Read and Write 180-Day 56

Friday, October 28th, 2011

So Friday was our last PEP RALLY. I’m happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can now add about 30-40 minutes back to my instructional time. Yes, I do like to teach. πŸ™‚ Sad because it is another thing that represents the END of my senior daughter’s time in high school. This pep rally was dedicated to the seniors so I got to walk out on the floor to stand with Taylor. Then I had the luxury of watching a slideshow powerpoint of the seniors (no, I didn’t bring any kleenex so you do NOT want to know what I looked like!). THEN, we got to sing the Alma Mater song-and I couldn’t even choke out the words to this! πŸ™‚ Mr. Brady (my co-teacher) kept asking me if I was ok. You get the picture!!! Here is a picture of me and Taylor.

Β She is the 17 year old beauty on your right, not the 40 (almost 41) year old on your left! πŸ™‚

So, back to the classroom. We took 3 tests today. We took 1 test on possessive nouns-I was able to grade them while they took the other tests. The grades were horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So many failed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why is it so hard for them to understand things that they have been learning since 3rd grade????????????? So-I will teach it again next week. and the next. and the next. Until they GET IT! πŸ™‚

The other test was on the vocabulary words (I am really trying to expose them to more than just what is in our weekly story or passage that we read together). For the past 2 weeks I have been having them write a short story with their words-it has worked out fine because the words connect with each other-for example, hideous, sinister, ominous. I figure that this type of test helps in more ways than one.

1. I can actually see who knows how to use the word in the correct context-not just memorize a definition and forget it

2. They can work on their writing skills

Now I think I just need to take what they write and use it to teach from.

The last test was a “Fresh Reads” reading test. This is a passage from our reading program that they have never read before so it is a “fresh” or “cold” read. They read it and answer higher level thinking questions about it. This is a TRUE measure of their ability to read and comprehend. If they take a test on a story that we have been reading together all week they have had a guide on their side and the chance to memorize something. That is NOT a true measure of their reading comprehension. A fresh read is. So I will be interested to see how they did. There are only 5 questions (4 multiple choice and 1 open ended) so that is 20 points each!!! I did go over some of the words in the passage with them before the test-words like feline, affinity, etc. This was an on level reading passage and not all of my kids are on the 6th grade level with reading so I wanted to also use it as a teaching opportunity. We all know that a lot of times vocabulary is what trips them up-either not being able to decode and read the word or not knowing the meaning.

Friday night was senior night at the LAST football game!!! We got to walk out on the field with Taylor. Here are a few pictures from that SENTIMENTAL AND EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE!!!! πŸ™‚

Β This is me, Taylor, and Joe (my husband of 11 years, Taylor’s stepdad). Yes, we are one of those dysfunctional families!

Β This is Carmela (Taylor’s stepmom), Taylor, and Brady(Taylor’s dad).

Β This is Brenda(my mom) and Taylor.

I actually did not cry at the game. It was too cold!!! And a little rainy! And too much going on!! I was also selling tickets!

Read and Write 180-Day 55

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I have an announcement! I would like to ERASE all possessive nouns and apostrophes from our English language!!! Who will sign my petition to get this done????? πŸ™‚

It is looking like we might study these for another few weeks! Need I say more???

We took our english test today on subject and object pronouns. Part of their test was where they had to draw a t-chart and list the subject and object pronouns. I had told them on Monday that would probably be part of their test and they looked at me like I had sprouted wings today when I told them to study them before the test! πŸ™‚ We’ll see if they start listening to me now!

I’m really trying to expand their vocabulary this year so I showed them a website that acts as a visual thesaurus.

We caught up on our emails from our truckerbuddy. He and his wife are a team and drive ALL over the US. The kids are loving this! We track his trips on a US Map (each student keeps one in their binder). He also asks us questions and we talk about them and respond with our answers. He and his wife are going to bring their truck to our school later on (we are going to surprise the kids with this and not tell them when they are coming!!!).

We read 2 more pages of our story “When Crowbar Came”. I showed them how to listen to their “inner voice”. This is just their thinking that is going on when they read. I read a couple of paragraphs aloud and then told them what my inner voice was saying to me-predictions, wondering, etc. Just my thoughts about what I had read. On the 2nd page (after I had modeled a lot) I had them share with a partner what their inner voice was saying. I walked around and listened to them (heard some good thinking). I heard 2 girls telling each other, “Hey, you stole my inner voice”-LOL! πŸ™‚

I had some individual conferences with some student-during my 2nd class I had just dismissed them to do read to self and work on writing and had sat down at my reading table. I looked to my left and Tyler was sitting there beside me smiling. I asked him if he was trying to make an appointment with me, and he said he already had one and wanted to make sure that I remembered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Too funny!!! They really like meeting with me individually! I just have to figure out how to work in some small group instruction now!!!

