Thursday, December 12, 2013

How Does Your Child Stack Up?

Brylee, A 50 Page/Day Reader
The Read at Home assignment is a major part of sixth grade language arts as Salt Creek. Nothing builds reading skills and the ability to comprehend like time spent reading. That is the reason the Read at Home assignment rewards those that read more with a higher grade.

As you may know, the grade is based on minutes read each week. As a teacher, I reward the students that make the most effort. Although grades are not entirely tied to how hard a student works, poor grades are reflective of a lack of work ethic. If a student wants a better grade, just read a little more.

A = 180 + Minutes
B = 120 - 179 Minutes
C = 60 - 119 Minutes
F = 0 - 59 Minutes

Plus, if students read more than 180 minutes I give extra credit. The students from our hallway (Classes 601-604) have averaged reading 232 minutes each week. All Students will be bringing home a letter that tells how many minutes they have averaged reading.

You can see all the responses HERE.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fictional Writing Project

1.  Can be by yourself or with a partner (shared writing on Google Docs).
2.  Must have problems building to a climax.
3.  Must use dialogue with correct paragraphing and punctuation
4.  Must have a main character and at least one supporting character
5.  The setting should play into the story
6.  End with a purpose

Want some easy steps to follow? Here are some tips from an earlier blog post.

The first step to writing a story involves making some decisions.

How many characters will there be?
What are the names of the characters?
Who is the main character?
Where does the story take place?
When does the story take place?
What will happen in the story?
What problems occur?
How will the problems be solved?
What moral or lesson will be learned?

Start Here

1.  Create your characters and develop their characteristics and physical traits.  Is there a villain and what is he/she like?  How does the bad guy impact the story?

2.  Create the setting.  Where and when does the story take place?  How does the setting impact the story?

3.  Create the problem or conflict?  What minor problems will build tension leading to the climax?  How will the main character react when faced with the main problem/conflict?

4. What crisis will occur at the last minute which will grab the reader and give the main character a last chance to solve the problem?  Plan for a fingernail biting moment.

5. How will the main character solve the problem?  What positive attribute like courage, creativity, or intelligence does he/she possess which will help him succeed?

6.  Finish with style.  What lesson does the main character learn?  How will the reader connect and learn from the moral?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Little Extra

At the end of each day we stack the chairs. This makes it easier to clean the room. Yesterday three students worked a little harder than everyone else to make sure all the chairs were stacked and stacked neatly. I didn't ask them, they just took it on themselves to make sure it was done before they left. 

As Colton, Clayton and Alexis walked out, I started thinking about this. Why did they take on this responsibility? Why did they make the extra effort?

Several times through the evening, this kept popping into my thoughts. When everyone else was standing in line waiting to leave, these three students were working a little harder and a little longer than anyone else. The more I thought about it, the more I started to relate it to their performance in class. Eventually I came to the conclusion that this type of behavior is why they are so successful in school.

I don't have to tell them to work harder, they just do. I don't have to tell them to be more responsible, they are. I don't have to tell them to help others, they do it on their own. I don't have to tell them to be a role model, they live it.  It's funny how such a little thing like stacking chairs can be such a big sign of someone who knows all about success.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What is Your Kind?

Many Reading Workshop classes end with singing for the last five minutes. Lyrics are projected on the white board and students sing along with the music. This helps students learn to be better readers, but especially improves fluency and vocabulary.

Recently we were singing a Miranda Lambert song, All Kinds of Kinds. The point of this song is that the world is made up of all kinds of people each unique in their own way.

The assignment, Reading Workshop students is to write a blog post that describes your traits. Think about what makes you unique. What makes you the kind of person that you are? What are your strongest traits? When people think of you, what comes to mind? Please use specific examples/incidents/stories to illustrate your points.

