Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Using a Dictionary & Other Tools

The Head Monkey from Canada posted this as a comment, but I thought maybe it should be posted.

Okay, Ohio Monkeys, how about this one?? I just gave my Canadian Monkeys a vocabulary test today to see where their strengths and weakness are (Gates-MacGinitie). Should I have let them use a dictionary???

To add to this thought, when is it OK to use all of the tools available? When should students show what they know without the help of tools like dictionaries, thesaurus, word processing and other technology, peer help, teacher help . . .?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Smart or Cheating?

Students were at their computer working on Study Island, the online learning program. They were doing a session on context clues. When I walked around the room, I noticed that Jacob was using the computer dictionary. Was this cheating? Or, was he the smartest kid in the whole sixth grade?


This S.I. session focused on using the words and sentences around a word students didn't know, to figure out the meaning of the word. Context Clues are hints that the author gives to help define a difficult or unusual word. The clue may be in the same sentence as the word, or it may be in a preceding or subsequent sentence.


This is an example of a context clue:
The difficulty of the assignment forced the student to work hard to complete the tough task. By reading the sentence, you can figure out the meaning of the word difficulty.


Jacob was doing his best to be successful. In no way was he attempting to cheat. His intention was to get the best score possible on Study Island. But, the whole point of learning about context clues is to better reading comprehension by figuring out the meaning of words without using a dictionary. But, as one student said, "if I use the dictionary I am learning the meaning of a lot of words I don't know."


Should a student be punished for using all of the tools available to get the best score? Should all of the students be encouraged to use the dictionary? What about using Text-to-Speech to read words aloud that they don't know. Although Study Island is mostly a tool for assessment and remediation, if students might learn more using these tools, should they be integrated into the daily routine?

Students won't be allowed to use these tools for the Achievement Test, so should they use them every day in class?

Regardless of the decision about the use of these tools during Study Island, good job to Jacob for being creative, and figuring out the best way possible to get a high score.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Writer's Block

Nothing to SayWhen I have writer's block, I just write some hooey. I just put some words down, knowing that it ain't gonna be to good. What the heck, it's just a first draft, so it don't really matter. First drafts are supposed to suck.

Sometimes I will crank up the music. Sometimes I will read a little, or surf the net. But the main thing I do is just keep trying to get words down. Good, bad, or ugly, I just keep adding a word here, and then a word there until I have a sentence. Before I know it, I have written another post on the blog.

Now, my brilliant young students, I am sure you are asking, "what does this have to do with me and Reading Workshop?"

I have noticed that some of you are sitting there, looking like the keyboard might electrocute you. It won't. I promise. Just put down some words. Any words. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to not make sense. Go ahead, screw up. We can fix it. If you are not sure about the assignment, ask.

If you are not quite sure, just throw some words out there. Before you know it, the assignment will be done. You will be a success. Your teacher and your parents will be proud. They will smile and tell you that you are wonderful. You will get A's and be on the honor roll. You will win all of the awards.


P.S. Even if all of that doesn't happen, at least you will get the assignment done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog Topics

We were sitting in the circle talking about the Writer's Block post, when Amber asked, "do you ever ask for suggestions about blog topics?"

"Great idea," I replied.

Amber, other students, parents, and teachers, please comment. Give me your ideas. I am especially interested in ideas about reading, books, Reading Workshop, education, and our class at Laurelville. However, I will most certainly consider any topic relevant to what we are doing. In fact, you never know, I might consider any topic, whether relevant or not. So, throw out your ideas. If I use a topic you suggest, you will receive a prize that may be worth millions of dollars.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading at Home

Each week students have an assignment to read at home. Students choose a book that they want to read from home, the library, or the book room. The only requirement is that they log the date, title, time read, and pages. Students are responsible for filling out this chart each week as they read, logging both at school and at home. Occasionally, students will have longer than a week when the school schedule is affected by holidays.


Students can choose to earn the grade they want. The more they read, the higher the score. This is the grade scale:

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

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


The emphasis on reading is largely based on the research from Richard Allington. Allington cites four "background factors" associated with why students have difficulty with reading. According to the author:

1. the amount of reading that students do in and out of school was related to reading achievement;
2. children who spend more time on workbook activities versus reading text are more likely to have difficulty reading;
3. children who come from homes where reading is not modeled have difficulty reading; and,
4. students who have difficulty providing details and arguments to support interpretations of what they read have difficulty with reading.


According to the author, time on task is the best predictor for reading success in students. Put simply, more reading is equal to greater academic achievement.

The best part of this system for monitoring reading, and increasing reading time is how students can control their grades. If they are willing to work hard, their grades will show it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Are You on the Road to Smarter?

Road to Smarter
I had an interesting conversation with a student yesterday. We were talking about being smart or being dumb. Is it a choice? It seems to me if you make smart choices in school, you will learn and become smarter. If you make dumb choices like not doing your work, not studying, and don't learn, you won't get any smarter.

What do you think? Will making smart choices as a student make a smarter adult? Can you control how smart you are? How much does hard work and responsibility have to do with getting to Smarter. Or, do you just get so much brain power and that is it?

Can you choose the road to Smarter? If you don't choose, do you crash into Dumberville?

What about when you choose the right road, you are getting smarter, and then this happens?


