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Read and Write 180-Day 84

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I AM 41 YEARS OLD AS OF TODAY!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Here is a picture of me with a snazzy pair of glasses on that one of my students made me today! (Thanks, Austin!)

We took 2 tests today-english and reading. Finished with tests before Christmas break, but now I’ve got these 2 to grade, last Friday’s tests to grade, and MAYBE the reindeer reports-not sure if I’m going to grade those or just read and comment. Anyway, does anyone need a temporary job??????? 🙂

The fresh read passage/questions come from our reading program-Scott Foresman.

This is what I like about them:

1. The passage is 1 page or less

2. The questions are higher level thinking questions

3. There are 3 multiple choice and 1 open ended

This is what I don’t like about them:

1. The test maker  gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

2.  The test maker  gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

3.  The test maker  gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

Can you tell how much I don’t like that? It’s like they are trying to trick the students, and I DON’T believe in that!!!!! That’s stupid! Yeah, I said “stupid”! 🙂 I think I might start making my own test questions for the fresh reads-maybe use the ones that make sense and make up my own to add to them!

We practiced our Christmas readers theater today-performance is tomorrow. I really hope I can video them and figure out how to convert them and upload to my blog. We’ll see!

I read Santa’s Stuck to them (a picture book-might I add a CUTE and FUNNY picture book!). I had them take a sheet of paper and draw off 4 boxes on the paper. As I read the book to them without showing them the pictures, I would stop periodically and have them sketch what they were visualizing in their minds. I REALLY want them to be able to visualize what they are reading when they read independently because I feel that it is one of the MOST important comprehension strategies. It enables them to see what is going on, to hear what is going on, and to feel like they are IN the story-it makes it so much more interesting for them as they read! Then when we finished I had them share their pictures with their partner. I read the book to them a 2nd time showing them the pictures. It was fun! At least it was for me!

We took them outside again today (it’s that 70 degree weather we are having here in Alabama that’s making me do this!) and lots of us played basketball. Did you know that basketball with a bunch of 6th graders is a VERY DANGEROUS SPORT?????? I only got knocked down once :), and thought I broke my finger once! It’s on tomorrow! 🙂 And my swinging earrings were REALLY getting in my way!

Do you remember those work packets we’ve been doing for about 4-5 weeks now because of the not so good reading grades? Well, today I decided to let them vote on whether or not to continue those after Christmas break or return to “Read to Self”-you know since  I am in such a Christmas giving spirit right now! 🙂 We voted by secret ballot because I didn’t want to know who voted “against” read to self since I take that so personally! It amazes me how many 6th graders HATE to read!!!! I don’t get it! But I did get this: 42/4. IN FAVOR OF RETURNING TO READ TO SELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now if I can just turn my reluctant readers on to a good book and get them hooked somehow!!!! I truly understand that not all children are going to be as passionate about reading as I am. I get that. But I just want them to enjoy it when they do read. If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT! I have thought about really talking the books up. Reading the 1st page or 2 of a book to hook them. Reading a certain part of a book to hook them. Showing them book trailers to hook them. Any other ideas????




Read and Write 180-Day 23

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 🙂 This week is homecoming week and Taylor has volleyball games. So bear with me!

My homeroom class worked for about 1 1/2 hours this morning on our classroom door for the contest. We will finish it in the morning, and I’ll post a pic hopefully tomorrow night. They are doing a FANTASTIC job! Hope we win!

So as you have guessed, we didn’t get a lot done during the 1st class. We did discuss our word study word meanings and practiced English (sang our preposition song and talked about some new conjunctions like: because, although, since, unless, etc.)

We read our reading passage and REJECTED the list of things that we wrote down yesterday after skimming the passage for what we thought might be hitchhikers in our passage). We now know what a “pseudoscorpion” is! Yikes!

That’s about it for the 1st class!

This afternoon we:

Word study words-discussed meanings

English-practiced conjunctions and preposition song

Here is the preposition song sheet that I promised you yesterday:

Preposition Song This is so much fun!!!

Reading-read the passage and REJECTED our list !

