mrs. yates class

A peek inside our classroom everyday!

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Finally Friday

First–exciting news! Teachers were asked yesterday to submit anything new and exciting taking place to EVSC so we can be featured.  I sent them our blog.  It was featured on the EVSC Facebook page today! VERY exciting!!!

Today was a mis-matched type of day where we caught up on a few things, answered lots of questions, reviewed for a few, prepared for next week and ended the week with our Exit Ticket.

We spent the first few minutes with Friday’s Journal–Based on last week’s goals-what action steps are you going to put into place to see them attained?  Students should use the form found in either their email or last Friday’s blog to submit their answer.

Then we talked about last week’s Exit Ticket exam on Nouns & Pronouns.  We also discussed the new grading system in place.  No longer the world of A,B,C,D,F instead 3+,3,2,1.  It is hard to make the change-but together-we are making great strides.  Standards-Based grading and the proficiency scale will show the students (and parents) so much more about the individual grades.

We spent the last part of the block taking this week’s Exit Ticket. Review of Nouns and Pronouns & Verbs.  When students finished they were asked to spend a few minutes preparing for Tuesday’s discussion on “How to have a small group or 1 on 1 discussion.”


When you finish–upload your screencast to your Google Docs.  Once it is loaded, on the bottom left of your screen–you should see Collections shared with me. (You might have to click the drop down menu.) You should see your Block period listed there.  Drag your video into that folder.  Now–it is shared with me. Easy!

Parent Notes: (Questions should be passed along to the office.  This is just for informational purposes.)

These are a few things that have come up for discussion here at school.  I thought you might want to know as well–and thought this would be a great place to share them.  They are school-wide announcements–but since you might not get all the answers at home–just wanted to pass my knowledge along.  😉

Netbook Protocols:  Mike Clem is only here part-time, so he is planning to handle tech issues during Commons time at the bookstore window on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week.  We still do not have netbooks for some students.  We are hoping to get them in early next week.  Mr. Clem has a list of students who need a netbook and will call them down to distribute.  We do have some cases left over.  If a student doesn’t have one because they attended a school outside of EVSC last year, please have them let Mr. Clem know during the Commons time.  Google login issues and My Big Campus issues are handled by another tech representative.

Policy Reminders:

  • Backpacks (including draw string) are not allowed in the classrooms
  • Sandals are allowed, but flip flops and slides are not.
  • Girls shirts need to have all but one button buttoned

Transitive and Intransitive Help

Gotten a few emails about more practice with verbs.  Try some of these:

 Hope this helps!




Making Connections


Today–hopefully–all of my students, should be reading this blog–since our bellringer was to sign up to follow this blog.  Especially for times like this–when last minute decisions are made about assignments!

Next, we worked on making connections: text to text, text to self, text to world, and text to media.  After a quick discussion and notes on that–we moved on to the story Charles.

Once we finished Charles (by Shirley Jackson), we were able to look at the text structure-sequence.  I told the students to start a chart on their desks and label 5 weeks. (The number of weeks discussed in the story.) Here’s what I loved: they all did it differently–but got the same answer and same results.

Finally we ended the period with some more verb practice.  Students should’ve received the link to the practice form in their email.  Once a large amount of answers are submitted–I will run the script that will allow me to grade the paper and email the students their grades and answers.  Please check your school email tonight if you’d like to see how you did.

Tomorrow is our Exit Ticket on Nouns, Pronouns, and Verbs! Please be sure you look over your notes tonight so we are better prepared this week!

A few tips:

Here is a short movie on some of the common Google Search tips many of you have to demonstrate–take a few minutes to watch it tonight.

Also, don’t forget–when looking for help–be sure to Google something like “Google search tutorial + quotation marks,”  “Google search tutorial + Link:” etc.

We were shown today that using your webcam will allow you to capture your screen.  Instead of streaming your picture, like many of you like to do, there is  button that will let you share your screen.  If you play around with it–I think all of you can figure it out.  The video is stored in your documents, in the webcam and then videos folder. (I’ll try to show you in class tomorrow.)

Remember–when you have a question about how to do something–figure out ways to find the answer on your own–BEFORE you run to ask me.  (Google, YouTube, Internet source, etc) Happy to help-but try to put those search skills to good use!

ASK me tomorrow about the LiveBinderIT tool.  I think those of you using LiveBinders will really be excited with this handy tool!

Google tips postponed

The Google tip video deadline had been moved. They will be due on Tuesday instead. Focus on studying for your exit ticket tonight. Another blog to follow soon!!

Ready. Set. Google!

Today was another great day in the Husky Hallways! Here was our agenda:


Today’s DLR (Daily Language Review) was once again emailed to the students.  They were able to complete the assignment online and then take a screen shot of the final answer page and email it to me to show they completed the assignment.  I am still amazed at how great they are at doing this and how much easier it is to grade/check them as I can just scroll through my email.

We then transitioned  back to a little verb talk.  We reviewed intransitive and transitive verbs.  As we got ready to do a quick exercise on scrap paper–a student in my second block said,

“Mrs. Yates-I thought we were trying to use less paper.  How about we write on our desks?”

