Book Challenge-Book#21

This book is short. Very. Read it in under an hour. Like it.

The Promise is a story about a family that is learning how to live without the mother who has died. It’s a story about a dog who will go to great lengths to save his family. Anybody remember Old Yeller? Well, get ready! ๐Ÿ™‚

I found it at a thrift store ( I am such a genius). ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad I picked it up! On my shelf for my 6th graders, I promise! ๐Ÿ™‚


Book Challenge-Book#18

This is a book that I have been wanting to read all year because I have heard so much about it. I didn’t have a copy, and neither did our library. I finally found it at a thrift store (I love to shop for books at these places!!). ๐Ÿ™‚

It was just as good as everyone has talked about. It touches your heart (and makes you cry). I have found that these kinds of books are becoming my favorite with young adult/6th grade books.

Freak the Mighty-by Rodman Philbrick

There is also another book by this author-Max the Mighty-which is about one of the characters from Freak the Mighty. Gotta get it now! ๐Ÿ™‚

Book Challenge-Book#17

This is the 1stย Andrew Clemetnsย book that I have read.ย This book, The Jacket, is a short one , but brings out an issue that is all too real- “prejudice”. It’s written from a 6th grader’s point of view, and I think a lot of kids would be able to connect with it. It’s not a spine tingler or a hilarious one-it’s just real. I enjoyed it!


Benchmark Assessments-Scott Foresman Reading Street

I just created a new page for the Benchmark Assessments for the Scott Foresman Reading Street reading program for 6th grade. These documents show what reading comprehension skills are tested for each unit on the Benchmark Assessment that you give. Each document has the question#, the tested skill, and whether or not it was a targeted skill, review skill, or extended skill.

Let me just explain something real quick, and this might not have affected you, but it did me since last year was my 1st year in 6th grade after 6 years in Kindergarten.

There is a targeted reading comprehension strategy and skill that goes along with each weekly story (like main idea, generalize, etc.). All of you know that there is TOO MUCH to teach so we usually don’t get to everything each week. Which means we have to skip some stuff. I was told that the targeted skills (the ones that have a bullseye) are the MOST IMPORTANT ones and make sure I teach those-don’t worry if I can’t get to other stuff. Well, this is all fine and good, but LOTS of the other stuff is tested on the benchmark assessments as well as the ARMT!!! I guess I didn’t really take the time this past year to sit down and figure all this out (I know, shame on me), so guess what? If my kids didn’t get taught some of this stuff in 5th grade or before, OR if they just didn’t get it when they were taught it in 5th grade or before (I know that doesn’t happen), then they DID NOT GET IT! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ OMG!!!!

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like I could teach the Scott Foresman Reading Street program til 7:00 pm each night and STILL NOT COVER IT ALL! ๐Ÿ™‚ The weekly story itself feels like it is 87 pages long (I know, it’s only about 12 -14), but it takes forever just to “read it”, much less teach the strategies/skills that need to be taught through the story.

Last year I felt like I taught the “story” more than the strategies/skills that the kids needed to be able to apply to ANY TEXT.

What’s a girl to do? Well, let’s just say that something has got to change. I want my kids to be strategic readers of ANY TEXT, not just the stories from Scott Foresman that should just be the vehicles through which I teach them how to be strategic readers. I am open to any suggestions from anyone else that uses this program!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚


Our new digital world

I am taking 3 online classes this summer, 2 of which are all about web 2.0 tools/technology. We have been discussing the fact that students today are used to a multimedia rich environment which also means that they are used to retrieving information anytime, anywhere, and RIGHT NOW! One of the other teachers in one of the classes gave us this link to this cute youtube video that “says it all”.




Workshop Part 2-Phonics Strategies

There are a couple of things I forgot to mention in my last post about the phonics strategies workshop that I went to. Heather also talked about actively engaging the students. We watched a video clip of Dr. Anita Archer (who is a guru on this). One of her biggest points was that you do NOT need to call on individual students who raise their hands to answer questions-instead elicit choral responses from the whole class. Her reasoning behind this is: ” You are teaching the best and leaving the rest.”

She also emphasized having enough wait time for students to think.

Here are some active engagement strategy ideas: (You can google them to learn and read more about them)


Turn and talk/choral responses/asking questions/graphic organizers/think-pair-share/KWL/reciprocal teaching


Underline the text/highlight the text/code the text/quick write/white board/post-its/KWL/graphic organizers/Exit slips/3-2-1/ABC brainstorm/anticipation guide/jigsaw

Heather’s book recommendation is:

Locating and Correcting Reading Difficulties


Book Challenge-Book#15

This is another great read aloud to build background knowledge of the rain forest. It has beautiful illustrations as well.

One of our weekly stories with Scott Foresman Reading Street in 6th grade is “Saving the Rain Forests”-it is very informational with dry facts so I think I will use this as a read aloud the week before to help build their background knowledge-maybe this will help them process the text the next week