Wednesday, April 30, 2008
As the Logan Elm Local School District searches for a new superintendent, the leading candidate, Mrs. Jan Broughton, current superintendent, Portsmouth City Schools, helped her current district achieve this. Logan Elm currently ranks 371 out of 612 districts by the Ohio School Facility Commission for matching state funds. Most of the schools up through the first 300 either already have new schools, or are in the process. We will soon be eligible.
Almost every district in our area has new buildings. You will see new buildings if you drive by Amanda, Southeastern, Adena, Huntington, Teays Valley, Canal Winchester, Logan Hocking, Unioto, Westfall, and many others.
Are our one hundred year old building good enough? Do we need air conditioning? Would it help if classrooms were bigger, so students would have more room? Would Laurelville Elementary students learn more in a new setting? Would more students succeed?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Now, supposedly this test is no different that the other versions ( of which there are several), but for some reason, which was not explained to the district, all IEP students must take this specific test. These will then, without a doubt, be graded as a group.
For more information regarding this law read the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also know as No Child Left Behind. Basically this law requires schools and districts to focus their attention on the academic achievement of traditionally under-served groups of children, such as low-income students, and students with disabilities. The whole purpose of this act was to guarantee that all students achieve and are treated equally. It makes a teacher wonder why our Ohio Department of Education claims to be supportive, but then forces IEP students to all take a specific version of the OAT. Oh, and by the way, students will take the test whenever they arrive.
You can read more about this in the Columbus Dispatch's article State Goofs, Prints too Few Tests.
Monday, April 28, 2008
How has the use of electronic writing affected you? How has it helped? What problems has it caused? With only one month left in the school year, should language arts instruction be changed to reflect this? And if so, how?
Pew Internet & American Life Project researched Writing, Technology and Teens. The study looked at the effect of modern technology on students' writing.
This is a significant issue based on their conclusion that 85% of teens ages 12-17 engage at least occasionally in some form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sending email or instant messages, or posting comments on social networking sites.
This table summarizes some of the findings of the study.
The complete findings of this study can be viewed here.
Are texting, IM'ing, MySpace, Facebook, blogging and email ruining the next generation of writers, or will they make them the best ever?
Friday, April 25, 2008
Well, they always make sure you know. Thanks to Amanda for sharing some love for The Reading Workshop.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Dean Rieck, wrote this in his blog, Copyblogger, discussing the secret to success in his post The "Chicken Plucking" Secret of Success.
So the questions are, do you have it in you to be successful on the test? And, what do you have to do personally to perform at your best? What is your plan for success on Monday?
Why say: How does the ending show what the writer felt?
When you could say: Analyze how the author's purpose is defined throughout the conclusion. Use detailed description to illustrate your position.
Now, I get that this is a reading test, but geesh, ask the question! It almost seems like the test writers from the Ohio Department of Education find the most difficult way possible to ask a question.
Anyhow, today we looked at specific words necessary to understand test questions. You can view most of the words at the Reading Workshop Wikipage. Students studied in rotating four person groups and then we had the big challenge. Students played Around the World, defining the words.
Congratulations to the winners: Shayna T., Micah L., Connor H., and Shelby C.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Here is the Real Top 10, Baby!
Go to bed early, and get a good night’s sleep.
Eat a good Breakfast.
Come prepared (three sharpened pencils, erasers, highlighter, SSR book)
10 Questions every 30 minutes
Read the questions before you read the passage, so you know what you are looking for.
Skim the article
Highlight the important information in the article and the questions.
Reread questions and look for key words. DON’T GUESS if you don’t know the answer to a question. Take a deep breath, read the question again, and look back into the selection.
Restate the question and number your answer
When you are done, go back and double check your answers.
Congrats to the KW's for being selected as the Outstanding Commenters for April. Katie and Kari consistently post with great comments that are well written. You can find their opinions all through the blog. They were two of the first to comment, and continue to join in on almost all discussions.
