Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Pact in Reading Workshop

"Joey Banks is a walking adventure. He’s funny, daring, mischievous—and frequently in trouble. Or he would be if anyone found out about half the stuff he’s done. But Rusty Cooper knows how to keep a secret. And Joey’s the best friend he’s ever had." This is Teachers @ Random House description of the book, Swear to Howdy, written by Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading Workshop opened this year with the read aloud of the story of two best friends and their first adventure. Every time Joey and Rusty have an exciting or adventurous undertaking, they make a pact to never tell anyone.

Similarly, we are writing a pact as part of writing workshop. Below is my commitment to Reading Workshop. In class today, students wrote their planned course of action and goals for our class this year. I hope to read a lot of plans for hard work, responsibility, and effort to succeed.

Sixth Grade Reading Pact

Pact
  1. A formal agreement, such as one between nations; a treaty.

  2. A compact; a bargain.


As the teacher, I agree to do my best to make class interesting, challenging, and worthwhile. There will be times of fun, and times of serious contemplation. I will share my opinions, and ask you for yours. I will start each day new, forgetting bad times and mistakes, but build on successes. I will make mistakes, but will keep trying even when I would rather not.


I will share good books, and expect you to join in on discussions, both written and oral. I will make you a better reader and writer, pushing you to learn all you can learn throughout your sixth grade year. And, most of all, I will do all I can to make this year one you will always remember as the best ever.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Conversation with a Parent

Last night, at Open House a parent came up and asked about the blog. She said, "we bought a new computer so we could get on the blog. Our old computer didn't work that well, and we wanted to be sure that we could always get on."

I doubt if she could even imagine how her comment, and her commitment to her son's education affected me. She has my respect for her effort to be involved with her child, and help make him successful.

As the writer of the blog, I am humbled. I appreciate the time that parents, students, teachers, and friends take to read it. I am thankful for the effort students and parents put forth in reading and commenting. I also feel responsible for making this worthwhile for the reader.

As I drove home last night, I thought about what a great feeling this parent gave to me to start the year. Thank you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Words that Count

Once they are assigned, students are responsible for WTC and Vocabulary words in all of their writing. They also have writing assignments using the WTC and Vocab words.

Week 1
WTC

Sincerely--I sincerely hope you do well.
because--She ran because she was afraid.
Laurelville--Laurelville Elementary is my favorite school.
write/writing--Please write your first and last name.
right--Did you make the right choice?
your--We went to your house.
you’re--You're allowed to go to the movies.

VOCAB
responsibility--The Reading Log is your responsibility.
strategy--Do you have a strategy for success?
blurb--The blurb tells what the a little bit about the book.
monitor--The teacher monitored your progress.
______________________________________________________________
Week 2
WTC
there--Sit over there.
their--They went to their grandmother's house.
they’re--They're going tonight.
where--Where do you live?
wear--Wear your new coat to school.
we’re--We're going to lunch now.
were--We were late for school.

VOCAB
specific--Be specific when you describe your thoughts.
details--Use details to explain your idea.
memory--My memory is fading.
memoir--We are writing a memoir.

______________________________________________________________
Week 3
WTC
aloud--Read aloud to your partner.
allowed--Are you allowed to go to the game?
very--She is very smart.
vary--The student's ages vary.
peace--She painted a peace sign.
piece--I want a piece of pizza.

VOCAB

revise--Did you revise your letter?
difficult--The job was difficult.
important--Listening in class is important.

______________________________________________________________
Week 4

WTC

through--Walk through that door.
threw--David threw the ball
thought--Jill thought of the answer.
chews--She chews her food with her mouth closed.
choose --Choose a team to join.
wait--Wait for the bell to ring, before switching classes.
weight--His weight is going down.

VOCAB
different--What different types of pizza do you like?
relationship--What is the relationship between the two?
describe--Describe how the boy solved the problem.

______________________________________________________________
Week 5
WTC
since--He has waited since yesterday.
sense--Do you have a sense of humor?
a lot--A lot of times, students spell a lot as one word.
whose--Whose notebook is this?
who’s--Who's packing today?

