Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lunch and Learn 2018-2019

We know that every student will not be in the same place on the learning continuum at the same time. Students need different supports and challenges based on their individual, specific learning needs. Therefore, once a week I will hold a Lunch and Learn where students can bring their lunch to my classroom to receive extra assistance from me. This time can also be used as additional time to work on class projects or retake assessments (more information on this in a blog post coming soon). Experience has shown that this time is a beneficial tool in a student's learning tool box.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rocking Reading Around the Clock 2018-2019

Throughout the school year, in our English Language Arts class, we will be reading a wide variety of texts across many different genres. Typically, we will have an ongoing literature study. In today's digital society much of our reading is moving to a digital format. That being said, I realize that many of my learners have devices where they can download an eBook version of the books that we will read in class. This is not mandatory, but it would give your student the opportunity to notate in his/her eBook as we read through the books in class. Similarly, if your student would like to have his/her own print copy of the book, that would be great as well. Although this is not a requirement, having a personal copy in print or digital format would give students an opportunity to have the same text at home and school with their specific notes.

The first book we will read is Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Simultaneously, students will be reading a partner text of their choosing. This is a powerful way for students to demonstrate mastery of reading standards on a text that is of interest to them.

In addition to our whole group literature, genre, or text studies, students will continue to read something of their choice. Every night, students are expected to read. Students may bring print or digital versions of whatever they are reading to class as each student strives to grow as independent readers. Each Friday, we will celebrate with some time designated as Free Reading Fri-Yay. Each week, students will have book chats where they do a 60-second share of a great book they have completed reading. Also, they will be creating fun, mini-projects in class to share their favorite reads. 

Be sure to watch for further details on our reading activities on this blog, our social media tools (@RamsaysClass), and our class Remind. Until then, happy reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Our Bring Your Own Device Practices 2018-2019

I wanted to make all of you aware of the digital device policy for my 6th grade ELA class. My students  are allowed to bring their digital devices to class to use for educational purposes. That includes devices such as smart phones, iPod Touches, Kindles, iPads, tablets, Nooks, or laptops. These devices need to be internet capable.

Because students will not be receiving 1:1 Chromebooks until later in the school year, in our classroom, we will use digital tools on a regular basis to support individual student learning. Outside of my classroom are three signs. The green sign is "ROCK IT." When students see this sign, that means that there is something waiting for them to do with their devices upon entry into the classroom. The yellow sign is "DOCK IT." For "DOCK IT," students need to bring their devices to class, but place it facedown (or closed) on their desk until instructed to use it. The red sign is "LOCK IT." That means that students need to keep their devices in their locker for that class period. 

If your student brings his/her device to school, please remember that he/she must take responsibility for it. 

In our class, we will use devices for different types of assessment (formal and informal), writing, publishing, communicating, creating, and collaborating. It is exciting when students learn how much the tools that they use in their everyday lives can positively impact and support their learning.

RamsaysClass on Social Media

Research has proven that one of the most powerful learning tools for middle level students is the ability to socialize. We are fortunate to live in a time that provides us with the opportunity to learn from anyone, anytime, and in any place. In our digital world, social media is extremely prevalent. It is imperative that students learn how to make safe and wise choices when they interact online.

My goal is to prepare them for their lives outside of the classroom walls in today's digital world. We will spend the beginning of the school year learning about netiquette, online safety, and cyber bullying. The students will be developing lifelong habits while in the safety of the classroom. Just like we wouldn't ban pencils from the school if one student writes on the restroom wall, we do not want to prevent students from expanding their horizons by supporting their learning using tools which can broaden their horizons and cause them to take ownership of their learning journey.

With that in mind, our class will be connecting with students, authors, and experts from all over the world through our class Twitter and Instagram accounts, @RamsaysClass.
Through our use of these tools, under my close supervision, you also will gain a peek into our daily activities. Please be aware that I am the only one with access to this account. I will approve and monitor everything that my students tweet out and post as well as anything that other students, authors, and experts tweet or post to us. These are powerful tools where students can reflect on their learning, compose stories, participate in book chats, write poetry for an authentic audience, set academic goals, connect with authors, share their insights, and interact with other students for deeper understanding of content.

This is my tenth year to use Twitter with my classes and my sixth year to use Instagram. It is always astounding how much learning is generated in using these simple tools.. We hope you will join us in our learning journey this year as we tweet and post away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ELA Class Syllabus, Expectations, and Practices 2018-2019

Below you will find the link to our 2018-2019 Class Syllabus. This includes information on our learning and grading practices, procedures and expectations.

An online version can be viewed here: