Showing posts with label Laurelville students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laurelville students. Show all posts

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Best Thing About Computers

Hey Reading Workshop students, share your opinion!

You can see the results HERE.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Call for Superman from Here

Education is in a crisis.  Set off the alarms.  Students and parents everywhere are  desperately Waiting for Superman to come and save the day.  Oprah is shouting a wake up call to America.  The only good schools are charter schools.  Public schools are failing to educate our students.

But wait, students here seem to be doing well.  Parent surveys show high levels of satisfaction with this school, and the district.  The school just earned an excellent rating from the Ohio Department of Education.  So what is the truth about the status of education today?

I know, let's do like they did in the movie and talk to some students.

Logan was a student here in Reading Workshop four years ago.  He didn't like school, and he had to work hard, but managed to get through with a lot of effort.  This year he enrolled in the carpentry program at the local vocational school.  He is excited about learning a trade, and the fact that he can learn something that really interests him.

Colby is a senior this year.  His grades are good and he plans to attend Hocking College in Police Science.  He wants to be a patrolman.

Julie was here last week as a substitute teacher.  She was a student here eleven years ago.  She has graduated from college and is certified to teach primary.  She enjoyed her day here and hopes to have the opportunity to be hired as a teacher.

Rebekha graduated last year.  She is attending Ohio Dominican University and plays softball there.  Her younger sister, Rhianna is a currently a student here.  You can read more on their story on Rhianna's blog.

Sara is currently a student at Laurelville.  She has videotaped her first movie.  She is writing daily, and sharing her thoughts on her blog, Sara's Secrets.  She is the third of four sisters to excel at Logan Elm.

Now I am really confused.  Everywhere that Davis Guggenheim looks, he sees failure.  The five students he chose for his movie have tragic stories.  I'll bet he is coming here to film Superman II just to be fair and show both sides of the story.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We Need Jesse Stuart, Right Here, Right Now

I was reading The Thread That Runs So True again recently.  As I read this novel, a couple of Jesse Stuart's thoughts hit home.  He discussed the inequalities of education in eastern Kentucky in the early 20th century.  As a teacher in a district dealing with a building levy failure, and facing the challenge of getting an income tax levy passed again, I couldn't help but wonder how we could have come so far, but have so far to go.

In this autobiography, Jesse Stuart tells of his life as a school teacher in rural Kentucky in the 1930-40's. The book focuses on his efforts to make positive changes in education and the  influence good teachers can have on their students. Many of the stories are funny, others a little sad as he tells of the challenges his students face to become educated.

He states:
I couldn't understand why a child born in the city or town should have a better education than a child born among the valleys or on the hills.  Why shouldn't a boy at Sassafras, Kentucky be as well educated as a boy in Boston or Manhattan?  It seems to me, the democratic public school system needed some democratic reforms. 

As I read this, I thought about the 100 year old building that my students come in to every day.  The one where they walk down three flights of stairs to the basement to go to the bathroom.  Where the floor in the gym has broken tiles and waves like the ocean on a breezy day.  While in every surrounding district, in every direction, student go to school in brand new buildings, with large rooms, and every convenience.

Stuart also says:
I love the state of Ohio because the people move.  They do things.  They don't wait.  They believe in progress.  And at this time it was debatable whether Ohio or California rated tops in the nation's schools.

I love teaching at Laurelville. The teachers I work with are unbelievably dedicated.  The staff wants to be here. And the students are absolutely the best.  They work hard and achieve with amazing success.  

But, after reading Jesse Stuart's stories from 70, 80, and even 90 years ago, I can't help but wonder, where is the equality in education?  Why do students all over the state and the country have new buildings?  Why do students in so many other schools have the latest technologies?  Do the students of Laurelville deserve any less?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a Teacher Hopes for from a Student Blogger

Hadley has written 45 posts since September 17.  Most students in Reading Workshop write one or two posts a week.  Hadley has averaged four posts a week.  She writes cleanly and in an engaging style that tells a great story, and sparks many questions.

