Monthly Archives: January 2013

I’m Back…


school lock down

Well, after a little bump in the road, I am back! Today started with a school wide lock-down drill. While we never anticipate a need for this, it always better to be prepared. The students did a wonderful job and took the drill very seriously.

Just a few reminders to everyone that the “Book Talks” will begin next Wednesday, so if you have anything to finish – now is the time. Also, the multi-media presentations will be due February 11 – 14, so again, make sure you are getting things organized and finalized.

AGENDA, January 31, 2013:

  • 20 minutes of “catch up” time – blogs, novels, and free reading
  • Novel Groups – working on “Book Talks”
  • Research groups – multi-media presentation


  1. Keep working on group presentations – both novel & research
  2. Block 1 – Complete at least one Achieve 3000 story
  3. Blocks 2 & 3 – Tween Tribune – Daily Quiz and one article
  4. Blog topic: Compare and contrast the characters of Anne and Peter. This should be completed in at least two paragraphs – one for the things that are alike about them, one for the things that are different about them.

Anne Frank and Peter

Here is the final word of the day: KLEENEX! We are desperate. Thursday 1


Thanks for Nothing…


I apologize in advance, but I have had something come up this afternoon and will not be posting a complete blog post. There will be NO blog topic tonight. I’m sure everything will be better tomorrow and I will have an entry then. Have a good night.

A Storm’s A Brewing…


photo (2)

Luckily today the weather held off and hopefully won’t be too bad tonight either. Several days ago I put pictures from Blocks 1 & 3 on the blog, so in all fairness today is time for Block 2. It seems as though several members of that group really like having their pictures (3)

photo (4) We could call today “Presentation Day”. Lots of good work was getting done in both Literature Circle groups and in research groups.

Block 1 had a visitor from Achieve 3000. He came to see what was going on with that program in our classroom. Apparently he liked what he saw because there could be some exciting surprises for us in the future.

AGENDA, January 29, 2013:

  • Blog Review – always remember that you need to be doing your best work or you could be the featured writer of the day and your work will be read by all.
  • Achieve 3000 and Tween Tribune
  • Book Talk – worked on presentations
  • Research – same as above


  1. Plot diagram completion tomorrow – bring your graphic organizer
  2. Blog Topic: Do you think writing on the kidblog is or is not helping your writing skills? Explain your answer. Give reasons why it is helpful or not.

Be safe tonight and I will see you tomorrow.

Looking Be”TWEEN” the Lines…


monday musings


Monday has started out to be a very dreary day. I think the warm weather has every body more talkative than usual, although most got their work finished.

Currently all Block 1 students work with a program called Achieve 3000. Parents if you haven’t seen this ask your student to show you how this works, it is an amazing way to improve all aspects of reading. Today Blocks 2 & 3 started using a site called Tween Tribune. This site mirrors the Achieve 3000 program, only it is free. The students log on to the site and have access to tween tribunehundreds of current news articles, on a vast variety of topics. Nonfiction is an area that seems to get overlooked from time to time and this is an excellent way to get practice for this genre. There are daily quizzes and individual article quizzes, along with the ability to make a comment that is posted to the site. This should prove to be a valuable tool for everyday practice and growth.

newsAlso, today Block 1 received a research assignment that involves designing a newspaper and writing the articles for it. This will be completed in research groups. They will be using an article from the Achieve 3000 site and then researching additional information to compose their articles as a group endeavor.

Blocks 2 & 3 continued working on their multi-media research presentations that will be due starting February 11, 2013. Tomorrow all Blocks will be working in their novel groups on their Book Talks about their individual group novels that will be shared with the class February 6 – 8. These should really be fun and informative.

AGENDA, January 28, 2013:

  • Block 1 – Introduced and discussed Achieve 3000 newspaper project
  • Blocks 2 & 3 – Introduced, discussed, and explored Tween Tribune. Took the daily quiz, read an article, and took the article quiz
  • All Blocks – research group work


  1. Plot diagram – this will be updated tomorrow, so make sure and have it with you plot diagram
  2. Blog Topic: How does using either Achieve 3000 (Block 1) or Tween Tribune (Blocks 2 & 3) help to strengthen your nonfiction reading skills. We will be reviewing blog writing tomorrow at the beginning of class.

Reminder: LIBRARY day will be Thursday this week. This is really meant for you to remind me; you know how I tend to forget.

Stay dry and have a great evening!



