Today was a mostly great day.
Our exchange student wrote up some information on the lead singer of the group whose song we are learning, and I created an embedded reading from it. It turns out that we had serendipitously chosen one of his favorite songs from this group, so it was interesting for the kids to read his take. Now I have to do screen shots of the music video for kids to talk about. Next time, I plan to do that in advance. Thanks, Cynthia Hitz, for the ongoing examples of screen shots.
We re-read the parallel story that had preceded our watching of the song’s video, making comparisons with the video.
I was all excited, because I finally found two things: a picture from Carol Gaab’s presentation, in which she had questions based on readings: probably/probably not statements, and probable professions for the main character in a story. I also found my notes from her reading workshop this summer that helped me remember how to bump reading responses up so that they require inferences in numerous ways.
But my phone disappeared from my desk, so I’ve been going through the mess that entails, and therefore I don’t have the picture any more. A student who probably took it promises to “help find it” in the morning. Don’t call or text me!
And I’ve been grading comp books. They still stay in the classroom, except for the ones belonging to two kids who try to take them away. So far we have a couple of listening quizzes, a sentence-combining exercise, and two fast-writes, on top of the usual daily structures list. We also have some storyboards and a couple of handouts taped in, including spelling of numbers, a cloze exercise for the song, and a listening rubric. The kids tend to grade themselves lower than I do on the listening rubric.
About the sentence-combining: I was trying to lead kids to higher-level writing. I put a (lower-level) story on the board and asked students how we could make it sound more interesting and more educated. They suggested taking out some of the repetition, adding a few details, and using conjunctions to combine the sentences. First they worked in pairs and shared their answers aloud, though I think the sharing wasn’t as helpful for the rest of the class as it was for me to know whether they got the idea. Students mostly used “but,” “and,” “because,” and “therefore.” They had to really think in some cases about which pieces to connect. I was happy with the results. It turned out to be a differentiated assignment, because some kids just connected two adjacent sentences, and others really worked to pull information from different parts of the reading. I complimented them hugely on how they improved the writing.
Going home now!