August 1, 2013

Time Travelin' on Throwback Thursday

I'm linking up with Jess at I {heart} Recess for her fun Time Travel linky and with Mrs. Carroll over at The First Grade Parade for her Throwback Thursday linky.

I never thought to share my sixth grade picture with my sixers as Jess does with her fourth graders. However, the more I thought about it, the more I really like the idea. I'm gonna do it this year!!!  I knew I had a picture of me in sixth grade somewhere. Before my mother passed away three years ago, she had gone through all her photos, separated them into piles, and gave each family member the photos she had of him/her. In her pile to me were all my school photos she had kept in her wallet ALL those years, and I mean a LOT of years. It's taken me three days to find it... ta da... here I am in all my sixth grade glory!

grade: 6th
school year: 1969-70 (gulp!)
school: State Road Elementary
teacher: Mr. Frank Knudsen... my favorite teacher and the reason I became a sixth grade teacher!
favorites: cable TV (just became available in our city), The Addams Family (on TV), The Muensters, Monday night ABC movies, Little Kiddles dolls from Mattell, super balls, Barbie, and Spirograph (still have mine)
Memories: being able to finally ride my bike to school, wearing culottes to school... this was a BIG thing back then since girls could NOT wear pants to school and culottes were like shorts, wearing fish net stockings with saddle shoes (what were we thinking?). One of the most vivid memories I have of sixth grade is of writing a puppet show script based on The Addams Family, making the puppets from milk cartons, and getting to perform it for the fourth and fifth graders. I was sooooo proud of my group's script and puppets but didn't one of the boys act up royally and we were not allowed to perform ours. I'm still mad after all these years. I had the boy's child in school about ten years ago and took great pleasure in telling her stories about her dad in sixth grade... revenge is sweet! LOL!

Continuing with the theme of traveling back in time, I'm sharing a post from the very early days of this blog  for Throwback Thursday wherein I talk about being a Language Arts teacher for quite a long time...


March 1, 2013

I've been a Language Arts teacher for a LONG time! I've seen many changes in teaching methods, philosophies, best practices, Common Core, etc., etc., etc. Some of the old becomes new again, and some of the new becomes quite old. What hasn't changed is that a good teaching activity is still a good teaching activity!

I've been sorting through The Desk lately and have come across many good activities that I've been using since my early days. One file I found was titled NOVEL RESPONSES (one of the first ideas I posted on my original website in 1996). In it are numerous ideas for having students respond to the novels that they read. I still use most of these in either my fifth or sixth grade classes. I'll be sharing many of these novel responses in the coming days.

Here's a sampling with which to begin:

  • Write a letter to one of the characters in the novel. Ask him/her questions as well as tell about yourself. Pay particular attention to letter format.
  • Create a newspaper page for one of the novels. Summarize the plot in one of your articles. Cover the weather in another. Include an editorial and a collection of ads that would be pertinent to the novel.
  • Summarize the plot by creating a cartoon version of the novel. Use about six to eight frames.
  • Rewrite a chapter or section of your novel from another character's point of view.
  • Pretend you are a newspaper reporter whose job is to interview one of the characters. Write your interview.
  • You have become a character in one of the novels. Describe your experience during a conflict.
  • Write a poem about one of the novels. Touch on the characters, setting, plot, and theme.
  • Rewrite a portion of the novel as a play.
  • Choose a familiar melody, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and change the lyrics so they pertain to the novel.
  • Develop a mini matrix for your novel... more about this activity in a later blog post
  • Create a mini story wheel for your novel... more about this activity in a later blog post
  • Create a story chain for your novel that consists of at least ten links... more about this activity in a later blog post
  • Compare and contrast one of your novels with another that you have read for class this year or last. Remember to include how the novels are alike AND how they are different. Create a Venn diagram to show your findings.
  • Redesign the front and back cover of your novel. Include the pertinent information as well as a blurb on the back.
  • Develop an award for your novel. Explain the criteria for the award and why this particular book was selected to receive it. A good place to start this project is by reading about the Newbery and Caldecott awards. Notice, too, the other awards particular books have been given.
  • Create a triorama for your novel that depicts the most important scene. Write a summary of this scene, explaining its role in the storyline.
  • Design a story map for your novel. Include important information such as characters, setting, and the plot. Write a brief explanation of your map.
As I read through the list, it dawned on me that even though these ideas had been posted almost 20 years ago, most of them align nicely with the current Common Core State Standards. Sounds like another project for me to work on!


And now back to the present.... There are always projects to work on for us teachers, aren't there? I still have tons of laminating to cut out and I'm still making classroom items to match my new theme for this: polka dot monsters. Yesterday I finished up my sentence signs. I really like how they turned out. There are nine signs in all and are available in my TpT store.

Today I'm making Literature Circle Job posters. Next will be genre posters and figurative language signs... gotta get it done... I go in next week to "cute-ify" the room. The kiddos will be back before I know it!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6


  1. The time travel linky looks like fun!! I love the idea of having the kids write a letter to the character in a story!

    A Sunny Day in First Grade

  2. Thanks for linking up! I too loved culottes!


  3. I remember culottes! They were super cute! They should come back in style! Cute picture.
    Grade 4 Buzz

  4. I grew up in the 80s, and I loved the saddle shoes too :)

    Primary Classrooms are Oceans of Fun

  5. I love the look back at the past! Such fun!

    Suntans and Lesson Plans


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