January 29, 2014

Examples of GREAT Annotation/Close Reading

Hi y'all! Well, my new semester/school year started Tuesday, and I'm back to teaching annotation/close reading again. After several years teaching 10th grade, I think I've created a pretty good plan :)

We start the year reading Animal Farm and that's a great book for figurative language, word choice, etc. So at the very beginning, I hand out their Tips and Tools Packet which has a ton of handouts. One of those handouts is the "How to Annotate" page. This handout just has some basics of annotation/close reading to refresh their memory from 9th grade, and basically re-teach annotation. 

Then after we do the first chapter or so with basic annotation, I give them the Annotation Bookmark. This bookmark offers different items students should be annotating for to reach that deeper level of close reading. It also links with Common Core standards.

By the end of the second novel of the class, they've become quite skilled at proper annotation. So now here are some examples of student annotation:

Then I came across this gem. Every grade takes a benchmark exam to make sure students are on track to move to the next grade. For my test, they are to read two passages and answer a few questions, and then write a short essay. Look what I found!!!!!
She annotated the CRAP out of her Benchmark! So proud! I didn't even tell them to annotate...she did it on her own. Love it :)

So hopefully this gives you some great ideas for teaching annotation/close reading. And feel free to share the pics with your class to show them what is expected :)

January 27, 2014

Re-post: Beginning of the "school year" games

Well since I am starting a new "school year" tomorrow, I thought I'd re-post this entry for you guys. I am doing these games again with my new students again tomorrow. Even if you don't start a new school year [we have accelerated courses], and you're just starting a new semester, it might be a fun way to build some new friendships amongst the kids.

I handed each student a piece of paper and had them do an acronym of their name. Their first word/letter became a part of their name. I now have: Robust Robert, Joyful Joy-anne, Magnificent Maggie, etc. It's fun. Then I let kids try to repeat everyone's name for candy. Several tried, but only a few succeeded! lol

We did my new Get to Know You Blackout Bingo. Took a little longer than I thought....about 15 min when all was said and done. That freebie is up on my TPT Store if you want to grab it! The kids had a lot of fun, but we did have to clarify a few things--someone can only sign your sheet once; one kid can't fill out 5 of your boxes :) And then I verified with the signee to make sure everything was kosher. Here's a pic of the kids running around.

Then we got to my awesome team-building game: Marshmallow Towers!!! This turned out to be a great team-building activity. It's pretty basic, and I made a FREEBIE directions handout/poster for you so you can do this with your kids too. It doesn't have to be the first day or week of school...mix it up and do it half way through to build community again. :) 

So each team gets 50 mini marshmallows and 50 toothpicks:

And they have to follow the directions: Here's the link to the free poster of directions.

Then I gave them a 1 minute planning time, followed by 10 minutes to build. My honors classes used all 10 minutes, and my college prep classes used about 8-9.The goal of this activity was not height, but strength, so I clarified that a few times.

Then I went around and judged. First I used a ruler as the weight...that way everyone's would work :) We're all winners ;) Then I used those big eraser...the 6" ones. A few held one, so then as a tie breaker, we stacked two. It was awesome. 

And the winning table received.....

Rice Krispie Treats! Duh...'cus they're made with marshmallows...get it?...lol. I'm a nerd :)

Anyway, it was a great first and second day! I'll definitely do these activities again.

Hope you can use these in your room!!

January 22, 2014

New Schedule for Spring Semester!

Spring Semester starts next week and that means I get a whole new set of kids and start classes all over again!! I'm actually kind of excited :) I am not looking forward to teaching zero period, but oh well.

So I am linking up with Where the Wild Things Learn to share my schedule :)

I start my day with Zero period [This semester is my first time teaching a zero period]. This should be ok though because it's honors kids and they usually* like school and can self-start. 

