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Writing Instruction

Our writing instruction this year is from a mixed bag of various adolescent writing experts.
Atwell / mini-lessons applied in student’s own work
Gould / rubrics tailored specifically to strand
Being a Writer / emulated pieces (study a piece of published work and copy the style)

After working with Ira Socol, I’ve branched out on our last class project. The kids were allowed to create a rough draft of a story, but the final product could be a film, Voicethread, Go Animate!, Prezi, or written story (whatever the students chose). They learned that writing was needed as a way of communication regardless of the final medium used to tell the story.

Pieces we’ve done this year….
Bio-Poem
Where I’m From (poem)
Hyperbole Story (creative piece)
My Future (5X5 essay)
If I Had a Story to Tell… (project)
Free Choice Writing Piece (currently working….)
I also have the kids writing blogs on their own web-sites and creating reading response journals twice a week.

Skills we’ve covered…
organization
prewrite, paragraph structure, essay format (thesis statement, topic statements, supporting details, conclusions)

sentence variety
comma conjunction rule, intro phrases, creative intro / conclusions sentences (no death sentences), dialogue

word choice
stong diction, figurative language

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Literature Circles

We are beginning literature circle groups in language arts. This is a coordinated effort with Mrs. Kauffman, Mr. Worozbyt, and me. The students chose books after hearing various book talks in class. The books are from a variety of genres: realistic fiction, romance, science-fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Please encourage your child to keep up with his / her book because of low book numbers, there may not be a school replacement for lost books. Also, we are going to give class time to work on reading, your child is responsible for bringing his / her book to class each day.

Literature circle groups are used for master readers. In the advanced / honors class, students are able to read and comprehend text independently. The teacher’s role is to facilitate a deeper look at the text through analyzing author’s word choice, figurative language, and imagery. Also, we will work on the skills of summarizing and questioning. Students will make connections from the text in various ways: text to text, text to self, and text to world. Once a week, students will meet in groups and discuss their role sheets as they analyze the text together.

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Stories From Room 21

The independent projects are coming to a close, and I am proud of what my students have created. While sometimes my room felt a bit chaotic, the work got done, and the kids were excited to come to class each day. Many of them chose to work on projects at home, not because it was necessary, but because they were excited about their products. I can’t help but compare it to my own passion, teaching. When I have to grade a pile of tests…. Ugh, I’m sleepy, and I want to put it off forever and a day. However, when I am creating a lesson that I know will motivate the kids and expose them to new ideas, I am energized, sometimes working late into the night to perfect my plans. Kids, like adults, want to be inspired to do their best, feel like their work matters, and made to feel physically and emotionally comfortable. We all have something to contribute to this world and a story to tell. Please click on the link to read / watch some of the stories from room 21.
If I Had a Story to Tell

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