Added some new blog pages

I just added some new pages to my blog. These are from my old blog when I taught Reading to 6th graders.

They are titled:

Reading Tools

Grammar Practice

Comprehension Skills

Comprehension Strategies

Linky Link Parties

CAFE/Daily 5

Maybe you can find something beneficial. πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 72

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is what I want in my classroom.

Β 24 Kermits (or students) in each class who gaze at me so attentively with a smile like they are thinking that I am the best thing since sliced bread because I am such a great teacher and they can’t wait to get to my class everyday so they can learn and become wonderful readers and writers and they always do their homework and think while they read and study and try their very best……Oh, wait-was I dreaming???? Apparently so, because in my afternoon class when we started reading the 1st 1/2 of our reading story that they were supposed to have read last night for homework, when I asked what kind of person the main character was I (seriously) only had about 10-12 that could tell me!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t even give much homework because I think that family time is important as well as just plain downtime!!!! Why is it so hard to read 6 pages??????? Especially since the cold hard fact of the matter is that I sent out D/F letters with almost 1/2 of my class today!!! 21 out of 48! What are they not understanding????? I really do want to help them, but they have to be willing to help themselves! OK-that’s the end of my soapbox for now! πŸ™‚

Our sentence today that we labeled was ” The mangy, old dog grudgingly went after the almost new ball”. The words mangy and grudgingly threw a couple of them-I’m not talking parts of speech-I mean they couldn’t read them. Sigh. I am hoping that these daily sentences will expose them to some great vocabulary and maybe some phonics skills as well. A few of them figured out that the word almost was an adverb!! Kudos to them! πŸ™‚

We started putting our notes that we had written yesterday into paragraph form for our reindeer job application. We will continue working Β on them tomorrow. One of my students has the last name of Daunhauer. He asked me if he could change it to be “Deerhauer”!! HAHA! Of course I said yes!

We talked about our question of the day-What do you know about Kyoko as a person? Well, those of us who did our homework last night talked about it! πŸ™‚ It almost makes me want to send the kids who don’t do their homework to the hall while the rest of us analyze the story and prepare ourselves for the reading test! Wait-I wasn’t supposed to go there again!

We worked with our 5 whole vocabulary words today by making a 4 column chart. They wrote the words-I gave them the definitions-they worked in groups to come up with synonyms, antonyms, and sentences.

Ahhhh-on to small group instruction. Today we focused on our vocabulary words-reading them, finding words within them, paying attention to the phonics aspect as well as their meanings. Then we worked on our fluency. I picked a part of the story ( a very important part of the story), and I read it twice with both times being NOT fluent. Once where I read too fast with no emotion or pausing for punctuation. The 2nd time I struggled to read the words and replaced words with incorrect words. Then I read it a 3rd time fluently. We talked about how both of the non fluent readings break down our comprehension. I think they really get that. With my 1st class we had time for them to partner read (fluently) while I listened to them. We didn’t have time with my 2nd class-in fact I didn’t have time to call back both groups of 4 so I just called all 8 of them back at the same time. While they were on the rug and we were talking I noticed 2 students paying more attention to us than what they were supposed to be doing so I told them they were welcome to join us. They actually did. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow we will focus on comprehension during our small group time. Today was cut a little short because I gave out graded papers and the dreaded D/F letters.

Here is a picture of our predictions chart that we made yesterday about our reading story “Learning to Swim”. I think that what I will do next time so that we can go deeper with our predictions is 1st of all make a bigger chart. πŸ™‚ AND-add a column where we can track our evidence of rejecting or confirming our predictions. Also, keep interacting with the chart while we read the story so that they can realize that predictions are not just made at the beginning of a text, but the whole way through!

Over and out!


Does anyone have my memory?

