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

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Al Capone Does My Shirts October 28, 2007

Filed under: AR books,book reviews,recommended books,thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 2:25 pm


I just finished reading this book and I absolutely loved it! Take a look at the amazon reviews. It’s about a 12 year old boy named Moose Flanagan, who lives on the island of Alcatraz, and his sister Natalie, who has autism, which at that time people didn’t know what autism is. Moose has to take care of his sister and looses some of his freedoms because his mother has taken a job, so that his family can afford to send Natalie to a school to help her. His mother is in denial and Moose tries to help her realize this. During the book, Moose becomes friends with the warden’s daughter, Piper, who gets him in trouble. Piper has a fascination with the infamous Al Capone. You’ll just have to read it to find out!

The book is set in 1935, which is neat, because it’s historical fiction. I love books that are historical fiction. No curse words, but mature content (speaks of taking a leak a few times, rapists, convicts, Al Capone, and men who haven’t seen a women in 10 to 15 years). The reading level is 3.5–smooth read, but I wouldn’t let a third grader read it because of the mature content. I am thinking about adding it to my library, but having students get signed parent permission to read it since I am in a parochial school. I honestly don’t think the content in this book is any worse than what’s on T.V.


My Take Part 2 on Writer’s Notebooks October 23, 2007

Filed under: wn entry,writers' notebook — hey2blondie @ 9:31 pm


As I mentioned before, I did have a scare. I spoke with the guidance counselor and she didn’t seem to be too concerned. She told me to speak with the child’s mother and I did. The mother was very grateful for me to mention my concerns. This child has had emotional problems in the past and it was good that the mother found out about it. I also spoke to the child and the child said they figured I would talk to them about the notebook. I told the child how I was concerned and how proud I was that they were writing in their notebook every night. The child said they had nothing else to write about, but I think it goes deeper than that. The mother of the child said she would discuss the issue at home with her child. I feel the outcome went well.


Update on Writer’s Notebooks October 18, 2007


This week I have been grading my students’ writer’s notebooks, and I am impressed! Some of my students are really deep thinkers. Who would have thought 6th and 7th graders could be so deep! I am still amazed on how some still do not take them home and write in them. I am going to have to start taking them up more often. I have taken up 7th grade’s twice and 6th grade’s once. My goal for next quarter is to take them up at least 3-4 times.

I take up 4-5 notebooks a day, so I don’t have 80 notebooks to grade on one day. This is easy to manage as well, and I can get the notebooks graded while they are working on an assignment. That way I can get the notebook back before class ends.

Be wary; I did get a scare. One of my students wrote do not read on the tops of a few pages, so of course I was curious. Usually when they write that, they are mad at someone, but not this time. Some scary words caught my eye and so I “read”, and was horrified from what I read. Now I need to talk to the guidance counselor and their parents. I just encourage you to make sure you read what your students write and take the notebooks up periodically!


Writer’s Notebook Wednesday October 17, 2007

Filed under: wn entry,writers' notebook — hey2blondie @ 3:54 pm

Writing on Water

By Andi Neihoff

“Wow!” I gasped

As the curtain slid across the track

Opening my eye’s to God’s beautiful painting of today


Soft, warm hues of pink, orange, and yellow

 Brushed across his palette, the sky

Puffy, white clouds

Blotted the rays of color

Into the distance


My eyes seep in the view

Noticing the crystal blue water

Rippling toward the shore


As I step onto the balcony

A gentle breeze sweeps my hair against my cheek

Awakening my senses


Geese honk, “Good morning”

To all of God’s creatures

While they swoop down to gather their morning meal


Pontoon boat motor’s muffled roar

Ceases into the horizon


The lake water tickles my nose

Reminding me of my mission

Here at Paris Landing-the Writing on Water Retreat

My mouth waters in anticipation


Victory Ranch October 16, 2007

Filed under: field trips,Victory Ranch — hey2blondie @ 8:21 pm

zipToday was a fantastic day! Our 6th and 7th graders went to Victory Ranch in Bolivar, TN. Students worked in teams to build confidence, listening skills, trust, and so much more. Some of the activities included rock wall climbing, zip line, and team building exercises. I went down a zip line…so much fun!I am exhausted, but it was so worth going!


The Lemonade Club October 14, 2007

Filed under: mood and voice,writing,writing workshop — hey2blondie @ 7:40 pm

lemonsWhat a wonderful story to teach mood, voice, and themes of friendship with! I sat in Books a Million and cried while reading this book. I will definitely use this with my sixth graders when teaching mood and voice. Thanks Jen!


Must Be Doing Something Right

Filed under: wn entry — hey2blondie @ 7:32 pm

papersIt’s that time of year when you are hidden under all of those papers that you need to grade. I finally graded my 80 personal narratives and 80 Choices of Writing. Yes, the first quarter is nearing; Friday. I love grading my students’ Choices of Writing because I like to read what my students like to write about. I read poems, songs, stories, etc… What great creativity my students have! Some also attend to detail so well. I hate to boast, but I see improvement in my students’ writing from last year. I must be doing something right! One student, a D student, made a B on her personal narrative and Choice of Writing. She has made tremendous strides in her writing!