Monday, February 9, 2015

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.

Introduction
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

Conclusion
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?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Check Your Writing

Want to check your writing? Try the Hemingway App. All you have to do is copy your writing and paste it in place of the text you see in the image below and it will help with all of the things listed.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Argumentative Essay


Friday, December 12, 2014

Teamwork Informational Report

Steps for writing an informational report

1. Make a plan for the process. Think about the topic and what main points will be stressed.
2. Conduct research and take notes. Use a range of resources — from essays, articles, videos, and the Internet to do this. Take notes without copying word-for-word to reduce the risk of plagiarism. Be sure to copy websites and titles of articles so you can cite your sources.
3. Organize your paper using an outline. Decide which research and information fits best and where it should go in the essay.
4. Write the first draft of the report. Use the outline as a road map.
5. Edit and reread the report. Checking and correcting mistakes are the hallmarks of a good student.

Possible topics might be:

Teams are Built Through Cooperation
Put Your Problems Aside and Put the Team First
Drama Kills Teams
All Teammates Must Contribute
Everyone Must Give 110%
It's About the Team and not the Individual
No I in Team
Teams Work Together to Make Everyone Succeed
Team First
Helping Others Makes the Team Strong
Working Together is More Fun
Together Everyone Achieves More
Helping Makes Better Teammates
Working Together Is Easier
Working Together Helps Everyone Succeed
Team Focus is Important To Go Far
We Not Me
None of Us is Smarter Than All of Us
Teamwork Makes Dreams Work
Selfish Doesn't Work in Teams
Cooperation Counts in Teams
Teamwork is Not Something You Have, It's Something You Have to Achieve
The Whole is Greater Than the Parts
Everyone Included
A Successful Team Beats with One Heart
If No One Works on a Team, Then the Team Doesn't Work

Spurs Teamwork Drives Success

An article in The Daily Texan talks about teamwork at the highest level with NBA champions, San Antonio Spurs. 

The article begins:
This summer the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA championship, crushing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals four games to one. The 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs are one of the great championship teams in NBA history, and their recent victory further solidified the Spurs as perhaps the best franchise in professional sports. This year’s team also personified the sacrifice of individual acclaim for a greater goal, a characteristic increasingly rare in athletics, which, even on the collegiate level, focus on profit today.






Thursday, December 11, 2014

Teamwork



An article, Benefits of Teamwork in Sports says:
No sports team is successful without working together to reach a common goal. Teamwork is essential to a good performance from any sports team, professional or not, and is a great way to teach children certain life lessons, such as cooperating well with others and taking responsibility for actions. Such lessons are applicable to life outside of sports and can be applied to work or school, such as focusing without interruption on the school paper that needs to be written or working with a less-than-pleasant colleague on a project.
You can read he rest of the article HERE.

An article from Time Management Guide says:

A team building success is when your team can accomplish something much bigger and work more effectively than a group of the same individuals working on their own. You have a strong synergy of individual contributions. But there are two critical factors in building a high performance team.
You can read the rest of the article HERE.

Sled Dog Teamwork is discussed at the Wilderness Classroom:
Every sled dog has a different personality. They are kind of like people. Some of the dogs are outgoing. Some dogs are shy. Some of the dogs are hard workers and some are lazy. The musher of a dog team needs to find the best position for every dog on their team. When the dogs are all working together as a team, they can travel far and pull a lot of weight. Teamwork is a very important part of dog sledding. Do you use teamwork at school? I bet you do!
You can read the rest of the article HERE.


Another resource with several articles can be found at The Happy Manager.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pond Informational Report

You can see all the Informational Reports HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Informational Report--Science and L.A. Project

Reading Workshop students are working on an interdisciplinary unit in science and language arts. They are finding the volume of the classroom pond in the science class determining how many liters of water will be needed for this new and improved home for the class turtles.

In language arts, students will be writing an informational report detailing the process, and what they discovered. Essays will be scored based on the PARCC rubric below.


Friday, December 5, 2014

What Kind of Teammate Are You?

Take a look at this video. There are different types of teammate. Can you recognize yourself? Others?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Are You a Team Player?

Your class is your team. Every day you could be a part of something meaningful. You could be a part of something special. You could better the lives of those around you. You could be a leader. You could show kindness to someone in need. You could bring your class together to make it strong.