Because I seem to have lost it or misplaced it. πŸ™‚

Here is the picture of our question anchor chart from today:

AND-here is a picture of my new room arrangement..AGAIN! I bet I have changed their desks around 98 times! Now I have them in 3 groups of 8. So they can work with partners, in groups of 4, or in the whole group of 8. It gives us a lot more walking around space. YEA! I also cleaned off my small group table so that when extra time falls out of the sky-I will be ready! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 67

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I only ended up with 15 minutes left in class today after teaching whole group everything. Sigh. Something’s gotta give!

So this is what we’ve been doing last week and this week:

1. Sentence labeling

2. Write a paragraph from that sentence-Go over 1 person’s writing on the ELMO

3. Spelling workbook page

4. English workbook page

5. Whole group reading………………………………………………………….

So this is what I’m thinking about changing (as usual!):

Keep the sentence labeling. This is the ONLY reason that the kids are getting better with parts of speech, subjects and predicates. Of course, I do tend to wonder why this is important (except to get them ready for high school) because how many times in our REAL LIVES do we have to know this stuff? However, we DO have to write clearly and smoothly.

So, I’m thinking about doing away with the spelling (totally) and the english workbook page. And putting more writing in place. I know this doesn’t solve my problem of how to fit in small group instruction BUT it will solve the fact that I think I am doing a HORRIBLE job of teaching them writing! πŸ™‚

Anywho- this week we are working on identifying generalizations when we read, and I was going to show them a cute video BUT I didn’t realize it was a youtube video until I clicked on “play” in the classroom. BLOCKED. I showed them a generalization power point and we discussed it. It was created by a teacher at a school in Wetumpka-not me. πŸ™‚ Here it is for you if you want to use it.

Making Generalizations ppt

Tomorrow I’ll show the generalization video-our district has an account with VuSafe which allows us to show youtube videos during school hours. πŸ™‚

Since our comprehension strategy focus this week is asking questions I had them work in groups to talk about questions they are wondering about our story that we started reading today. Then I wrote them on a chart and we answered them as we read the story. They actually prodded me to return to the chart and write the answers since I tend to get sort of caught up when reading. πŸ™‚

I always read the story out loud to them (I think most teachers have them listen to the CD, but you know I’m really a great reader so I feel like they can get into it more if I read it to them. I’m just saying…. πŸ™‚

I read 1/2 of it to them on Tuesday and the other 1/2 on Wednesday. I really wish I had 2 more full days for them to read it again because I would like to assign them sections to practice and then have them read it with partners or in a group a 2nd time. Hmmm…not sure what to do about that. We take our test on Thursdays-maybe I could move the test to Fridays, but then the fresh read test would have to be given on Thursdays, but that wouldn’t take up as much time. Hmmm…

I have lots to think about over the Thanksgiving break which is NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 66

Monday, November 14, 2011

I have to admit that teaching from the basal is A LOT easier than coming up with my own thing!!!! AND taking our weekly reading test online is the cake with the icing right on top! πŸ™‚ It is graded for me-all I have to do is print each one for each student and enter the grades into STI! I still give them a fresh read test each week to test their “true” comprehension ability and to throw in an open ended question. I also think I might start having them list the paragraph/line where they found their answer on the multiple choice questions. Maybe this will decrease the amount of guessing, and it will enable them to think more about why they are choosing a certain answer. I love having them prove themselves and their thinking. πŸ™‚

Here is the sentence that we worked with today labeling parts of speech and subjects/predicates. It threw them for a loopity loop loop loop! πŸ™‚ Some of them said, “This sentence is hard!” πŸ™‚

Last week I actually gave them a spelling test on our word study words. Mostly this year I have tested them on the meanings of the words. So this week I “gently” reminded them that our word study words each week are both: spelling and vocabulary. Meaning-they have to study them both ways. You should have heard the comments after they saw what the 10 words are this week!!! For example, one of the words is “instantaneously”. How about that? Nothing like putting the fear in them right before the Thanksgiving holiday-it will just make them appreciate it even more. πŸ™‚