Here are some pictures of the kids that entered our “Drug Awareness” poster contest this week.

Tomorrow is Senior Day at the pep rally-I guess I need to take a whole box of kleenex!!!! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 54

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Possessive nouns are certainly going to give me ownership of a heart attack!!!! πŸ™‚ Although my afternoon class “said” they got it, my morning class was struggling with these. Isn’t this a 3rd grade skill? Why are they not retaining a lot of this stuff? Is it because of the way we teach it? Is it because it’s not important to them? What is it??? The 3 example words we are using this week are:

crows Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  crow’s Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β crows’

The 1st one is plural. The 2nd one is singular possessive. The 3rd one is plural possessive. I guess this is another concept that we will just have to continue to work on for the rest of the year! πŸ™‚

For the rest of our word study words, we are just learning the meaning of them. Today we sorted them by their part of speech. This is what it looked like when we finished our sort:

Β It was a prime time to also let them in on the fact that some words can be a verb, noun, or adjective depending on how you use them! πŸ™‚

English this week is subject/object pronouns. Still plugging away at those.

Our reading story this week is “When Crowbar Came”. Yesterday we activated our schema about crows. Today I introduced the vocabulary from the story by having them write the words in a 4 column chart. The 1st column was the word list, the other 3 columns were headed like this: Know, Have heard but don’t really know, Don’t have a clue. They had to read each word and decide what column to check for their knowledge of the word. This is how it looked on the board:

Β We read the 1st 2 pages of our story-stopping along the way to act it out, infer, etc. After we finished the 1st 2 pages, I had them write a short summary. Then we wrote the summary together using our HAND graphic organizer to help us get started with the main idea. This is the summary that my 2nd class helped me write:

Β By looking at this picture I’m sure you can infer something about me: I am not an artist!!! Check out that hand!! πŸ™‚

We FINALLY added our names to our CAFE reading menu board (that I have not been too good at using this year). I’ll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow of what it looks like so far. I have not been good about putting up strategies/skills as I have taught them. I think I only have about 4 up on the board. I have GOT to start doing this as I review each strategy now.

I gave a book talk on Clementine’s Letter by Sara Pennypacker. This is a 4th grade level book, but is one of the funniest books I have read. Clementine is hilarious!! I am now reading Clementine (the original book). I absolutely love this character-she makes me laugh out loud!!! I have to compare her to Alex in Skinnybones! You’ve got to read all 3 of these books. πŸ™‚


Read and Write 180-Day 53

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We are learning about subject and object pronouns this week in english. We wrote them in a t-chart today-7 on each side. A subject pronoun is the subject of the sentence. An object pronoun receives the action in the sentence. Here’s a picture of the t-chart that I put on the board:

Β I tell them not to say the subject pronouns TOO fast because they might mess up and say something they don’t mean to say! They love it when I tell them this! πŸ™‚

I read aloud Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse again for the 2nd time. We are trying to learn how to analyze a character. And Lilly is indeed a character. If you haven’t read this book-YOU NEED TO! It’s one of those books that will make you laugh out loud! πŸ™‚

So before I read it to them today I told them to write down a few character traits and share them with a partner. Then I told them to check the trait off if they heard me read a part that proved the trait and to write down more traits as they think of them. When we finished this reading they had to write a quick write character analysis of Lilly.

We are going to start our Scott Foresman story “When Crowbar Came” tomorrow. So today we activated our schema about crows. They wrote down their schema and shared with a partner. Then the partners got together with the rest of their row and shared. They decided on 2 important pieces of knowledge to write on sticky notes. We put these on our chart.

I read them a read aloud story from Scott Foresman about crows and they took notes as I read on things they thought were important. I can’t wait for them to read this story and realize just how smart crows really are.

We had almost a complete hour left in each class to devote to Read to Self and Work on Writing and individual conferences. I met with lots of students today! One of my boys had chosen to read voraciously (all the time a lot) as his goal to work on. He has been recording when he reads on a sticky note and here is his proof! πŸ™‚

Β I was so proud of Courdarious that I just had to take a picture of this!!! He tries so hard!!!! πŸ™‚ I taught him in Kindergarten and am so glad that I have him again in the 6th grade!