VOCAB
context--Use context clues to figure out the word.
connect--Connect the pieces together.
connection--What connection do you have?
accomplish--What do you want to accomplish in sixth grade?

______________________________________________________________
Week 6
WTC
lets--My mom lets me go to the movies.
let’s--Let's go to Village Cafe.
usually--Usually we eat breakfast there.
probably--She will probably do her homework.
quite--She was not quite tall enough to ride the ride.
quiet--"Quiet," said the teacher.

VOCAB
gist--The gist is the main point of the essay.
skim--Do you skim for key words?
skimming--We practice skimming in Reading Workshop.
summarize--Summarize the article in two paragraphs.
______________________________________________________________
Week 7
WTC
example--Give an example to support your opinion.
examine--Examine your essay for mistakes.
express--Express your opinion in your journal.
extend--Extend the answer with more details.
feature--The problem is the best feature of the story.
future--Thinking about the future is exciting.

VOCAB
predict--Predict what will happen next.
respond--Respond to the question on the board.
compare--Compare the main character with yourself.
contrast--Contrast the main character with yourself.
______________________________________________________________
Week 8
WTC
possible--Anything is possible.
positive--A positive attitude helps you succeed.
position--Knowing your position in the election is important.
purpose--The purpose of the journal is to share your thoughts.
cause--The cause of the accident was unknown.
continue--Continue to read your SSR book.

VOCAB
emphasize--Emphasize your main point in the essay.
organize--Organize your answer by the sequence events occurred.
instant--It happened in an instant.
indicate--The author indicates his opinion throughout the essay.
______________________________________________________________
Week 9
WTC
accept--Did you accept the gift?
except--Everyone except for one girl was present.
break--Let's take a break.
brake--Put on the brake at the curve.
meet--Meet me after school today.
meat--The meat they served was ham.

VOCAB
quality--The quality of the essay was excellent.
quantity--The quantity of books was more than expected.
audience--The audience listened closely.
attitude--Her attitude was excellent.
______________________________________________________________
Week 10
WTC
straight--Go straight home after school.
strait--The ship went through the strait.
reason--Give three reasons for the delay.
result--The results were different than expected.
react--She reacted with surprise.
report--Report to class immediately after recess.

VOCAB
sequence--Do you know the sequence of events?
sort--Sort out the topics by genre.
select--Select the gist from the choices listed.
selection--Read the selection to your partner.
______________________________________________________________
Week 11
WTC
weather
whether
color
collar
guess
equal

VOCAB
imagine
contain
create
creative
______________________________________________________________
Week 12
WTC
follow
farther
familiar
famous
actually
already

VOCAB
various
variety
evaluate
evaluation
______________________________________________________________
Week 13
WTC
appear
article
arguement
around
built
business

VOCAB
acquire
acqisition
anticipate
develop

Reading Workshop Notes

1/21/09 Correct Commenting
Thanks to
Sister Salad,

1. Use correct punctuation
2. Capitalize proper nouns
3. Don't write run-on sentences (put in periods)
4. Spell correctly
5. Use apostrophes only when you need them
6. Write so people can understand
7. Turn off Caps lock
8. Don't use letters to abbreviate words
9. Use correct grammar
10. Choose correct homophone
11. Don't use foul or insulting language
12. Be respectful
13. Make sense, write something worthwhile

_________________________________________________________________
12/8/08 Pronouns

Beware of the evil pronouns. Destroy the evil comprehension confusers. Do not say, “it, she, he, they, we, us, etc. in each paragraph without first telling whom you are talking.

Wrong—It belonged to them.
Right—The treasure belonged to the evil pirate crew.

_________________________________________________________________

11/18/08 Predicting is Like Being a Detective

1. Look for clues.
2. Make a guess.
3. Prove it right or wrong.
4. Repeat
_________________________________________________________________
11/17/08 Making Predictions

Effective readers use pictures, titles, headings, and text—as well as personal experiences—to make predictions before they begin to read. They think ahead while reading and anticipate what will happen in the text. After making predictions, they read the text, decide if they were right or not, and revise, making new predictions.
_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

10/23/08 When Reading Nonfiction What is Important & What is Not

What is Important
1. W's
2. Main Points
3. Ideas that relate to the gist

What is Not
1. Supporting Details
2. Examples
3. Interesting Stories or Opinions
4. Most Adverbs and Adjectives

But remember anything that helps you understand what you are reading is ALWAYS IMPORTANT!
_________________________________________________________________

10/21/08 Reading Rate

The pace of your reading should match your purpose. When reading for information, you must slow down and search for the W's and important details.

