We had a short week due to the Martin Luther King holiday, so today we did two days worth of bellwork. What I like about this week's bellwork is the introduction of the rule of what you do with scientific names. They're italicized. They appear in the Wednesday/Thursday paragraph. In this sentence ("The single-celled organisms of the Halobacterium species"), Halobacterium is a scientific name. It is italicized. They probably see that all the time in their science textbooks, but by seeing it explicitly taught, it might sink in more. Note the key word, might, because without repetition, it probably won't stick. However, it is taught in context, so the likelihood of it sticking is greater.
In terms of things unrelated to grammar, we had a discussion of whether or not someone could drown in the Dead Sea. I don't know if it's possible, but I told them to do some research on that.
Today was another funky day. Every year the fifth graders come to our school to see what's going on, and we send our students home early that day. That means that our classes are on a shortened period.
I used the shortened period to give students a pretest for our next unit, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." This was the pretest I gave them. I told students to bring their textbooks, where the story appears, because they could use those books on the pretest. They spent about twenty minutes answering six questions that they had no way of knowing the answer to.
I designed the pretest to cover the three sections of the standards--key ideas, craft and structure, and integrating knowledge.
It covers all the different texts we'll read and discuss throughout this unit:
They're short answer questions so students can truly explore and show the connections they've made with all of these texts. Once were done with the unit, I'll give them the same pretest and see how much they've learned.
Today students are taking what they've learned about craft and structure and combining it with theme. This is in preparation for when students create their posters to show the meaning of their song. I asked students to write a third quickwrite on the following prompt. This quickwrite serves as a tool to brainstorm ideas and for students to lay out their thinking for me.
Of course, there were a ton of love songs, and students wrote about how those love songs could be represented with hearts, broken hearts, or flowers. One student wrote about how his song talked about alienation. He ended up drawing grey stick figures to represent that alienation.
This was a powerful quickwrite for the students to complete. I haven't done this in previous years. By having the students think about the theme and think about the drawings, it made the process more transparent, both for them and for me. It forced them to think about what the real message of their song was, and how they could communicate that idea through images. I think the posters overall quality was better this year than in previous years.
It's now three weeks later and I finally have all their lyric posters graded. Yes, I should have had them graded more than week ago, but I attended a conference and then got sick. It seems almost impossible to dig myself out of the grading hole when those things happen. I'm getting closer to digging myself out, and these posters are finally graded.
I'll talk about the figurative language that one of my students found in his song in this video. He chose "What Does The Fox Say?" by Ylvis. Here's a link to the original. It'll either be the most awesome thing you've ever heard or the worst thing ever. I was skeptical that he would find enough figurative language. I was wrong.
Today's lesson picture shows two pictures from a student's poster.