Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July Already!!!!

I can't believe how fast June has skated past and now it is the 4th of July and I still need to do a lot of planning for my classes!!! I am very excited to be teaching only Language Arts (reading and writing) this coming year. I will be teaching 6,7 and 8th grade LA. I have been accumulating books this summer and I have several texts picked out already. I am trying to choose novels that have the recommended Lexile rankings of between 955 and 1155 but I have to tell you that it is difficult. I know for a fact that my 7th grade class is below average so I can't just drop them in a complicated book or I will lose them. There are also several titles that I feel teach a good lesson that aren't at the lexile rankings that the CCSS wants us to be at. I am going to take poetic license and do what I think is best. For my 8th grade class I will start the year with To Kill a Mockingbird and focus on the theme of racism. I already taught this group the Holocaust so they should be able to transfer to this theme pretty seamlessly. I will possibly follow with Animal Farm but I am not for sure on that yet. In 6th grade I plan on starting with Wringer, I know, it has a low Lexile but I need to get a handle on where this group is before I throw them something too tough. Then I plan on having them read Holes. Both of these books will speak to the peer pressure and bullying themes. Both of which I think this group will be able to relate. Especially since they are just entering those crazy adolescent years. But 7th grade is stumping me. I think I will start with Things Not Seen but I am not sure of a theme for this book. If I don't catch this group with an interesting novel to start, they turn off and it is HARD to get them motivated again. I could start with Surviving the Applewhites, that would be a funny book and then we could debate homeschooling versus traditional schooling. Of course we will also be doing reading and writing workshop and word study and grammar. Our school report cards still have a spelling grade required so I will choose from their vocabulary for spelling. I personally think time is better spent in other areas besides spelling at the middle school level. Just my opinion! Anyone out there know of a good site or book for teaching Greek and Latin roots. I think this is an important area to approach since so many of our words stem from these roots. And all the research says that those who know lots of words end up doing better in school. I have perused a few things but I am not sold on anything thus far. Suggestions would be appreciated. I am planning on using a classroom blog with the 8th grade too, I just haven't figured out exactly how I want to use it. I already set up my 8th grade using kidblog because it looks the most secure. I want to start simple, and see what I am getting myself into before I jump in with both feet. I would like to have a place where my students could put their writing so we aren't using so much ink and paper. (since I end up buying most of it!) Anyone out there with any good ideas please share! Those are my plans for now, they could change by this evening!!!

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