That's not the only thing that sets her apart.  She gets what matters.  Her posts share her thoughts, ideas, and opinions.  Posts often make the reader laugh and lots of times makes them smile. Her writing style draws in the reader. She posts regularly, writing in the evening after school, on weekends, and snow days.  She reads many of her peer's blogs, and comments on them.

Here is an excerpt from the post A Gray/Brown/Non-white Christmas
 Q :I hate it! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! What do I hate?
I don’t get it. Do the snow Gods hate me? Was Elvis trying  to tell me something? I don’t know! I do know one thing, though; I WANT SNOW!

Another example from Team Laurelville
In the classroom, there are lots of places for good sportsmanship. Like when your worst enemy gets mentioned because he/she does a good deed, makes a great blog post, or when they get their named mentioned on The Reading Workshop, you should say “Great” or “I like the post” or something like that since they did a good job. Maybe since you did that to them, when you do something you’re proud of, they might treat you the same. The Golden Rule can work with more than just adult life!!

For a great read, and an excellent example of what a student blog should look like, just visit Hadley's Planet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quit That Book

I thought it was funny when she quit her first book of the year, especially when I saw the book.  The Magician's Elephant by DiCamillo is an exciting story and a fairly easy read.  Plus, she seems to like to read so . . .

. . . But then when a teacher from another class brought in the book that she found in her classroom, it all came together.  When you loose a book, you pretty much have to quit reading it.  You don't have to pretend to return it and try to fake out your teacher though.

There are good reasons to quit reading a book.  These include:

1.  The book is boring;
2.  You cannot understand the story, even when you reread parts of it;
3.  There are several words on each page that you don't know and can't figure out;
4.  Once you get into the book, you realize the topic or genre does not interest you;
5.  The topic or some of the details make you uncomfortable;
6.  The book just is not that good of a book;
7.  You can't finish the book in a couple of weeks ( It is too long).

In Reading Workshop, I am hoping for a lot of used books on the shelves by the end of the year.  This can only happen when books are read.  Quit reading if you have a good reason, but not because you lost the book.

Image from

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Students Speak

Students recently completed a Reading Workshop Student Survey.  This is an easy way for me to see their thoughts and opinions about our class.  Frequently new ideas or changes in focus come from information the students supply.  The survey was embedded in the blog using a form from Google Docs.

Thank you to the students for the effort and honesty in their responses.  To see the complete answers, visit the Reading Workshop Blog Student Survey.  However, here are a few interesting excerpts.

My Favorite part of Reading Workshop . . .

My favorite part of the Reading Workshop is our awesome blogs. I really like to put our opinion on our blogs and have other people comment and even if they disagree with you it is fun to see what they say.

My favorite part of the Reading Workshop is SSR because I really like to read.

My favorite part of reading workshop is getting to write about what I have read and just getting to be able to make post that people can read from all over the world.

If I Were the Teacher . . .

If I were a teacher I would tell my students to try and not sit at a desk do nothing because if you don't do anything then what's the point in going to school? Students have to understand school is not just a place to chat with friends and spread gossip. School is where you go to learn so you have to try.

If I was a teacher what would I help students learn is how to be successful with their life so when they need a job they can just go out and get one.

To help students learn I would have them take notes of everything and if they get stuck then they can look back in there notes and if they still don't get it then I would explain it to them. And if that don't work then I have no clue.

What has helped you most . . .

Bethany K
One thing that has mostly helped me to be more successful in the Reading Workshop would mostly be SSR, because it helps us learn words and help you out with life.

I think blogging has helped me become successful by helping me be my own original person, and not like everyone else. It also helped me learn how to get into the hard core details and become a better writer.

Hannah Hop.
I think that our blogs have helped me be most successful in Reading Workshop because it pushes me to understand my book, to comment, and to post.

How Much Does Study Island Help You?

1 -
Very Little Help     



5 -
Extremely Helpful

How Much Does Brain Pop Help You?

1 -
Very Little Help     



5 -
Extremely Helpful

What is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Reading Workshop?


Read Aloud

Study Island



Brain Pop

Group Work (like on Reading Articles)

People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

To see the complete answers, visit the Reading Workshop Blog Student Survey.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Tug of War of Learning

What issues are pulling you?  What keeps you from learning?  No one goes through life consciously wishing to fail.  Everyone has thoughts of success.  Some people just find it easier to overcome obstacles.