We have been taking the sentence from the board each day and extending it into a paragraph story-yes some 6th grade classes are probably writing essays at this time of the year. Sigh. Anyway, the student that shared his paragraph today (on the ELMO mind you) had a SIMILE in his paragraph. Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!! In short this is it-The monkey’s tail was as long as a school bus. YEA!!! I just went on and on and on and on and on and…well, you get my drift. Maybe tomorrow I will see some more “figurative language”! πŸ™‚

I cut my whole group instruction down a little today from last Monday so that I could work in a small group. So, in other words I skipped-1. English workbook page 2. Spelling workbook page 3. Skill workbook page 4. Vocabulary workbook page WOW! This is what we did do:

1. Wrote genre, skill, and strategy for this week’s story

2. Created a bubble map with “discrimination” in the middle leading off to causes, actions, victims, and solutions-we did a lot of talking with this and I showed them a little 30 second video that I created this weekend on Animoto. This is a free site (for 30 second videos)-you can pay a monthly fee to be able to create longer videos (and I think I’ll be looking into this!). Here is the link to the video I made:

We watched this video SEVERAL times and discussed our thinking-they did not have much schema about Hitler or the Holocaust! A couple of my students said the video was sad (both boys). πŸ™‚ You ask-why the smiley face? Because I WANT to make them feel! Emotion is a wonderful response!

We took notes on our skill-generalizations and our strategy-asking questions. Then we wrote all of our vocabulary words, I supplied them with the definitions, and they worked in groups to locate the sentences in the text with the vocab. words-they had to copy the sentences. Boy, that took forever!!!

For small group, I pulled 3 students in my homeroom class (nobody in 2nd class-ran out of time for some reason) and I had them skim their fresh read passage for words they didn’t know (either couldn’t decode or know the meaning of). Then we talked about these words. I then read the passage to them while they followed along. We came up with the main idea afterwards and wrote a summary of the passage. They will have to reread this passage several times this week as part of their “independent work packet”. Speaking of which-you know that last week was the 1st time that I had given them these packets to do and it was based on their reading test score from the previous week. So that week resulted in 31 D/F, 11 C, and about 6 A/B. The lower the test score the more work in the packet. πŸ™‚ I had asked them last week the day before they had to turn the packets in how many of them were going to study harder for the test. Here is the answer for my afternoon class:

Β Needless to say-they did NOT like doing those work packets. A couple of students laid on the floor so they could put their hands AND feet in the air! πŸ™‚ There was a huge improvement in the test scores!!! We’ll see if it continues this week. I did have some students who didn’t complete ALL of their work packet (skipped a page or didn’t answer all parts of a question)-they get even more extra work this week. And for those who didn’t turn one in at all (3) WOW at the amount of work!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’ll see who is standing on the wall this Friday when we go outside! πŸ™‚ (And let me give this disclaimer-I am not out to punish children all the time, but these students range from 11-14 years old-it’s time to take some responsibility for their own learning!).

So today was a good day (I guess because I skipped some stuff!). We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I have a cute generalization video waiting for them that I found on the internet since generalizations is HARD for them at this age. πŸ™‚

Outlining non-fiction

We have been working on summarizing and determining importance this week. Yesterday I showed them how to make an outline to take notes. I explained to them that this will help them in history and science and generally anything that may be difficult to read and understand. We have been practicing these skills with our story this week-“Ancient Greece” in the Scott Foresman Reading Street series. It is a non-fiction story that is PACKED with facts and information! πŸ™‚

Determining importance is HARD for them to grasp. They understand what it means, but it’s hard for them to pick out the important things in some paragraphs and sections. I don’t think I worked on this with them this year like I should have-so I will definitely focus on this next year! πŸ™‚

When we were working on the outline I had them work in several different ways:

1. I read some paragraphs out loud and we figured it out together

2. I had them work in groups

3. I had them work with a partner

4. I had them read silently and then we pulled out the important stuff together

We broke this story down CHUNK-BY-CHUNK-BY-CHUNK!!! πŸ™‚

We will see if it helped them any when they take theΒ  open book test tomorrow that I am going to create tonight! πŸ™‚ (Nothing like procrastinating)