_________________________________________________________________

10/10/08 Parts of Speech and Reading


Adverbs
Reading—Cut it out to simplify
Writing—Add to tell how

Adjectives
Reading—Cut it out to make easier to read
Writing—Add to tell what kind

Pronouns
Reading—Change to proper to be more exact
Writing—Change to give the reader variety

_________________________________________________________________

10/9/08 Reading Nonfiction
  1. Skim
  2. Read & Highlight
  3. List W’s
  4. List facts
  5. Write a topic sentence/Gist Statement
_________________________________________________________________
10/8/08 Highlighting

  1. Look closely at the first and last sentence in each paragraph
  2. HL the W's
  3. HL only necessary words or phrases
  4. Don't HL more than ½ of each paragraph
  5. Don't get thrown off by interesting details or opinions
_________________________________________________________________
10/7/08 Is or Are, Was or Were
Use is/was for one
Use are/were for two or more

Jill is going home.
Jill and Dave are going home.

He was going home.
They were going home.
__________________________________________________________________

10/6/08 Adding a Suffix to a one syllable word with a short vowel

Double the consonant

run—running
wrap—wrapper
pit—pitted

__________________________________________________________________
9/30/08 A & An

Use A before a consonant

Use an before a vowel

A car went by.

An apple fell off the tree.

__________________________________________________________________

9/24/08 Reading Aloud to Revise

To revise your content, read an essay aloud. Have the listener alert you at any time when your writing does not make sense, or they have a question. Highlight that part, and after you are finished, go back and rewrite. Then read aloud again. Repeat the process until your essay is easy to understand.

__________________________________________________________________

9/23/08 Spelling when adding
ed & ing

Double the consonant with a short vowel: slip—slipped

Don't double with a long vowel: pile—piled

Drop the e and add ing write—writing

__________________________________________________________________

09/18/08 Spelling with Y

For plural with a word ending in “Y” change the "y" to "i" and add es.

Cry—cries Carry—carries
_____________________________________________________________________

09/17/08 For More Details, Ask Yourself
1. What kind?
2. Whose?
3. When?
4. Where?
5. Why?
6. How?
_____________________________________________________________________

9/16/08 Thoughts and Feelings in Writing
Teetor-totter
Stuff



Thoughts and Feelings
To write well, thoughts and feelings must carry more weight in your writing.
__________________________________________________________________

9/4/08 Capitalize
1. first word in a sentence
2. proper nouns—names of people, places, and things
3. first letter of words in a title
4. I
_____________________________________________________________________

9/3/08 Letter Writing
1st Paragraph—set the tone
2nd Paragraph—info, facts,
3rd Paragraph—closing, request, message, etc.
_____________________________________________________________________

8/29/08 Writing to a Prompt
When responding to a prompt, you should address the question or topic, and then give facts, reasons, and/or details to support your position or answer.
_____________________________________________________________________

8/28/08 Notes Format
Notes should be dated in the left margin. At the end of the notes, draw a line across the page. The next day, notes go under the line. _____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Guess They Really are Leaving

They are gone. Tonight, as I sit here on the computer, thinking about a new year, it really hits me. My class is gone. It happens every year, but doesn't get any easier. All of the students that were so successful here last year are moving on to McDowell Jr. High. On the first day of school, when those new faces are in their chairs, I will take a second, and think about the great kids that sat there last year.

All through the summer, I know they are leaving, but it doesn't really hit until now. Don't get me wrong, I am excited about the new year, and can't wait to really get to know this year's sixth grade. BUT, for now, I sure hate to see last year's class move on.

I know it is time. I know they will do a fabulous job. I know they are ready. But for tonight, and the next few days, I will be a little sad, thinking about giving up this great bunch of kids as they move on to the challenges ahead.

