Adventures of 6th - ProTeacher Community


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Reading, writing and history are my core subjects. I want to record a year of my activities for self reflection and to gather information to improve my teaching.
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Who created the district calendar?

Posted 04-02-2011 at 07:38 AM by imalith

Surely anyone in eduction would not have the last day of spring break be on April Fools Day. It was hard enough to contain the Tsunami of energy of middle schoolers without throwing that into the mix. I had to untape the bottom of my mouse 3 times. Yes, that is "hilarious" I say in a sarcastic voice.

Regardless, I had a great week with my students. I merged my newly learned GLAD strategies with teaching Latin Roots. The cooperative group straties were fantastic and coupled with the individual accountability, made the lessons go well. It was fun to see the kids work with each other's strengths and weaknesses. One boy who struggles with transferring his ideas into writing did a great job with his group as they helped him with his portion. He still had to write, but they encouraged him to be successful.

After spring break we will conquer Greek Roots. I haven't decided whether or not to do the same lesson or to alter it to include a prediction...
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Research Report Wrap Up

Posted 03-25-2011 at 05:27 AM by imalith

This year my research reports were different than in the past. Rather than working in the library and researching and working with 8 computers, we went into the computer lab. I'm not sure it was better. I think both have their advantages.

Overall the reports were amazingly successful. It was the best writing I have seen from my class. Expository writing isn't much fun unless you feel passionate about your subject, so choice is always the key.

What will I do different next year? I'm not sure. I would like to book more library time, so they have a balance of library/computer lab. My PLC people are interested in attempting the reports, which may cut into my lab/library time. Dang, sometimes it is hard to share great things.
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The more you know...

Posted 03-25-2011 at 05:23 AM by imalith

the more you realize you know nothing. Socrates.

This is a quote that ran through my mind as I was listening to the presenters. The training was fantastic. Implementing a few of the strategies is great, but the actual GLAD program is all encompassing and could change everything about how you present your lessons.

What is GLAD? Best practice teaching strategies all rolled up into an effective method. Color coding. Effective visuals. Things we already know, but connected together to give direction and purposefulness.

One of my favorite parts was just the class rules.

1. Respect.
2. Solve that problem.
3. Make good decisions.

My favorite was "solve that problem". In my school, I've been enabling my poverty children by giving them pencils. Now I'm going to say "solve that problem". Okay, maybe it is too late for this year, but I'm going to do it anyway. They need to start to...
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wrapping up RR

Posted 03-06-2011 at 06:44 AM by imalith

The research reports are almost completed. I could only get into the computer lab a couple of days last week and a few kids still need to type.

I must admit that the first day in the computer lab I was a bit nervous. The first day all they did was look up pictures and create cover pages. Eventually, they pulled it together and the writing began.

This year I tried something a bit new. Rather than have students work in the library to research other books, compose and type, we went straight into the computer lab. The reason was the library is always booked! It is ridiculous that I couldn't get my students in to do research. The good result was that this is more "real world".

Kids took 2 column notes, some drafted sentences or they just typed. After each section was completed students fill in a paragraph analysis (for revision). Rework their papers and then read with a partner for additional work. Next day is revision in the computer...
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Outlines

Posted 02-10-2011 at 07:06 PM by imalith

Today I had students organize their research reports by writing an outline, setting up t-chart notes, and making folders. I felt it went well. Students wrote potential thesis statements and set up their notes.
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Research Reports

Posted 02-10-2011 at 05:32 AM by imalith

Our fabulous librarian provided a book talk of nonfiction books. I love having her do that because she always has a different take on it than I do. Quite an interesting mix of books were presented. Many kids picked off the shelf.

My morning group, the more academic of the two classes, picked a wide variety of topics. The PM seemed to pick animal books. In the past I excluded animal books because I know that is about the only type of report kids have done in the past. I cringed when I discovered that three of my top kids picked an animal book. Oh well, maybe they will be good role models for taking it to a higher level.

Today we wrote down the topic on a plain, white piece of paper and set the book beside it. Students then moved around and wrote questions for each topic. Anything that came to mind was fair game. It was a great icebreaker for the reports and made the kids think.

Today we are making folders, thinking of potential thesis...
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Research Reports

Posted 02-06-2011 at 07:29 AM by imalith

After all the work on Intros, notetaking, sentence variety, elaboration and conclusions, students will be creating their own research reports. This week they check out a nonfiction book to read.

I love my lessons for this. Most students are very proud of their final creation. I've booked the computer lab for almost a week, so students can do additional research and type their reports.

I'm a bit concerned about helping each student craft and workable thesis statement and topic sentences for each section. Thirty in a class is too many to work with them individually! Yikes. It seems like this is the largest range of abilities that I have had for years.
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Writing skill building

Posted 02-05-2011 at 07:05 AM by imalith

My writing lessons have been focusing on skill building in order to get students prepared to write research reports.

My writing plan has been very successful this year. Mostly recently, I had students write an essay about their most memorable grade. The essay goal was for 2 body paragraphs to have detailed and layered elaboration. The lessons went very well. Students were able to see the difference between layer and list by examples I provided. The focus and their grade was for the elaborated paragraph. Their intros were mostly just a thesis statement. Those papers were graded and placed in writing folders.

Last week we took out those old papers to write new introductions for them. Since the writing goal was elaboration, many students only wrote a thesis statement, but not an introduction with a grabber.

I taught introduction strategies by showing examples from the state created powerpoint. Students wrote notes in a T chart. Then, I wrote my...
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At home student led conferences

Posted 01-26-2011 at 06:12 AM by imalith

My amazing teaching partner (She teaches Math/Science with my Am/PM kids), works with me to create student led conferences. We both simultaneously decided to do this one fall. We worked out a plan, a script and implemented them one year. It was the best conference week of my professional career! No longer was I "telling" parents about their children, but the children were presenting their acheivements to their families in a way that suited their family culture.

Have you ever been nervous about a conference? Sometimes I know a student isn't having classroom success. I wonder how a parent will react. They react differently when their child presents the information. Parents can't lie when their kids are there. No more, "but they had fabulous grades last year". With SLC's the child says, "No I didn't. I had "C's and D's).

Since the time when we started SLC's for fall conferences, we have now progressed to students continuing...
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More on PLCs

Posted 01-26-2011 at 05:59 AM by imalith

My principal asked me to attend the principals' meeting with the Superintendent to speak about PLCs. They wanted to know how ours worked. Yikes.

The day of the meeting I thought I was coming down with the flu. Fortunately, it was all nerves. I must say, sitting through their meeting was eye opening and nerve wracking all at the same time.

My first thought was that they were so focused on the overall running and coordination of the big picture that most are completely unaware of what we actually do in our classrooms. Most are not aware of the changes to our state mandated assessment. (Yikes).

I expressed that our current reading program is ineffective for teaching the standards from our state because the tests do not resemble our current needs, so we create our own assessments. I also said that we need supplementary material for "functional documents" because that is now part of the test. Functional documents are emails, flyers,...


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