Tried it Tuesday ~ Ted-Ed

I love Tried It Tuesday because I always find new and exciting things for my classes!  This week is no exception...I found this neat site called Ted Ed.

Ted Ed lets you take You Tube videos and make great lessons from them or use the lessons that have already been developed by others.  See for yourself:

I haven't made any of my own lessons yet, but I did find a great video lesson for The Hero's Journey which is what my 8th graders are studying now.

You can see the video, but then there's some great questions for review under "Think" that can be done individually or with the whole class, some great resources for "Dig Deeper" (shown) and then some discussion questions!  I am going to show the video in class, but I will also provide a link to it from my Edmodo page so students can watch and re-watch if they need extra time and/or practice on the subject.

I am already thinking how I might want to make my own Ted Ed lesson...

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Positive Thinking Thursday {9.18.14}

I have some very special quotes to share for this week's Positive Thinking Thursday.

My 8th graders had to choose one of four quotes from our textbook and create a visual to match.  Here's what they came up with:

I think these came out great overall!

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Sparking Motivation with tickets

It's been a while since I last joined in Spark Student Motivation Saturday!  This is because this year I am teaching both general and special education.  It looks like I will finally get just one prep but with general Language Arts and no special classes.  This, of course, changes my behavior system.

At the start of the year, I was in special education mode and had decided that students would accumulate star stickers for their football helmets to earn rewards that they chose.  

Well.... as it turns out, my general education 8th graders aren't really into it.  So I had to stop and think what I had used before when I taught general classes.  And then I remembered - tickets!

When I see kids on task or paying it forward or getting a great grade, they get a ticket.  Their job is to put their name on the back and deposit it into the raffle jar on their way out to the next class.  On Friday, I will draw at least 3 winners.  The more a student is entered, the more likely they are to win!

And what will they win?  Well, I had already surveyed the class to see what they want to earn so I will just take the prizes they would have earned by accumulating stars, and give them out as raffle prizes.  

I'm going to start it this week.  Each student will get one ticket per star that they already have on their helmet so that they know their work is still valuable.  We'll draw names this Friday.  I'll let you know what they think!  :)

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Tried it Tuesday - LearnZillion

I decided to join the Tried It Tuesday linky today because I just tried something new that I am loving - LearnZillion!

So I was "toodleing" around looking for new ideas to review punctuating dialogue and then I found it!

It's a great instructional video, aligned with common core which is clearly identified, and includes a guided worksheet.  I think the idea is that you could assign it to be done at home and then be reviewed at school - flipped classroom style!

However, it works out just great to do it in class.  Besides, I think students would need training on how to make it all work on their own.  They offer easy access codes to the lesson for students so they don't have to write down a big web address.  I see myself posting these codes on my Edmodo pages and sending them out on Remind.  Of course, I would show all of this to my students first (once I've ascertained whether everyone in my classes has internet access at home).

Our ultimate goal for this unit is to write a narrative (with dialogue) and so the other video that popped up was this one:

How perfect is that?  And the best part? It's FREE!!

Hope you have a chance to check it out.  :)

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Imagery, Dialogue & Point of View

Looking for some lesson plans ideas for dialogue, imagery or point of view?  Then this post is for you! #middleschool #literarydevices

I just finished my lesson plans last night while my boys watched football.  We have a new "suggested" lesson plan template in our district and our principal is requiring 2 weeks of lesson plans to be posted at a time so....

We are using the SpringBoard books and are working on visual techniques with the summative assessment being an original hero's journey narrative.

At the end of last week, we read an excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time and took a look at imagery, dialogue and point of view.  This week we will expand on all three in addition to what the textbook says we need to do.


I found this neat anchor chart on Pinterest:

We'll record some great imagery from our excerpt on this foldable I made:

If you'd like a copy, it's my Free Resource Library.


First, I am using this video from Learn Zillion (which if you haven't tried it, you might want to look it up - there's TONS of awesome FREE videos!)

Then I plan to use Lovin' Lit's "Hard and fast rules for dialogue" from:

Point of View

Last, but not least, we will put some good information on point of view into our notebooks.  This will segway nicely into different camera "points of view" that is in the textbook.

We already had a look at this poster to help us determine the point of view of the excerpt:  

Now we need to add some reference material into our interactive notebooks.  I am making some new things to help us USE point of view including these guided notes:

These notes give students 3 steps to finding and analyzing point of view in both fiction and nonfiction.  I think a nice anchor chart in the room would be a great addition.  Perhaps we'll see if we can squeeze that in!

So there are my plans to make our textbook more interesting!  I hope you found some of my plans helpful!

Thanks for stopping by!

Positive Thinking Thursday {9.4.14}

So the first round of testing has begun...and it started with the reading lexile test.  And all my 8th graders wanted to know if they are "on grade level".  Sad truth is that most of them are not.  So how do I handle it?  I am going to tell them what the "magic number" is and post it as a goal with this right above it:

"Strive for Progress, Not Perfection"

We will discuss how to make that progress and how that will help us get as close to the goal as we can.  We just have to the best we can with what we have.

I think this is a good reminder for me too!  With all the new testing requirements and lesson plan requirements and evaluation requirements and....and....and...

I just need to make progress.

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