So it was another great day! I even was able to fill out my Partners in Education grant application, make a copy of it, and get it to the post office to be postmarked by 4:00. I started at 3:25!!!!! Can you say PROCRASTINATOR???????????????????? πŸ™‚

Then drove 40 miles to Alex. City to help my stepson upgrade his southern linc phone to a DROID!!!!! πŸ™‚


Read and Write 180-Day 52

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy day. Good day.

English- Well, I wish I could tell you that I taught subject and object pronouns today during our English time since that was on my lesson plans, but I didn’t! I guess it was a typical Monday where I had left my brain at home so we labeled a sentence (and no, I didn’t even put a pronoun in it!!!!!). I’ll get on track tomorrow! Maybe! πŸ™‚

Word study- Spelling-I’m teaching the use of apostrophes for possessives-yes, that is a 3rd grade skill that we are still having a hard time with. What’s funny is that they were actually asking questions about it during the teaching!! Which means they were thinking! πŸ™‚ I used the following 3 words to teach this: crows, crow’s, crows’ – I told the kids that they would not be tested on these 3 words this Friday, they will be tested on the rule and have to apply it to other words.

I read several more “scary” stories to them today-the last one really got them because I had to yell at the end! We were all laughing because it sounded like I only had girls in the class with all the screaming that occurred! πŸ™‚

We went over our “Old Yeller” reading test today-I wanted to use it as a teaching tool so they would know the correct answers and WHY they were the correct answers. Hopefully, this helped them as much as studying before the test!

Gave out graded papers. YES, you should be proud of me! πŸ™‚

Read to self and Work on Writing time went well. I was going to “shush” two of my boys for talking until I realized that one was helping the other one write his reading response letter! πŸ™‚ Gotta love that kind of teaching!

We had a faculty meeting after school about student engagement and the new ARMT+ state test. The student engagement was good-reminded me to do those exit slips that I have only used 1 time this year! The ARMT+ just scared me since the questions are now more higher level thinking questions than they have been in the past. This higher level thinking is what is just plain hard for some of my kids!

This afternoon I went to a soccer game as requested by a couple of our 6th graders-THEY ARE GOOD PLAYERS!!!! πŸ™‚ Go Tyler, Tanner, and Clay!!!

Hope the rest of this week is as good as today was!


Read and Write 180-Day 51

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today got way off schedule.

This was my plan-word study test for spelling, word study test for vocabulary, reading test in the computer lab(all multiple choice), reading test in classroom (open ended response question), Pep Rally, Fun Friday(we take the kids outside for good behavior).

This was what happened-

Morning Class-we did BOTH word study tests, but the 2nd test was where I had them use at least 5 out of the 8 words and write a short 1 page story. 40 minutes later I had to tell a few of them that I was going to have to cut their time off. πŸ™‚ It is SO hard to teach to such different levels within a class! By that time we had to go to the pep rally. After the pep rally we went to the computer lab to take the Scott Foresman reading test for “Old Yeller”. Once we realized that ONLY 18 computers worked!!!!!!!!!!, and that SOME of the kids pearson success home page had a “Words, Unfamiliar” thingy come up INSTEAD of the selection test, and I had to show some students HOW to even get on the internet, then some students couldn’t spell “success” to type in the pearson success website link, then some had to actually put it our town’s zip code (Don’t ask me why!) and they didn’t even know their zip code, and I had to get a wig to put on to cover up my bald spots where I had been pulling my hair out! :), WE TOOK THE TEST!!!!! YEA!!!!!!

ok-on to the 2nd part of the day. We swapped classes, went to lunch, were going to take them outside for 30 minutes before my 2nd class had to go to the library, but about 4 students forgot how to walk in line correctly (and we are big on this!) so we made them practice this, then finally got outside and let them race each other on the football field. I raced against 3 boys and came in 3rd place (go figure). Of course, then I thought I might throw up because I am SO out of shape!!:) We went to the library, then went to the computer lab to take the reading test. It was much better since I knew what to expect, but it still took me a long time to get everyone set up. Then one of my students had not ever taken the baseline from the beginning of school since she was absent so I had to let her do that because I couldn’t figure out how to skip over it. Of course it took her FOREVER because it is so long-so the rest of the kids were finished while she was still plugging along. For a few minutes I thought I saw sweat form on her hairline! πŸ™‚ I let the other kids get on had a blast!!!! Then one of my boys said he and another student were talking to each other on wordle. I was like, what????????????? How?????????? He showed me. One would type in what they wanted to say to the other one, then the other one would read the screen, then type in a response, and the other one would read their screen. (They were looking at each other’s screens to read). πŸ™‚ Well, I had asked everyone to be quiet so they had figured out how to communicate and keep quiet!!!! πŸ™‚

By that time, it was time to pack up and swap back. We took them outside again to make up for lost time earlier. And my 2nd class still never got to take EITHER of the word study tests, and both classes didn’t take the open ended question test.

