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Showing posts from February, 2014

Differentiation in Grading

Every year we have a "county wide institute day", where teachers get to go and learn about something (of their choosing, usually) at various places in the district. This year, I decided to go see Rick Wormeli, and not just go to the one that was 1/4 mile from my house, and I'm so glad I did! I decided to go because my best friend was also going, and we wanted an excuse to spend the day together :) In seven years we have never gone to the same institute day together, and I don't know why, it was so much fun!! On to the presentation. If you haven't seen Rick Wormeli  I highly recommend you go and see him if you get the chance! I had heard about differentiated grading practices at a few conferences in the past, specifically the PLC conference, Effective Grading Conference, and the Gifted Education Conference, but he explained it differently and very well. Bonus, he is incredibly funny and entertaining! I did not bring my laptop today, so I had my colored

You Guessed it....Close Reading!

I'm spoiled. My 8th graders are amazing at close reading, and I forgot that they needed practice and time to get to that level, which we did all last year. I mean, look at some of these. These are from "The Tell-Tale Heart" a few months ago: Non-Fiction Close Reading to coincide with "Flowers for Algernon" So I was of course disappointed when my seventh graders weren't turning in beautiful and amazing close reads of "Father William". Duh! I taught the seventh graders last year how to be great close readers, and totally wasn't thinking when I assigned it! Sure, we did some practice with close reading in their introductory unit, but we only did it with non-fiction. My first period was a bit more advanced since they did close reading with The Little Prince  but they weren't fully grasping the importance of having a key/color coding their work so that they can identify it easier when they come back to it. So wh

Coolest Surprise Ever and this week!

Ok, so awhile back I did a review for Tieks that you can read here , and I have since received many more pairs, either as a gift, or as a splurge :) I now have FIVE pairs of Tieks, and my 5th pair came after receiving this absolutely AMAZING gift at random after a long night of Parent-Teacher Conferences! Here's what I came home to: What is this? At first I thought the Hubster surprised me for V-Day! Then I read this! Jennifer- We wanted to send you some treats to make your Valentine's Day extra sweet! Please enjoy this $100 Tieks Gift Card, custom Tieks stationery, and other goodies we think you'll adore :) Happy Valentine's Day! xo, The Tieks Team (I was literally screaming/squealing at this point.) Inside the box, in addition to the gift card and stationery, is a necklace, OPI nail polish, cute undergarments, granola, an adorable cookie, a scarf, and TWO tickets to see ALADDIN on BROADWAY! Best. Day. Ever. Three days later...

What I Did On My Long Weekend...

Happy President's Day!! I've been working really hard lately to separate my "school" self from my "real" self, haha, and since I have started using my life planner I feel like it has made it so much easier! It has also made me really feel confident about organizing my time, with the musical in full swing this week, I find if I write things in pen for the future they are more likely to get done! This week in class we are starting to wind up the poetry reading unit in LA1, and the poetry writing unit in LA2. So far, I think the students have enjoyed the Poem of Address the most, and I saw some really deep ideas come from them! For Valentine's day, I created a "webquest" of Love Poems, and students had to select one and analyze the poem and do some research on the poet. It's been a great project, but I underestimated the time it would take, so it is continuing on into this week!  I loved getting to incorporate some technology int

Writing Workshops!!

Ok, so I've been promising this one for awhile, and it's finally here! Earlier this year I was thinking, "How can I make peer editing work, and also encourage discussion of writing, rather than just turning in a paper and receiving comments on it?" After some research on the internet, and some careful planning, the writing workshop emerged! I am a big fan of Shared Inquiry in the classroom, which is basically a Socratic Seminar. The students are completely in control of the discussion, and do all preparation for the discussion ahead of time. I wanted my students to do this within the Writer's Workshop as well, so that became a huge part of it. Prep Work: Students worked on their narrative papers in my 7th and 8th grade Language Arts ET classes. In my 7th grade class, it was a choice between a variety of writing we had already done, so they had a choice to pick from that, or write something completely new. In 8th grade they had participated in NaNoWriMo,