Congratulations to Trevor S. for also being selected as the Fantastic Commenter for the month of April. He was selected due to his well thought out comments and clean, easy to understand commenting (And his mom posted too).
Trevor S. said...
I think bringing a CD into school and listening to it for the day is awesome. Listening to music helps me focus on my school work or any work. I got a high percentage in the accelerated category on my OAT test. I know that is not as I high as some people in this class but I tried. However I did better listening to music than I had ever done. My mom was not so sure about letting me bring in a CD to school, until she saw the blog. Thanks Mr. McGuire for letting us do such a cool thing.
And his mom said:
I encourage both of my boys (Trevor & Brayden) to learn all they can now while they are in school. I think all parents want that for their children. Your knowlege will get you everywhere you want to go in the future. When you grow up it is a tough world out there. And it just keeps on getting tougher! Take advantage of the time you have now to learn all you can. When you get out in the real world there are no free lunches! Go to school and learn and have fun. You are only a kid once so enjoy it!
P.S. I'll have my eyes peeled for the McGuire family when we go out to eat!!
Stay tuned as I will feature the intelligent thoughts of other commenters soon.
Special thanks to the Dangerously Irrelevant Blog for the idea and the certificate!
Monday, April 21, 2008
I know you have been working hard to prepare for the Achievement Test. One week from today, you will have the opportunity for success. And, SUCCEED YOU WILL!
"You can put on your headphones, play a CD, and listen to music as you work." Students almost fell out of their seats when I told them they could start doing this on Monday. They had never heard of anything like this. First it was singing in the class. Now, we are experimenting with this in language arts. Due to the fact that each students has his/her own computer, each has a CD ROM at their desk.
There are a few rules:
1. You put a CD in the computer at the start of class, and leave it for the entire class.
2. You cannot play it loud, or bother peers.
3. Once you hit play, you must work.
There are several benefits when students play background music while they study, read, or write:
1. increase attention levels
2. improve retention and memory
3. extend focused learning time
4. expand thinking skills
In the brain there is a band of white fibers connecting the right and left halves of the cerebrum called the corpus callosum. Very recently researchers have discovered that the corpus callosum increases in size when humans are exposed to music. This increases communication between the two halves of the brain which increases learning efficiency.
Yiftach Levy of the Department of Educational Technology at San Diego State University studied the use of background music in the classroom. This is part of his finding.
Davidson and Powell (1986) took up this exact subject in their study of American fifth-grade science students. They reported the observations of on-task-performance (OTP) of children in the classroom over 42 class sessions, with data recorded every three minutes (10 times) per session. Treatment, in the form of easy-listening music, was delivered in between two control observations (i.e., 15 sessions without background music, 15 with, and 12 without, in that order). They determined a significant increase in OTP for the males in the classroom, and for the class as a whole.
You can read the entire report HERE.
Students have the opportunity to listen to music as they work. How will they respond?
Saturday, April 19, 2008
1. Three lines with 17 syllables in the pattern of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
2. Only one topic
3. Traditionally about nature and/or seasons
4. Does not rhyme
5. Written in present tense
6. Stirs the imagination
Sunshine by J. McGuire
Breaking through treetops
filtering golden beauty
bringing in the day
Spring By Alina S.
Daffodils and crocuses
When it Rains by Josh P.
Clouds roaring with fierce
Lightening attacks with anger
Peaceful when rain stops
they are purple and yellow
they are spring flowers
Mushrooms by Sean C.
see those mushrooms, see them.
go and pick them please
Wildfire by Shelby C.
Bright like a wild fire
suddenly stepping forward,
out of plane nothing.
out of the rich dark brown soil
their bright pedals glow
look at the big sunflower
what a hot nice day
Morels by Mrs. Bower
Delicacies hiding low
cool, damp, sunny day.
Carpenter Bees by Mrs. Bower
Angry, droning pests
Aggressively drilling holes
wood chewing insect.
Pot O' Gold at the bottom
An arch of color
Walking in the Woods by Brittany M.