Some examples of traits include:

kind, considerate, caring, responsible, outgoing, introverted, hard working, leader, follower, noisy, quiet, talkative, helpful, outspoken, patient, impatient, cooperative, honest, dishonest, strong-minded, independent, dependent, courageous, thankful, appreciative, brave, polite, mannerly, lazy, unmannerly, respectful, disrespectful, humorous, witty, good listener, empathetic, creative, open-minded, studious, controlling, bossy, shy, particular, weird, insane, willing, prepared, competitive, unprepared, close-minded, morose, somber, serious, sad, sassy, passionate, fiery, loving, adventurous, feisty, stubborn, curious, believing, sharing, giving, opinionated, brainy, intelligent, fair, fearless, fearful, trustworthy, trusting, energetic, enthusiastic, hilarious, mature, materialistic, greedy, selfish, unselfish, idealistic, cocky, self-assured, assertive, picky, aggressive, passive, stable, timid, backwards, sneaky, forceful, mindful, addictive, careful, flexible, kind-hearted, joyful, over-achiever, attention seeking, sensitive, calm, spicy, optimistic, radiant, comforting, outrageous,  . . .

Before you write, please create an outline. Below is an example of the expected outline format that Hannah made for her Bullying Essay.

II. Bullying Is A Problem
     A. Everyone that gets bullied at school gets made fun of by the rest of the people
     B. I think that bullying is the worst!
          1.Why would someone go to school everyday just to make fun of someone.
     C. People that goes to school just to bully someone must be making the worst decision ever.
III. If You See Bullying
     A. If you ever see bullying the best thing you could do is tell an adult.
          1.When you tell an adult make sure you tell them everything that you seen.
     B. After the problem is solved.
          1. Try to make friends with that person and
          2. Make sure that the person isn't getting bullied anymore.
IV. When Bullying Starts
     A. Sometimes I don't see it at first because you might think they are just kidding.
     B. But after it happens 24/7 I start to wonder if I should go talk to that person and see whats going       on.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bullying Essay

Students in Reading Workshop recently completed an essay on bullying. You can read all of the essays HERE.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who Do You Ask?

Ben and Chloe sit beside each other in Reading Workshop. Both are good students and work hard. When they have a problem, or don't understand something, they don't ask for help. They will talk to each other about things that don't matter but they don't ask each other for help. 

What makes this interesting is how our class is built around everyone helping everyone be successful. Peer tutoring is a continual thing. Any time a student doesn't understand, someone is ready to help. This is expected and students do an amazing job of making sure their classmates do well.

This is similar to how our team of teachers work. If someone has a question or concern, Mrs. Hardin, Mrs. Webb, Ms. Huysman  and I work together to help work it out. This makes a strong team of people that count on each other and are strong because of their unity. This also helps make our hallway a great place.

We talked about this in class today. Most of the students have a couple of people they count on when they need help. This might be when they are editing their writing, doing something on the computer, or trying to complete an assignment. Hopefully now that we have discussed this Ben, Chloe, and any other students that doesn't have a pal to count on will be open for a little help and ask someone when they need a hand.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Did You Learn at Camp?

Last week's visit to Camp Oty Okwa was a great time for students and staff. The group building activities were exciting and students did an excellent job cooperating and making their team successful. With that in mind, this leads to this week's writing assignment. 

Students, on your blog, tell what you learned. Pick a skill and write about it. Define the word that best describes what you learned. This might be cooperation, teamwork, kindness, respect, friendship, working together, responsibility. . .  Include the meaning of the word, and what it means to you.

Explain the situation where you saw this skill in action. This will be one or more incidents during the group activities where this took place. Give details to help the reader understand. You may also want to include how the use of this skill impacted your group.

In your closing, tell how using this trait at school would effect Salt Creek. What would it look like? How would it improve our school? Where and/or when could you use this skill to make our school a better place?

When your blog post is completed, please submit it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Look at Bullying

The assignment for Reading Workshop students is to write a blog post about bullying. Use the information below to help guide the writing. Use a web as a prewriting tool to help organize your post.

