During the next few weeks, Shepherd's Shining Stars have a few things to look forward to.

   First up is a field trip to our local library. My homeroom and my partner teacher's homeroom are attending a field trip to Belle Terre Library this Friday. Students will have the opportunity to explore some of the resources available to them. On February 16, students have a Social Studies project that is due and will participate in our annual Social Studies fair at school. So, one of their main purposes on the field trip will be to locate 5 books on their topic to gather information from. They will also fill in a bibliographic template to list the books found.

    Next, is an upcoming Mardi Gras Skype! I am really looking forward to this as I know my students will also. Thanks to my good friend and colleague @plnaugle, who shared an exciting Mardi Gras Skype lesson with me. This week and next students will begin researching Mardi Gras to gather information on things like: the history, colors, king cake, beads and doubloons and parades. They will then put together their information found, their own personal views and search for photos to create a Glog using Glogster. Finally, with the help of Ms. Naugle, students will Skype with a few classrooms worldwide to present their projects. Please leave me a comment below if you are interested in learning about the history of Mardi Gras during the week of February 18th. We would love to Skype with as many classes as possible.

    We love communicating via email with our trucker buddy! We have learned so much about our trucker buddy and what his job entails. He sends us pictures and writes us lengthy emails answering all of our questions. The last email he sent, he inquired about our class pet. Well, we don't have one, but now the kids are asking. So, my student teacher told them they could earn  a beta fish by working hard and exhibiting good behavior. I think we are going to have a class pet soon. Our trucker buddy may also make a visit to our school the week before our Mardi Gras break. We are looking forward to his visit.
This week my student teacher (who has only been with me for 3 weeks) took on a spontaneous task and with confidence presented a technology lesson with ease.

This week we began exploring poetry. So to reinforce the skills being taught during our shared reading time, I asked my student teacher if she would reinforce the poetry skills using Edmodo. I used an app called scanner pro on my iPhone. This app allows you to scan any document and then email it to yourself. I scanned a poem for her to use with the students and attached it as a link in Edmodo. The students then logged in read the poem and answered questions she posted on Edmodo.

   Once again another wonderful lesson was discovered on the Writing Fix. Students began the day today learning how to stretch or expand their sentences.
Here is the modeled lesson that was done with students.
Anchor Chart
Student Samples 
To conclude the lesson, a student volunteered their sentence to showcase. The class helped to revise the sentence.
Yes, that is me and Drew Brees, the quarterback for the Saints. I saw him waiting for his car at the valet of the casino. Not such a bad ending to the season after all! Wouldn't you say?
This week students are analyzing first words and the sentence lengths of their writings. The lesson used this week was taken from the Writing Fix. This lesson was created and posted by Writing Fix's webmaster Corbett Harrison.

Here is one student's Brainstorming process using a circle map.

Students are analyzing their sentence lengths.

Working on their rough drafts.

Here they are analyzing the first words used in their essays.

Finally, today they continued to revise adding details.
My mom decided that a goal of hers for the New Year would be to take one picture a day. She wants to take these moments or photos and make them into a book. I kept trying to talk her into starting a blog, but she wasn't interested.

So, while catching up on some blog reading tonight, I came across Mrs. Ripp's blog. She had the same idea as my mom, but knows the right place to make it happen. Posterous!

This site is awesome if you own an iPhone or are an android user. You can download the app to your phone, take pictures and post them right away to the site. So, of course I just made my site, but I did make it private since I will be posting lots of pics of my family. Although, you can check out Mrs. Ripp's by clicking on her name above.
Our "I can" statement this week was as follows: I can create a three paragraph essay by including the following: a catchy title, include three paragraphs each on a different topic, a closing, 2 adjectives, one compound sentence, and use a dictionary to check my spelling.

Students created a three paragraph essay to describe what they did during their holiday break. On Monday, students brainstormed their ideas and began their rough drafts. Tuesday they continued writing their rough drafts. Wednesday we brainstormed adjectives to go with each of our senses a lesson I borrowed from 4th Grade Folics, and then they added at least 2 new adjectives to their papers. Thursday we worked on making compound sentences in our writing, and then finally they began writing their final drafts. Here is a picture of the students' completed writing posted outside of our classroom.

To conclude our writing lesson for the week and to make sure students really understood how to create and include a compound sentence in their writing, our ELL teacher Mr. Martinez had students write a short description about another student in the class without giving away their identity and to include a compound sentence. Students wrote their descriptions for about 10 minutes, and then took turns standing up to share so we could all take a guess.