 On Tuesday, as we returned from a week out of school for Thanksgiving break, the word for the day was "disjointed."  The break was long enough that getting back into doing school seemed weird.  Brains just did not seem to be working quite right.  The tug of a week without in-depth thinking left many students and teachers walking through the day with a dazed look.

One of the biggest problems in attaining a high level of achievement is knowing your road blocks.  In all of us, there is a constant tug of war between success and failure.  In order to maximize the chances of winning, you must first know what is getting in your way.

What is tugging on your rope?  How can you win the tug of war to succeed?

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stars Shine at Board of Education Meeting

Thank you to the Logan Elm Board of Education for allowing us to share information about the Reading Workshop during their November Board meeting.  As their rotating schedule brought them to Laurelville Elementary, they granted us the opportunity to share how technology is enhancing the education of our students.

Three Reading Workshop students shared how the use of technology affects their education.  Ian discussed how he uses his blog to share thoughts and opinions about books that he reads like in his post on Soldier's HeartHadley talked about having a place  as a writer to share events in her life.  Hannah shared the opportunity she has to be a published writer and to work as an editor on Logan Elm Sports Spot.

These students did an amazing job, presenting like they had long been professional speakers.  All related the benefits of blogging from their own perspective, and used their blog to support their points.  Laurelville Elementary, Logan Elm, and The Reading Workshop can be proud of having students of this caliber to represent us.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Responses to the President

Students were given excerpts from the President's speech and asked to respond. Many of the comments were insightful, and showed a real understanding of what it takes to be successful.
Excepts taken from Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. (1)Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, (2) paying attention in class, or (3) spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or (4) volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll (5) decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
So today, I want to ask you, (7) what’s your contribution going to be? (8) What problems are you going to solve? (9) What discoveries will you make? (10) What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too.
So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Barack Obama talks about how he wants children to do their best in everything that we do, and I am inspired to do my best finishing assignments and turning everything in.

Hannah H.:
Kids should stand up for other people that are being teased or bullied.

Jacob P.:
I believe that if you work your hardest you can be successful, and to work your hardest you must set goals for yourself. My goal is to give 110% this school year.

Jacob A.:
I think that paying attention in class is important because if you don't pay attention, you will not learn anything, and you will not become successful.

If you work hard, do your best, set goals, and always have a positive attitude you will be successful in life. . . If you get a good education in school, you will be successful when you are an adult.

When I read this I thought, "we can make a difference, and we can make the World a better place."

I agree when he said, "spend time each day reading a book." I think this can help you learn more words and help you like to read.

I think that if you start something, you should work as hard as you can until you finish.

Justin G:
I think that people should listen to the good things that Barack Obama has to say, even if they don't like him. I agree with him when he says that when the going tets tough, you will have to keep on going. I think you should try your hardest, no matter what.

You have to commit to what it is you are doing. If you don't, you will not succeed. That one word, "commit" means a lot and makes a big difference.

Hannah C.:
The part that really sticks out to me the most is where he said, "Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is."

I have a goal: Make every day better than the last!

If you set a goal, and try to reach that goal, you are pushing yourself to do better. If you set and reach goals, people around you will recognize your progress and be proud of you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Achievement Testing Online

The Ohio Department of Education has a portal into all of their Achievement Test Resources. Teachers, parents, and students can access this to meet a variety of needs. Teachers can actually build tests, using previous versions, or based on chosen content standards. Parents can look at past tests to see tests their child has taken. Students can practice for the Achievement Test.

In Reading Workshop, I am using this site to prepare students for the OAT that they will take on Monday. The ability to create lessons, using past tests provides online practice that is directly tied to skills and vocabulary necessary for good results. It allows students to familiarize themselves with all aspects of the OAT.

The practice test also provide immediate feedback on multiple choice questions. This is an example of an answered question.

Question 1

What mood is expressed when Bud closes his eyes in the beginning of the selection?

