Showing posts from December, 2013

January Writing Prompts

Click here for a free preview of my latest product...January Writing Prompts for 2013.
The resource includes a minilesson for each prompt.

Back From Hiatus

Photo courtesy of Ireland Commons on Flickr
Well, I've been on a bit of a hiatus since the beginning of the month what with teaching and holiday obligations.  I have managed to begin a second manuscript~a nonfiction teacher resource on writer's workshop.  My FIRST NOVEL is still just sitting there....waiting for inspiration.  
I've ordered three new picture books that I want to create lessons for:

These three books will be used as mentor texts to show students how one moment or small idea can develop into a longer piece of writing.  I look forward to sharing these ideas with you in the coming weeks.
Until next week....
Melissa Reese Etheridge

The Heart of a Chief

Today my students were introduced to the novel Heart of a Thief by Joseph Bruchac. We talked about dialect and how the novel may seem difficult to read because of the Native American dialect used in the novel. Since I've always taught seventh-grade English, this is going to be a new experience for me. I've never read this novel before, but I do remember seeing it on the sixth grade list and wondering about it. Funny though, none of the other sixth grade teachers have ever read it before. Maybe I'm interested because I love Native American studies. One of my favorites in seventh grade was Bearstone by Will Hobbs. It seems like some books go in and out of vogue. Perhaps this is one of them. Today was the introduction; I'm hoping that we're actually going to get to the silent reading in class tomorrow. The plan is to give the students thirty minutes of class time each day to read silently and then write a response or do a related activity. That is the wonderful thing…

Rigor, Relevance, and Evidence

Today our faculty had a discussion on rigorous tasks. It seems to be such a controversial subject and one that is more difficult to implement than one might think. What exactly is rigor? Is it the same for every student? At what point does a rigorous activity become too difficult?

It is not the Text that determines rigor but the task that the students are expected to complete or perform once they finish reading the Text. Some subjects seem to lend themselves to more rigor than others. I've been trying to pull more real world selections into the curriculum. I want my students to see a connection between what we do in class and what is happening in the real world.

The textbook that we use has some great selections in it. The selections are interesting and keep the students' attention. Most of the questions seem to require higher order thinking. The students do struggle, but I'm not sure if all of that is rigor and the level of the complexity of the task.When giving your stud…