September 21, 2014

SmashBook Success!

It's been a week since I blogged because I was hustlin to get the kids' Novel Study SmashBooks graded! I would say about 90% of them turned out really well...and then there's that 10% of kids that did the minimum requirements [as usual]. So I am very happy with how this project turned out!

A few helpful hints for those attempting this project:

-I did take my example [the Power Point] off my wiki because I noticed kids were straight up copying my work.
-I had to constantly explain that they were supposed to be filling this out as they read. This is why it's a good thing I had those check in days to make sure they were doing that. I finally explained it like this: You're taking notes as you read, like annotating or close reading; you're just doing it on a different sheet of paper for different topics.
-Themes page: Kids were writing LONG paragraphs explaining their themes. I told them they just needed to put several quotes under each theme, and that would tell me if they understood the theme or not.

So here's a few GREAT examples for your viewing pleasure!
She made her own cover look like a newspaper review of her book!!

This is one student's Historical Background page

A student's THEME page

A correctly done Connections page :)

And finally, an overachiever's VOCAB page. They only needed to find & define 12 new words for an A...I think she has like 20!! LOL

So overall, this was a great project and the kids said they liked it :) I hope you enjoyed seeing the kids' work!

Now, as usual, here are my Week 4 outfits :) It was BLAZING hot this week...literally in the I wore a few dresses/skirts:
Hope you all have a great upcoming week!

September 12, 2014

Argument Writing & Week 3 Happenings

We've made it through 3 weeks now! Kids are officially back in the groove of school and are already "forgetting" to do their homework. Ahhhhh teenagers ;)

I tried a new unit this year, my argument writing unit. I usually start off the year with Animal Farm, but then the end of the unit essay was awful because these kids just struggle so much with writing. So this year, I created a three-week argument writing unit to teach kids the elements of argument writing; what is a claim? What is evidence? What is rhetorical writing?

All of the kids have improved in their writing skills in these past three weeks, which is very exciting. I'm hoping that when we roll around the the AF essay next unit, the writing will be where it should be, grade level wise.

We've been doing some "treasure hunt" type worksheets to see if they can identify claims and evidence and rhetoric, and then we've been making our own as well; a nice balance I think.

For the assignment below, they read the article and highlighted claim in yellow, evidence in blue, and rhetoric in green, and then had to write which type of rhetoric it was. Then they filled out the chart with what worked and what needed improving in each article.
She missed a few pieces of evidence, but this was our first try :)

And the completed chart.

Yesterday and today they're working on their end of the unit argument paper in which they are taking a stand on a controversial issue. We will peer edit rough drafts on Tuesday :)

And then here are my outfits for the week :)
The pants on day two are green but the lighting in my room made it hard to tell :/ Today is Friday so jeans and a school shirt...but check out the American Flag shoes!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

September 8, 2014

Back 2 School-meeting the parents

Back to School Night has come and gone...mostly because we have Back to School Morning. We're unconventional, to say the least. Needless to say, not many parents came because, well they have jobs, that's why. I've suggested, many times, that we do it in the evening, but that is still under advisement.

Anyway...I still got really into it! I made my handouts, my giving tree, and treats!
I had my little chalkboard sign :) I made pumpkin bread muffins in the shapes of leaves, and vanilla cupcakes decorated as apples. I used red frosting and then suck half a pretzel stick in the top, then a little green candy next to it for the leaf :)

I also had my syllabus available [even though they already signed it last week], and a little handout about me. 

I also did my Giving Tree again this year. I added pieces of paper with directions this year :) I also had less parents take items this year because I focused on my Donors Choose project more because we really need computers. *Notice the name tag taped on the door. That's because we're still in temporary classrooms and don't have our fancy nameplates up.

And lastly, here is my outfit of the day [OOTD] for Back 2 School :)
As you know, Mondays are our office hours and we can wear jeans :)

Hope you all have a successful Back 2 School Night! :)

September 5, 2014

End of Week 2 happenings

Another week in the books.

Yesterday was a trying day because I had to grade in-class essays. I was a little saddened by the state of their writing skills, so I'm glad I'm doing my new writing unit before we dive into novel essays. Writing is so important for both life and career, I want to make sure they are prepared for both :)

I also created another Donors Choose project the other day! Just waiting for approval before it goes live. It's for some ChomeBooks for the classroom because the other English teacher and I have to share computers and that always challenging :)

We have our first football game of the high school season tonight and I'm excited. Not sure I'm going because it's not a home game, but it is fairly close :)

And lastly, the outfits for the week-

The red one from Wednesday is my all time new Favorite! I got a lot of compliments on it, and I love how the necklace looks with it too :) Both top and necklace from H&M last weekend. And today is again Friday and therefore another school shirt :) This time I'm wearing my softball shirt since I'm the assistant coach, and I wore my football one last week ;)

Happy Friday everyone!!!!

September 2, 2014

Staying organized in the classroom

And I believe we're all back at it this week; whether it's your first week back, or 2nd or 3rd, we're all trying to stay organized this school year. It's good to start now and stay on top of it so that we don't get behind and/or overwhelmed.

Today I'm going to talk about the almighty planner and agenda.

I always keep a paper planner [this year I'm using my turquoise arrow one], and then have it on my teacher page as well. I bring the paper planner home with me every night in case I need to fix something, remember what I'm teaching tomorrow, or if I need to come in early for an IEP or make copies. 

Love my planner!!!
I also like to keep the kids organized too. I usually have two whiteboards, one in the front of the room and one on the side, and I put the agenda and homework on the side one. This year, since we're in temporary rooms for a while, I'm missing a whiteboard, so I'm making it work the best I can.

I put the Honors agenda and HW on the right side, and English 10 agenda and HW on the left side. It's a little cramped and hard to see depending upon where you sit, oh well. It's only for a few more weeks [fingers crossed]. This also helps me know what we're doing next in class, because I'm often running around and don't have time to come back and check my paper agenda or website.

This year, especially since I created and am teaching a new unit, I am taking notes in class on the assignments.

For example, I thought the note-taking and examples on the first day would take the whole 80 minutes, but only took 60 minutes. I had to come up with an on-the-spot related activity to fill the time. But this is good because next semester, when I teach the same thing all over again [new students], I will be prepared :)

Hope this helps everyone!!

September 1, 2014

September Currently

It is September 2014. The 7th September of my teaching career. I know that doesn't seem like a long time, but I can't believe it's been 7 years. Where has the time gone?!?!

I'm so excited to be joining Farley for the September Currently this month, as usual. Enjoy!

I know my 3 places to visit seem random, but those are my 3 dream places!  I get to visit Nashville this Christmas time so that will be AMAZING!!! I'm a huge country music fan :) And my dad went to college in Hawaii and says it's just like here in San Diego so we've never been...Someday!

Happy Labor Day everyone!