English Teacher Party: A Look into the Real Life of an English Teacher

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Our Writer’s Notebooks August 29, 2007

Filed under: decorating,personalizing,wn entry,writers' notebook — hey2blondie @ 6:31 pm


Our notebooks are finally done! My students enjoyed creating these works of art!




Thoughts to Ponder On August 28, 2007

Today, I introduced to the sixth grade their first thoughts to ponder on. Thoughts to ponder on are quotes, questions, pictures, etc that I want my students to respond to in their writer’s notebook. I was amazed at how well my sixth graders worked. They had time to write and they USED it! Some were still writing when I was ready to go on to the next step. I am pleased by their eagerness to write. I can’t wait until Thursday when we discuss more in depth their writing territories and what they can write about in their notebooks. I had 3 students even ask if they could take it home to write. I said if you have the inspiration to write then write.

One of my thoughts to ponder on is a quote by Abraham Lincoln. I think it is very profound. abe

Whatever you are be a good one.

After Labor Day my students will be required to write in their writer’s notebooks during class and at home. This is my first time doing this, so I hope it goes well. Seventh grade seems to be doing fine with thoughts to ponder on. I wonder if it is because I taught them last year how to respond to Literature with their response logs. I guess I’ll see later. This is possible inquiry.


Personalizing Writer’s Notebooks August 27, 2007

Today we personalized our notebooks. I learned that you need 2 full class periods to get the job done and there still might be some that don’t finish. Glue sticks work the best ( I will definitely ask for those on the supply list next year). I used laminate paper to cover them and that was a chore. Next year, I am going to have parent volunteers help me because it was very cumbersome. Laminating was a TWO MAN JOB! I wanted to have them covered because it protects them and their pictures won’t fall off. They also move from class to class with them. My students’ notebooks look fabulous. I will try to get pictures soon.

Why personalize? Well, personalizing creates a since of ownership with the notebook. When a student has ownership they are more likely to keep up with their notebook. Another reason to personalize is that they can use what is on their cover as writing topics in case they get stuck. My students were excited to show off their art work to each other. The room buzzed with enthusiasm.


This Week in Writing Workshop August 26, 2007

Last week I spent time teaching writing workshop procedures with my students. I have both 6th and 7th grades. I still did this with my 7th graders even though I taught them last year because I have new students and I bet some of them forgot over summer. I feel teaching procedures is crucial to success with writing workshop. I developed a power point that I showed my students. It includes what writing workshop is, what to do during workshop, and how to organize their writing binder. Their writing binder includes tools for them to use during writing workshop (rhyming words, common misspelled words, transitions, etc). We add to it as the year goes by.

I have planned this week’s writing workshop. I am excited and hope it goes smoothly.

Monday: personalize writer’s notebooks

Tuesday: celebrity writer’s profile-show Avi’s profile and mine– discuss what good writers do and write in writer’s notebook-students create their own profile and then display them on bulletin board and hallway

Wednesday: finish celebrity writer’s profile – type them

Thursday: discuss how to use writer’s notebook and what they may place into their notebooks- read from Ralph Fletcher’s book A Writer’s Notebook ch 1-explain (how I grade)  rubric and class procedures for writer’s notebookwriter’s notebook handout – have them write their first entry from writing territory sheet

Friday: pretest on nouns- 2nd writer’s notebook entry from writing territory sheet


My celebrity profile August 21, 2007

Filed under: writers' notebook,writing,writing activities,writing workshop — hey2blondie @ 9:29 pm

I decided to use Stacey’s idea about the celebrity profile from Vopat’s book. Here is mine.

Name: Mrs. Neihoff

Brief Biographical Sketch: Mrs. Neihoff has taught at SMS for 7 years. She graduated from Austin Peay State University in May of 2000 and lives in Jackson, TN with her husband Tony. Mrs. Neihoff is a teacher consultant for the West Tennessee Writing Project and is currently working on teacher research in her classroom.

When did you start writing? I started writing avidly in the summer of 2005 when I attended the WTWP. I never realized until then that I could write and that other people would actually listen to what I had written.

What do you do to get ready to write? I think about it in my head and then jot it down in my writer’s notebook.

What are your favorite writing materials? I love to use black ink Bic pens or mechanical pencils on lined composition notebooks.

What do you do to put off writing? Well, most of the time when I have the urge to write, I write, but if I don’t want to write, I watch T.V., read, or sew.

What inspires you to write? I am inspired by quotes of what people have said, pictures, sunsets, what’s going on in my mind at the time, and nature.

If you had a pen name, what would it be? I don’t know if I would have one. I like my name.

What have you always wanted to write? Maybe one day I will write a children’s book or a book of poems.

I plan to use this with my 7th grade students.


First full day overload

Filed under: back to school,thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 7:52 pm

overloadBoy, do I feel frazzled! Today was the first full day of school. I seem to always forget that 6th graders come to me not knowing how to do simple things. We spent two class periods just organizing our notebooks and going over procedures. I had this one kid ask me “Do we have to go over each of these bullets(on the syllabus)?” I actually said, “Well, yes…have you ever been in my classroom before? You need to know how I do things.” Other than that incident the day went by smoothly. The first weeks of school are always so tiring b/c you have to go over and over procedures and rules. I am hoping that tomorrow I’ll get some writing in.


First Day August 20, 2007

Filed under: back to school,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 9:16 pm

The first day back was great! It was only a half day so tomorrow is the real test. I got a new student today too and not enough books. Oh well! The only thing that I am dreading is this long night without air conditioning–I wish I was still at school.