Tag Archives: literary terms

Quick Idea for Wordle

I’ve mentioned how I use Wordle to make word clouds for parts of speech and other brainstorming activities.

Here is another use I thought of last week during some downtime on conference night. I really wanted to get lesson plans done but after two nights of PT conferences and not feeling so great, this was the most productive I could be.

This is my first batch of posters. All of these terms are covered during our CNN News activity. I will create new ones each time we add a new term.

I was writing these terms on the board daily but this will be much faster. I can have Tweedle Dee pull the right terms out of the stack and hang them up each day depending on the skills we are covering. I put magnetic tape on the back for easy hanging.  I did just read a tip (linked below) how to insert phrases into Wordle. (Use the ~ between words.)

I decided to make a Wordle of my ‘What You’ll Find” page.

Watching History Unfold in the Classroom

So, I have mentioned before that my boyfriend, affectionately referred to as Admiral Bodee, is a 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. He recently shared a really great idea with me as we were discussing non-fiction books and pirates…

(I know, totally random. More on that later.)

Anyway, CNN has an online segment called CNN Student News. Each day CNN produces a short 8-10 minute newscast on current events. Each day he starts class with this newscast and students have to complete a daily summary. Here is his email with directions to his co-workers.

I decided to make a weekly sheet for them to fill in to learn more literary terms along with current events.

The “A” story is to be for Monday viewing, the “B” for Tuesday, and so forth. When you turn the page over, C and D are for Wed/Thurs. Then, they do a summary on Friday for the whole week of news casts.

I attached both pages to be copied back to back; having holes punched in them is helpful, too.

Check out his templates here: CNN TEMPLATE page 1  CNN TEMPLATE page 2

So, how exactly did this work in the classroom? I tried it today.  We watched the news cast  this morning for the first time and of course, it was all about the election. It featured a clip of President Obama’s acceptance speech. If you watched his speech last night  then you will recognize where he said,

I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I looked over and one of my girls was quickly wiping the tears out of the corner of her eyes. It was then that I knew this was a very good thing. You see, right before we started this activity, she said, “We’re watching the news?? I don’t ever watch the news. We don’t got cable.”

And here she was, obviously deeply moved by a current event, a moment in history, that she otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

So my thanks go out to Admiral Bodee for a great classroom activity and to all of the voters who gave President Obama a second term. I was thinking about it this morning….His re-election kind of goes with my philosophy: Everyone deserves a second chance. 

On a Scale of 1 to 10

The last few days of school and the natives are restless.  Today in my Resource Language Arts class we did a fun culminating activity.

To begin, we looked at a worksheet about evaluating a piece of writing. We discussed what it means to evaluate, completed the worksheet, and then the students became the evaluators.

Students lined up along the back of the room with small dry erase boards.  Their job was to rate/evaluate each piece of literature that we read this year.  I started at the beginning of the year and went sequentially.  Students would write a number 1-10 (1 being the lowest) and then arrange themselves in a number line from lowest to highest.

My daughter modeling the activity.

As we went through our stories, I showed them the title pages or covers of each selection. This helped spark their memory.  (Note to self: Next year, put these on the SMART Board rather than awkwardly flip through the text book.)

To keep the activity educational, I did the following things at random:

I asked individual students to provide a reason for their rating. What made you rate this selection so low? What made this a perfect 10 for you?

I quizzed them over the plot, characters, and some of the literary terms we used when we read that piece of literature. What was the setting of The Tell-Tale Heart?  Which character was the protagonist in The Outsiders? What was Leo’s internal conflict in Stargirl?

I helped students find and explain the patterns of their ratings. Some things we noticed: The boys preferred science fiction and horror stories. Those who hate to read out loud rated the plays lower than the other types of literature.  Overall, students rated our novels (The Outsiders, Stargirl, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) higher than our short stories out of our literature book.

Allowing the students to stand and move was a great way to direct their energy at this crazy time of year.  I know some people use a number line already posted in their room, but the use of dry erase boards made everyone accountable and honestly, what student doesn’t love dry erase boards?

This activity was beneficial to me as well, as it served as a kind of formative assessment. What did they learn? What do they remember? What did they enjoy? What did they dislike?  This will help me in my planning and instruction next year.

Do you do any end of the year surveys or review games?

How would you change this activity to fit your class?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how was your year?

9.0

I’d give the 2011-12 school year a rating of 9.0
(Artwork by my 12-year-old daughter)

%d bloggers like this: