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Tag Archives: Vocabulary

Managing the Differentiation of IXL Assignments in My Classroom

I’ve tried several ways to assign IXL so that the assignments are appropriate and differentiated.

(If I were using IXL for math, I could have students use the Recommended Lessons on the Math Diagnostic, but that isn’t an option for Language Arts.)

I’ve found a good way to assign a series of lessons on a given topic that will meet the needs of my students who range from Beginning Reader to Lexiles in the 1100s.

These tiny IXL tickets get stapled into the student’s agenda books so they have the sequence of lessons with them at all times.  Students mark off each lesson they complete, and then I meet with them near the due date (typically two weeks) to check their progress and award stickers for their iPhones.

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Below are the PDF versions of the IXL Tickets I’ve used in class most recently. I plan on going back and tweaking some from earlier in the year.

When you take a look at these files, you will see they cover different grade levels and sequences depending on the skills.

Students have the option of working horizontally or vertically on some tickets, finding just the right place for them. As always, I encourage them to “Level Up!” when they can.

IXL Ticket Author’s Tone and Purpose

IXL Ticket Sensory Details

IXL Ticket Word Relationships

IXL Ticket Sentence Structure

IXL Ticket Figurative Language

IXL Ticket Organizing Writing

IXL Ticket Compare and Contrast Text 6-8

IXL Ticket Compare and Contrast 3-5

IXL Ticket Theme

IXL Ticket Author’s Purpose 3-5

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Week 8-10: A Blur

Week 8 and 9…and 10  were a total blur.  These weeks consisted of sports, my first IEPs of the year, PT conferences, our spirit week, a huge presentation at work, and very little sleep.

So now I’m moving into Week 11 which is the first week of the 2nd nine weeks.

We have been continuing with Fish and working a lot with the vocabulary, as well as an annotation strategy that the kids really enjoyed.

Throughout the chapter, as we read aloud, I would say STOP and they would have to write a question in the margin of the book.   We then shared them, many of which were very good questions. A few of my kids even think the Guide could be a bad guy leading the family into a trap. I heard some pretty insightful questions too. One of my favorites because it had the vocabulary words “reluctant” in it:

If the wolf mistook Tiger for her cub, why was she reluctant to approach Tiger?

We continued to work on vocabulary as well.  One Friday we did two stations with our vocabulary. The first was a matrix where students had to choose combinations of words and write sentences using both words. I loved overhearing their conversation during this activity.  Fish Vocabulary Matrix

The second was a Tic-Tac-Toe board where they had to choose a set of three prompts to answer by next Wednesday.  Each prompt required brainstorm, restatement of the question, and an answer.  Ideally, I planned on having them do all three in the one period, but realized it was far too much for them to do in the allotted time. So for three nights in a row they were assigned a “tic,” a “tac,” and a “toe.”  Fish Vocab Tic Tac Toe

I’ll leave you with the rubric/checklist my students used for self-evaluation of their Tic-Tac-Toe. Tic Tac Toe Writing Checklist Rubric  Students had to complete this checklist prior to turning in their writing notebooks. It definitely saved me some time on grading and their final products were better when they knew what I was looking for!!

Hope you had a good week or two…or three!

Happy November!!

Resources to download if you are reading Fish by L.S. Matthews

 

 

 

 

 

Materials for Fish by L.S. Matthews

Fish by L.S. Matthews was my pick for the Global Read Aloud.  We are only a chapter and a half in, but so far, so good.

I’ve been making some vocabulary squares for my 7th and 8th graders and thought I would post them here in case anyone else could use them. Even if you aren’t reading Fish now as part of the GRA, maybe you will in the future.

At this time, I have three sets you can download.  I’ve also linked my Quizlets for each set.

Pre-Reading Fish Vocab Squares (PDF)
Quizlet – Fish (Pre-Reading Vocab)
Quizlet – Pre-Reading – Using Words in Context

Fish Vocab Squares Ch.1-2 (PDF)
Fish Vocab Squares Ch.3-4,  (PDF)
Quizlet – Fish Ch. 1 and 4 Vocab

Please leave a comment if you are doing the GRA! I would love to connect with others who are participating!

