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Students are often called upon
to read "chorally".
That is, they read together
simultaneously as a group.
Repeating this practice assists
young readers with reading fluency -
the speed, accuracy, and inflection
of oral reading.
Why not, since it's called "choral" reading anyway, actually read the chorus of a song?
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out
how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man
who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive
to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end that triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid soul
who neither know victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt)
I hear it all the time. They market the professional football team in Kansas City by calling the team and its fans the Chiefs Kingdom, but is it really a kingdom? No, it's a business involving a paid team of athletes. There is no monarchy there. There is no king. It's not a kingdom.
Then, for some reason, we are suddenly calling ourselves Eagle Nation. Now, just when did our school district secede and become its own country? Was there a civil war? Was there a certain amount of paperwork to become a nation all on our own? I don't think so. We are a school district, a collection of schools in this part of the state of Missouri. Our nation - the United States - does have an eagle as one of its symbols, but the Joplin Eagle is distinctly a symbol of our schools.
I'm somewhat confused by the term. I don't know what it accomplishes, unless we're just trying to make ourselves seem bigger or more important than we are. Maybe we really are trying to take over some authority for ourselves. If you want to talk about education being left to the local authorities rather than the state and federal governments, that's one thing (and I'm all for exerting local authority from politicians), but but I don't think that's the purpose. This isn't a statement like that at all; it's just a cute way of addressing the masses. We call ourselves the Eagle Nation and it makes the community feel like they are part of our family.
But there it is. Did you hear it? Might it be better to call ourselves an Eagle Family?
If you're interested, you can find many more Professional Pet Peeves.
We spent a couple of days talking about the pirates of the early 18th century - Blackbeard, et al - and then made our own themed pirate islands, complete with an X, apparently to "mark the spot" where a treasure is buried. We will try to finish the maps soon and get to writing about the setting for our treasure X.
The results are in, and the results are not great. We had the time of our lives, and students made so much progress, last year, but that progress is not completely or accurately recorded by the state's standardized testing in the spring. We knew Math was our weak point, but NWEA testing throughout the year did not accurately predict our Missouri Assessment Program scores.
We are always hopeful that we can take our students where they need to go during the year we have them. Unfortunately, the state test has not been consistent from year to year, in addition to the fact that this school year was fraught with interruptions of quarantines (some unnecessary). In addition, communication with parents was reduced to electronic means.
This year's class has also faced its monsters. They were born in the year following a terror-filled tornado experience in Joplin, and they have been labeled such by family and friends. Then, a quarter of their crucial second grade year was called off due to a global pandemic. This group has always felt different as they have risen through the ranks, and now they face a critical year in which I must get them back (or introduce them to) the joy of learning and an appreciation for order. That's my first priority - to help them develop positive citizenship skills for their present and future. Rising test scores are a by-product of achieving that goal.
It is a group consisting of 13 fourth and fifth graders with vibrant personalities and from all levels of ability. We have met for about a month now, and everyone is very comfortable with each other. The instruction is loose, the challenge is open-ended, and the end products are up in the air. This group is still getting started, meeting after school for an hour and a half, one day a week. They may produce visual art, or they might work on writing songs or scripts. Whatever they choose, it must be based on primary documents from the founding era of our nation, and that's not always a simple task. Such is usually relegated to middle school or high school students, but here we are, tackling it at teh elementary level.
We've worked very hard in our classroom to write organized paragraphs. These are paragraphs that have a main idea or a central concept that is reinforced by three supporting details. Our best work is on display in the hallway where students, teachers, and others can read and appreciate the work students have done.
"Don't carry your mistakes around with you.
Instead, place them
under your feet and use them
as stepping stones
to rise above them."
Here is a page-turner that reads for kids like a Brad Meltzer book should read for adults. Really, the feel of this volume is more like a James Bond movie. Charlie is a remarkable 12-year-old who has all the knowledge necessary and all the talent to apply that knowledge to accomplish a CIA mission.
Don't let the nearly 400 pages keep you from getting started on this novel by bestselling author Stuart Gibbs. This one moves fast. It reads more like an adult novel (without the bad language and naughty bits, though there are a couple of violations to that). There are explosions, fighting, shooting, and killing. There are historical locations and just enough factual background to intrigue the reader more. It makes it feel real, even when the main character is simply too good to be true. I am especially impressed with author Stuart Gibbs's efforts to research and adequately communicate his knowledge with readers.
Charlie Thorne is a 12-year-old girl who speaks a dozen languages, has an enormous IQ, rivaling Albert Einstein. She is the only person who can help the CIA on this particular mission. She has questionable ethics, but leans toward saving the world. She definitely has a chip on her shoulder, and that makes her an interesting character for a children's book.
Plus, for once, a Mark Twain nominee satisfied me with an ending that is entirely appropriate to the story. It's not too convenient, and it's not flat. I have three more books to read on the 2021/2 list, but so far, this one has my vote (not that my vote counts).
Holidays. I enjoy them. A day off. A week off.
Celebrating. Candy. Fireworks. Presents.
Valentine exchange. Egg hunt. Leprechauns.
Mostly however, I like to leave the holidaying for home. We acknowledge them in class, and I'm interested in their origins, but we don't let holidays take over whole months or weeks.
If I get hyped up about holidays - some of which I think are silly in the secular world and some of which are not celebrated by all - then I get my students worked into a lather about holidays. That is to say that the upcoming special day is all they can think about. As a teacher, that's not how I choose to spend my class time - constantly battling against holiday-brains with our real studies. There has to be a better way.
I know that my students know how to celebrate, but once again, I'm not a party planner, and my job is not to host parties and use my allowance for holiday decorations, plates, and napkins. I'm not going to ignore holidays completely, but I will continue to leave most holiday celebrations to the family setting, and I will continue to distract my students with reading, writing, math, and science. I might even throw in some history for good measure.
Students did a little personal research about Samuel de Champlain, last week. This was our first introduction
to Lake Champlain in Upstate New York and Vermont. We will spend more time on the lake soon.
I cannot stand books that rely on body humor to capture their readers. That's what this book was for me - lots of booger picking and poop talk - and it got in the way of the story. Read this: if you have a good plot and well-developed characters, lowering yourself to constantly talk about belches and flatulence is completely unnecessary. I noticed in the acknowledgments that the editor was credited with cutting half of the stuff before publishing the book. I cannot imagine where the other half of it would have gone.
I have nothing else to say about this book. It could have been a decent read and I could have taken it more seriously (It is a serious story.) without all of the low-dwelling humor. I wish Niki Lenz would have respected her story enough to trust it without the gross embellishments.
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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Because of Mr. Terupt
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Opinions on sites are not necessarily shared
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