Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Author's Feelings

Have you ever thought about what the writer was feeling? In most instances, great writing is the result of situations or problems that spark strong feelings. The writer is faced with an emotional situation and uses writing as an outlet. 

Sometimes feelings of joy need to be shared. Other times relief in dealing with sadness or grief comes from sharing through writing. In this poem, Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes, he describes facing the challenges in life. 

Well, son, I'll tell you:

Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',

And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

What was he feeling as he wrote this poem? How does that relate to your feelings as a reader? Do think there is usually a connection between the author's feelings and the reader's feelings?

Image from http://beninjapan.blogspot.com/

Bring Some "Ing" to Your Poetry

Good poetry is alive, bringing the reader inside and making him think, or wonder, or laugh, or cry. And to bring the reader in nothing works better than action verbs. Thus the need for some "ing."

Screaming, shouting, racing, zinging, glistening, clinging, spinning, howling, catching, hooting, buzzing, violating, falling, sprinting, vaulting, pouncing, scaling, attacking, lunging, foraging, galloping, whipping, creating, gambling, whaling, slashing, wondering, listing, faking, destroying, escaping, dreaming, visualizing, imagining, bouncing, scraping, flailing, editing, revising, writing . . .

Make Your Words Count in Poetry

Cut out all those words.  This is poetry so you don't need them.  In fact, if the word doesn't do something to clarify meaning, or help make your point, just delete it.

Get rid of all those annoying little words and leave only the ones that matter.  You really don't need all those "it's" and "is's."  Nor do you need those are's and were's. Trim the fat and excess words.  Make your poem meaningful and exciting.

The best thing about poetry is that the author makes the rules.  You can choose whether or not to use capital letters, sentences, and punctuation.  The only rule is write in the best way to make your poem meaningful and understandable.  Just write so your reader relates to your message.

Author's note:  There are divided thoughts about using apostrophes in certain circumstances to show plural.  The general thinking is that it is allowable in a few instances if it helps considerably with making text more easily understood and more readable.

Image from http://kerileebeasley.com/

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Make a Poem

Take this poem and rewrite it. Make it yours. Use your imagination. Be creative. You can read other student's poems HERE.

A boy
walked down
the path

He thought
about kids
at his school

He wished
they were
a little nicer

He didn't know
how to make
it happen

He tried
smiling at them
and it worked.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tell Me About the Main Character

I Hope You're Learning Your Yours

Using language correctly tells others that you are intelligent, thoughtful, and responsible, some of the time. Then there are cases like this:

Image from @grammarly

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do You Know Your Yours?

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Monday, March 30, 2015

What Makes You Awesome?

So Reading Workshop students, what makes you awesome? What one thing sets you apart? What one trait defines you? When you think about your best quality, what comes to mind? What is the one thing that you do best? What makes you awesome?

Tell me about it.

Image from @bethhouf

Examples of Using Information From the Text

Listed below are four examples from the Reading Workshop Question of the Week Board.  Read each and then complete the form below.

Example 1

I think that every kid in the sixth grade should read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth because it has a lot of action and some comedy and romance. There are three books in this series, but there is an additional one. Out of all of them my favorite is the third one called Allegiant. I like the third one the best because it has the most action.

For example, kind of at the end of Allegiant Caleb( Tris' brother) has to go through death serum to destroy it so no one can ever use it. Well Tris is Divergent so she thinks that she should go instead because she thinks she can fight the death serum off like all the other ones but Tobias made Tris promise she wouldn't go. Then when Tris is walking Caleb to the room she has guards at the end of the hall pointing their guns. So Tris decides to go and she runs off to go to destroy the death serum.

Another pretty exciting part is when they break the faction and some people are going wild and other have no idea what to do so they go along with them. After that everyone is in the street and smashing things and yelling just doing everything you can possibly imagine. After everyone moves off the street Tris and Tobias look at what they did.

There is quite a bit of romance in this book between Tris and Tobias in this series. A lot of the book is based on there relationship. When something happens to Tris in this book Tobias comes and rushes to her side. Once Tobias meets her he sees her injured and broke. Tobias loves Tris and never want to let her go but then he had to and he was heart broken. After he saw Tris and left and went home and Tried to kill himself because he loved her so much.

I think you should read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. They are really detailed and they have a lot of action and excitement and romance it's kind of like a few books in one. When you read it you will be amazed by this new world I really liked them and I hope you do too.

Example 2
Have you ever just looked back and wondered what was a must read book that you would recommend for every sixth grader? Honestly, I have thought about it a couple times but, I always think about so many books series. The process went from Divergent, to Percy Jackson, to The Hunger Game series. Finally, I thought about how much action and detail was in each book. So that's when I narrowed it down to just that Hunger Games.

In the Hunger Games there are some unusual things that you would normally never see in other books. For example there names are a little different than other books. In other books you would always see the same names, like Jessica, James, or maybe even Emma, but in the Hunger Games the names are Katniss, Petta (the main characters), Gale, Haymitch, and even Effie. There are more names, but there's too many name.

