Archives for October 2016

What We’ve Done: Week 10

Can you believe it’s already the end of October?  I know I can’t!  It’s going by so fast!!  EEEEKKKK!

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We started the week off with another Writers Celebration. It was so much fun.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of it, so I don’t have those to show.  However…

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I DID manage to get a picture of my plans for the day.  Notice the “Evaluation” piece.  LOL.  😉

On Tuesday we started our lessons on they’re, there, and their.  Those continued through Thursday.  It’s so fun to see how much easier it is to make that decision when they know their proofs!

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In the picture above, you can see the “there” lesson with the proof.  I changed it up a little from Grammar Keepers because the proof of “here” doesn’t always make sense to my kids.  I told them that if “they are” and “our” doesn’t work, it’s “there.”

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This is just another quick shot I got of another student’s journal.  :)

On Friday, I asked them to write sentences I gave them and fill in the correct word for there/their/they’re.  They did very well on that.  I also took a grade on using capital letters and punctuation at the end.  We REALLY might need some more work on that one! *insert face palm*

Wednesday and Thursday were short days due to parent conferences.  Friday was a little crazy because of Bus Safety.  Gotta love those interruptions, right?

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In writing, we looked at expository Ba…Da…Bing sentences. Rather than trying to implement right away, we sat together on the carpet and discussed them and what they do for the reader.

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Many still had a hard time making them present tense, but we will get there.  I had a few students create some to go up on the wall. Hopefully this will help!

From there we started our kernel essays for our next expository piece.

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We are writing about someone who is important to us.  It’s interesting to see the variety of people who these kiddos think are special in their lives.

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We wrote very simplistic kernel essays, and then we added an expository Ba…Da…Bing sentence to it.  They did a pretty amazing job.  You can see the original sentences crossed out and their newly formed sentences below them.  (If you click on the picture, you can see it bigger and maybe read the writing.)

We had a shortened day on Friday, so after our journal entry and our they’re/there/their assessment, we really didn’t have much time left.  And it was costume day.  So, yeah…

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In case you wanted some costume cuteness, this is my son.  He is Dan TDM from Roblox.  Don’t ask.  I have no clue. It’s what he picked out.

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And we got our school pictures on Friday.  This is me…and my mom says she can see the mischief in my eyes.  I have NO IDEA what she’s talking about!

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I can’t leave out the “Opas” that came to talk to our kids about the German heritage of New Braunfels.  They were so great!

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And that’s pretty much our Week 10!  I remembered to snap a picture of the complete sentences task cards that we used a couple weeks ago.

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This is what I used as a quick daily grade to see if students were able to use the Sentence Wringer to figure out where to split the sentences.  😉  If you need a set, you can grab them here.

So how are things going for you?  I’d love to hear!

Until next time…

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Week 9: What We’ve Done

Another week is in the books, y’all!  Woo hoo!

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We started off the week hitting the ground running.  I know I’m behind, and I’m trying diligently to catch up.  So…we hit writing hard this week!

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We needed to finish up our flipbooks, so we took the first of the week to do that.  When they were finished, I had them color up their own writing.

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I told them that in order to visit revision stations, they had to come to me and tell me what they noticed about the colors they used in their writing.  It was great to hear them tell me exactly what they needed to work on.  In the picture above, you’ll see that I wrote “Actions” at the bottom of this flipbook as a reminder of what this student needed to pay particular attention to as they visited their stations.

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When they were done, they published their writing. In the picture above, you’ll see another flipbook that had been colored up and then moved to publishing.

We are having our Writers Celebration tomorrow.  I have invited people from the school and the district to attend.  They have worked SO HARD on these writing pieces.  I know it will be a GREAT day tomorrow!

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In grammar, we worked on they’re/their/there this week.  It was so neat to watch them “argue” about the way they spelled the word in their journals.  For those of you who don’t use Grammar Keepers, you are seriously missing out!

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This week, we had our lesson, then journaled for 8 minutes, and then spent two minutes proving their words with their table groups.  They had to practice the conversation mentioned in Grammar Keepers with each other.  Then I allowed 5-7 kids to give me their sentence and argue it with me.