For this to happen though takes a team first attitude. It means putting others' needs in front of your own. Most of all though, it means evaluating yourself as a teammate. Then you must be motivated to use your strengths to the best of your ability to make your class the best it can be.




Your first task, Reading Workshop students is to describe yourself as a teammate. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How do your classmates view you as part of the team? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Writing a Response Using Details from the Text for Support

Today we are going to take the event from yesterday and use it for support on a writing prompt. This is working backwards from normal, but the process and use of an event for supporting details is the same. This event can be used for a number of topics like setting, character, problem, plot, conflict, comparison to self, comparison to another character, comparison to another setting, mystery, etc. For this example I am going to write about setting.

I just finished reading Compound by S.A. Bodeen. The setting plays a major role in this book. The story takes place in an underground compound/bunker. For almost the entire book, the main character, Eli and his family live in the "Compound."

The books opens with this scene:

My world ended with a bang the minute we entered the compound and that silver door closed behind us. The sound was brutal. Final.   .   .   .   My fists beat on the door. I bawled. The screaming left me hoarse.

Right from the start as a reader I had to stop and try to imagine myself in this place. I couldn't imagine being forced to survive trapped underground with no hope of escape. Also, when Eli finds out his twin brother and grandmother don't make it to the shelter and die, the setting causes even more thought. Eli's father, mother, and sisters Lexie and Terese managed to get safely inside within the forty minutes needed to survive, but his twin brother Eddie and his grandmother didn't make it..

In a way, the setting is the whole world because the world just ended with a nuclear explosion. However, Eli's family was safe only because of the compound. Eli's father (a billionaire) had prepared them for this day and made provisions to help them survive underground for the next 15 years. This tells me right from the start of the book that the entire story takes place underground in this compound prison.

Being trapped here causes major problems emotionally for Eli. He was forced to live with the fact that he caused Eddie's death. Eli had talked him into sneaking into their grandmother's car. She didn't make it back to the compound in time to get to safety in the shelter. Now Eli had to spend each day knowing his brother, his twin died because of him. There is no escaping this fact and being stuck in this setting reminds Eli of this every minute of every day.

Compound is a great book with a lot of events that bring you into the book and make you wonder what you would do in this situation. The setting controls the lives of the characters and the entire story.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Start with an Event

I just finished reading Compound by S.A. Bodeen. This is the opening scene:

My world ended with a bang the minute we entered the compound and that silver door closed behind us. The sound was brutal. Final.   .   .   .   My fists beat on the door. I bawled. The screaming left me hoarse.

In the next few pages the book explains that Eli's family is in an underground shelter but his twin brother Eddie and his grandmother didn't make it. Eli's father, mother, and sisters Lexie and Terese managed to get safely inside within the forty minutes needed to survive.

The world just ended with a nuclear explosion. Eli's family was safe only because of the compound. Eli's father (a billionaire) had prepared them for this day and made provisions to help them survive underground for the next 15 years.      

Eli was forced to live with the fact that he caused Eddie's death. Eli had talked him into sneaking into their grandmother's car. She didn't make it back to the compound in time to get to safety in the shelter. Now Eli had to spend each day knowing his brother, his twin died because of him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Support Your Writing with Details!

Reading Workshop students, please copy and paste the latest writing topic about the book you are reading, "Could You be the Main Character?" To see more about this project you can see all responses to this topic on the Question Board.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why We Sing in Language Arts Class

Each day in Reading Workshop for about 7 minutes (usually two songs), students sing. Lyrics are shown on the white board using the LCD projector. Music is played and students sing along, reading the lyrics as they sing. Every week, we sing at least one new song. As students get familiar with a song, they know all of the words, so they don't need to read. Changing songs is important to keep students reading. It also helps with vocabulary instruction. With each new song, there are new words to learn and discuss.

The best part of singing in reading class though, is how it helps academic achievement. When students read fluently, the ability to comprehend increases dramatically. Conversely, when students fight to read each word, starting and stopping, and starting again, comprehension decreases dramatically. We have all listened to a student read, struggling with each word, never reading a sentence through, and wished we had a magic bullet. We know if we could just get him to read fluently, he would have a better chance of understanding what he reads.

