Enormous Giveaway to Celebrate #CatchingFire

Enormous Giveaway to Celebrate #CatchingFire

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In case you haven't heard, I'm hosting a huge giveaway on my other blog, Hunger Games Lessons, to celebrate this week's release of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." So many of my great teaching friends donated prizes for this cause, so you won't want to miss it!

The deadline to enter is midnight Sunday the 24th. You can enter here or see my full post HERE.

Look at these marvelous prizes:
Tracee Orman
Giveaway: $25 shopping spree in my TpT store

Secondary Solutions
Giveaway: $25 Gift Certificate towards any item in my TPT store

Margaret Whisnant
Giveaway: Touching Spirit Bear: A Novel Teaching Pack

Science Stuff
Giveaway: $20 shopping spree to Science Stuff store

Juggling ELA
Giveaway: The Hunger Games Task Cards

The SuperHERO Teacher
Giveaway: Research Binder Projects: 170 Pages of Common Core Aligned Materials

Danielle Knight
Giveaway: Idioms: Enhanced Lesson, Plan, Video Clip, Task Cards, Printables

Created by MrHughes
Giveaway: Easy Teach Poetry Unit

A Space to Create
Giveaway: Monster Creativity Workbook - Printable Writing Prompts and Activities
The Extra Energetic Educator
Giveaway: KaBlooEy! A Game of Factors

PowerPoint Maniac's Teaching Resources

Giveaway: Anything Under $7

Teaching FSL
Giveaway: French Comparison & Superlative with the Hunger Games

Giveaway: 7th Grade Interactive Notebook Bundle- Expressions and Equations- Common Core

Krystal Mills
Giveaway: Product of Choice

Teaching Math by Hart
Giveaway: Team Challenges - A collection of team building activities

For the Love of Teaching Math
Giveaway: Hunger Games Coordinate Graph

21st Century Math Projects
Giveaway: Treasure Hunters

The Creative Classroom
Giveaway: Common Core News Debate: Children and Reality TV
 photo CCLogo001_zps8b4bcbdd.jpg

Kate's Classroom Cafe
Giveaway: Scientific Method Inquiry and Experiment Design

Kate’s Classroom Cafe

The Tutor House
Giveaway: 6-8 Common Core Aligned Playing Card Math Mats
The Tutor House

Now that you've followed all these great stores, entering the contest will be easy. 
Just fill out the form.
And you can tweet and pin about the giveaway EVERY DAY for extra entries.

May the odds be ever  in your favor!

Allegiant: What I Liked, What I Hated...

Allegiant: What did you like? Hate? Click to read post on www.traceeorman.com

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I finished reading Allegiant, the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, and would love to discuss it with you! We started a conversation on my Facebook page, but I thought the comment section below might lend more room for more discussion.

Tell us what you liked about the final novel AND what you didn't like (or hated). If you don't have an opinion you want to share, post anything about the series you'd like to share, or feel free to dispute mine (below).

Allegiant Spolier Alert!   from www.traceeorman.com

** The following contains spoilers. **

Read no further if you don't want the novel/series ruined for you!

Here are the top four things I really liked and I kind of hated (maybe "hated" is too strong...definitely "disliked"):

1. LIKE: I like the "genetically damaged" vs. the "genetically pure" conflict that is exposed in Allegiant. It is a perfect example of how a group of people (i.e. the government) can convince a nation that one group is superior over the other.
  Sound familiar? White supremacists successfully delivered (and continue to deliver) the absurd message that all other races are inferior to whites and should not be allowed the same privileges. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is one of the leading groups in America that still preaches genetic purity.
  I think this conflict in the novel creates an opportunity to discuss how easily we can be manipulated into believing these warped ideologies. "Scientific proof" (i.e. the DNA analysis in Allegiant) can be extremely dangerous in promoting hatred toward a group of people. Science can prove many things; while it does show differences between people in DNA, it is the human interpretation of those differences that creates biases. For example, we can easily interpret the facts to show how diversity makes a person stronger rather than weaker.
DNA - image by Caroline Davis2010
Photo credit: Caroline Davis 2010
   HATE: While it offers up great discussions and learning opportunities, it can be confusing to the reader. Being "Divergent" (having a more diverse background that favors multiple factions/personality traits) is synonymous with being "genetically pure" (or "GP") in Allegiant. In real life, "genetic purity" (most often used in agriculture referring to seed quality) refers to genes that are not diverse–or have not diverged from their origins. It's confusing to reverse that thinking while you are reading.
  On top of that, the Bureau members don't treat Tris and the others differently. Why aren't they divided up into GPs and GDs? Why aren't they acting superior toward Caleb and Christina? We see Matthew acting that way toward Tobias, then Matthew turns out to be a supporter, so that doesn't really help reinforce that theme. The reader needs more examples of David or the other GP Bureau members acting superior to the GDs in Tris's group. For example, show us a scene in which Caleb is treated badly and Tris witnesses this. That would have helped Tris (and the reader) feel something other than disgust for her brother, and would have helped us hate the Bureau and eased the reader into Tris's final decision to sacrifice herself for him.
  I also think one of the GPs needed to address the fact that Marcus is GP, yet he's violent. How do they explain that? I would have liked Tris or Tobias to challenge David or Zoe or someone on this point.
2. LIKE: I like the idea of the dual narrative, having both Tobias and Tris's points-of-view. I kind of grew tired of Tris, so I welcomed seeing things from Tobias's perspective. That said...
   HATE: I can't tell the two narratives apart! Their voices are too similar, their thoughts practically interchangeable. I needed a more authentic "voice" for Tobias.
  Also, I don't think either perspective was deep enough (or deep at all). Often, Roth repeats facts after switching narrators, but is that really necessary? The repetition became so boring I really didn't want to continue reading.
3. LIKE: We find out what is outside the fence! And it's not Panem! ;)
What if what's outside the fence is Panem? Divergent-Hunger Games humor   HATE: Perhaps Panem would have been more exciting... I felt like 500 pages were devoted to a bunch of teens hanging out in a hotel room not talking to one another. I mean, seriously, no one talks to each other. What is wrong with these kids?
  And what exactly does this hotel room look like? Is it one big room? Does it have a kitchenette? Do they all have cots or do some characters get the hotel beds? Why don't any of them confront Peter and Caleb for their past behavior? It's so uncharacteristic of teenagers.

