Friday, August 29, 2014

Goal-Setting, School Looping, and Paragraph Writing


Warm Up: Silent Reading  Happy Friday! Let's begin the day with a little silent reading. Please take out your A.R. book and begin. If you have completed a book this week, you are also more than welcome to take an A.R. test during this time using the link here.  

A.R. Goal Setting  If you still have not made an A.R. reading goal for the quarter, I will be calling you up to my desk to do so. Remember, Accelerated Reader makes up a sizable percentage of your grade and making progress toward your reading goal is part of your responsibility as a member of this class.  

School Loop Tutorial  We will spend a few minutes today getting oriented with the online School Loop program. I will show you how to access your grades in your classes, identify your scores on specific assignments, and contact your teachers using 'Loop Mail.' School Loop is a fantastic way to take ownership over the grading process and to advocate for your own academic success at school.  

Analyzing Character Traits and Paragraph Writing  Today we will examine the structure of a model paragraph and then write our own paragraphs analyzing the traits of one of the main characters from the short story "Eleven." The assignment 'Writer's Workout #1' has been placed in your Language Arts folders; you can also find a link to it here. The assignment will count towards your assessment grade and is due at the end of next week on Friday, September 5.   

Homework  (1.) Make sure you read for 30 minutes at least once over the weekend and make an entry on your Digital Reading Log(Remember that your reading log has been placed in your Language Arts folders. If for some reason you need to make a copy of the reading log, you can find a link to it here.) I will be grading this week's Reading Log on Tuesday, September 2. (2.) You are welcome to work on your 'Character Trait Paragraph' over the weekend if you choose, however I plan on giving you some more time to work on it on Tuesday. Once again, it's not officially due until Friday, September 5.    

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Identifying and Analyzing Character Traits in 'Eleven'

 
Rachel
Mrs. Price 
Identifying Character Traits  After reading the short story "Eleven," reflect on what you've learned about its main characters: Rachel and Mrs. Price. Who are they as people? What character traits do they reveal through their words, actions, and feelings? Using your character trait lists form earlier in the week (you can still find links here and here), identify several different traits you would associate with each character. You can post your trait ideas on your class's Padlet wall: Period 2, Period 3, Period 5.    

Analyzing Character Traits  It's not enough to just make a "claim" about a character having a certain character trait. You need to support your claim using evidence from the story. What does the character do, say, or feel that caused you to associate a particular trait with them. Locate quotes and examples directly from the text to back up and strengthen your claims and ideas. Today you will further analyze the main characters in "Eleven" and their traits using the document that has been placed in your Language Arts folders. You may also find a link to the document here

Homework  (1.) Complete your 'Character Traits in 'Eleven'' assignment, which is due tomorrow, Friday, August 29. (2.) Read your A.R. book at home for at least 30 minutes and make a digital Reading Log entry. (Remember that your reading log has been placed in your Language Arts folders. If for some reasons you need to make a copy of the reading log, you can find a link to it here.)   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Introduction to Fiction: Characters and Character Traits


Warm Up: Context Clues Quiz  How much have you learned about using context clues over the past week? Let's find out by taking a little online quiz here. If you finish your quiz early, you may read from your A.R. book until the rest of your classmates are also done.  

Introduction to the Elements of Fiction  Most of us know that fiction is a type of writing that comes from a writer's imagination. Different types of fiction share many common elements, including plot, character, setting, and theme. To learn more about the elements of fiction check out the video below.

Characters and Character Traits  Characters are the people, animals and imaginary creatures who take part in the action of a story. Characters are reveled by their traits, or qualities. Courageous, kind, and selfish are three examples of traits. (Lists of character traits has been placed in your Language Arts folders and can also be found here and here.) You can learn about characters' traits by paying attention to their speech, thoughts, feelings, and actions; the speech, thoughts, and actions of other characters; the writers' direct statements about them; and their physical characteristics.  

Character Trait Activity  Using Padlet, let's identify famous characters from literature or movies and TV shows and their traits.  Click your class period to go to the appropriate Padlet wall to get started: 2nd Period, 3rd Period, and 5th Period. Directions are posted on each wall.   