What is your view on bullying? Is it really a problem? Does it always look the same? Do you recognize it when it happens? How do you react? How do you define bullying? Is it always the bullies fault? Or does the person getting picked on sometimes cause the problem? 

Please pick one scenario listed on the Reading Workshop Wiki as an example. Explain how you view it and tell why it is or is not bullying. Describe possible responses to the situation and include how you would react if you were involved, both as the person being bullied and as a member of the group, but not the person doing the bullying.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Great Start to the Year

This school year is off to a great start. As we close in on the end of the 1st nine weeks, I can't imagine things going any better. A recent Question of the Week got me thinking about why things were going so well. 

As I said in the question:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Question of the Week

Recently at Reading Workshop I created a discussion board for the Question of the Week. Responses must be a minimum of two - three paragraphs with details to support students' points.

Students, please post your best response to be graded.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Easy Extra Credit

Hey parents, grandparents, and other family members, want to help your student earn some easy extra credit? All you have to do is fill out the form below. It is well worth it to me just to get parents to check in here.

Our language arts class is anchored around this blog. At the top you can find links like the one to Jupiter Grades that are helpful to both students and parents. On the right sidebar classwork, homework, and important dates are listed. Further down on the right side are links to blogs of all of the Reading Workshop students. 

This website is the easiest way for parents to know what is taking place in language arts and at Salt Creek. Please use it to your advantage and thank you for helping your child earn some extra credit.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Success Blog Post

Students, please submit your blog post to be graded in the Google Form below. For the last question use the Student Blog Rubric to support your response.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do You Want Success?

I had this conversations with a student:

Student:  My aunt doesn't care if I work hard.
Me:  Seriously?
Student:  No, she doesn't care. As long as I get a D she is happy.
Me:  I don't believe it.
Student:  Test it out.
Me:  Whattttt?
Student:  Test it out. Call her and see.
Me:  OK we will.

And so we did and she really did care. She expected him to work his hardest and get good grades.

Thinking about this later, I wondered about how bad sixth graders want success. Have a look at the video below. How does this relate to sixth graders? Is success important when you are twelve? How can ideas from this video help a middle school student reach their goals?

PUGS--Puncuation, Useage, Grammar, and Spelling

If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you must write cleanly. Many readers will judge what you say by how you say it. If your writing is filled with mistakes, the message will get lost in the errors. Do your part and edit carefully.

Chris Pirillo discusses the need for PUGS--Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling in this video.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Trait Blog Post

Students have recently been writing a blog post about the book they are reading.

To read them go HERE.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Apostrophes Rock

Students seem to have trouble with correct use of apostrophes. Here are a few basic rules to follow.

1. Apostrophes are used to show a missing letter, for example:
you're instead of you are
can't instead of can not

2. Apostrophes show possession, for example:
the boy's bike
the student's desk
the students' desks (if there is more than one student)
If there are two or more students, the apostrophe comes after the 's'

3. Apostrophes NEVER show plurals! 
"book's in the library" should be "books in the library"
"car's in the parking lot" should be "cars in the parking lot"

The Edrocker explains it best with the Monster song.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writing on Topic

As Reading Workshop students start the school year as beginning bloggers, the challenge of writing and writing well looms. Although students have written for teachers in the past, organizing a blog post to make it interesting and understandable is a new skill for many.

As a student, if you are struggling, here is a template to make your writing easy for the reader to get. This is basically the five paragraph format that you will use as a student for as long as you are in school. 

1st paragraph--Introduction
2nd - 4th paragraph--Body
5th paragraph--Conclusion

The latest assignment is to write a blog post highlighting one area of a book that students have read this year. This is how it should be organized:

Introduction/Paragraph 1
The book    (insert title)     written by     (author's name) is one of the most   (insert topic--exciting, funniest, happiest, saddest, greatest, drama filled, scariest, etc.)    books I have ever read. From the second you open it up until the last page you . . .

