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If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.


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It’s a NEW Year!

Cross posted on My Classroom Blog

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I cannot believe summer is gone, and a new year has begun.  I haven’t been blogging all summer, so I’m ready to get back into the swing of things.  I am spending another year teaching Middle School Language Arts and I am thrilled to be teaching the same thing for two years in a row.  I have four classes this year.  My sixth and eighth graders are both split into two classes.  I also have a combo class of seventh graders and some of my eighth graders.  I am really looking forward to this group.

We had a great first week of school.  The students are eager to learn.  I jumped right into the curriculum and have already reviewed several skills.  We started each class with a “Mentor” sentence, which leads to my grammar or reading lesson for the day.

I introduced and/or reviewed the following skills:

  • linking and helping verbs
  • subjects and predicates
  • adjectives
  • possessive nouns
  • declarative sentences
  • compound sentences and compound predicates
  • proper nouns
  • prepositions
  • Author’s point of view
  • Setting

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I started two “read aloud” novels.  A couple of classes are reading Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, while the other classes are doing So B. It  by Sarah Weeks.  Both novels are excellent.

I started my reading workshop (read to self from Daily 5).  Hopefully, we will be able to start our writing workshop next week.  I have had the opportunity to have an individual conference with about 98% of the students.

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In order to provide my students with more “reading” time,I am offering “Book Club” starting next week.  We are meeting on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before school in my classroom. Book Club will be a time for quiet reading without distractions.  We will celebrate completed novels and share ideas for other books to read.

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Amazing Acts

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The 8th graders have been writing plays for the past couple of weeks. We started off discussing the differences between writing a play versus writing a basic narrative. One of the main differences they recognized was that a play is meant to be three-dimensional, rather than two dimensional. A play is meant to be performed by live actors, and not meant to be read in silence. The descriptions told by the narrator, as well as, the descriptions for how the setting should appear are of utmost importance.

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We spent a few days just working on creating a detailed setting. Following that activity, the students worked on character development. We did a few “warm-up” activities, using m&m’s, and then they were ready to develop the characters for their own play. They had to create a plot in advance, and then they could put the pieces of the setting, characters, and plot together to make their own scripts. Some students chose to work independently while others chose to collaborate and work in teams.

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Once they finished drafting their scripts, they had to share with peers, edit their work, and make necessary revisions. For the final step, they had to decide whether to perform their plays or use technology to create an alternative presentation. A few of the students acted out their scenes for the class this week. Each script was unique and different.

 


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Promising Poets

Cross posted on my class blog.

The 6th graders have been working on a poetry unit.  We started off our unit discussing what the word “poetry” means.  We spent some time learning different types of figurative language.  Each student created a short tutorial to teach the class a different type of figurative language.

This was one example:

Fwd_ Alliteration - stephanie.teitelbaum@mjgds.org - Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Mail

We discussed alliteration, assonanceconsonancehyperbolesmetaphors, similesonomatopoeiasymbolism, and personification. Once the students each taught their classmates these terms, they split off into groups and analyzed various poems by some well-known poets.  They had to find examples of each type of figurative language.  Some poems were quite difficult to analyze, but nonetheless, we were able to find an example of each term.

Following our figurative language activity, each student randomly chose a famous poet to research. The students had to find out information about his/her assigned poet, what types of poetry he/she wrote about, and choose one of their poet’s poems that they found interesting. Finally, each student had to choose one poem to memorize and recite to the class. Last week, during our “Poetry Read Aloud” we all enjoyed hot chocolate, tea, and donuts while listening to classical music in our dimly lit classroom. We listened to the students recite their poetry and discuss why they chose the poem and how it made an impact on each of them. It was a great experience for all of us.

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These were the poets they researched:

Emily Dickinson-Itamar 

E.E. Cummings-Rebecca

Walt Whitman~Gil 

Langston Hughes-Jolie 

Lewis Carroll-Benjamin 

Edgar Allen Poe-Zachary 

William Wordsworth-Zoe 

W. B. Yeats-Jamie 

T. S. Eliot-Elior 

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Modern Myths and Legends

The 7th graders have been learning about myths in their social studies class.  They have been reading examples of different legends and tall tales in language arts.  They started working on creating their own modern examples of myths and legends.  Some students  chose a myth that they read, and changed it up to become their own unique version.  Other students chose to write more of an adventure story, similar to Percy Jackson.  Those that chose to write a legend, picked a person from modern times and tell an exaggerated tale of how they became legendary.  Here are a few examples from the class.

 Justin Bieber Legend by: Casey

The Incredible Marshawn Lynch by: Noah

Justin Bieber Attacks by: Sarah

My Pentology by Sydney