Monday, September 29, 2014

SRC Check-In

Hello, students and parents, and Happy Monday!

Just a reminder to students and parents to STAY ON TOP OF YOUR SRC reading!  Not doing your SRCs is a very easy way to sabotage your language arts grade, and I don't want that to happen to any of my students because you're all way better than that!  If you're having trouble or concerns of any sort about this, please come and see me.  I've just entered grades for the second SRC of the marking period, and those students who haven't submitted either of them at this point are looking at a very low grade right now.  Please be sure to submit ASAP!  I also received three alternate assessments today with no names on them--if one of them is yours, please identify yourself tomorrow so that I can give you a grade.

See y'all tomorrow!
Miss Whitman

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hello there, my dears!

A few reminders for tomorrow....

1. Your writing notebooks are due for a weekly grade, and should be left in the blue bin before the end of the day.

2. Your reading binders are also due for a weekly grade, and should be left along the window sill in our classroom before the end of the day.  Remember that I'll be grading the binders based on organization, notes, and reflections on your independent reading

3. Your second SRC of the marking period is due.  You may turn in an alternative assessment or take a ten-question quiz on one of the school computers.  All students have now had the opportunity during class to take their SRC quizzes.  If you plan on taking one and still haven't done so, you are responsible for finding time to take it tomorrow--either during advisory or before/after school.  If you need another copy of the Alternative Assessments option list, you can find it here.

I'll see all of you tomorrow.  Happy Almost Friday!!!
Miss Whitman

P.S. I know that I was talking to one call (my D/G "do-gooders," I think) about personality inventories and the Myers Briggs test.  If you were interested in finding out your Myers Briggs typology, you can take a free quiz here.  (I'm an ESFJ).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Writers' Notebooks

Hi there, students and parents,

Just a quick note for those of you who may have been unhappy with your current Writing Workshop grades in Genesis...don't fret quite yet!

Some students did a GREAT job on their first Friday notebook check, but others were missing some very important items that affected their grades.  Some of the most common issues were...

  1. Forgetting to put the date above ALL entries in your notebooks--anything you write on any given day should have the date at the top!
  2. Writing insufficient notes, or writing no notes at all.  Every time we have a mini lesson in class, you should be writing down notes on what is most important in the BACK of your notebook!  These notes should be written in a way that is most useful to you!  If you want to review it, you can access the (fabulously fascinating) Powerpoint from this week's lesson on note taking and retention HERE.
  3. Not writing ENOUGH.  While I am looking more for quality than quantity when it comes to your writing, I do expect that you are writing at least a FAIR amount during our independent writing sessions.  When I open a notebook and see little or nothing written on a particular day when we had class, I am concerned, and it will affect your grade.
  4. Sloppiness and disorganization.  There were a small number of cases this past week when I could barely read a student's handwriting, or where a student's notebook was not organized properly (mini lesson notes in the back, all other writing in the front).  Please be sure that you're keeping your notebook organized.  It will make your life--and mine--much easier!
Please keep these issues in mind so that next week, your writing notebook grade goes soaring upward!  Remember--every student in my class is better than adequate, and your notebook should reflect that!

Looking forward to giving out some high scores next week!
Miss Whitman

P.S. Parents who may be reading, I would recommend that you also check out the Powerpoint on note taking (link included above under item two).  There are some very interesting tidbits about the importance of teaching others, and your child should be able to tell you all the intriguing details after today's (or, for some students, tomorrow's) lesson!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Due Date Update

Hi all!

Just a quick announcement--I am postponing the due date for the second SRC of the marking period.  Originally, it was to be turned in tomorrow, but it will now be due on FRIDAY 9/26.

Hopefully this will provide the extra bit of time necessary to finish your current independent reading books and complete your assessments.  I will be bringing students to the library later this week to take the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI), and during this time you will also be able to take SRC quizzes if you need to.

Thanks!  Feel free to e-mail if you have questions,
Miss Whitman

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unpack Your Adjectives

Just in case you liked this song so much that you want to listen to it again and again, here's the link!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homework...and a funny

Hi there all!

Just a reminder that all classes now have homework for Writing Workshop due either tomorrow or Friday (whenever your WW section meets next).

Overall, I've been very pleased with what I've seen happening in our Writing Workshop sessions.  Remember, though, that during independent writing time, you need to be writing independently.  I know it's tempting to just tell your peers about all of your story ideas instead of writing them down, but I can't assess your progress when I can't see it on the page.  For that reason, I ask that you please stay focused on your OWN writing during writing time!

Looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow.  Until then, here's a bit of humor for your Wednesday...


Reblogging cuz I love it.

Lyrics to I like big books and I cannot lie. Hilarious!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homework for 9/16/14

Hi there, everyone!  Happy Tuesday.

Just a homework reminder for my Writers' Workshop A students.  Tonight, you are to look at either a newspaper, a magazine, or a blog (or a combination of these) and come up with as many possible story ideas as possible.  Look at things going on in the world and see if you can think of a creative way to fictionalize them.

For example, I came across an article on entitled "It's back to class, and less sleep, for many high schoolers."  I might come up with an idea for a piece of realistic fiction featuring a student who decides to fight to get her high school to start in the afternoon instead of the morning.  Maybe she'll start a big movement at the school and there will be a huge student vs. administration debate that changes school hours all over the state!

I challenge you to come up with as many ideas as possible!  I expect to see this list in your writing notebook, with the date of completion (tonight, 9/16) when I check it at the end of the week.  I'll walk around and check during the next class session as well.

Miss Whitman

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Wisdom from Honest Abe...

More 6-Word Memoirs

Here are a few more six-word memoirs to check out...

Homework for 9/15

Any students who were not prepared to organize their reading binders today in class should please do so and have them ready to go tomorrow.  There should be five sections in the binder, and they should have the following labels:

1. Class Reads
2. Independent Reading
3. Mini-Lessons
4. Annotations
5. Friday Letters

I will be checking for the organization of these binders on Friday, and it WILL count toward your language arts class grade.  This is an easy way to get a 100% added to your marking period average!

Thank you!
Miss Whitman

Martin Seligman and Positive Psychology

This morning, the students in my Period D class talked briefly about the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Positive Psychology, where the renowned Dr. Martin Seligman is a leading researcher in the field.  We talked about how we can become happier simply by choosing to be happy, and following the "fake it till you make it" plan!  Some students expressed interest in learning more, so here is a link to the Center for Positive Psychology, where you can read about Seligman's research as well as take an inventory to determine your happiness quotient! :-)

Have fun!
Miss Whitman

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Summer Reading SRCs

Hello there, students and parents!  I hope that all of you had a restful weekend.

I just wanted to quell any concerns that might have arisen regarding the summer SRC quizzes, which were supposed to take place this past Friday.  Most students were able to successfully log into the system and take their quizzes, but for a few, there were technical complications or password issues.  If this is you (or your child), fret not!  I will be sure to allow the time necessary to rectify the issue, and your grade will not be affected.  Students, I'll speak to you this week regarding when we can arrange for you to take your quizzes if you haven't already.

Sorry for the inconvenience--technology is always a bit of a struggle during the first few weeks of the school year.

See y'all tomorrow!
Miss Whitman

Monday, September 8, 2014

6-Word Memoirs...

Today I challenged my students to create memoirs that were only six words long.  I asked them to be very deliberate about the words they chose, and to come up with a statement that expressed who they were.  Here are a few of their creations...

Yes, I know my students are awesome.  :-)

Happy Tuesday, wonderful students and parents,

I'm so excited for the year ahead in Seventh Grade Language Arts and Writing Workshop!  I hope that you are too,  This week, we'll be giving some personality to our writers' notebooks, as well as organizing our reading binders and our Word of the Day cards.  I hope that by getting all of these organizational tasks completed now, we can be more efficient about learning throughout the remainder of the year.

Don't forget that we'll be visiting the computer lab this week for students to take the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) and their summer reading quizzes (SRC).  Also, remember to bring in any decorative items that you may want to use to personalize your writers' notebooks.

Also, parents, if you happen to find a great deal on hand sanitizer and want to send in a bottle for our classroom, it's always appreciated as cold season approaches!

Looking forward to the rest of the week!

Lots of love,
Miss Whitman

Just a reminder of the most important rule of all...

Be Nice

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homework 9/4

Happy First Day of School, all!  It was truly a joy to meet all of my students today, and I know we have a great year ahead of us, full of great books and beautiful words!

For tonight's homework, students are to review the class syllabus with their parent(s)/guardian(s), and return the signed lower portion of the third page by tomorrow.  Students have also been asked to sign up for Remind, our class text messaging service, as well as follow the class website (where you're reading this post as we speak!).

Looking forward to tomorrow!
Miss Whitman