Body/Paragraph 2
One example from the book is . . .

Body/Paragraph 3
Another example from the book is . . .

Body/Paragraph 4
Another example from the book is . . .

Closing/Paragraph 5
This is an exciting book. If you love . . .

Please feel free to put this format into your own words. You can be creative, but it is imperative that you follow this format. Failure to do will will result in an essay that is hard to understand. Make it easy on the reader and organize your writing.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Start of the Year Blog Post

Students' first writing assignment in Reading Workshop was to write a blog post about one of the most significant events that occurred with the start of the new school year.

You can read all of the blog posts HERE

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reading for Understanding and Score Better Too!

So Reading Workshop students, do you want to get a better score on Study Island? Use the tips from this video and use the highlighter from Study Island and your scores will soar. These tips will also help when you have to read something in social studies and science.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Want to Know Your Grades?

If you want to know your grades just go to Jupiter.  Jupiter Grades is an online program (similar to Engrade, Progress Book, and others) that hosts students' grades and other information so that students, parents, and teachers can access them at any time from anywhere with Internet access.

All of students' grades and information about discipline and behavior will be posted on Jupiter. Students can check their grades daily during Brave Period, the intervention period that starts every day. If you are a parent, you will soon be receiving information to enable you to view your child's grades.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing an Essay/Blog Post

Building an essay is just taking yesterday's lesson one step further. The basic idea for building a paragraph is expanded into several paragraphs. The organization is the same.

Here is another of Mr. Heath's videos that explains the process.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Writing a Paragraph

Reading Workshop students have been setting up their blogs. Now the task of becoming a writer is ahead. We will start by looking at paragraphs and how to set up the basic paragraph.

This video by Mr. Heath explains the basic parts of a paragraph, the topic sentence, supporting details, and the conclusion.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Read Your Way to a Good Grade

Students weekly Read at Home assignment rewards extra effort. Students choose a book that they want to read from home, the library, or the bookmobile. The only requirement is that they log the title, time read, and pages.

As a teacher, I reward the students that make the most effort. Although grades are not entirely tied to how hard a student works, poor grades are reflective of a lack of work ethic.  If a student wants a better grade, just read a little more.  I even give extra credit for students that read more than 180 minutes.

A =    180 + Minutes
B =    120 - 179 Minutes
C =    60 - 119 Minutes
F =    0 - 59 Minutes

Although students have no direct assignments associated with Read at Home many of the activities and projects in class are based on the book they are reading. When students write about their book, it is easy to monitor comprehension and see if students are "getting it." The fact that students can pick their book to read helps because they can find a book that interests them.

So if you want a good grade Reading Workshop students, all you have to do is read!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dear Parents

Thank you for the opportunity to spend the year with your child in Reading Workshop. We had a great first day. I saw a lot of smiling faces and good attitudes. Students seemed glad to be back. 

Today's schedule was different than it will be the rest of the year. We started with a whole school assembly and had a walk through to discuss expectations throughout the building. We also spent a lot of time discussing routines and procedures. A major portion of the day was spent preparing students to have a successful year while explaining things like the assignment book and student handbook.

Tomorrow we will begin our regular schedule in Reading Workshop. We will start some of our regular classroom activities. Different pieces of the class will be explained and students will start to work on some of the things they will do all year.

For tomorrow, students must get a parent signature on the Blog Permission form. Soon we will be setting up an individual blog for each student. This will allow them to write essays for teachers, parents, and fellow students to read. This is an exciting learning activity that is extremely beneficial in building students' writing ability.

As the year progresses, I look forward to getting to know your child. My hope is that each sixth grader can have the best year possible. If I can help you in any way, or you have questions or comments, please let me know. Once again, thanks for sharing your child with me and all the staff at Salt Creek. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are you Nervous?

New grade, new teachers, new classmates, new shoes--it's a new school year. Everyone is nervous. All the teachers are nervous. All the students are nervous. It happens every year. It even happens to old teachers that have seen many new school years. 