A. He is unhappy because he just walked to the library and up a tall set of stairs.
If a student chooses A, he or she may not understand that the author is implying that Bud is happy to be in the library. Bud does not close his eyes because he is unhappy, though someone may close his or her eyes if he or she is feeling sad.

B. He is excited to feel the page powder on his face so he can fall asleep.
If a student chooses B, he or she may not realize that Bud’s closing his eyes does not mean that he wants to feel the page powder on his face, though he does describe the page powder in great detail later in the selection.

C. He is comfortable with the mixture of smells in the library.
At the beginning of the selection, Bud says he closes his eyes. It is at this point in the story that he begins to describe the unique library smells, showing his mood of happiness and his feeling of comfort.

D. He is nervous about a plan to find Miss Hill.
If a student chooses D, he or she may know that a person may close his or her eyes when nervous. However, the author is not attempting to show that Bud is nervous or trying to think of a plan until the end of the selection.

The green check designates a correct answer. If the question is answered incorrectly, a red X would be placed by their answer. If students will take the time to read the explanations, each answer is a mini-lesson in itself.

Short answer and extended response questions are available also. The rubric to score them is there, for teachers to evaluate students' work. After using this tool in our classroom, I can't help but wonder, when will we be able to take the OAT online?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Can Learn a Lot in 2nd Grade

I had to see Mrs. Sturgell, a 2nd grade teacher about the Relay for Life. When I walked into her room, she was pausing her read aloud for the day to take attendance. I picked up the book, joined her students on the carpet, and finished the read aloud. There sure was a lot of learning taking place today in 2nd grade.

In this case though, the one doing the learning was me. I was reading a book about the water cycle. Although it was a picture book, the vocabulary seemed appropriate for much older students. This was a reading/science lesson that ended with a plea for water conservation.

The first thing I learned was just how smart eight year olds are. They knew a lot of things about a lot of things. Talking about evaporation, one boy said, "you can't see water evaporate because it turns into a gas, and gasses are clear." In fact, in the twenty minutes that I was there, they could jump into every topic, usually with something relevant, and often informative.

I learned that second grade teachers are all about interdisciplinary lessons. This class, although science based, focused on several reading skills including vocabulary, and using context clues. It also had social studies ties about recycling and contributing to society through recycling.

I also learned that second grade is fun. Students wanted to contribute to the discussion. Even when they were wrong, they would jump back in with a comment, or to try to answer a question. Their enthusiasm brightened the room and my day. Today, in just a few minutes, I discovered, you sure can learn a lot in 2nd grade (and the kids can too).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

OAT Survey

Students in Reading Workshop took the 2006 Reading Ohio Achievement Test as a practice run on Monday. We then scored the test, using the test rubric. This survey is a chance for me to collect students' opinions about the test, and the process.

You can see the results on the Reading Workshop Wikipage Practice Test Survey Results

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Bad Little Boy

He was right in front of me, so I couldn't help but watch him. I would guess he was about four years old. If I would have acted that way when I was his age, I am sure my mom would have taken me out of the gym and given me an education on proper behavior.

The Laurelville Spring Program was last night. The band played and students sang, danced, and bounced balls to the rhythm of the music. It was a good night and the students did a good job showcasing their talent. Throughout the program though, my eyes were continually drawn to this little boy.

He stood on his chair. He talked continuously. He hit his older brother. He ran up and down the aisle. At one point, he went almost the whole length of the gym and carried a chair that was bigger than him, back beside his mom. He placed it in the aisle, and sat in it, although only for about 30 seconds before he was on the move again.

His older brother, who was about 8 or 9 tried to keep him under control. This resulted in a few punches. His mom made several comments to him, which he ignored in a way that showed he was quite practiced at not listening. The best way to describe him--a bad little boy that is 47 pounds of terror.

Questions pounded through my head throughout the program. Does he always act this way? Does his mom ever discipline him? Was she embarrassed by his bad behavior? Why was his eight year old brother trying to correct him, while his mom mostly just sat there? How did his brother know right from wrong, but he didn't? Will he act like this in sixth grade?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting Ready for "The Test"

Test TakerCopiers are firing off worksheets and pencil sharpers are grinding away. This time of year, The Reading Workshop, like almost every other classroom in the United States is focusing on preparing for the Achievement Test. Last year, Laurelville students received an excellent rating. This sets a high standard for this year, and students are working hard to prepare for testing beginning the week of April 20.

