Fall is my favorite seasons of the year! I love pumpkins, mums, colorful leaves, scarecrows, and the changing scenery. Every year my husband and I go to the pumpkin patch Green Acres in Milan, TN where we get our yearly selection of fall goodies. I am so excited because there is such an abundance of pumpkins and gourds to choose from. Today, we picked out some interesting goodies. Once I got home, I created my outdoor decor!
Writing Conferences September 26, 2007
It’s that time of the year when I start conferencing with my students on their writing. So far my students have been drafting their personal narratives. Of course the next step is to have a teacher conference. Yesterday and today, I spent time conferring with students. I use the system of taking a number and waiting your turn. Sometimes I go to the students and sometimes they come to me. When they wait, they are to work on writing of choice, read a book, or work on some other assignment. This doesn’t always work because my attention is focused with the conferring student wherever I am in the room. The class catches on to this and notice that I am not paying attention to them, so I have a little clowning around. What can I do to make this more successful? Any suggestions would be helpful.
Teachers must Write too September 24, 2007
I am a firm believer that teachers need to write along with their students. YES, it’s easy to sit behind your desk and grade papers or play solitaire instead of actually write. Writing is hard for everyone, especially students. It takes practice. When teachers write in front of their students, they demonstrate that writing is hard for everyone. It shows them that you are human. Modeling writing also makes your students aware of thought processes and that authors actually do the same thing. In order for anyone to get better at writing, they need to write daily–even teachers. The article “Becoming Your Own Expert” has a lot to say about teachers writing themselves. Please take a look at it.
Thoughtful Responses September 17, 2007
Today I graded some of the 6th graders’ response logs and I was impressed on how well they responded. I have never had that happen before. Why? Because in the past, I never modeled to my students on how to correctly write a response. In order for teachers to get a great response, they have to MODEL! I will attest to that!!!
Parents Helping Their Children September 15, 2007
We as teachers need parent support and sometimes we don’t know how to tell them that we need their support with helping their children. I found this cool site that offers TIPS for parents on helping their children with their homework. Another site offers suggestions on how to help their child through early adolescence. Also check out this site on FREE Teacher Resources.
More on Response Logs September 12, 2007
Today I had my students read a story in their reading books “Teammates” about Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. While they were reading, they were to come up with 5 sticky notes (post it notes) that demonstrate strategic thinking. Yesterday they learned how to write a correctly written sticky. Everything was going fine today until I spotted a student looking around and thinking real hard. You could tell he was thinking really hard because his eyebrows were wrinkled and he had a look of concentration. It wasn’t until 10 minutes later that I realized what he was doing. He was trying to come up with previous knowledge about Jackie Robinson without reading the story. I had to go to his desk to redirect him to read the story and while reading come up with a sticky note. What did he do? You guessed it…he continued to do what he had been doing before. He didn’t want to read. Well, I guess that will be a battle for another day.
We Remember… September 11, 2007
Today is the anniversary of that dreadful day of 2001. In honor of our soldiers, friends, & families who were affect by 9/11, our school said the pledge, sang “God Bless America”, and PRAYED for all of those individuals who lost their lives and who were affected by that dreadful day. I know it’s not much, but it is something…
My Jammed Window September 10, 2007
My Jammed Window
My mind is like a jammed window
Ideas, thoughts, and images
I tap, bang
Tug, and pull
At the panes
Ideas, thoughts, and images
Shift side to side
Ruffling my mind
Rattling the panes
Un-sticking my jammed window
Crack! It opens
Allowing my ideas, thoughts, and images
To be free
Free to dance
On the lines
Of my writer’s notebook’s
By: Andi Neihoff
Reading Response Logs September 9, 2007
This week I will be introducing Reading Response Logs to my sixth grade students. I got the idea and format from Chris Tovani’s book Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? I have had my sixth graders do these since 2005. With Reading Response Logs, I have seen great improvement with their writing along with their written expression. Reading Response Logs are also a great way to track whether or not your students are reading. I have assigned my students a day to turn in their logs from Monday to Thursday each week. I have 2 sixth grade classes, so I don’t want to be overloaded with grading these. Staggering the days does help significantly.
Before assigning the logs, I present to them a power point that I designed from one of our stories from the reading book. During the power point, I model how I am thinking and how I would place my thoughts onto a sticky note. I even have my students help me come up with thoughts. After presenting the power point, I will have my students staple the format and example log into their 3 subject spiral notebook, which is labeled Reading Response Log. I created a sample log that shows them exactly what to do when it’s time for them to do a log on their own. I will also show them student examples of a response log from previous students.
The next day I will have the students practice writing a log from the story in our reading books. After using the reading book, they will use an AR book that they choose to read. With my lower students, I allow them to use the reading book for a few weeks longer so that they can get the hang of it.
I enjoy reading their logs and seeing their progress throughout the year!
I am big on CHIPS! I take 2 points per error except for run ons and fragments. I take 4 points off for those.
Modeling a Writer’s Notebook Entry September 7, 2007
After reading Stacey’s blog about modeling, I realized that I too need to model. My students keep saying I don’t get it and I realized TODAY after 3 weeks that they TRULY don’t understand what I am asking for them to do. Next week I am going to MODEL how to respond to a quote. You can’t just say respond to the quote because they will write just about anything from I don’t get it or I don’t know what to write. I am hopefully going to change that. I will also model how to pick a topic from my writer’s notebook list of territories and how I would like for them to write at home too.