Seventh graders, good luck, and stop back and tell me about all of your successes. I am sure they will be many! In case I didn't say it before, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN READING WORKSHOP.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Relay for Life

Congratulations to the students from Laurelville Elementary for being recognized as a Silver Team at the Pickaway County Relay for Life. Silver teams raise from $2500 -4900. Laurelville's total was $2842. The Pickaway County Relay for life raised over $40,000 to help in the fight against cancer.

Some notes from the Relay:

Libby Schwalbauch was the star of the Relay. She participated in almost every activity, and stayed for the entire Relay.

Mrs. Stevenson only walks one speed, but she can walk about a million laps.

Mrs. Griffey is the teeny little power walker and hung in there until the end.

Mrs. Caudill has long legs and she can zoom around the track.

Chris Linton is an outstanding card player (and he can tell you all of the rules).

When there is a fire truck, misting water, Seth R., Chris, and the KW's are going to get wet.

Ms. Bowlby can even use the Relay as a reason to stop and eat at Olive Garden. :)

No other group had support from someone like VanCurren's Graffics, like we did.

My daughter, Megan is a great kid, who joined in and helped from start to finish.

Seeing Hannah and Molly Caudill, and Libby walk around the track with the banner congratulating Laurelville on being a Relay school makes you feel proud to be part of our school.

When you see an entire track, lined with luminairs, paying tribute to survivers, and honoring those lost, you realize just how important it is to do more next year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Relay for Life

THE RELAY IS HERE!!!!!!!! (well almost)

The Relay for Life is at the Circleville High School Football field. The Relay starts at noon on Saturday, July 19. It ends at 7:00 A.M. on Sunday, July 20.

Laurelville students, their family, teachers and friends are invited to join us at the Relay. Come when you can and stay for as long as you can. You are welcome, whether it is for an hour, or all 19 hours.

We will furnish water and juice. Also, we will be grilling hamburgers. If you can bring a bag of chips, or a snack that would be great, but most important, just come and join us.

You may want to bring sunscreen, and extra pair of shoes and socks, a hoody or jacket, a hat, and a chair. You may even want a recliner (for your teachers to borrow).

There are a lot of activities planned, so join us in this great event!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Relay for Life Car Wash

The Relay for Life car wash raised $222. We will add this to our total to donate to help in the fight against cancer.

A special thanks to the students that helped out--Kari, Katie, Trevor S., Nathan P., Dakota B., Molly V., Justin H., Connor H., and Trey W.

And thanks to the parents that helped--Mrs. Haynes, Matt and Kim Cook, and Lisa Deluse.

And thanks to the teachers who participated--Mrs. Griffey, Mrs. Stevenson, and Mrs. Caudill

And thanks to Tom McGuire for grilling the hotdogs!

Details will be posted soon about the Relay on July 19 @ noon at the Circleville High School football field.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Relay for Life and Relay Car Wash

Hey sixth grade Relay for Life Team,

The dates are set for the Relay for Life and the car wash.

The car wash to raise money for the Relay is set for Sunday, July 6 @ 1:00 at the school. There will not be a charge, but we will be accepting donations to go to the Relay for Life. Invite your family and friends to bring their car in to the school.

The Relay for Life is at Circleville High School on July 19 starting at 12:00 until 7:00 A.M. on Sunday morning. Someone from the Relay team will be contacting each member with details, but you can post questions on the comment section and I will be glad to answer them.

If you have the phone number of a member of the Relay Team, give them a call and let them know about the dates.

If you know for sure that you are attending one or both of the events, jump in with a comment to let me know.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Relay for Life

Great job Laurelville students! We raised $2,590 on our Relay for Life. You can read all of the details in the Circleville Herald. This was a super job by all of the students who helped raise money for this worthy cause.






Relay for Life Walk

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sixth Grade Outdoor Ed. Camp

We are back with a few bruises, scrapes, and a little poison ivy, but a good time was had by all. The Laurelville students did an awesome job facing challenges, and working with their group to succeed.

GREAT JOB, LAURELVILLE SIXTH GRADERS!

A special thanks to all of the staff members who made this possible including Mrs. Griffey, Mr. Congrove, Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. Blubaugh, Mrs. Cartee, Mrs. Bower, Ms. Fraley, and Mrs. Caudill. Also thanks to our special guests, Mr. Guthrie, Deputy Thomas, and Ms. Bowlby.