They REALLY enjoy proving me wrong.  And I REALLY love that they are able to do it.  We all have a good laugh during our “argue session.”

Week 10 coming at ya this week!  Bring it on!! :)

 

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What We’ve Done: Weeks 7 – 8

Aaaahhh!  I’m falling behind!  I feel like every weekend, between soccer and shopping, I don’t ever have time to sit down and blog.  And everyone needs shopping therapy, right?  RIGHT? :)

Here goes…

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Don’t kill me…I have ZERO pictures for week 7.  I was there four out of the five days…and I just forgot.

In grammar, we continued to work on sentences.  We did two lessons from Grammar Keepers, The PSST! Test and Is There a Verb? lessons.  And oh boy howdy, it’s working!  I’m already seeing huge improvements!

For writing, we continued with our kernel essays, got two completed, and then finished the week coloring up the Barbie piece.  It’s meant for renaming, but it colors up REALLY nicely for expository, so I had students complete that with the sub on Friday when I was out.  We are definitely going to have to revisit it.

And that’s pretty much what I remember from week 7.

These pics are NOT from school, but what’s a blog post with NO pictures?  I had to include a couple from my conference I went to in Frisco.  It was put on by Corwin, the publisher of several professional development books…including Gretchen’s latest two books.

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This is Jeff Wilhelm.  He was a phenomenal speaker.  He has tons of great strategies for teaching reading, some of which I would have never thought to do.  You should check him out.  He has some fantastic books. Head over to QEP Books to check them out! Diving Deep Into Nonfiction is one that he referenced quite a bit.

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And of course, what’s a Corwin conference without Gretchen Bernabei?!?!  She shared some structures from Text Structures From the Masters, and we wrote kernel essays.  Especially if you teach 5h – 8th grade, you need to check this book out.  It’s totally awesome.

Always so fun to hear Gretchen, even if I HAVE heard her speak 100 times! 😉

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I started the week absent on Monday. I presented for teachers in Southside ISD in San Antonio.  It was 5th-8th grade teachers, and we had a blast.  Most of them had never heard of Gretchen’s work, so it was even more fun to watch them do things for the very first time.

Meanwhile, I had my sub get my kiddos started on their expository flipbooks.  Ummmm…that was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t disastrous, either.  Thank the good Lord for that, right? I really only wanted them to complete two parts of it, but some ended up with sentences for all four paragraphs.

The main part that was missed, however, was the line I wrote that said: Students MUST have 3-5 sentences in their paragraphs.  Yeah…upset students who knew thought they were finished with one sentence. Nope.  You will add details, kid.  I know you can. *insert devilish laugh*

It’s really not because I’m mean.  We had to have the talk of what it means to DEVELOP our writing.  After that, they knew I wasn’t going to accept anything less and got right to work. We’re getting there…little by little…sentence by sentence!

Aaaaaannnnnddd….we are STILL working on our flipbooks.  And I’m not stressed about it.  Ok, maybe a little bit…but we’ve spent SO MUCH TIME on grammar this week that I knew we were going to be cutting writing short.

With that being said, in grammar we worked on joining sentences legally and illegally.  The PSST! Test has come in VERY handy for trying to decide if we actually have two complete sentences or not.

And the importance of that verbs lesson?  Yeah…that has helped tremendously, too.  It’s so nice how those little pieces come together to make something beautiful.

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We used these task cards as a quick check to see if students understood where to separate their sentences.  Oh. My. Goodness. With the exception of forgetting to put a question mark instead of a period or forgetting to capitalize the sentence (GRRR!), they have a pretty solid understanding of where to start and stop their sentences.

Testimonial: One student had FOUR sentences in his journal entry with only one period.  I told him that I could see more sentences than what he had showed me.  And wow! He went back and found EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  You better believe I made a BIG GIANT deal out of that one!

