Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Newspapers flying

Today we did a team building exercise (pictures on my lindbergh website) in which I divided everyone into teams of four or five people. Each team received a section of the newspaper, copy paper, and tape. They had five minutes to plan how they would construct a structure that could cover all of their heads. They could talk during those five minutes, but could not touch the materials. Then, they got ten minutes to build it, but could not talk. It was extremely funny and a lot of fun. We learned about cooperation and teamwork and helping each other. The most creative group in each class got a special prize.

After all of that craziness, I read some short memoirs - "Being Mean" and "7th Grade" by Gary Soto (not all classes got to hear all of the stories). We talked more about how a memoir doesn't necessarily have to be completely true - the details are made up, but are true to the memory and the sense of the story.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

memoiric moments

Today I introduced the first major writing assignment - the memoir. A memoir is a story about an event or person in your life that changed you. The event must be very significant, you know, life-changing. Also, it is a story. So there should be dialogue and wonderful details to put the reader (me) "inside" the story. The embellishment is what makes a memoir more interesting than most autobiographies.

We also did the prewrite, so everyone already has 20 points toward their total.

I had fun today and I hope you guys did too!

Manic Monday

Yesterday we did many things. We finished and turned in reading autobiographies and I can't wait to read them. We also started our online discussions (hence the 50+ responses to my question about the summer). I want to thank all of you for being so patient with the mobile lab. I know it was frustrating that there were so many problems with the computers and the internet (believe me, I was very frustrated!), but you all stayed calm and didn't turn the room into mass chaos when it didn't work right at the beginning. That was the first time that lab has been used this year - so it isn't surprising there were some bugs. Good job rolling with it, guys!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One down, Thirty nine to go...

It has been a fantastic first week and I want to get started putting our
daily activities up here since that is one purpose of this blog.

Because it was the first week, we didn't do a whole lot in class. Many things were passed out including, but not limited to:
  1. agenda books
  2. school activity calendars
  3. dividers
  4. early release schedule
  5. classroom expectations
  6. class syllabus

Several things need to come back, signed...

  1. civility contract
  2. record card
  3. online discussion permission slip

We also made nameplates for your desks to aid me in learning all of your names. I read Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant. I also read "What's the worst that could happen?" by Bruce Coville from the book 13. We talked about your first writing assignment (due Monday) - a reading autobiography - and I handed out the scoring guide. That's about it. If I have forgotten anything, please comment and add to this list.

I think we are going to have a fabulous year together and I look forward to meeting all you parents on Thursday at the open house.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Only two days away! question 1

I have been hard at work getting everything ready for you guys. I am really looking forward to the new school year, but I did have a wonderful summer. I spent much of it swimming and relaxing poolside, but I also became addicted to the computer game Civilization IV. And even though I did not travel farther than Columbia, MO this year, I did have a great time.

So, now I want to ask you - What did you do this summer? What was something amazing that you saw or experienced? Did you go to a faraway land? Or witness something amazing in your own backyard? Tell me about it.