This week in Reading students worked with their partners to participate in a shared reading to evaluate the author's purpose using the text My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris. The students participated in purposeful talk visualizing and making predictions, while learning about MLK during his childhood. On Wednesday, this week I shared another mentor text A Nation's Hope a Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. I used this text for students to compare and contrast the subjects. Joe Louis's biography discussed the time of Adolf Hitler so before reading the text with my class I showed them a video on Brainpop titled "Adolf Hitler". We summarized the video and discussed the difficult times faced by Germans and Americans. The boys really loved this picture book, and they all cheered at the end.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. I can't believe how fast the holiday break went. I enjoyed my time off spending time with my three boys. We went on a 7 day cruise aboard the Norwegian Spirit and visted Costa Maya, Belize, Roatan and Cozumel. On a positive note may I just say, I love the beach!!! On a negative note- I don't think I would advise anyone to take two 3 1/2 year olds on a cruise. My twin boys had the most meltdowns ever. However, this past week I spent a lot of time with my boys and catching up on housework. I also took some time for myself on Friday and did a little shopping. Now the holiday break is up and I am anxiously awaiting Monday's arrival. My brain of course is spinning with ideas and I am begining to stress over state testing that is soon approaching.

So, what does next week entail? I will revisit, remind and review rules, procedures and expectations for my version of the "Daily Five". Not sure if I should even call it that since I kind of do my own thing. I'll let you judge!

My goal for the remainder of the year is to implement my version of the "Daily Five" or centers during the last 30 minutes of the ELA block. I believe I said this at the beginning of the year and it started out well, but with the pressure of testing and intervals I lost time and then it dwindled away. So, I am starting again and I believe with the help of my new student teacher we can make this successful, student driven and highly engaging as it was once before.

So, my plan for this coming week, during the 30 minute time block after lunch till we switch classes, is to review the rules and guidelines of the centers each day, and model and have them practice. Hopefully, by the following week they will be ready to jump in and just need a few reminders. They will go to one center a day five days a week.

Here is a run down on the Centers

1. Read to Self - (I am going to review on Monday)

On Monday, I will use SuperFudge by Judy Blume to model. I would like to teach students how to really analyze what they read using sticky notes to note things they learned, questions they may have, and things that are interesting. I will model this using a chapter from the Superfudge book. Then model how to write a summary of the pages read and then use a sentence starter to make a connection. Life in 4B has a wonderful anchor chart describing how she does this with her students. I am borrowing it! Then hopefully if I don't talk to much they will have a chance to practice.

2. Work on Writing- (Tuesday)

On Tuesday, I will review rules and guidelines for work on writing. They have had lots of practice with writing for homework, and on our kidblogs. So, I will just let them practice and if they are done early they will continue reading their Superfudge book and respond.

I am using a writing lesson from the book Notebook Know How Strategies for the Writers' Notebook by Aimee Buckner. I just purchased this book and it is wonderful. Anyone else read this book and implement practices?

3. Netbooks (Wednesday)

On Wednesday, I will review the rules and guidelines for Netbooks. Students will have three things to accomplish during this center. First, they will log into Edmodo and post a question about the story for the week and answer at least one question from a classmate. Next, they will begin a new blog post on one of the following topics Goals, Passion, Family, Choice, Favorite Subject, Sport, or hobby. They must start with a hook and write at least 5 sentences about their topic. We will practice this on paper on Wednesday. Finally, once they complete Edmodo and Kidblog they can go to Spellingcity.com using their vocabulary words for the week.

The next two centers will be guided practice with the teacher. The first center is guided reading practice which will consist of reviewing the reading skill for the week with the students using a short passage for them to independently read and analyze. The second center will be a guided writing center to assist them with editing their writing.

I use a lot of resources and passages from the site Read Works I will most likely use the short passages from the site to practice previous, current and past skills. During guided reading practice students should be reading silently and analyzing what they read with the guidance of the teacher- hence the name guided reading pratice. I would like them to use their sticky notes during this time.

During the guided writing center students will come with their writing folders to peer conference, edit, use dictionaries and thesauruses to make their writing better.

4. Guided Reading Center

5. Guided Writing Center

So, there it is my plan for revisiting, reminding and reviewing.
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