Monday, October 29, 2007

Co-writing with 4th Grade

Today, the sixth graders were the teachers in Writing Workshop. Mrs. Wolfe's fourth grade language arts class came up to our room to co-write a response to the book, Mountain Magic, written by Alice Boggs Lentz. The question was: How does the main character feel about growing up in the mountains? Use examples from the book to support your answers.

Mrs. Wolfe read the book aloud. The book is the story of a family's journeys home to their grandmother's home in the mountains. The visits are filled with "magic" memories. The sixth grade students did an excellent job as "teachers." They helped their students formulate responses that started with topic sentences, and supported their answer with details from the book.

Tomorrow we will finish answers, revise for content, edit for mistakes, and then publish a final draft on the computers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

1st Nine Weeks Ending

We are back from break and students are working hard to finish up writing projects before the end of the 1st nine weeks. Projects due include: Letter about SSR book, Journal-If I was the Teacher, Describe the Character worksheet, and any assignments not completed due to absences.

Students, as always, can check their grades on Engrade to see how they stand.

Opportunities for extra credit are winding down, but here is a chance:

What is the shortest sentence possible?

An answer showing effort is worth 1 point. The correct answer is worth 3 points.

Go for it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Show

The Pumpkin Show,
The Pumpkin Show,
My oh my, I love it so,
So take my hand and off we'll go
Let's all go to the Pumpkin Show

Ted Lewis wrote this song many years ago and we have reached that point in our school year. It is time for our fall break. Many will be headed to Circleville for the Pumpkin Show. Sixth grade students should be commended for a job well done, so far this year. Students have been working hard, and making good progress. Discipline/behavior problems have been minimal. SSSoooooo--enjoy your break sixth graders!

I am not saying I am going to enjoy it but-take a look at me. I am headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my beagles for 5 days.

Congrats to our latest Study Island Students of the Day, Haley, Collin, Dillon, and Cody.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Committees For Writing Workshop

In Writing Workshop, we are improving through the use of committees. Each class has a Revision Committee and an Editing Committee. As students move through the writing process, the committee members help improve writing, peer tutor, and assist with grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

The process includes:

Step 1 Thinking, Prewriting, First Draft
Students can either write out the first draft or type it on a computer. If they write it out, they type it before going to step 2.

Step 2 Revision Committee
A member of the Revision Committee reads the first draft and writes down any questions he/she has as they read.

Step 3 Revise Content
Students use the questions to revise and improve the content.

Step 4 Editing Committee
Once students have checked their writing for mistakes, they go over it with a member of the Editing Committee checking for errors in spelling, sentencing, punctuation, and capitalization.
Students clean up mistakes, and print out a clean copy. Students then meet with a different member of the Editing Committee for a final look, checking for any mistakes.

Step 5 Correct Mistakes, Final Draft
Students correct any remaining mistakes, and give their essay a final look.
Students then print a final draft and turn in to be graded.

6-B Revision Committee

6-A Revision Committee

6-B Editing Committee

6-A Editing Committee

Peer Tutoring at Work

Congratulations to our Study Island Students of the Day, Catherine and Scotty!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Calendar of Events


October 12 Picture Day
October 15-29 PTO Fall Fundraiser
October 17-19 No School Pumpkin Show break
October 26 End of 1st nine weeks
October 31 Halloween Parade @ 1:30
November 2 Grade Cards
November 5 Awards Assembly Grades 4-6 @10:00
November 14 Schoolwide Achievement Night 5:30
November 20 Parent/Teacher Conferences 4:00-7:30
November 21-26 Thanksgiving Break
November 28-29 Author Sandra Philipson Visits

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Study Island

Students work daily in reading and math with the online learning program from Study Island. This program is based on the Ohio State Standards. It has lessons that help teach each topic and remediates when students do not pass a topic. Students can do sessions anywhere they have internet access. adjusts

Each day a Study Island Student of the Day is chosen from each class. The winners receive an award certificate, a piece of candy,


You can tell by the look on Shayna's face, that when a student gets "The Chair"
They spend a day in class living in luxury!

