September 29, 2013

A Peek at My Week and a FREEBIE

Oh my goodness! It is Sunday again. I have good intentions to blog during the week, but I can't seem to squeeze in the time. I figured I could find time this weekend since I had worked hard to get all my lesson plans and materials ready by Thursday this past week, but... sigh! Then this weekend: I had planned on blogging for Snapshot Saturday but left my camera at home. I had planned to blog for Mentor Texts but left the book at school. Now it's Sunday and time for...


Monday is my boys first home football game. My sixers are permitted to play on the junior high football team. There are only three of them that play with the bigger boys, and they have been begging me to come to a game to see them. All of the games have been out of town so far, just too far to travel after a long day at school. I can't wait to see them play! I hear they are better than many of the 7th and 8th graders. Here they are at pep assembly we had this past week. Can you pick them out?


The rest of the school week should run smoothly. There are no meetings or after school activities. All I have to complete is progress reports and view a formative assessment module online in preparation for an inservice next Monday. Unfortunately, I have several progress reports in eighth grade that I must send, not due to struggling with understanding concepts, but rather letting extra-curricular activities interfere with school work... several students are just not completing work. And that formative assessment module... two hours at my computer just watching a video... sigh!

I won't even have too many papers or assignments to grade this week other than some Padlet boards for gr. 8 English and Spelling papers for grs. 5/6. We've been studying words with Greek/Latin roots each week for five weeks. This week is a review week, returning to all the roots we've covered so far: AQUA, PHOTO, PHON, GRAPH, and MOT/MOB. HERE is an assignment sheet that I will give to my students on Monday. They will work on the assignments, one per day, turning them in as we go along. The wordsearch is a little fun and challenging, requiring them to not only search for the word but identify its root's meaning. This group of kiddos has never done one like this. I can't wait to share it with them. Then on Thursday we'll play a fun review game so they are ready for a test on Friday.


I'm hoping the week passes quickly as I've some special plans for the weekend. A dear friend of mine whom I don't see nearly as often as I'd like has invited a group of us women to her home for dinner. Can't wait!!!! AND I can't wait for next Sunday! I'm traveling out of town to visit once again with my former pastor/special friend who will be installed as pastor at his new parish.

I've got a terrific week ahead of me. How 'bout you?

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

September 22, 2013

Peek at My Week and a Sentence FREEBIE

OK, where does the time go? It's already time for...


I've another busy week in the planning, nothing out of the ordinary. All teachers are always busy. At least this week I don't have to worry about inservices or evening events at school, just a regular week.

My sixers are buddies to the second graders. They act as mentors for the younger students. We go to mass together at school and we do special projects together. This past week my sixers and their buddies began work on quilt squares that represent them. They worked together coloring the squares and getting to know each other a little better.





This weekend I laminated all 40+ squares (the laminator at school is on the fritz and is not on the repair list) at home so that during the week a few of my sixers and the second grade teacher and I can start fashioning them together to form a cross which we will use all year as part of our liturgical environment during worship services. Our goal is to get it all together by this Thursday when we have out first K-12th grade mass. Keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for us, please!

This week I'll be finishing up a sentence unit with my eighth graders. They have been learning about independent and dependent clauses via the concept of mentor sentences. This week they will show me what they've learned. On top of a mentor sentence quiz, they will be asked to complete this foldable wherein they must define and write specific sentences. You can snag a copy of the foldable by clicking on the pic.


Later in the week, my eighth graders will begin a project for the book The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi. They will be required to respond to comprehension questions (all Common Core based) via Padlet, one of my favorite interactive websites. Here's the first item they will work with, a quote from the prologue. Keep peeking back during the week to see each student's contribution.



My niece's garden is finally yielding some produce (it's not been a good year around here for gardens) and I've got some beautiful green peppers just begging to be cooked... stuffed peppers is on the menu for one evening.... YUM, can't wait!

I can't wait to get a peek at your week, so be sure to link up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings. Have a wonderful week!

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

September 15, 2013

Fabulous Freebies on the 15th Fun Linky



I'm linking up with Molly over at Lucky to Be in First for her fun monthly linky: Fabulous Freebies on the 15th. The freebies that I am sharing are just in time for U.S. Constitution Day this coming Wednesday, September 17th.