As we know, there is no magic pill, to cure all ailments. However, with modeling, and repeated readings, students can significantly increase fluency. In fact, primary teachers use this daily. Adolescent learners will quickly turn us off though, if we try to read as a class every day. This just wouldn’t be “cool.” This is where singing plays an important role in the language arts classroom. Singing their favorite new hit is most definitely “cool.”
The available evidence provides reliable, scientific evidence of the positive impact of repeated readings on a variety of reading tasks and outcome measures. These studies also indicate that engaging children in repeated readings of a text is particularly effective in fostering more fluent reading in children who are struggling to develop proficient reading strategies.

What better way for repeated reading than through singing?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Happened in the Book Last Night?

Here is an example written by Trinity T. in about 15 minutes.

Gecko had stolen a car from a lady. He was trying to find his brother Reuben but couldn't find him on foot. He was under age to be driving. He was only 13! The lady called the cops and he had cops after him in a few moments of driving. He was going about 80 mph down the highway trying to find his brother. He finally found his brother running out of the door at a game store with a bunch of games. Gecko figured his brother was stealing the games. Reuben spotted Gecko and ran to the back door. He hopped in with all of the games in his hands.

The cops started to catch up with him and soon were on their tail. Up ahead was an old lady pushing a stroller with a baby in it. Gecko swerved the car and the car started to spin. Gecko slammed on the brakes and the car stopped. Gecko noticed that he had missed the old lady. He sighed in relief. The cops were long gone. No where to be seen. So he headed back to the house. Gecko started to think that his life needs to change.

This is from the Gordon Korman book, The Juvie Three.


Is Study Island Making You Crazy?

Jacob came to school this morning and he was really upset. He did his best on Study Island trying question after question after question and his score was still really low. He spent a lot of his evening last night trying to improve his grade. I appreciate his effort very much, but there are a couple of things he needs to know.

1.  Doing extra work always pays off. Even if it doesn't help his grade it will make him smarter and make success more likely down the road.

2.  Students are only required to do 20 questions. They can do more to improve their grade, but they should never do more than 40 - 50 questions.

3.  Study Island is a challenging program and I don't expect students to get A's all the time. All I ask is their best effort. 

4.  The grading scale is curved for a reason. Getting high grades every time is extremely difficult.

5.  There are a lot of grades in language arts each grading period. One or two low scores will not ruin a grade. Just keep working hard and your grade will show it.

6.  I appreciate the hard work Jacob put forth last night. Even if his grade doesn't improve, he earned my respect for his positive attitude and that is worth a lot more than any 10 point assignment.

Image from http://www.theguardian.com/

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Could This Be You?

He came to me extremely upset. It was almost time to turn in his assignment and he had really messed up. He figured it out, but it was too late. He didn't have enough time to make it right and he was tore up.

He said, "Mr. McGuire, I don't know what to do. I think I did this all wrong." He was shaking and distraught. He so wanted to do well and he knew what he had done wasn't good enough.

We talked over the assignment, I showed him an example (See the post below), and then he asked if he had to turn it in right then. He chose to stay in from recess and work on his post during study table. Great job J.C. You got an A!

The big question that anyone seeking success should ask is, "could this be you?" Do you have the drive and determination to do your best? Will you make the extra effort to be a winner? Could this blog post be about you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Main Character Comparison

Here is an example from Emma M. that earned an A.

I'm like Sophie because she is curious. When her mom came to see her in the summer, Sophie would always asked, "What do you do on Skin Island," and,"Why can't I come and see you?" But her mom would never tell her. Sophie got more curious every time. And she even asked her dad what her mom did. But even with many times Sophie begged, he wouldn't tell her. I am curious like her too. One day when I was watching a really good show called Pretty Little Liars, (it's a mystery). I was trying to figure out who A was, but I got so curious that I couldn't take it anymore so I Googled it and was shocked by the answer. The weird thing was that the original A wasn't the person that showed up.

Another time is when it was Christmas time and a big box came from Amazon. Now when I was eight, boxes were so magical because they hardly never came. So I got super curious and lifted the big box to the couch. And while my mom was making dinner I started to open the magical box. Inside I found these amazing Christmas presents! My mom came in and closed the box and told me to go away. She wasn't that mad though, and she understood that I was only little and curious. But now I'm not allowed to touch any boxes at Christmas time.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is Your Teacher Making You Read?

The class was having SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) and I noticed a girl scooting around in her chair. I started watching her and every little bit she would glance at her book and then look all around the room. She looked one way and then the other. She tried to see through the blinds on the windows. She wanted to take a restroom break. She looked at her friends trying to catch their attention. The one thing she never did was read her book.