Homework  Read your A.R. book at home for at least 30 minutes and make a digital Reading Log entry. (Remember that your reading log has been placed in your Language Arts folders.  If for some reasons you need to make a copy of the reading log, you can find a link to it here.) 

"Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros


Meet the Author: Sandra Cisneros  Today we are going to begin reading the short story "Eleven" by the acclaimed Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros. As a writer, Cisneros has often drawn on her childhood memories of her Spanish-speaking neighborhood in Chicago. Cisneros remembers being shy in school. "I never opened my mouth," she remembers, "except when the teacher called me, the first time I'd speak all day." She also remembers often feeling overlooked and misunderstood, which are feelings you may notice represented in the fictional character of Rachel in "Eleven." Before we read, listen to Cisneros share a few memories of her childhood in the video below. 


Analyzing Character Traits in "Eleven"  As we read "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros together, your job is to pay very close attention to the characters and their traits in the story. You can determine a character's traits by, among other things, paying close attention to their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Today you will analyze the main characters in "Eleven" and their traits using the document that has been placed in your Language Arts folders. You may also find a link to the document here. (The reading selection can be found on pages 26-29 of your Language of Literature textbook.)   

Homework  Read your A.R. book at home for at least 30 minutes and make a digital Reading Log entry. (Remember that your reading log has been placed in your Language Arts folders. If for some reasons you need to make a copy of the reading log, you can find a link to it here.)  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goal-Setting, Reading Log and Library Visit


Warm Up: Newsela  Please visit Newsela today and login. Click on your "Binder" and locate the article entitled "One study says it cooler to be uncool." Make sure the reading level is set to 740L. Read the article carefully and then take the quiz. If you finish early, you may read any other Newsela article of your choosing.    

Accelerated Reader Goal-Setting (Continued)  As you work on your Newsela article, I will continue to call up students to my desk to share reading data and set Accelerated Reader goals for the quarter.   

Overview of Class Syllabus  A syllabus is an overview of a class's policies. You can find a copy of your Language Arts syllabus in your Language Arts folder. Today we will briefly spend some time going over the syllabus. Please review the syllabus with your parents. You can also find a link to the syllabus here.      

Introduction to our Reading Log  A requirement for this course is that you are reading from your selected A.R. book regularly. You are required to read at least 30 minutes a day Monday thru Thursday and at least one additional 30 minute plus session on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  Your five reading log entires will be recorded on your digital reading log, which has been placed in your Language Arts folders. If you need to make a copy of the reading log, you can find the link to it here. You are also required to have your parents or guardians verify that you are reading by having them type their initials in the last column of the reading log. I will be checking and grading reading logs on Mondays.   

Library Visit   We are heading over to the library today to select your first batch of Accelerated Reader books. You may pick out any book you want as long as it is within your ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) and an appropriate color level. Remember, you don't want a book that's too easy or too hard; rather, you want a book that "just right" for you. Most importantly, you want to find a book that's interesting and that you are passionate about reading. Make sure your A.R. book is always with you because there will be times when you'll have the opportunity to read, write, and discuss your book in class.  

Homework  (1.) Read your A.R. book at home for at least 30 minutes and make a digital Reading Log entry.  (2.) Review 'Context Clues' because we may have a quiz tomorrow.   

Friday, August 22, 2014

Star Reading Test and Goal-Setting


Video of the Day  Aloha Friday! Need a little video pep talk? Kid President has one for all of us. Enjoy!  


Star Reading Test  Today we are going to take the Star Reading Test which is going to help provide a sense of what your current reading level is. Once we determine your reading level we will better be able to match you up with engaging books that are just right for you. Make sure you do your very best. Read carefully and use your new context clues strategy. Good luck! You can find a link to the test here.  

Accelerated Reader Goal-Setting  Once you know what your reading level is, you will have a better idea of what level books you should be reading and what an appropriate reading goal would be for you for the quarter. I will be meeting with you during this time to discuss your reading level, "just right" books levels, and to decide on your A.R. goal. We will use a chart like the one below to help us in the process. 
You will then record your personalized reading data and goal on the goal-setting document I've placed in your Language Arts folders. You can also find a link to the document here. If I don't have time meet with you today, we will make time next week.  

