Sunday, 19 January 2014

Author's Purpose, Musical Writing Assignment and more!

Getting back into routine after the Christmas Break has been a tough-go for many of the students in my class. A week of indoor recess did not help our cause. I felt burnt out by Wednesday! I felt like a nurse, counsellor, therapist, behaviour specialist, parent, teacher etc.! I know..... for most of us teachers, that's how we feel every day! But this week was something else. I have a feeling I am going to look back on this year as "one of those years".
This is what I have been trying to remind myself of when days are rough:
Every week I try to clear my mind and try my best to focus on what needs to get done.
So this is how some of the week went down in 7E:
The students had a writing assignment to complete.
They each chose a group out of the class jar.
Each group chose a song that they wanted to change the lyrics to, as well as an issue (i.e. animal right, social issue, human rights issue, environmental issue etc.).
Each group was responsible for changing the refrain and 1 verse of the song to reflect the issue.
Here are few of their songs. EVERY ONE turned out pretty well. Such a fun presentation to watch. The kids got a kick out of them. Lots of "stepping out of the box".

Here are some new versions to: Party Rockers, Say Something, and Counting Stars.
video
video video
I often record/video their presentations so I can go back to look at who did what. I also like to re-watch the videos so that I can take my time assessing and making notes for feedback, etc.
After the presentations, I wrote reflective questions on the board. I also like to see how the students would assess themselves and how they viewed group work and their role. Surprisingly, the students are often harder on themselves then I usually am.... So when they receive their mark, they are pleasantly surprised! HA!
Here are a few questions I asked after this assignment:
1.) What was the theme of your song?
2.) Did your group equally share in the assignment (i.e. writing, sharing ideas, practising, etc.)?
3.) Assess your group and explain why you would give your group this mark:
Writing
Group Work
Presentation
I then fill out their assignment assessment sheet (which states the learning goal and success criteria in each subject area) and return it to them (both stapled together) and send it home to get signed. 
This week we focused a lot on non-fiction texts.

I have loved using newsela! See HERE and HERE for my last 2 blogs about this non-fiction
reading site.
It's been 6 days using this site and my kids are really enjoying it. I like how they can choose articles at their own reading level. They seem so much more confident! We worked on mini-non-fiction book reports to give them a visual of the text features present in their article of choice. You can pick these up HERE. I really think they could be used for all grades (depending on your group).


We also finished up a Visual Arts/Geography assignment-- to create a sketch (using pastels), that exhibited a place that encompassed human and physical characteristics. In addition, the students needed to write about this location, explaining it in detail using key geographic terms.


We are continuing to focus on "Author's Purpose". I use Erin Cobb's Author's Purpose Task Cards (this was one of her giveaways at Christmas-- so lucky and thankful). The students look at 1-2 cards each day and determine the purpose of the paragraph. They must use evidence from the text to prove their answer. We usually do a shared read and modelling of 1 of the task cards and then they work independently on the other.
 This week we are going to use a video compilation of various commercials, ads, etc. and I am going to quiz the students on what they have learned so far! Stay tuned!
Lots of planning took place in my house this weekend---- mostly to avoid report cards HA!--- but nevertheless, my week is planned!
Have a great week.
And remember......

~KAITLIN~

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