Friday, October 23, 2009

Six Word Memoirs from Mr. Sutherland's Class

Here is another batch of six word memoirs. Enjoy!

Love my family. Unincludes my sister. -Anon.
Eat, play, sleep, and! -Patrick
Braces stink. Who invented that junk? -Phelicia
Two brothers, one me. Not fair. -Anon.
My life is crazy but cool. -Elizabeth
No one knows my diabolical plan. -Anon
I wish school wasn't every day! -Destiny
Got bucked off but still walking. -Tyler
Goth is me. Parents don't accept. -Monica
My dog bites, so back off. -Anon.
I love my dog. He's cool. -Anon.
Please don't make me do science. -Robert
Piercing rods and rings change faces. -Anon.
Sisters...annoying but still love them. -Breanna
Math is very very cool...NOT! -Jon
My sister is a good target. -Megan
6th grade destroys all the fun. -Kenneth
Ride, ride, ride all the time. -Elizabeth
Mohawks, go blue. We are awesome. -Mekenna
Just take what life throws out. -Demi
I went hunting. Hunting is fun. -Anon.
I'm a genius, why still school? -Noel

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Six Word Memoirs from Mrs. Hadder's Class

As promised, we did some writing for National Day of Writing! Mrs. Hadder's 6th graders had a blast AND they wrote some amazing six word memoirs!

Little sister's are so so annoying. -Cody O'Neal
Work keeps me from riding horses. -Mikayla Thumser
adventure, sea-doos, tubing, wild water fun. -Chad DeHaven
Sisters, it's life, deal with it. -Katie Eaton
Trapped under ice but still alive. -Anon.
Love of my life, a mystery. -Garrett Weeks
It's tough getting really good grades. -Anon.
Don't be afraid, let feelings out. -Megan H.
Live life on the edge. Peace. -Danielle Jankowski
Sleepy time, morning shine, hate it. -Sadie Stevens
Pizza is good. Onions are not. -Shayla Franks
Live, laugh, love. Horse lover-me. -Anon.
Peculiar past, weird present, unknown future. -Zach Cousineau
I am a slowly falling star. -Rachel McNeil
Star Wars geek. Yep, that's me. -Anon.
Boring life, crazy mind, interesting world. -Abbie Andrews
A fashion girl, you like sleep. -Melinda
I wish I had a retry. -Gage
My animals are my best friends. -Taylor
Really small guy. Pretty big attitude. -Roy Corwin
Brother is very extremely super annoying. -Anon.
Fuzzy blankets, sleeping cats, open books! -Mrs. Moore
Wordle: Untitled
Today is the National Day of Writing. How will you share the day with your students? Because we in Michigan are in the middle of our state testing, I was looking for a way to incorporate the spirit of the day without bogging students down with what they might feel like was more work. Enter the Six Word Memoirs! This is an idea created by SMITH Magazine and also published in a book (which I would love to own someday...adding it to my looong list!) called Not Quite What I Was Planning.

To begin this lesson, I found some guidelines created by the author of the book, Rachel Fershleiser. I created the Wordle above from these guidelines and will introduce the concept of the 6 word memoir by having students make predictions based on the wordle. Then I will discuss the actual guidlines with them and share these examples from a group of 4th graders.

There are also many videos on YouTube and the SMITH website. I may show these videos after the students have written their own memoirs and then discuss with them how they would like to publish their memoirs. We could create a video to post to YouTube or an Animoto show. We could also create a book or make posters to hang throughout the school. I think whatever idea they decide upon will increase their motivation to complete the task as well as to put their best ideas and effort into it.

That is how I plan to recognize the National Day of Writing in the classroom. Now I am off to write my own 6 Word Memoir!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

They always bring us back to humble!

After recent success with the 6th grade boys reading class, I am reminded today that without the lows, there would be no highs in teaching. Today was definitely a low in terms of any real learning happening. I am having some pretty major frustrations trying to work out blogging with the boys. I am hoping some members of my PLN can give me some advice! So, here are a list of frustrations today:
1. Helplessness: I walked the boys through how to log on to the blog site and had a step by step guide on the whiteboard. Yet anytime the boys run into trouble their first instinct is not to work through it, but to ask for help. And even though there were step by step directions, half of them ask, "What do I do next?" after finishing each step.

2. Lack of basic internet knowledge: The internet in the computer lab opens to A full half of the class then enters the web address they want to get to into the search on that page instead of into the address bar. And when I direct them to use the address bar, they 1) don't know what that is or 2) think I mean their street address!

3. Writing: Once I get them to the blog site and they read the prompt I have set up for them, which should generate at least a good paragraph of writing, they type in one sentence, call out that they are done and ask (again), "What do I do next?"

I have to honestly ask myself what good trying to get them to blog is doing for them. I don't know if I am accomplishing anything through it, other than gaining an insane desire to beat my head against a wall! Am I using the wrong format or tool for what I want to accomplish? Do my boys not have enough background knowledge of technology to be able to use blogging effectively? Would anyone care to look at our class blog page and give me some feedback? I would be eternally grateful!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Get them moving to get them thinking!

What a great day the 6th grade Mohawk Boys Read and I had together today! Working with boys is challenging, but it is also fun and energizing if a teacher can keep in mind what a boy needs, cognitively and developmentally. We've been reading and talking about the survival in class. I've been using an excerpt from the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place as an instructional read-aloud. For their guided and independent practice, half the boys are reading Stone Fox and half are reading Call It Courage (though we are considering substituting Tracker as CIC seems to be too difficult for the boys to read silently.)

After reading the first chapter of their guided books, we engaged the boys in a discussion of character traits. The boys were able to come up with adjectives to describe their main characters as well as find evidence in the story to support their decisions. The next day after putting those adjectives on slips of paper, my co-teacher led the boys in a game of charades. They boys had to decide what adjective was being acted out and which character it was attributed to.

The next day, I finished the instructional read-aloud story and they had had an opportunity to watch the author talk about his ordeal. They were very invested in this reading! I had them do a rally table, recording the character traits of Aron Ralston.

Today was exciting as a teacher! I created a triple venn diagram with the three main characters. I recorded all the adjectives the boys had listed for all three characters on sticky notes. In class, each boy got a sticky note. In table groups, they discussed the words and where to place them on the venn. After they were all placed, the boys checked to see if they would change where their classmates had placed words. If they thought a word should be moved, they had to explain why and the original poster could argue why their posting was correct. Watching boys race to pick up a book, find evidence and defend their answers was so cool.

I took their finished venn and created a master on the computer using Class Tools. We will refer back to this venn as we continue in our guided reading groups, moving and adding words as necessary.

There is another site that I am going to use to assess the boys' ability to think about character traits in the next week. At this site the boys can manipulate a double venn diagram by dragging and dropping words where they believe they go. I will also require them to orally explain their evidence for their decisions. That site is called Word Magnets.

This lesson was so motivating for the boys. They were able to be social and to get up and move around. They loved challenging each other's thinking and defending their own answers. The discussions were very high level thinking. They are definitely moving towards proficiency in the learning target of analyzing characters!