Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You Danger

I have recently discovered Scholastic Scope Magazine and LOVE using it to teach lessons in my language arts class!  While you are encouraged to purchase subscriptions for each student, Scholastic's website allows you to view issues and project the pdf in class.  (If your school has EBSCO access, you can also find printable versions there)  As an added bonus, they provide curriculum that accompanies each article that address junior high TEKS.

I recently used the above article for a persuasive writing lesson in my class that the students loved.  The article is about how kids risk their lives to video tape crazy stunts to post on youtube and poses a question about youtube's responsibility.

I started the lesson with a video clip from youtube that the kids found hilarious = the perfect hook:

Then we read the article as a class.  At the end of the article students are asked to choose a side on whether youtube should ban stunt videos and support their opinions with textual evidence.
As an extension Scholastic provides a step-by-step guide that walks students through writing an argument essay.  I didn't use these, but there is also a transition guide and an argument essay checklist.

The rest of the magazine is fabulous as well, so you will probably see more blogs in the future about other cool stuff I find in there.

~Mrs. Scott

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classroom Management: ClassDojo

I stumbled upon this fabulous website last week that helps with classroom management. It is completely free, and is perfect for tracking student behavior, especially those in special education/behavior program.  Their adorable video explains it better than I can.

Student Introduction to ClassDojo

Wasn't sure if it would be too babyish for my 8th graders, but have been reminded yet again how much junior high students appreciate this kind of stuff! They are totally into seeing how they are doing throughout class and adjust their actions accordingly, and many have gone home to modify their monster. I am planning to do some type of reward system each week for students with the highest number of points, but haven't quite decided the logistics.

~Mrs. Scott

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quizlet: A new way to study

I seriously have my roommate from college, Tracey, to thank for earning a college degree.  And not only for walking across the stage, but graduating Magna Cum Laude. 
I was not a good student before I met her, and God only knows how I even made it into a four year university with the grades I made in high school.  My gpa didn't even put me in the top half of my class...  I never learned how to study.  I was a decent test taker, but that was more from paying attention in class than studying for the test itself.
My freshman year at Sam, Tracey was the flashcard queen.  She made flashcards for every test and used them to study.  We, along with our other two roommates were in the same History class and decided to study together.  We each would take a chapter before the exam and create flashcards on that chapter then share them with each other.  I quickly discovered that I am definitely a visual learner and begin to use the flashcards in every class for every exam.  When I graduated, Brian and I lit a huge fire in our fireplace and burned what I thought would be the last set of flashcards ever.
Little did I know, even "grown-ups" have to study for tests sometimes.
I have taken 3 certification tests since entering the field of education (PPR, Math 4-8, and Sped EC-12).  Recently my new principal asked that I also get a Generalist 4-8 certification so that I could pick up another section of 8th grade ELA (I was only teaching resource ELA and Reading prior to that). 
So I registered, scared to death about passing.  I knew the Math would be easy, since I have taught that for a few years, and was also comfortable with Language Arts, but the Science, and ESPECIALLY Social Studies had me nervous. (I know, most people are Math/Science, or ELA/Social Studies, I'm a freak...)
So anyways, at a workshop, I recently learned about a new website that would have been perfect while I was in college:


Quizlet is a free website that lets you create flashcards.  Even better, you can view flashcards that other people have made over the same topic and "steal" them, then delete or add to flashcards from that set to help you out.  You can then study or test yourself and play games with the flashcards.  There is even an app for your phone, so you can study on the go without needing to print (which you can also do!).

I passed my test with even higher scores than I have made on any of my other certifications!