Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick and Easy: Getting to Know You Writing

I pinned this poster from We Are Teachers and I will be using these questions for my students to write about themselves in our first lesson this year.  As always, my response to the questions are right here for your perusal and I will be displaying this in my classroom for day one.  By the end of week 2 we will have filled the main notice board in the classroom.  There will be a version of this poster as well as reading and writing purpose anchor charts (contributed to by the students) as well as our classroom expectations charts.  

Here's the poster! 

Here's my Response! 

The Best Book I've Ever Read?

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! by Judith Voirst.  It is not your average picture book.  

Favourite kind of pizza? 

Pepperoni, pineapple and roasted pumpkin with extra cheese.  The pizza place always gets it wrong! 

My idea of a perfect weekend?

Friday Night: DVD on the couch or Movies at Gold Class with friends. 
Saturday: Sleep in - stay home and read in bed all day, with my cat.  Maybe hang out with friends at night. 
Sunday: Church and Lunch with family, reading in the afternoon (or a nap would be good).

What am I good at?

Reading, Playing the Drums, Talking (but not at the same time).

Best Bands on the Radio?

I like lots of different music and I don't really have a favourite band.  I rarely listen to the radio, so I usually discover new music 5 years after everyone else.  

What should more people know about me?

I love to laugh.  

What can I teach you?

I can teach you the tricks of being a good student and help you make sense of what your Maths and English teachers are saying.  

What do my friends call me?

Ms H - the most awesome teacher ever!!!!

That's that then.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meandering M

So, we will try to follow the plan it just might take longer than we first expected.  I have a Pinterest board titled writing prompts and discussion starters where I pin various images (obviously) and quotes, links to prompt websites and ideas that I can use to get my students writing.  I will usually start the year by asking my kids to plan  verbal responses to various prompts before we go to writing.  My students have often experienced years of failure and frustration when asked to write so we have to get past those feelings of inadequacy first thing.  Most of my kids can talk well and do a great job of talking to avoid the work. 

When I plan my lessons and want to guide discussion or writing, I always attempt the writing/ speaking task for myself first.  So, it makes sense that I post my attempts here.  If I do it first, I have an exemplar to show my students.  We examine the differences in the writing pieces and I focus the students' attention on the aspect of writing that they need to improve upon.  

I usually start the year with some 'getting to know you' activities.  This is an extension of the Name Alliteration game (students say their name and a noun that starts with the same letter as their name, or say an adjective that starts with the same letter of their name e.g. Marvellous M).  

I didn't initially start out this way, I started with the word "meandering" and just went with that.  It happened to start with the same letter as my name.  You could get the students to play the name game first then use the word they said to start their writing.  Here is my meandering piece.  Note: I didn't use a dictionary or thesaurus when I did this and it is important to encourage your students to use words they already know.  This will allow the teacher to quickly see how much work needs to be done on vocabulary expansion.  

Here it is. 

My mind meanders.  Mythical meets mundane in the magic of pen to paper.  Memories , mysteries and monsters bound with ink in a prison of pages.  The marvel of the written word is truly mystical. Melodies of notes and chords.  Time stands still so the reader may see.  You can see how my mind meanders.  

Short and hopefully sweet.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

About Half Way

Okay, so the plan did not unfold unhitched.  Is that a triple negative?  Let's try that again. 

The month did not go according to plan.  I admit that in the past week, okay month, I have been more than a bit self indulgent when it comes to my time.  I have read, written a little, slept (oh how I slept), watched movies, played with Shelly and chatted to friends.  Can you tell that I don't want to go back to school.  

Anyway, it has been wonderful.  I was going to say something very important, but I have forgotten what it was.  Oh, yeah.  That's right.  We are almost half way through the month and instead of doing a bunch of writing prompt stuff, I have let things slide.  I wonder why I do that?  I wonder why the words flow when I'm trying to go to sleep and not when I sit at the keyboard.  I wonder why I can't seem to follow through.  Actually, that's not true.  I follow through about 60% of the time.  I guess I wish it was more like 90%.  

Gotta go... the BFF is here and waiting for me to go to brunch.  She is so patient. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

6 Word Memoirs

The concept is simple.  Oprah loves it.  Teachers are using it in classrooms across the globe.  The simplicity and elegance is taking the world by storm.  The six word memoir.  If you want to know more, click here.  If you want to see what Oprah did to it, click here.  Want to see what the teens did with it?  click here.  Check out a tumblr collection of Six Word Memoirs here.

