Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kindness Counts

He was walking down the hall to his next class.  Papers were sticking out everywhere, books were stacked every which way, and his pencils stuck out like swords.  He was a walking mess of school supplies just waiting on a wreck.

He bumped into a classmate and some of his stuff scattered to the floor.  A girl noticed, not knowing I was watching.  She left her circle of friends to help him.  She picked up what he dropped, tucked it into his pile, and helped him on his way.

I am not really sure what makes an eleven year old girl act with such maturity and kindness, but it sure makes a teacher feel proud when one of his students acts like that.  It also serves as a reminder of just how caring some kids treat their peers.

Too often we hear the other side of today's kids with all the media focus on bullying, but the fact is, kids are what makes a school great.  And in my second week at a different school, a girl made me proud to be a part of Salt Creek Intermediate School.  


Image from http://www.school-clipart.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Old Man with the Cane

I was standing at the cash register at the Village Cafe as an old man with a cane slowly walked up to the front door.  Just as he started in, a young woman started out.  They saw each other at the same time and both quickly stopped.  The young woman backed up, and motioned for him to come in.  

Although it was a struggle for him, the old man's response was immediate.  He eased backwards, held the door, and told the young woman to come through.  His response was one built through a lifetime of good manners and showing respect.  

To some, in today's world, his actions may be considered old fashioned.  Some might even suggest he needs to get with the times--women are equal to men.  To those of us with older parents and/or grandparents, we might think he needs to be a little willing to accept help.

But to this old man, his response was the only one possible.  He did what was right.  And he did it because he always treats people with respect.  In just a few seconds, his actions showed the kind of person he is.  He didn't think about it.  He acted the way he always does.

What about you Salt Creek students?  Do you do what is right?  In your new school, with new classmates, do you treat others with respect?  Do you think of others first?  Or are you thinking just of yourself?  

As the new school year starts, please take a minute and think about yourself.  What kind of person do you want to be?  Is that how people see you?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A New Home


After 16 years at Laurelville, I am in a new school.  I am excited about this opportunity as Logan Elm Local School District opens a new school (although still in an old building), Salt Creek Intermediate School.  The realignment of the district should help students' needs be better served by putting all fifth and sixth grade students in one location.  

I am fortunate to be teamed with an excellent group of teachers, Colleen WebbSusanne Hardin, and Lorrie Huysman.  We will have about 100 students in the 4 classes.  Students will rotate through the classes with one of hour of instruction for each of the subjects, social studies, math, science, and language arts.

Reading Workshop will still operate the same with lots of technology integrated into students' daily learning.  Students will still be writing on their blogs, and use Study Island, the online learning program.  The books from the Laurelville book room have been moved and students will have many choices with a lot of great books.

Admittedly there is a bit of sadness as the end of my time comes at Laurelville.  The students, parents, and staff have made it a great place to be.  But with change there is always the chance for growth and I am anxious to dive into the new school year and all of the fun and adventure in the upcoming year.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing a Memoir

The next project in Reading Workshop will be to write a memoir.  Although somewhat like an autobiography, a memoir is slightly different.  It focuses on an event or personal experience and frequently shares a life lesson or special meaning caused by the event.

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

What event sticks out as life changing, or memorable to you?
Who was involved?
Where did this take place?
When did this take place?
What happened?
What problems did you face?
How did the problem get solved?
What moral or lesson did you learn?

Start Here

1.  List the people involved including yourself and the character traits that impacted the incident.

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

3.  Describe the problems or conflicts?  What minor problems built tension leading to the climax?  How did you react when faced with the main problem/conflict?

4. What crisis occurred? Was there a point when you weren't sure about the outcome?

5. How did you solve the problem?  What positive attributes like courage, creativity, or intelligence do you possess which helped you succeed/survive?

6.  Finish with style.  What lesson did you learn?  How will the reader connect and learn from the moral?


And now, WRITE!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing a D.A.R.E. Essay


After several weeks in DARE class, students have to write an essay about the class.  Students are instructed by Deputy Dale Thomas from the Pickaway County Sheriff Department.  Deputy Thomas has taught students about resisting drugs and peer pressure for the last 15 years.  Deputy Thomas does a super job helping students learn valuable life skills, in a fun and interactive way.

