Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Well, I did it. Again. I rearranged my room! 🙂 Mrs. Lynn stopped by after school and just started laughing! I am the “Queen” of room arranging at Wadley!!!! But, I do have to say that this is the 1st time since school started that I have rearranged, and all I really did was rearrange the desks, took a table out of my room (Thank you Mrs. Cindy for storing stuff temporarily when I get tired of it until I want it back a year later), and changed my graded paper file system. Oh, I also cleaned off my desk and reading table. Whew! Then went to the Homecoming parade and pep rally (boy was I disappointed to find out that they were NOT selling hamburger plates this year!!!). 🙂
Here is a picture of my new desk arrangement, and then I’ll explain why I changed them(besides my chronic obsession with changing my room around ALL the time!):
Well, the way we started out the year had some of the kids with their backs to where I stand a lot when I teach. They started out real good about turning around in their desks, but that ability has been on the decline. 🙂 So, now I have solved that little problem hopefully! 🙂 EVERYONE will be facing the board and the spot that I tend to hover around. And not only that-I am going to move ALL my students that need extra help, have poor eyesight, the inability to stay awake during our exciting english lessons, etc to the FRONT rows!!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to blow their little minds tomorrow!
I love it when I learn something new, and today was the day for that! I learned how to set up an access code on scholastic’s bookorder website so my parents can order books online! I also learned that my own self was causing the shadow on the elmo projector today (no, the bulb is not going out!). 🙂 And I learned that dropping the leg of a table on your toe DOES hurt!
On to our very busy day. We discussed our words today (the last 4)-drawing conclusions, generalizations, monitoring, and cause and effect. The test will be on Friday.
English- good old english. Why is our native language so hard to understand? 🙂 We reviewed prepositions and conjunctions (coordinating and subordinating-and no, I’m not requiring them to know what that means!). We also reviewed simple/complete subjects and predicates, prepositional phrases. We are going to continue to review ALL English concepts for the rest of the year!!!!
Writing- we worked some more on our compare and contrast essays. I showed the 1st class how to write the introductory paragraph and the 2nd class how to write the 2nd paragraph of contrasting dirt roads and paved roads. I did this on the elmo this time so I will be able to keep the copy of my writing that I am modeling in front of them.
I finished reading chapter 8 in 6th Grade Can Really Kill You. Together we wrote down the major characters, setting, and major conflict in the story. I told them by listing these things, that this is really a 2nd grade skill. I will show them how we take these things and turn them into a 6th grade skill (character analysis, descriptive settings with how it may or may not affect the plot, and detailed conflicts). Right now, most of the kids are just thinking and writing about the literal side of these things. I want deep thinking and reflecting and writing! 🙂 My 1st class had time to do a quick write. I gave them 2 minutes to write whatever came to their mind about the character of Helen’s mom in the book. The two that shared did a GREAT job of analyzing and writing about her character!!!! 🙂 If we can just make this happen for all students!
We used our reading passage to practice a comprehension strategy. I wrote 3 (very important) strategies on the board (visualizing, connecting, and asking questions). They had to choose one of them, choose a part out of the passage, read and practice the strategy, and I let a couple of students share. I showed them how I visualized one part of the passage by acting it out. Then I explained to them that obviously when they write about their reading they can’t act it out so they will have to write it in a descriptive enough way to make someone be able to see what they visualized just by reading what they wrote.
And that’s all folks! Tomorrow and Friday are going to be C.R.A.Z.Y. We have our tests on Thursdays and Fridays AND this Friday we have our much longer pep rally AND a student/faculty volleyball game (guess who got roped into playing?????). So busy! 🙂
I decided to count up the reading skills and strategies that are taught through our Scott Foresman Reading Street reading program since I am REALLY wanting to implement the CAFE literacy structure and Daily 5 in my classroom.
Strategies in Scott Foresman Reading Street
Monitoring and Fixing Up-3
Using Prior Knowledge-3
Using Graphic Organizers-3
Using Text Structure-3
Skills in Scott Foresman Reading Street
Cause and Effect-3
Wouldn’t it be interesting to talk to the authors of this reading program (or any reading program for that matter) to find out what their thoughts were when creating the program???? They pretty much evenly distributed the teaching of the strategies/skills with the exception of questioning (it is taught 6 times) and then plot, character, and setting only get taught 1 time. I believe they decided that plot, setting, and character had probably already been taught in previous years enough that the kids should have internalized them by now. However, plot in the 3rd grade is very different from plot in the 6th grade-problem, rising action, climax, resolution, etc. is pretty complicated! 🙂
I have only taught this Scott Foresman for 6th grade 1 year so far so I am still learning LOTS of things about it, but their setup/structure is not too appealing to me. Soooo…. I am going to TWEAK it for next year. 🙂 I will definitely still teach ALL of these strategies/skills, but in a different format. For example, prior knowledge can be a focus for all that we read-not just 3 times during the year! 🙂
Also, even if I decide to have a focus strategy/skill like the reading program is setup to do-we will still use more than that one each week with our texts.