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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


This week, we are transitioning from our nonfiction reading of Outliers, to responding to nonfiction using Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, by John Fleischman.
This book is the third book in the WEX curriculum, and yet we are not just writing in response to what we read, but we will continue to take notes in our reading journal AS we read, and also partake in close-reading activities that are in direct correlation to the Common Core Standards. This book will likely take us into the first week of March, as we dissect portions and really look closely at the author's choice of vocabulary, structure, and purpose.

This blog will not be updated until we transition out of Phineas Gage, but writing prompts and activities that can be completed at home will be posted on Edline. Be sure to check the Posterous page for activities that vary from our classroom "norm." Any questions? Please don't hesitate to ask!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Short Week

Due to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and a S.I.P. day (where LA teachers will be learning how to apply Common Core Standards to our WEX reading materials and "core" books), we have a very short week of school.

Wednesday we will start by re-fueling discussions about our passions, so students who need more guidance choosing a path for their independent projects can hopefully get their passions reignited. We will also continue with our projects and one-on-one conferences regarding individual goals. Thursday and Friday we will complete our close-reading of Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. Grammar and Root Word study this week will be a review of what we've learned so far. (We hope to begin Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science next week.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Outliers & a visitor!

Last week, and the week coming up, our LA classes are taking a glimpse into the book Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. We are doing some close-reading exercises, which align with the Common Core State Standards, along with writing about what we read. Last week we read chapter one, and this coming week into next week, we'll be reading and responding to chapter two.

We will have a visitor on Tuesday, 1/15 - Miss Julie Jergens from AHML will be coming and giving book talks to our classes and Mr. Slowinski's classes! Miss Jergens could entice a BEAR to read the books of which she speaks!!

Other points of interest coming up... Our MAP LA test was on 1/11. This is used primarily as a screener for advanced LA. Our winter MAP Reading test will be on 1/17. This is used as a check-point. It is the shortened version of the full MAP test (only 20 questions), and is not one teachers tend to look at when we're looking at data points, as it is so short. Our full 40 question test will, again, be in the spring. Please note that LA teachers do not "teach to the test." This is just another number we can use when looking at the whole picture of your child's progress. In fact, Mrs. Bingaman let me know a few weeks ago, that the high schools in the area have found that test scores do not indicate success in high school - student grades do.