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Tag Archives: reading

Lebron: The Story of the Summer

If you are from Ohio, particularly Northeast Ohio, the story of the summer was Lebron James’ move to the L.A. Lakers.

I have spent countless hours watching Lebron and listening to my son’s details analysis and play-by-play of everything Lebron over the years.

I also have some students at school who loved to talk about him, and obviously, we have some catching up to do when we get back.

With one particular class in mind, my 8th graders who I know well, I decided to use Lebron’s stories – leaving Cleveland and his new school in Akron, Ohio – as our first unit  this fall. It will serve as a review of some language and literature terms, allow me to observe them working in groups, and provide some good conversation and debate.

I have four reading resources ready to go:

#1 and #2 –  Newsela has two articles I’ve chosen to use. One on each of the stories mentioned above.  I love Newsela for many reasons, particularly the ease of leveling text by Lexile.

#3 – I am using the text of Lebron’s essay from 2014 when  he announced his decision to return to Cleveland.  I ran this through the Free Lexile Analyzer and found the Lexile range to be 600-700L.

#4 – I am using the letter to Lebron “from Cleveland” that I found on Instagram and in Sports Illustrated magazine.  The Lexile for this text is 400-500.

Related image

 

Below are the activities for this unit, which I expect to take about 5-6 days:
1. Students will complete a class flow chart activity I’m doing over several major summer stories. (More on that this weekend.)

2. Language Review Scoot based on the “Dear Lebron” letter.

3. Close Reading Activity based on Lebron’s “I’m Coming Back to Cleveland” essay.

The text and the activities  can be found in PDF form  by clicking the links below:
Lebron James Student Response Sheets
Dear Lebron, (both texts are on here)

4. The Newsela Articles will be read in small groups or independently using the PRO features our district has access to.

Depending on your students, these activities could be a fun, high-interest activity for the start of the year.

Just a few fun facts about what I have in common with Lebron James:

  • His number is 23, and this is my 23rd year of teaching.
  • He is going to L.A. and I teach L.A.

I thought I’d share those cheesy facts with my students, but first I ran it by Ian this morning to see his reaction.

Me – Ian, do you know something Lebron and I have in common?
Ian – You’re the Greatest of All Time?

Ah, not what I was thinking, but I’ll add that to the list.

 

 

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Tools for the ELA Classroom (My Padlet)

I’m on this Padlet kick lately. (Actually, it’s become an obsession.)

I’m finding it so much easier to add resources to a specific padlet page than to bookmark them. I think it’s because I use my phone, my iPad, my Chromebook, my MacBook, and my school desktop computer throughout the day.

I can also easily share this Padlet with my student teacher and my inclusion teacher, as well as all of you!

The added bonus is the visual it provides me. I can look at the image and it jogs my memory (which is getting worse the longer I teach) as to what I am looking for and where to go.

So here is the link for my Tools for the ELA Classroom. If you have anything great to add, please leave me a comment!

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FYI: Easy Access

Did you know the easiest way to access many of my graphic organizers, handouts, and other goodies is to go to the Easy Access page?  It is located in the menu bar or you can click here. Check it out!!

“This Will Never Get Old”

We are wrapping up the book Side-Yard Superhero this week, and my heart has been filled to the brim with love for both the book and for my students.

Tomorrow we will read Ch. 21, “A Promise Finally Kept,” and I know it will be a difficult read.

I’ve read the ending of this book at least a dozen times.

I am not exaggerating.

I don’t know how or why I would read the ending of a book this many times. There are only a handful of books I have even ever read twice.

There is just something so special in these pages.

Yesterday, one of my quiet 8th grade girls came to me and whispered, “I finished the book. It was soooooo good….and I cried.” 

Today, another of my 8th grade girls, a slightly feisty one, came to me right away, “I’m gonna cry when you read Ch. 21 to us. I’m just sayin’. I finished the whole book last night and my dad was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you crying? I told him he didn’t understand how good it was.'” 

No. Words.

Just a few days ago, during a class discussion, I heard her say, “I could totally write a book like this.  I’m gonna write an automythography, too.”

Today, as we read Ch. 20 and searched for evidence that supports the theme of friendship, the feisty girl smiled and shook her head, “This will never get old.”

I hope she will read the ending of this book over and over.

I hope she never forgets the lessons she has learned or what it feels like to truly connect with and appreciate a good book.

 

Ahh, That’s Good Stuff

Finishing a book I am going to read with my class next year and wiping a tear from my eye, I say out loud (and wake the dog), “Ah, they are going to love this!”

Getting to the most exciting part of our novel and watching their faces light up when they realize the truth about the protagonist, I say to myself (so they don’t realize they’ve been fooled into learning), “Ah, this is why I love teaching.”

Looking at the calendar and realizing there’s only seven more days of school and one more Monday, I say to myself (because I need all the encouragement I can get), “Ah, I can do this.”

Making a Summer “To Do” list and purposely including things like read, relax, lay out, ride my bike, walk the dog, I say to the dog (who is, of course, begging to go on a walk), “Ah, Summer….”

Letting my boy be semi-responsible for his diabetes-care and sending him a friend’s house for five hours on a Friday night, I say to his sister (as we shop, eat, and talk in peace) “Ah, this is nice.”

Checking my boy’s blood sugar at 5 a.m. and getting a decent number, I say to myself (so I do not wake him), “Ah, I can sleep a few more hours.”

Waking up late on a Saturday morning to bright sunlight and stretching a good stretch, I say out loud (coming up with no other way to describe my sleep), “Ah, I slept hard.”

Waiting for the Keurig to finish, pouring in my Friendly Farms Vanilla Caramel creamer from Aldi’s’, and taking that first sip of coffee, I say out loud (to no one), “Ah, that’s good stuff.”

Looking at  the sink full of dirty dishes and walking away to grab my laptop, I said “Ah, it can wait. I haven’t blogged in a while.”

 

 

 

Ironically Enough…(or The Early Bird Finishes the Book)

So yesterday I wrote about the lack of sleep I’ve been getting. Today, I had a choice:

Feed the pets and go back to bed.

or

Rise and shine and finish reading Divergent.

I choose the book.

As the snow falls (lovely, more snow), I am warm and cozy here on the couch with the puppy who graced me with 15 extra minutes of sleep today.

I am feeling that feeling you get when you finally finish a book that you were fervently tearing through and then, when it ends, you wish it hadn’t ended so soon.

And it’s only 7:15.

It will be hard to not spend the rest of the day reading the sequel.

It’s possible our 8th Grade Honors Language Arts will be reading this next year and I think they will love it. I am anxious to see how the 8th grade language arts teachers approach this book and the themes they pull from it.

I don’t typically ever write book reviews and I’m not going to now. But if you have the chance to read it, I highly recommend you do. I loved it more than The Hunger Games, for reasons I cannot fully explain.

If I had to try…..I think because it’s, in part, about facing your fears and, in part, about being selfless. There is some irony in that which speaks volumes.

And obviously, I am the Queen of Irony this weekend.

A Fast and Easy Way to Make Posters for Your Classroom

You know how kids commonly use the “My printer was out of ink” line?

I think it’s legit, because it seems like my printer is always out of ink! I am semi-cheap and never use color ink.  I also never get to the store to buy black ink until I’m desperate. (Like the kids need something printed).

In the middle of August I purchased this poster bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Over 65 posters for ELA and Reading!  (See link below)

Over 65 posters for ELA and Reading! (See link below)

I have become a regular customer at Lovin’ Lit. I purchased her interactive notebook unit for literature and also received the informational text unit. I absolutely love what I’ve used  in my classroom so far. (Future blog post alert!)

These posters are bright and colorful (which lead to this blog about printing).  We have a color printer at school but it’s not really for general use.

My solution was to email them to Staples and have them printed in color.

For 22 full color 8.5 x 11 in. posters on premium white paper, it cost me around $13.

I think I am going to have the PTG laminating lady laminate each set as I get to it in my lesson plans.

However, I stumbled upon a pretty neat idea that I may like better. I need to run to Joann’s later (for the third time this weekend) and try it out.  Stay tuned….

The Last Hurrah: Text Structure Review

To go along with my Prezi, I decided to create mini-lessons for the five text structures.

The plan was to spend one day on each, using the Prezi as an intro, taking notes in the Text Structure Flip Book I created, and then doing corresponding activities.

The activities took me a little longer than five days but ended up making a great unit.

I used many of the graphic organizers from a PDF I found online (Comprehension and Text Structure Graphic Organizers)

I also used many of the nonfiction reading selections from www.readworks.org.

Here are some highlights from each mini-lesson.

Descriptive

Students used a graphic organizer that really helped them think spatially as they described our classroom. I gave students the option of describing their bedroom if they wanted to.

Students completed this graphic organizer in class and then had to write their paragraph for homework.

Students completed this graphic organizer in class and then had to write their paragraph for homework.

 

Compare and Contrast

For this lesson students rotated in groups to three different stations. Each station had a nonfiction selection from ReadWorks.org.  I picked a variety of Lexiles and highlighted some text features like footnotes, headings, bold words, and captions.

At each station they had to record three details showing similarities and differences.

Overhead view of one group working hard on their graphic organizer.  I have no idea why a protractor was involved in this lesson.

Overhead view of one group working hard on their graphic organizer. I have no idea why a protractor was involved in this lesson.

I used the questions that come with the selections the following day as a review of test taking strategies on the SMART Board.

Cause and Effect

I used the cards and activity that begins on page 29.  I cut the cards and students picked one from the bag. They then wrote their “cause” statement on their paper. I played some music and students walked around until the music stopped. They plopped down and wrote one “effect” on the paper.  We repeated this process about 5 or 6 times and each time the students had to read all of the effects listed and come up with something different.  I loved the creativity of some of their responses and they loved walking around and writing on their classmates papers.

Cause and Effect cards pg. 30

Sequence or Process Writing

For sequence writing, I used three nonfiction selections spread out over a few days. We completed these individually just like we would the OAA – I read the directions and questions, they read the selection, and I repeated the directions (per their IEP accommodations).  This provided some practice and forced them to pay attention to detail and read headings.

sequence pg 57

Students used this organizer to write a paragraph about their morning routine.

Problem and Solution

I turned this mini-lesson into a speaking/listening/social skills lesson where students had to rotate with small groups to 6 different “problems.” For each problem they had to come up with a good solution and they had to use a signal word from the list on the Prezi in their response.   After reading some of their solutions, I realized we needed to work on some of our social skills so I will be coming back to this activity later this week.

Prob-Solution2

At least they said “please.”

Prob-Solution1

I was happy to see the vocabulary word “protest” in one of the solutions.

"You just suck it up and eat it"  is actually the best response.

“You just suck it up and eat it” is actually the best response.

The final activity was a matching activity and part of the PDF file.

Students can cut and paste and submit for a grade or they can just match them up on the table.

Students can cut and paste and submit for a grade or they can just match them up on the table.

Wow! That is a lot of information.  I hope I provided enough information to show the variety of the lessons.  The last thing I wanted to do was bore them with a bunch of worksheets but with the OAA coming up tomorrow I wanted to be sure to cover a lot.

And on THAT note….I should probably wrap this up and relax a little before the fun starts tomorrow! If you happen to be in Ohio, or are taking any sort of achievement tests this week….Good luck!  It’s all downhill from here!

Easy Access to All My Handouts

You may or may not have noticed I created a page called “Easy Access.”  I decided to put all of my graphic organizers and handouts in one place, organized by subject/topic.

I will be updating it regularly, as I post new handouts and notes.

As always, please feel free to use these and let me know how they are working (or not working) for you.

#3 of 13 Teachers Who Made Me Who I Am: 2nd Grade

Second grade: Miss Frutschy. She was strict and she was old school. And just plain old. My mom had her in 2nd grade.

But, she loved books and she had a bathtub in her classroom! Yep, a big claw-foot porcelain tub full of pillows! During free time, you could lay in that tub and read books!

She also spanked kids with books. (Old school indeed.) Seems kind of ironic she used books as a punishment, huh? For the record, I was never spanked with a book.

She introduced me to my favorite childhood author, Beverly Cleary. She read Henry and Ribsy and many other Beverly Cleary books to us that year.

We have probably half a dozen Beverly Cleary books at our house. I’ve read them all to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Ian.

I think it was last summer we rented Ramona and Beezus with Selena Gomez. I loved seeing a favorite childhood book come to life. And I shamelessly cried when Picky Picky died.

On my big girl bookshelf today: My Own Two Feet – A Memoir by Beverly Cleary.

Lesson learned from a 2nd grade teacher: A love of reading is a life-long hobby.

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