Monday, March 6, 2017

E companion

Today's post is more specifics about the e-companion website we are working on in Literacy Year. Students started the unit by selecting a favorite book. For the past few weeks, they have been creating separate pages of their book's website. There is a home page which gives some basic information, but the meat of the work is included on 5 separate pages, the templates of which are located in google classroom. These are the pages:

My Inspiration
Students started with talking about why they selected the book, what characteristics they liked about it, and to elaborate on these ideas. Check google classroom for this document. 
Theme Connections
This page spends time talking about themes in the book, how they connection to other stories and how they connect to real life. Check google classroom for this document. 
Artistic Expression
This is a page where students get to express their creativity! Find a song, write a poem or fanfiction, add your own artwork, find related artwork, create memes....the sky's the limit here!  This document is not located in google classroom, it can be found in docs. 
Writer's Craft
This page has students talking about and connecting with the writer's choices with such things as genre/format, archetypes, themes, figurative language. Students needed to think about how the author's choices impact them as readers.  Check google classroom for this document. 
Non-Fiction Inquiry
What topics come up in your story and what do these topics make you think about? Do some research here and find out something new about it! Check google classroom for this document. 

Some deadlines: 
3/10-finish up any remaining sections of written work in above areas
3/17-all document info inputted into website, publishable form
3/20-sharing/presenting begins

For students who are feeling like they need more time than what's provided in class, please work during ELT and at home as needed. If you need help, please ask. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reading in the Wild

In one of my current favorite books, "Reading in the Wild", Donalyn Miller discusses how she cultivates lifelong reading habits in her students. Wild reading, the ability to manage your own reading life, goes well beyond setting aside 10 minutes to read each night. Wild readers dedicate time to read, self-select material,
share books with others, make reading plans and show preferences for what they read.

Each of these areas is important:
Dedicated Time
Dedicated time to read doesn't just include set aside time(school or home). Many wild readers read on the edge(those times when you are waiting or you have a few minutes like between practices or an appt) or sometimes even binge read. Some wild readers even have dry spells where reading doesn't happen for a few days. Some wild readers listen to books.

For some, it may be helpful to think more deeply about their own reading habits so they can make some changes. Spend a week and take note of the following: 

  • how much time is spent read 
  • preferred places reading happens
  • is it fake reading or real reading 
  • any obstacles to finding time  
  • books readily available
Sometimes simply bringing awareness to habits help determine next steps to take if new habits are needed.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Literacy Semester and Literacy Year

Students are experiencing the joys and challenges of having two literacy classes that cover 7th grade curriculum. Some notes to think about:

Independent reading
Currently, the independent reading log is being monitored by Mrs. Festge. 4th quarter's reading will be monitored by Ms. Kobinsky. Each class does not have a separate requirement for reading--just that reading should be happening to meet a student's individual goal. 

The reality is that while a unit of study may have a reading focus or a writing focus, all units of study have a written component to finalize knowledge and thinking.  Right now students are wrapping up their argument letters and are continuing to add detail to their website work. Solid research on topics, digging deeper into text and articles, and using contextualized evidence along with citations where appropriate are key factors in the success of many writing pieces here

Monday, October 3, 2016

Forest Hill Cemetery Trip
NOTE: Dress properly for the weather as we are outside for the duration of the trip.  

 Boarding Busses: 8:25am  *check the lists to make sure you know your bus group and your cemetery group so you know who to look for when we arrive and depart

At Cemetery: Students need to move from their bus groups to their cemetery groups by finding the leader/s. Each group will rotate through activities-grave rubbings, collecting dates and finding ages, and then circulating for the vignettes(short plays about characters of the time). Respect is always important in a cemetery. Also its important to stick with your group/leader.   
Cemetery departure time: 11:15ish

Once we're back at school, students will eat lunch, then go on to their regular 5th hour class. 
At 12:52(ELT), students should report to their first hour class. We will do a shortened core class rotation until 2:30. From 2:35-3:35. we will watch a movie about Arlington Cemetery. 

