Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Innovation Day 2017

On January 30th, learners were given the opportunity to spend the day pursuing a new passion or wondering. They spent the day becoming experts on their topic and created something that others could use to learn their new found knowledge. This day is built on the 20% principle employed by Google and many other companies. When a person is given the opportunity to explore, ask questions and create, motivation escalates, learning deepens, and others benefit from our growth.

Check out our storify on our Innovation Day and our Galkery Walk the following day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

6 Word Memoirs 2017

Today, we analyzed the writing of a six word memoir created by Errnest Hemingway.  Looking back at where we started our school year and where we are now, we created our own six word memoirs. Enjoy reading how we've grown so far this year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our Dot Day

Image result for the dotWe had Dot Day at our school two weeks ago, you are probably wondering what dot day is. Dot Day is where we read a book called The Dot and talk about the moral of the story. The Dot is a very interesting book about a girl who is upset that she can’t make art. So her teacher tells her to make a mark and see where it takes her. She does and she becomes a great artist. The reason we celebrate Dot Day is because, our teacher wants to show us to be creative and that great things can come out of it.

 To celebrate we did a few stations. The stations were painting a dot on a recycled, ultimate connect the dots, a “make your mark” tweet, a “make your mark” blog, sidewalk dot, and the Tagxedo dot. We even had Dot Day Cafe' full of fun dot snacks and we wore dots. All of the stations were amazingly fun!
We’re going to tell you about some of the stations. The first station was to paint a dot using lids of jars. We painted them in a way that represented who were are as unique individuals. I painted painted mine by doing the rim purple with all different colored dots in the center -GH.  I painted mine with a purple rim as well with a blueish greyish middle -MS.

Our second station was the ultimate connect the dots. We had a bunch of different options. We don't really know what they made because no one finished them because they took a lot of time. Most of us took them home to finish.

Image result for twitterThird, we did a make your mark tweet. Which means we tweeted about how we could use our unique talents to make our mark on the world. That means how we can make the world a better place. We even had college students from Birmingham Southern College tweet back to us. Then, we wrote it on our Idea Wall.

Fourth, we made a “make your mark” blog on Kidblog. This was basically our “make your mark” tweet but longer and more detailed. We had to create a specific plan to put our ideas into action and explain why we chose how we’d like to make the world a better place.

Fifth, was to create a sidewalk dot in our outdoor classroom. Using sidewalk chalk,  we went outside and create a collage of our dots. It was so pretty by the end of the day.

Sixth, we did a really cool craft project on the computer where you take all the words that describe you and make a dot shaped Tagxedo of it.

These are the stations we did, and they were so much fun! Dot Day was really fun and I wish we could do it again! I really liked the book and the positive message it sends. Dot Day was awesome!

Monday, October 3, 2016

BreakoutEDU: The Run-On Renegade and Grammar Girl

One Tuesday, we walked in and we were told we had the chance to do a BreakoutEDU. This time it was themed with the Run-On Renegade and Grammar Girl….and The Run-On Renegade was actually in our classroom trying to play out one of her dastardly deeds.  The Run-On Renegade had actually captured Grammar Girl and stolen her utility belt which contained all her superpowers. Without Grammar Girl, the world wouldn’t have been able to communicate clearly. We had to try to breakout part of Grammar Girl’s belt before the world dissolved into chaos. The clock was ticking. We only had 45 minutes to save the world.

When we entered the room, we had a newspaper story laid on top of the Breakout EDU box. This news story was about Grammar Girl and how Run-On- Renegade wanted to take over the world. Throughout the story, letters were capitalized that shouldn't have been. The letters spelled out LOOK IT UP. We then thought about it and checked the dictionaries. We found a key to one of the locks! Attached to the key was a Mystery Word puzzle. This puzzle led us to find out the letter lock combination. The word was fiend (enemy). Somewhere in the room, we found a paragraph that we read; it was called The Paragraph Protector. We answered questions about the paragraph, and after many tries figured out that was the combination to the 4-number lock! That was our last lock!

