Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Writing on Desks

One of the first things we work on in this class is learning/relearning the continents and oceans, and understanding how latitude and longitude lines work.

There's something that seems inherently fun about writing on desks.  I don't know if it's because it's generally forbidden, or because dry-erase markers are so much more fun to work with than pencils, but we wrote on the desks themselves today.

I projected this map onto the SmartBoard:

They had to draw it on their desks.

When they were done, they added the Equator and Prime Meridian.  Then they also added 180° E/W without looking it up.  ...Then they added 90°W and 90°E without looking.

We didn't spend a TON of time on it, but the students did a good job:

We took a test over the continents and oceans really early - before we'd studied them.  Students are required to retake that test until they get a 12/12.  If they haven't earned that score yet, they should make sure to see me about retaking the test.

I should add that we also read a little bit of The Hunger Games today.  I keep finding more and more that ties in with this class.

If students read and discussed the blog, they should have the adult they read and discussed it with draw a map of the world.  They aren't allowed to take more than 2 minutes.  If students can get the adult to do this, and they both sign the paper, students will earn 5 extra credit points.  Just make sure you turn in the paper tomorrow.  (Put it in the extra credit tray.  ...Make sure your name is on it.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Contact Form and Extra Credit

Congratulations on making it to the classroom/extra credit blog.

Hopefully your child (or whoever you know that's in my class) filled out THIS FORM on their own this morning.  I'm asking that you fill it out too.

I know that many of you filled out a form or two or five at orientation, or when you registered for the school.  Unfortunately, I can't separate that all out in a way that would make it readable.

When you fill out the Contact Information Form (yes, it's the same link... I thought that if I posted it twice, you'd be more likely to fill it out...) you will be asked if you want a daily homework reminder emailed to you.

I don't care if you check the yes or the no box.  I want you to do whatever is best for your family.  You may opt out or opt in at any time.

Today in class students worked on learning (or relearning) the continents and oceans.  They're retaking the test tomorrow.  I also showed them several more ways they may earn extra credit.   One of them is by reading and discussing this very blog with a parent.

If students read and discussed the blog with a parent, they can earn extra credit.  To prove that they were here, have the student write a sentence telling whether their parent (or guardian or other adult) read and filled out the Contact Information Form.  Then, have the adult sign it.  (Yes, my dad John Habecker read and completed the Contact Information Form.  Signature_______________________  ...Or No, my dad...)

Obviously, I don't need proof that you filled it out.  I can look it up.  I just need proof that you were here for the extra credit.  And I wanted one last reminder to fill out the form.

Make it a good one.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Learning Names

I have a goal of learning the names of all 170 students by the end of Wednesday of next week.  I don't know if I'm going to make it, but I'm really working on it.  REALLY working on it.

And I want my students to know each other as well.  I'm surprised that after spending the past 6 years together (in some cases... not all...) many students still don't know others in their class.

Today for bellwork, I handed them a seating chart, and gave them a quiz over the names of the other kids in class.  Very few were able to complete it.  Not that I'm judging them.  I didn't get a 100% on any of them either.

I wonder how many of them realized that this was also a social studies activity.  We're going to spend a lot of time this year looking at maps.  That's what a seating chart is: a map of the classroom.

We also tried an ice-breaker activity where students asked each other questions that I'd come up with over the summer.  They took a note card, introduced themselves to another student and read the question on the note card.  Then they took turns answering the questions, exchanged cards, and went to ask someone else.

I participated in this as well.  It was nice, because I got to know the students a little better.  The students may not have realized this, but they were also getting to know me a little bit better, too.  Even if they didn't come up and ask me one of the questions, they were still reading a question I'd asked.  For instance, here's a question "Why can't I win a fight in PokemonGo?

I mean...  I've sent ALL my Rattatas against... you know... their guys.

Have you played PokemonGO?  Why or why not?"

By crossing out a fake, question and leaving it their for the students to read - that says something about me.

You should know we also took a real quiz today over the continents and oceans.  If students didn't do well, they may retake the quiz.

Students can get extra credit by reading and discussing this blog with an adult.  If they've done that, they should write at least 3 sentences about the discussion, then have the adult they discussed it with sign the paper.  Students, make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper and turn it in on Monday.  It goes in the extra credit tray.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

And It's 2016

Welcome back, friends.

It's the 2016 school year!  Can you believe it?

I have to be honest with you: I don't know if I'll be able to keep on keeping on with the blog this year.

For those of you who don't know, this is how the blog developed:

I started it several years ago when I was getting my master's degree, but it quickly became my classroom blog.  I would post things from the day, and if students read and discussed the blog with a parent, they could earn extra credit.  It was a way to reinforce the lesson, and keep parents informed - if they wanted to stay up to date.

But we keep adding more and more, so something has to give.

I believe this to have been my most popular extra credit opportunity, and I hate to take it away.  So, maybe it will still be here in a few months.  ...I guess we'll see.

One of the things I'm adding is a google classroom class.  Although I don't give out many assignments, I'll post some extra credit on there, as well as what we're doing in class.  So, if you're absent, that might be the place to look.

Well, the first day is nearly done.  I have to tell you, I've been impressed with our students so far.  Here's hoping that trend continues, and that the students feel the same way about their teachers.

If students read and discuss this post with an adult, they can earn 5 extra credit points.

To prove they read it and discussed it, they have to write a paragraph explaining what they told the adult about their first day.  Have the adult sign the paragraph, and turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.