More on camp later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Relay for Life

Today is the kickoff for the first Laurelville Elementary Relay for Life. A kick off rally was held in the gym at 2:45. A special thanks to Lori Reid (Lori.Reid@cancer.org) for coming down to help get us started. Students took home envelopes with an explanatory letter on the front. Hopefully parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors will support us as we work to help this worthy cause.

We do have some great news already. VanCuren's Graffics sold Laurelville Elementary Relay for LifeT-shirts for $10. They donated $5.00 of the cost for each shirt sold. Over 90 T-shirts have been sold!

Also, the sixth grade students have been selling window stars for $1 each in the cafeteria every day at lunch. They have sold over 150 stars.

Great job to parents for your help! Hopefully this weekend students will be able to build on this great start!

Relay for Life Graph

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where am I #6?


The McGuire family prepares for a trail ride. Just like in the old west, we are heading out. Where am I?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Group Work

As part of the Sixth Grade Outdoor Education Camp experience, students must cooperate and work as a group. In order to prepare students, they will have several opportunities to work together, and get their group ready for camp.

Today students had to make 2 lists:
The Top 10 Things That will Help a Group Succeed The Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Happen at Camp

After making the lists, students then shared their top three with the entire sixth grade class. Their lists were interesting, and the groups worked well together. Below is a compilation of the lists.


The Top 10 Things That will Help a Group Succeed

1. Teamwork
2. Encourage each other and be supportive
3. Respect group members
4. Follow camp rules/behave
5. Try your best
6. Don't give up
7. Respect Oty Okwa staff and teachers
8. Believe in yourself
9. Be Understanding
10.Have fun

And on a lighter note

The Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Happen at Camp

10.Don't forget to pack your underwear
9. Don't talk to Mrs. Stevenson before she gets a diet Coke in the morning
8. Don't pee in the pool
7. Don't run out of hot water after you go through Fat Man's Squeeze
6. Don't make Mrs. Griffey yell
5. Don't sleep in the bunk next to a snoring female teacher
4. Don't break a leg
3. Don't get poison ivy
2. Don't pass gas at dinner
1. Don't get sent home

Monday, May 19, 2008

Outdoor Education Camp

All thoughts in the sixth grade are centered around Sixth Grade Outdoor Education Camp at Camp Oty Okwa. Tonight (5/19/08) is our parent informational meeting at 6:00 in the cafeteria. Students will receive their Camp Book at this time. It includes a schedule of activities, supplies needed, camp rules, and camp groups.

Sixth Grade Camp motivates students to work as a group member to achieve common goals. Activities also push students to achieve individual success and overcoming fears to reach goals.


PLUS, CAMP IS THE MOST FUN YOU CAN POSSIBLY HAVE IN SCHOOL!


Camp Oty Okwa

Thursday, May 15, 2008

10,000 Hits!

Boing Today The Reading Workshop blog passed 10,000 hits. This means that the blog has been viewed 10,000 times. WOW! Thank you to parents, students, teachers and visitors for reading. There have been over 4,000 unique/different visitors.

This is remarkable for several reasons.

1. Students are listening.

2. Parents are using this resource.

3. Teachers tune in to see what we are doing.

4. This proves the value of a blogs in education.

5. Parents, students, and teachers are all reading the same thing.

6. Educational issues are being discussed.

7. Students are feeling ownership for the class and what happens here.

8. Where Am I? causes students to think critically and use map skills.

9. Student write with the knowledge that their writing has an audience.

10. Students are taking advantage of the opportunity to earn extra credit.


Thank you to everyone that has stopped by to see what we are doing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where am I #5?

I am not on Gilligan's Island, but I could be. Except we stayed at a resort instead of in a grass hut. You can yell and shout, and beat the drum, those thinking UP are getting close. My pap and I spent a week there last summer.


Where Am I 5?
Where am I?