We were so excited! We just knew that we had broken out. But inside the box, we found another box with a piece of paper. On the piece of paper was a summary of Schooled with some blanks in them. We had to fill them out using proper capitalization. We were allowed to look at the book. We were also given a UV flashlight. With the UV flashlight, we could see invisible ink where some of the letters were circled. There was a number code, but when we tried that that did not work. We tried using letters and it spelled out LINKS. This puzzle was full of red herrings. We then went to our links section on our class blog. We had to click on Are you COPS? to take a quiz on grammar. We were typing as fast as we possibly could (incorrect, correct). At the end it said,¨ Way TO go. High FIVES FOR everyone.¨ The code was 2, 5, 4 (the numbers in the sentence). We rushed over to the box and put in the code. It worked! We were very excited because we broke out first and we got a piece of Grammar Girl’s superpowered belt.

BreakoutEDU is so much fun! We wonder when we’ll get to do it again.

~ K.C., T. K., E.J.

Our Lit Centers

Literacy Centers, or Lit Centers, are tasks that the students in Mrs.Ramsay's have every week. Lit centers help us learn about the topics we are doing in ELA. They are educational and help us with growing and learning. Sometimes it is partner text talks and at other times we can do blog posts on Kidblog. We have done lit centers based on our read aloud, Schooled. We have done some based on our partner text. We have different ones every week or so depending on what standards we are working towards mastering. They sometimes are graded assessments and sometimes they are for practice.  Some of them we can work with our friends, and others we work on independently. Lit centers are also really fun. This week, we are doing one where we take letter tiles and try to make as many words as we can. This helps us learn word patterns and word parts to strengthen our writing and communicating. These are just some different things that we do during lit centers.

~By L. E.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

FAQ- Grading, Retakes, and Procedures

It's that time...the eve of our first progress report. There may be several questions on your mind regarding the scores that you will see on your learner's progress reports. Here are some questions that you may have when your student brings home his/her report Friday afternoon.

What exactly does mastery of standards mean? All scores identify the level of mastery that an individual student reaches for each of the 6th grade standards. That means that as we practice with standards throughout the year, students work towards one-hundred percent mastery for each standard. Grades are not compensation for effort put forth but a communication of where he/she currently is on the learning continuum for each standard.

Where are the assignments listed for each grade? Because students are graded on standards, you will see the standard identified for each "assignment." There will also be an indicator as to the specific task, activity, or project for which a score was taken.

My student scored low on a practice assignment or assessment. Can they earn some extra credit? Learners are being graded according to their level of mastery of the 6th grade standards. Extra credit gives inaccurate data on where a child stands in their learning. However, students can continue to work towards mastery of the standards. If a student would like to take the time to reflect on their progress, complete a retake contract and make arrangements to retake an assignment during Lunch and Learn, they are welcome to do this up until 10 days before the end of a grading period. 

I have at least one Lunch and Learn session a week where I conduct mini lessons for students who feel they need additional assistance in a standard. These are in addition to the small group lessons that I conduct during class three to four days a week. Students are also given access to additional study materials that they can use at home. In case you are wondering, yes, all of these instructional supports have been available and provided for your students since the beginning of the school year. All of these avenues have been thoroughly and explicitly explained to all of my students on multiple occasions.

For our students, part of being in middle school is learning how to take responsibility for their actions. Although, I will work with all students diligently in class and encourage each one to take advantage of all the additional learning opportunities, it is ultimately each individual student's responsibility to fill out a retake contract, meet with me one-on-one, take time to relearn through the plethora of opportunities, and make arrangements to complete a retake.

(You can fin the Sixth Grade Reflect, Relearn, Retry contract here: https://goo.gl/yPhq3W. Please be aware that each individual teacher may make slight alterations to this contract and its procedure.)

How are scores determined on retakes? Students will keep the score that demonstrates the highest level of mastery. In iNow at Home, when you sign-in, you will see the scores noted for each of the attempts. However, only the highest score will be the one that counts towards a final average.

How does my learner know how to improve? For every assignment, I provided detailed feedback on how he/she can improve. In their blog posts, I will leave private comments that are only viewable to that student with specific information regarding their level of mastery and areas they may need to grow. In their Google Drive, I will leave feedback through comments. In all cases, students are also given resources and tips on how they can continue to grow in that area.

Hopefully, these have addressed any questions you may have had in regards to your learner's grades including what they can do to continue to grow. Using these procedures, my students always have an extremely successful school year filled with exponential growth...and a lot of fun along the way.