The Hunger Games has so many twists in it. For example, you would think that the book would go one way but really it would go the complete opposite. In the book when Katniss and Peeta finally go into the arena (the arena is called The Hunger Games) to fight, you would think that since Katniss is in the same district as Peeta then they would be working together to try to win (even though there can only be one winner at the end of the game). But does Peeta really want to work together?

Another exciting reason why everyone should read the Hunger Games is because in the second book (The Catching Fire), something very surprising happens. For example, every 25 years, they have this drawing to choose who is going to be in the Hunger Games that year, but they usually have the whole district in a glass jar. Well after 25 years, something different happens where there's only a few people in the glass jar. 

There are so many reasons why every sixth grader should read the Hunger Games, but I only wrote a few. There's also a lot more examples that could go along with the book but, I don't want to give the book away. There are three books in the Hunger Games series. They are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and last but not least there's the Mocking Jay. They are all really extraordinary books that I think every sixth grader should read.

Example 3
What books are must reads? There are a lot of books that I think 6th graders should read, but I'm only going to name a one. Some of you might have seen my blog posts. I have quite a few posts about must read books. If you think that one of the books on here is interesting, you can go to my blog, because some of the books on here I typed about on my blog.

Some books that I think are must reads are books by Wendelin Van Draanen. Her books are really good. Some books by her are Runaway, The Running Dream, and Flipped. I've read all three of those books and they were amazing. But the must read book would probably be Runaway. Runaway is perfect for a 6th grader because it has some action, survival, and just a cool story rolled up into one book.

Runaway is about a twelve year old girl named Holly. Holly doesn't get along with her foster parents, so she runs away. The action and survival starts after she runs away from her home. When Holly travels to different places, she meets really weird people. It's like seeing strangers at the side of the road: you don't know their story, you don't know their background, you just try to keep your distance. She sometimes has to run away from them or sometimes gets in fights with them. Holly is homeless, so she has to find a plan on how to survive. Survival is important because Holly needs food and shelter but she can't always trust the people around her. She digs out of garbage cans and hopes that she can find something good to eat and she lives in shelters and cardboard boxes.

Here's an example of action in the book: Holly needs another place to live. She travels all the way down the street, looking for a home. Holly finally finds a short bridge. When she goes to check it out, she realizes there are people already living under it. There's some crazy girl and then there's this guy named Martin that has tattoos and is always sticking his tongue out. Holly doesn't trust the crazy girl because she's always trying to look in Holly's stuff, but Holly especially doesn't like Martin. She thinks he looks suspicious. Holly always sees Martin lurking around the soup kitchen but tries not to be seen by him.

The next day, when Holly was walking to her home, she didn't realize that Martin was following her. When she turned around, Martin attacked. He tried to kill Holly! Martin was choking Holly! She was kicking back at him as hard as she could. Holly thought she was gonna die that day because of the way he was treating her. After many screams and cries, Holly's friend came to the rescue, picked up a spear and stabbed Martin. Martin ran away. The reason why I liked that part of the book is because I like to picture myself in that kind of situation. What if a big, grown man attacked me? How would I fight back? I would kick him. I would scream and run away.

You should really read Runaway. It has a lot of cool stuff in it.

Example 4
Today in Language Arts class, we talked about what book should every student read. My suggestion is the Hunger Game series. It's a book that has a look of action and adventure and many more awesome things. The Hunger Game series was made by Suzanne Collins, she was the writer of all three books, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mocking Jay. All three books lead up to an exciting adventure, on which you will want to hear more of.

One of the exciting parts of the Catching Fire book is when Katniss (the main character) is going through the showing of the tributes, when her dress lights up, almost as real fire, but it was actually fake so it would not hurt her. Peeta (the second main character) his clothes catch the flame too, if you don't understand why it caught flame, here's why. Katniss and Peeta are from district 12. Each district has a symbol of what they do. Katniss and Peeta wore flames because their district is coal/mining. They wore the flames to represent the burning of coal.

Another awesome part in the book The Hunger Games, is when Katniss is running in the games looking for Peeta because the speaker of the games just said pair up again with your tribute from your district. While Katniss is running she stops at a little river to search around when she hears a noise. She looks around and thinks it is another person when she realizes the noise is coming from the ground. She then sees Peeta in the ground under some rocks with a rock like paint on his face. This is a really exciting part because you don't see it coming. You don't expect him to be under some rocks while reading the book.

One more exciting part is in the Mocking Jay book. Katniss has to decide if she wants to be the mocking jay and take responsibility now living in district 13. Katniss decides to be the mocking jay, the rebel of the capital. She must now take on duties, and now, prepare for war. She must prepare because the capitol is destroying the districts, and they will be coming to district 13 before long. This is an exciting part because It's just sounds so cool to be mocking jay. There's a dress with feathers that are blue and has long wings. It also sounds like a big role to take on, and Katniss must take on that rule. The districts are turning on the capital now, and everything is being destroyed. Mocking Jay is filled with lots of adventure and lots of action.

