Saturday, May 11, 2013

Color Wheel for Classroom Art

This week in my exploration class we studied the color wheel and how to make different colors. Most kids have a general knowledge of mixing colors in order to make new ones but there are definitions and terms that some students might be unaware of. Primary, secondary, tertiary, and then warm and cool colors. We took a few days this week to create our own color wheels inside our art notebooks and then we began drawing what would become a watercolor. Today students will be using their watercolors to make the different colors that will fit into
their painting.

This would make a great beginning to an art class but for my class it was a great start to how to blend colors when your watercolors only give you a few options.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where is Your Thinking?

We talk about our reading until honestly, WE ARE BLUE IN THE FACE! Sometimes I miss just reading for reading and letting the kids go. But there are some many in my class this year who are so far below grade level that we do a lot of scaffolding to bring the reading and information to their level. We are building them up so that eventually they can JUST READ! So here's a simple chart that we created to help students talk about their reading in pair share partnerships. Sometimes they need a sentence starter to get started. The questions I want them to ask themselves are not just surface questions, but also deeper connection questions and eventually questions that force them to compare their reading to other readings. Gosh, wouldn't it be nifty to hear a student make the connection between the power of the Capital in The Hunger Games and the power of the Council in The Giver? Ah, pipe dreams...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Monitor Your Discussions

I teach older students. In the future, once they've been accustomed to the new guidelines for discussion in the classroom, I would expect students to come to me in 7th grade with a greater knowledge of how to talk with each other in the classroom, outside the classroom, online, etc. The past year has been a big eye opener for me, and for a few students, because there are so many opportunities to communicate. Communication is a blessing but without understanding how our words affect others, words can hurt, break down, or ruin another person's day/week/life. We've watched Cyber Bully (Disney) and we've talked in class about how we convey ourselves in writing (hint: it's ALWAYS out there). So for this anchor chart we talked about how they could rate themselves on a 4,3,2,1 scale on their discussions and writing. This hangs in our classroom for English and History but it could totally be used for ALL subjects. Students need to be aware of what they are expected to do, and in history especially students always need reminding in creating full sentence answers with evidence. Evidence, evidence, evidence. Where's the proof?!?! We are consistently talking about that as Common Core Standards focus on showing proof with quotes and textual evidence. How do you keep students on task during discussions? How do they know if they are doing the right things or not?

Text Features - Expository Text

In history we are constantly talking about text features and while that's a typical area discussed in Language Arts, there is a clear connection to social science. We have been using this anchor chart for a few weeks now and there have been so many times that we've referenced it in class. I've often asked students, "How do you know that?" and they are noticing that information to answer the question is found in captions, sometimes the map is our tool, and even the different types of font or boldface type can clue us into information that we need. 

 I found this on Pinterest at one point, but there have been many reproductions since. It's a gem!

Proposing Prepositions

When I was in 8th grade, we had to memorize lists and lists of prepositions and we even timed ourselves and being the competitive person.... well let's just say that I still know them!!! I even rattled them off quickly for my class and yes, they were impressed. It's a good day in middle school when you can impress them. So here's the list we came up with with a few more added on. They started in alpha order and then.... well, we got off track a bit.

Are you still teaching prepositions? They serve a purpose in sentences with prepositional phrases still being on our state tests.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Roots in Rome

I teach English and History, but there are plenty of times when the two converge and the heavens open and connections in learning are made and....well, I can dream can't I?

As we were beginning out study of the Reformation I saw it as a perfect opportunity to break down a word that kids had no idea of the meaning to. Re means again. Form means to make. It was as easy as pie! We began this chart and kids added words to it that they knew and we learned a lesson in how even if we don't know the word or the meaning we can take the word parts and break it down to help us make meaning of unknown words.

Of course this skill can easily carry over to science. Redesign or retest an experiment. There are plenty of easy connections and this handy chart was perfect to add to their writer's notebooks. Enjoy!

Color Wheel for Classroom Art

This week in my exploration class we studied the color wheel and how to make different colors. Most kids have a general knowledge of mixing colors in order to make new ones but there are definitions and terms that some students might be unaware of. Primary, secondary, tertiary, and then warm and cool colors. We took a few days this week to create our own color wheels inside our art notebooks and then we began drawing what would become a watercolor. Today students will be using their watercolors to make the different colors that will fit into
their painting.

This would make a great beginning to an art class but for my class it was a great start to how to blend colors when your watercolors only give you a few options.

State Testing!!!! Oh joy....

State testing is always a downer when April or May approaches and students have to fill in ABC or D to prove what they have learned this year. Sometimes students are thrilled about the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and other times students dread coming to school for these long periods of testing.

I do my best to try and get students prepared for the test which includes pumping up their confidence and reminding them that they know the information but this test just wants them to put it on paper and prove it. In our preparation over the last few weeks we went over test taking strategies and we created this anchor chart to help them remember how to relax during the big test days. We used the word relax and maybe an acronym out of it. I found something similar online so it's not original, but what in teaching is these days?

My students seemed to use it during testing as I heard some referring to the process of elimination. Perhaps with Common Core coming down the pipeline we will no longer have bubble in test and get a more accurate measure of knowledge learned throughout the year. Wishful thinking right?


About Me

I'm a traveler, learner, and eternal explorer.