Some of the activities include:

1. Before school intervention classes with small groups of students are held each morning to assist fifth and sixth grade students with specific skill needs.
2. Peer tutoring on Study Island in areas of specific weaknesses help students address each content area.
3. The sixth grade will have a practice run-through of the Achievement test on Monday, March 23 for reading, and Wednesday, March 25 for math.
4. Students will review scored practice tests and rewrite incomplete or wrong short answer and extended response questions.
5. Students are taking past OAT written response questions and learning the proper format to most-likely answer correctly.
6. The 2006 Seventh Grade Reading Achievement Test is being used to practice on typical, although somewhat harder passages.
7. Group work and cooperative learning activities help students share techniques for comprehension and finding information with peers.
8. Daily class discussions focus on addressing students' needs and sharing ideas that make success more likely.

Students are working hard and learning many skills that will make them better test takers. When the time comes, I am sure their results will reflect the effort they are putting forth each day in class.

Image from

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where Does Hard Work Come From?

Some students work sooooooo hard. No matter what the task is in Reading Workshop, they give it their best. Where does the motivation come from?

At eleven years old, a sixth grade student doesn't consciously decide to be motivated and work hard. There must be some inner drive that pushes them to succeed. Even when the task is daunting, some students persevere.

In some cases I am sure students see it modeled at home. Parents that work hard are bound to influence their children. Many parents push their child to succeed in school. However, not all hard working students have this type of support at home.

Some sixth graders may be beginning to think about their future. Ideas of a college education and a successful career may start at this age. Also, watching someone else who is successful, might cause students to emulate behaviors.

Really though, it seems like in most hard working students, the effort they put forth is just part of their being. Something in their make-up pushes them when others would quit. In fact, I wonder if the hard workers even recognize how they are different.

What do you think? Can you explain the motivation to succeed? Is it something a person is born with? Can someone learn to work hard?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Service, One Student's View

Recently in the Reading Workshop, students have been writing persuasive essays. This is a guest post by student author Rachael J.

Kids should be really encouraged to be a part of community service. The reason I believe this is because the University of Michigan says that “it is common knowledge that volunteers get much more out of their service experience than they expect.” Sometimes kids really need to get their hands dirty to see how rewarding community service can be! Community service can really be a better teaching tool than sitting in a classroom. Kids learn more if they actually do something.

Community service has made huge differences in student's motivation and in communities. Researcher Diane Hedin indicates, “the biggest problem students must overcome in school is a lack of motivation” (Hedin 1989) If a student is dreading school because “it's boring”, that can be changed! Get the students involved! Kids like to feel needed! They like to know that they did something that someone would appreciate. “One of the most effective ways is by strengthening students’ relationships with their community and helping them become more personally engaged in their education through national service (

Community service makes students feel good. I know this because I got involved. It was on Make a Difference day and Mrs. Woods asked for volunteers. I did not know what I was going to be doing that day, but I then found out that it was raking leaves for people that could not do it themselves. Now, I have plenty of leaves to rake at home, so I have raked leaves before. Our neighbors get mad if we don’t rake them up because they would blow into their yard. Anyway, it felt really good to do something for others and they really appreciate it. Plus, it cleaned up our community, right here in Laurelville, the town that is not even found on a map.

Little things can make a huge difference. Cleaning up your community might even improve your community's ways of life. If you have a clean and environmentally-friendly community, then the people inside the community can go outside without finding a hobo in their dumpster. What does this have to do with community service and students? Well, as the saying goes, you get back what you give, but you get back even more with volunteering for community service. With just a few hours of your time, you help your community, and in the long run, your community helps you.

A clean community can give back in many ways. Students can help their community in so many ways. They can supply fresh air for us to breath, clean water for us to drink, healthy crops for us to eat, and an awesome community to live in. Seriously, if you want to keep Hocking County beautiful then make a difference and get out there and help your community.