Walking in the woods
alone looking for a waterfall
it's close when it's cool.
Around and around it goes
Going on forever
Wandering through the forest
Grass by Amanda K.
long, soft cut, pokey
green, soft, rough, up in the air
falling all over
in the sky so high above
Fly by day and night.
Birds by Brianna G.
birds fly in the air
cardinals and red tailed hawks
what beautiful birds.
The trees of the damp
forest move swiftly by my
eyes with great beauty.
Where is this student? Well, he is not in Reading Workshop. On our sixth day of school this week, I couldn't be prouder of the effort put forth by the sixth graders at Laurelville. Great job to all of the hard working students, giving it all to be successful!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Mrs. Griffey pulled up to a gas station. An alien landed a spaceship beside her. She noticed the spaceship said U.F.O. on the side. Mrs. Griffey asked the Alien, "does that stand for unidentified flying object?"
The alien said, "no, it stands for . . .?????????????????"
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Yesterday, students were given an assignment straight out of the Ohio Seventh Grade Reading Achievement Test. As I told them from the start, "this is seventh grade work." The grandmother of Connor, a Reading Workshop student looked at the work and said, "this looks like 12th grade work to me." Obviously, this assignment was challenging.
You can view the test at the ODE website. Just follow the link to the 7th reading March 2006 Full Test. The answer key is there also. Students read a haiku poem and a passage, Do You Want to Write Haiku.
The passage had seven multiple choice questions and two extended response. As students worked on the passage yesterday, they put forth tremendous effort and concentrated on their work. Tension was high today as students scored their answers.
Student success was determined based on cut scores from the Ohio Department of Education, that determined reading proficiency for Ohio students in the seventh grade. Remarkably, in the two classes, 38 out of 43 students passed! I am amazed by such a successful sixth grade class!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
VanCuren's Graphics will be offering T-shirts for sale. Each shirt will be $10.00. For each shirt sold, they will donate $5.00 to the cause. These will be gray shirts with a Laurelville Elementary/Relay logo. The T-shirt sale will be May 5 - 9. Shirts will be delivered on June 2 so we can wear them at the Relay.
The Laurelville PTO is going to work with the sixth grade as we organize this event. They will be contacting area businesses and individuals to help with the Relay.
Lisa Deluse is helping to organize the parents and volunteers. If you are willing to help in any way, please email her at Ldeluse@aol.com.
You can find out more about the Relay for life in a previous post.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I replied, "there are no rules but there are expectations of etiquette." Needless to say, that took some explaining. So, here goes.
1. You can argue, but don't be argumentative.
2. You can disagree, but don't be disagreeable.
3. You can contradict, but do so cautiously.
4. You can compliment, but please do so sincerely.
5. If you want to complain, type it up, save it, but don't post it. If you still feel the same way a week later, type it up, save it, but don't post it . . .
6. Commenting about a comment is expected, but use consideration and kindness in your words.
7. Correct a comment once you become perfect. Until then, DON'T!
8. Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Do this for yourself and for the reader.
9. Remember, the blogger (in this case, me) appreciates the effort it takes to comment.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
On Sunday afternoon, we were at the Millstone BBQ in Logan eating BBQ left over from last night's rush. Laura and I took Megan, our 16 year old daughter and our niece, Lauren. We had just ordered, and our conversation wasn't keeping Megan too engaged, so she dropped into the next table to see what they had to say. And that is when she overheard this guy talking about students and their reasons to go to school.
Naturally, Megan's question caused me to think about my students and their motivation. How many show up because it is a law? Because they have to? Or because their parents make them? Do they really want to be there? How many are there because they have a ticket on the love boat, and they just want to see their crush? I know a few guys just want to play B-ball at recess in the intramural tournament. Who is showing up just to see their friends? How many are coming just to hear their teacher's funny jokes?
So, why is a twelve year old, sixth grade student coming to school every day? And what are they getting out of our school, this reading workshop, and our time together?
