Thursday, January 29, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Now, in Reading Workshop, we will focus on all elements of nonfiction reading including text features, reader's purpose and author's purpose. This work will include work together hovering over informational texts that they bring in and evaluating them. There are great forms and activities for this work in a book I picked up at Barnes and Noble. Just the Facts! Close Reading and Comprehension of Informational Text by Lori Oczkus (Shell Education) is an amazing resource for this kind of analysis of text.
On our class blog, I wrote a post introducing this work to my class:
Students are gathering their texts to bring in this week, so that the investigating we do will help them directly with their self-directed projects. I will share more as we go through the process.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
I found a fantastic short video that demonstrates chunking by MrDunbar67. This video models chunking so well and is the reason my students are off and running with their current event work.
With a big focus on revision, students are having fun coming up with the best topic sentence and the best closing sentence. They are getting very creative with it and challenging others to "hook" them. It is great to see them discussing words and writing style with each other.
I will probably post more about this in the coming weeks and will hopefully share some of the students' work as well.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Being sick when you are a teacher is a real bummer. You don't just call in sick and go back to sleep. In one document, a sub plan, you must try to communicate all that you do in a day working with children. It is close to impossible. I have learned, after 23 years of teaching, to let go and not drive myself crazy trying to control what I can't.
My job is to set up a classroom environment from day one that will support the inevitable sick days without everything falling apart. The goal is for the class to feel that they are a team that works to help each other. Students report to me that they remind other students to stop talking, etc. to help out the substitute. I do not expect perfection, but having the community built helps immensely. Some years, it has still been a challenge with individual students, but my classes, overall, have received positives reports for years. This is due to having regular classroom meetings using Open Circle and Responsive Classroom strategies/concepts, as well as focusing students on working together so everyone can learn. Students are reminded daily that this is their job, but it can still be social and fun.
So, I am hoping to return, healthy to school on Tuesday to get back to my job. I miss my students.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Thursday, January 1, 2015
One of my students was inspired to study magic for his self-directed learning project after seeing an amazing magician during an overnight school trip. When I met with this student a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a friend that knew Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. I contacted this friend who contacted Penn. His directions were for Kevin to come up with five questions to be answered. Below are the questions and Penn's answers. What a guy!!
1. When did you start doing magic and what or who inspired you?
I started doing magic when I was 18. That's when I met Teller. He changed my mind about magic and magicians. He showed me that it was a true art form that could be done in a way that respected the audience and was truthful. That was a major change in my attitude towards magic.
2. How did you learn to do all the tricks you do? Did you have a mentor?
I learned the tricks I know by reading, studying other magicians and tons of practice. My biggest mentors are James "The Amazing" Randi, Johnny Thompson and Teller.
3. What is some advice you would give a young magician?
Practice, practice, practice. Be completely original and different than anyone else. Find one skill that you are good at and hone it until you are better than anyone else.
4. What are the best resources to learn more about tricks and illusions?
There are hundreds and hundreds of books and now with the web, your access to information on magic is limitless.
5. What is a simple trick or illusion that I can perform for my classmates?
Our National Magic Trick, known as the "thumb tip and hanky" is a great trick to do for classmates. Send us your address and we'll send you one along with our special Penn & Teller trick cards.