Growing Our Conversation Skills with Socratic Seminar

We are continuing to grow our discussion skills in my 8th grade classes with a variety of conversation strategies.  Prior to Thanksgiving break, we engaged in a Socratic Seminar over a variety of related texts.   If you want to see some additional interesting twists on Socratic Seminar, check out this great blog post. While I've … Continue reading Growing Our Conversation Skills with Socratic Seminar

Accelerating Student Dialogue with Speed Dating Discussions

In recent years, I've been very intentional about integrating student discussion strategies along with the hard academic skills and soft social skills inherent in student conversations for learning.  Our state 8th grade English Language Arts standards also value speaking and listening as well as comprehension and collaboration: ELAGSE8SL1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative … Continue reading Accelerating Student Dialogue with Speed Dating Discussions

Steps to Success: Setting and Tracking 2nd Quarter Independent Reading Goals and Current Book Reading Goals

One of the struggles of trying to support independent reading in a 50 minute literacy block with guided instruction is helping student stay on track with their reading and having some measure of accountability so that we don't come to the end of a nine week grading period without finishing a single book.  While some … Continue reading Steps to Success: Setting and Tracking 2nd Quarter Independent Reading Goals and Current Book Reading Goals

Student Self-Assessment, Scaffolding, and Seesaw

Now that Seesaw is Chromebook friendly, I am incorporating it as a digital portfolio and space for reflection/self-assessment with my 8th graders.   Earlier in the school year, I walked students through signing up with their class code through their district Google accounts.  For our first entry in October, students captured and recorded their reflections on … Continue reading Student Self-Assessment, Scaffolding, and Seesaw

Supporting Writers in Progress: Paired Texts Study, Comparing/Contrasting, and Literary Argument Paragraphs

Earlier this month, we composed our first literary argument paragraph, a stepping stone to an extended piece of writing we'll do in early November as part of our work from the writing unit, The Literary Essay:  Analyzing Craft and Theme. Part 1:  Introducing and Immersing Ourselves in a Paired TextLet me start by backing up … Continue reading Supporting Writers in Progress: Paired Texts Study, Comparing/Contrasting, and Literary Argument Paragraphs

Turn Up the Volume on Learning–My DonorsChoose Project

Please help me help fund my DonorsChoose project, Turn Up the Volume on Learning!  All donations of any amount are TRULY appreciated. I am requesting 15 headsets with microphones so that my students have easy and daily access to these tools to enhance our learning experiences in CommonLit and Seesaw.  We will use the headsets … Continue reading Turn Up the Volume on Learning–My DonorsChoose Project

Revising at Points of Need: Narrative Revision Stations

One of my goals this year as a teacher is to make room for revision stations and alternative ways of tackling revision.  I am proactive in providing ongoing feedback in real time through Google Documents, but toward the end of the year, I honestly felt I needed additional ways to help my students take more … Continue reading Revising at Points of Need: Narrative Revision Stations

Designing a Meaningful Extended Narrative Writing Assignment in Context

This past spring, I read a blog post by Dr. Sarah J. Donovan that pushed me to think about how to better integrate Milestones writing tasks into context.  While I certainly am not a fan of teaching to a test, her approach made sense to me because students received regular and gentle writing opporutnities to … Continue reading Designing a Meaningful Extended Narrative Writing Assignment in Context

Digging into Dialogue Writing Skills—Exploring Dialogue Tags

Earlier this month, I used resources from the beloved late Dr. Rozlyn Linder to help my students inquire into noticings about the purposes and patterns of dialogue tags.  I crafted a guided study lesson and resources from her book, The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, to help us explore … Continue reading Digging into Dialogue Writing Skills—Exploring Dialogue Tags

Exploring Characterization in “Raymond’s Run” with Playlist Stations

After our reading of "Raymond's Run", I wanted to find a way to engage students in thinking about character that would also get them up and moving since they had been sitting and doing some quiet thinking/reading work for a few days.  I decided to craft a new playlist station activity with a focus on … Continue reading Exploring Characterization in “Raymond’s Run” with Playlist Stations