Writing- Practiced writing an introduction for our compare and contrast essay. I modeled how to write it on the board-did not even think of taking a picture! But this is how they suggested we could start:

I am going to tell you about the similarities and differences between dirt roads and paved roads.

This is what I actually wrote for them: (If I can remember) 🙂

Have you ever ridden in a truck or on a four-wheeler on a dirt road? Then you know how much more fun it is than just riding on a paved road. There are several differences and similarities between these two types of roads. Read on to find out more!

I explained to them that they want to GRAB or CAPTURE the reader’s attention so they will want to keep reading. I compared it to the beginning of a novel-if it is blah, blah, blah at the beginning then they will want to abandon it. We want the reader to be interested!

We had time for Read to Self and Work on Writing! YEA!!!!!!! I checked and graded reading response notebooks (that will be a separate post later on!!!). We actually go to do 2 rounds of this!!! YEA!!! In between the 2 rounds, I gathered them on the rug and talked to them about their reading response letters. I read one of them out loud-we complimented it and then critiqued it (they actually had an easier time complimenting than critiquing). And let me tell you the best thing about this quick mini-lesson:

I got to sit in my COMFORTABLE black chair behind my reading table without having to GET UP!!!! LOL! I hardly EVER sit down during the day!!!! This is definitely how I will be conducting MANY mini-lessons between our 2 rounds!!!

Until tomorrow……




Read and Write 180-Day 11

We took our first test today-English. I’ll be interested to see what the grades are-right now we are just reviewing the parts of speech that they should already know (but English is hard for them to retain)!

Finished going over our word study words-have a test tomorrow on them. I’m only doing 10 words per week this year so that we have more time to study/notice things about them instead of just memorizing them.

We had our 1st pep rally of the year (Go Bulldogs!!!!), so my 1st class was cut short. We practiced reading our passage with a partner again and thinking out loud about our reading.

Then I showed them how to answer an open ended question-we will work on this A LOT more! 🙂 I want them to:

1. Restate the question

2. Answer the question

3. Prove their answer using evidence from the text

4. Sum it up (conclusion)

I REALLY want them to be able to do this well-I think it will help them on ALL kinds of questions-not just open ended questions.

We had extra time in the 2nd class so we did some power teaching with some vocabulary from our reading passage. Fun fun!!

Then we did Read to Self while I listened to a few individual kids read to me (assessing their reading).

Got a lot planned for next week!!!!!

Read and Write 180-Day 9

Can you believe we had fun during English today? Well, I had fun anyway!!!!

We have just started reviewing the parts of speech and will continue through next week. Today we covered nouns and pronouns. We watched the schoolhouse rock videos (gotta love them!!!), discussed what nouns and pronouns are, and listed examples of each. Here are the links to the videos on schooltube (yes, that will work at school-it is NOT blocked!). 🙂

I also had them copy the following sentence, and we will label each word as to what part of speech it belongs to as we go through this review of the parts of speech:

We will run in a very long race, and we will win. Oh, yeah! 

During our word study time, we copied 3 of our 10 words for the week. Then we segmented the words into syllables/chunks-I let them decide how they wanted to break the word apart to learn how to spell it. Then we either drew a picture or wrote something to help us remember what the word means. I hate to say this-but they seemed BORED out of their minds. What am I going to do to make this exciting? Or just bearable?????

Of course, they loved the interactive read aloud time. We read chapter 3 of 6th Grade Can Really Kill You, made predictions about chapter 4. We had already made our predictions yesterday about chapter 3 so then we got to either confirm or reject our predictions today after we finished chapter 3. I think tomorrow we will talk about Helen’s character-start analyzing it a bit. They really do a good job of interacting with me and each other during this read aloud time! 🙂

We set up our reading genre maps today. They each have a map of the United States. We labeled the states with our reading genre requirements for the year. See this document to learn about our reading genre requirements:

Reading Requirements for 6th Grade

For our reading text this week, “Your Amazing Brain”, we talked a little about our schema-the background knowledge that each of us have about a topic. Then I had them skim the reading passage to find out 3 different things: 1. What we could name our brain since it is so powerful 2. What game our brain can be compared to because of all the messages that it sends 3. The one thing that helps both our brain and our body

I explained to them that reading non-fictions is somewhat different than reading fiction. Sometimes we read non-fiction to find out something specific that we want to know-we may not even read the entire text from front to back like we do with fiction. By giving them 3 different questions to answer before reading (skimming), I had set a purpose for their reading. Tomorrow we will actually read the passage.

