Tuesday, February 14, 2012

[Mentor Texts] Leading up to Memoirs

Today we started to write memoirs. While I'm glad to share the steps leading up to these very-first-inkling drafts, I'd rather just show y'all what they came up with.

Here is the mentor text we used.  It's from Knots in My Yo-yo String by Jerry Spinelli.  We are using his memoirs as our mentor text throughout. We read a few excerpts, and then started in with this paragraph:

And here is our marked up version:

We've talked about a lot of these writer's tricks before have made symbols for some of them.  Here you see that we talked about (sort of in order as you read):

--How the author gives a location and then goes into detail using the sense of smell and sound
--The use of the hyphenated modifer high-pitched (H-M)
--The juxtaposition  of the two things we normally think of has high-pitched and hi mom's voice.  We also noticed that this puts a small piece of humor in.
--Figurative Language that extends in the next sentence (FL)
--Repetition for Effect (^^)
--An ellipse

Using this information, they started their own first paragraphs.  These are unedited paragraphs written in about 10 minutes at the end of our discussion.

So...  what we have here is a wide range of ability, reliance on the mentor author's words, and a HUGE range in skills. It is true, if you hold it up to what 7th and 8th graders have to do on command for assessments, it isn't going to cut it. You can take red pens to it, you can talk about how they should know how to capitalize, or how their handwriting is illegible. Technically, all of that is true.

I, however, am celebrating the fact that they are playing with words.  That they set right to work, were eager, were helping each other, and identified writer's craft with a high level of success.  that two of my kiddos with autism used figurative language successfully.  That my kiddos that read at the 3rd and 4th grade level are successfully mimicking a higher-level text.  That students with oppositional defiant disorder COMPLETED the assignment as given.  That my students who failed all of 6th and 7th grade for not turning in a single page of work, did this AND turned it in.

For my kiddos at this point in the year, I call this a win. My poodle-heads are writers. The rest will come.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

[SDAWP] Be Like Sweden

If you are old like me, or like I'm fixin' to be soon, you might remember this commercial:

Rather than launch into a discussion about how this irritated me when it came out, how it's a tag phrase I remember now, and how it is possible they were making a joke (I hope), I will instead encourage you to..

Be Like Sweden!

Sweden launched a Twitter campaign (recently?  I don't know when...).  Each week a new Swedish citizen takes over the Sweden Twitter account and tweets for a week.  It is a week-in-the-life view of Sweden, and it's super cool!  It's here.

My SDAWP cronies decided to be like Sweden.  And... drum roll please... I will be the second SDAWP Weekly Fellow.  So, get your Twitter accounts revved up!  I'm learning Twitter and, in my usual fashion, am diving right in head first! I'll try my best to be interesting.  Failing that, I'll at least be prolific.

If you are already using Twitter, follow me at @SDAWPBarb.  If you aren't and are willing to, sign up here.  If you aren't, aren't willing to, but are morbily curious, well...  I'm not sure what I'll do for you folks.  May the cape be with you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

[Quote of the Week] QOW #22

The lovies are playing board games, dressing up from the costume bin, and challenging me to various card games. They've earned some free-choice time at the end of the day on a Friday.

J. observes B. is not paying attention during our game of Uno and is causing our game to go more slowly than he would prefer. Granted, J. would prefer all things go quickly, change often, and stay intensely  interesting at all times.  B. is content to sit and watch other things happen around him and is doing this as we play--watching everyone else do everything else.

J:  Boss, B.  isn't having fun right.

B:  I'm not having fun right?  How can it not be right?

J: Because you have to have fun so I can have fun.

B:  (thinks... shrugs...)  Okay.

Me:  You guys rock.

J. and B.:  We know. (impish smiles)

Friday, February 3, 2012

[Friday Free Day] Hey Girl

One of my caped friends sent this blog to me.  It is enough to simply repost here...

Reposted from http://heygirlteacher.tumblr.com/ 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

[Classroom Rules] Chicago

This caped teacher and one of her caped friends watched Chicago a while back on the television box.  We intended to watch something else, but this caped teacher made an error in planning.  Good news though, Rule #5 has revealed itself (see the rest of the rules here).

Roxie Hart has quite shocking language in this show, and Billy Flynn has to tell her to tone it down.  The conversation goes like so:

[Roxie Hart]   Holy s**t! I'm never gotta get this straight!

[Billy Flynn]   Pipe down the swearing. Look, from here on, you say nothing wrong. Now try it again. 

Sometimes a word or phrase strikes me, and this one did.  

Rule #5  Pipe down the swearing

My kids use language quite similar to that of Ms. Roxie Hart.  While I don't allow it, I wouldn't say it is my primary concern.  They hear it at home, in their neighbohoods, and from each other.  It isn't going to work to tell them not to swear.  It does work, or it least more useful to teach them when it's okay to swear, when to pipe it down, and when not to.