Congrats to Josh and Caleb, you get 17 trillion rocks from the shore of extra credit!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Magnetism of Bad Attitudes

Bad Attitude StudentIn this whole world, there is no attraction stronger than one bad attitude to another. Today, when two classes were together for about 3 minutes, the complainingest student from one class immediately joined the unparticipatingest student from the other class. You're shocked, I know (yeah right!).

Now, this is absolutely the hardest working sixth grade I have ever seen. This really makes a complainer, or someone with a bad attitude stick out.

What is amazing is how bad attitudes attract bad attitudes. They remind me of how

stink is attracted to armpits and old shoes or

ear wax is attracted to a Q-tip or

mustard is attracted to the front of a fat man's shirt or

grass stain is attracted to a 9 year old's knees or

spaghetti is attracted to a first grader's face or

a teenager's ear is attracted to a cell phone or

lipstick is attracted to a collar or

Mrs. Caudill is attracted to dark chocolate or

a 16 year old boy is attracted to his first car or

a sixth grader is attracted to camp or

a teenage girl is attracted to MySpace or

Mrs. Griffey is attracted to new clothes or

Those bad attitudes just love bad attitudes! Do you know of any attractions?

Relay for Life

Relay for Life Logo
The Relay for Life at Laurelville Elementary is moving forward. This week, students will be selling window stars for $1.00 to raise money. All of the stars will be posted in the window of the cafeteria.

VanCuren's Graffics is offering Relay for Life T-shirts for sale. Each shirt is $10.00. For each shirt sold, VanCuren's 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 12 -20. Shirts will be delivered on June 2 so we can wear them at the Relay for Life on June 3.


Relay Calendar

5/12-19 T-shirt sale

5/12-19 Star sale in the cafeteria

5/23 2:45 Relay kickoff for the whole school in the gym—envelopes & letters will go home

6/3 9:00 Turn in envelopes in homeroom

6/3 1:30 Assembly in gym with Relay for Life walk around school grounds to follow


Help the cause and purchase a star for only one dollar. The stars are available in the cafeteria at lunch each day and in the school store.


Relay for Life Star

Monday, May 12, 2008

Scary Story

Today we will be writing a scary story. When I told students this last week, they thought I had lost my mind. "It's not Halloween," they said. "Why would we do it in May?" they asked.

Well, funny you should ask that. The things we will cover include:

1. The plot and developing problems;

2. Descriptive writing and adding supporting details;

3. Punctuating dialogue;

4. Character development;

5. Building a narrative to a climax;

6. Cooperation and writing with a partner;

7. Edditing-git that speling write;

8. Writing with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

The assignment is to write a scary/horror story. BUT, shooting or guns, and stabbing or knives, or killing in any way is NOT allowed! All injuries must be incidental or accidental. The focus is on scaring the reading in only the most imaginative ways!

I can't wait to read them.

Plan for Success in Jr. High

As Laurelville students head off in a few months to McDowell Jr. High, how will teacher's describe them? Will they be the organizational nightmare destroying the sweet dreams of their teachers? What do they need to do to start of their two years of jr. high on the right foot?

On Friday, May 16, the sixth grade will go to McDowell for their orientation. As they begin to think about their future, what goals should students have to face this new challenge? And, what should their plan be to succeed?


I read this recently on Polski3's View From Here.

Helpful or Coddling?

Teaching 7th graders, every school season I get a good number of them who have absolutely NO organizational skills. Our school gives each student a binder and dividers at the beginning of the school year. Most have backpacks to use for lugging their school stuff... many arrive to us with no organizational skills.

The main problem many have with this is that when it comes time to turn in their work, they can't find it. Their assignment might be in their backpack, crammed amongst the remains of who knows what else in the pile of mulch found in many of their backpacks. Their assignment might be someplace in their binder, if they have a binder.



OR



Will our students be a smiling example of success? Will they hold up "A" papers that prove their ability as jr. high students. Or will they be the Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.



What is your PLAN for success?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Problems in Writing

GhostsAll good writing has problems, lots and lots of problems, with lots and lots of details. The more problems in a narrative, and the more descriptive the writing, the more the reader will be engaged. Problems are what give the story a body. They create the interest by getting the reader to insert himself into the story, to think of solutions, and to root for a character to succeed or fail.

