10.28.2013

Catching Fire Novel & Desk Set Giveaway

Catching Fire Movie Tie-In Novels and Desk Sets Giveaway!

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I'm running another giveaway on my Hunger Games Lessons website as we count down the days to the Catching Fire movie. This time you have double the chances to win a Catching Fire novel and desk set prize because I'm giving TWO away! :) You can enter here or check out the giveaway there. Good luck!


10.24.2013

Test Time #TeacherProblems

...student didn't read the book but expects an A on the test. #TeacherProblems
Hey kids...it's called READING. Pick up a book and try it sometime. :)


Do these images look (or sound) familiar?


There's nothing worse than a student who never pays attention in class, doesn't read the book, doesn't take notes or study for the test, then complains that the test is too hard or they didn't have time to study or it's the teacher's fault they fail.

This goes out to all those teachers who've had to deal with unmotivated and irresponsible students. I feel your pain!

Blames teacher for failing; didn't study or pay attention in class. #TeacherProblems

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10.22.2013

Giveaway Time! Who wants some free stuff?

30-Day Countdown to Catching Fire with Giveaways & More!

On my other blog, Hunger Games Lessons, I'm featuring great deals and giveaways for the next 30 days to celebrate the release of the new movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" on Nov. 22. You can enter to win the first of many prizes, a "The Hunger Games" DVD. (See entry form below.)

Stay tuned-in over the next few weeks because there are more prizes, teaching resources (for ALL content areas and not just for The Hunger Games trilogy), and additional surprises! You won't want to miss out. :)



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10.20.2013

Are you ready for the release of Allegiant (Book 3 of the Divergent series)?

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Book 3 of Divergent)  - Released Oct. 22

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Just in case you've forgotten: Allegiant, the third and final book of Veronica Roth's Divergent series, comes out Tuesday, Oct. 22.

I have been waiting to read Insurgent until the date got closer, and now I don't know if I'll have time to read it before Tuesday. But I have a class of seniors who have just devoured Divergent, then most have read or are currently reading Insurgent, so I am sure they will not mind have a day of in-class reading this week!

After you finish reading, comment with your thoughts (NO SPOILERS, please!!) on the series final. It's always sad when a series ends, but I'm always anxious to see how the author ends it.

By the way, Roth has been busy putting out short stories from Four's perspective. Check those out here:
"The Transfer" was released in September. The rest will follow later this year and in early 2014.
"Free Four" was released August 2012.
Free Four - The knife-throwing scene from Four's perspectiveThe Transfer - Divergent prequel from Four's perspective


10.14.2013

Common Core Skill: Show Evidence From the Text

Common Core Skills: How to show evidence from the text. From www.traceeorman.com

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One of the most important reading and writing skills students should practice is showing evidence from the text to support their answers. However, many of my students struggle with this. In the past, our students have been programmed to fill in a bubble answer on a standardized test that shows the evidence rather than try to find it themselves.

Show your students how to give evidence by demonstrating it (see visual aid, above).
My example question is from Divergent by Veronica Roth. It asks: “How does Beatrice’s mother feel about her? Give evidence from chapter one to support your answer.”

In the past, students may have just given me short answers like, "She cares about her daughter." 
By asking for evidence, students can't just give their opinion. We know their opinion is based on something, so they have to be further prompted to tell us what they based it on. Therefore, the student's answer should include not only their opinion, but one or two examples from the text that show this. Their answers should be paraphrased, but they still need to include the page number. 

This question-strategy helps those struggling readers find the right answers, as well. If a student wrote, "She's mean," he/she would have to back it up with an example from the chapter that shows Beatrice's mother is mean. When he/she can't find an example, he/she will have to re-think his/her original opinion. 

For students who are really struggling, I may prompt them orally with questions like, "Look at the non-verbal clues: what is Beatrice's mom doing to Beatrice in the first scene of the book? What does her mood seem to be? How do you know she feels this way? When a mother acts this way toward a child, what does it indicate about how she feels toward the child?" 

There are always a handful of students who complain that they can't find the answers in the book. If you have these same complainers, these are your students who are not reading the book. Because even students who have severe learning disabilities can answer the questions when they read it (or listen to the text).

