Archive for October, 2010


People – wordia

October 21, 2010

People – wordia.



October 18, 2010


This week “Wordia.”  Today I passed out a list of vocabulary word for the first 5 chapters of Hoot and an accompanying wordia worksheet.  The introduction was about my favorite word, which is opt, and why I like it and what it means. Then I read off the words and instructed the kids to select any word from this list, and told them that this will be your word for the week.  I then logged on to Wordia and showed them the definition of delightful, the “wordia” way.

The worksheet is similar to the format of wordia, except that I included how the word is used in the book.

I think the kids seemed excited. At least they were excited about choosing their word and not having to learn all of the words.

Third Eye:  For the next unit, whole book, I will present all the vocabulary words from the book, and have each kid get a different one.


You Can Have Your Cake and Narrative Writing Too!

October 16, 2010

I am going to stretch the tech thing a little and add an oven.  I know it is  a stretch, but this lesson(s) is definitly worth noting.

My objective this week was Narrative Writing.  I thought  a lot about this topic and how could I use computers other than Word, then it came to me.  Writing is like making a cake.

the kind of cake = the topic

ingredients = details

So, I baked two cakes (from the box) and brought to school the unfrosted cake and the ingredients used to make it.  I labeled the everthing, topic and details.  Then showed the class the unfrosted cake, my rough draft the unfinished product.  That day they had to write their rough draft.  Pretty Cool!  All eyes were on me and of course (probably more) on the cake.  The important thing is that they got it.  I have 75 English students this year , and all 75 were writing.

Day 2:  Let’s Frost That Cake

Same cake, but now it’s time to edit it, make it look a whole lot better.  As I frosted the cake I went over everything that goes into writing a second draft.

Day 3 Time To Eat

This will Monday, when we decorate and put the final touches on the cake/paragraph.

This all seems silly, and even my daughter thought it was, but I don’t care.  If I can reach 75 kids consisting of 25 with an  IEP, 20 ESOL 8 AIS  I did my job.  I am really looking forward to reading their writing.  One of the best things is that I would say things like, I don’t think you added enough butter here/details and they knew what I was talking about.

Refection:  Visuals are so important.  Things that all kids can relate to are even more.  With all the kids that I have with  so many different backgrounds, leveling the playing field is so important.  I wonder if they will think about cake when they write in the future.


Hoot Unit

October 13, 2010

I started a new blog this weekend for my Hoot unit. The first task is an anticipatory set with three different components to respond to.

  • What do you know about the state of Florida?
  • True or False Polls
  • Survival Questions (my survival unit was a great segue)

All students must comment individually.

As I write this I can’t help but think of ways and things to add.

  • an assignment page
  • response page (I will sign out five computers in one of the labs everyday for kids without computers to comment during class time)
  • resources about the different themes page
  • I really want to respond to their comments as well as to others
  • link to a voicethread on the book

I am sure I’ll add to the list.


Smartboard + iPhoto

October 8, 2010

I began a narrative writing unit in my English classes.  In an earlier post I explained how I used my englishreading blog to introduce topic sentences.  On Wednesday I used iPhoto and Smartboard to introduce details.

Barry Lane has a great book entitled Reviser’s Toolbox.  One of his chapters is Using the Binoculars, a chapter of zooming in on details.  Great idea, but if only I could get my hands on 25 pairs of binoculars, all the kids will “see” exactly what I mean.  Then I remembered the spotlight tool in Smartboard.  I went into iPhoto and found a picture that some students took of my classroom and inserted into a new notebook.  I wanted everyone to be on equal footing so using a picture of classroom was a good choice.

The lesson began with me showing them the picture.  Of course the unanimous response was, “It’s your classroom.”  This was exactly the response I was looking for, “Big.”  I agreed (duh) and told them that that wasn’t all.  I clicked on the spotlight and looked all around for details, the things in the classroom which we then listed on the whiteboard.  From there we generated words describing the things.   I then passed out a pile of pictures to each table, let the kids pick the picture they wanted and they did the same thing, naming the topic, looking for details and then describing each detail. It worked and every kid got it.

What went well

The spotlight really helped kids zoom in and understand the details and really got them looking for details.  Instead of just telling them, I was able to actually demonstrate it.  Also, they enjoyed it and they were very active and involved throughout the lesson.  Allowing them to choose their own picture was good to.  Kids love choices and they do so much better when they pick something that they are interested in.


So often I get writing with a bunch sentences.  Yes, they relate to the topic , but they lack details.  Now I will be able to go back and tell them “Get out your binoculars!”


What I’ve Learned in a Month

October 5, 2010

I knew that this was going to be difficult, it is and it isn’t.  What is difficult is that to integrate tech on a daily basis (something different) is next to impossible.  As a teacher I can’t wrap up every lesson neatly in a little package of 39 minutes.  Many lessons can carry over for a few days and even a week.  Kids need time to process and technology, namely computers, are one not always accessable and or working.  ok, I do use my smartboard everyday, not always as a lesson, but for writing on and checking homework and stuff like that. But I am not counting that as part of  my goal.  I am counting on the meaty stuff like my survival unit, topic sentences and email.

What is working is that I feel wonderful about what I am doing and what I have done.  I am really looking at presentation and learning in a whole new way of teaching. In my opinion I have used technology in the classroom in a meaningful way. I have scaffolded, reinforced, introduced, created discussion and community, I am creating risk-takers and thinkers and so much more.

What I haven’t done is found the time to blog everyday.  Today I am catching up, thanks to a leg injury.  I really missed blogging everyday and it is so useful, just thinking about my craft.  Will Richardson said at a workshop I attended, to blog everyday and he was right.  I will MAKE THE TIME.

More to come …


Killing Two Birds With One Stone?

October 5, 2010

I really hate that expression, but I couldn’t think of another one.  Last week I did this in one of my three English classes, an Email lesson with a point, actually a couple. My objective was threefold:

1) To reinforce student passwords and login to the ICSD

2) To reinforce the 4 types of sentences

3) To journal about one of the survival books they reading about in my reading class.

The Task:

Kids had to sign on to the computer, go to the district email and login, then compose an email to another student in the class (my choice), and write an email to that person about one of the characters in their book.  They also had to include at least one imperative, one declarative, one exclamatory and one interrogative sentence, send the email, print the one sent to them and identify the four types on an accompanying worksheet and hand it in.  It worked out great, but took longer than I thought it would, two periods.  The time was well worth the effort.  The kids loved getting the mail and I loved the results.  Some kids wrote more than others, but I got to evaluate their writing, how they were comprehending and the whole thing was very meaningful.

I was successful on all accounts. (haha)