Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Am Persuaded!

This year, we started using the Empowering Writers program. It is a strong program with a truly comprehensive writing guide for expository and persuasive writing. Pretty impressive.

My students have learned about all different aspects of persuasive writing and are now planning their three main arguments. Included in these argument paragraphs are techniques such as rhetorical questions and bandwagon techniques, as well as critical language for affirming your audience and supporting your position.

Once the body paragraphs are done, there is a section about writing an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Like I said, very comprehensive.

Why am I blogging about this? Mainly because I wish my writing teachers taught me some of these techniques. This is good stuff!! 

As I conference with students, they are beginning to understand that they need to address the audience's possible opposing view and then negate it or "flip it" to show that their point of view is right. The chapter on critical language gives multiple examples of how to do this. 

The students see the power of the bandwagon technique and see it as an intelligent, persuasive version of a "dis." :-)

Looking forward to teaching this unit for years to come.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To Diagram or Not to Diagram?

I pose this question and hope people will comment. To diagram sentences or not to diagram sentences?

When I went to school, we diagrammed sentences. It was one of the few 
things in school I was really good at doing. I understand my learning profile now and understand that it was that way because I am extremely visual. This visual representation of sentence structure and parts of speech clicked for me. 

While I was skimming a website the other day, I saw a few worksheets scaffolding diagramming sentences. Super Teacher Worksheets is a great site by the way. These sheets inspired me and today I began teaching this to my fifth grade students. I wonder whether this will be the tool that makes parts of speech click and stick for my students.

Old fashioned? Maybe. A visual representation of sentence structure? Definitely. Putting rigor back into the curriculum. I think so. 

To diagram or not to diagram?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pinterest App for IPhone

Pinterest App on IPhone

This is my second post about apps that make my life as a teacher easier. Of course, you can access the site from your laptop/desktop, but what makes it a winner for me is that it is an IPhone app., and I can get ideas 24/7 wherever I am.

Pinterest is a fantastic way to get ideas for the classroom. When you find an idea you like, you pin it to your board. I have so many teaching related pins on one board, I am already thinking of separating the pins into boards by category. May be more efficient this way. Great summer project!

Every few days I go on to Pinterest and either go to the education search or type in something specific into the search bar. I am never disappointed with what I find and there is a great amount of variety and styles.

Possible Board Categories:
Classroom Decor/Theme
Classroom Organization/Supplies
Education/Teaching quotes
* Science would be one too, but I am not teaching it next year.

Many of the resources I find are linked to Teachers Pay Teachers, a site I had never heard of before going on Pinterest. Some are free, the rest are very reasonably priced. 

Some examples of lessons and ideas I have used from Pinterest:

- Common Core checklists and student self assessment rubric
- Area/Perimeter/Volume sorting activity
- Figurative Language activities
- Format for weekly plans and set up of planning binder, so that every week the repeating information is already on the plan/ saves time
- organization of week's work into folders with days of week on them.
- a lot of new, creative ways to present information to my students in all curriculum areas

Pinterest is extremely valuable to my teaching now. It is sharing ideas with colleagues on a grand scale. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Document Writer App. for IPhone

As I sit in the movie theater waiting for Iron Man 3 to start, I am writing this in document writer. In the past week since I discovered this app., I have used it multiple times for the purposes of teaching. Today, I am using it to draft my blog post as well.

So, earlier this week, I was almost ready to turn in for the night when I realized that I had not created the landmarks (mean, mode, median, and average) math reference page for my students that I had been meaning to make. It was late and I didn't feel like getting out the laptop and waiting for it to get going. I wondered out loud to my husband about whether there was an app that does what Word does on my laptop. I searched apps and quickly found that Document Writer was well worth the $4.99 price. I made my reference page in just a few minutes and the app is set up just like Word! A life saver especially since my wonderful husband has set it up so that I can print from my iPhone as well! Even if you can't, there are multiple ways to send it, save it, etc. I still have not fully explored the app, but I know it has templates, as well, that I definitely want to check out.

I have already set up folders within the app and love that I can now do this kind of word processing on the go!

The movie is about to begin. Summary: Educator or not, check out Document Writer!