Five for Friday! And the Big Summarizing Push! | Mentoring in the Middle

Five for Friday! And the Big Summarizing Push!

    It's Friday, and for some reason, this one feels well earned!  Even though we had Wednesday off as a snow day (for snow that never arrived) I just felt like the kids and I needed a little extra pushing this week.  So, to end the week I decided to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and take a look back at the week.

    In my usual style, I don't have many pictures.  It just doesn't occur to me to whip out my iPad in the middle of a lesson!  But anyway, here are some pictures from our "Curl Up with a Book and Read" Day last Friday.  The kids got to come to school in their pajamas, and believe it or not, sixth graders are still pretty excited about that.  Even after they get the lecture about "school appropriate" clothing!
    You'll notice that some of the students aren't reading but working on a packet.  That's because they're working on their Dodecahedron Book Projects, thanks to Mr. Hughes on TpT.  This is the first time I've used it, and they seem to be enjoying it quite a bit.  Projects are due next week!  About 15 students have already turned them in, and that's a good thing because they take up a lot of space on my desk, waiting to be graded!  But they look good hanging up in the hallway (of course I forgot to take a picture!)

These are the tubs of pillows that students can choose from.  Over the years a couple of students have donated stuffed animals too.  There's nothing that warms my heart more than watching some kid - who's usually trying to be cool or tough - curl up with a book, a pillow, and a stuffed duck.  Or some other animal.  It's a good reminder for me that sixth graders are still little kids!

Then on Friday, I had the big "showdown" with my one class.  I pushed hard, they pushed back.  Guess who won?  Yeah, me, of course!  The issue was getting them to summarize an answer on a test.  Are your students like this?  They start writing and keep going until they run out of space.  Sometimes they cram in one last sentence where they can, but usually, they just stop.  No more space?  No more thoughts.  And I just decided that for this response, that wasn't going to happen.  So I created a Cause and Effect chart (that's the skill we were working on)

And I pushed and pushed.  A finally the kids started to understand what they needed to do.  Although it was eye-opening.  One student raised his hand for me to check his work.  I high-fived him for his good effort and said, "Now, all you need to do is take this information and put it into a good paragraph."  He looked at me in amazement and said, "How do I do that?"  That stopped me in my tracks.  So I gave a little mini-lecture lesson on how good, solid pre-writing leads to much easier writing.  That once the hard work is done, the writing flows smoothly.  It was like he'd never heard that before.  Which I KNOW isn't true.  But it was one of those moments where you saw the lightbulb go off in his head, and it was glorious to see!  He turned in some solid work that day.

    I've been wanting to create a review for my students who are working through Levers and Pulleys in Science.  The unit is divided into levers first and then pulleys.  By the time students get to the final test, they've forgotten some things about levers, especially which classes are which, and how to diagram them.  So I created a packet and put it on TpT and Teachers Notebook.

If you're interested, talk to me nicely and I might send it to you for free!

   And now for some sad news.  One of my student's mother died this past week.  I'm heading out to the funeral in a little while.  What a reminder about the fragility of life.  And how we need to love these kids (even when we're pushing hard, hard, hard to get them to reach their potential.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,


1 comment

  1. Marion, I'm so sorry to hear of the death of your student's mother. How fortunate for this child to have a wonderful teacher to dole out a little extra tlc and understanding this year.
    Your Curl Up with a Book and Read Day sounds wonderful! I'll have to try it with my 7th graders.
    Thanks for the great idea!