Today, students brainstormed a list of problems that could occur in the setting where their scary story takes place. Each partnership came up with problems that might fit in a horror story. These problems had to be realistic enough to be believable, but "sick" enough to fit into a scary fictional narrative.

Once each group came up with a list of 8 - 10 problems, we came to the circle, and shared ideas. Then students revised their essays, inserting new problems and adding details. As we continue writing and improving these stories, I am sure the final drafts will be excellent and eerie.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Carinval of Education

Thanks to Bellringers for including this blog in the latest Carnival of Education. This is a series of posts hosted by rotating blogs, that feature educational blogs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two Person Journal

One journal, one topic, one file, but two writers make a Two Person Journal. Students were partnered with a peer from another class. A folder with a file was created on the Laurelville server. The page was divided down the middle using a two column table. For the rest of the school year, students will write each day about a different topic.

This system has an advantage over a regular journal in that the writer has an audience. Everything written will be read daily. Also, with a peer to share ideas, comments, opinions, and information, it means more. Whether students write about books, school, friends, hobbies, family, or any other topic, they know a reader cares about what they have to say.

I originally did this project with composition notebooks that students shared. Now, with the technology available in Reading Workshop, students keep a common Open Office Word file saved on our file server. They can each write to the file from anywhere in the school. Because there is a computer for each student, they can access their file during class each day, read their partner's post, and respond.

This is a great motivator for students. After all, what does every writer want? To be read, of course.

Where am I #4?

Once again, back by popular demand, everyones favorite post, Where am I?


Don't let the sun set, without this view, at the end of the day.
If you think you know, grab a seat and guess away.
If the day was bad, or just okay,
Reading a book here will whisk my troubles away.

You might think that it's a place to pray,
That's sometimes true, depending on the day.
The Church of God are where most guesses lay,
But you better swing some other way.


There is a field in front, you could say,
With horses grazing through the day.
I might soon go there, but not today,
Although this spot will keep the rain away.

In fact, it's a nice spot for a mini soiree.
Or, to get over a school day filled with disarray.
Me and my diet Dew overcoming the fray,
Of wrong guessing students at school today.

Just looking at the picture is no way to play,
Think about what the clues convey.

Dillon was so so close guessing yesterday,
But, close doesn't win this game we play.
Congratulations to the KW's because hey,
They guessed it right, I may be there today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

How Do You Feel About Reading?

Today's post is a guest post by Shayna T. She is a sixth grade student at Laurelville Elementary.


If you don't already know, reading is an important part of your education. Reading can give you knowledge and entertainment. If you don't read you probably can't comprehend some of the most basic Social Studies, Science, Math and Writing skills. The only reason why you can't do these things is because you don't read enough! I know some people don't like to read, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do!

As I said earlier, some people don't like reading, but I do! Reading has helped me get A's in all of my school subjects. When I was in 3rd grade I didn't enjoy reading that much. That was before I found out about the Harry Potter books! After that I started to try more and more books until I found the right genre. The genre that I like the most to this day is realistic fiction. Realistic fiction is like where the things that happen in the book can be real, but they are not proven facts.

If you want to know where to get some really good realistic fiction books I would look in Mr. McGuire's bookshelf. Some of the best books that I read were The Outsiders, Party Girl, Define Normal, Kira Kira, Star Split and the Watchers series.

To end my post I wanted to ask you some questions about your reading habits.

1.What kind of books do you read?

2.How often do you read?

3.Do you like reading?

4. Do you read as a hobby?

Role of Technology in Education

I first viewed this on Betchablog.



Parents, students, and teachers, how should technology be incorporated into education? What would the ideal Reading Workshop look like? What would reading and writing instruction look like? What processes would we follow? What activities would take place in this "ideal" classroom? What would determine success?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Learning Styles

What kind of learner are you? North Carolina State University has a test you can take to find out how you learn best.

Just follow the link, take the test, and then print out the results.

Felder and Soloman, researchers for NCSU look at four areas of learners in their report of Learning Styles and Strategies. Listed below is a breakdown of the areas.

Active and Reflective Learners

Active learners tend to retain and understand information best by doing something active with it--discussing or applying it or explaining it to others.

Reflective learners prefer to think about it quietly first.

