Blog Archives

Read and Write 180-Day 6

It’s my 8th year of teaching, and I STILL overplan!!!! It must be a disease. 🙂 So you could infer(working on this with my students) that I did not get to everything on my lesson plans today. You.are.right.

We talked about and practiced again how to work with a partner or in small groups. I think they have it down pat now! I had them to go ahead and update their reading record sheets in their IPOD binders, then update the 50 book goal sheets that are on our closet door. This is the 6th day of school, and a few of the kids have already finished 2 books!!! Some of them love to read! 🙂 Ahhhh, kindred spirits!

We had a mini-lesson on how to choose a book to read. It’s the IPICK method that the Two Sisters use.

I pick a book.

P urpose-What is my purpose for reading this book?

I nterest-Does it interest me?

C omprehend-Do I understand what I read?

K now-Do I know most of the words?

Here is the mini-lesson chart that the kids will put in their IPOD binders tomorrow to be able to refer to if needed!

I PICK minicharts

Then I went over the “5 Finger” rule for knowing if a book is on their level. They pick a page to read in the book they want to read, read the page and hold up 1 finger for every word that they really struggle with. If they have more than 5 fingers held up when they finish reading the page, then the book is probably too difficult for them to understand or enjoy. Simple.

We began our read aloud today (I’ll be reading 4 novels to them this year). This 1st one is 6th Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements. The other day we had talked about the title, the main character (Helen-nicknamed Bad Helen), and the back cover. Today we looked at the Table of Contents and made a couple of predictions and talked about the chapters that stood out to us-one that most of them agreed on was “The Retard Room”. I read most of the 1st chapter did some think alouds on inferring, we made some more predictions, and I went back in the text to find evidence that would confirm or reject our predictions. It went really well with both classes, and of course they did NOT want me to stop reading. Isn’t it amazing that even though a lot of students don’t like to read, they still LOVE to listen to stories. 🙂 They then had to write a personal reaction in their Read Aloud Notebook to Helen’s character(what they thought about her or how they felt about her).

And the only other thing we got to today (we must have been slow with our stuff today :)) was our 100%Me Poem which I got from the fabulous Jen at Runde’s Room Blog- THANKS, JEN! Check out her fantastic website!!!!!

It is a great activity for learning/doing/exploring:

character traits/thinking about themselves/poetry/and even math

You can download Jen’s pdf file which has all the directions on it, but let me tell you that when we created one of these poems together as a class-well, let’s just say that they did a fantastic job!!!!!!! I let them choose a character from a tv show to create the poem about-my homeroom class chose Jerry off of Tom and Jerry-my 2nd class chose ICarly.

Each student then had to create a poem about themselves. Tomorrow we will rewrite the poems and make pie graphs to reflect our percentages on our character traits. I think I’m going to hang these in the hall with their name art pictures for Open House which is Monday. Check back Monday for pictures of the finished products! 🙂

While they worked on their poems, I assessed a few more students by having them read aloud to me. I can’t wait to put all of these assessments and data together to make a plan for each child. (Well, I’m not really looking forward to the long task of compiling all the date, but I can’t wait for the end result to see the big picture on each student so I will know what type of instruction to deliver to the whole class, small groups, and individual students!!!!!)



A good poem for beginning of year

I found a great poem to use for around the beginning of the year to introduce my 6th graders to my reading class-it is by E.B. White. Next year I plan to use one poem per week to help my kids with reading fluency, english concepts, etc.

We have been doing this for the last several weeks-it’s funny to see how they react to the poems differently each week. They did NOT like the poem I used this past week because it was hard to understand! 🙂 (It was hard to understand). But at least that makes them think!

Summary vs. Reading Response

We have been trying to read a poem each week for our bell work (daily warm up). We partner read the poem each day and then look for interesting words (vocabulary), specific things related to our english skill/concept, etc. Today I asked them to write a response to the poem. Then we shared them with the rest of the class. Several thought that meant a summary so…….

I had them draw a t-chart and write summary on one side and reading response on the other side. We added our ideas about what each one is-they did real well with this (of course after I had already explained the difference between a summary and a response). 🙂

Now we will see how they do next week when I ask them to write a response. I think that sometimes I expect them to already know certain things-AND THEY DON’T KNOW THEM. Next year I am definitely going to back up and start with baby steps.

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). 🙂