Friday, November 26, 2010


Day after Thanksgiving is the start of the poinsettia show at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - perfect for my mom's visit from Taiwan! (We were "interviewed" by a reporter from our local newspaper about our botanical gardens experiences - hope our comments show up in his article.) The model railroad and train exhibit has always been a really fun part of the poinsettia show, and this year it's newly expanded and improved. Today was also our first day of actual snow :)

Confession #1: I'm behind in my NaNoWriMo word count goal. I have four days left, about 3500 words left to write.

Confession #2: We did also participate in more classic "Black Friday" festivities, aka shopping.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

My ELA Lab (AIS/remedial) classes watched a Veterans Day video on this week. (The link is below, but it only takes you to one of the short Veterans Day video clips. We used the 22:30 video that has terrific information as well as good insight from veterans who talk about their military service; you can find that longer video on the same page.)

The video was a good extension of our informational text unit in which we read many news articles (on - more about that web site later in this post) and answered questions based on Question/Answer relationships. Students learned about three types of Q/A relationships - explicit "right there", implicit "between the lines", and "not there". (The last category is useful because some students make connections or predictions and ask questions that are good "thinking" and reading strategies but really can't be answered or found in the text itself, not to mention some multiple choice answers are "not there" in the text but may distract from the real answer.)

The video is also a great opportunity for students to think about the world outside our classrooms. Approximately 2 out of every 10 students raise their hands when I ask, "Do any of you want to serve in the military?" and MANY students have family members who are veterans. On the flip side, there are a few students in each class who claim to have NO background knowledge about veterans much less Veterans Day, so I really love this lesson!

Videos about Veterans Day on

PS -  I'm ambivalent right now about because, despite the interesting articles and useful teacher/student comment features, I object to the prominent advertisements AND advertiser web links on the TweenTribune site. The editor/founder and I exchanged emails, and clearly our views differ on this issue.

PPS - I really need to write a post about the FANTASTIC books I've read over the last few months. Sorry about delay! Stay tuned :) :) :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Bulletin board with small "mood" posters, using words from "The Raven" that create the emotional environment of the piece, created by my remedial classes during our Poe unit last month. We also read "The Tell-Tale Heart" (to study story structure) and "Annabel Lee". Right now those classes are studying informational text using articles. This week we're studying question-answer relationships - "right there" or explicit, "between the lines" or implicit, and "not there". Next week - "The story of Veteran's Day" from - listening and analyzing Q-A relationships.

My "regular" 7th and 8th grade ELA classes are writing novels in a fast and furious manner. Almost everyone is on pace to reach their daily and overall word count goals, including me!