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Sharing of Successes December 2006

Share your success stories for the month of December. Feel free to discuss your own successes along with the successes of your colleagues.

hbutler

In response to the data from the common assessment which showed a weakness in vocabulary, students chose one interesting word from their reading of a novel in silent sustained reading. After looking up the meaning in the dictionary, students, one at a time, reported to the class by writing the word on the board. They then read the sentence from the book after telling the name of the book and the author. The class talked about the meaning.

After several had reported with words listed on the board, we did a word sort to see any connection between meanings of the words.

Students enjoyed the activity. Besides having fun with words, they enjoyed the challenge of thinking about the relationships created by grouping the words.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 12, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

An excellent example of using the data to enhance the learning. Well Done!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 16, 2007, 12:00 am


Amy Schmader

Before the activity started, I read to the students a scenario related to suicide. We discussed the warning signs and the ways that we could help someone thinking of suicide. The students were placed in groups and were given one of the three very vague reasons as to why someone may be considering suicide. The reasons included unhappy at home, failure to achieve, and disappointment in love. The goal was to list three specific reasons related to the topic the group was given. Under each example the students had to list two healthy ways to cope with that reason. When finished, the groups placed their poster on the board under the reason given. One person from each group shared their responses to the activity with the class. In conclusion the students discussed how the three emotional needs could be related to someone considereing suicide and if one of those emotional needs is imbalanced does it make someone more susceptible. The students were excited about sharing their responses with the class. The activity worked well for me because it not only had the students thinking of the specific reasons related to suicide but how the three emotional needs are related. This activity allowed the students to be engaged in learning.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 15, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

I certainly can attest to the fact that the students were engaged in the learning activity. Sadly, it is a subject that involves teens all too often. It is most important that they become involved in the discussion. Well Done!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


ctyger

During an inclusionary math class, Ray Olson responded to Everyday Mathematics and emphasized the need for students to understand the meanings behind each operation or algorithm for successful problem solving. Ray used a hand-on approach and made a number line. He created a movable student for the students to manipulate. He modeled first, then gave the students independent practice. Then he used a student to model the following steps.
Example: 4-(-3)

1. The first number tells you where to start.
2. The operation sign (+ or -) tells you which way to face.
+ means face toward the positive side of the number line.
- means to face toward the negative side of the number line.
3. If the second number is negative (has a - sign), then you walk backwards.
Otherwise walk forward.
4. The second number tells you how many steps to walk.
5. The number where you end is the answer.

Procedures for addition/subtraction of integers on a number line tend to be reinforced by real-life situations. Students quickly moved beyond using the numberline to add/subtract integers and orally developed their own rules for solving such problems.
Try it-it's fun! Carol Tyger

[ report as inappropriate ] December 15, 2006, 12:00 am


mhall

I did the exact same thing with my eighth grade students. They didn't get into it like your seventh graders did. I am going to do this with seventh graders very soon. It is FUN!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 5, 2007, 12:00 am


Meckey

Once again, another example of getting students more involved in the learning. Excellent!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


Meckey

Another example of getting the students more involved in the learning. Excellent

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


jpresloid

I have been using the two word approach during ssr and it has really been working well for my students. In the past the students were to write a journal entry about what they have read. The problems I faced were they would complain about the writing and most would just try and copy a paragraph from the book. Now all the students have to do is write down 2 important words from what they read. They then explain what the importance is of the 2 words. The students are happy because they feel they are getting out of writing that journal entry, and I am happy because they are still providing me with information which lets me know they are reading their books.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 18, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

Jim, those two words and making your students accountable for their meaning will greatly enhance their comprehension. Good activity!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


Lisa

Just sharing again this link to the showcase blog I'm keeping for my students. Bethany in Technology did a great job helping me set it up, and the kids enjoy leaving each other comments. Teacher (and former teacher) comments are welcome too! Thanks~

http://www.clearfield.org/education/components/blog/default.php?sectiondetailid=832

Lisa B.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 18, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

Lisa, this is an excellent website. Keep up the good work! The writing talent of our youth continues to impress me.

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


mmccloskey

Our team organized a variety of activites for our fifth grade students to do during the month of December.
First, we have been reviewing geometric terms with our homeroom classes. Each homeroom, during flex time, completed a variety of paper folding activities using proper mathematical terms. This activity was called "Sandy Square". Each homeroom will also have these books read aloud: Sir Cumference and The First Round Table and Sir Cumference and The Dragon of Pi. Both books are full of geometric terms relating to the circle.
Secondly, each student started making their own Winter banners. This activity requires they measure accurately with both customary and metric measurement. As they measured their guidelines, they added wintery pictures to their banners. One student's comment was, "Thank you for allowing us to do a fun activity like this." (Makes you think about how much stress is on covering materials and getting ready for testing, that we forget the fun part we use to do as well.)
Lastly, on a day that scheduled a dance for 7th and 8th grades only, we organized a round robin day. Each class rotated to the four different teachers on our team to complete a different activity. The activities included snowflakes and similes, a story "Poinsettia Parade", making poinsettias, and Wordo using PSSA terms for both reading and math. The students were given the opportunity to do all of these activities.
Team teachers - Mrs. Aveni, Mrs. Wallace, Mr. Solomon and Mrs. McCloskey

[ report as inappropriate ] December 18, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

Extremely clever, fun, and most useful!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


bbillotte

The Physical Education classes recently completed a week on the obstacle course. Students love this and once I get over the safety issues and give a small demonstration, they stay very active. There is something for all levels of phyical ability, so everyone is having fun. It is a student centered activity with very little teacher intervention.
Also, I took pictures of the students on different parts of the course. I then put these to music and showed a video during parent visitation. This gave the parents a chance to see their kids in action and what some of the activities we do in class. I even had parents wish they could try it...do you?

