We’ve got about 36 hours left in 2017 and less than 4 days left of break, so it’s lesson planning time…
We start back on Wednesday, which I know will be rough. (Better than a Monday though!)
For my “First 15” (i.e., bell-ringer, bell work, seat work), my students will have a special Tic-Tac-Toe board to tell me a little about their break. (Download the PDF at the end of this post.)
I want to hear about everyone’s break, but I also don’t want to stress any of my students out with a standard journal prompt about their best gift or favorite part of being away from school.
Shortly before break, I saw a quote on Instagram (which I will paraphrase here): The best part of the holidays for some kids are the days leading up to break.
That spoke to me.
Not everyone had the best break. Not everyone got trendy clothes, cool shoes, expensive gadgets, or a wallet full of gift cards. Not everyone had family surrounding them. Not everyone had delicious meals around a big table.
I’m asking my students to respond to just 5 or 6 of these prompts, because then I will know how their 2017 ended and how our 2018 will begin.
I hope your holiday break was filled with rest, relaxation, and some fun. I hope you are recharged and ready when that alarm goes off in a few days. May 2018 be your happiest Happy New Year yet!
With the same students as last year….and so many exciting things happening this summer, I decided to update my 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)
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.
After brief introductions of myself and my student teacher, I will bring out the basket.
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:
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!
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:
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!
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.!
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.
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.
Follow this link to see/play: (I am not sure which link will take you to the teacher page).
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!