Should you be nervous as you start this year in Reading Workshop? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on you.

It's really easy to succeed. It all comes down to just three things.

1.  Work hard--always do your best. Set a high standard for yourself and give it your all. Never turn in work until you are sure it is your best.

2.  Respect others--treat people kindly. Show friendship and care towards others. Help your classmates when they need it. 

3.  Be responsible--take care of yourself. You aren't a little kid any more. It's not up to me, or your mom, or dad, or grandma. Your success depends on you.

If you do these three things, you really have no reason to be nervous. You will have the best year of your life this year in sixth grade. You will learn a lot and have fun doing it. You will be successful. Your parents, grandparents, and teachers will be proud of you. 

No need to be nervous--YOU WILL SUCCEED!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What do People Say About You?

What describes you? Are you courageous, kind, caring, awesome, amazing, beautiful, cool, smart, hard working, funny, winsome, cute, pretty, friendly, smiley, thoughtful, responsible, confident, quiet, honest, loving, outgoing, leader, sincere, reliable, brave, jovial, super, great singer, joyful, good student, generous, imaginative, creative, artistic, energetic, inspiring, athletic, open minded, majestic, terrific, fabulous, keeps trying, motivated, never gives up, successful, poetic, positive, great attitude, truthful, faithful, determined, kindhearted, unforgettable, outstanding, intelligent, incredible, helpful, gifted, wise, polite, mannerly, always does her best, helps classmates, does all his work . . .

Your assignment is to write a blog post that tells of seven things people at Salt Creek say about you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How Motivated are You?

With the OAA quickly approaching, are you motivated for success?  Do you have what it takes to give your best?

Friday, April 12, 2013

OAA Reading Strategies

We have discussed reading strategies throughout the year in Reading Workshop.  What ones did you use completing the passage about Toni Morrison?

You can see the responses HERE

If you have trouble seeing the entire form, can't scroll down, or get to the submit button, on your keyboard, just hit Ctrl - (Control and the minus sign at the top of the number keypad.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

OAA Vocabulary

Here are some words you need to know.

You can see the responses HERE.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A New Word

Monday, April 1, 2013

Making an Inference

What can you figure out?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Practice Proficiency Questions

Please complete the form from your questions from the 2006 OAA.

You can see the responses HERE.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

School Survey Says . . .

A survey about our schools was distributed to families and/or posted on websites in February 2013. Approximately 402 surveys were returned. The results below show the percentages of those who “strongly agree” or “agree” with each statement.  

Percentage of those who “strongly agree” or “agree.”
1. My child’s school has high expectations for students. 
2. Firm, but fair, discipline is maintained in this school. 
3. Our school has my child’s best interest at heart. 
4. I am kept informed about my child’s progress in class. 
5. Students are recognized and praised when they excel. 
6. Students get along well with other students. 
7. School buildings are in good condition. 
8. Parents and the school staff work together when a problem arises. 
9. I am proud that my children attend Logan Elm Schools. 
10. Student learning is a very high priority in our school district. 
11. The school staff is committed to improving student performance. 
12. Teachers willingly help students when asked. 
13. People in this school prepare students to be successful in their academics. 
14. Students who need academic help are given assistance. 
15. Students are kept informed of their grades and progress. 
16. Instruction and homework assignments are clear and easy to follow. 
17. Computers (other technology) are regularly used in our school. 
18. Administrators listen to me when I have problems. 
19. Administrators treat me with respect and dignity. 
20. Administrators follow through on things needing his/her attention. 
21. Administrators are visible in the building and at school activities. 
22. Administrators are friendly and helpful. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

An Amazing Story of a Reader

Savannah never read a chapter book before this year.  Somehow she got to six grade and never finished a chapter book.  She was a fake reader.  She tried reading Scat five times last year.  She kept getting lost and restarting.  It didn't matter because she didn't get it anyway.  Besides, reading gave her a headache.  