This girl obviously was only reading because her teacher was making her. She does not like to read. She can't even fake it well. SSR clearly makes her miserable. But of all the reasons to read, reading because your teacher makes you is the worst.

She could read because:

1.   She wants to learn;
2.   She found an exciting book;
3.   She is on the fourth book in a series and the first three books were awesome;
4.   She can't wait to see what happens next;
5.   She wonders who did it;
6.   She can picture the story;
7.   She imagines herself as the main character;
8.   She loves books by that author;
9.   She likes scary books like the one she is reading;
10. She wants to solve the mystery in the book;
11. She hates the main character and wants to see if something bad happens to her;
12. She saw the movie (Maze Runner, Divergent, Hunger Games, Twilight, Holes);
13. She wants to read the book before she sees the movie;
14. She isn't a good reader and wants to get better;
15. She knows she will have to write about the book;
16. She wants to have intelligent things to say about the book on her blog;
17. She heard it was a great book from her friend;
18. She and her friend are reading the book and talking about it;
19. She wants to know how the main character will solve a problem.

Reading should be fun. Reading should be exciting. Reading should be a story in your mind where you can't wait to see what happens next. If it is not this way, here is what you should do:

1.   Get a different book;
2.   Try an easier book;
3.   Try a different author;
4.   Try a different genre;
5.   Ask a friend for a recommendation;
6.   Ask me for a good book;
7.   Pay attention to when you stop getting a picture;
8.   Reread, a page, a chapter, or the whole book until you get a picture.

Whatever you do, don't just read because your teacher is making you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Why We Read in Class

I have always believed reading makes the best readers. That is the reason behind the Read at Home assignment. Recently I found an article on Twitter that talked about reading in school and how some teachers and their assignments kill students' love of reading.

One part states:

I don’t have time for in-class reading.” Have you ever said this? I used to say it all of the time. If you commit to instilling a love of reading in your students (the most important part of education), then you must make time to read in class–every single day! Two or three times weekly isn’t good enough. Readers read daily; it’s this simple. The single best lesson I ever learned is this: books are the best teachers. Books are more important. Let your students read.

I can't say it any better. This is why The Reading Workshop is based first and foremost on reading.

Image from http://msrosenthalsclassroom.wikispaces.com/

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"You Gotta Have Heart"

Eric Thomas is a former NFL player who played for the Cincinnati Bengals, NY Jets, and Denver Broncos. Eric fought through an extremely difficult childhood, including dropping out of high school. Eventually he followed his dreams, and went to college at Tulane University. Now, he speaks at conventions, high schools, and colleges. He preaches about success, passion, and driving to achieve your goals in life.



In this video, Thomas talks about three keys to success:

1. You gotta have heart
2.  Be able to sacrifice what you are for what you will become
3.  Pain is temporary but if you quit it lasts forever. At the end of pain is success.

He is also famous for his quote on success:

WHEN YOU WANT TO SUCCEED
AS BAD AS YOU WANT TO BREATHE..


How does this video and Thomas's message relate to you Reading Workshop students? What are your thoughts about success?

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Harm Essay


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Fantastic Commenter

Emma A. comments on blogs almost every night. She has great things to say and she says them well. Her spelling, punctuation and grammar are correct. She takes her time to make others feel great.

That is why she is the first student this year to receive the Reading Workshop Outstanding Commenter Award. I give this award as a way of saying thanks and great job to students that make the extra effort to comment on their peers' blogs.

This star is on the sidebar on Emma's blog, Exciting Tales of Me. Great job to Emma! If you want this badge of excellence on your blog, just take a little time and make some comments.

Friday, September 19, 2014

What Happened in the Book Last Night?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trait of Your SSR Book

Reading Workshop students, please complete the form below to submit your post on a trait of the SSR book you are reading.


Monday, September 15, 2014

In Conclusion . . .

When writing a closing paragraph, you summarize what you have written about in your essay.  The first step is to think about the main point that you want to get across to your reader. You can use your introduction as a guide saying something similar with different wording.  

You may also want to look at what each paragraph says. Use this information and restate key points from the essay. You can end with a question, thought, quote or opinion that gives your reader something to think about or consider.

Good conclusions usually do one or more of these:
  • Restate the thesis or main point
  • Offer a suggestion
  • Share your opinion
  • Make a recomendation
  • End with a question

Here is an example from an essay about character in a book.

