Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never Give Up

We use our 6th hour for Grad Prep - or a Reading Class that runs opposite our music program.  How I wish all of our students had an extra class for reading everyday, but I get our seventh grade every two weeks and then, switch with their Math teacher, and get the 8th grade for two weeks.  During those two weeks, I rotate standards. 

Monday is Main Idea Monday. We focus on the big picture with details to support it.

Tuesday is Time Line Tuesday.  We look at material and comment on how it applies to our own lives.

Wednesday is Wordy Wednesday.  We study vocab.

Thursday is ummm well... I haven't thought of a cool name for that, but we take a story and make it into a poem or take a poem and write a summary - we take the basic meaning behind the work and re-create it into a different form.

Friday is Opine Friday.  We study Author's point of View and then, express our own ideas!

Today, of course was Timeline Tuesday.  We read an article about the invention of water skiing.  Ralph Samuelson invented water skiing in Minnesota at Lake Pepin.  He struggled and struggled to achieve his dream and never let go of his idea.  I thought that this was a great message for seventh graders.  I paired it with this youtube video.

While reading the students' timelines, I found that there are a lot of dreams out there.  Kids wanting to do well in the world.  They want to be nurses, mechanics, teachers, and motor cross racers. What I worry about most are those kids who don't know how to dream. 

"Why dream?  Nothing good comes of it anyways...."

"Don't give up - " I whisper and pat their arm.  "Your assignment is to dream..."

Now, how do I grade that?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why didn't I do it sooner?

This week, I started a twitter feed for my class.  All I can think of is "Why didn't I do this sooner?"   Seventh Graders were reading an excerpt from Into Thin Air by Jon Krakuer.  They were fascinated by Krakauer's account of Mount Everest.  They started asking questions about what I knew about Mount Everest.  I didn't know much.

Then, I remembered Flat Stanley.  A few years ago, Belden had taken Allie O's Flat Stanley with him to the Taj Mahal and ta daaaaa  Mount Everest. I had thought about shooting him an e-mail or texting him but at the spur of the moment, I decided to tweet him. 

The kids had a bunch of questions for him.  When he didn't answer the questions right away, I explained that he was at work.  He would probably tweet on his lunch break. Which he did, and I pointed out the next day.

And at that moment, I realized my class needed its own twitter account.  We would ask the questions we needed, and we would shout out to the world our morsels of wisdom.  I would put up homework reminders and use "Tweets of the Day" as journal prompts.

And I just wonder, "Why didn't I do this sooner?"