Monday, June 18, 2012

The Countdown is on :)

Okay, I'm lying, the countdown has been on since I accepted the job in AZ!  I am so excited that I will be making the move 5 days from today, June 23rd!

It is going to be one heck of a long journey down, but I recently purchased a FM converter for my ipod, so I should be entertained the whole way down! :)

I came up with an idea for my first bulletin board... if I even have one in my classroom? haha. 

I have a really nice political map of the United States and that will be the center of attention.  I will be taking a piece of yarn and showing my trip down.  I want to try and take pictures at state lines and put them near each of the states! 

I'm going to put a star on NYC because my sister LJ #1 lives there and I am also going to have students place pins on cool places where they have been. 

I thought it would be a cool way to show my journeys to Arizona!  

LJ #2, my younger sister, helped me to come up with a writing sample for the first week of school, as well.  It will go as follows:  "What would it be like to live in Minnesota?"  I thought the kids would get a kick out of this because I'm going to guess that most of them haven't been with in 200 miles of MN and will think it is all frozen tundra!

School also starts two days before the Olympics start... HOMEROOM OLYMPICS, here I come!  I hope other homeroom teachers will want to partake in this!  Could be a great bonding experience for the students! 

YAY! The clock is ticking and I'm going crazy!

Have a Marvelous Monday! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer School Adventures

2 hours a day, 4 days a week, 3 weeks... getting middle school students caught up and moved to the next level of Language A. (English, Language Arts)

I'm squeezing a lot into these 3 weeks.

First off, these kids need structure, and I'm giving it to them.  Every class starts with 20 minutes of SSR.  The only way to get better at reading is reading... RIGHT?

I am always looking at new ways to encourage positive reading techniques and strategies... one of my all time favorites is taking a difficult literature task and applying it children's picture books.  Students LOVE reading them it breaks literature elements down into easier to understand terms.

Finding the climax of:
  is a lot easier than finding it in   

I really enjoy watching my students move from the picture books, to short stories, and eventually to books with things like the plot mountain, setting and conflict. Especially with students who struggled with these concepts during the regular school year, it really helps to break things down.

I've also been focusing on a great summary!  Along with the daily reading, they will summarize what they read. Before they can summarize, however, they need to write out the who, what, where, when, and why (why= what do you think will happen next, I had to cheat).  They then have to include these right in the summary.  It REALLY HELPS!  

This group of students is a big behavior struggle for me... however...

With middle school students, I am finding that making them laugh (with and AT ME) is the best bet.  It gets me on their good side.  I read them a book today called "ITS A BOOK."  Just a simple picture book about the difference between reading an ACTUAL BOOK and all of the technology of today.  It does have one "swear word" in it, so it isn't for the younger ones, but my middle schoolers loved it.  Here is the animated version: "ITS A BOOK,"  it doesn't have the swear word in it! 

We will continue to work on the basics throughout the week and I will continue to use Pinterest  to come up with new ideas as I plan for my new school year in Arizona! :) :)

Speaking of which... the countdown is on!  11 days until the big move.  I feel like I'm ready, but I know I will freak out right before!


The Beautiful Winona State University

The Beautiful Winona State University
One of the places I miss the most, WSU. GO WARRIORS!