[ report as inappropriate ] December 19, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

Bill, you certainly are correct with respect to the activity being student-centered. Even the students that, generally speaking, don't particularly care for P.E. enjoy this activity. It is certainly worth continuing.

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


mkanski

As the new school year began, I was thinking about the changes I might want to institute in my language arts classes. How can I improve? I thought about the writing process, and I felt that the process begins to break down when we ask sixth graders to evaluate and revise their content. Peer evaluations were useless because they did not know what to look for and therefore could not make useful suggestions for improvement. I could not find a tool that suited my purpose, so I developed one. The students needed a tool that would be specific to the writing they were doing. The questionaire had questions that could be answered in yes or no terms. For instance: Does the beginning paragraph have a topic sentence that states the main idea? Are there details that support the topic? etc. I developed questions that would follow throughout the essay. Once they had completed an essay, one that I used to assess their skills, I then chose a few essays, and we looked at them on the overhead. Using yes/no cards, each student looked at the essay and made a judgement concerning a certain question. If there was a disagreement, this led to a good discussion. We practiced evaluating the essays together. Using post it notes students could then offer suggestions for impoving the content. Later after writing a rough copy of their first major essay, they began to evaluate with a partner another student's essay. Using the yes/no boxes on the questionaire, the students had a tool to give feedback to their peers. They also used the post it notes to offer suggestions for improvement. If the author agreed with the suggestions, they would make changes. When I began conferencing with the students, I also had this to use as a basis for discussion. The students agreed that it was helpful, and it also helped them see weaknesses in their own writing.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 21, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

An outstanding example of getting the students more excited and involved in the learning process.

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


mkanski

December 22, 2006

Today. Mr. McKolosky, one of our Learning Support teachers for sixth grade, taught not only Mrs. Read's social studies class but my class as well. He gave up his plan period to do so. Mark has a friend who recently had the opportunity to visit Greece. He brought back some wonderful photographs. Mark, seeing the opportunity to use these photographs to enhance our study of Greece, brought them to class. His presentation and the lesson he taught was excellent. Mrs. Read and I both agree that he had the students right in his hands. The students used what they had learned in our classes in a discussion about what they could see in the photographs. Mark's questions helped the students apply what they had learned about Ancient Greece to a modern view of of the land. Thanks Mark! Great job!
Mrs. Kanski and Mrs. Read

[ report as inappropriate ] December 22, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

This is an excellent example of the sharing of craft knowledge to better the educational background of our students. Well Done!

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


mread

Christmas time. It's the season of giving, of spending time with family and friends, and of sending wishes of "Peace on Earth". It is the wish of "Peace on Earth" that sixth grade pursued. One of our 6th grade team members found an interesting history behind the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth", a song known and sung by many. She approached the other 6th grade teachers about sharing the song's history with the students and teaching them the song. She found a web site that actually played the song, so we could sing along with it if we so desired. Both Team B and Team R were in agreement that this was an excellent idea.

During the first and second weeks of December, FLEX class teachers shared the history of the song with their students. "Let There Be Peace on Earth" was written in 1955 by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, a husband and wife songwriting team. Their purpose for writing the song was to share their wish for world peace and what they believed every person could do to create it. Their song was first introduced to a group of 180 teenagers selected from their high schools to attend a weeklong retreat in California. These students purposely came from different cultural, economic, racial and religious backgrounds. The goal of the retreat was to create understanding and friendship through education, discussion groups and by living and working together in a camp situation. One summer night, this multitude of youth gathered atop a mountain, formed a circle by locking arms and sang this song of peace. When the retreat ended, the sentiment of this wish for peace did not remain on top of that mountain. These inspired teenagers shared this song. It didn't stop with their families, friends, churches, etc., but took flight like a dove and spread to many countries, even to the far ends of the earth in darkest Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Teachers chose a variety of ways to convey the message of peace inspired by this song. Along with sharing the history, some teachers held a discussion about peace and what we can do to help the world be more peaceful. Even though the world seems troubled right now, and there's not much we can do about that, we can carry the words of the song in our hearts and make a difference in our homes, classrooms, and our school. Some classes actually formed a circle, linked arms and sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth" just like the teenagers did in 1955. It was our hope that many students would be inspired by the words and do their best to help their world be more peaceful.

[ report as inappropriate ] December 22, 2006, 12:00 am


Meckey

Excellent interdisciplinary activity that certainly was most relevant to the time it was shared.

[ report as inappropriate ] January 15, 2007, 12:00 am


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