The essay is a time for students to think about what they have learned in D.A.R.E.  The essay should include how students feel about the program, what they learned that will help them be drug free, and why it is important to make good choices.

The format should include:

1.  Introduction tells what knowledge and skills students have learned;
2.  Body with details about the class and why it is important;
3.  Conclusion that summarizes the essay and includes a pledge statement.

The D.A.R.E. book is a great resource to help remember important facts and information.


Monday, April 23, 2012

You Are A Success Story

Students in Reading Workshop have made amazing progress this year.  You should feel good about your success!  What has made you successful?



Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Advise or Advice

Here is some free advice--take a little time to check your spelling.  In the previous post, I used the wrong word, leading students to use the wrong word.  Needless to say, not exactly a shining moment for a teacher but at least it was a teachable moment.

As stated on Zozanga English Forum:

Advice & Advise

The words advice and advise are often mixed up, which is quite understandable since they have similar spellings and meanings.

'Advice' is a noun: you can give someone a 'piece of advice'. For example, let me give you some advice about travelling in China.

'Advise' is a verb: He advised me to always keep my passport on me when I was in China. His advice was very useful.

Image from http://www.erikaliodice.com/career-advice-i-wish-someone-had-given-me/

Are You Ready to be Tested?


In Reading Workshop, students have read passages, wrote and rewrote answers, and been "practiced up" into submission.   They dream at night of "back in the day" when language arts was about reading and writing, thinking and discussing.  Their dreams are of a time before legislators decided schools and their students should be controlled by torture/testing. 

Students have been working hard, preparing for the Ohio Achievement Assessment and they are surviving.  Not only are they surviving, but they are getting smarter.  They are reading critically, and attacking questions to find the point.  They are shredding selections to find those details that earn all 4 points on  an extended response question.  Best of all is they are learning words, and they are much better than the words they learned on the back of the bus in third grade.

Good job students!  Tuesday is the day and your success on the test will make me smile.

Here's a chance to help your peers, Reading Workshop students.  What advise advice do you have to help your classmates on the reading test?

This post had been edited.  See Free Advise or Advice for details.

Image from http://atalante.co/fitness/motivation/persistence-determination-hard-work/

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why You Need to Use Your Strategies

She told the teacher giving her the practice test, "I don't need to look back.  I know the answer."  And maybe she did.  I will know today when we start to score the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment practice tests.  She might have gotten a perfect score, but probably not.

The OAA doesn't test how smart you are.  It doesn't test your reading.  It doesn't show if you are a good student or not.  It doesn't show if I am a good teacher or not.  The OAA shows how well students can use test taking strategies.  That's pretty much it.  When the whole achievement test process is over, basically the student, the teacher, the school, and the district will be judged on how well students used test taking strategies.

Don't get me wrong, being a good reader and writer helps, but without using test taking skills, it won't get you a good score.  Why else would a lot of teachers drill and kill all year using achievement test passages and questions?  They want to get you "practiced up" so you can score well.

So back to this student.  Do you think she scored well?  If she didn't use the most basic strategy of going back in the passage to find/verify her answer, then I have to wonder what other strategies she ignored.  And knowing this is a test of students' ability to use test strategies, I know she could score higher than she did if she had used all of the strategies she knows.  

What about you Reading Workshop students?  What strategies did you use?   How did it work out for you?

Image from http://school.discoveryeducation.com

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's Sad is They Think They are So Cute

Students in Reading Workshop are taking the Practice Sixth Grade Reading Ohio Achievement Assessment.  We attempt to make this as realistic as possible just to give students a chance to go through the process, see how they do, and give us some data for final preparations for the actual test.  This practice run through has proven beneficial to teachers and students.

Most of the twenty students that I monitored worked hard and the results will show them and me their ability and potential to pass the actual test.  I took a look across the hall though, and saw a different story.  Two boys spent the last hour of the test goofing around.  They were obviously bored, so they spent the time trying to distract peers.  

I am not sure why they thought they didn't need to work.  I am not sure why the teacher didn't notice their repeated attempts to distract peers.  The bottom line was they thought they were so cute and so funny.  And that's sad because they were just unmotivated and unsuccessful.  Is there any chance they will grow up in three weeks?  I guess we can always hope.  

What about you hard workers?  Why did you choose to press the success key?

