Showing posts from October, 2014

How to Choose Texts for Students

When planning a content-based lesson, consider the following items to make the best selection for your students:
Check out the Appendix A of the CCSS; there are some fabulous suggestions for all grade levels.Determine the quality of the text. Why did the author choose to write this piece? Does it have multiple layers of meaning?Do the students need more or less prior knowledge than they already have to tackle this text?What types of vocabulary will the students be encountering in the text?What is the Lexile of the text?Is the text developmentally, emotionally, and socially appropriate for your students?Throughout the year, you should be measuring your students' reading levels and progress on tested items.Teach shorter text that students can read and reread in a relatively short amount of time.Include different types of texts—expository, literary nonfiction, etc.—in your selections.Make sure that all questions are text-dependent.Give students the opportunity to compare and contrast …

Encouraging Doodling in the Classroom

You know the kid...usually a boy...instead of hanging on your every word, he sits there drawing army tanks in his journal, on a scrap of paper, on the corner of his worksheet, even the inside of his forearm.  You say something snarky like "Does this English class look like a tattoo parlor?"  Then, to embarrass prove a point, you ask him to repeat what you just said, and he does.
You thought he wasn't paying attention, but it turns out that he's been paying attention all along. Recent studies have shown that when people doodle while listening to a lecture, a serman, a presentation, they are 29% more likely to remember what was said than those who don't.  It seems that doodling is not just random marks on a piece of paper, but part of a thought process that keeps people engaged, more likely to process the information, and better able to communicate that information onto the page.
So how can we as teachers harness this tool and make it work effectively for us?  I&#…

"Scout's Honor" by Avi

I've created a learning resource to go along with the short story that you can find in my shop. My students have been telling me that it's quite difficult. We've done two pages per day as part of our reading workshop minilessons. They're writing the notes and responses in their journals. The grammar connection on infinitives really threw them for a loop~it was the first time that they've encountered this verbal.


Subjects and Verbs Lesson Plan Pack in a Fall Theme


Composition Notebooks or 3-Ring Binders?

You would think that after all of these years I would have this down pat, but unfortunately I can never seem to get it right as to what I want.

I like composition books because they are so light and orderly…the paper stays in the book. It's a great tool for writing on a daily basis.

But, it's not so good for keeping notes and handouts that have to go home each day. That's where a binder comes in handy.

I've tried the interactive notebooks for a quarter (this was my first year for these), but they seem more work than they are worth. The glue dries and the pages stick together. The glue sticks dry up. Someone decides to make "zombie" skin with the glue. It's just a mess for me.

I suppose that I could do a combination of the two. I think that's what I'll do after the fall break.

Any ideas or suggestions that might help?