SO…..I think my Monday lesson plans will be: Finish Friday’s work! I also want to go over the reading selection test with them and decide what we need to still work on!! It will be a great learning tool.

Needless to say, it was a CRAZY Friday!! πŸ™‚ Aren’t they all? And next Friday is our last football game AND it is senior day at the pep rally. My daughter is a senior, so I might as well get a sub for that day! πŸ™‚ Or I can just not put on any makeup that morning because it will be gone by the end of the pep rally anyway! πŸ™‚

Have a good weekend-I’m about to take my daughter and her boyfriend to Auburn to shop, eat, and go to a haunted house!!! Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 50

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How can this be? I graded the english tests from my morning class and it’s like a lot of them forgot what adjectives are. and prepositions. and everything else! How could the grades be soooo good last week and not that good this week? How can somebody label each word in a sentence and not label ANY of the words as a verb? In the 6th grade? Breathe in. Breathe out. Chill. πŸ™‚ I am not going to get upset. πŸ™‚

On to word study. 4 of our words this week will help us with phonics patterns and 8 of them are vocabulary. They worked in groups to come up with more words that fit the patterns for this week. This has actually been a little bit of Β a challenge for them. Well, not a challenge, but they kept coming up with words that had the spelling pattern but not the sound pattern. Maybe that is why some of their spelling could be improved. πŸ™‚ Here is what it looked like after they shared the words they came up with.

I read aloud a couple of more spooky stories today. I think I’ve decided to begin The Watsons Go To Birmingham next week.

We had a scavenger hunt today with our story “Old Yeller”. It was just something I thought of last night trying to figure out how we could review for our test, be actively involved with the review, locate “proof” in the text, and just have fun. It was so simple, and yet I think they LOVED it. Here’s what I did. I looked at the test questions to see what I could have them “hunt” for. So I would say something like this- “Find the place in the text where the author let us know what Travis and Little Arliss had in common”. They had to find that part of the story. When they found it they had to stand up. I tried to let the majority of the students find it before I called on someone. When I called on someone they had to read that part of the text and try to explain it. They did such a GREAT job! πŸ™‚ DEFINITELY going to do this more often. Now let’s pray that it will help them on the text tomorrow! πŸ™‚ We’re going to try and take it in the computer lab.

We gave a party for our 6th graders from last year because they scored so well on the ARMT last spring. We had a hotdog party for them-boy do 6th graders change A LOT when they get into 7th grade!!!!!!!! That’s all I’m gonna say!!!

Β Here’s a picture of them.

After school today I went straight home and cooked ham, mashed potatoes, peas, and rolls. Then Taylor and I took it to my brother-in-law who lives about an hour from us. He has pancreatic cancer and is living with his son and wife. This week we are all trying to help out with supper each night because Tammy(David’s son’s wife) has been staying with her mom in the hospital this week. We had a great time spending time with them this evening. Hope to do it again real soon! πŸ™‚

Tomorrow is FRIDAY………………………………………… Wearing pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pep rally. Test Day. Means less thinking time for the teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 49

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OK. I did it. I admit it. I used class time today to grade some stuff. Yes, I felt guilty. I do NOT like doing this because I believe that 7:30-2:30 it my time with students and after that is my time with paper. πŸ™‚ But I had to get caught up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture of the sentence that we labeled today for english.

For our word study words (vocabulary) I had them work with a partner OR independently (their choice) and write a paragraph/short story using at least 5 of the 8 words. THEY TURNED OUT GREAT!!!!!!! This really seems to be a creative bunch!!!! I have got to start allowing some time in our day to write with choice instead of me always trying to show them how to write something specific (like summaries, compare/contrast, etc.). If I could only add 127, 438 more hours to the day!! πŸ™‚ I’ll see if I can remember to scan or take a picture of some of the stories. One that I remembered was about a ghost who was made to be bad but wanted to be generous. How original!! πŸ™‚

For our read aloud today (since we just finished our chapter book and will not start another one until probably next week) I read 2 shorts stories from this book:

Β The two that I chose to read were “The Appointment” and “The Bus Stop”. They weren’t gruesome, but just sort of chilling. I offered to let the ones who didn’t want to hear them to sit in the hall while I read them. I only had 2 students in my afternoon class to take me up on it, and then they said they just listened to it anyway (I had the door ajar). πŸ™‚

I had them work in groups to answer 5 comprehension questions about “Old Yeller”. We’ll go over them tomorrow.