Congratulations to today's Study Island Students of the Day--Cail J., Seth R., Molly V., and Chris T.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Reward Recess

Some students got to go outside for 20 minutes of special reward recess today. Students who had 0 or 1 write-ups in the behavior notebook for the month of September received this reward. They got to go out on the playground, enjoy a special snack, and get out of class. Great job to these hard workers!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rambunctious Readers

Check out some shots from today!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Grades for the fifth and sixth grade students are available at all times on Engrade. Grades are stored online and can be accessed by any computer on the internet. Each student has his/her own account and must log on with a username and password to see their grades. If students and/or parents have a question their grades, all they have to do is follow the link to the Engrade website.

Students set up their accounts yesterday, so now their grades are available on line 24/7 for science, social studies, reading, and writing. We used Engrade last year, and students really liked being able to access their grades whenever they want. Each day, students can check their grades during language arts class, at home, or in the Laurelville Library.

Students that want extra credit can write an essay to be used in class during Rambunctious Reading. Currently we are using an adaption from Harris and Me, written by Gary Paulsen. Students are enjoying living through the scene where Harris and Me dive bomb the pigs as they pretend they are at war.

Great job to our Study Island Students of the Day--Connor H., Josh P., Kari W., and Justin H.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Grandfriend's Day

Today is the best day of the year for a lot of students. They have fun with their grandparents/grandfriends. They get to spend time with their grandparents at school, in their classes. Some grandparents travel a long way to get to visit with their grandchildren and participate in class. We had 29 grandparents/grandfriends join our class today. Thank you for joining us.

Students worked hard preparing letters, poems, and journals. They enjoyed sharing them, and even received extra credit for reading them aloud.

AND, the best part--at the end of the day, students got to leave with their grandparents.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rambunctious Reading

Not to say that my students started out slow this morning, but this is a picture of one of the boys. This called for desperate measures. What's a reading teacher to do. Wwwweeeelllllllllll, how about some


I am always looking for new and exciting ways to make learning fun. One method we use daily is singing in the classroom. Students sing as they read the lyrics. Now, we have another way to actively learn to read. Rambunctious (energetic, boisterous, lively) Reading is a method where students work in pairs to improve their reading. One student acts out the words as he reads. The listener actively listens, affirming thoughts and statements, and commenting to the reader.

We are reading an excerpt from I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss. Students having been ouching from kicking a hard rock and sailing along. This active reading gets everyone involved--even boys that start the morning looking a little rough.

Great job to our Study Island Students of the Day--Jacob T., Dustin C., Emily S., and Trevor G.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Today is a beautiful, sunny, Monday. Usually it seems like we are slow to get back at it, but everyone seemed wide awake. Progress on letters was excellent.

Mrs. Riddle, the school principal is forming a school leadership team. Congratulations go out to our sixth grade students that are part of this team--Trevor G., Scotty D., Chris T., Katie W., and Dillon Y.

Ever want a view of paradise? This is as good as it gets.

Laurelville Elementary School

Extra Credit Question--Compare Aiden Falconer from On the Run with a character from another book.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Using a Lotus Diagram

How would you describe yourself as a reader? That is the challenge facing students with the next project. Students are writing a letter in which they examine themselves as readers, explaining likes and dislikes in the process. We used a lotus diagram to help get started.

This is the lotus created by the 6-B class.

Just click on it for a better view!

Credit for the lotus diagram goes to Mrs. Stevenson. Thanks for the idea!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Letters are Finished

Students finished their letters today on the topic, "Reasons Why I Liked the Book." The following is a letter by Dillon Y. that is a good example of what I was looking for with this project.

September 12, 2007

Dear Mr. McGuire,

I just started reading it but I love my SSR book. My book is The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis. It Is a really good book and I would recommend it to others.

I like my book because it keeps you guessing, like when the Shadow King attacked Max you thought he was in trouble but it was just a dream. Also, it's kind of like a mystery; Max and his friends, Ernie and Natalie, have to solve why the Shadow Goblin is attacking Max, which keeps me in suspense. They also have to solve why the Codex (magical book) was in Max's grandma's attic. The last mystery they have to solve is why Sprig wanted Max to release an evil shadow.

There are also several evil monsters, like the Shadow King, and all his Faeries, which are Goblins and other things which is cool because I really like reading stuff like that. The evil monsters are all ruled by the Shadow King and Oberon who are also evil monsters. It also keeps me wondering what will happen next. Like one time Max was falling off a water fall towards rocks and you thought he was dead but Sprig the the magical Spriggan swooped down out of the air and saved Max.