First up is a Smartboard file designed to help students learn the words to the Preamble of the Constitution. Just click on the pic to download it. Students can listen to the old School House Rock video that had us 70's kids learning the words to the Preamble in between our Saturday cartoons. They then will be challenged to unscramble the words to the Preamble.



Next up is a worksheet, again about the Preamble, for older elementary students that requires them to delve into the vocabulary of the document, paraphrase it, and analyze the parts of speech used in it. I'll be using this activity with  my eighth graders.

Finally, here is a patriotic bunting mystery picture that helps students practice nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Some of you may already have downloaded this one last Memorial Day. I received some great feedback from teachers who had used this with their classes.


I can't wait to see all the other freebies being showcased via The Fabulous Freebies on the 15th Linky!

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

September 12, 2013

Five for Friday with a Friday FREEBIE

I can NOT believe that it is Friday already! Where does the time go? I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for...

This has been an INTERESTING week...

Monday started out with beautiful fall weather, sunny and warm but not stifling. We got new mentor sentences in all my classes, continued reading our books, received new spelling words, learned about the kingdom of fungi, and just had a great day!


Then Tuesday rolled in with sweltering temperatures. My room had to reach at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit. PHEW! Beyond hot... Do you know how nasty a room full of sixth graders can smell when they get hot? YIKES! They were even complaining. I couldn't wait to get home to air conditioning.


Wednesday was even hotter! I am in a classroom that was totally refurbished when we moved into the building last year. My ceiling was lowered and new lighting was installed. It is beautiful and the sound quality in the room is awesome; however, there is no air circulation and the hot air has no place to rise. I do have a fan that on normal hot days dispurses the air around the room. Not on HOT days though! It might as well have been turned off. Our wonderful janitor tried to help out by bringing two BIG fans upstairs. He placed one at the end of the hallway to help draw the hot air out, and he placed one outside my door to blow cool air through my room. It worked a little, at least near the front of the room. I had the kiddos sit at their seats for a quick lesson, then move their chairs near the front of the room, near the circulating air, to do some practice with the lesson. Back and forth all day. We made a game of it. The only problem was that the fan was LOUD! I couldn't wait to get home to the air conditioning AGAIN. Except...



When I got home, I decided to do some laundry... so... down to the basement I went.... and smelled gas. Uh oh! I decided I'd better call the gas company... sigh! They came, checked out the smell, and discovered several small leaks along my gas line in the basement... so, they had to shut off the gas until I could get it repaired. This is now past five o'clock and no contractor was available until Thursday... double sigh! I have no hot water and no way to cook until this gets repaired. I MUST stay home on Thursday to make arrangements. OK, call the secretary to arrange for a sub and BACK to the hot box school I go to get things ready... triple sigh! I was already taking Friday for a personal day. Thursday was my day to get the kiddos where I wanted them for the sub activities.... REVISE that plan. Two hours later, I drive back home, wringing wet from all the sweat because the fan was no longer outside my room. My a/c at home never felt so good!

Thursday was spent waiting for the repairman to arrive, then waiting for the repairman to finish, then waiting for the gas company to return, inspect, and reconnect my gas.


While I was doing all this waiting, I kept busy with teacher stuff. First I made a brand new set of brag tags. I forgot how much fun using these as behavior incentives can be. I used to use them years ago but then I got tired of them. I was reminded of them by seeing them on Pinterest and a couple of blogs this past spring. My kiddos this year are lovin' them and working really hard to earn them. Some wear their tags all the time while others like to hang them in the room.



 My newest set features literary genre. As my kids read independently, they can earn a tag by completing a brief book report for the type of book they finish. There are 17 different genre represented in this set: historical fiction, science fiction, adventure, drama/play, memoir/journal/diary, autobiography/biography, science nonfiction, historical nonfiction, poetry, travel, how to, humorous fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, folklore, fantasy. Click on the picture to read more about them.


I also worked on a "book order" activity for my sixers. Each time I pass out a book order, I have them do some Language Arts related skill drill with it, like searching for parts of speech, particular punctuation marks, verb tenses, and more. Here's my newest one. It's yours for the grabbing. Just click HERE or on the pic to download it.


Friday will be is my personal day so I may visit my former pastor and boss who is still my GREAT friend. He left my town/parish two years ago at the bidding of the bishop when our diocese did a lot or reorganization. I miss him horribly and jump at the chance to visit him whenever possible. I actually wrote this post on Thursday night since I knew I wouldn't get home on Friday until LATE. I can't wait for Friday!

