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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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

Books Arrived! [The Pearl & The Giver] #DonorsChooseOrg

The Pearl & The Giver

The Pearl & The Giver

Our class books came from DonorsChoose.org today! A few weeks ago, I put together a project to receive two classroom sets of books, The Pearl & The Giver. I’m so thankful to the people that donated as well as helped to get these for my class! Those 9 donors will be hearing from us soon;)

Lunch Walk #LetsGetMoving

#LetsGetMoving

#LetsGetMoving

I’ve decided to put together two lunch activities with the Junior High students – both are optional. It’s twofold. On Mondays & Thursdays, I’m going to invite them to get active outside with a lunch time walk. I think it’s important to stay active or at least get moving after you eat – something I need to be more committed too. I figured on the days that I have extra time during lunch, I might as well start taking walks. Luckily, I have a nice big playground to do the walking. I’m currently trying to lose some weight, and I would like some walking buddies 😉 I also think this would be a nice opportunity to build with students outside of the classroom setting. That being said, I try to go out to the playground during lunch to converse with students at least once a week. I might as well be walking when I’m talking.

On Tuesdays & Fridays (I do a majority of my grading those days), I’m going to offer my classroom for students wanting a quite area to do homework or to catch up on work that they “forgot” to do 😉 I will be handing this flier (here) out on Monday, and these will be totally optional activities. I’m not sure how many students will actually be interested, so we will see how it goes. If anybody has ever done this, I’m open to suggestions on how to get more people involved…

Soul By Ludacris Headphones Contest [Extrinsic Reward]

 Soul by Ludacris SL150 Pro Hi-Definition On-Ear Headphones (Autographed)


Soul by Ludacris SL150 Pro Hi-Definition On-Ear Headphones (Autographed)

Last year, I had a contest during the 4th Quarter to see who could receive the highest average in either Literature or Writing. The reward was a pair of custom Air Force Ones [see contest here]. I’ve decided this year to do a contest to give away a pair of Soul By Ludacris Headphones [see picture]. How it will work is pretty simple. I will show the headphones to the students, give them a few ground rules, and they will compete for the highest grade average. What I haven’t decided is the time frame of this contest. I’m thinking about either the first two quarters, or making it for the entire four quarters. If I do it for two quarters, it will make for a nice holiday gift. If I do it for the entire four quarters, it might motivate somebody for an entire year. We shall see and keep it TBD (feedback is welcome)…

A little extrinsic reward, you bet. I’ve had these headphones for awhile, and I rarely use them. They’re very good quality, but I don’t use them. I figured a student that works hard to win these will get a lot more use out of them. Lesson for the students, when you work hard for things, you give yourself an opportunity for good things to happen… On that same note, there is only one pair of headphones, so working hard, just like in life, might not get you what you want all the time. That being said, you still have to put forth the effort to give yourself an opportunity to be successful.