I would definitely recommend this book to others, because I think a lot of girls could really relate to the main character, especially most of my friends. Also I would still recommend this book to boys, because even though it's a girl's book, it's not about being girly, and all about girls. Some boys may be able to relate to the three boys in the story! The book Spells & Sleeping Bags is one out of my two favorite books. Also, I think the author is very talented with writing her books. She's my absolute favorite author. I think Sara Mlynowski is very talented because I can really get inside the characters mind, and really get into the book as if I were the main character.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pick an Element of Your SSR Book

The next assignment for Reading Workshop students is to pick one element of the book they are reading and write about its impact on the story. The key to this project is to support ideas and opinions with details from the text. Equally important is the need to stay on topic and DO NOT RETELL THE BOOK!

Students can choose one of the traits listed below or choose another aspect of their book. 

Setting
Character
Problems
Action
Adventure
Conflict
Mystery
Essays should begin with an introduction that gives the title, author, and topic of the writing. Below is an example using The Maze Runner featuring setting.
The book The Maze Runner by James Dashner takes place in an amazing setting.  This group of kids are locked into this mysterious place with no way to escape. Each day they try to run a maze outside their camp to find a way to get out.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New School Year Writing Assignment

Please copy and paste your post, The New School Year from the Question Board or your blog to be graded. As we discussed in class, grades will be based on use of supporting details in your writing, correct punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How's the New School Year?

According to Reading Workshop students this year is going well.


Over 80% of the students in an anonymous poll rated this school year as a 9 or 10 on a ten point scale. It's great to know that so many students are engaged and enjoying school.

PollHow would you rate this year so far?


The Best
10 
   
          37 votes (56.06%)
9
   
          16 votes (24.24%)
8
   
          2 votes (3.03%)
7
   
          2 votes (3.03%)
   
          3 votes (4.55%)
5 OK
  
          4 votes (6.06%)
4
  
          0 votes (0%)
3
   
          0 votes (0%)
2
 
          0 votes (0%)
1
   
          2 votes (3.03%)
The Worst

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Student of the Day

Study Island

Want to be rewarded for excellence? Students work daily in Reading Workshop 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.

Students scores count towards their grade in Reading Workshop.  It is important that students pay attention to their score as they are completing a 20 question session.  If they are close to the next higher grade, doing a couple of extra questions correctly can really help their grade.

85 - 100 = A
75 - 84.9 = B
65 - 74.9 = C
55 - 64.9 = D 

Congratulations to today's Study Island Students of the Day: Emma M., Rachel T., Allison W., and Ian S.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome to 2014/2015



I am excited to start the new school year and it all begins today. Open house is tonight from 5:30-7:00. Students and parents have the opportunity to meet teachers and tour the school. Please take a few minutes and stop by. Say hello and introduce yourself.

Tomorrow is the first day of school! I am pumped up to begin the new year. I have a lot of great activities planned for Reading Workshop. We will begin by setting up student blogs, reading aloud Swear to Howdy, and of course--singing!

Welcome to the new sixth grade students. I promise it will be an amazing year!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jupiter Grades Questions

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Great OAA Scores!

The sixth grade students in Reading Workshop did an amazing job on the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment. Over 94% passed the reading test. I watched them work so hard in May when they took the test and hoped it would reflect the awesome work I had witnessed all year.

When the results came in I was pleased to see that last year's sixth graders showed so much growth and success. Super job to all the students that made last year so great. I truly enjoyed having the chance to work with such a great group.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Figurative Language is Fun


Straight from Mrs. Caudill at McDowell are some fun games to learn and practice all about figurative language.

Monday, April 28, 2014

D.A.R.E on the Question of the Week Board

Please turn in your D.A.R.E. Question of the Week post to be graded.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Success Post

Reading Workshop students, please submit your essay for grading in the form below. To see all the essays go HERE.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Do You Connect the Dots?

As students work on writing their Success project, one of the challenges will be to connect the dots. When using three sources and personal experiences, tying everything together will be extremely important. 

When writing an essay you need to consider the reader. When someone reads your essay, does it make sense? Does one point lead to another? Do examples support main points? Do you stay on topic from beginning to end? A good writer always connects the dots.




Want more information on using transitions to improve your writing? Check this site at Aims Community College

What Did You Enjoy Most About Camp Responses

To read all the responses, please go to the Question of the Week Board.