Independent Work Time  If you finish your Star Test early and/or are waiting to meet with me to discuss your data, you may either work on any assignments that you need to complete or you may continue to practice working with context clues using the link here. We will be having a 'Context Clues Quiz' sometime early next week.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Newsela and Context Clues


Warm Up: Newsela  Today we are going to begin using a new online reading program called Newsela, which features engaging informative nonfiction articles at your reading level. After reading the day's article (today's is entitled 'In Crete, an ancient city is uncovered') take the accompanying quiz to check your understanding. To get started, go to the link here and get registered using the following codes: 2nd Period - VRIJW, 3rd Period - HLZYC, and 5th Period - FALFU. Make sure you create a username and password that you can remember. Good luck!

Context Clues (Day 2)  Let's continue to practice learning how to use context clues as a strategy to figure out the meaning of unknown words. To begin, let's listen to a musical tribute to the wonders of context clues by checking out the video below.  



Now let's practice using context clues by exploring the activities here and here.  

Finally, let's have some fun with context clues by playing some online games here and here.  

Homework  Please complete your Language Arts assignments from the week, which includes your 'Learning to Read Story' and 'Context Clues Assignment.' I will begin grading these assignments and entering scores into the Gradebook tomorrow, Friday, August 22.   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Context Clues


Writing Warm-Up  Good morning! We've read Thank You, Mr. Falker and learned about Trisha's struggles to learn to read. What is your story of learning to read? What do you remember about your journey to becoming a reader? How do you feel about yourself as a reader now? Use the document in your Language Arts folder in your Google Drive entitled 'Learning to Read Story' to share your experiences and feelings. This assignment should be completed by Friday, August 22.  

Introduction to Context Clues When you are reading and you come across a word you don't know, what do you do? The answer I hear from too many kids is "I skip it." Did you know that there is a vocabulary tool and reading strategy that can magically help you figure out the meanings of unknown words? Today we are going to learn how 'Context Clues' can help you unlock the meaning of words you thought you didn't know and help make you a much more empowered and successful reader.

So, what are 'Context Clues' exactly? Read the explanation below to find out.  



Next, watch below as Tim and Moby from BrainPop further introduce and explain how context clues work.
  

Now let's practice together. Work with the members of your team to figure out the words in bold below by by paying attention to the context clues in red.  
To continue, watch how context clues could have helped the young man in the video below.  



Finally, I want you to continue to practice using context clues by completing the 'Context Clues' assignment I've placed in your Language Arts folders.  

Homework  (1.) Continue working on your 'Learning to Read' story. (2.) Complete 'Context Clues' assignment.   


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rights, Responsibilities, Rules, and Expectations


Rights and Responsibilities  As citizens and as members of this classroom community we have both rights and responsibilities. For example, we have the right to learn but we also have a responsibility to work hard. What do you you think some of our classroom rights and responsibilities should be? Share your ideas on one of our class Padlet walls: Period 2 here, Period 3 here, and Period 5 here.  

Classroom Rules, Procedures, and Expectations  How should we enter the classroom? When do we get to sharpen our pencils? What do I do if I need to use the bathroom? Do you give detention? During this time, I will answer all of your questions regarding classroom rules, procedures, and expectations, as well as share potential consequences for violating agreed upon rules.     

Read-Aloud: Thank You, Mr. Falker  (Continued)  Today we are going to continue to read the story Thank You, Mr. Falker.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The First Day of School



Attendance  Welcome to Lakeview Middle School! When I call your name, indicate that you are present and share a little about yourself. What elementary school do you come from? What's your favorite movie, book, or animal?  

Name Tag Activity  Let's make name tags so we can learn who we are. In the center of your name tag write your name largely and clearly. In the four corners or your name tag draw and illustrate symbols that represent your likes and interests. An example can be found below. It represents me, Matt, and my interest in writing, baseball, nature, and photography.  



Read-Aloud: Thank You, Mr. Falker  The book we are going to read aloud today features a teacher that made a big difference in one young girl's life. Before we read, think about an important teacher in your life. Why is this teacher so important to you? Now in your small groups have a conversation about the important teachers in your lives that made a difference. Next, as you listen to the story think about what makes Mr. Falker such a good teacher.


Homework  Complete the "Getting to Know You - Student Survey." Deadline: This assignment is due tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19