Image from http://www.onlinecollege-degrees.net/blog/

Friday, March 9, 2012

Don't be Nervous

Students are presenting their project they researched and then created on Google Docs about an ancient civilization as part of their social studies class.  Naturally, some of the students are a little nervous.



However, there is no need to worry.  Just follow a few simple rules and success is guaranteed.

1.  Be prepared--If you know what you are going to say it will show.
2.  Get to the point--What are your main points?  Focus on what is most important.
3.  Think about your audience--Worry about your audience and not yourself.
4.  Speak clearly--This is accomplished so much easier with practice.

Just following these steps will make your presentation a success.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Books in a Series

Kids love series books. Frequently good readers choose to read books in a series. With books in a series, the reader gets to know the characters and gets involved with their problems. It is easier to imagine themselves in the story. Students that are reluctant readers find it easier to read in large quantities when reading a series.  They are also less likely to fake read.

There are many excellent series available to adolescent readers. The poll below lists a few series that have proven to be popular.  What is your favorite series of books?  



Thank you for voting using Poll Everywhere

Do you read books in a series?  Do you like them?  Why or why not?


Want to see the results?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Teacher as the Student

Being a student is a lot easier than it used to be.  If class gets a little boring, you can just check your email, text someone, or surf the Internet.  It's also easier to not get bored because you can check out sites and information the teacher discusses.  At least, that's how it was for me this week when I was a student at the Etech (Ohio Educational Technology) Conference. 

In every session I attended, participants were on their laptop, IPad, or smart phone.  I did see one or two note takers with their legal pad, but they stuck out.  A lot of sessions were interactive and presenters made it a point to share links and involve attendees.  Sessions were obviously planned by the presenters to encourage the use of technology.

Admittedly, as a student, I haven't always been attentive and have been challenged with being a little too hyper to sit in class for very long.  One of my goals when I started teaching was to shut up, keep students busy, and let them learn through their own hard work.  I have always hated classes where the teacher stands in front of the class and talks and talks and talks and talks. 

I couldn't help but think about how different adults are treated than kids.  Maybe it's about having a captive audience with our students.  Imagine how involved they would be if everything they did was interactive.  Imagine how different teachers would be if their students could start texting or surfing the net when they got bored.  It might not be totally a good thing, but it would sure liven up some classes.

The best part of an opportunity like the Etech Conference is the chance to hear about what other teachers are doing and what is working in their classes.  This year's conference had a lot of excellent sessions and ideas for the classroom.  I am anxious to try them in the Reading Workshop classes.

  


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jim Basketball Jones Says . . .

Students were treated to an excellent message during an assembly today.  Jim Basketball Jones focused on applying kindness and care to everyone around you. He encouraged students to look for the good in classmates and to have each others' backs.

In addition, he performed an array of basketball tricks that excited the school, and kept everyone engaged.  His ability to spin and juggle basketballs amazed everyone present. 

Jones pulled a lot of students up to the front to help with his demonstration and utilized them to help with his message of  becoming successful through hard work, responsibility, and making good choices.


According to Jim Basketball Jones Website:

In first grade, Jim Jones was diagnosed with dyslexia. Jim’s struggles were so great that he immediately found himself placed in a special education program. It would take Jim five years working with his tutors and speech therapists before he would make it into a regular classroom.

This adversity fundamentally shaped Jim’s view of the world, and provided him with many early life lessons about the good of accepting help from others, overcoming adversity, and learning to appreciate difference. These would later become the cornerstones of his career as a public speaker.

One of the main motivations in Jones's life was wanting to be like his brother, Mike.  This makes me wonder, what is your motivation?  What makes you like you are?  Who do you follow?  What did the assembly mean to you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reading is . . .

How do your thoughts about reading compare to your classmates?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

If I was the Best

Image being the best.  Imagine having such an advantage that no one could compare.  Think about being so superior that three million people watched you perform on Youtube.  That is how it is for Mamadou Ndiaye'.





Imagine for a moment, Reading Workshop students, if you had an amazing ability.  And then take it even one step farther.  What if you had an amazing ability and it wasn't in sports.  What would your talent be?  And how would you impact the world?  Describe your success.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If You're Happy and You Know It . . .

Some cause happiness wherever they go, others cause happiness whenever they go. Which one are you?



What are your thoughts about happiness?  When someone looks at you, do they think of you as a happy person?  How does being happy make your life better?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Step for Reading Nonfiction

Want an easy guide to reading difficult text.  Here are steps to follow.