You can read more of Rachael's work on her blog, Notes From Rachael.

Traits of a Successful Team of Teachers

Students in Reading Workshop recently took a survey, questioning their knowledge of the personality traits of their teachers on the post Who Am I? There were several surprises in the survey and some fairly predictable results.

According to the Laurelville students:

Mrs. Cartee is down to Earth, easy going and builds relationships. She is supportive, soft-hearted and caring, but can be tough when needed.

Mrs. Griffey is full of energy, enthusiasm and drama, while being honest and driven for success.
Mrs. Bower is full of ideas with a never-ending passion for seeing students succeed.

Mrs. Caudill helps students when they don't understand. She has high expectations.

Mrs. Blubaugh is there when students don't get it. They know they can count on her to help them out.

Mrs. Stevenson is a good listener that is honest and practical. Her easy going way helps build trust.

Mrs. Little is trustworthy and doesn't judge people. You can count on her when the going gets tough because she cares.

Mrs. Scott is soft-hearted and supportive, but can be tough when needed. She is a good listener.

Ms. Bowlby has a lot of ideas and a passion for success. She supports her students and believes in them.

Mr. McGuire pushes students to be successful. He has high expectation and says so in an honest, straightforward manner.

I found it interesting that different students had different perceptions of the teachers. Also, what I thought was the correct answer--or description of some of the teachers, was not the opinion of the majority. The descriptions above were based on what the majority of responders answered.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The 2nd Click is Worse Than the First

What happens when a student in Reading Workshop misses a question on Study Island?  They click on the next choice, of course.

This is how it works:

1.  A student logs on to Study Island and chooses the topic.
2.  He looks at the question and then skims the essay.
3.  He rereads the question and answer choices.
4.  He clicks on the one that sounds right.
5.  He says, "shoot, I missed it."
6.  Then he goes mouse crazy--Click, Click, Click

Somewhere along the way, he gets the right answer.  After all, there are only four choices, so he has to get it right sooner or later.  For some reason, after students miss a question, the rate of answering speeds up. 


When a student misses an answer, they need to

S    L    O    W        D    O    W    N!

The key to good scores is to missing as few as possible.  When a student misses with their first choice, the odds increase from a 25% chance to a 33% chance of getting the question right.  If a student uses the skill of eliminating nonsensical answers, at the worst he would have a 50/50 shot at answering the question correctly. 

I am not sure why missing an answer causes students to go click crazy and start guessing, but I have seen it happen over and over.   For students that want to be successful on Study Island, missing an answer means it is time for super slow motion.  Reread the essay. Reread the question.  Find the place in the passage the question is focusing.  Eliminate bad answers.  Then you will be ready to get the answer right!

Who Am I?

Monday, February 23, 2009

You Need to Start Acting Like a First Grader

I just happened to be walking down the first grade hallway when I overheard one of the first grade teachers talking to a little boy. Although the teacher said it in a nice way, the implications were clear. It was time to straighten up. This little boy had better correct his actions or bad time were ahead (see the title).

This caused me to start to think about expectations in Reading Workshop. I had to be out one day last week. The students had an assignment to write a comment to a blog post. Although I usually don't assign commenting to a post, I decided this would be a great opportunity for a writing assignment.

When I started to read the comments, they were horrible. There were mistakes everywhere. Words were misspelled. Capitals were missing on proper nouns and to start sentences. The grammar was like something from a language arts horror film.

Needless to say, when I got back the next day, I was irked. Although I am usually a poster child for happiness and joy, I put on the ugly face. I screamed and shouted, grunted and groaned, and made all kind of mean remarks. I showed examples and made examples of poor work.

Amazingly, that day, I got the best work I have had all year. Words were spelled correctly, Sentences had correct punctuation and capitalization. Students' writing made sense and made the reader think and wonder. The overall quality was excellent.

What does this tell me? Students will work to the level of expectations. If I expect the impossible, and won't accept any less, they will raise the quality of their work all the way to the stars. Get ready kiddos--you proved to me that I need to expect the impossible, and you will come through!