Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Trailer and Scanner Collage Book Project Rubrics

We are currently working on book projects which will have students showing evidence of mastery of multiple ELA standards. The honors classes, along with students from Hueytown Middle School, are creating a collection of Book Trailers to recommend and promote reading in both schools. The on-level, sixth grade class is creating Scanner Collage Book Projects (some examples can be seen here: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3.

In our class, the students create the rubric and design the projects with Mrs. Ramsay's help.

Here is the rubric for the Book Trailer project and the Scanner Collage project.

Friday, September 20, 2013

FYI- Progress Reports, Grading, and Projects

Here are a few reminders regarding grades, projects, and progress reports:

  • Please take a minute to review my re-take and re-do policy.
  • Each grade does not have the same weight. Please see our class syllabus for details.
  • Any tests that need to be made-up or re-done, can be done on any Friday up until 10 days before the end of the grading period.
  • Please sign progress reports and return them to school on Monday.
  • With my guidance, all class projects are student-designed and assessed by a student-created rubric. All students have a copy of these rubrics. This practice ensures that students have ownership of their learning.
  • A majority of work on projects will take place within the classroom with my supervision and guidance. I will regularly meet with each student one-on-one to answer questions and provide the support that he/she may need.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dot Day 2013

On Monday, September 16th, we celebrated International Dot Day along with 1.2 million other people from 82 different countries. Dot Day is about figuring out how you are going to make your mark on the world. Making your mark on the world is what you are going to do to make people  remember you and make the world a better place.

We did lots of fun activities that showed people how we are going to make our mark on the world. We read the book that started it all,  The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The book is about a girl who thinks that she can't draw, but her art teacher tells her she needs to just try. The girl, Vashti, draws a dot. The teacher then tells her to sign it. The dot becomes a big hit and the girl encourages others to try too. Even though the book is called The Dot, it's not really about literal dots. It is about finding out who you are, trying new things, and encouraging others to share what is special inside each of us to make a difference in the world.

After reading and discussing the book, we did our Dot Day stations. One stations was a Tagxedo ''me dots." A Tagxedo is a word cloud. In Tagxedo, we typed 30 words that describe us and our name three times. Then, the computer would put all of the words into a dot shaped Tagxedo.

Next, we did personalized dots. Our personalized dots (recycled jar lids) that later become unique magnet that were abstract representations of ourselves. That is why we had to bring the metal jar lid in.  The dots had to represent us.

We also blogged on KidBlog.  In the blogs, we had to blog about Dot Day and how we want to make our mark on the world. We all had great ideas on how we could begin making a difference now.

Next, was dot to dot which is when we did the activity called dot to dot. It is lots of dots that are numbered and we had to draw lines from number to number.  Some were even no-dot, dot-to-dots. They were very challenging. 

Also, we wrote on the wall how we are going to make our mark. We wrote on the wall that had Idea Paint, of course. Last but not least, we had our Dot Day Café. At the Dot Day Café we had dots, skittles, and smarties. They were all shaped like dots. It was delicious!!!!!!!

Well, that was pretty much dot day. We learned about how we are going to make our mark on the world, that Dot Day is an international holiday (not one that Mrs. Ramsay made up). We learned that we all have different personalities that we should be proud of.  Well,  I need to go and have some more fun in class. (I know, right? Fun in class) Blog you later. 

Make sure that you check out the awesome, dot-tastic" slideshow below.   ~SC and TD  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Retake and Re-dos Policy

As I am sure that you are aware, Rock Quarry Middle School is moving towards Standards Based Grading. My grading percentages and retakes-redos policy was mentioned on my syllabus.  However, I wanted to take this opportunity to make you aware of some of the specifics.

In order for students to achieve the highest level of mastery, they may take the opportunity to retake or re-do an assessment on a standard. Assessments include projects, products, quizzes, and tests. Any of these may be re-done or retaken by the student. The highest level of achieved on this work by the student will be the grade counted in a student's total average. However, when you visit iNow at Home, you will see all of your student's attempts. The lower scores will be dropped from the final average, but by showing all of the student's attempts at mastering a standard, progress can easily be seen.

These retakes and re-dos must be completed and turned in no later than ten days before the end of the grading period. Retake and make-up tests will be give on Fridays. It is the student's responsibility to continue to complete assessments to reach for highest mastery.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

English Language Arts Syllabus 2013-2014

As teachers, we find value in reading. Reading improves vocabulary, writing, comprehension and reading skills. Reading young adult literature allows students to make connections through literature. Not every title is appropriate for every student. In addition to appropriateness, family values may vary widely. We encourage our students and parents to be involved in the book selections our students make and to look for opportunities for conversations.