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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Ready To Go (2013/2014 School Year)


As the last 20 or so days of the summer (school not regular people’s calender) come to a close, I’ve already begun to go into out with the old and in with the new mode of thinking. I’ve just printed my lesson plans for 2013/2014… Class notes have also been completed for next year – all in Microsoft word format. I had planned to take it easy this summer, and for the most part, I am doing just that. I’ve prepared two major things for next year, lesson plans and class notes. That being said, there are obvious pros as well as some not so obvious cons.

First and foremost, I have a plan as to where I want the students to go according to each quarter. Another pro, I have more time to focus on direct instruction as well as adjustments/enrichment/remediation instead of planning day to day or week to week. The last major pro, and perhaps the best reason that I planned the entire year out ahead of time, it lets me enjoy the students w/o worrying about creating lesson plans under the pressure of grading, other responsibilities, and just day to day life outside of teaching. Continue reading

Eager Readers Need Help #BucksForBooks

Donate Here >>>

The Giver & The Pearl

  I am attempting to expand students minds via higher level literature. Do you remember what it was like the first time you read a book that you couldn’t put down? My students have only begun to discover books that capture their imaginations. Please help me help them with their fantastic journey through literature. My students need a class set of “The Giver” (30 Books) and a class set of “The Pearl” (30 Books). Reading is like a passport for a child to travel as far as their imagination will take them. Please help my students collect a few stamps in their booklet. The Pearl & The Giver are excellent books with a myriad of themes, characters, and life lessons for my students to learn from.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Even if you cannot donate, please pass this email on to those that you think would be interested. Remember, every drop in the bucket helps, so if it’s $5 or $10, that would be awesome!

You can donate directly, here: Project Funded! Thank You…

Permission Slips

Permission Slips

Permission Slips

When handing out permission slips,  kids/students will insist they’re grown – they’re not grown… It’s always a good rule of thumb to keep parents, grandparents, and guardians in the loop. I do this for two reasons. The first being, I am NOT any student’s parent. It says PG for a reason. Second, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Again, keep in mind, kids will insist they’re grown. I repeat, they’re not. Most kids these days watch inappropriate movies with or without their parent’s permission. I know I did when I was a kid. I certainly watched my fair share when I was ages 12 to 18. However, it was always on my own time. Some kids tell me that other teachers and/or adults have let them watch certain movies in the past in other schools. My reply is simple, hope you enjoyed that while you could because that’s not how I run my classroom.

The process is simple, send the permission slip home. Here are a few examples [here] [here] and [here]. Continue reading

Literature Class Activity – “Brain Study”

Brain Study Jumble

Brain Study Jumble

I found this on Instagram, and I thought it would keep my Language Arts/Literature students entertained for about 5 minutes;) I’m encouraging them to read like detectives, so this should be a fun activity for them. I will give each student a handout of the picture to the left. Students will be working on their decoding skills. Students will get about 5 minutes to decode the message. The first student to decode the message will get a prize.

We are currently in the middle of AIMS testing, and today we have a break. I would like to reinforce the idea that it is important to read things carefully in order to gain understanding. This looks like a fun way to bring home that message.

Ps. The validity of the following: “if you can read this, you have a strong mind” is still in question… Continue reading

Letter Writing Workshop – Persuasive Letter

Persuasion - the art of getting what you want...

Persuasion – the art of getting what you want…

Over the couple of weeks, the class has participated in several Letter Writing Workshops [here]. The first workshop was to review format and rules. Second workshop was a Persuasive Letter Writing Activity w/ format review & ticket out of class using COPS Error Monitoring Strategy to correct mistakes. The final workshop will be similar to the previously mentioned workshop.

[more details] Today the class will be prompted by the bell work to brainstorm about a school problem that they wish to address. The issue may include the following: bullying, school uniforms, school lunch options, school field trips, etc-etc. Students will then proceed to write the letter using the correct format for semi-formal letter writing. Students will focus on 5 key elements in the body of a persuasive letter after they have made sure to properly format their letter. Those 5 key elements are as follows: Continue reading

March Madness Bracket Challenge = Teacher For a Day;]


[*Printable Bracket via SB Nation] As March Madness sets upon us, I have decided to let the students that are interested get a taste of the madness for themselves. Throughout the year, various students have asked if they could be the teacher for a day. They’ve either asked because they think I’m boring, or they think they can do a better job than I can;) Well, today is their chance. However, like in life, nothing is given, they must earn this via our March Madness Bracket Challenge. I’ve been scavenging the internet for a Language Arts lesson that connects the NCAA Tournament into the classroom, but I’ve had no luck. I did find one, but it was for math. I did find a few writing prompts that I will use for bell work. They can be viewed [here]. If anybody has one for Language Arts, please send it my way. I digress, participation will be optional. When I made the announcement, I had a medium level of interest. I think the whole idea of taking over the class is what really piqued their interest. I always welcome competition in my classroom. The winner will get to be the teacher on a to be determined half-day in April during their specific class. The winner will sit down with the teacher (me), and we will go over how to make a lesson plan with an objective for the class to reach by the end of the class period. This will not be a free for all;) The winners will be expected to teach the class something, and they will receive as much guidance as they need…

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View & Respond – What Most Schools Don’t Teach [Short Film]


Today, the class will work on (7.SL.1) & (7.SL.5) common core speaking/listening standards with this view & respond about teaching kids how to code on computers. From Fox News, “NEW YORK – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey are among the tech luminaries appearing in a new video promoting the teaching and learning of computer coding in schools.” I literally decided to implement this view and respond about 30 minutes ago. I knew I downloaded this video for a reason, and today that reason will hopefully come to fruition. I can remember in the early 1990’s when I learned how to type. I thought it was the coolest thing. I had no idea of how it would help me later on in life. I now type around 65 to 70 words a minute. It’s not earth shattering, but it’s a good skill to have. I also taught myself how to build very modest websites by learning how to code in my early 20’s. That too was a very good skill to have. I’m hoping that I reach a good portion of students so that I may spark their interest in something that will be a very good skill to have in the future, coding. Some of the students are already interested in this because they have told me to visit their websites that they put together in Computer Class, and that is soooo awesome! Continue reading