1.  Skim the entire article FIRST
2.  Look at the title, headings, subheadings, and bold print
3.  Does the introduction give facts or just get the reader engaged?
4.  Visualize and make connections
5.  Stop and think. Ask yourself, “does this make sense?”
6.  Reread sentences, paragraphs, or the whole article to help you understand
7.  Focus, know when you don’t know
8.  Wonder, ask questions, predict and confirm
9.  Look for capitalization of names and other proper nouns
10. Find the W’s (who, what, when, where, why, and how)
11. Mark out and substitute hard words
12. Cross out words that don't matter
13. Highlight only the important parts (BIKINIS ONLY)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vocabulary Games

Want to play a little Pinball?  Check out these Pinball Vocabulary games from Ms. Amanda's 6th Grade Language Arts Class.


  • Red A1

  • Red A1 cont.

  • Red A1 cont.

  • Red A1 cont.

  • Red A13
  • Red B7
  • Red A4

  • Red A4

  • Red A13

  • Red A15

  • Red A5

  • Red B9

  • Red A15 Antonyms



  • Red B10 Antonyms

  • Red B7

  • Red A15

  • Red B9

  • Red A15 Antonyms



  • Red B4 Antonyms

  • Red B7

  • Red A15

  • Red A3



  • Red A15 Synonyms

  • Red B7

  • Red A2

  • Red B9

  • Red A15 Synonyms

  • Red A4 Antonyms

  • Red B7

  • Red A6
  • Red B1
  • Red A2

  • Red B9 Synonyms

  • Red A4 Synonyms

  • Red A5

  • Red A13

  • Red A3 Synonyms

  • Red B4 Synonyms

  • Red B9 Antonyms

  • Red B4 Synonyms

  • Red A13

  • Red B1

  • Red B8

  • Red B10

  • Red A3 Synonyms

  • Red B10 Synonyms

  • Red B9 Antonyms

  • Red B10 Synonyms

  • Red A13

  • Red B10

  • Red B8

  • Red A4

  • Red A3 Antonyms

  • Red B1 Synonyms

  • Red B9 Synonyms

  • Red B1 Synonyms

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Want to See What is Going on Here?


    There is nothing like a picture to show something soooooooooo  if you want to see a daily picture from The Reading Workshop, just check out Ink361.com.  You can also check out the photos on Flickr.  If you have an Iphone, you can get on Instagram @jmcguire14 (you can download the free app) and see our daily photostream.  Unfortunately Instagram is like everything else Apple and you can't access it from a PC or Droid.

    Enjoy the pictures of our stars and more.  :)




    www.flickr.com


    This is a Flickr badge showing items in a set called School 2012. Make your own badge here.



    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Are You Brave Enough to Dream?

    What do you want to do?  What do you want to be?  Do you have the guts to dream?  Do you have the courage to make it happen?



    Reading Workshop students, your assignment is to do a picture scrapbook on your blog of what your life will be in the future.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    When I was a Star

    I have been reading Guys Write for Guys Read, a collections of stories edited by Jon Scieszka.  These stories are from successful writers sharing their story of growing up trying to be a guy.  Some stories are funny, some not so.  Some stories are adventurous, others just make you think.  But almost all of the stories are interesting.

    One of my favorites is by Dan Gutman called Let's Go to the Videotape.  In this story, Gutman tells the tale of himself, the skinniest, most unathletic kid in his school playing kickball.  Through shear anger and luck he manages to kick a homerun and be a hero for the day.  This moment of glory has stuck with him throughout his lifetime.

    He says:

    But sometimes, when I'm lying in bed at night before I fall asleep, I roll this mental videotape I have of the time I kicked a basket in gym class. In my mind, I watch myself kick that basket over and over again.  

    I'll bet every kid has at least one of those moments in his life when he did something really, really great, something really unexpected.

    Close your eyes and think of that moment from time to time. Remember it just the way it happened.  Never let that video fade away. Someday, forty years from now, when you're lying in bed at night, you might want to replay it.

    What about it Reading Workshop students? Your assignment for today is to tell me of a time when you had a great moment. Tell me of a time when things went just right.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    The Bloggers are Back

    Christmas break is over and students are getting back in the groove.  Students spent some time today working on their blogs publishing drafts and working on new posts.  Although we were all a little fuzzy-brained yesterday, the brain cells have awoken and quality work is coming out.