And y’all!  On Friday, I asked my students to write a journal entry and combine two sentences for me.  I noticed so many more REAL sentences in students’ writing.  They are using AAAWWWUBISes (however you are supposed to write that!) with commas!  My little grammar heart is so stinkin’ happy!!

Man…this sounds so uneventful, but we made some serious headway this week, so I’m not complaining.  I don’t even know how far behind I am.  I’m trying my hardest not to look.  Haha. I know we will catch up soon, but for now, I am relishing in the greatness that my students are accomplishing.

How is it going for YOU?  Do you have any questions?  Drop them in the comments below!  I love hearing from you!

Until next time…

 

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Week 6: What We’ve Done

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Ok.  Seriously.  Life has been overwhelmingly a *little* hectic these past couple of weeks.  I’m not gonna lie…I might even leave out some things because two weeks ago feels like 2 MONTHS ago.  Anyone else?  Tell me I’m not alone!!

I’ll get week 7 up soon.  Just not tonight.  I have a presentation tomorrow and I kinda need some sleep.

So here goes…

After finishing up our narratives, we dove headfirst into looking at expository writing.  But I didn’t let them start writing one yet. *Insert evil laugh: Muahahahaha* No, not because I’m mean and evil, but I wanted to try something a little different.

"Grandma"

We started our week with “Grandma.” I’m totally using an old picture because I forgot to take a picture of our new one.  It’s really cute.  It’s the same basic information, but I decided to allow kids to draw their balloons rather than cutting and gluing.  I’m feeling the time constraints BIG TIME this year, and it was just faster.

We did this for two days.  And the kids really enjoyed it.  So it was a complete WIN!  You can read a previous post ALL about Grandma here.

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After that, we spent the rest of the week looking at expository writing.  I pulled some expository essays (from right here on my blog) and allowed students to look at them and study them.

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Table groups came together and created posters (Ok, it’s totally just some big sheets of manila paper cut in half…don’t judge) to write down what their groups noticed about the writing.  I really wanted them to notice that they can use the same tools in expository writing as they learned about and used in their own narrative writing.  But THEY figured it out rather than me having to tell them.  Great when it works like that, eh? 😉

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Grammar was so much fun this week!  We started working with what makes a complete sentence.  The first step is to look at two word sentences.  It ROCKED their little worlds when I told them a sentence only has to have two words.  Like…they didn’t even want to believe it.

We started with the lesson from Grammar Keepers, but then we had to make it a little fun 4th grade style.  I wrote out words on little pieces of paper (I *might* have written them in the 10 minutes before the kids arrived) and handed them to each table.  We had a competition to see which table could come up with the most sentences.

Some were right.  Some were very wrong.  Kids struggle with this.  But we talked about each one they created and discussed why it was complete or not.  The silver lining in all of it is that they really don’t deal with two word sentences on a daily basis in writing.  So there’s that.

We did talk about how sometimes authors use it as a craft to slow down a moment or show specific emotions.  In their journals, they did a great job trying out that strategy.

Oh…almost forgot.  We also did the lesson on verbs again since it’s part of The Sentence Wringer.  Nothing special with that one since we had already covered it.

And there you have it.  Week 6 is in the books.

Are you feeling the sluggishness of school right about now?  Feel like you’re running in quicksand, making lots of moves but not going very far…or anywhere?  You. Are. Not. Alone. Let’s talk about it!  Leave a comment below.

Let’s hear it! :)

 

 

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NEW Interactive Notebook Parts of Speech Folding Pages

I’m so stinking tired today.  I’m hoping to get our Week 6 blog post ready to go tomorrow, but I thought I’d just drop in really quickly to say thank you for all of your wonderful comments and inspiring words over the past few weeks!  It is very appreciated and does NOT go unnoticed!

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Many of you have asked about the folding parts of speech pages that I’ve been using with my kids. I finally got them ready and uploaded them to my TpT store.  If you are interested, you can grab your set here. You can read about everything that is included in the description.

This is what they look like…

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But I also have adjectives and adverbs.  I need sleep, so that’s what I have for you.  Haha.

See you tomorrow!  :)

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