A Spriggan is a magical bird/monkey that came out of the Codex when Max opened it to Sprig's page. Sprig helps me like the book because he is funny and always does something you don't want him to do unless you tell him in detail. Like when Max told him he wanted to go somewhere else he took Max to a place where he could not breath.

The final reason why I like this book is because it's a series, so it will be fun to read the remaining books and see how the story develops. All of these are reasons why I love my SSR book and would recommend it to others.


Dillon Y.

Many of the letters were interesting with good supporting details based on facts from the books students are reading. Great job, sixth grade!

Don't forget, Reading Logs are due on Friday. Students must read at least 4 times a day for at least 15 minutes each day to get a C. To get an A, students must read at least 180 minutes for the week.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Get What You Give

This is our topic for this week. We are singing a version of the New Radicals song You Get What You Give. Here is the chorus:

You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is going to pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
We only get what we give

We discussed how everyone has special talents and skills inside them. Students recognized that reason to live doesn't just mean staying alive, but means getting the most out of life. Success comes from not giving up, extra effort, and hard work!

Students--for extra credit in reading comment about our read aloud book by Gordon Korman on today's blog with a prediction of what will happen if Aiden and Meg from On the Run, Chasing the Falconers try to find Frank Lindenauer.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hot, Hot, Hot

Great job to all Laurelville Elementary students for their hard work, especially considering the heat. Yesterday the top floor was above 90 degrees for much of the afternoon. The fact that we have 75 computers in the three language arts classes only adds to the heat.

Students showed remarkable determination working through the afternoons all this week. I am proud of their effort and great attitudes. The weather is supposed to break soon, and this should make it much easier for everyone to concentrate.

Every student turned in their Reading Log. Great job, 6th grade!

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Singing in Class

We sing daily in reading class. The lyrics are shown on the wall with a DLP projector. Students read the words as they sing. This helps students build fluency. They learn to read words in chunks, and look for familiar phrases. We also work on vocabulary. Since we started this several years ago, it has consistently improved students' reading levels, and improved test scores. It also is a great way to learn while having fun.

Currently we are singing Welcome to the 60's. This is from the movie Hairspray.

We are revising the friendly letters. We have been working on writing on topic, and supporting that with details from the book. We are also editing with focus on capitalization, punctuation, and correct letter format.

A student (who I won't name Shayna) followed the rules for capitalization to the T. Our NOTES for the day were:

1.first word in a sentence
2.proper nouns—names of people, places, and things
3.first letter of words in a title

When this unnamed student (Shayna) brought up her paper, every I on the page was in cap's. The NOTES now say, "I when used as a word." She made my afternoon and I am still smiling about it.

Congrats to our Study Island Students of the Day, Shelby C. and Caleb F.

Read at Home Logs are due tomorrow--Friday, September 7.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Details from the Book

Today we focused on the letter project. The topic of the day was adding details that support your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. We discussed the W's--what kind, why, when, who, where, and how. This should give letters about SSR books a lot more information, and make them more interesting.

Congrats to our Study Island Students of the Day, Alina S and Josh P.

Also, good job to Scotty D. for answering the Question of the Day!

Grades will soon be available at all times on-line at Engrade.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Great 1st Week

As we finish up the first week, I am pleased about such a great first week of school. Many of the procedures we will use throughout the year are already habits. The sixth grade students worked hard and accomplished a lot. If this kind of effort continues, this class will go down as one of the best!

Congratulations to the Study Island Student of the Day,

Dillon Y., Cody C., Shayna T., and Justin H.

Students receive a certificate, piece of candy, and get their name on the door recognizing outstanding performance on our on-line learning program.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Letter Writing

Today we focused on writing a friendly letter and the proper format. We discussed setting the tone in the opening, putting facts and details in the body, and wrapping it up in the closing. The topic of this "Dear Mr. McGuire" letter is "Reasons Why I Like the Book I am Reading for SSR." Students must support their reasons with details from the book. This will count as a reading and writing grade.

Students are becoming a little more familiar with Ubuntu, the operating system of the 24 dells in our classroom. We use Open Office 2.2 to word process all of the published pieces of writing. This freeware is similar to Office, but without the cost. The on-line learning with Study Island is done using the Firefox browser.