Cattle Car = 100 people…


cattle carWhat does this title mean? Today our class, along with Mrs. Yates’s and Ms Allen’s classes, did a simulation of what it was like to have to be transported in a cattle car to the Concentration Camps during WWII. Over 100 people in a very small, enclosed space is not very pleasant. This helped us realize what the conditions people had to endure were like during this time. Everyone was relieved to be able to move around freely after the simulation was finished.

Today research groups were assigned for the upcoming research presentation about sub-groups of people during the Holocaust. Here are the guidelines for the presentation Holocaust Project guidelines and the presentation gradingresearch rubric Holocaust Multimedia Presentation Rubric

book talk 2Also, the Literature Circle group Book Talk Guidelines were discussed. Book Talk Guidelines corrected Again, look over these so tomorrow you will be able to start productive work right away.



AGENDA, January 24, 2013:

  • Train Car simulation
  • Finished Concept Vocabulary maps
  • Discussed Literature Circle Book Talks
  • Assigned Research Groups
  • Discussed group multi-media research presentations


  1. Block 3 – collect Concept Vocabulary Maps
  2. Blog Topic: In doing a group presentation it is important that everyone in the group participate. Why is it going to be important for each member to fulfill the role they have been assigned in the group during the completion of this presentation? What should happen if someone is not doing their job?
  3. Book Picks

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow if the snow and ice doesn’t happen.

Good-bye Anne Frank, You Will Be Missed…


anne frank stamp

Today we finished The Diary of Anne Frank and we are now moving on in the Literature Circles/Novel Groups, group book talks, and the upcoming group multi-media research presentation. All of these new adventures will be explained tomorrow.

Keep working on the kidblog topics. It seems as though everyone’s writing skills are really improving. This has become a popular topic and lots of people are interested in what is being written and how really outstanding the writing is. Yeah for all of you. You make me proud!

AGENDA, January 23, 2013:

  • Blog review and critique (L.8.3)
  • Finished Anne Frank
  • Continued working on Concept Vocabulary Mapping (L.8.4)


  1. Book Pick – if not finished. Please hurry and get these in, I am getting tired of writing this every day.
  2. Concept Vocabulary Maps DUE TOMORROW. We will be discussing these and I will be checking them for a grade.
  3. Continue reading your group novel – make sure you are caught up
  4. Blog topic: In “The Diary of Anne Frank” , Anne said, “I still believe that people are really good at heart.” She wrote this before she was taken to the concentration camp. Would she believe and write the same thing after she had been in the camp? Use evidence from the story to support your opinion.

Thanks again for a great day! Have a good evening and see you tomorrow.Wednesday

From One Word Comes Many…


vocabularyLearning about the Holocaust, WWII, and Anne Frank brings many new words that everyone will need to become familiar with. Today the Concept Definition Mapping activity let everyone start with one word, then find synonyms, and examples that led to taking the one word and ending up with seven. concept_definition_mapping__template_20110830_132750_8  Each of the novel groups of seven students did 3 words each, from a word list, Concept Definition Mapping Words and that created a working vocabulary of 147 words per group. This expands the opportunity when the students write to use a multitude of new and descriptive words.

The Literature Circle novels need to be finished soon, by the end of next week or sooner. If you need to finish your individual novel please stop by anytime after 7th period and check out a book for the night. These books then need to be returned by 1st period the next day. There is no reason why everyone should not read their entire novel. Your group will be doing a “book talk” about these books and every member of every group will have to be part of the group presentation, therefore, you must know what the book is about and how it ended. Again, come by and check out a book!

kleenex 1


Also, our classroom is in dire need of both pencils and Kleenexes. It is at emergency status. Noses are running and needing attention! Pencils are also at top priority alert. If you do not want to bring extra, at least bring enough for yourself. It has now been confirmed, you will need a pencil pencils 3EVERYDAY, so please be prepared. Any extra pencils  and Kleenexes brought in will be greatly appreciated.


AGENDA, January 22, 2013:

  • Blog review. The blog topic will now appear on this page and on the kidblog site for each Block.
  • Book Picks – remember if you haven’t turned this in to do so as soon as possible.
  • Listen to The Diary of Anne Frank – Block 1 to page 849, Block 2 to page 851, Block 3 to page 855.
  • Concept Definition Map (L.8.4) – will finish tomorrow in class


  1. Book Pick – if not finished
  2. Literature Circle novels – read as much as possible
  3. Blog Topic: Explain how to find related words on the same topic. How do you determine these relationships, detail the process you used (Concept Definition Map). This will also be on each Block’s kidblog page.

You did a great job today, keep up the good work!