We also had our school pictures today-threw me completely OFF schedule (it doesn’t take much!). 🙂

My 2nd class had time to do Read to Self-they did a fabulous job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I forgot to upload my study guide for this week that I gave the students yesterday. This is so they will know what their word study words are for the week, and what we will be learning/doing in reading, english, and writing. It also lets them know when to expect the tests. Here it is for this week.


Oh, yeah-and one of my students finished Stone Fox today-he could not believe the ending of that story!!! This is one of my all time favorite books ever!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get your kleenex ready! 🙂


Read and Write 180-Day 8

WOW! What a Monday! Internet didn’t work in my classroom today, can’t print from any computer in my room yet, meeting after school today, and open house tonight! Very.tired. 🙂

Hopefully, we will be getting into more of a routine this week. I still have some routines to teach, but it’s starting to smooth out. Picture day is tomorrow, so we’ll be thrown somewhat off schedule, but that’s ok-we’ll get there!

We had a good time with our read aloud today-6th Grade Can Really Kill You. We made some predictions on the upcoming chapter, and then we were able to confirm or reject our predictions after reading the chapter. We talked with our partners about our predictions and wrote them in our read aloud notebooks. I think we’ll talk about Helen’s character later this week since that is an area that we need to work on according to one of our reading assessments. They LOVE it when I read to them!!!! They’ve shown me some good thinking so far!

This week in English(and next) we are reviewing the parts of speech. Today we choral read a poem about the 9 parts of speech (including the articles). Then we highlighted all nine parts of speech in the poem-nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections, prepositions, and articles. Then we went back through the poem and underlined the examples of each. I had them draw a bubble map graphic organizer with “parts of speech” in the middle bubble. Each day that we review a part of speech we will add the part of speech with a definition and example. Here is a link that will show you a bubble map similar to the one we drew.

After we did all of this, we learned how to power teach a concept to a partner. Now this is something that gets them engaged-they have to interact with each other. It gets them moving (you know how we need oxygen to the brain!). They seemed to really enjoy it! If you have never heard of power teaching then you need to check out this link:

I don’t follow it to the tee, but I do use some of it. I love to get my 6th graders up and moving-changing locations. I think it stimulates the brain, re-energizes them, and I know I wouldn’t want to sit down for over 2 hours straight!!!! 🙂

I introduced our 10 word study words (a combination of vocabulary and spelling) today. (Well, I actually forgot to do this with my 2nd class-oops) They had to copy the 10 words, then I gave them a short kid friendly definition for each one. The rest of the week will be spent really looking at the word, dividing them into chunks, noticing special parts, and discussing the meanings. This week we are doing some “power” words that they will see throughout the year in assignments and tests. Some of the words this week are: describe, infer, summarize, etc.

I introduced our reading passage for the week. I chose to use one that is about our brains so that we can focus on the one organ that we can learn how to train. I had them skim the passage today and highlight any words that they think will be difficult for them. Then we made a class list of them on the board. Tomorrow we will talk about each word before we begin reading the passage. We will also work in groups to talk about our schema, ask questions, and set a purpose for reading.

The last thing we did today was learn about our “Read to Self” time. This will be one of our Fab Five(Daily 5) choices each week(actually they will have to do this EVERY day. We talked about what it would look like and sound like. Then we practiced it for about 3-5 minutes. I watched them and we came back together to talk about what I observed. The only things that I pointed out were: 1. You can’t get up and move around(someone finished their book and wanted to go to the classroom library). 2. A few of them took longer to get started reading, and I said having a bookmark would probably help this instead of them trying to find the page that they were last on. 🙂 All in all, it was good. They liked being able to choose where to read in the room! Even though we have a VERY small room! Here are some pictures of my 2nd class doing Read to Self.

So long for today-see ya tomorrow on Day 9!!!