Tackling Short Story Vocabulary with a Slotted Notes Walk, Kahoot, and Question Trails

We formally began our first unit of study this past week, short stories.  In addition, I also established our routines for independent reading time (we checked out books this past Monday) and Quickwrites.   I decided to spend the first week front-loading the academic vocabulary before jumping into any stories. For all of the activities I … Continue reading Tackling Short Story Vocabulary with a Slotted Notes Walk, Kahoot, and Question Trails

Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

In my last post, I shared a preview of my playlists with stations first days activity.  We used the first three days of class to engage in a variety of literacy learning tasks to engage students in classroom community building, engage in some reading and writing, and knock out some beginning of the year tech … Continue reading Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

Eve of First Day with Students Plus a Tour of My Station Rotations with a Playlist Twist for the First Days

https://youtu.be/MQHGe4f1sp8 Notes:  Station 1: “One Word” language and art activity Station 2: Brainstorming positive behaviors to help us learn and brainstorming behaviors to avoid that get in the way of learning.  (free signs via TPT) Station 3: All About You as a Reader/Writer Survey (Google Form) Station 4: Critical Reading and Constructed Response in Canvas … Continue reading Eve of First Day with Students Plus a Tour of My Station Rotations with a Playlist Twist for the First Days

A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists

Today was our first day of preplanning, and we engaged in three breakout meetings to tackle beginning of the year topics.  Our administration divided faculty and staff into three groups, and we completed three rotations of 45 minute session.  The first session I attended was led by Assistant Principal Libbie Armstrong ; she introduced a teaching … Continue reading A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists

Immersing Ourselves in Poems with a POETRY FLOOD

Last Wednesday and Thursday, my students engaged in a "poetry flood", a gallery walk designed to give students to immerse themselves in 50 different poems.  The activity design was fairly simple:  I chose close to 50 unique poems of varying styles, poets, topics, and time periods for students to browse and read.  During the poetry … Continue reading Immersing Ourselves in Poems with a POETRY FLOOD

“Milestones Mania and More!” Station Rotations and Review

Springtime in Georgia brings abundant pollen, April showers, restless middle school learners, and the state end of year Milestones testing.  This year I decided to craft "work at your own pace" station rotations that emphasized the three types of writing prompts students would see plus some additional stations to support our study of poetry and … Continue reading “Milestones Mania and More!” Station Rotations and Review

Finding a Path into Poetry with Annotations, FSLL Charts, and Poetry Chats

Last week  (April 17) we began our exploration of poetry with an inquiry-oriented warm-up.  I presented students two documents: An annotated copy of "Alone" by Maya Angelou (annotations by me) A FSLL (Feelings, Story, Language, and Lines) that I had completed for "Alone" by Maya Angelou. Students could work alone or with a partner to … Continue reading Finding a Path into Poetry with Annotations, FSLL Charts, and Poetry Chats

Next Steps for Thinking About Theme, Central Topics, and Social Issues: Pop-Up Book Club Meetings

In my last post, I shared how we used a Lucy Calkins learning structure to think about more deeply about theme, central ideas/topics, and social issues.  Yesterday, I did two variations on some "pop-up" book club meetings to help students think through these elements. Variation #1, Periods 1 and 4 On Monday evening,  I compiled … Continue reading Next Steps for Thinking About Theme, Central Topics, and Social Issues: Pop-Up Book Club Meetings

Looking for Seeds of Theme, Central Ideas, and Social Issues in Our Nonfiction Books: Scaffolding, Structure, and Strategy

This past Friday and Monday (April 12 and 15), I wanted my students to have an opportunity to think a little more deeply about their nonfiction books.  Using a focal point from one of our Lucy Calkins units of study, I crafted a graphic organizer to help students identify each of the following elements in … Continue reading Looking for Seeds of Theme, Central Ideas, and Social Issues in Our Nonfiction Books: Scaffolding, Structure, and Strategy

Navigating Our Nonfiction Books with Notice and Note Signposts

As you read in my last blog post, my students have started reading their self-selected nonfiction books.  Our first in-class reading day was last Thursday, April 11.    To help my students jump into their books with some purposeful annotation that would not overwhelm them, we reviewed both the Notice and Note nonfiction signposts as … Continue reading Navigating Our Nonfiction Books with Notice and Note Signposts