Talking about second grade she said, "They pulled me out because I couldn't read. I was just below average."  In her pullout class, she had to read these little books and little pamplet stories.  She just really didn't read though.

Her grandpa started the change.  He would read with her.  He would help her figure out the words.  It started with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  That was the only book she liked.

She came to sixth grade and had to start logging her reading for her Read at Home assignment.  At first she just logged what she wanted her goal to be so she had to read that night.  Then she found The Hunger Games.  She connected to the story and it made her want to read.  She finished the series and found other good books to read.

Before she knew what happened, she began to read because she liked it.  Now she reads at least an hour each night.  Her mom has to make her stop reading.  She reads books, understands them, and writes about them.  The last book she read she finished in two days.  She's an amazing story and the story is just beginning.  Great things are ahead for this girl that just became a reader.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Compare and Contrast Families

The latest assignment in Reading Workshop is to describe the family in the SSR book students are reading.  Then they have to compare and contrast that family with their own.  This is just another assignment in the group as students are working to respond to a prompt.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Your Dream?

Do you dare enough to dream?  What is your dream?  Although this clip is from a couple of years ago, the power of the song and the message hasn't weakened.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Organization for Writing a Response Post

The assignment to students was to write a blog post about how the main character in the book they are reading responds to problems he/she faces using specific details from the text to support their points.  

These are the two methods of organizing the essay:

¶1  Introduction—Title, author, purpose for writing, and describe the problem
¶2  First Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶3  Second Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶4  Third Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶5  Closing—wrap it up

¶1  Introduction should include the title, author, and purpose (what you are going to write about)
¶2  First Problem's Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶3  Second Problem's Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶4  Third Problem's Response—How the character reacted and details to support it.
¶5  Closing

By the way, you can write more paragraphs. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Character in a Book

Students wrote a blog post about the main character in the book they are reading. They shared how the character acts, thinks, and feels and compare him/her to themselves. This should have an introduction and conclusion, and should be at least 5 or 6 paragraphs. Students had two days to complete this assignment.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hey Students, Who is in Charge of You?

I am spending the next three days at the Ohio Etech Conference.  This is a chance for me to be the student and learn about using technology in the classroom.  Many of the ideas that we use in Reading Workshop originated from past conference.

This brings me to the topic of this blog post


Whenever I am not at school, I learn a lot about the students.  I find out who is motivated and successful.  Is that you?  Or do you need your mom or dad or teacher telling you what to do every minute of the day, just to be successful?

Do you see a substitute teacher as someone that you can try to take advantage of or do you know that you need to be understanding and responsible?  Will you be the one that gets the sub to write a note about how this was such a great class?  Or will you get a trip down the hall to visit the principal?

Do you know that everything you do during the next three days will be for a grade?  Do you know that I will be reading blog posts about the characters in Watchers Rewind?  Do you know I will be monitoring Study Island scores?  Or are you a motivated student that is going to do your best just because you have pride in your grades and your blog?

Good luck the next three days, Reading Workshop students.  I am anxious to see how you do.  In fact, I can't wait until Thursday when we discuss this post.  In the mean time, please think about what you do and what it says about you!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Spiderwick Kind of Class

The students in 604 have been infected by Spiderwick.  Over half of the class has read at least part of Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's five book Spiderwick Chronicles series. These books venture into the world of fantasy with an easy to read style.

In book one, The Field Guide, after their parents get divorced, the three children, thirteen-year-old Mallory and her nine-year-old twin brothers, Jared and Simon move with their mother into the Victorian home where their great-aunt Lucinda lived previously.

The kids discover a world of faeries, a secret library hidden in the house, and later discover Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You in a chest in the attic. Soon after moving in, odd things begin to happen, like strange sounds in the walls, and small unexpected and unfriendly other occupants are in the house.