My first "6 words" foray

unseen beauty
burning within
learning peace

Before I go

That was much more difficult than I thought it would be.  It is probably a little more obscure too. Some people use the project as a regular writing exercise for themselves, for their students. Others write their 6 words once as an all encompassing statement of their lives.  We all know that I won't be one of those people.  I don't think it is realistic to write  your memoirs and then walk away.  While you are living, your life will change.  Therefore, while you are living, your memoirs will change too.  So, this is only the first 6 words.  If you read some of the other 6 word writings, you will see that sometimes they are obscure, sometimes they rhyme, sometimes simply sensible, sometimes they are funny, sometimes sad,  sometimes very ordinary - slice of life style - sometimes brilliantly wise.  What are your 6 words?

6 words to send you on your way: That's that then, enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where am I and What am I doing?

I'm visiting my Nanny this week.  She visited the Heart Specialist last week and he said that Nanny needs a pace maker.  Nanny is my mother's mother (in case you are wondering).  Nanny has lived in her house for more than 50 years.  My Pa passed away in 2009 and Nanny has lived alone since then.  My sister is quite the worrier at the best of times, but now that she is pregnant, she seems to worry more.  When she heard that Nanny needed a pace maker, the sister flipped out and despite all our assurances, she insisted that someone stay with Nanny in case "something" happens.

I love Nanny dearly and I'm on holidays from school, so I told the sister that I would go.  The sister booked the ticket and before I knew it, I was stowing my cabin luggage and waiting for the safety presentation.  Almost as soon as I arrived at Nanny's, I took a photo and sent it to the sister so she could see for herself, that Nanny is just fine.  We spent a few days at home but we have also been out and about. Mini-golf, cinemas, shopping outings, bus rides, family gatherings and doctor visits have made the week eventful.

Meanwhile, Nanny has no symptoms of heart trouble.  She can walk faster than me (not a great feat, I suppose), she takes perfectly good care of herself and is doing a great job of caring for me!  My job is to watch her and call an ambulance if she has a "turn".  But, it's all quiet here.  Nothing at all to report.

I don't feel much like 'writing' at the moment.  I don't know why. There is so much to do... and there must be a lot to say, I wish I knew what it was.

Oh well - now you know where I've been and where I am.  Now you know, that I'm not just slacking off, but I have a legitimate reason for my absence from the blogosphere. That's that then.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What to do in January?

There is a lot happening and on this, Brisbane's hottest January day in about 100 years, I am feeling like hiding in my bedroom with the air conditioning cranked to the highest setting!! In fact, that's what I did today.  I hid in my bedroom, with the air conditioning on.  It was so hot, that even Shelly was lying right in the a/c air flow and breathing slowly, so as not to break a sweat.  Usually, she finds my room a little on the 'freezing' side and either hides behind me or curls up in a teeny tiny fur ball in an attempt to stay warm while enjoying my company.  When she has had enough of that, she goes and hides under my Dad's bed.  But today, even Dad's room was too hot for an afternoon nap.  Today's post isn't really about Shelly or the weather... because a post about the weather would be kind of boring.  Challenge Accepted... but not today! 

My other blog persona is undertaking the Word Press Zero to Hero Blogging Challenge: 30 days to better blogging.  I decided that I should also do something to brighten things up around here.  We have a few choices. 

1. Do the same 30 day Zero to Hero Challenge and complete the projects twice over: once for AGT and once for my other blog.  
2. Write one story/ song/ poem by completing only one sentence each day.  
3. Use a single writing prompt tool to determine the topics/ genres that I will write in January.  

What do you think? 

Leave a comment if you have an opinion. 

I am not entirely certain that I can commit myself to writing everyday this month.  I would like to, but it is already the 4th and as you can see, I haven't had much success with that so far.  Perhaps I could aim to write everyday, but post twice a week.  That way, I should get ahead a little and that will keep us all going through the early weeks of the school year.  Did I mention that I'm already dreading the inevitable return to school and work?  I didn't?  How strange.  

Anyway, I'm thinking along the lines of writing prompts and twice a week posting for this month.  I could plan for the year, but it is probably best not to think too far into the future.  One day, one week, one month at a time.  That's that.

I will be back very soon with something  that I hope will be a little more entertaining.