In the event of rain, the trip will be cancelled and a regular schedule will resume. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sept 6

Here is just a little bit about how the classes in 7R are set up and what kind of work you can expect to see during the course of the year:

HOMEWORK : 1 lesson review preview each day(2-3 problems), except on test days

WORDS OF WISDOM: have a system of organization that allows you to have quick access to:
your toolkit your team work your homework
In the first 5-7 minutes of class, you will have worked in your toolkit, showed your teamwork from the previous day, as well as reviewed your HW from the previous night. Have a sticky note where you leave off in the toolkit each day, and keep your teamwork and HW in the same place so you can access it quickly in those first few minutes of class.

HW Checks: Each Friday,  HW is collected from the previous Fri, Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs. For this week, it will be today's, Tues, Wed and Thurs work.

Literacy Year
HOMEWORK: vocab packet-1 each week, and reading,

Most work in Literacy Year is paperless and completed utilizing google docs during class time. The reading log, most all of the mini lesson work and the big quarterly projects are all on line and can be accessed from any computer home or school.

HOMEWORK: supplies for labs/experiments

Students leave binders in the classroom. Each day, they answer a question of the day, have a brief discussion about the question and then get to work on the current lab. Labs generally take several days to complete from start to finish. The procedure for the lab work is the same regardless of the topic. Create an experiment, make a hypothesis, collect data, organize the data and write a conclusion.

Social Studies
HOMEWORK: to get things completed if not done in time frame allotted

Students will be doing primarily project based work with the bulk of it being done during class time.

Tech Ed/Literacy
HOMEWORK: to get things completed if not done in time frame allotted
Students will be doing primarily project based work with the bulk of it being done during class time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Wow, there is so much going on right now in 7R-it just doesn't all fit in the HW email!

Conferences are coming up, Mar 3 and Mar 8, hopefully those that are interested in conferences have signed up!
Students are getting really excited for Spirit Night which will be coming our way in March.

Work is feeling harder for many students. Government in Social Studies, 5D and inequalities in Math, Static Electricity in Science, and two literacy classes who are both doing more complex writing projects with text evidence and research. That's just core classes. Encourage kids who have questions to seek out teachers to help them when they are stuck or confused. 

We working on understanding how inequalities work--there is a lot of language and vocabulary demands related to this topic. Here is a link that explains more about many of the terms we have been using-some are not new like PEMDAS, while others are somewhat newer-they will get it. If students are struggling the two CC2 links below can shed some light on how to do things.

simplification terms poster

Homework Help CC2   Parent Guide for CC2

In Mrs Festge's literacy, students continue to work on Vocab lessons. They are also working in pieces on an E Companion, a website that can be a companion reader to a story they really loved. The e-Companion encompasses several parts. The three we have discussed are Inspiration, Theme, and Writers Craft.

The Inspiration page kids are talking about why they were inspired to read the book and what about the story elements they really love. They also need to include a book cover and a link to the author's website.
The Theme page talks more about what students learned from the book--the message the author has sent.  Then students need to connect this theme to another story they've read and to something in the real world.
The Writers Craft page talks about how the author uses writing techniques to make a writing more like art. This includes things like using symbolism,  alusion, personification or colloquialisms to enhance the readers interest or understanding of what's going on.  It includes things like how they structure the writing-is it journal entries, or is a chapter only one sentence...and what they are trying to signify when they do that. Its really digging into the text and finding ways in which the author uses comparisons, and broadens descriptions.

In Mrs Kuehn's class students are working on word work by understanding roots have meaning and then crafting complex sentences to show they know the meaning. They are also working on a persuasive letter. This is not simply a letter.  Its requesting something important and then methodically constructing an argument by understanding that there are pros and cons to every argument and having research to back up your claim is critical. Students have selected topics, started to craft their pros and cons and have been working to select articles related to their topics.

That's all for now. I just wanted to give you some heads up on several topics so you have an idea of what's going on in classes right now.

Talk to you later

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sept 21

Here's the first post of the 2015-16 school year!

On the blog I try to share more about what we do in classes with some video supports to remind students and parents about what we've been talking about and doing in classes. Some of us tend to forget once we walk out the door

Class Dojo has a new feature, classroom community, but I don't see how I can link videos. I really like being able to include video tutorials I find. They can help others in the block as well who access the blog. I'm thinking this year, I may have kids help with the blog as a way to reinforce the things we've talked about....We'll see how that works!

This next week is a test week if we look at the overview.
Math-Chapter 1 Test
Literacy-MAP testing
Social Studies-explorers Quiz

More to come on the tests and quizzes Monday...that's it for now