    Molly posted over the break recommending a few of her peers' blogs.  You can find links to blogs she thinks are great on her blog, Molly's Mystery Journal, or links to all of the students' blogs on the sidebar on the right.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Reading During Christmas Break

    Are you going to have a little spare time over the holidays?  Want to do something enjoyable and earn some extra credit?  All you have to do is READ!

    If you complete two or more books over break, and comment on them, you will earn extra credit!  

    The best part is the more you read, the more extra credit you earn.  And it will count as minutes on the next Read at Home assignment, too.  A couple of years ago, one student read over 1,400 minutes during Christmas break.  How many books will you read?

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    The Feeling of Christmas at My House


    As the holiday season approaches, family is what matters.  At my house, the Christmas breakfast is where all of the greatness of Christmas comes together.


    The Christmas Breakfast

    As the season approaches
    sentiments turning to family
    and the Christmas breakfast
    eating together.

    Steaming mugs of coffee
    amid piles of torn wrapping paper.
    Thankfulness for all we have
    and the joy of the day.

    We come to the table
    with warmth in the house
    and in our hearts
    and celebrate our lives.



    The assignment for students is to pick one part of their lives that best reflects their family and the holiday season, and write a gift of poetry.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Some Student Poetry

    Here are a few samples of students' poems.  To see more, just click on the links on the sidebar.

    From A Daily Bailey
    I Think I'm Going to Puke
    I’m not really feeling well
    It’s something that I ate
    I think I’m about to puke
    It tasted like fish bait

    Uh oh!
    I’m gonna spew
    I’m really, really sorry
    If I get some on you

    It’s all over the carpet
    It kind of looks like plums
    Hey! What’s that thing there?
    It looks like lots of thumbs

    I shouldn’t have eaten that food
    It looked like an old baseball mitt
    I’ll never eat it again
    Not even a little bit

    It’s all over the room
    Even on the couch
    I’m sorry it got everywhere
    No need to be a grouch

    I went and cleaned up                                                                       
    Now it’s all gone
    Next time I’ll go puke
    Outside on the lawn
    Divorce, Divorce
    Where do I start
    It’s a course.

    Divorce, Divorce
    Why do our parents do that?
    It makes me sad.

    Divorce, Divorce
    My sister and I
    Had to cry

    My Sister by Keifer
    Inspired by Sara Holbrook

    My sister is
    a splinter
    deep down in my skin



    My sister is
    a baseball game
    one I can not win



    My sister  is
    a rat
    with her little mice



    Keifer's sister is the sweet looking one on the left.  Hhhhhmmm!
    My sister is
    a cucumber
    one I want to dice



    My sister is
    a bug
    one I want to crush



    My sister is
    an apple
    that has turned to mush



    My sister is
    a bumble bee
    always stinging me



    My sister is
    just mean
    come on can’t you see

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Are You Bored with School?


    Reading Workshop students, what do you think of school?  Are you excited each morning to come to school?  And, if not, if you think school is boring, whose fault is it? 

    Do you live every day to get the most out of it?  Do you walk around thinking positive and ready to have fun?

    Do you have a smile on your face?  Do people look forward to seeing you?  Do you look forward to seeing people at school?

    Who is in control of you anyway?



    Image from http://missrosemary.net/2010/06/

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    So Many Ways to Say it in Poetry

    How else can you say it?  As we looked at one student's opening line of his poem, so many ideas for sharing were discovered.  We started with Poetry is not me