Road Block
Have you mapped out your road to success? Where are you headed? Do you have a goal of someday living in Smarter? It may just be a rumor, but I heard that the people in Smarter have better jobs, make more money, have nicer houses, and drive newer cars. Anyone know if this is true?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is Surfing the Net Reading?

"She does spend hours on the internet every day. I would say that this would be the internet generations way of reading," said Shasta Goode.

Thank you for this thought provoking comment that was posted on the Reading Post.

So readers, here are a few questions:

1. Is surfing the net the same as reading a book? How is it alike? Different?
2. Is reading a magazine the same as surfing the net? Reading a book?
3. Is reading nonfiction material posted on the internet a more valuable skill for students as more and more information is digital?
4. Are there different skills needed to read web pages v. reading printed material?


Thanks to S.G. for contributing to the blog with her comment.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Why does Reading Matter?



As we begin a new year in Reading Workshop, the question for this weekend is, "why is reading important?" This is weekend homework for students and their parents. Students must discuss this with either a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle.

I think most people know that reading controls many things we do in life. My hope is that we can have some discussion about how reading impacts our lives as adults, and how it can lead to success for students.

Students can either write out a short overview of their conversation, or post it as a comment.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Welcome Parents

Welcome to The Reading Workshop. I hope you will visit often, and comment about what you read.

This blog serves several functions in Reading Workshop.

1. It is the main communication tool for anyone who wants to know what we are doing in class.

2. Students can share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, and receive extra credit in language arts by doing so. Check out this post by Shayna--How do You Feel About Reading?

3. Teachers from other classes and other schools read it to see what type of activities we are doing in Reading Workshop.

4. A calendar is posted on the upper left side so students and parents have a handy resource for knowing about events, and homework due dates.

5. The blog serves as a way to keep the history from the past, and you can use it to see some of the types of activities ahead. An example of this is the post about two-person journals.

6. I share my thoughts and opinions for anyone who cares to read them.

7. There are links on most posts to help find more information, or the source of a fact, statement, picture, etc.

8. Students can read and write about themselves and topics that matter to them.

9. And, most importantly, anyone can join us in our class, by posting comments.

So parents, teachers, family, and friends, thank you for visiting. Please join us by commenting about what you see and read.

Responding to a Prompt

In every class, in every subject, throughout their education, students will be required to respond to a prompt or question, especially on tests. They will need to support their answer/position/opinion/idea with details from a text. In sixth grade Reading Workshop, we will spend a lot of time learning how to write a detailed reply that will make sense and score well.

Swear to Howdy The first prompt focused on the book I am reading aloud, Swear to Howdy.

The questions were:

1. Why did Joey befriend Rusty when he first moved next door?

2. How would your response to a new neighbor be different?


We discussed the need to rewrite the question as a topic sentence. Also, we talked about how a two part question should be a minimum of two paragraphs. Supporting details from the book, and from personal experiences are needed to support the answer.

Below is an essay turned in by James E. that serves as a good example for a beginning sixth grader.

Rusty and Joey became best friends because they were a lot alike. I think they were friends the first day they met because Rusty liked playing with Joey. Rusty thought Joey was playful and adventurous. Joey liked taking Rusty places like fishing and he likes that. Rusty liked having someone to play with.

My response to a new neighbor would be that I might not like him and would not play with him. The new neighbor might not want to do anything I do. I might want to go outside he wouldn't.

Another response to a new neighbor might be that the neighbor and I would like to play together. We might like playing outside with each other. We could ride bikes down the road and have fun. We would play in the woods and become good friends.

James does a good job of turning the questions into topic sentences for each paragraph. He explained his answers by providing details so the reader can understand his points. He might have improved by just picking the one difference and expanding on that, but he does a good job of supporting both parts of the second answer.

Study Island

Students work daily in reading 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.


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






AND THEY GET THE CHAIR FOR THE DAY!
SI ChairBreann in the SI Chair

You can tell by looking at Briann, 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--Breann C., Samantha R., and Jolene M.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Delete Key

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Excellent School Rating


Laurelville Elementary received an EXCELLENT rating on the State of Ohio Report Card. Each year, the Ohio Department of Education rates schools based on student performance on Achievement tests. Laurelville's Report is available on the ODE website.

The great news is, based on the number of students passing the Achievement tests, and the growth (in most cases more than a year) shown by our students, we made Adequate Yearly Progress. This is the second year in a row that Laurelville students have exceeded the growth criteria.

Great job to all of the staff and students at Laurelville Elementary for reaching our goal of being rated as an Excellent School!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Success in Jr. High

I saw Trevor S. last night at Texas Roadhouse and it made me realize two things: 1. I miss seeing his big grin, and hearing his stories; 2. There is nothing better for a teacher than hearing about your former students going on and finding success.

I had just finished eating, looked up, and here he came, around the corner. As I talked to him, I found out he is really enjoying the transition to McDowell Jr. High. He likes his classes and most of his new teachers.

I also saw Dillon Y. twice last week, and he said about the same thing. He is feeling great about the new school year and really has plans to do well. I also talked to two other students, and two parents, who all have positive reports about the beginning of Jr. High.

Hearing this makes me feel good about the job all of the Laurelville Elementary staff members are doing to prepare students for their future. Hearing about former students' successes always makes my day.

So former students, stop back and tell me your good news. You can be sure even though you have moved on, we are proud of all you are doing at the Jr. High and at Logan Elm High School.

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.