4. LIKE: The ending. Yes, I am OK with Tris's fate. Perhaps it was because I grew so tired of her by the end. That sounds so cold, so let me say that I did cry when she died and when Tobias found out.
   HATE: The length of the book to get to the end. I think it could have been half the size or shorter. The whole time I kept thinking the book was a ploy to sell Four's short stories rather than a novel to finish telling Tris's story. It felt contrived.

  So now it's your turn! Please comment below and share what you like/don't like about Allegiant. And feel free to dispute any of my comments. I will not be offended!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

How To Spend Your Extra Hour This Weekend

Daylight Savings: How Will You Spend Your Extra Hour?  from www.traceeorman.com

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I love getting an extra hour in the fall; it comes at the perfect time when I always feel so far behind at school and need an extra 60 minutes to grade or plan lessons.

But this year I decided I'm going to devote an extra hour just for myself to read a book. Of course, as I sat up late last night reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth–the second book in the Divergent trilogy–I wished I could have an extra hour every single day just to read. (I've been dying to read the final book, Allegiant, but hadn't made the time to read Insurgent.)

Not sure how to spend your extra hour? READ. It made me wonder... Why do English teachers–the ones who stereotypically love to read literature the most–have the least amount of time to read? Case in point: the day I received Allegiant in the mail I lent it to one of my students knowing I wouldn't be able to read it yet. That same day one of our science teachers came in to my classroom at the end of the day to borrow a copy of Divergent (the first book in Roth's trilogy). Then he came back the next day and said, "OK, I need book two." What!? How did he have time to read an entire book in less than a day? And guess how long it took him to read Insurgent? Yep, less than a day. So he basically finished the entire trilogy in three days. Three school days, mind you.

Wanna know how I spent those three school days and nights? Skimming student responses to the novels we are reading in class, reading and offering suggestions for college application essays for some of my seniors, entering grades into our school's online grading application, uploading my online journal questions, typing up new bell-ringers for the week, and writing test questions for the novels we finished up in class last week. None of which I'd rather do than read.

So last night and today, my friends, I am going to READ. For pleasure. And the papers that need graded this weekend will have to wait one more day. Sorry kids.

So how will YOU spend your extra hour? 
Share in the comments below.

What are you reading, by the way? Share that, too!
Divergent Trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) by Veronica Roth - www.traceeorman.com

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!

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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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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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

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

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

#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/

Tomorrow is Friday.

Tomorrow is Friday.

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Tomorrow is Friday.
This summarizes the week for me. How about you?

Pre-Reading Activity for "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury

"There Will Come Soft Rains" by Bradbury Pre-Reading Activity www.traceeorman.com

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My students are currently reading various short stories. One of them is Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains."

Before we read it, I have my students brainstorm the benefits of technology. Next, I prompt them to come up with an invention (that has not been invented yet) that would make their lives easier. I let them work in groups, then share their inventions on a post-it note. (One of my artistic students drew the lightbulb since my drawing skills are lacking.) They usually come up with some creative responses. Here's one of my favorites:
Inventions that would make your life easier... {Pre-reading prompt}

After reading the story we discuss many of downfalls of technology. Since I teach at a 1:1 school, we see/experience a lot of these pitfalls on a daily basis; although, most students would agree: no matter how frustrating technology can be, they wouldn't want to live without it.

• If you read this story with your students, you must listen to Leonard Nimoy's rendition on You Tube. It is fantastic.
Leonard Nimoy reads Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains"

• For additional ideas, I wrote a post about Sara Teasdale's poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains" on my other blog in connection to Earth Day.
There Will Come Soft Rains - Celebrating Earth Day

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