Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sixth Grade Tales has moved!

Good afternoon blogger friends! I hope you will join me at my new blog, Tales of a Carolina girl.  Just click the button below to take you there.  I am no longer teaching sixth grade so I have changed my blog name.  Also, don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin! I look forward to really getting back into blogging mode this summer and learn a lot from other great teachers.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More changes

 Summer is finally here!  I hate I didn't post a lot at the end of the school year but I had A LOT going on.  The major thing was that I got a new job teaching behavior support at an elementary school next year!  I'm super excited for this transfer in positions, as my master's degree is in emotional and behavioral disorders.      As a behavior support teacher, my job will include teaching students with behavior disorders in my own classroom and also working on behavior plans within the general classroom.
  With this big change in jobs I plan on soon renaming and changing my blog.  I would LOVE some ideas for what to name the blog, so please feel free to comment your suggestions. 

   To wrap up the end of teaching sixth grade I am attaching some pictures of the end of the year with my students.  I can not say enough how blessed I was this year to have such great students.  I will miss them all! 

 The last week of school we had a camp day.  We told ghost stories, made smores and played camp games.

Making smores on camp day

Eating smores while watching Ghostbusters!

Class kickball was a huge hit!

This would have been my cheerleading squad for the next school year.  The next coach will be very lucky to get to work with these girls.

My empty classroom.  It makes me sad to see this but I am excited for the next adventure in my teaching journey!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Exciting News!

   It's been a while since I've had a chance to post which is sad because I've taken a lot of pictures of things that my students have been doing recently.  A few weeks ago I became a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.  I'm super excited about this new side job so I've been working hard on getting everything set up.  I'd love for you to join me as I get started on this new adventure, by liking my business facebook page. Right now I have a giveaway going on for a free mascara! All you have to do is like and share my page for a entry into the drawing. If your friends like my page as well, you will get extra entries!

Now to catch you up with what's been going on in my classroom....

We had field day earlier in May.  Our whole team ordered matching shirts which turned out great. My class won 3rd place overall so I was very happy.  We all had a blast!

One really fun activity I did in language arts was comparing genres.  In social studies we were studying the middle ages and the black death so we looked at a play and an article.  I then drew a venn diagram on the board and talked about how the mood and tone of each piece was different. My students always love acting out plays.

In social studies I offered an extra credit project where students had to build their own kingdom.  I was so proud at how elaborate my students got with their castles.

As they presented their castles they had to talk about the laws they created for their kingdom and what each person living on the manor did for a living.

This student was so creative. She used clay, popsicle sticks, cardboard, felt and many other things!

Next week is the last week of teaching before EOG's begin.  It's going to be crunch time but I'm excited to see how my students do this year.  They have been a great group of kids! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ancient Rome & Nonfiction

    I wish I would have taken more pictures during my ancient Rome unit.  I feel like at this time of year I am rushing to finish getting everything taught in social studies.  One thing I really enjoyed with ancient Rome was how much I constantly reviewed.  By the end of the unit, my students could tell the whole story of ancient Rome from the ages of the Kings to the fall of the empire.  I would review with vocabulary on whiteboards and also by telling the story of Rome and throwing a ball for a student to catch and fill in the missing word to the story.
    When teaching Julius Ceasar my class did a fun play.  I also showed the horrible history videos.  If you haven't seen those, you should definitely check them out.

    In Language Arts my students turned in their non-fiction book projects this week.  They had to read a non-fiction book and then make a cereal project out of it.  Their cereal had to include a prize on the inside, a summary on the back and a description of the book on the front to turn their book into a cereal.  I had some really creative projects and they really seemed to enjoy sharing their boxes with each other.

   Next up is the Middle Ages in social studies and reviewing for EOG's in language arts! Luckily a much needed Spring Break starts Friday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's working lately

    It is a new rotation at my school and with a new rotation schedule I have started to try some new things in my classroom.  One thing I have done is constant review of key words we are studying.  Every day we start the class period with a whiteboard game.  I call out a definition and they write the word on their whiteboard.  Sometimes we play the first person to 10 words correct wins, or they will just try to beat a peer in the room. I can tell this repetitive review is really helping my students and they look forward to it! 

   Another change this rotation has been what I do during what we call connections time.  This is the last 20  minutes of the school day where we are supposed to do some type of remediation.  I have grouped my students into groups based on what they need the most help with.  There is a group for vocabulary, comprehending non-fiction, comprehending fiction and even a phonics group. I have advanced students helping in each group and I work with the lowest group.  Everyday they know where to sit and what to get out, they begin working and usually do pretty well on their own.  I've found this to be a great way to utilize the mere 20 minutes we get for remediation.  Before I was just playing the news, so I find this much more beneficial. 