Sensing and Intuitive Learners

Sensing learners tend to like learning facts, intuitive learners often prefer discovering possibilities and relationships. Sensors often like solving problems by well-established methods and dislike surprises.

Intuitors may be better at grasping new concepts. Intuitors tend to work faster and to be more innovative.

Visual and Verbal Learners

Visual learners remember best what they see--pictures, diagrams, flow charts, time lines, films, and demonstrations.

Verbal learners get more out of words--written and spoken explanations.

Sequential and Global Learners

Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in steps, with each step following logically from the previous one.

Global learners tend to learn in large jumps. Global learners may be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together once they have grasped the big picture.

My Results

The chart below shows the results from my test. As you can see, I am strongly an intuitive, global learner, with a tilt towards visual learning. Basically, this means I tend to work quickly, always looking for new ideas, and need to see the whole concept. I need to picture an idea to understand it.



What is your learning style? What does this tell you about how you learn best?

Why Blog?

Why? Why? Why?


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Brain Teaser

A student from Chicago was a very good runner, so he went to France to enter a race. A French web site reported that the student won the race, averaging a speed of 25,750 kilometers per hour. Back home, his classmates were impressed but confused. When they plugged 25,750 into a kilometer/mile converter, it seemed that their friend raced at the brisk speed of 16,000 mph. How is this possible?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New School

New School SignWill we ever get a new school? Do we need one? Would it improve the quality of education for Logan Elm students? I was reading the Blue Skunk Blog when I saw this picture. It just made me sit and daydream about seeing a sign like this on S.R. 56.

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

Achievement Test, Some Took it, Some Didn't

Great job to the students that took the Ohio Sixth Grade Reading Achievement Test. Sorry to those that didn't get to take it, but your version of the test hasn't arrived yet. In an unbelievable move last week, the Ohio Department of Education told our district that students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) had to take a certain "version" of the test. And, because we hadn't received these yet, these students could not take the test with their peers. Even though most of these students spent every minute of every class in the regular classroom, they are excluded from testing until "their" version arrives.

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

Teen Writing, r u lol


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

A Sure Sign of Success

How do you know when you are reaching your students? How do you know they are motivated? How do you know they are putting forth extreme effort? How do you know they are working hard to succeed? How do you know your students are buying into your message?




Well, they always make sure you know. Thanks to Amanda for sharing some love for The Reading Workshop.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Secret to Success

Success is not brain surgery. The obvious thing to do is usually the right thing to do. And the right thing to do generally isn’t all that hard. I’m not saying you should do anything to be successful. I’m just saying that you have to get your priorities straight. Be clear about what you want to do. Then have the courage to roll up your sleeves and do it.

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?

Achievement Vocabulary

Tune up that achievement vocabulary. "What," you say, "is achievement vocabulary?" Certain words are contained in Achievement Test questions. Now, I am not going to say that their only purpose is to challenge students, but they sure make the questions harder to understand.

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

Achievement Test Tips

Laurelville sixth grade students compiled a list of the top 10 Achievement Test Tips.

Here is the Real Top 10, Baby!

  1. Go to bed early, and get a good night’s sleep.

  2. Eat a good Breakfast.

  3. Come prepared (three sharpened pencils, erasers, highlighter, SSR book)

  4. 10 Questions every 30 minutes

  5. Read the questions before you read the passage, so you know what you are looking for.

  6. Skim the article

  7. Highlight the important information in the article and the questions.

  8. 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.

  9. Restate the question and number your answer

  10. When you are done, go back and double check your answers.

Fantastic Commenter

Fantastic CommenterFantastic StudentFantastic Student GOOD JOB!

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.


Fantastic StudentCongratulations 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).

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous Trevor S. said...

The reasons why I come to school are...

1. Well I have to by law

2. Learning is is fun to me.

3. I get to play basketball.

4. I get to talk to friends.

5. It will help me get a good job in the future.

6. How are you going to get smart just sitting at home. (Home school does not count).


And his mom said:

Mr.McGuire,

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!!

Steph Swackhamer

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

Achievement Test Success Ahead

Hang in there!


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!

Listen While You Work

Student learning while listening to music
"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.
Student learning while listening to music

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?