    And came up with this list:
    1. Poetry is unreasonable
    2. Poetry is not what I write
    3. Poetry is not my thing
    4. Poetry has something I don't
    5. Poetry is not bad
    6. Poetry is not understandable to me
    7. We can't connect
      1. We play phone tag
      2. The call is never answered
      3. The meal doesn't fill me up
      4. The hot sauce is mild
      5. Poetry doesn't add up
      6. We can't be together
      7. Poetry and I aren't alike
      8. Poetry doesn't have Internet
      9. Poetry is like a game with no Xbox
      10. Poetry is like eggs without bacon
      11. We are two peas from different pods
      12. Poetry is like pancakes without syrup
    8. Poetry never answers my phone calls
    9. I don't go with poetry
    10. Poetry doesn't pick me up
    11. Poetry and I don't mix
      1. Poetry won't get in the blender with me
      2. Poetry isn't the ice cream for my milkshake
      3. We just don't mesh
      4. Poetry is the book with no words
      5. Poetry is the gun with no powder
      6. Poetry is like the butt with no gas
      7. Poetry is like bird doodoo on your windshield
      8. Poetry is a clock with no hands
      9. Poetry is a clock out of time
      10. Poetry is an IPod with no music
      11. Poetry is a battery with no charge
      12. Poetry is a sentence with bad grammar
    12. When I ring the door bell, poetry never answers
    13. Poetry and me don't fit
    14. Poetry is like a shirt that is just too tight
    15. Poetry and I don't see eye to eye
      1. Reading poetry is a fistfight
      2. Poetry is like an annoying little brother
      3. Poetry is like Lane on a bad day at school
      4. Poetry is like black and white TV
      5. Poetry bullies me
      6. Poetry is a charging bull (and I am a red cape)
      7. Poetry punches me in the mouth
      8. Poetry is a hole in the shoe of a snowy day
    16. Poetry is like reading with foggy glasses
    17. Poetry is the seed that just rots in my garden
    18. Poetry pizza has no pepperoni when I get my order
    19. We were never meant for each other
    20. Poetry and I are breaking up
    21. Poetry loves me but I don't like poetry
    22. Poetry is like a crap sandwich for lunch
    23. Poetry and I don't get along
    24. Poetry is a pie with no crust
    25. Poetry is a puzzle with missing pieces
    26. Poetry tortures me with its bits and bangles
    27. Poetry is the math that just doesn't add up
    28. Poetry was never my type
      1. I'm smile and poetry cries
      2. Poetry isn't the girl for me
      3. Poetry is not my sweetheart
      4. Poetry is sweet to my sour
      5. Poetry is the wrong kind of tissue for my cold
      6. Poetry is night to my daytime
    29. Poetry was never my thing.
    30. Poetry just ain't my bag, baby
    31. Poetry is a baloney sandwich
    32. Poetry is like last year's fashion
    33. Poetry is to reading like the Bengals are to football
    34. Poetry is like my wife's shopping problem
    35. Reading poetry is like kissing your sister
    36. I don't exactly like poetry
    37. Poetry is like shopping for groceries with mom
    38. Poetry is like slipping on oil
    39. Reading poetry is like having your mom pick out your clothes
    40. Reading poetry is like shopping without money
    41. Poetry is like playing with your sister
    42. Poetry is like life without video games
    43. Poetry is colder that my ex-girlfriend
      1. Poetry freezes my heart
      2. Poetry freezes my sun
      3. Poetry freezes my turkey on Thanksgiving
      4. Poetry is the dark side of the moon
      5. Poetry and Pluto are twins
      6. Reading poetry chills my eyeballs
      7. Reading poetry is like being burried alive

    44. Poetry is the cold water shock of breaking through ice
    45. Poetry is like looking in the mirror before makeup
    46. Poetry is a poor sport
    47. Poetry is like a car that won't start
    48. Poetry is a rainy day
    49. Poetry is like lunch in the loo
    50. Poetry is reading quicksand
    51. Poetry is a green vegetable
    52. Poetry is like a broken heart
    53. Poetry is like a sauerkraut sundae
    54. Poetry is more of a pain than my little sister
    55. Writing poetry is worse than cleaning your room.


    It's amazing how students that don't like poetry can come up with so many poetic ideas.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Want to Put a Little Ryhme in Your Life?


    We are working with poetry in Reading Workshop.  We have focused on free verse poems, and a few concrete poems, but sometimes it is fun to write a rhyming poem.  A great tool for this is at Rhymezone.

    Pick a topic and see what you can do.  Write something that makes the reader laugh, or cry, or both.

    I knew from the first day,
    these students were weird.
    But partway through the year,
    It's worse than I feared

    I tried to help them,
    they definitely needed steered
    But partway through the year,
    It was worse than it appeared.

    I wasn't sure what to do,
    Their brains had been cleared.
    And partway through the year,
    No senses had reappeared.

    I gave them good advise,
    because I knew they needed steered.
    But partway through the year,
    their brains were still smeared.

    It could be the teacher,
    at first I feared.
    But partway through the year,
    His efforts should be cheered!

