This blog will be the center of all we do in room 239. Main posts will be by Mrs. Kirr, explaining what we're doing in class, blog posts will be done by each student, and students will help write the Genius Hour blog posts to share what we're learning and producing independently.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Global Read Aloud

Beginning October 1st, our class will be participating in the Global Read Aloud Project! We will be reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (a fantasy narrative!) and sharing our thinking about the book with other classrooms from across the world. We will be connecting on a more frequent basis with classrooms in British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada! How's that for living up to the district mission statement of fostering responsible, caring citizens in a global community? ;-)

We will be using two primary forms of electronic communication - Edmodo and Kidblog. Students will share questions, answers, and thinking informally and formally, on two safe social learning networks designed specifically for classrooms. Students are not able to join groups unless they have been given a code, so only those teachers who have connected with me and shared our code can join our discussion group. In addition, we'll be holding Skype sessions to discuss the book as a class and share activities/projects on which we are working.

Mrs. Kirr is ecstatic about this project and the learning ahead!

Other things going on this coming week...
Monday - Genius Hour - our first grade for independent reading comes from the students themselves
Tuesday - How to extract information from articles, and stake a claim for their social studies monument
Wednesday - Review/reflection of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Thursday - The Cardboard Challenge!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This past week, we dove into Maya Angelou's "Sister Flowers," encountering our first challenging text of the year. Students recognized superb narrative writing in her story, and hopefully will be inspired to create more writing such as hers when we write in class. We did write two days this past week, and were able to share each of those days, and on Friday as well.

One thing we started this week (and will continue next week) was blogging about our community. Students were given one of four subjects (school, suburbs, economy, activities), and began to blog. We will be sharing our finalized blog posts with our Skype friends in Granville, IA, and will use them to share with other students around the globe when we connect.

Next week, we will continue to have Genius Hour on Monday (students are beginning to create their own goals for our 1-1 conferences!), and two days of narrative writing, along with two days of reading.  We will be finishing Wonder (by R.J. Palacio) this coming week as well. Hopefully, our blog posts will be edited for content, grammar, and voice this week, so we can share them soon.

Coming up...
     * Culture blog post editing
     * Read each night (of course!)
     * Whatever writing or analyzing of reading done in class should be finished at home

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The week in review:
1.  This past week we enjoyed Genius Hour as one student created a zip line IN CLASS! He'd read a book about gravity, and this was how he chose to share it. We had multiple students create blog posts about the books they enjoyed, and a few who decided to give book talks about books they finished. Authentic sharing at it's best!
2.  We then began our narrative writing unit with two prompts, and many students willing to share.
3.  In addition, we had a paper blogging activity, where we learned the purpose of blogging and commenting, and as a class, we commented on 5th grade blogs from Lake Zurich, IL.
4.  Another classroom connection we made was to a tiny class of 7th graders in Granville, IA. What a culture shock to both schools when we Skyped with them! Afterwards, we had a mini celebration for International Dot Day.

A look at the week ahead...
Monday - Genius Hour
Tuesday & Wednesday - Narrative writing and writing about our school for our Iowa friends (We have the laptops for these two days!)
Thursday & Friday - Reading, using our journals, and learning how to reflect and grade our reading skills

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What a busy week we had last week! Our first Genius Hour, a visit from the Author of Bystander, practicing how to use our readers' notebooks, starting our blogs (thanks to Mr. J.), and creating our bulletin board. Phew!

This coming week, we are once again going to have Genius Hour the first day. During this time, we'll see two more inspirational videos, and then Mrs. Kirr will have one-on-one conferences with students she didn't see last week. On Tuesday, we'll be practicing in our reader's notebooks again, and begin narrative writing. On Wednesday, we'll practice blogging on paper before we really get into our Kidblogs. Thursday, we'll write more narrative writing, and then get ready for our first classroom Skype call the next day. Friday, we'll start with a Skype call to an 8th grade classroom (block 2/3) or 7th grade classroom (5/6 and 8/10). We'll be talking about the book we've been reading aloud - Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, as those classes are reading it aloud, too! We'll also be celebrating International Dot Day this Friday. First we'll read The Dot by Peter Reynolds, then try to make our own mark in some fashion, or recognize those of others!

Remember, homework every day is to read for at least 20 min. Here's a preview of any additional work, in a simple format...

Monday - You'll need your book. Homework will be to write 1 to 2 paragraphs about something you are passionate about... something you could do all day, every day, and not even realize time had passed. It could be your favorite sport or hobby, or a topic that's of particular importance to you. Rough draft due Wednesday. Blogging and commenting contract is also due on Wednesday.

Tuesday - We should finish our work in class. Remember to read!

Wednesday - You'll need your 1 to 2 paragraph rough draft. We'll be reading each others' "blogs," and learning how to comment on them, as well. Remember to read for at least 20 min.

Thursday - Be thinking of what questions you would like to ask another class about Wonder.

Friday - Come with questions for our Skype session!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What a first week of school in LA/LIT!

Genius Hour was introduced on Monday, we learned how to use our reader notebooks, and continued to build connections by reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio and creating reflections of Bystander to hang throughout the hallways at TMS for when James Preller comes to visit.

We were able to get our LMC orientation and Mr. Goldstein came to help inspire us to read about our passions, or even start a trend by reading a brand new book and spreading the word about it.

Next week, we'll be visited by James Preller, we will set up our blogs, we will begin writing, and we'll start off the week with Genius Hour, as will become the norm. If you haven't yet completed the Interest Survey, please click on it now!