Monday, October 31, 2011

October 24 - October 27

Students have been doing an amazing job generating terms for whole group study from The Outsiders.  This week their critical searches continued.  They responded to two surveys that I sent to their email accounts.  The surveys asked them to indicate the terms that they were unsure of or having difficulty understanding.  We took the results of those surveys and created word clouds using Tagxedo.  A word cloud emphasizes terms used most frequently.  After analyzing the clouds, students were easily able to determine the terms most in need of study.  You can find the whole list at SpellingCity - a great place to practice spelling and learning new words using games, flashcards, and tests.

Chapter 9 Vocabulary

Chapter 10 Vocabulary

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 17 - October 21

As keynote speakers at the teacher in-service day, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst presented many student-centered ideas regarding reading instruction.  Two of those ideas, student-generated discussion questions and student-generated vocabulary, resonated strongly within the context of my own practice.  As a result, students have been taught how to create thoughtful discussion questions as they read.  These questions can range from looking at big ideas to concepts that they are struggling to understand.  At the same time, students are indicating the terms from each chapter that they find the most challenging.  This week we used Lino, an online bulletin board to group terms together.  The most heavily populated groups indicated words that we would study as a group.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 11 - October 14

Among many other things this week, we spent time reviewing for the vocabulary quiz.  This involved a more traditional worksheet as well as a number of interactive formats.  On Tuesday, we played charades and on Wednesday, we used an SMS voting site called Poll Everywhere.  When the site was working properly (yes, there were a few glitches), students were able to respond to questions on the SmartBoard using their cellphones, iPods, iPads, laptops or other Wi-Fi enabled devices.  Poll Everywhere displays live results, so students were able to watch as their responses tabulated on the screen.  It was amazing!  Here are two examples of the polls we used to review.  Feel free to try them out.

Create your own sms poll at Poll Everywhere

Additionally, students performed their response poems with their partners this week.  It was a great opportunity to practice public speaking as well as being a respectful audience member.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 3 - October 7

This week, students continued reading The Outsiders paying particular attention to S.E. Hinton's use of Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay".  As a group we constructed the significance of the poem as it relates to its placement in the plot, its speaker, and its listener.  Once we came to a consensus regarding the theme – the inevitability of change – students constructed their own “Nothing Gold Can Stay” response poems drawing on experiences from their own lives.  Small groups used a Change Organizer to map out their ideas regarding cycles and change.  Then, we looked carefully at Frost’s use of figurative language and sound so that our poems emulated his style and format.  Check out the photos link to see what we created.