Riddle me this, what makes school worthwhile?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Students journaled about the topic, "If I was Bethany." Here are samples from students' work.
Why did they keep Elizabeth a secret? They should have told me a long time ago. It's not like I would have been too disappointed. I wouldn't be crying all the time like Mom. I would like to know this kind of stuff. Are they keeping more secrets from me? If so why don't they tell me? I thought parents were supposed to tell their kids everything.
I'm kind of mad at my parents for keeping a secret from me for thirteen years. I also feel bad for them because their daughter died. I don't know what to feel right now. I mean I never thought that they'd keep something like that from me. I'm just confused. First Mom calls and keeps saying I'm Elizabeth, then Myrlie tells me Elizabeth is my sister who died. Since they kept that from me I can't help but think what else could they have kept from me?
I feel like my stomach and insides are coming up through my throat. I also feel like I have known Elizabeth for a long time. I just wish that my parents would have told me sooner so I would not have to come here to Myrlie's. I'm wandering why my parents didn't tell me about my sister. I am afraid to sleep, now that I'm wondering about Elizabeth. The more I wonder the more I feel like it's my fault for Elizabeth's death. Now I know why my mom was saying, “Elizabeth don't go to that amusement park. I fear that something bad is going to happen.”
I feel lost, like no one is watching over me. I feel alone stuffed in a box that someone sits on. I don't know what to do. Nothing is helping. I away feel so depressed. I can't keep my head straight. My dad will not talk to me and I'm weirded out about my parents.
Today, I found out that I had a sister, whose name is Elizabeth. I still don't understand. What I don't understand is why have my parents kept this from me? I don't understand why they haven't told me all these years.
Shayna had an excellent example that must be in some folder far, far, away, never to be seen again. The closest anyone can figure, the journal thieves got it. If they are brought to justice, then maybe her writing can join that of her peers.
These are excellent examples getting into the character. Way to go girls! Oh, by the way, the boys did this assignment too. Hopefully we can showcase their work soon (which will happen as soon as they step it up).
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
She was checking her email and received this message from one of her students. It read: “Hi Mrs. Smith. This is John. I had a question about the Hamlet homework you assigned. I am texting you from my cell phone in [in-school suspension].”
The school has a simple cell phone policy: “No cell phones or text messaging during class.” The policy holds true when you are in [in-school suspension] because it is on school grounds. You are in [in-school suspension] to do school work, that is it; no socializing, no talking, no sleeping, no listening to I-pods, and no texting.
The student received 2 extra days of in-school for violating school policy, and for refusing to give up his phone.
Here are my questions:
1. Is it OK to violate school policy if you have a good reason?
2. Did the student really want help, or was he just pretending, just to break school rules?
3. If the student really wanted help, couldn't he have just asked to in-school monitor?
4. Should the teacher have just helped the student (and then violated policy herself)?
5. Should teachers not follow the rules, if it will help a student?
6. Should a parent encourage rule breaking if their son is in the right?
Lots of questions, no sure answers. Your thoughts?
Monday, April 7, 2008
This is an example from Luke that demonstrates the before and after.
Friday, April 4, 2008
We are slowly building a wiki page. Feel free to check out the start of the Laurelville Elementary Language Arts Wiki. Eventually this will include all of the student's writing and reading notes, and many of the handouts. We may also use it to list many of the books that become student favorites.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Last week, Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. Caudill and I scored the practice run of the Ohio Achievement Test that students took on March 18. Students did well, especially on the multiple choice questions. As we scored the tests, the amount of effort students put forth, clearly showed.
One area that I noticed as an overall weakness, was in setting up short answer and extended response answers in a way that would make 2 or 4 points easy to attain. With this in mind, our instruction for the next two weeks, will focus on using the question to set up the best answer possible. This will help students as they take the Achievement Test, and even more important, as they move up through jr. and sr. high school.
Each day, students receive a paper with one or two questions. They must set up their answer, without being able to use the selection as a resource. Below is a typical question, and the beginning of an answer by Trevor S.