I was very excited to introduce this new bulletin board in my room. Each of my 126 students got their own spot on the train, and I provided post-its and a set of guidelines.
It took only 4 DAYS to fill the train. Kids were flocking to my room to fill it out, including students I don’t even have in class! They were thrilled. I especially loved watching the more shy or quiet students meander by and slyly try to check out their spot, and then watch their face light up when they realize someone left them a compliment. It was the highlight of my year!
Below are some of my favorite entries on the train:
Obviously we need to work on your/you’re, but what a fun tradition! I plan to leave it up for 2 weeks, then let them take home their post-its. Then we will clear the board and start all over again!
Did you survive the Blood Moon? Did you know that Mercury is in Retrograde (whatever that means…)? It’s that time of year for things to start getting spooooooky! Thankfully ::knockonwood:: my students have been great, and we haven’t had any catastrophes during Week 6! Below, I share some highlights of the week:
1. Bullying Awareness – October is Bullying Awareness month. On Monday the 6th, we had a ‘Blue Out’ to bring awareness. We also had a PBIS lesson in which we watched this video and discussed the impact of our actions (positive and negative). Our students have signed a pledge to stop bullying, and the pledges have completely covered our walls in positivity and inspiration!
2. Contest Winners – This week, our Guess the Reader Winners received their self-selected book prizes. Oh the looks on their faces (which you can’t see), when I handed them a brand new book to keep! They were very happy campers 🙂
3. Google Doc Editing – Something I am doing this year that I simply LOVE is using Google Docs for student writing assignments. They simply share it with me, and we can edit it as we go. No more waiting to hand it in and get feedback – the students get feedback right away while they are in the writing process. This also cuts down on saving, emailing, and creating new files – who needs all that? The students love this and it’s so fantastic. I could just kiss these iPads! (But I won’t. Ew, germs).
4. Fall Colors – My husband is a pilot, and we spent our Sunday morning flying around Southeast Wisconsin to enjoy the beautiful fall colors. They are not quite at their peak yet, but it was so enjoyable nonetheless.
5. What I’m Reading – I’m almost done with Birthmarked, and I’ve already got the next book, Prized, in my queue ready to go. Hopelessly addicted! All I can say is that it’s all about the suspense – I feel so left in the dark, and I’m so curious to figure out what’s going on here. Great series!
On an unrelated, entirely personal note, I’ve started running to prepare for the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago on November 9th (one month away, ack!). I’m so anxious about this and I am training very hard. At my current pace, it will take me 2.5 hours to finish the 15K; I don’t really care, as long as I actually finish. With my new shoes I just purchased, I can run 4 miles without feeling too terrible. I hope I can build up enough endurance and stamina by then!
Happy Week 2! These first few weeks back to school are always the longest and most challenging, and I feel completely wiped out this week. We had open house on Wednesday, and I met a lot of wonderful parents. I can’t wait until tomorrow morning so I can sleep in and finally catch up on my overflowing inbox! Here are the highlights from week 2:
1. Guess the Reader– I’m working on a fun new bulletin board! Check back next week to see the final product.
2. Identity Pie Graph Activity – As an opening activity for our unit on Identity, my students created pie graphs to represent the various elements that impact their own identities. This is a great activity to learn more about your students and to get them talking!
3. Sea World Controversy / Practicing Argumentation – In Social Studies this week, we read various articles and watched youtube videos both in support of Sea World as well as condemning. We practiced writing claims and finding supporting evidence as well as working in groups and initiating collaborative discussions. In my opinion, this is a perfect controversial issue to use in your classroom because there are strong points on both sides of the argument. Sea World does a lot of critically important work in protection, education, and preservation. We watched the trailer to Blackfish as part of our investigation, and I have to tell you – the room was completely silent. After the clip ended, there was an audible “gasp” in the room, and I know my students were emotionally impacted. I watch it and feel like I got punched in the gut. The next day, several students told me they went straight home and watched the entire movie. This topic clearly got their attention.
4. Dissertation Bound – I completed my doctorate in June, but it takes several months to get your dissertation professionally bound. I got the call and went to pick it up from my university library. It is HUGE! Glad I brought my husband along to help me carry it!
5. Paleo Foods this Week – I received my copy of Meals Made Simple in the mail, and I’m in LOVE! I’ve been cooking exclusively from this cookbook this week, and I’m absolutely loving everything. Here we have Mexican Chicken Soup, Cumin-Garlic Summer Squash, Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies 2.0, Pumpkin Bread, Chicken and Rice Casserole and – my own recipe – frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites (a great summer treat).
I set up a new interactive bulletin board today that I am very excited to start in the fall! The idea came from the ‘Life is Better Messy Anyway‘ blog. The Reading Graffiti Board is an interactive board in which each student can post one quote per book that they read. This encourages them to make very thoughtful decisions about THE BEST quote from their book, since they must choose only one. I can see a lot of my students getting very excited to write on the wall deface the classroom. 8th graders think they are so bad 😉
I am also looking forward to using this opportunity to teach my students how to correctly quote a source. I will require the following:
Copy the sentence(s) exactly as they are found in the book
Put “quotes” around the entire sentence/passage
Cite the author and the title of the book
I bought 2 silver sharpies, which I will be keeping in my desk. Students will have to have their quote pre-approved first, and I think this will help eliminate any possible shenanigans. If time permits within the class period, I’d love to invite students to read their quotes out loud and share why they chose it as the best quote. I will encourage students to choose quotes that are though-provoking, dramatic, interesting, and rich with word choice and imagery.
In addition to encouraging students to reflect and share their own reading, I hope this is an inspiration to other students who are looking for the next good book to read. I can just see students crowding around the board, reading a really juicy quote, and thinking, “Hey – I’d love to read that!”
To set the example, I started by adding the very first quote. It is from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
If you are interested in the Reading Graffiti banner, you can download it for free here: