Monthly Archives: September 2012

Blog Extra

Today in class, we worked on Checkpoints again (long). If you follow the blog, here’s an extra:

Neil Gaiman is the author of cerebral–creepy–books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. If you’re in the mood for something that inspires thoughts of mist and dark, starless nights, you might enjoy a book by Neil Gaiman.

Classroom Procedures Page

Some of you were missing this for your notebook check.

Making Progress . . .

The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards require that we write often and write for different amounts of time and for different purposes. One of the ways we’ll address this is by turning some of our “quick writes” from the composition notebooks into finished pieces.

This is just another opportunity for you to get feedback on your writing!

Take one of the pieces from your composition notebook, and work on it until you’re satisfied it’s finished. This might me a short piece, and it might be a long piece. Have it self-edited and ready to turn in at the beginning of class Tuesday. If you finish the Checkpoints pre-test, you’ll have class time to work on this tomorrow.

Also, get those Reflections entries finished.

Say it isn’t so!

So Lovelies,
It looks like we have another week-ish of testing ahead of us. We just wrapped up the Practice Georgia Writing Assessment, and the County requires we complete a Checkpoints Pre-Assessment for the year, in addition to the common assessments we already have on the schedule. So, here’s what the week is looking like:

Mon–Finish Differentiated Remediation and Essay/Reflections Work Time
Tues–Take Re-Assessment for Unit One, Essays Due, Complete Modified Essay (7th)
Wed–Begin Checkpoints Pre-Assessment
Thurs–Finish Checkpoints Pre-Assessment (if necessary *fingers crossed*)
Fri–One Book Wrap Up and Assembly, In-Class Socratic Seminar (our first one for points)

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be really glad when we can play some games, do some vocab skits, start our novel (you’re going to love it), have some discussions, role play, build things, film things, and otherwise have learning experiences. 🙂 Onward!

I promised I’d post the photo of our Binder Organization thus far. Remember: We’re building our own textbooks in our binders, so everything in it should be useful for you.

Today and Upcoming Dates

Today, we (mostly) wrapped up the Practice GWA.

9/24—The second reading journal for personal reading selections is due. In 7th period, a reading bookmark is due.

9/25–The argumentative essay is due. In 7th period, we’ll work on an argumentative essay in class.

9/26–Checkpoints pre-test. Checkpoints are a county-wide initiative to give the county information about how students improve from the pre-test to the post (in December).

9/28–End of One Book and One Book Assembly

You’re Invited to Lunch!

one book luncheon form

Assessment, Assessment: The Practice Georgia Writing Assessment

Today, we began the Practice Georgia Writing Assessment. This will give us a score, so we can target writing weaknesses before our January (actual) writing assessment. We’ll mail these off where they’ll be scored by the same people who score the actual GWA.

If you want to support writing at home, here are a few things to consider:
■”Test Writing” is different from “Real Life Writing.” A student mentioned in class today that writing to a prompt doesn’t feel natural. No. It doesn’t. There is a debate in The Land of Writing Experts about this. Some believe that giving students free reign with the topic is more real-life and gives them a greater investment in their writing. Others believe that all writing has parameters, and giving students parameters helps us measure more about their writing process than giving them carte blanche would. The bottom line: High-stakes tests will probably always start with a prompt, so students need practice handling them well.

Writing is a reflection of thinking. If you read a student’s writing, you are getting an actual peek into his/her mind. Studies have shown a direct correlation between IQ and writing scores. This means, if you want to know how you (students) or your son or daughter (parents) are thinking, consider starting a back-and-forth journal. You write about your day, leave it on the coffee table, and they can respond. This might help you stay connected during Crazy Adolescence (“My parents/kids just don’t understand me!”), and more practice writing–noticing when their communications are/aren’t effective–will help improve writing.

Reading is not “just” reading, it’s crucial. Would you try to repair a car engine without first watching a master repair person do it? I wouldn’t. Published writers are (usually) writing masters. When students read, not only are they broadening their worlds, they’re peeking into the workshops of master writers. The writers they pick influence their thoughts, experiences, beliefs . . . and especially their writing. Please do not buy into the idea that reading is JUST reading. Reading is THE most valuable educational activity your child can practice. Encourage it. Require it. Make time for it. Partner with your children in picking books. Read together.

Press on, All!