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Category Archives: Life as an Intervention Specialist

2016 Classmate Scavenger Hunt

With the same students as last year….and so many exciting things happening this summer, I decided to update my Scavenger Hunt.

2016 Scavenger Hunt

2016 Classmate Scavenger Hunt

Here are links to previous posts about this first day activity:

Updated: First Day of School Scavenger Hunts (Contains three variations for different age levels)

First Day of School Scavenger Hunt (Contains the rules, description of the activity)

 

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Summertime Favorites

Lemon Shake-Ups.

Caramel Apples.

Cotton Candy.

Peach-Tea.

S’mores.

Funnel Cakes.

Banana  Splits.

Strawberry Milkshakes.

Which is your favorite summertime favorite?

Hopefully you’ve had a great summer and done plenty of your favorite things and eaten plenty of your favorite goodies. (Lemon Shake-Up for me!)

August arrived almost 72 hours ago. Along with it, band practice, golf practice, back-to-school posts, and an earlier wake-up time (probably the most shocking of all.)

As I get back into the routine, I feel mixed emotions. My daughter is a junior and a squad leader in the marching band this year.  On the first day of practice, I heard her come downstairs.  I hopped out of bed, quickly got dressed, and started my coffee as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. She looked at me – water bottle, trumpet, music, and keys in hand – and I realized she doesn’t need a ride this year.  She has her own car.  (Imagine both our faces – and my heart – at this moment.)

My son, finally a teenager, is an 8th grader and is on the golf team.  He’s worked hard all summer on his swinging, chipping, and putting.  My parents bought him a giant net that he can set up in the yard. It’s been nice because I don’t have to pay for the driving range, or make his sister drive him to the golf course.   But when I look at my hacked-up lawn…. I think I should put up a sign that says, “A spoiled rotten golfer lives here.”

I’ve started a little of my back-to-school work, but considering this is Year 21, I feel pretty comfortable and have learned to use every second of this precious time for relaxing, refreshing, and re-energizing.

However, during a quick stop at the store this morning, I found the perfect ice breaker activity for my students.

Limited Edition Dum-Dums!

Limited Edition Dum-Dums!  How fun!  I bought two 10.4 oz bags for $4.00 at Discount Drugmart.

After brief introductions of myself and my student teacher, I will bring out the basket.

dumdum2

This is a good time for me to remind them of the rule of saying “Thank You” immediately after receiving a treat, and a warning that candy wrappers left anywhere but the trash can will not work in my classroom.

Now comes the fun:

Screenshot 2016-08-03 at 6.40.59 PM

I’m excited to have my first day activity planned and ready to go. I had most of these students last year in 7th grade, so I have to get creative each year. Plus, this lets us hold onto sweet summer just a little bit longer….

What is your go-to ice breaker?

Do you have something new planned for this year? 

I’d love for you to share your ideas in the comments!

Teaching Students to Prioritize

One thing many middle school students struggle with is filling out their agendas and getting work  completed on time. 

Some patterns I’ve  noted (and would like to correct before my 8th graders leave for the high school):

  • Writing “none” or “done” or “math” in each of box on the agenda with no specifics on the assignment. (“What page do we have for math again?”)
  • Saving 7th period homework for 6th period study hall. (Rarely do we get quality work there). 
  • Working on a project that is due in two weeks instead of studying for the quiz that is tomorrow. 
  • Coloring a diagram or writing out notecards instead of annotating the next chapter while I play it on CD. 
  • Looking busy but actually accomplishing nothing. 

There are many reasons for the above behaviors, but I decided to focus on one solution. 

During the third nine weeks, my study hall students came in every day, picked up a dry erase board and marker, and took the first five minutes to write out their To Do lists on dry erase boards.

My student teacher and I were then able to walk around and help them prioritize their tasks if necessary.

The prompt they see on the board: 

 

Now that it’s the 4th nine weeks, we have shifted into writing a prioritized list at the bottom of each day in our student agendas. 

Of course, there’s always that one kid who doesn’t buy into the To Do list concept, but is willing to appease and amuse me:

 
How do you help your students get organized?

Is there a method that works best for your students? 

How can I make this better? 

Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you! 

