A Unique Twist on Formative Assessment: “Give Me All You Got!”

At the end of November, I stumbled upon this great idea from English teacher Kelly Culp: The basic premise is that students do a "brain dump" of sorts about a specific reading and share everything they know about it with you through text and images.   I decided to utilize this strategize to do a formative … Continue reading A Unique Twist on Formative Assessment: “Give Me All You Got!”

Annotating for Active Reading: Post-It Notes and File Folders

This fall my 8th graders have practiced Notice and Note annotation strategies as well as those from Cris Tovani.  I have not required my 8th graders to annotate their independent reading, but earlier this month, I felt annotating their reading for an in-class reading day would be beneficial for my students.  I also felt this … Continue reading Annotating for Active Reading: Post-It Notes and File Folders

Powerful Practice: Read Aloud Reading Partners with Informational Text

One of the simplest but most powerful practices this fall has been read aloud reading partners.  I love the learning structure because it's so versatile and can be used in multiple ways. On a simple level, I used it last week when I lost my voice and needed students to review instructions for an annotation … Continue reading Powerful Practice: Read Aloud Reading Partners with Informational Text

Please Help Purchase Books for Our Literary Nonfiction and Memoir Book Club: My 8th Grade Amazon Wish List

I normally fund requests for my classroom through DonorsChoose, but we are unable to create projects asking for book purchases until after January 10 due to the crush of the holiday season with Amazon.  None of the other vendors approved by DonorsChoose have my books that we need to give every student his/her first choice … Continue reading Please Help Purchase Books for Our Literary Nonfiction and Memoir Book Club: My 8th Grade Amazon Wish List

Growing Our Conversation Skills with Socratic Seminar

We are continuing to grow our discussion skills in my 8th grade classes with a variety of conversation strategies.  Prior to Thanksgiving break, we engaged in a Socratic Seminar over a variety of related texts.   If you want to see some additional interesting twists on Socratic Seminar, check out this great blog post. While I've … Continue reading Growing Our Conversation Skills with Socratic Seminar

Accelerating Student Dialogue with Speed Dating Discussions

In recent years, I've been very intentional about integrating student discussion strategies along with the hard academic skills and soft social skills inherent in student conversations for learning.  Our state 8th grade English Language Arts standards also value speaking and listening as well as comprehension and collaboration: ELAGSE8SL1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative … Continue reading Accelerating Student Dialogue with Speed Dating Discussions

Steps to Success: Setting and Tracking 2nd Quarter Independent Reading Goals and Current Book Reading Goals

One of the struggles of trying to support independent reading in a 50 minute literacy block with guided instruction is helping student stay on track with their reading and having some measure of accountability so that we don't come to the end of a nine week grading period without finishing a single book.  While some … Continue reading Steps to Success: Setting and Tracking 2nd Quarter Independent Reading Goals and Current Book Reading Goals

Student Self-Assessment, Scaffolding, and Seesaw

Now that Seesaw is Chromebook friendly, I am incorporating it as a digital portfolio and space for reflection/self-assessment with my 8th graders.   Earlier in the school year, I walked students through signing up with their class code through their district Google accounts.  For our first entry in October, students captured and recorded their reflections on … Continue reading Student Self-Assessment, Scaffolding, and Seesaw

Supporting Writers in Progress: Paired Texts Study, Comparing/Contrasting, and Literary Argument Paragraphs

Earlier this month, we composed our first literary argument paragraph, a stepping stone to an extended piece of writing we'll do in early November as part of our work from the writing unit, The Literary Essay:  Analyzing Craft and Theme. Part 1:  Introducing and Immersing Ourselves in a Paired TextLet me start by backing up … Continue reading Supporting Writers in Progress: Paired Texts Study, Comparing/Contrasting, and Literary Argument Paragraphs

Turn Up the Volume on Learning–My DonorsChoose Project

Please help me help fund my DonorsChoose project, Turn Up the Volume on Learning!  All donations of any amount are TRULY appreciated. I am requesting 15 headsets with microphones so that my students have easy and daily access to these tools to enhance our learning experiences in CommonLit and Seesaw.  We will use the headsets … Continue reading Turn Up the Volume on Learning–My DonorsChoose Project