    Have a nice day students!   You don't like my poem?  Well show me what you can do!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Hey Students, Don't Hide






    Even though you think you are hidden, I see you.  Don't be like this gecko, feeling like he can't be seen.  When we have class discussions, you may not raise your hand.  You may not look up.  You may stare at the floor, hoping not to be noticed.  But everyone knows you are here.

    Maybe you are afraid your answer will be wrong.  Maybe you are afraid someone will laugh at your opinion or think you are dumb.  Maybe you are just quiet by nature. 


    Please do me a favor.  Take a chance.  Speak out.  Raise your hand.  Share your thoughts and opinions.  Everyone will benefit by your participation.    Classmates will learn from hearing your ideas. And you will learn more, too.

     Image from Lorenzo Menendez/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Have a great Thanksgiving break.  Some of the Reading Workshop students and maybe even a teacher may be a little bit ready for a long weekend, but at least we can enjoy a few days off.

    Dilbert.com


    Come back Monday ready to work.  :)

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Vocabulary Practice and Help the World

    FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. They offer an easy way to learn vocabulary, math skills, geography and more.

    According to FreeRice

    FreeRice has two goals: 

    1.  Provide education to everyone for free.
    2.  Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

    This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site. Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

    Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

    Want to learn in a fun and exciting way?  Check out FreeRice.

    The Best Thing About Computers



    Hey Reading Workshop students, share your opinion!




    You can see the results HERE.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Poetry--I Ain't No Poet

    Staring at blank faces,
    students whispering,
    bored and uninterested
    as we start a new project.

    Trying to spark a fire
    that energizes and makes believers,
    hoping Love That Dog
    will bring out a Jack.

    The unbelieving boy, Jack
    who couldn't write
    and didn't believe
    he had a message inside.

    With several Jacks
    looking so miserable
    as thoughts swirl around
    filled with dread.

    But there's a writer inside
    waiting to overcome
    a mind screaming
    I ain't no poet.



    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Veteran's Day

    Thank you to Austin for this Veteran's Day post.  I couldn't have said it better, so I just used the post from his Reading Workshop student blog.

    Many people may already know this but Veteran's Day is on Friday, 11/11/11. At my school we are going to have an assembly to honor them for their service to our country. I know a lot of people who were in the armed forces.  More than I can name and count have been in the air force on my grandma’s side in the Lallier family. 

    My grandpa is going to be at the assembly.  He was in the army in Vietnam. I think it was 5 or more people on my grandma’s side who were in the armed forces. Veteran's Day is a day to honor people who have died or served or still serve in the armed forces. So don’t forget to honor them and their service to our country.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Yes, Commas do Matter

    Take a breath, and then another, and another.  How do you know when to pause when you are reading? 

               PUNCTUATION!

    Or, as the picture says, save a life by using a comma.  Besides, Grandma is probably old and tough anyway.  No one would want to eat her.


    Another example of the need for a comma is a song we are singing as part of building fluency in Reading Workshop.  The song Crazy Girl by the Eli Young Band uses a comma that changes the meaning of the phrase crazy girl or crazy, girl throughout the song.

    Crazy girl, don’t you know that I love you?
    And I wouldn’t dream of goin’ nowhere
    Silly woman, come here, let me hold you
    Have I told you lately?
    I love you like crazy, girl

    So, Reading Workshop students, when there is a pause in a sentence, but not a complete new thought, be sure to put in a comma.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Hey Mean Boy, Get a Clue

    As part of our reading class, we are singing Mean by Taylor Swift which asks the question, "why you gotta be so mean?"  The current read aloud is The Revealers and students commented about bullying on a recent Reading Workshop post about bullies.  Every day for the last week the class has discussed bullying and not being mean to other students.

     So tell me, what is up with this one boy?  Why does he still think he can say mean things to other students? This class has so many kind and caring students.  No one else acts like him. 

    He struts around like he is so cool, but then sneaks around and says mean comments that he knows will tear kids up.  He is good at pretending to help when the teacher is watching, but watch out when he thinks no one can see him.

    I hope as we continue to discuss meanness a light will click on and he will stop.  I don't know if he realizes how many people see his sneaky ways of hurting others.  Maybe once he catches on to that, he will try out kindness and compassion.  I guess right now he is the only one in the whole class that doesn't get that everyone else gets that he is mean.