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.)
Global Read Aloud
This week I kicked off our classroom participation in the Global Read Aloud. I chose the book Fish by L.S. Matthews for my middle school classes. I am so happy to finally be doing some literature-based activities. Our focus up to this point has been strictly informational text.
We’ve been reading and writing a lot about refugees in the first few weeks of school, so my students have a pretty solid background on refugee camps and current refugee situations.
The GRA is designed to connect classrooms around the world. While we haven’t made any contacts with other classrooms yet, I created a Twitter account so we could participate in some of the “slow chats”. However, our school doesn’t allow students to access Twitter, so I am going to need to come up with some creative ways for us to use Twitter as a class.
My 8th graders are already asking if they can tweet questions and comments. I quickly made this simple exit ticket where students can record their thoughts each day and submit them to me for review before I tweet them. I know there are several versions of Twitter Exit Tickets on Pinterest and TPT, but I figured something simple was fine.
Click here for a free PDF of my Twitter Exit Ticket
Literary Element Graphic Organizers – Simplified
Speaking of simple, I decided to revamp some of my graphic organizers and teaching tools. Considering I have some of the same students for a few years in a row, I needed some variety.
I will admit, I used to spend a lot of time making graphic organizers and making them “pretty” and “perfect.”
I realized recently, simple works too. I spend far too much time worrying about the alignment and formatting of my handouts.
It’s time to simplify my life and my classroom a bit and put the creativity into my students’ hands.
As we started our novel, I had students glue each of the organizers below into their reading journals. They glue one on the left hand side and skip the right hand side, because that is where they create their own rendition.
This past week, I gave them three separate pages to glue in. We will be adding to each of them as we work our way through the exposition of the novel.
Clicker here to download the free PDF of my POV, Plot Diagram and Conflict Graphic Organizers
I’ll be sure to share some student samples in the next post. If these aren’t quite what you are looking for, try my Easy Access page with an entire bank of free graphic organizers and teaching tools.
**If you are reading Fish now too, leave a comment! Maybe our classes can meet up online and talk about the book!
A few weeks ago I learned about ThingLink, which is destined to become my new favorite thing.
With our Spring Break trip and adjusting to Ian’s new life on an insulin pump, I haven’t had much time to work with it.
But finally, the last few days I’ve been creating a review ThingLink for our 7th grade Language Arts students. I’ve connected it to many of my own Prezis and found some other resources as well. Every little icon you see will take you somewhere new!
A few months ago, I sent Ian an Instagram photo of the popular Japanese Proverb:
We’ve all heard this one dozens of times, but for Ian, I had to explain what it meant to him…a couple of times until he really understood.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to write a post about how I’m a girl who’s been knocked down over and over. If you know me, you know I am the girl who has had the opportunity to get back up…over and over.
And now I’m not only teaching my own children that important lesson, but also my students.
Our school has a building-wide theme this year – GRIT (Gumption, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity). Before that was ever announced, I had already settled on my theme for the year: Conflict
During the first nine weeks, we studied conflicts in literature and connected the text to our own lives.
In the second nine weeks, I tweaked my theme to fit the GRIT theme and we are focusing on resilience. In class we have been reading informational text about teens that have stayed resilient in tough times. Surviving storms, dealing with illnesses, saving lives, standing up for themselves, teaching others valuable lessons….these true teen accounts are easy for my students to read and discuss and then step back and ask themselves, “Hmmmm….would I be able to do that if it happened to me?”
The beauty of this theme is that it lent itself to an amazing (in my own humble opinion) writing experience with my Resource Room. I will be posting the details of that project very soon.
It’s almost the end of the 1st nine weeks and I am wrapping up our first novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, and moving into an informational text unit.
I wanted to do a review game/activity on the iPads but couldn’t choose an app. I decided this was a good time to try Quizlet, which has been on my “Want to Learn About” list since July.
I created these two set of cards this morning:
I haven’t upgraded to the $15/year or the $25/year option yet. I want to see how it goes with the class week, but I am optimistic.
First impression: I love how easy Quizlet is to use.
- You type in the terms and choose from a list of “auto-definitions” or type your own. I am a very fast typist so I had them done in no time. Actually, after I got started, I realized I could copy and paste from the PDFs I already have.
- You can switch the terms and the definitions with one click. Sometimes it is better to present the definition first and ask students to recall the term. Other times, it’s more appropriate to do it the other way around. I
- Quizlet has a “Speak Text” option, which will be great for my class. (I just picked up cheap headphones for the iPads. I have issues with a lot of noise and this should help. A few students also have ear buds of their own.)
- There are hundreds/thousands of sets already created on Quizlet and I spent some time a few weeks ago searching for something that would work.
Now that I’ve realized Quizlet is so easy to use, I shouldn’t have wasted my time searching for an almost-perfect fit, and should have gone this route. Now I have exactly what I want for my class based on what we have studied. (I used the exact definitions we used in our Interactive Notebooks to be consistent)
I was able to quickly link the two card sets to my Schoology course and I will introduce Quizlet tomorrow after our reading quiz (also on Schoology).
The real trick will be if the kids can remember their logins for Schoology!!
What are your thoughts on Quizlet?
How do you use Quizlet in your classroom?
Would you/Did you pay the extra $15 or $25 to upgrade?
Maybe most importantly, how do you get kids to learn their usernames and passwords to multiple online accounts? Our students building-wide are dealing with our new g-mail, Schoology, Chrome books, Khan academy and online text books and it’s been quite a challenge!
My Resource Room students have been reading several short stories in our literature book and I have been teaching/reviewing story elements and conflict.
These are the notes they pasted in their journal and what we will reference each time we discuss these ideas throughout the year. I try to always come back to the same notes/handouts each time we work on a concept. I think the repetition and consistency helps with their retention and association.
Now before you laugh at my artwork, which I honestly don’t think is that awful, there is something to be said about teacher created artwork…especially if you can laugh at it. Kids remember these drawings. These are not stock clip-art images. These are never-seen-before renderings. They are real and they are authentic. These pictures also increase my credibility with my students.
A student once told me in reference to a similar handout, “Geez…you MADE this for us? In your free time? You really work way too hard.”
In addition to these notes, students have been completing these graphic organizers as well. The first few times we use this organizer, I will model for them and provide more guided notes. Eventually, I’d like to see them fill it out independently.
Please feel free to download these for you classroom.