I also can't wait for Friday because of Freebie Friday's hosted by Fern Smith over at Teaching Blog Addict. I've been visiting this site each Friday for as long as I've been visiting bloggyland, and when I started blogging I tried to make sure that I shared a freebie each Friday as well. I've gained much from bloggers who share freely; I want to share in return. That's the best part of blogging and bloggyland. I am so excited to be TBA's featured blogger this week. THANK YOU, TBA!!!! Head on over to find LOADS of great FREEBIES created by teachers like you and me.

Freebie Fridays


Happy Friday,
Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6

September 8, 2013

A Peek at My Week and a FREEBIE

Has it really been a week since last I blogged? School has a way of filling up my free-time... however, I wouldn't trade it for the world! Here's a "Peek at My Week" as I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings once again.


This is not a typically busy week for a change, just a regular ho-hum week, nice to have now and then.

On Monday, my kiddos will start their new mentor sentences and receive new spelling words. I'm "catching up" both fifth and sixth grade with Latin/Greek roots as they had not been exposed to them in fourth grade and this is now a CCSS requirement. Last week we worked on AQUA; this week PHOTO. We're doing a Making Words activity each week and a definition foldable. Grab them below by clicking on the pics if you'd like to use them. This week's secret word is PHOTOSENSITIVE.




I'm looking forward to Tuesday as my sixers will start reading "I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic" by Lauren Tarshis. Although this is really a fourth grade level book, I promised them last year that we'd read this book come fall. It had been featured at our book fair last spring and I was able to get enough free copies for the entire class to read.  I created a Prezi to help us connect nonfiction with the fiction of the novel so that we are meeting the CCSS for Reading for gr. 6. Check it out below.


Thursday is actually my last day of the week. I'm taking a personal day on Friday so I'll have to make sure that I leave detailed plans for my sub and clean off the top of my desk... sigh! I won't be able to find anything when I return. LOL!

On Friday I'm heading to Alliance to spend the day with one of my all time favorite people, my former pastor who is a dear, dear friend. I miss him horribly! He was with us for almost ten years and got transferred two years ago when our diocese began downsizing. A friend and I are leaving early in the morning so we can get as much time in with Fr. Joe as we possibly can. I CAN NOT WAIT!!!



Saturday will be a day to throwback and relax and get my weekly lesson planning done since I'll be busy on Sunday. Our school is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Every few weeks there are special activities and worship services being held in celebration. This coming Sunday is an anniversary Mass and brunch honoring all the alumni. I'll once again be leading the singing at Mass.

I'm looking forward to my week and looking forward to peeking at yours so make sure you link up also with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teachers' Desk 6




Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Freebie Fridays

September 2, 2013

Currently September

It's time once again to link up with Farley for her once a month Currently linky party!


Here Goes Nothin'
Not a whole lot to say about the items this month. They pretty much speak for themselves. And yes, I do admit that I am a procrastinator. I've been saying that I should vacuum the house for about a week now and it's STILL not done! And that darn genie hasn't yet heard my call for help! And am I'm reading? No! Am I computing? Oh yes! sigh!

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6

A Peek at My Week 9/1/13 and a FREEBIE

I'm joining in the fun with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for a Peek at My Week.



Monday is Labor Day so there is no school... ah! I can catch up with housework (I procrastinated all weekend) and get my lesson planning done. We are supposed to have a cook out at my niece's; however, the weather is threatening to be too soggy... boo hoo! I am looking forward to bbq'd chicken so I hope it doesn't rain (like it is right now, falling in sheets). AND I'm looking forward to watching my favorite TV show "Under the Dome." I am hopelessly addicted!




Today is the day all three of my classes will start their second set of mentor sentences. LOVIN' this! I still need to search through the eighth grade book to find one that is a compound sentence. My sixers have finally finished their hand projects and will now move on to describing themselves with words instead of just pictures as well as setting goals for the year. We'll be completing a pennant banner just in time for Meet the Teacher Night. I just need to get everything hung for display.