From there my day is pretty repetitive, alternating English 10 and Honors. Then the last period of the day is my English Support class which I created/designed for 9th/10th grade students struggling in English class. We will spend the first 6 weeks preparing for the CAHSEE [California High School Exit Exam], which all 10th graders take. Students must pass this by their senior year in order to receive a diploma. 

And you are reading my schedule correctly: I have no prep period. Our school runs an accelerated program and the "normal" school day is 4 classes. I've always taught all four, but now adding the 5th period seems a little hectic with no prep.  I am going to recruit a TA for every period!! LOL Hopefully they can get all my little grading stuff done, leaving me with the bigger items that require more attention. 

What does your schedule look like next semester? And does anyone else teach with no prep? Any tips??

January 17, 2014

FREE, Fun Grammar Warm Up

We are starting second semester again in two weeks [we get this next week off in between the semesters because for us it's like a new school year since we're an accelerated school] so that means I get to teach my English Support Class again!

For those that don't remember, I started an English Support class last year for students who were struggling in English class. We don't offer Special Education classes at our school [Charter school], but we have some kids that really need extra support. So I created this!

Anyway, I'm trying to think of a fun way to do grammar warm ups, and I came up with the Meme idea. I'm always seeing these stupid memes with stupid grammar mistakes!!! So I'm turning that into my good fortune :)

I've made a double-sided handout with 5 memes and ask the students to find the errors.

Head on over to my TPT Store to download your FREE copy!!!
[Enjoy secretly making fun of people! LOL]

January 12, 2014

What's your policy on Extra Credit?

It's finally here....finals are next week! Our school offers accelerated courses [we do a whole school year's worth of work in a semester] and so I'm finishing up a "school year" next week and will get a whole new set of kids in February.

So of course I've got a bunch of parents and kids asking for extra credit because they want an A...uh, maybe you should have done your work all semester??

As for extra credit: I put bonus questions on every quiz and offer a few others along the way. But I don't think I should have to offer extra credit at the end of the semester for kids who NEVER do their work, and want an A.

What your policy on Extra Credit??

January 10, 2014

Well...I survived the first week back...

Technically the school day is not over, but I think it's safe to say I survived the first week back at school. The kids were very reluctant to do any work, but oh well. We have finals next week so they do know they have to do the work, so that has been a little helpful to hold over their heads ;)

We're finishing up our Shakespeare unit and they'll have a test on that; not quite a final, but still something to study for :) I've really liked how my Shakespeare unit turned out, especially with adding in the Renaissance Faire this year!!

I had a great surprise upon the return to work and saw that our faire made the school newspaper!!!!!
I would show the pic of the cover of the paper, but it has our school name and a pic of one of my girls in her dress [her face shows] :/

Well I hope everyone survived the first week back at school!!!!!

January 5, 2014

Mixed Emotions....

So we start school again tomorrow. I'm having mixed emotions about it. While I've missed my students and the routine of work, I've found myself relaxing these last two weeks. Even though I had to grade essays....there was no pressure. I didn't have parent emails, no students asking me to repeat the directions 500 TIMES even though it's also written clearly on the handout. I didn't have parents questioning why I teach something a certain way. I didn't have issues with my department to stress about. I've been a little bored so to speak, but hey, I'd take that any day over parent drama.

Yet, I miss the kids. Even though they drive me nuts most days, I miss them. I want to make a difference in their lives. I want to show them that reading and writing can be fun. I want to show them that someone wants something better for them. I want to push them to be the best they can be.

So even though I am dreading waking up at 5:45am again, I think it will be good to get back in the classroom.

Just wanted to share this little post because I'm sure, somewhere, someone else is feeling the same but maybe didn't want to say it out loud :)

Have a great first week back at school everyone!!

January 1, 2014

Currently January 2014!!

I can not believe it's 2014 already. Literally, time flew by...well at least Christmas break did :( I am excited to see what 2014 brings and try to make it a positive, encouraging year :) So once again I'm joining up with Farley to do my monthly Currently!!

Enjoy! And don't forget my store is still 15% off right now :)

Happy January!!!