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. 🙂 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! 🙂 Mr. Brady (my co-teacher) kept asking me if I was ok. You get the picture!!! Here is a picture of me and Taylor.

 She is the 17 year old beauty on your right, not the 40 (almost 41) year old on your left! 🙂

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! 🙂

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!!!! 🙂

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

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

 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????? 🙂

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! 🙂 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.

http://graphwords.com/

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! 🙂

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!!!! 🙂

Read and Write 180-Day 54

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Possessive nouns are certainly going to give me ownership of a heart attack!!!! 🙂 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                       crow’s                            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! 🙂

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:

 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! 🙂

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:

 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:

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

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. 🙂