Friday, August 21, 2015

Week 2 is in the Books!

Week 2 is in the books.

My days go by so fast!  I'm trying to fit as much as possible into our two class periods, but sometimes I feel things are disjointed.  My goal is to have smoother transitions next week.

August 17
Nonfiction Text Features - This was our first attempt at our Interactive Notebooks.  I modified this Nonfiction Text Features Book so as to not take up so many pages in our books.  It took longer than I would have liked, but the information and examples are solid and will be a good reference.

I bought a Greek and Latin Root Word book from TPT.  I used parts of it after spring break last year and felt it was quality.  After discussing why we should learn Greek and Latin roots (noctambulist example), we dug into the first lesson.

August 18
Students took the STAR test.  I hope to use this as a baseline for grouping students and also give me a better idea of articles we can read.

Last year, I used a Scholastic Scope article titled Great Penguin Rescue.  I like using it to teach nonfiction text features because it contains many of the features and has engaging information.  Today was also our first attempt at writing GIST statements.

I first told students to imagine telling their parents about the article.  They were given a minute to just think about how they would summarize.  Next they actually told a neighbor what they would say to a person who had not read the article.  Finally students wrote their statements.  The GIST Statements had to be 25 words exactly.  They loved me for that.  HA!

By the time that was completed, our time together was up!

August 19
We start Wednesdays with 7 Word Sentence.  I put a photograph on the Smartboard, and students need to compose sentences that are at least 7 words.  This is one way we are working on descriptive sentences.

In order to finish the GIST activity, students refreshed their memories by rereading their statements.  Next they shared in small group.  The final task was to come to group consensus in order to write a group GIST.  These statements were then written on large posters and hung in the room.  Students completed a gallery walk to read all the statements.

Students reading each group's statement.

Groups then received 2 pieces of a sticky note so they could vote on their two favorite statements.  Here are the winners from each hour.

Tomorrow, as a review, students will vote on the best statement from all three hours.

As a review of nonfiction text features, students labeled the article with features (title, subheading, photo, caption, diagram, bold words, etc).

Our last activity of the day was to annotate our AoW.  This week we read Farmers demand for drones moves up, up, and away from Newsela.  I once again modeled annotating and students just copied what I annotated.  They then responded to the questions on their own.

August 20
We started our day with voting for the best GIST statement.  Number 3 was the clear winner, but my last hour realized they had over the 25 word limit.  I had to do some quick editing to show it could be paired down to 25 words.  They were not happy. There was almost a mutiny.  :-)

Students were able to choose a magazine article to complete the Magazine Analysis (text features again).  Student choice leads to more engagement during this activity.  

During the second hour, we had stations.  Half of the class was working on these Nonfiction Text Features Task Cards (mainly graph/chart reading).  The other half did vocabulary activities.  I had an independent matching activity and a Memory game activity.  Students really seemed to enjoy this.

Students did have homework tonight.  There were 20 scenarios, and they had to identify which text feature was being used.  We will go over this first thing tomorrow and then take a quiz that is identical in format.

I was exhausted at the end of today!

August 21
After correcting the homework, clarifying, and answering questions, students took a quiz over the nonfiction text features.  They also took a quiz over their vocabulary.

In order to practice annotation and GIST statements, we read another article today.  We read Arizona Cardinals new linebacker coach is a woman, again from Newsela.  Using the models from class, students tried their hand at annotating on their own.  We then completed the GIST process again.  It is amazing how much better the statements are during this second time.  When learning a new strategy, I like to repeat it several times in a short period of time in order to cement in the procedures.  

Next week I need to take some time to make sure notebooks are set up correctly.  I noticed that several students have things all crazy already.  I don't want to start the year with bad habits.  Checking in with students on the books they are reading will also be a priority.  I know I said I had voracious readers, but I also apparently have voracious AR Test Takers.  Holy Cow! I need to definitely get that in check next week.

I think I am going to try to reflect each night and the publish the blog entry at the end of the week. 

Until next time!

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