So many great things are happening in my classroom, and I want to share them, but between golf and marching band, I can’t find the time.
I decided to try to highlight some things that happened in my room this week, and perhaps I will post a little recap each week. Never mind there is no Week 1, Week 2, or Week 3….. I’m officially starting with Week 4.
We have been working hard on annotating the short informational texts we are reading in class. These text selections from Newsela and Readworks are building background knowledge for the novel we will be reading in October, Fish by L.S. Matthews.
By the end of Week 4, my 8th graders came up with the following for our WE KNOW bulletin board.
The premise behind this bulletin board is where I want to post some really big concepts that can be applied to all parts of school, and beyond. I let them decide on the wording because I wanted them to “own it.” Students copied the final wording in an Annotating Foldable.
We’ve been practicing annotations using a set of symbols and following these rules:
1. Don’t go highlighter crazy!
2. If you highlight, you must write!
Here is a link for the quiz I made: Annotation Quiz (The story I used for annotating is from Readworks. I just wanted to provide my students with a large margin.) Readworks: Famous African Americans Muhammad Ali: The Greatest
Subjects and Verbs
My 7th grade is working on identifying subjects and verbs, while 8th grade is finding subject, simple predicate and complete predicate. I continue to use Mentor Sentences to teach these concepts. Again, I used the reading from readworks.org to make short simple sentences for the 7th grade.
I used sentences from an article we read on Newsela for the 8th graders.
Before I forget, did you know that Kahoot! now has “Public Kahoots.” Maybe they always have, but I didn’t know it until this week when I was getting ready to make my own subject/verb Kahoot. What a relief when I found something that worked perfectly!! My students had a lot of fun reviewing for their quiz with this particular Subject & Predicate Kahoot someone else made!!
I Wish My Teacher Knew
Obviously, you can guess what I had my students do. I asked every student to write me a 6-8 sentence paragraph in their Writing Notebooks using that prompt: “I wish my teacher knew….” My heart melted and ached as I read some of their responses. I did not expect to get such honest responses, and I learned so much about my students. I spent the next two evenings writing a half to full-page response back to each of them. It was a simple activity I recommended to all of my teacher friends.
So there are the highlights of Week 4. If there is anything you are specifically wanting to know more about, leave me a note in the comments. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again at the end of Week 5!
How’s that for a title?
What I wanted to write was: I. Hate. Teaching. Grammar.
I have never been able to justify or understand why we need to know the names of parts of speech. I just don’t get it. I have tried all kinds of grammar instruction and nothing seems to be effective. I don’t enjoy it. The kids don’t enjoy it.
As part of my research over break – determined to find a new approach – I discovered a book by Jeff Anderson called Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer’s Workshop.
I don’t do a Writer’s Workshop, but I did feel like I could incorporate this technique into my read aloud of Out of My Mind and my opening activities each day.
The key thing that sticks out for me in this strategy is the idea of Mentor Sentences, which is providing great example sentences from the text you are reading and building your instruction around those sentences.
Instead of explaining the whole process, here is a Prezi I found that does a good job of summarizing the book.
This is also a good explanation I found on another blog, Dandelions and Dragonflies. There are also some free posters at the end of the post.
As I develop a good plan and work out the kinks, I will write a post to describe my approach with my Resource Room.
Meanwhile, if you’ve used Mentor Sentences in your classroom or agree, or disagree, with Jeff Anderson’s philosophy, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.