Flipped Vocabulary Lesson

Two months ago, I was blogging about flipped lessons and how I was excited to try it with my resource room. I did do three flipped lessons with my 8th graders; I played sections of the novel and they had to complete some questions, but I realized afterwards, they didn’t really understand what was happening in the novel because they were missing out on the class discussion – something that my students really need.

I haven’t given up the thought of doing flipped lessons. It just seemed that what we were doing in class didn’t work well with the flipped lesson concept.

However, with MAP testing this week, I lost two class periods, so I thought I’d try again with a vocabulary lesson.

Vocabulary is something that my students need to hear and work with quite a bit before they can understand the words and use them appropriately.   If I were to send them home with a list of words and told them to look up the definition, I would get random definitions they may or may not match the context of the novel.

Being below-grade level readers, they may not be able to pronounce the words or understand the definitions they wrote, let alone use them correctly.

The lesson I am going to attempt to link to here, (please click and check it out!) is based on the approach I have used the entire time we have been reading The Giver. These vocabulary squares are something that have evolved over the course of the year with some collaborating with one of my colleagues.

We have worked through similar activities in class together five other times. What I say in the video is very similar to what I would say in class, except that my students are not interacting obviously.  It typically takes us a period and a half to go through 6 vocabulary words.

With this approach, students will complete three of the words for homework and we will spend a 15-20 minutes reviewing the words the next day.  I will then assign the second half o the list for the next night.

I used Screencast-o-Matic to make the video, but unfortunately my laptop died right after the third word. I’ll see how this first video goes and then make a separate flipped lesson for the other three words.

I am hoping that the familiarity of the format and the types of activities, as well as my directions and explanations, will provide a preview to the words and cut down on class time. In addition, every student will have the opportunity to independently complete the work and not just rely on discussion.

I wish I could insert the video here within my post, but I am not sure how to do that right now.

Let me know if you can’t view the video.

Also, if you’ve taught vocab via a flipped lesson tell me about your experience. 

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

(p.s. I know that the first word has some mistakes with the synonyms. I caught myself mid-video and just corrected it instead of re-recording.)

Up to the Peer Challenge

So Friday afternoon, around 2:35 p.m., one of my colleagues makes a comment about how I should make a bulletin board outside of my classroom because he’s gotten so many comments on his Shades of Meaning bulletin board he created.  I’m thinking it’s more for the topic that the content, but it does look pretty cool. Maybe he’ll let me post a picture of it sometime.

But anyway, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know what happened next.

This:

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This is part of my students’ work for The Giver. One of their Community Tasks was to create a Google Presentation that would clearly portray different concepts to Jonas. I chose 16 of the best slides to display.  Of course, I left the answers out, so kids (and colleagues) will have to study the board and make the connections.

 

Here is a  closer look at the concepts the differentiated groups had to illustrate.

Here is a closer look at the concepts the differentiated Communities had to illustrate. 

I would not say that I cave to peer pressure; I’m a pretty independent and stubborn person. However, I do fall victim to peer challenges.  He had me at “You should….”

 

What kind of colleague are you?

Do you share ideas with your colleagues?

Do you motivate them?

Do you encourage them?

Do you challenge them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

All In ~ Creating a Novel Experience

When I read a novel in my classroom, I tend to go a little overboard.

I try to create an environment that reflects the book.  Between the use of props, visuals, and specific language, I try to recreate the world we are reading about. This is very easy with The Giver. (If you haven’t read The Giver, you might not understand the lingo I am using here.)

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For a journal entry, students had to make two observations about the apples and make an inference as to what Jonas might be observing. Of course, we has to toss them around before we started writing.

My students have been placed in Reading Communities.  The Green, Orange, and Red Communities perform differentiated group Tasks in their designated Community Areas a few days each week.

When I need to conference with a student individually, they may hear this:  “Community Member 13, please report to the Grading Area immediately.”

And what about homework?? Well, my Thirteens and Fourteens no longer have homework. But, they do have Dwelling Work

I require students to speak with “precision of language” whether we are talking about the novel or just casual conversation. It’s a great way to promote the use of stronger, more specific, content-related vocabulary.

By taking on the language and adopting unique characteristics of the novel, I am improving their understanding of the book and making the characters come to life.

