One Shining Moment #LifeGoals

On Wednesday, I will pose the following question during bell work, “what will be your defining moment(s) in your lifetime?” I will use the “One Shining Moment” media clip via the NCAA montage of highlights that they have at the end of March Madness to jump start the discussion (below). Students will see this question before we watch the 3 minute clip. Once the clip is finished, we will then open up the floor for discussion about life goals. At this age, students are beginning to define who they are. That being said, they are in the beginning stages of that process, but it’s never too early to start thinking about their future. My main objective is for students to think about their future, and I will reach that objective through multimedia as well as classroom discussions. This should serve as a nice break from AIMS (Arizona’s Measurement for Measuring Standards) that we have on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday… Continue reading

AIMS Week – April 7th to April 11th #7thGradeChallenge

AIMS - April 7th to April 13th!

AIMS – April 7th to April 11th!

I’ve tried to motivate my students in various ways throughout the years (here & here), but this was a little different. I decided to have a little fun with my 7th Graders. On Thursday, we brainstormed for ideas that would embarrass Mr. Sye (me) as well as motivate students if they met/exceeded a certain level on their upcoming state standardized tests. There were several outrageous suggestions, but the classes settled on having me change my hair color. On Friday, I gave each of my Literature classes the following announcement: Have you ever wanted to embarrass Mr. Sye? Here is your chance! Mr. Sye has agreed to bleach his facial hair blonde as well as what little hair he has on his scalp Of course, there is a catch. He has challenged his 7th Graders on their upcoming AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument for Measuring Standards) test. If 95% of 7th Graders either meet or exceed the state standards (Literature Assessment), it will happen at the beginning of next school year…  Are you up for the challenge?

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Martin Luther King Class Activities #TheDreamer

MLK #TheDreamer

MLK #TheDreamer

The Friday before we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, students will get familiar with who Dr. King was and what he stood for. My main objective is that students will be able to identify several key highlights of Dr. King’s life as well as his life’s work with civil rights. I will begin class with a two part bell work prompt: “Who was Dr. Martin Luther King? What are your dreams and how will you make them come true?” I will reach my objective via a reading comprehension worksheet(s) [here & here] as well as a mini biography via YouTube (below). A little about the mini biography via Bio: “A short biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is widely considered the most influential leader of the American civil rights movement. He fought to overturn Jim Crow segregation laws and eliminate social and economic differences between blacks and whites. King’s speeches and famous quotes continue to inspire millions today.”

Students will finish the lesson with a fine arts activity where they will receive two handouts. One will be of a black and white picture [here], and the other one will be filled with famous quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [here]. Students will be asked to color in the black and white picture as well as insert their favorite quotes. We will post the finished product around the classroom… Continue reading

Five Things (Elements of a Short Story) #Flocabulary

As we begin our Short Story Assignment, I wanted to give the students a visual summary of what actually goes in a short story. I found this video on YouTube via Flocabulary. A little background information about the song via “This song covers the five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme. Whether you’re studying a short story, a novel, an epic poem, a play or a film, if you don’t find these five elements, you’re not looking hard enough. With a catchy chorus that’s hard to forget, this “five elements of a short story” rap will get you or your students hooked.” I thought it was a good way to connect the younger generation with the elements of a short story as well as get their creative juices flowing…

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Class in the news after Ludacris announces contest winner [KGun9 News & Arizona Daily Star]

I always tell my students, “put in the work and good things will happen.” As we went into Winter Break, students received some reinforcement to that notion as well as a little press for a competition in which they all participated in [read more about competition]. Although there could only be one winner, they all enjoyed hearing about their class as well as school in the news. They also, of course, enjoyed receiving a special shout out from Ludacris (see here). Above is footage from KGun9 News, and I was also able to find an article on the Arizona Daily Star. I didn’t have any luck finding KVOA Channel 4’s news article and/or footage, but we appreciate them as well. All in all, it was a good way to end 2013. I’m glad the news was able to shine some light on such positivity as well as help me reinforce that notion that working hard actually paying off. Looking forward to an even better 3rd & 4th Quarter in 2014…

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Ludacris Announces Classroom Contest Winner [Video]

As the holiday season approaches, students have been getting anxious to find out who the winner will be for the Soul By Ludacris Headphone Contest. As an added bonus, Ludacris gave a special shout out to announce the class winner. The winner was extremely happy as well as shocked that Ludacris took the time to give her a special mention.

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Impromptu Nelson Mandela Activity (5W’s)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

As twitter erupted about Paris Hilton’s confusion between Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King’s famous words from the I Have a Dream speech, I wondered if the younger generation would even know the difference if I pointed out her error (turned out to be a hoax). That being said, my main objective for today’s activity will be for students to gain better comprehension of who Nelson Mandela was. I came up with a quick way when I read an article(s) [here] & [here]. I will begin the activity with a bell work prompt, what do you know about Nelson Mandela? I would like gauge student’s prior knowledge before I assume they don’t know who he is/was. The students will then read a combined article to get a better understanding of Nelson Mandela. After the students complete the reading, we will come back together to converse about the content of the article in order to gain better comprehension. I have created a handout [here] that has the 5W’s on it as a way to guide the conversation in the classroom… Continue reading

A Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin (Miami Dolphins)

Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin...

Friendly Letter to Jonathan Martin…

Earlier in the week, my class participated in a view and respond about Jonathan Martin and his bad experience with bullying while playing for the Miami Dolphins. We decided to write a friendly letter to Jonathan Martin in hopes that it would reach him. The class is working on a unit called Express Yourself  where students will learn how to properly format as well as write poetry, letters, and essays. This particular activity fit perfectly because students are currently working on their letter writing skills with an emphasis on Production & Distribution of Writing – 7.W.4 Common Core Standard

It was also my hope that students would relate to his particular situation. We had a good discussion about this situation as well as other bullying type of situations that the students have experienced themselves. I had several goals for this letter. One was to get students to work on their writing as well as grammar skills (we are a work in progress), and the other goal was to get students to understand that we all go through tough situations like this no matter how big or strong we are.