Friday, October 29, 2010

Late in the Game

Due to scheduling, I just received a whole new class of students last week. The getting to know you activities were a lifesaver. I had to get to know my new students very quickly, because they are the one group that I will have everyday. The bingo sheet as well as a few other really helped me out the first 2 classes. They definitely helped me build community more quickly in my classroom.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spreading the word on picture books

I recently hosted a Staff Development session for secondary teachers in our county on using Picture Books in the Secondary Classroom. I used many of the titles we looked at and enjoyed during our SURN classes. From THERE'S A NIGHTMARE IN MY CLOSET to the beautifully illustrated and researched biographies of Diane Stanley, picture books can be one of a teacher's best resources. If you have a chalk tray, it should be filled with picture books - to support your content, to enrich your content, to entice reluctant readers, and to use for read alouds. I truly cannot teach alliteration without ANIMALIA. Get a copy and you will see why; then have your students create their own alliterative sentences using sentence strips. A new favorite is IT'S A BOOK by Lane Smith.

If you would like a copy of my list of great picture books, email me and I'll send it to you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting to Know Your Students/Picture Books

The first week of school students in my science class completed a learning styles survey to determine who are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Upon completing the survey, students were given a designated color of construction paper to share information about themselves in the shape of a hand (Getting to Know your Hand in the SURN Getting to Know Your Students Activity Packet). The hands are posted up on my bulletin board which makes it easier to visualize how to group my students when preparing for lessons.

They have also enjoyed several picture books...The Crow and the Pitcher, which was used during the Scientific Method standard, and Science Verse. The Dory Story will be a part of our lesson on food chains in a few weeks. I have them to write their thoughts or questions down in their notebooks as a preview/introduction for the lessons.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Power Tools to be Used for Professional Development

On November 2nd, Mr. Yag and I will be presenting a session during our professional development day on using Power Tools to enhance vocabulary development. After a brief overview about vocabulary development we will be focusing primarily on two of the Power Tool strategies. We have selected Strategy 4.11 Mystery Word of the Day and Strategy 4.12 ABC Graffiti. these are two strategies that are fun and could be used across the curriculum.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaching Probability with a picture book

As an introduction to our lesson in probability, I used the picture book "The Very Improbable Story". I showed them the cover of the book and asked what they can predict from the title itself. I modeled first the strategy "Read-Aloud" to my students and then asked them to do read-aloud with a partner. While reading, they asked questions , made inferences and connections. The students not only enjoyed the story but were able to connect what they had read to our lesson on probability.Through the picture book , they were able to determine easily the probability of an event and differentiate dependent from independent events.6th grade students always find probability very challenging, but with the use of the picture book, it was easier for them to understand the lesson.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Using literary strategies to teach Colonial, Puritan, and Revolutionary Literature

The first reading unit in English 11 is on Colonial, Puritan, and Revolutionary literature. This literature is dense and difficult--especially for students who are low-level readers. I have been employing many of the literacy strategies such as making connections and paraphrasing activities to make these pieces of literature more accessible and more engaging. I definitely feel more comfortable teaching the literature this year than I have the past three years!


My students get so excited that they can actually write and work with a text! They have taken well to writing in the margins that I have created. We read "The Pedestrian" last class. Instead of giving a role, I gave them a focus, which was how the setting can affect mood. This allowed the students to have a more detailed notes in their margins. Also, I was able to take it further by incorporating Golden Lines. The students really responded to the story and the activities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Planning with the Magnificent Seven

I have figured out how to incorporate the skills in my planning by covering one per week and spiraling back to those skills that were covered. I have noticed that it is easy for me to teach the skill because I am an English teacher. These skills we focus on anyway, however it is more work to mesh them with the other literary skills that we are covering. I see where other disciplines may have more trouble than me in doing this.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Power Tools Rule

As my class is attempting to wade their way through short stories marginalia and think alouds are saving the day. Today we had our first assessment and I cannot wait to see the results. Class discussions seem to be at a higher level than in previous years.