This is my long day since we have Meet the Teacher Night tonight... sigh! I love greeting and talking with my parents and I'm looking forward to meeting all the new parents; however, as I get older it is getting increasingly hard to put in all the regular teaching hours as well as the extra ones in the evening, then turn around and do a full day the next. To take the edge off today I'm going to do a fun learning activity with  my eighth graders for the first time. I've been preparing lessons based on Nick's Tunes Tuesday at Sweet Rhyme Pure Reason since summer. Today will be the first that I will actually do. Here's a copy of the worksheet I'll use with my kiddos and a link to the song the work is based on. This song,"Born to Be Somebody" matches nicely with the book we are reading, Underground by Jean Ferris.





The temperature is supposed to cool off by today and the humidity is supposed to disappear. Even though this is the day after a long evening at school, I am looking forward to the relief in weather. The kiddos have really been troupers for the first weeks of school because it has been HOT, HOT, HOT in my room. I'm hoping to introduce Padlet to my fifth graders today and Tagxedo to my sixers. My fifth graders will be answering some questions about our read aloud book "Apple Island" and my sixers will be creating word clouds about themselves. This is the first technology I'm integrating into our Language Arts lesson this year, but it definitely won't be the last.


I am soooo looking forward to this day, nothing about teaching, no! My niece is planning on making Red Soup, a family recipe and our favorite. This usually marks the beginning of fall for us. I realize the calendar still says summer, but we wait for this dish from April when we have it last. Red Soup or Italian Soup is a type of tomato/beef soup eaten with pasta that looks like melon seeds. I'm not even sure where the recipe came from since there is not a drop of Italian ancestry in our family (just lived and grew up in an Italian neighborhood). My mom used to make it, then my sis (since she was older than I). Now either my niece or I do the cooking and all of us get together. I can smell it cooking now! YUM!

So that's my week! What have you got planned?

Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teachersdesk 6


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

September 1, 2013

Mentor Text: Stories with Holes

I'm once again linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text party. This week's feature is text for teaching Language Arts skills.

I have HUNDREDS of texts that I could possibly share for Language Arts skills; I've taught Middle School Language Arts for over thirty years and have amassed an extensive library of books about every subject and of every genre. However, one set of titles stands out as a particular favorite of mine. Not really a picture book, not really an anthology of stories, not really a typical book, Stories with Holes is undoubtedly my eighth graders' favorite thing we do each day. You can find all kinds of websites for Stories with Holes, but the widespread popularity of the stories and this set of 20 books designed to encourage imaginative and intuitive thinking is attributed to Nathan Levy.


I had the pleasure of attending one of Mr. Levy's workshops a few years ago and was introduced to his Stories with Holes.That day I purchased three volumes (16, 18, and 19), and have purchased another seven (1-6 and 10) over the ensuing years. I have another ten volumes to go before I own the complete set. I am working on it! It was also at this workshop that I was introduced to 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science, the mentor text that I shared two weeks ago. This workshop was probably THE BEST that I have ever attended!

So what exactly is a story with a hole? It's a short story, shared orally, with important detail(s) missing. It is the listener's job to determine, via questioning, what the complete story is. The listener may ask only questions that can be answered by the reader with a simple "yes" or "no."

Here's an example:

Mitch lives on the 20th floor of an apartment building. Every time he leaves, he rides a self-service elevator from the 20th floor to the street; but every time that he returns, he rides the same self-service elevator only to the 15th floor, where he leaves the elevator and walks p the remaining five flights of stairs.

Q; Does the elevator go all the way up?
A; Yes
Q: Does he want to exercise?
A: No
Q: Does the elevator not work correctly?
A: No
Q: Does he have a girlfriend on the 15th floor whom he stops to see each day?
A: No
Q: Is there something different about him?
A: Yes
Q: Is he a robber"
A: No
Q: Is he a real person?
A: Yes
Q: Is he a tall person?
A: No
Q: Is his size important?
A: Yes
Q: Is he too short to reach the button for the 20th floor?
A: RIGHT!

Besides being a fun addition to our Language Arts classes, Stories with Holes acts as a magnet for getting my eighth graders into the room and settled in record time. They LOVED these stories in sixth grade and love them even more now. Other skills learned and practiced with this five to ten minute "game," as my kids call them, are listening closely, critical thinking, imagining, connecting text with schema, following a line of reasoning, et al.


Happy Reading,
Happy Teaching,
Angela
The Teacher's Desk 6