Revising at Points of Need: Narrative Revision Stations

One of my goals this year as a teacher is to make room for revision stations and alternative ways of tackling revision.  I am proactive in providing ongoing feedback in real time through Google Documents, but toward the end of the year, I honestly felt I needed additional ways to help my students take more … Continue reading Revising at Points of Need: Narrative Revision Stations

Designing a Meaningful Extended Narrative Writing Assignment in Context

This past spring, I read a blog post by Dr. Sarah J. Donovan that pushed me to think about how to better integrate Milestones writing tasks into context.  While I certainly am not a fan of teaching to a test, her approach made sense to me because students received regular and gentle writing opporutnities to … Continue reading Designing a Meaningful Extended Narrative Writing Assignment in Context

Digging into Dialogue Writing Skills—Exploring Dialogue Tags

Earlier this month, I used resources from the beloved late Dr. Rozlyn Linder to help my students inquire into noticings about the purposes and patterns of dialogue tags.  I crafted a guided study lesson and resources from her book, The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, to help us explore … Continue reading Digging into Dialogue Writing Skills—Exploring Dialogue Tags

Exploring Characterization in “Raymond’s Run” with Playlist Stations

After our reading of "Raymond's Run", I wanted to find a way to engage students in thinking about character that would also get them up and moving since they had been sitting and doing some quiet thinking/reading work for a few days.  I decided to craft a new playlist station activity with a focus on … Continue reading Exploring Characterization in “Raymond’s Run” with Playlist Stations

Putting Students in the Driver’s Seat: Read Aloud Reading Partners

Reading partners is not a new concept; many literacy experts have written about this concept and offered best practices for implementing them into classroom life, including Smokey Daniels.  Though I don't implement them as much as I'd like to or probably should, I do love watching students in action when time and opportunity present themselves … Continue reading Putting Students in the Driver’s Seat: Read Aloud Reading Partners

Getting Ready for a Short Story with Pre-Reading Learning Stations

As you know, I love trying new learning activities and strategies.  I'm teaching a formal short story unit this year for the first time in years, and I wanted to do something fun and meaningful to kick off our first whole class story study.  This summer I purchased this bundle of awesome activities from "Write … Continue reading Getting Ready for a Short Story with Pre-Reading Learning Stations

Tackling Short Story Vocabulary with a Slotted Notes Walk, Kahoot, and Question Trails

We formally began our first unit of study this past week, short stories.  In addition, I also established our routines for independent reading time (we checked out books this past Monday) and Quickwrites.   I decided to spend the first week front-loading the academic vocabulary before jumping into any stories. For all of the activities I … Continue reading Tackling Short Story Vocabulary with a Slotted Notes Walk, Kahoot, and Question Trails

Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

In my last post, I shared a preview of my playlists with stations first days activity.  We used the first three days of class to engage in a variety of literacy learning tasks to engage students in classroom community building, engage in some reading and writing, and knock out some beginning of the year tech … Continue reading Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

Eve of First Day with Students Plus a Tour of My Station Rotations with a Playlist Twist for the First Days

https://youtu.be/MQHGe4f1sp8 Notes:  Station 1: “One Word” language and art activity Station 2: Brainstorming positive behaviors to help us learn and brainstorming behaviors to avoid that get in the way of learning.  (free signs via TPT) Station 3: All About You as a Reader/Writer Survey (Google Form) Station 4: Critical Reading and Constructed Response in Canvas … Continue reading Eve of First Day with Students Plus a Tour of My Station Rotations with a Playlist Twist for the First Days

A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists

Today was our first day of preplanning, and we engaged in three breakout meetings to tackle beginning of the year topics.  Our administration divided faculty and staff into three groups, and we completed three rotations of 45 minute session.  The first session I attended was led by Assistant Principal Libbie Armstrong ; she introduced a teaching … Continue reading A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists