Reflection: Accountability Cornerstone Analyzing Word Choice in Stage Directions - Section 1: Daily Grammar


Students earn stamps for completing the daily bellwork.  It’s editing practice, so students need to find a certain number of errors on their own in order to get the stamp.  For some students, that’s enough. If a student has a certain number of errors, they may be chosen to be the daily stamper.  The number goes up periodically so it remains a challenge, and of course, the numbers are different for honors and co-taught classes.  

The best trick so far, though, is having students track their progress.  Each day they write a fraction with a numerator! and a denominator! that shows how many they got on their own, without help.  When I first started this,  students, especially my reluctant learners, were getting four out of twelve.  Kids want to succeed.  They want to be celebrated for succeeding.  Simply asking them, “How many did you get right today?” “Seven?”  “That’s cool.  Tomorrow, I bet you can get nine.”  The best part, though,is that they’re accountable for themselves. They are excited when they can tell me that that they got all but one correct. In addition, we can also help support the math department with their constant fraction struggles.  Every once in awhile, we have the students do the math for their fraction so they can see what those numbers mean.  If there's only six corrections, and you only miss two, it doesn't seem so bad.  But when you do the division, you see that that's actually only a 66%, a D. 


I'm also seeing more progress than I have all year.  There's daily repetition of skills, which my co-taught students desperately need. It's also starting to transfer to their own writing.  At the beginning of the year, one of my students who does have an IEP and has scored a Falls Far Below in reading, writing, and math refused to capitalize the beginning of any sentence.  When I would sit down next to him and tell him that the beginning of a sentence needed to be capitalized, he'd complain.  He'd ask why.  He'd say, "You know what I mean!" 


On the last reading log that he turned in?  He wrote seven sentences.  Three of them had capital letters at the beginning.  I am happy.  I gave him a punch on his punch card for capitalizing those three sentences and challenged him to capitalize four or five sentences this week. 


For a seventh grader, this may not seem like much.  But for a seventh grader who's reading at a second grade level and doesn't have much success at school?  It's huge.  It's bigger than climbing Mount Everest.  And maybe now that he has confidence in his ability to recognize the beginning of a sentence and capitalize it, we can tackle putting periods at the ends of sentences. 

  Making Students Accountable
  Accountability: Making Students Accountable
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Cornerstone Analyzing Word Choice in Stage Directions

Unit 10: Analyzing Literature with Act 1 of Rod Serling’s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to analyze how the author uses vocabulary to create a setting that impacts the mood and characters by close reading, discussing, and writing.

Big Idea: Welcome to Maple Street. . . a world of friendly neighbors and wary whispers.

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