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Unit 4 study guides DONE!

Nothing like going backwards! I have now uploaded the Unit 4 study guides in both word and pdf format to the unit 4 pages.

Unit 6 will be done sometime next week-unless I have time tomorrow! 🙂


Read and Write 180-Day 47

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today was very nice for a Monday! 🙂

We are focusing on linking verbs this week in English so OF COURSE we are singing a song to help us with these! Here is a copy of one that I found on the internet:

Linking Verbs Song

I offered them another 100 point grade again if they can sing it to me by this Friday. I already had 3 students sing it to me TODAY! I just gave it out today!!! 🙂 I was totally amazed!

For our word study words this week I chose the pattern from one of our Scott Foresman spelling units on vowel sounds followed by r. We are only studying 4 words with this pattern: or, er, ur, ar-I am going to have them generate more words that follow this pattern for the rest of the week. The rest of our words are spicy adjectives.

We are ALMOST finished with our read aloud-6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think I might actually cry tomorrow when we finish the last chapter! 🙂 I am REALLY loving this time of our day!!! I mean REALLY!!!!!! There is so much interaction and good discussion that is going on. However, they did not like it when I turned to the end of the book and “silently” read the end!!!!! One of my boys said that was not fair for me to be able to read it to myself and not share it with them today!! I then said, “Teachers have the power”! 🙂

We read another page in Old Yeller-out of our basal. LOTS of good discussion! Since I am taking the looooong approach to the basal by stretching the story out for 2 weeks we actually have time to “talk” to each other about the story, characters, actions, make predictions, etc.

I had them work in groups to list 3 character traits that would best describe Little Arliss. Then as a class we went back in the text to find the part that revealed that trait about him and wrote it down. This year I am really focusing on having them find things in the text to support and prove their thinking. I hope this helps improve their thinking.

Here is the website where I found the character trait form:

Let me tell you a question that was asked by one of my afternoon students about the wordbank at the bottom of this sheet.

“Can we cut out the wordbank and keep it in our notebook to help us when we are writing about our characters in our reading response letters to you?”

OMG! Can you imagine my answer?? YES.YES.YES.YES. 🙂

I conferenced with about 4-6 students in each class today. I’M LOVING IT. I’m even being bothered and annoyed by students wanting to know if their “appointment” with me is coming up next! And a couple of students that I have not conferred with yet asked today if they could meet with me! So exciting! I just hope that it pays off for them! 🙂


Tracking Standards

Since last year I felt like I was ambling along without any sort of REAL direction (my fault), this year I am going to make myself be aware of EVERYTHING I do and WHY I do it! To better aid me with this task (since I’m a VERY visual learner) I typed up the Alabama Course of Study Standards for 6th grade Reading-Language-Literature-Writing (everything I teach with the exception of the technology standards). I am going to print and cut and put on a bulletin board right near my desk and small group table. Each time I introduce/teach a skill I am going to highlight it to help keep myself on track.

Yeah, yeah, I know that I am supposed to look at the standards and imprint them into my brain at the beginning of the year and then keep looking at them as I plan my lessons. However, when you are given a scripted “research based” program to teach with, you just assume that EVERYTHING is covered explicitly and many, many, many times. Reality check: don’t assume anything (I’m not going to underline the chunk in that word that should be standing out to you by now!). 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong-I didn’t do ALL that Scott Foresman provides because it’s impossible so I might have missed some stuff. But, I have been told in the past to just make sure I teach the TARGET skills-the ones with the bulls eye beside them-well, I don’t think that worked!

So-here we go again! Here is the document for you to print, and I also posted it on my AL COS Standards page on this blog.

6th Grade Alabama Course of Study Standards pdf


Coming Soon to a Post Near You: Vocabulary Cards

My next project for the Scott Foresman Reading Street Resources for 6th grade will be Vocabulary Cards for all of the vocab. words in each story. Keep checking back often-they will probably be finished and uploaded about this time next week. I’m really being optimistic here! 🙂

On a sidenote, I have a teacher who can’t seem to open the trifold discussion documents sooooo…… I also have plans to convert these to pdf documents so that nobody will have any problems. And I’m being REALLY OPTIMISTIC-they might be done about this time next week, too!!!

I’m about to head to the AEA Leadership Conference (and board meeting) down in Mobile, AL (LOVE LOVE LOVE Mobile) for the remainder of the week so I don’t think I’ll get much done until afterwards.

I’ll still be posting my book a day challenges (thinking about loading up some picture books to take with me AND I just downloaded 3 books to my kindle!!! ) so “HAPPY READING”! 🙂

Reading skills and strategies

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




 Author’s Purpose-3

Cause and Effect-3


Main Idea/Details-3



Draw Conclusions-3


Graphic Sources-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.