Here is the trifold with the questions on it:


I didn’t meet with any students today. GASP!! But I did have one of my students approach me and ask if he just needed to write his name on our calendar to schedule an appointment with me because he really needs me to help him with some comprehension strategies!!! πŸ™‚




Read and Write 180-Day 48

Tuesday, October 19, 2011

Phonics has been long forgotten. πŸ™‚ It was difficult for my morning class to figure out what I wanted them to do with their word study words. With some of the words we are focusing on spelling, the rest of them we are focusing on meaning. So what I wanted them to do with the spelling words (all 4 of them) πŸ™‚ was to generate 2 more words that fit the same spelling/sound pattern. Our 4 words this week are:

disturb, ignore, artistic, nervous

“ur”-“or”-“ar”-“er” These are the 4 patterns. FINALLY, they understood what to do! Whew!

We finished reading 6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think everyone was sad to finish this book-they can’t BELIEVE that the author did NOT write a sequel to it! πŸ™‚ I’m still not sure which book we will start reading next week-here are the 3 that I plan to read to them this year:

Walk Two Moons

Out of My Mind

The Watsons Go To Birmingham

We finished reading our basal story-Old Yeller. And boy did we analyze some characters today. They had to write a paragraph analyzing the character of Little Arliss. I’m trying to teach them that when they use an adjective (character trait) to describe a character they need to explain why they think it best describes the character. Proof from the text. We worked on this one and then another one on Travis, Little Arliss’ brother. I had them swap their paragraphs with a partner and underline the character traits that their partner used. I think they were getting the hang of it by the 2nd one. This should REALLY help them when they write their reading response letters.

More individual conferences today-YEA! The only drawback that I have seen is when I call a student back to my table and they can’t find the CAFE reading menu or the reading goals sheet. That makes Mrs. Shannon NOT a happy camper! πŸ™‚

I am having DAILY requests from students to “meet with me”. πŸ™‚ Gotta love that!


Read and Write 180-Day 47

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today was very nice for a Monday! πŸ™‚

We are focusing on linking verbs this week in English so OF COURSE we are singing a song to help us with these! Here is a copy of one that I found on the internet:

Linking Verbs Song

I offered them another 100 point grade again if they can sing it to me by this Friday. I already had 3 students sing it to me TODAY! I just gave it out today!!! πŸ™‚ I was totally amazed!

For our word study words this week I chose the pattern from one of our Scott Foresman spelling units on vowel sounds followed by r. We are only studying 4 words with this pattern: or, er, ur, ar-I am going to have them generate more words that follow this pattern for the rest of the week. The rest of our words are spicy adjectives.

We are ALMOST finished with our read aloud-6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think I might actually cry tomorrow when we finish the last chapter! πŸ™‚ I am REALLY loving this time of our day!!! I mean REALLY!!!!!! There is so much interaction and good discussion that is going on. However, they did not like it when I turned to the end of the book and “silently” read the end!!!!! One of my boys said that was not fair for me to be able to read it to myself and not share it with them today!! I then said, “Teachers have the power”! πŸ™‚

We read another page in Old Yeller-out of our basal. LOTS of good discussion! Since I am taking the looooong approach to the basal by stretching the story out for 2 weeks we actually have time to “talk” to each other about the story, characters, actions, make predictions, etc.

I had them work in groups to list 3 character traits that would best describe Little Arliss. Then as a class we went back in the text to find the part that revealed that trait about him and wrote it down. This year I am really focusing on having them find things in the text to support and prove their thinking. I hope this helps improve their thinking.

Here is the website where I found the character trait form:

Let me tell you a question that was asked by one of my afternoon students about the wordbank at the bottom of this sheet.

“Can we cut out the wordbank and keep it in our notebook to help us when we are writing about our characters in our reading response letters to you?”

OMG! Can you imagine my answer?? YES.YES.YES.YES. πŸ™‚

I conferenced with about 4-6 students in each class today. I’M LOVING IT. I’m even being bothered and annoyed by students wanting to know if their “appointment” with me is coming up next! And a couple of students that I have not conferred with yet asked today if they could meet with me! So exciting! I just hope that it pays off for them! πŸ™‚