The Giver

 

As I said in my previous post, I have read The Giver by Lois Lowry before for pleasure, but have never taught the novel. I have also never seen 6th graders read the novel before. At least in public schools, it’s 8th grade that usually reads The Giver. I have just begun re-reading the giver and making notes and highlighting. If anyone has any great sites or information to steer me towards that would be incredibly helpful.

I am also looking for good biblical scripture to make connections with the novel. I don’t have to, but I think it would make for good discussion as we discuss a Utopian society that has no religion or beliefs in love.

 

 

Novels

I was very fortunate to meet up with the teacher whose position I am taking next year. I will be the only Language Arts teacher for the 6th grade at this Private Christian School, which is both exciting and nerve-racking. I was hoping to use the same novels that I have taught in the past at this school, but was informed I won’t be able to this school year. Parents have already been given the list of the novels they need to purchase for this upcoming school year. The novels I will be teaching are:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

 

I have read the Giver before, for pleasure, but have never taught it. I have not read the other novels. I’m familiar with A Christmas Carol like most children through cartoons and Christmas specials, but haven’t read the actual book. I have never heard of The Hiding Place, and I do know many kids who enjoyed reading The Westing Game, but just haven’t done it myself yet.

I am extremely fortunate that the previous teacher is leaving all of her files for me to use next year. They’re organized and placed in the order they are used in the school year. This really is great. She did tell me that there is much more that she hoped to do, but that there really just isn’t time for it. I’m very big on doing projects, and she said they never really did those either. That makes me a little nervous, because those are the types of assessments I love. Of course I can change things up as I please with the kids. It’s too difficult to strictly follow what someone lays out for you. The school is still cleaning the classroom, so I am unable to really sit down and go through the filing cabinet and start planning out my year for myself. I am hoping to do this within the next couple weeks as my planning days begin in 3 1/2 weeks.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or places to check out for the above novels.

Summer Reading

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Since I am starting at a new school, I was unable to choose the books my students would be reading. I was given the list that my incoming 6th graders will be reading, and have already begun to read all the books on the list. I’ve heard of some of them, but not all. I am happy that I am being introduced to even more literature.

Book List:

Required:

The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

Students get to then select one of the following:

Elephant Run by Roland Smith

Under a War Torn Sky by L.M. Elliot

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Of course, I will be reading all of the above. I’ve actually already read Under a War Torn Sky, Gossamer, Esperanza Rising, Maniac Magee, and I’m about halfway through with The Single Shard.

I will be doing my book movie trailer project with my students the first couple of weeks in school with these novels. They’ll work in groups. I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out. The books are fantastic, and I can foresee lots of wonderful things being turned in. I love being able to see what students put together, and letting their creative juices flow. It’ll also help me get to know them, and see how they work with one another.

Next year, I’ll get to do my own list, and I think I will be keeping some of the above novels on it. Does anyone else have any great novels they’ve enjoyed doing with their middle school students?

 

Digital Goals

First off, I have to credit, Jacqui Murray and her post:

5 Digital Goals for Summer

It got me thinking about my own digital goals for this summer. Technically it’s not summer for me quite yet. I still have 7 school days left before I can truly think about it.

I am switching from a public school with almost no technology to a private school with tons. I do know how to use Smart and Activ Boards. Although, I do think there are many tricks I hadn’t learned with them. My students are 1:1 on laptops at the new school. This means that there is just so much that we can do in the class when it comes to writing, editing, and research. I am very excited! This wealth of technology also means that I need to really get myself acquainted with all of this technology. We are an Apple school. This also excites me as I am familiar and own Apple products. There is still much to learn though.

I have been registered to attend iSummit, which is a technology conference this summer. This should also help me in preparing before the upcoming school year.

I want to check out some other avenues of technology. There is so much out there, I only need to educate myself.

I also want to check out Teachers Pay Teachers. I think there is something to be learned through it.

I am taking a group of students on an EF (Education First) trip to Germany in a few weeks. This I am very excited about as well. Much to learn and do this summer.

Interactive Journal

Image

Another Pinterest find. This was posted as a Vocabulary Journal. I like the idea of this mixed with another website I found: 

http://missklohnsclassroom.blogspot.com/search/label/interactive%20student%20notebook

I have used interactive journals with social studies classes before, and I am not sure why i have never thought to use it with Language Arts. I might have to figure out exactly how I will be using it this coming year. I will be teaching 3 Grammar classes and 3 Literature. I am not sure if I want to do just one notebook for both classes, or if I want to split them up. Either way, it’s something I am at least interested in considering. My students all have laptops as well for notes. This is one thing that has me leaning against it. 

Book Movie Trailers

One of the wonderful appeals of my upcoming job at a private school, is the use of technology. Each middle school student is assigned an Apple Airbook to work with fully loaded with software and fun programs such as iMovie.

As I was thinking of fun ways to integrate technology in the upcoming year, I decided to search through Pinterest. I then stumbled upon the above video, and fell a little in love.

This summer I will create a rubric for students to create their own book movie trailer. I might even do this towards the beginning of the school year with their summer reading. This way students can work on this in small groups. We have the equipment at the school, and I think it’d be a lot of fun to see what they come up with.

If you have done this or something similar please feel free to leave me advice and/or suggestions.

Edmodo

Edmodo-DEN

As I am sure most of you know or at least have heard of Edmodo. Edmodo is a social media site with a format similar to Facebook. It is geared towards students and educators, and I absolutely love it! I have a friend that shared the site with me this past fall. I implemented it very soon afterwards, and my students seem to love it.

Edmodo is a wonderful way to upload and post hand outs and resources for students. If a student is absent, they are able to look for the date they were absent, and see what was done in class that day. I also love that students are unable to friend each other or send each other messages. I also am able to monitor what gets posted onto each class “wall.” The apps aren’t my favorite that are on there, but they do have things where students can review. I can also create quizzes that will get automatically grades if labeled multiple choice. It does make things a bit easier. I also enjoy that I can set things up by class period, as well as customize calendars per class.

It’s definitely a resource I would recommend for 5th grade and up. Most middle schoolers have computers at home, smart phones, and tablets with apps they are able to access the software.