Models for Comparing Texts

Here are just a few of the posters I’ve created for my classroom for the times we are comparing texts.  

These are a great encouragement for students who struggle to get started.   

IMG_4004.JPG

A Padlet of Videos for the Classroom

I finally found a way to organize all of the video clips I like to use on a regular basis in class.  I come back to these videos often, and I also wanted something I could post on Schoology for my students to use as a resource.

Now I can easily add to this Padlet anytime I find a new video, and I can share it with other teachers (and you) as well!

Click HERE for the link. (This is just a screen shot.)

Screenshot 2016-01-13 at 8.44.59 PM.png

Being the Best Cooperating Teacher I Can Be

I had four student teachers in the first half of my career, which was way before Common Core and Resident Educator Programs.

Now in my 20th year, I am working with a graduate student who decided the career of accounting just wasn’t for him. He’s now committed himself to being an intervention specialist.

He’s already spent some time this school year observing for other courses, and he even taught a lesson before Christmas break.  Now he’s with me full-time, and I’m seeking ways to make this the best experience for him.

I had the custodian bring an extra desk to my room so he’d have his own space and feel official.  I am already self-conscious of how neat and tidy he is able to keep his space! Talk about peer pressure!

I’ve also given him a few small tasks to be responsible for:

  • monitoring the 8th grade students’ progress on their upcoming science project
  • conferencing with students about their upcoming MAP test goal for reading
  • gathering informational text articles for a building wide literacy project

That was all in Week 1!

As I head into Week 2, I’ve found myself making my lesson plans more streamlined and a little clearer as far as the learning goals for the students.

I’m going to be honest, having a student teacher has really made me think about how I am teaching and what I are teaching, because I want to be the best model I can be.  It really requires me to break down the process into smaller steps, and pay attention to the little details…things that come naturally to me with 20 years of experience.

I don’t want to overwhelm him, but I definitely want to make this the best experience for him – allowing him to do as much as possible as soon as possible.

Have you had a student teacher or been a student teacher in the past few years?

What worked well?

What should I NOT do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

 

December Padlet with Phrases and Clauses

I’m still playing with Padlet and finding all sorts of uses for it. Right now I see it as a great place to store materials and units If you teach 7th grade, you might be ready to work on phrases and clauses around this time of the year.

If you teach writing, you might be able to incorporate these pictures into writing activities as well.

Again, much like my blog about Padlet and participles, I’ve created a Padlet that houses all of my notes, worksheets, and activities on phrases and clauses, as well as 15 winter picture prompts for December. I am working on adding directions to each prompt, specifically about phrases and clauses, but you could use the pictures as they are.

Padlet December 7

**All of my images were taken from Google images; worksheets and notes are my own.

To access this Phrases and Clauses Padlet, click the link. The password is: jolly

I will be adding and editing this Padlet as I work through December as I am uncertain about the pacing and need for reteaching with my 7th graders.

Hopefully you can find a way to use this Padlet in your classroom!

Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

 

 

Elf on the Shelf: Everybody’s Using It

Instead of Black Friday shopping, I’m sitting at home all cozy on the couch with the dog and a cup of coffee.  As usual, I’m being my typical nerd self and having a good time creating materials for class next week.

Last year, my co-teacher was very clever with the Elf of the Shelf idea and hid our class elf, “Schnoodlemint Fairypie III,” around the room every night for the last few weeks before Christmas. The students enjoyed seeing and writing about the trouble he’d gotten into each night.

This year, I decided to do something similar in my resource room, but instead of actually buying an elf and doing all the work, I just created this Padlet, which will hold all the adventures of the elf, in one easy-to-access place.

Jolly padlet

As you can see, my 8th graders are learning about participles and also desperately need practice with transitional words and phrases.

I took all the images off of Google images and made up each prompt from a list of transition words and phrases.  I may have to supply some participles in the beginning.

My plan will be for this to be the opening activity when they arrive. We will transition into grammar, and then I’ll give them a few minutes to wrap up their writing for the day, or have them complete it for homework, before we move on to our main lesson.

Near the end of the month, I plan to give them an argumentative writing assignment: “Should parents use the Elf on the Shelf with their children?”

