Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We started our school year having our whole staff create Bio-Poems. It was fun to watch new and veteran teachers scramble over glitter, stickers, and which color construction paper they wanted to use! Several of us shared our poems with the group. The one that was most fun came from one of the ladies in our office. Her answer to : Lover of (2 things) was: Jesus Christ and football! We all agreed she had her priorities in order!
Our teachers took their poems and displayed them in their rooms. By the end of the week when the students came back, the hallways were filled with student Bio-Poems. The displays made quite an impression on our Back to School night.
If you haven't had your Back to School night, parents really like to read what their children have written about themselves. It is a very insightful activity for students, teachers and parents.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) = AWESOME!!

After going to the I-Tunes literacy conference and discussing the benefits of SSR with my colleagues, my English department has adapted a mandatory SSR for the first ten to fifteen minutes of each class. The SSR time is awesome; I find that it is a time for all of us, including myself, to partake in the exercise of reading. Even some of my most challenging students are enjoying the time. I also love that the students pick up books and start reading when they are finished with their assignments. I absolutely love SSR, and I can already tell that my students are reaping the benefits of it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SURN Lesson Plan

Completing the SURN lesson plan ended up being a bit more challenging than I expected. I felt myself having to cut back. I kept trying to pack too much into the lesson. Once I finished it, I had to take a step back.
Then, I remembered what they told us at the conference about teaching the Magnificent 7 Comprehension Strategies. My mistake was trying to put too much in too early . Once I took that step back, I was able to rework a few things to keep it simple but hopefully effective.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lesson plan format

I just finished my model lesson plan for SURN. I like the format even though most of its elements are familiar to me with my current lesson plan template. The SURN format reminds me to engage and keeps me on task as I prepare a lesson. I think I will continue to use it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Harder than expected

Writing a lesson plan for his is turning out to be harder than expected. Since I am teaching two different (and new) subjects I am having to constantly think, "Am I covering the content that is required?" and "Am I engaging the students in the magnificent seven?" I have written this lesson plan several times in my head, so hopefully when it finally comes out on paper, it will not need that many revision.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things

This past week was the first one back to school for the students. The majority of time was spent getting back to the grind and using icebreaker activities to get to know my new students better. Monday will be the first day that will have a chance to break out the tools box and truly utilize my Power Tools. I will be explicitly teaching the Magnificent Seven Strategy visualizing. Here goes!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Teaching Students how to Summarize

The I-Tunes conference really made me re-think the way I teach literacy in my classroom. The first unit for English 11 in Norfolk is the Non-fiction unit, and my 11th grade team begins with teaching students about Native American myths. When I looked in the SOL (red) warm-up book for the passage from the myth "When Grizzles Walked Upright," I noticed that the summarizing literacy strategy was used for the multiple-choice questions. Thus, thinking back on what I learned from the conference, I designed my lesson completely around the summarizing strategy. The students and I will read the first myth together, and we will complete the "Somebody Wanted But So" activity in order to summarize the myth; then, the students will read the second myth and complete the SWBS statement independently. I will then use their SWBS statement to assess whether or not they summarized the myth correctly. After I realized what "magnificent seven" strategy I wanted to use in my lesson, the rest of the lesson fell into place!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Power Tools Help With School Improvement Plan

The Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy book helped to devise strategies for improving English 9 reading scores. In addition I am using three on the first day of school. Yay, Power Tools!