No matter what my own children say (“Mom!! That is soooo lame!”),  or what my students say (“Oh my gosh…seriously???). I know they love it.

I couldn’t wait until we read Chapter 7, and I could say to them daily, “Thank you for your childhood.”

Stay tuned for more posts about this novel experience!

Meanwhile, how do you make a novel come alive in your classroom?

Did you see The Giver movie? What did you think?

Instructional Strategy: Flip Books

This ReadWriteThink flip book is quick, customizable, and easily made on a copier. All students have to do is cut on the lines.

Flip books make excellent study tools and reference materials.

I have seen this most often used for vocabulary words or for math formulas/processes.

Flip books will work for any concept that can be broken down into smaller parts:

  • The characters of a novel
  • The biomes
  • Types of energy
  • Quadrilaterals

The large white space provides room for drawings and diagrams, as well as text.

We recently made a flip book (using the generator at ReadWriteThink) which included important literary terms for our upcoming novel. This served as a review of concepts we’ve already covered and will be a good tool for them as we complete our reading.

Our tabs included:

  • Narrator and point of view
  • Exposition
  • Flat and Round Character
  • Static and Dynamic Character
  • Setting
  • Internal and External Conflict
  • Foreshadowing and Flashback
  • Climax
  • Resolution
  • Theme

Another Graphic Organizer for Summarizing

Each week my Resource Room students have to complete a reading passage and comprehension questions at their specific ability level. This ranges anywhere from Beginning-Low to Intermediate-High. I like to use stories from ReadTheory.

Students are expected to complete these one page readings independently. The last few times we did this activity, I made them circle the text that supported their answer. This forced them to go back, locate the “evidence” and confirm their answer. I’m happy, and not suprised, to say their scores have drastically improved since I starting enforcing this rule.

To get the most out of this leveled reading I created an additional activity which students have been completing in groups. On the first page, students have to identify:

  • title
  • setting
  • character
  • conflict
  • resolution

Short Story Summary

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Identifying the conflict in this story was challenging. My students couldn’t understand why a woman would leave a baby on a bus.

On the second page I decided to throw in some grammar/language and vocabulary. Note the small boxes in the right hand corner of each. This is where I can modify the assignment for each student. I put a number in each box to tell them how many nouns, verbs, and adjectives they need to find. I do the same for the vocabulary words.

Short Story Language and Vocabulary

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This ended up being a great review of parts of speech.

This activity takes them quite awhile and is very challenging for this group of students. I direct them to their journal notes or the Part of Speech bulletin board to figure out what they are looking for. It takes about 20-25 minutes for most groups to complete it. This provides me with some time to circulate and talk to all the students and note what they are having trouble with. It also gives me time to point out things like capitalization of names and cities.

The way I designed this, it can work with any short story. If you think of any ways to improve or to add additional skills let me know.

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.

One of These Words is Not Like the Others

Right now we are working towards increasing vocabulary and improving vocabulary comprehension. These activities are all variations of the same concept using different formats. Students must find similarities and differences between words in a list.

On the SMART Board
There are several tools you can use including:

Word Sort (with headings of Same and Different) This would require one page per set of words, but as a presenter once told me, “Pages are free” so it really doesn’t matter if you use 100 pages.

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The multiple choice activity works also. You can do up to 10 questions per page.

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The easiest? I just make lists/groups of words and cover them with the disappearing box. A student reveals a set and then they all use their dry erase boards to write their answers. I let them work in groups for this so they can have some discussion about the meaning of the words.

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  • “Clickers” – I wrote a grant for Senteo Interactive Response System a few years ago and using these hand-held devices is the closest I can get to BYOT in my Resource Room this year. The students love using clickers and I am collecting ideas on how to use them to share in a future post.

Old School Method

Using index cards, I made a set of cards for each of my round tables. Three cards were similar. One didn’t match up. Students rotated to each table in pairs and had to discuss and write down the words that did not belong. This activity keeps them moving and lets them interact and discuss ideas with classmates.

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One station in the rotation….I said the answer is “rat” because all the others have wings and feathers. Most of them said “eagle” because the others “walk around on the ground.” Who’s correct?

The title of this post made me think of Sesame Street and a popular segment. Who remembers this?

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