If you would like to use this Padlet with your class (if you are specifically teaching participles), you make access it by going to this link: December Padlet  The password is “jolly.”  You will not have writing privileges, but you could check it out for more ideas.

Stay tuned for more December ideas! I know it’s a rough, but fun, month!

 

Planning a Manic Monday Before Thanksgiving

Tomorrow looks to be a day full of interactive, technology-based assessment in my classroom!

I have a student teacher starting during the 2nd semester, and he’s coming tomorrow to get his hours of observation in.  Last week he let me know that he needs to observe some use of technology to assess students for his current class.

I didn’t want him to watch the same thing four times in one day, so I decided to do a different activity each period.

1st period LA 7 will be completing their first activity on Padlet, which I am super excited about.  They will be writing about various themes from our novel.  I am brand new to Padlet, but I practiced using it with a co-worker Saturday and tested it on school devices, as well as personal devices. Don’t you just hate when you plan a technology-based lesson and the filters suddenly don’t cooperate? Fingers crossed that this is what they see tomorrow at 8 a.m.!

Fish Theme

 

2nd period LA 8 will be using Plickers to do a pre-assessment for after Thanksgiving break when we start verbals.  It will be short – only 10 questions. I like Plickers over Kahoot for assessments like this, because I get specific results and data to work with. I hope I am surprised that they remember some of the “8th grade secrets” I taught them last year. Even so, this will cover adjectives, nouns, and verbs as well.

Plicker participles

 

4th and 6th period tutoring will be playing Kahoot to review for their science quiz on Tuesday.  This is an 8th grade group studying “The Restless Earth.”  Kahoot is super popular now at our school. The kids love it. It’s fast paced. It’s fun.

I feel it is imperative I get control of the class after the standings have been posted so we can discuss the question and answer.  I also have a 20 second rule for choosing a school appropriate name.   With those rules in place, I think Kahoot can be a great tool to get kids engaged and review for a quiz or test.

Kahoot Earth's Interior

Follow this link to see/play: (I am not sure which link will take you to the teacher page). 
https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/76f9dfb2-f6e2-496d-a9fe-1da7fa8a38a4

So it likes Mr. Student Teacher will be getting plenty to write about, and it looks like my Monday will be a fun one!

If I don’t post again before Thanksgiving, have a wonderful time with your family!  Teachers, enjoy your much-needed break!

Generating Gerunds with Viral Videos

My 8th grade inclusion students recently started learning about verbals.  As if participles weren’t fun enough, we had to add gerunds to the mix.

Last week, one of my quietest students came to me and asked, “Can we please practice gerunds in study hall? I don’t understand them at all!”

My first instinct was to pull up a practice worksheet on the Smartboard and use those sentences to teach them the difference between a gerund functioning as a subject, a direct object, and a predicate nominative. (At this point we haven’t discussed object of the preposition.)

Other than easily identifying a word that ends in “-ing,” my students felt helpless.

Sometimes I get these crazy ideas for teaching a concept; they just pop in my head.

Take this video, for example. I have no idea what made me think of a video with a tiny Yorkie puppy doing lots of amazing tricks. My dad had sent this video to me long ago, impressed with the dog’s talents. My Yorkie, Blue, is nowhere near as talented.

I told my class to watch closely and remember as many tricks as possible.

After we watched the video, my students were able to write all kinds of sentences using gerunds as the subject and as a predicate nominative.

  • Pushing a shopping cart is the dog’s best trick.
  • Weaving in and out of cups would be hard to teach.
  • The puppy’s cutest trick is skateboarding.
  • Wrapping herself up in a blanket was the cutest trick.
  • Painting is a trick I would never expect a dog to do.
  • Pushing the car with her nose was a cute trick.
  • Putting away the laundry is a trick I should teach my dog!
  • The first trick I would teach my dog is doing my homework!

Of course, you know me, I’ve been trying to think of other ways to incorporate viral videos into my practice activities in Tornado Time.

There are a couple of routes I could go.  I could always go with an old classic like this:

Or I could find a series of viral videos like this one:

Knowing your students best, you probably already know what kind of videos you’d want to use.  Think of how you could get your students writing with particular parts of speech or sentence structures by giving them a visual prompt like this.

What viral video clips do you love?

What great ideas just popped into your head?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

 

 

 

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