A Little Holiday Downtime.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013 6 comments
I'm linking this post up with I'm Lovin' Lit for herThursday Throwdown!

 So.... I have about 6 hours of grading to do and at least 4 hours of planning.  Of course that means that I am sitting here putting together things for Teachers Pay Teachers and blogging.  Procrastination is my yearly gift to myself!  The holidays here were great..... lots of fun, food, family, and spoiling of my midgets.  The Wii U is hooked up and the princess costumes are strewn throughout the house!  We're probably cuddling too much and spending too much time in our pajamas when the sun is out, but I'm okay with that.

Before break we had some great work happening with my little tribe of students.  My district has started a pretty intense new teacher evaluation system and one of my SMART goals was to increase scores for nonfiction text features and structure as a support to the ELA teacher.  I was trying to find the best way to support here and I just kept coming back to entrance tickets and something I have been doing for months.  I finally got off my butt and made these:

My Twitter boards for entrance and exit tickets!  Every class gets their own board and every kids gets a Twitter space. In order to support the nonfiction work done in the ELA classroom, I created text structure questions based upon our current content.

For my eighth grade, I was able to ask them some great questions that would prepare them for a district Declaration of Independence module.  I track all the information in a spreadhseet on Google Drive and am able to share this information with my ELA tam mate.  We're going to be creating intervention groups and this information came in real handy!

This question was, "What was a Patriot?"  I got amazing and speedy data from using this method.

What I really love about this method is the rich and SPEEDY data I get.  I am horrible at timely grading and this keeps me on my toes because I can't give a new question until I have taken down the last question.  This means, I have to grade it or I end up throwing away great data.  I have started a new page on this blog to share my entrance ticket questions with you.  They are extremely tailored for my classroom but they might be helpful to you if you are looking for ideas!  Click here to take a peak.

My seventh graders thing that Hammurabi's Code is hysterical and mesmerizing all at the same time.  To capture their interest, I created a full Launch, Explore, Assess activity.  First  I have the kids explore the code, then I have them play a group game where I give them various scenarios that break a law in ancient Babylonia.  As a team they need to find the law it breaks and tell me the punishment Hammurabi would have doled out.  As an assessment, I put the kiddos into groups and they had to create plays to portray their three favorite laws.  They had to act out the crime, the trial and the punishment.  We are putting the plays on after break and I'm going to use the stage in our cafeteria.  The kids are so excited to use the stage.

Having more fun making the props than they should!

If you are interested in my Hammurabi Unit, it is currently on sale at Teachers Pay Teachers.  It's 20% off till the new year and includes a whole bunch of resources.  Go on over and check it out!
My eighth graders had a really intense argument writing module to do before break.  One of the mandatory things hat needs to take place in the module is a full class share out.  I
used an activity I already created with my seventh grade and it work fabulously!  The kids gathered their evidence with one group, made group posters with another group, and were able to do a gallery walk to gather evidence from all the posters.  I also did this in the hall because, man..... the kids just love to leave the classroom!!!

Not only did the kids love it but it really helped to ease anxiety.  Many of my students are still struggling with gathering textual evidence and in this situation, they were going to have to write an essay based on evidence.  Knowing they would be able to gather information from the peers eased their tension and for me, I knew that they would have good modeling to use for their next activity in gathering information.

I'm going to go back to cuddling with my kids now.  Super Mario 3D world is calling me and a 35th episode on Phineas and Ferb.  The best part, though, is the hugs and kisses!

End of Year

When I find time later today I'm going to sit down and write a real blog, after I can actually see my floor under all the video games and princess costumes Santa brought!  For now, here's a little end of the year present from me.  My entire store is 20% off until the end of 2013.  I actually have two new items in the works as well.  Enjoy!

Pirate teaching and textual evidence

Friday, December 6, 2013 2 comments
I have had an amazing week!  Seriously,  I am so rejuvenated and jazzed right now teaching is like my super power! 
My 8th grade is a special case.  They've had a hard time of it over the years and they are just that more difficult to reach. I spend most of my creative juices on them to let them know that I respect them and want them to succeed.  This week we were discussing the Battle of Bunker Hill.  My school is situated on top of a series of hills so I knew this would be the opportunity to get them out of the classroom.  I waited till a day that wasn't supposed to rain but.....oh my!  It was cold.  I kept telling the kids, "We're from New England!   We were born for the cold!"  But really..... It was cold!  
Why I wanted to do was to show them how far away you needed to be before you saw the whites of someone's eyes.  They loved it!  My boys were the British and my girls were colonists.

We came up with about 30 feet and were totally able to process the pros and cons of the situation.

My seventh graders are an amazing bunch.  We talked about the seven determinants of civilization and found textual evidence to prove Sumer was a civilization.  We used sticky notes.... I really love sticky notes:) 

 The kids did amazing.  They had to find two quotes from the text that proved that Sumer was a civilization (I.e. technology, language, etc.). They did amazing and my admin called the activity, "Dynamic". 
It's been a good week:)

Cyber Monday..... and Tuesday!

Sunday, December 1, 2013 No comments
Come on over to Teachers Pay Teachers on Monday and Tuesday, December 2nd and 3rd and save a bundle. My entire store is 28% off! Enter CYBER in the checkout for he full discount! Happy shopping!!!