In conclusion, I think the Hunger Games series is a must read book/series. There is three books in the Hunger Game series, and I recommend to try reading them all. These books are a must read series for sixth graders if you like survival and a little violence, and a little bit of romance. If you're looking for a good book to read in the sixth grade, I would suggest the Hunger Games series. There is action and adventure in almost every chapter.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Using Details to Support Your Position

This year we have focused on supporting your writing with details from the text. Recently on the Question of the Week Board, students wrote about a Must Read Book for All Sixth Graders. If you were the teacher, which post would you use as an example? Which post does the best job using information/details from the book to back up their claim as the must read book? 

Keep in mind the writer must have a reason of what makes the book great and the details should support that specific reason. This is not about which book you like best. This is not about which post you like best. This is a selection of one writer/post that best uses details from the book to support their point.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time to Read

Why are you smiling? Oh, because I said, get out your book. It's time for SSR.

Today in class when this happened, I smiled too. As a language arts teacher, nothing beats having students that enjoy reading. The sixth grade class this year has many readers. We are lucky too , because the library has about 10,000 books and all of them are geared towards adolescent readers. With such a great selection every student can find something interesting and exciting.

So thanks, Travis. You made me smile too. I am glad you enjoy reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Last 20 Pages

Please complete the form below.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do You Value Punctuation?

Yes, punctuation does matter.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Do You Want to Test Your Grammar?

Grammarly Grammar Nerd Quiz Feature Image

Thanks to grammarly.com/grammar-check for this quiz.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Year-round School Essay

Don't let this be you!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Are You a Good Writer?

The Grammarly Blog has an article that might help answer that question.  It starts:

Have you ever wondered if your writing is any good? It’s a common question most writers have, especially early in their careers. It’s natural to have moments of doubt; you wouldn’t be human otherwise! Here are six signs your writing is on the right track.

You can read the article HERE.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Test for Students

Today I am a student. I am attending the Ohio Educational Technology Conference. This is a chance for me to learn new and sometimes innovative ways to use technology in our language arts class. I will be attending many classes all focusing on different ways that teachers are using technology to help students better learn.

This is a test for Reading Workshop students. They are working on an Argumentative Essays about year-round schools. When I come back on Friday, I will see what they have accomplished while I was gone. This is always interesting to me because it shows who is motivated to be successful.

So what about it Reading Workshop students? How hard are you working? Are you driving for success? I am anxious to see how you do on your essays. Put in a great effort and make us both proud!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Good Argument

Students recently completed an Argumentative Essay Project. The following essay was written by Emma A. She did an excellent job of organization and supporting her opinion.

I think parents should limit social media use. I think they should because too much time on social media can put teen’s mental health in jeopardy. Social media can be addictive. Studies show that 63% of people log on to Facebook daily, and about 40% log on multiple times a day.

Social media also leads to a higher risk for cyberbullying. Sixty-seven percent of cyberbullying comes from instant messaging. Peer pressure is another thing that cyberbullying leads to. That affects our mental health because too much pressure can cause teens and people of any age to make bad decisions such as smoking, doing drugs, and drinking alcohol.

Using social media can also lead to low self-esteem. This can cause depression and anxiety.  The University of Michigan collected data about Facebook users and how it changed their moods. It showed that people who use Facebook daily have shown lower satisfaction for their life and Facebook as they use it more and more. It can also lead to fear of missing out, or FOMO. It is a form of social anxiety.

Social media is sometimes a good idea, but it can be very bad in some ways. The good things about using social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and many more improves your heart rate because it relaxes you,  and increases productivity. Just a 10 minute break can make employees happier and they will get more work done. They are many more ways that social media can be good, but not bad.

In conclusion, I think that social media use should be limited not only for teens, but for everyone. Too much time on social media can cause mental disorders, social anxiety, and peer pressure, and many more. Social media can be good as well, but for the most part it is bad for teens, especially. So I think social media use should be limited not only for teens but for everyone.

Year-round Schools Argumentative Essay Organization

Reading Workshop students, your task is to write an editorial stating your position on year-round schooling.

Be sure to include:
• An engaging opening that states your opinion
• At least two separate supporting arguments/reasons, with supporting details from at least two sources
• An explanation of the other side and your reasoning against it
• A conclusion restating your opinion and a call to action (what you want people to do)
• Citation of your sources at the end of your essay

Listed below is an organizational/format aid.

1. Statement of opinion--Students would/would not benefit from year-round schools.
2. Two or three sentences that provide background information to the reader (you may want to do this after you write paragraphs two and three).

Body First Paragraph
1. Topic sentence that tells the topic of supporting evidence you will use in this paragraph. It might sound something like, Students that attend school year-round . . .
2. Supporting sentences with facts and/or information from sources.

Body Second Paragraph
1. Topic sentence that tells the topic of supporting evidence you will use in this paragraph. It might sound something like, Another benefit/detriment of year-round school . . .
2. Supporting sentences with facts and/or information from sources.

Body Third Paragraph
1. Topic sentence that tells the opposing viewpoint. It might sound something like, Some people might say . . .
2. Supporting information of the opposing viewpoint
3. Your rebuttal--reasons that this viewpoint is wrong

1. Restate the statement of opinion from the introduction
2. Wrap up your essay with final points that sum up your argument. 

Year-round Schools or Not?