   In one of my language arts classes we are reading the novel, Tuck Everlasting.  We read most of it together and then have an activity to do with what we read.  During the activity students have a group to sit with and discuss questions or a mini-project with.  This has been working great because when I say move students know exactly where to sit and what to begin working on. At first I thought the book would be too hard for class but now it almost seems too easy.  It is a great book to use to review fictional story elements.

   Overall what I've learned lately is the importance of structure.  When my students know where to sit, what to get out before I say go they get so much more work done. Even in language arts I've made sure to give students something to look forward while they are doing independent reading.  Just having a consistent routine helps them stay much more focused.  It seems so simple but it's something I wasn't doing as well before now. 

   What has been working well for you lately? It's spring let's think positive! 


Monday, March 17, 2014

What I've been up to lately

I haven't posted much lately so I thought I would do a recap most of some things I've been up to so far in March.

1. Surviving all the weather days.

This year we have already had 15 or more days that school has been out, delayed or with an early release.  About a week ago our power went out for a couple of days.  Here is a picture of what my mom and I made for lunch using the fireplace.

2. Jack graduated puppy school

My sweet puppy has learned his manners and graduated puppy school.  I'm proud to say he can pretty consistently do sit, down, stay, leave it and walk on a leash.  We are still working on coming when called and drop it but he will get there.

3.  Lots of running

In April I am going to run my first 5k for the year.  I've been going to the gym about every other day and running.  It feels great to get into better shape.  Now I'm ready to buy some new running shows.

4. Trying out some new foods

This past Saturday I had an Irish meal for St. Patricks day.  It was corned lamb, tator tots and some kind of special bread.  The next day I made my own sweet potato fries which were pretty good, except I need to figure out how to make them a little more crispy.

5. Reading

I have really gotten into the Divergent series. I'm currently on the last book of the series.  It is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Any suggestions on what I should read next?

6.  Catching up on my shows

I have really gotten into watching Nashville and The Following.  If you haven't ever watched Nashville and you are a country music fan then I highly recommend it.  Here is one of my favorite songs from the show.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Literature Circles

   One of the best things I've done with my AIG class this year has been literature circles. I bought some popular novels through Scholastic to use for the circles.  I tried to keep them all science-fiction related so I used Hunger Games, Matched, Divergent, Bar Code Tattoo and Search for Delicious.  To get started I had all my students read a summary for each of the books and select their top three choices.  I then grouped students based on their choices and reading ability. I spent a couple of days introducing literature circles and they could not wait to start their books!
     Each group was given a blank calendar and they had 3 weeks to finish reading their books.  It was up to the group to determine how many chapters they would read a night so that they were finished in times.  Groups would discuss every other day.  For example, I would have the Hunger Games and Matched groups discuss on Monday and the other groups of Tuesday, then it was back to Hunger Games and Matched on Wednesday.
   My daily schedule during literature circles always went like this: 15 minute mini-lesson, 30 minutes for the different group discussion (each group usually discussed for 10 or 15 minutes), 15 minutes for everyone to write in their journal and 10 minutes to review the mini-lesson as a class.
    Mini lessons would vary based on what I saw they needed when I met with their group. I started off with mini-lessons such as asking good questions during discussions and writing a good journal entry.  Once students got into the book we had lessons on theme, point of view and other story elements.  At the end of every class students were required to relate the mini-lesson to what they had been reading about.
    I was able to get several grades for literature circles.  I had rubrics for their discussions and journal entries that I averaged together.  I also had questions to go with each novel that I collected.  After the novels were finished everyone took a vocabulary quiz on their novel and then had a few days to work on a final project with their group.  Below is a picture of the rubrics I used for discussions and journal entries.

   For the final novel project groups were able to be creative on how they wanted to present what they learned as long as it was creative and showed they understood the plot, characters and setting of the story.   Groups came up with their own ideas and came up with creating an Imovie, skit, clay model and even a board game.

Here is project showing the scene of Rue's death in The Hunger Games.

This project shows a plot summary of The Search for Delicious and is also a board game.

   What I loved the most about literature circles was that students were motivated to stay up with their reading.  They knew they would be graded on if they contributed to their groups discussion.  They also were excited to get to discuss their books with their groups. At the end of the unit they were asking me if they could read the sequels of the books with their groups.
    I hope to post some more pictures of things that went on during literature circles soon!

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