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!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Currently March

I'm so thankful that it is March, mainly because that means Spring is near!  I'm linking up to Farley for this month's currently.

Listening: In the background right now is the Carolina/Notre Dame basketball game.  I am not a Carolina fan at all.

Loving: I have the sweetest students this year and I am so thankful to go to work everyday to teach them. They actually want to learn and try really hard. I will really miss this group of kids at the end of the year. 

Thinking: I'm finishing up nonfiction this week so I need to figure out what fiction books I want to start teaching next week. I'm thinking about ordering a set of books from Scholastic with my bonus points.

Wanting:  Today students went home early because of a wintry mix. Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees.  This crazy weather change is making me really want summertime to get here.  I can't wait to lay out and soak up the sun everyday.

Needing: I will be going to Minnesota in May for a mission trip staff retreat. I need to buy my ticket to get there soon, but I keep thinking I might find a cheaper price.  I should probably stop procrastinating though because I'm guessing the prices are going to start getting higher.

???: So this a new game this month, where I have posted the answer and you try to guess what the question is. Take a guess for my stay, ok answer then post it as a comment. 

It is time for my Monday night tv shows to come on.  Have a great week and don't forget to link up to this month's currently. 

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