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Showing posts from August, 2014

Working with Word Within the Word

I'm not sure how many people that read this are familiar with WWTW, but WWTW is short for Word Within the Word , a study of morphemes by Michael Clay Thompson. It is a study of Greek and Latin roots, and in my opinion, a great way for students to identify and define vocabulary. I have seen programs that have better activities accessible within the actual book, and that it my main issue with this program, it is not user friendly. I have found that the activities in the book are good for in class work, but nothing that was really challenging or helpful in terms of utilizing the stems in writing. That's my other problem with canned vocabulary and morpheme programs, they focus on memorization rather than implementation.  I find a lot of my students cram and dump the information as soon as the test is over, and I want them to see the value in the words. I personally always share with students how valuable knowing stems has been for me. A great example I shared with them was whe

Open House 2014

Did you think I fell off the wagon already? Not so! I have four drafts ready to go, so brace yourselves for some more posts on WWTW, Close Reading, and Genius Hour this weekend! So, the stations worked out pretty well I think at Open House, even though it was a bit messy for me. I like controlled situations, so having people milling around like a party was kind of disconcerting, and I was worried I didn't get to talk to everyone that I wanted to. I'm not sure if I'll do it again next year, so I'll have to rethink this a bit to make it more organized for my taste! In addition to stations, I put out examples of 7th grade activities for parents to see... and 8th grade activities... 7th grade projects... and 8th Grade Projects... I also set out Writer's Notebooks and ISN's from the previous year for parents to peruse. They really seemed to enjoy reading their children's thoughts and "100 Things" they love!

Prepping for Open House

This year I am trying stations for the first time at Open House! I am very nervous about it, since I've seen it done with elementary schools, but not a lot at middle school. I'm also not sure how many minutes we have with each class, so I don't know if people will get through them all in time! First they will sign-in (I have the sign in sheet and the "Involve-Mint" sign in a package with my parent questionnaire on TpT for free- grab it here ) This is from last year Today I had students label a manila folder with their first and last name, and pick up the following handouts: Scholastic Book Order Information Syllabus Interactive Student Notebook Information Grading Information Parent Questionnaire Student Technology Sheet I will have this by their "cubbies" where parents can take a look at the ISN's, and I'm going to place some projects and activities that we have done in the past on the t

Genius Hour Kick-Off

So last week, my students played around with their Weebly pages, and had to create a header, a new blog page, and their first blog post. Their prompt for their first post was "I chose to take Genius Hour because..." Their responses were amazing! Many of them talked about "filling the gaps" for high school in terms of learning research skills, and many expressed their desire to work independently about what they were interested in, rather than a set curriculum. I am so looking forward to this class, and they seem to be as well! We only have 38 minutes on Mondays, so I decided that I will use this day to teach technology tools, research mini-lessons, or activities like what we did today. Today, I started class with this video: This was great to introduce them to the idea of Genius Hour. They also loved how someone was drawing as it went along (those are my favorite videos, too!) When I asked them how many of them wanted to work at Google now, almost every hand

Classroom Through the Years...and the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Today's post will be a photo tour of my classrooms through the years! 2007-2009 My first two years at my school, I taught Drama as an exploratory class to grades 6-8. My classroom was the actual stage, which you can imagine was terrible in terms of sound. I was always having to shout to be heard because the school was fairly new and the ceiling wasn't insulated yet. If it rained, the roof was metal, so you could hear absolutely NOTHING! It was a difficult room to decorate, and there were no bulletin boards. It was hard to find pictures from this time, and it definitely speaks to how young I was! Also- there are no windows in this room, so the color is very muted and dim. This wasn't my camera, it was like this all the time! Almost everything in this picture I bought at The Chalkboard Very exciting wall (sarcasm)  I had the cubbies, and tried to decorate as best I could at the time  The good old futon (that is my best set piece I've ever had for d