Character Comparison Across Texts

Remember my last post? I’m SO tired-I’m overwhelmed-YADAYADAYADA…. 🙂

Well, guess how I got rejuvenated today?

No, not by getting a new student right in the middle of the year. 🙂

No, not when the speakers fell off of the overhead projector in the ceiling VERY close to Emma’s head. 🙂

No, not when I took class time this afternoon to type up an agenda for our common core meeting after school. 🙂

Yes, when Jonathan ( one of my reluctant readers) said as he was reading Babymouse-“Mrs. Shannon, Felicia is JUST like Claire in Out of My Mind!!!”

Oh, YES!!! THIS is why I teach!! 🙂

What an AWESOME comparison of characters across texts!!!

And just so you know:

I have NOT explicitly taught character analysis. I have NOT had my students fill out worksheets on character analysis.

I HAVE read aloud 2 novels so far this year almost daily. And we have done A LOT of thinking and talking about these stories. The characters. Their actions. Events. Our feelings. Our thoughts. In an “informal” way!

And look at the payoff! Better than the lottery. 🙂

Ok. Now you can go back through this post and count the smiley faces. If they total up to more than 3, that means I’m super happy! 🙂

Thank you, Jonathan, for confirming that all of the conversation that has been happening in our classroom this year has been worth it!! Can’t wait to see what the future holds!


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:

 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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

 I was so proud of Courdarious that I just had to take a picture of this!!! He tries so hard!!!! 🙂 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???????????????????? 🙂

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


Read and Write 180-Day 48

Tuesday, October 19, 2011

Phonics has been long forgotten. 🙂 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) 🙂 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! 🙂 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! 🙂

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


Read and Write 180-Day 24

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Well, I did it. Again. I rearranged my room! 🙂 Mrs. Lynn stopped by after school and just started laughing! I am the “Queen” of room arranging at Wadley!!!! But, I do have to say that this is the 1st time since school started that I have rearranged, and all I really did was rearrange the desks, took a table out of my room (Thank you Mrs. Cindy for storing stuff temporarily when I get tired of it until I want it back a year later), and changed my graded paper file system. Oh, I also cleaned off my desk and reading table. Whew! Then went to the Homecoming parade and pep rally (boy was I disappointed to find out that they were NOT selling hamburger plates this year!!!). 🙂

Here is a picture of my new desk arrangement, and then I’ll explain why I changed them(besides my chronic obsession with changing my room around ALL the time!):

Well, the way we started out the year had some of the kids with their backs to where I stand a lot when I teach. They started out real good about turning around in their desks, but that ability has been on the decline. 🙂 So, now I have solved that little problem hopefully! 🙂 EVERYONE will be facing the board and the spot that I tend to hover around. And not only that-I am going to move ALL my students that need extra help, have poor eyesight, the inability to stay awake during our exciting english lessons, etc to the FRONT rows!!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to blow their little minds tomorrow!

I love it when I learn something new, and today was the day for that! I learned how to set up an access code on scholastic’s bookorder website so my parents can order books online! I also learned that my own self was causing the shadow on the elmo projector today (no, the bulb is not going out!). 🙂 And I learned that dropping the leg of a table on your toe DOES hurt!

On to our very busy day. We discussed our words today (the last 4)-drawing conclusions, generalizations, monitoring, and cause and effect. The test will be on Friday.

English- good old english. Why is our native language so hard to understand? 🙂 We reviewed prepositions and conjunctions (coordinating and subordinating-and no, I’m not requiring them to know what that means!). We also reviewed simple/complete subjects and predicates, prepositional phrases. We are going to continue to review ALL English concepts for the rest of the year!!!!

Writing- we worked some more on our compare and contrast essays. I showed the 1st class how to write the introductory paragraph and the 2nd class how to write the 2nd paragraph of contrasting dirt roads and paved roads. I did this on the elmo this time so I will be able to keep the copy of my writing that I am modeling in front of them.

I finished reading chapter 8 in 6th Grade Can Really Kill You. Together we wrote down the major characters, setting, and major conflict in the story. I told them by listing these things, that this is really a 2nd grade skill. I will show them how we take these things and turn them into a 6th grade skill (character analysis, descriptive settings with how it may or may not affect the plot, and detailed conflicts). Right now, most of the kids are just thinking and writing about the literal side of these things. I want deep thinking and reflecting and writing! 🙂 My 1st class had time to do a quick write. I gave them 2 minutes to write whatever came to their mind about the character of Helen’s mom in the book. The two that shared did a GREAT job of analyzing and writing about her character!!!! 🙂 If we can just make this happen for all students!

We used our reading passage to practice a comprehension strategy. I wrote 3 (very important) strategies on the board (visualizing, connecting, and asking questions). They had to choose one of them, choose a part out of the passage, read and practice the strategy, and I let a couple of students share. I showed them how I visualized one part of the passage by acting it out. Then I explained to them that obviously when they write about their reading they can’t act it out so they will have to write it in a descriptive enough way to make someone be able to see what they visualized just by reading what they wrote.

And that’s all folks! Tomorrow and Friday are going to be C.R.A.Z.Y. We have our tests on Thursdays and Fridays AND this Friday we have our much longer pep rally AND a student/faculty volleyball game (guess who got roped into playing?????). So busy! 🙂