Friday, May 10, 2013

Book Adventure

A quick update and then some exciting new stuff.  I have had students who finished early with their current writing assignment register for   I haven't yet done a post test on the six-traits, but this is the first step towards higher scores (hopefully).

Wow, I found an awesome resource today.  I actually have had the website on my "Find a Book" worksheet, but today I actually looked at the website in more depth.  One of the resources that I wanted is a way to quiz my students on books that they are reading for fun.  This website has that and so much more.  The site will allow you to create classes, and the students will get accounts.  They even have a way for students to earn points that can be redeemed for prizes.  I am excited to use this resource next year when we begin our 1 to 1 chromebook pilot program.

And the website is:Book Adventure

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I have been spending a lot of time blog hopping.  I have found so many useful resources from fellow teacher bloggers.  I am excited to use some of their insightful ideas in my classroom and on my blog.  One of the blogging practices that I enjoy is when people write about what they are reading.   One resource that bloggers often use is a widget connected to, and I plan on looking into that in more detail.  However, for the time being I will write about my current books in a traditional blog post.

1.  The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White.  One of the most important books that I am reading right now, as I am teaching it.  My seventh graders are currently reading this medieval inspired selection.  They are having trouble getting through it, but some are really enjoying the challenge.  I have found that they understand it a lot better when listening to the audiobook.  Unfortunately, it is not available online in audio and I don't want to spend extensive class time listening to a book.  I also started the book a little late in the year, and we are going to need about a chapter a day in order to finish it with a week remaining until finals.

Any thoughts on how to provide audiobooks for student listening at home?  I was thinking for short stories I could personally record them, but that wouldn't work for full length novels.

2.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  What an amazing books, and I think the 8th graders are finally getting into it.  In the heart of the trial, students are reading Tom Robinson's testimony (ch 19) as I type...if they're doing their homework ; )   While it took a long time for students to get into this book, I think they are finally hooked.  At least I hope so!  Audiobook bonus- someone uploaded the entire book to

3.  A personal choice- Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  Recommended by a group of my avid readers, I am totally into this dystopian trilogy.  The third book won't be out until October, I think.  On another note, I do think that there is too much "love" in this teenage book.  I don't mind it as an adult, but I don't really like it for my school kiddos.   Check out the author's website: 

4.  A book club choice-Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michale Dorris.  I haven't started this one yet.  It has to be read for book club by May 24th, so I better get cracking.  It looks really good, and bonus, it is on overdrive as an audiobook.  I have a commute of an hour and a half a day so audiobooks are my savior.

Thanks for reading.  Comment your thoughts below.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Teaching Writing

The six traits of writing guide the writing instruction at my school.  I teach seventh and eighth graders, and I have covered the traits a few times with them.  Unfortunately, my students don't seem to be "getting it."  I have done practice activities, given them a foldable, quizzed them, yet somehow the majority of the students haven't taken the time to learn the traits.  This has prompted an experiment.  I have found a website with interactive activities-  I wonder if allowing the students to independently explore the traits and complete activities online will increase their comprehension of each trait.  It is at times like these that I am so thankful for the internet!  There are so many useful pages that have been created to support student learning. Let's see if this works.   Look for an update later in the year.