Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 3: Main Idea (& Spelling BAM! Game)

Hi all!
    I can't believe that it is already OCTOBER.  There is so much going on but I'm still loving every second of it.  I forgot to post about this previously, but for all the non-ELA related things (including my most recent hall pass invention), you can visit my second blog at

I like to try out different formats and settings, so I used to have a blogger "for life", then I created that one on wordpress, and now I'm back on blogger.  Besides, there are so many teacher pages on blogger that I wanted to access.  Enough rambling.

Week 3 centers went the best yet.  The frantic business has subsided.  Also, they were very "active" centers, which could have gone either way.  Then I remember back to my 9th period 7th graders last year who were off-the-wall.  If we did a play or a game or something where they moved (even sometimes just taking their notes from standing up around the room), they were 7million times more well behaved.  There's got to be some science to that.  Anyway, here are the pictures for the board; this week's topic was "Main Idea"

Read to Self: Still in the library, logging their minutes in their center folders.  Students read their "Book Club" choice book.  I used bins from the $1 store and labeled them with index cards.  There are 2 more baskets as well, I don't just teach 12 students!  There are 5 more in each of the other bins.  The stories are all under the Realistic Fiction genre.  They had a choice of reading Granny Torelli Makes Soup,  Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 1, Who Ran my Underwear up the Flagpole, School Story, and There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom.  These books are easier so that they can be worked on independently for all of my students.  We will be working more with non-fiction and more challenging texts after our Book Clubs.

Read to Someone: Around the classroom, still working with their "Book Club" books.  We added "Checking for understanding" with a blue checkmark.  Students asked each other the 5W's at the end of each chapter.
I cannot wait to show you what I am adding to the "Read to Someone" station in the coming weeks!

Listening:  Students listened to an audiotape of 3 short Aesop fables.  In their center folders they recorded the main idea for each.

Teacher/Group:  I had to add the "/" in there.  I just finished all but one administration of the BRI (Basic Reading Inventory) for my own record keeping.  Next week, I need to pull my students for at least 30-40 minutes each day to administer 5 different students benchmarking with F&P.  So, while I wanted a strictly "teacher" group, that isn't going to happen.  So, therefore, over the next few weeks, I am going to have that bunch of students play a game as reinforcement of what we are learning.  This week they used cards with a "secret decoder" that shows the answer to work on Main Idea.  They kept a score tally on the whiteboard.  Also, which I forgot to photograph, I made "A B and C" answer cards using paint chips from WalMart.  The free ones.  I wrote a letter on each of the colored sections and students slide a butterfly clip to the answer.  Yay!
(I was in Troy by my alma matter, Sage, this weekend for "Chowderfest."  I had Tom stop the truck so I could go and pick up some of the game sets they have!)

Writing:  Students finished publishing (final copy, cover page) their Pro/Con of 6th grade essays.

Word Work:  By far, the biggest hit of the week.  I had 3 of my students stay after just to play it again!  This week was a review week for spelling.  So, I created Spelling BAM!  What is that, you ask?  Well, I took a container from the iced tea mix I finished up (*goodbye, summer*), and decorated it.  I was in a rush, but it looked pretty good.  I can always cover it in the future.

Next, I filled it with cut up index cards that had all of the spelling words (1 time each), two cards that said "swipe" and two cards that said "BAM!"
The final step was to secure the rules on the back with packing tape.  Basically, kids sit in a circle and take turns pulling out a card.  They give it to someone who reads the word.  The first student needs to spell it correctly.  They do, they keep the card.  They don't, it goes back.  A "swipe" card allows students to take a card from another player's pile, if they can spell it correctly.  A "Bam!" card means all of that player's cards goes back into the jar.  At the end of the centers, the student with the most cards wins!  (This could me modified for vocabulary practice too)

On to planning Week 4!  Have a wonderful weekend!


mspacman1 said...

do you have a link to the directions for spelling Bam?

Ms. D said...

Hi, if you go to my blog page my newest post has it included. Or go here to my Teacher's Pay Teacher's account (I posted it for FREE!)

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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I also have this in my class as a math activity. Currently, it has basic math addition facts in it. the student picks a card, reads the math sentence with the correct sum. If they are correct, they keep the card, if not, it goes back in the container. If they pick a "boom" card, they put all their cards back! They LOVE it.

Anonymous said...

Love this idea! I am going to modify it for my grade 10 college english class and use it for novel-specific language. Thanks and keep the good ideas rolling in!

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