter book-My Life as a Book-I modeled my thinking out loud for them. Maybe this “thinking while you’re reading” thing will catch on eventually! 🙂
4. Small group #2-Same thing as group#1
I only conferenced with 1 individual student in my homeroom class-none in my 2nd class. The only way I’m going to be able to fit this in is to just pull one small group per day. Yesterday, I worked on dividing my classes into small groups. I had really wanted them to be “small” groups so I made a total of 5 groups with plans to pull 4 of the groups twice each week and the 5th group(advanced) each Friday (if I have time). I thoroughly enjoyed working with my 2 small groups in each class today-BUT I still believe that the individual conferences will have the GREATEST benefit.
So, do I combine the groups so that I only have 3 small groups with 1 being the advanced and only pull them once a week? If I do that I will have about 9 students in each group.
Here are the negatives for that:
***It becomes not so much a small group
***We will have to sit on the floor because there won’t be enough room at my table.
Here are the positives:
***I will have time to individually conference with each child EACH week-setting goals, checking progress, individualizing their reading plans, etc.
I might try to combine them next week and see. What do you think? How do you work your small groups in an upper grade???
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Whew!! Almost Friday! First of all, let me tell you that I just read a REALLY good book this week! The 6th Grade Nickname Game by Gordon Korman. Of course, I loved it because it deals with 6th graders reading, AND it’s funny! It will be on my “recommend” list tomorrow!! 🙂
We took a practice word study test today (had LOTS of 100s!). I told them if they didn’t miss any today that they don’t have to take the test tomorrow (they can do Read to Self). 🙂
We reviewed some english and took the english test-I can’t wait to see the results (if I can lift my head from all the other grading I have got to finish TONIGHT!). Here is the english test that we took today:
I read part of the next chapter in our read aloud and stopped before finishing the chapter or finding out what Helen was doing with the alarm clock. You should have heard the groaning!
We shared some of our homework thinking-there’s some GOOD thinking/writing going on. Then I showed them how to complete the last box on the comprehension thinking sheet-there shouldn’t be any questions anymore on how to fill this out each week. Hopefully. 🙂
My first class worked in groups on their compare/contrast essay (we didn’t have time in the 2nd class because we had a kickoff for our fall school fundraiser).
We did 2 rounds of “Fab Five” (about 20 minutes the 1st round and 10 minutes the 2nd round). I conferred with 2 students in my 1st class and 2 in my 2nd class. LOVE working with individual students!!! I wish I could do this for 1/2 of the class period (about 1 hour 10 minutes). 🙂
With my 1st class I gave them a copy of a good reading response letter that one of my students had written and we talked about why it was good. I want them to see what a good one looks like because I’m seeing the SAME mistakes and no effort in the letters each week!
OK-going to grade papers!