This is a fun series with nonstop adventure  through all five books.  It is great to see a class find a series they enjoy.  And the good news is there are three new books they can read, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How the Setting Impacts the Book

Students recently wrote a blog post about how the setting impacts the book they are reading.  We discussed the setting in the current read aloud, Watcher's Rewind written by Peter Lerangis.  In this book the whole story takes place near where a fatal accident happened.  This makes life extremely difficult for the main character, Adam Sarno.

Students also completed a lesson on Study Island, the online learning program that we use in Reading Workshop.

To see student blog posts, you can look HERE

Friday, January 11, 2013

How Involved are You in Blogging?

As the grading period comes to an end, please count and record the number of your posts and comments.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zero Tolerance for Writing Errors

Zero Tolerance
Starting today there is zero tolerance for mistakes in writingThe school year is half over.  Students in Reading Workshop have been writing every day.  The expectations for writing are for students to use the skills that have been taught.  

Students are expected to write without errors in spelling and mechanics. Each student has tools available, including a computer with word processing and spell check, a dictionary, online sites like and, peer assistance, and spelling buddies. There really is no reason for writing with mistakes, other than a lack of effort.

Students are expected to use correct punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. When an assignment is turned in with errors, students' grades will be drastically cut.  Students must edit with attention to detail or they will not pass.

If students don't know the difference between your and you're, it's time to learn.  The first letter in words in a title, proper noun or to start a sentence must be capitalized.  Tiny mistakes mean huge differences in grades.

Step it up Reading Workshop students.  The responsibility for writing cleanly and clearly is on you.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Submit Your Project for a Grade

Reading Workshop students, please copy your Element Essay and Element poem from your blog and paste them into this form to be graded.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hey Guys, Which Half are You In?

I watched as each row was dismissed.  After a few minutes, I decided it was about 50/50.  I didn't see a pattern based on age, dress, or companions.  About half of the time once a man exited his row, he stepped back and let his wife, daughter, girlfriend, and/or mother go in front of him.  The other half, he walked out in the order he left the pew.

This scene took place at a wedding I attended over Christmas break.  I am not even sure what made me notice, other than we were one of the last rows to be released by the ushers so we watched a lot of people exit.  

The guy in front of me walked out with his wife trailing about three feet behind, and he never even looked back.  You could tell that was what they were used to.  As I watched them, it bothered me a little.

So guys, which half are you in?  Do you treat ladies with respect?  What about classmates?  Do you let the door slam in the face of the person behind you?  Or do you stop and hold the door?  Do you let a girl go in front of you?  Is that uncool?  Or do you show kindness and respect to classmates?

And what about you girls?  Do you say thank you when someone shows good manners and treats you with respect?  Or is that just too old fashioned?  When someone extends an act of kindness how do you respond?  

Do manners go out of style?  Do you talk the talk, or walk the walk?  How many times a day do you say thank you?  Are good manners important when you are twelve years old?  Is it just part of being a caring and considerate person?  Or is it just something that doesn't matter until you are an adult?

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Interdisciplinary Element Project

Students will be doing an interdisciplinary research/writing project in Reading Workshop and science.  Students will choose an element from the periodic table and describe the stages of the element's life.  

The language arts grade for this project will be based on organization, creativity, PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling), completeness, and overall quality of writing.  Students will also be writing a poem about the element and it will be graded too.  The science grade will be based on content and quality of overall project as described on the project information sheet provided by Ms. Huysman.

Before beginning to write, students must know the following information:

1.   Name of element
2.   Element symbol
3.   Atomic number
4.   Atomic mass
5.   Number of protons
6.   Number of electrons
7.   Number of neutrons
8.   Date of discovery
9.   Discoverer
10. Country of discovery
11. Boiling Point
12. Melting Point
13. State of Matter
14. Family name
15. Names of family members
16. Period/group
17. Uses for element
18. Type of element

All of this information is expected to be included in the project.  The written part will be posted on student blogs.  This will be printed out and included with other parts of the project as required for science.

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