So here's what I say to the complainers: "You aren't going to find a single sentence that gives you the answer to the question. And the answer isn't merely your opinion, either. The answer comes from that feeling you get about the character, or the theme, or whatever it is you're looking for. It's based on what you've inferred and gathered from descriptions and dialogue that can only come from reading it. Simply put, there is no short cut. The text must be read to answer the questions."

[Insert student groans.] After they channel their inner first-grader and throw another "I don't want to read" fit, they usually buck up and start reading.

Note: I do not mind allowing students to listen to audio of the text, especially if they follow along with their books. If this is the only way to get those reluctant readers to read, I say go for it. Today's teens are not like us. They learn much differently; we need to access and use every resource, device, and strategy to help them read on their own.

CCSS: Show Evidence from the Text  -From www.traceeorman.comIf you need handouts for instituting the Common Core standards into your curriculum, I have you covered! Check out all these great resources, ready to use with ANY text (fiction or non-fiction):
CCSS Reading Graphic Organizers, Grades 6,7,8
CCSS Reading Graphic Organizers, Grades 9-10 (Also covers grades 6-8)
CCSS Reading Graphic Organizers, Grades 11-12 (Also covers grades 6-10)

For non-fiction text and historical documents:
Analyzing primary and secondary sources - from www.traceeorman.comCCSS History & Social Studies Reading Graphic Organizers, Grades 6-12

For non-fiction and scientific texts:
CCSS Science & Technical Subjects Reading Graphic Organizers, Grades 6-12
FREE: CCSS Science & Technical Subjects Reading Graphic Organizers for RST.1, Grades 6-12

And, finally, I finished my DIVERGENT novel unit! :) It includes vocabulary/language activities, chapter discussion and critical-thinking questions, final exam, reading and writing assessments, research project, graphic organizers for reading comprehension, and creative activities. You can check it out here:

Divergent Common Core Teaching Unit

Divergent by Veronica Roth Teaching Guide & Activities

10.06.2013

What #MakesMyDay - The Positives of Teaching

When a student asks: "Do we get to read our books today?" #MakesMyDay

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Yesterday I blogged about #TeacherProblems, so today I wanted to balance it with the positive side of teaching: things that make our days worth all the struggles and stressors.

So what makes it all worth it for you? Comment below or share your own images. Join me on my collaborative #MakesMyDay board on Pinterest to pin the things that make your day. Leave your Pinterest url below and I will add you.

When a student says, "I finally get it!" #MakesMyDay

When a student says: "I love this book. Can I read it again?" #MakesMyDay


When a student says: "I can't wait until the next book comes out!" #MakesMyDay

Follow (and join!) my #MakesMyDay Pinterest board:
Sharing what #MakesMyDay on Pinterest

10.05.2013

#TeacherProblems Humorous Memes Unite Teachers

#TeacherProblems - About that curriculum map... Read more on www.traceeorman.com

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It's that time of year: parent/teacher conferences are coming up, first quarter grades are due, students are taking fall standardized assessments, and teachers are stressed out! We have so much to do but little time to do it. Our work weeks exceed 50 hours (are probably more like 60-hour weeks) and even though we KNOW this is the trade-off for getting a summer vacation, it's still stressful and frustrating.

To help relieve tension, many teachers turn to humor, making light of the stress with funny memes. It's one way to help us feel united, as though we aren't the only one who is frazzled and exhausted after just six weeks into the new school year. #TeacherProblems is there to let you know you are NOT alone.
#TeacherProblems - Post due date on board... Read more on www.traceeorman.com

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#TeacherProblems - By the time you finish grading... Read more on www.traceeorman.com


But for good measure (and because it's too easy to focus on the negative and neglect the positive), tomorrow I will post about the GREAT things about teaching and what #MakesMyDay!

#MakesMyDay - Check back tomorrow for a great post on staying positive. www.traceeorman.com
Tomorrow's Post: What #MakesMyDay as a Teacher

For more teacher humor, visit the following links:
Classroom Humor on Pinterest
#TeacherProblems on Twitter
#TeacherProblems on Pinterest (Let me know if you would like to be added to this group board by leaving your Pinterest link in the comments.)

#TeacherProblems on Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/mrsorman/teacherproblems/


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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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