GENIUS! And so. . . we did!


No worries–they were dry erase markers! 🙂

Then, we took our block break! We came back into the world of Google. We started with an intro to A Google A Day. 

Students loved this idea and asked for this to be our bellringer every now again. Permission granted!

Next, we took a look at some 15 second Google Search tips. (Go to YouTube and search for 15 second Google Search tips to see what I mean.)

I then showed them how to create a screencast using  Next, each student drew a search tip out of my bucket.  The assignment: to create a 15-25 second tutorial using that tip.  Must show the screen while providing the tip.

The biggest learning curve was after I gave them the assignment I enforced a 7 minute-NO QUESTION ZONE.  They had to figure out their questions–without using me for the answer.  HELLO NETBOOK + GOOGLE! These presentations will be due on Friday.  Students do not have to use Screen-cast-o-matic to produce the clip–ActivInspire has a screen recorder tool included as well. And it always works! 😉 (Students know what I mean here!)


Students–if you sign up to follow my blog and then leave a comment below–you might just get a bonus “5” tomorrow!

Discussion on Discussion?!

First, let me start today by telling you what I hear as I sit to type this blog.  Dings of emails rapidly entering my inbox.  While one might be worried about the crazy influx of emails–what you don’t see–is that they are all coming from my students.  Students who are turning in their assignments today.  All of them. It is music to this teacher’s ears!

We began the day with our DLR! (Daily Language Review)  The advanced classes attempted to become Grammar Ninja’s by playing the mastery section of this online game. Then, so I could verify their participation-and check their score, students had to take a screenshot of their results and email me the results.  (mini lesson on Chrome vs Internet Explorer–Chrome wins!, how to take a screenshot, how to use the “snippit” tool on the netbook, how to import screenshot into email, how to follow directions!)  The regular classes were emailed their DLR and had the option of doing it on paper or importing the jpeg image into ActivInspire and using a flipchart to complete the assignment.

Once we completed this, we embarked on a discussion on discussion.  How do we have a large group discussion? What rules/norms need to be in place? What things do we need to consider to be successful? As a group, we brainstormed many ideas on the Promethean Board:



Notice the highlighted sections.  I gave the students time, as small groups, to discuss what was really important and help create class norms.  When each group shared out, any idea that was repeated, I marked in a different color.  The students were pleased with their efforts and it was truly a great discussion on discussion.

With the few minutes remaining, we talked about verbs! Definition of a verb and then transitive and intransitive verbs.  Since our first exit ticket and formative assessments–students are more aware of how important it is to take notes and stay focused. (We did have a mini-lesson on various ways to take notes-not with paper and pencil–and how to upload them into the online binders using Google Docs in the advanced classes as well.) We had just a couple of minutes to try a practice exercise.–>  Access eck-8002–> Chapter 15 Verbs–>  2nd exercise on Transitive Verbs–> Screenshot of results emailed to Mrs. Yates.


Another great day!! So proud of how well the students are using their netbooks and the focus they show each day on the work we must accomplish.  Also–the patience they demonstrate as we are finding our way with the technology and all the glitches it loves to throw at us! First period-especially!! 🙂

Exit Tickets meets Reality


First full week of school is finally here. . .and gone! It is about this time that students-and teachers-begin to find their strides and personalities begin to emerge.  I must say, I’m so thankful for the wonderful classes I have this year.  While large in comparison to previous years, the students are focused, polite, and ready to participate every day.

Today we began with our first journal writing.  The topic was 3 academic-measurable goals and 2 personal goals. Students were also to include a good introduction, supporting details, and a solid concluding statement.  I asked that they be around 10 sentences in length and follow the rules for Standard English (spelling, punctuation, capitalization–i.e.-no “text” talk).  I think a few students are struggling with the transition back to typing to their teachers and not to their friends.  A few will getting a second chance since their first attempt might have had a few too many errors. If you need to still submit your journal (or for future reference) please use the correct link below:

Block 1-Journal

Block 2- Journal

Block 3-Journal

We rounded out our pronoun discussion today with indefinite, demonstrative, relative and interrogative pronouns.

After our break today, the students took their first exit ticket over nouns and pronouns.  I think it was quite an eye-opener for most.  There was no multiple choice or matching.  We are trying to model our assessments after the PARCC assessments that will take over ISTEP next year.  I will begin grading the Exit Tickets over the weekend (when my children cooperate or sleep).  🙂 Once they are graded, I will add that grade to RDS based on the 1-4 proficiency scale. Keep in mind, if a students receives a low score, they will have the opportunity to improve and the lower grade will be erased.

I hope all of you have a great weekend!

Monday will be the first formative assessment on Text Structure and Media! Stay tuned!


Welcome to the digital world!

And so it begins. . .

Last year when I was able to spend the year as an eLearning coach, I had the opportunity to learn about so many incredible tools to use in the classroom.  Today, I was able to begin putting some of those pieces together.  Students began creating their online binders–instead of the common 3 ring-paper consuming ones.  It was so exciting watching them create this piece and add items to it.  I can’t wait to see all the ways that this binder increases their learning and becomes their go-to tool. They were able to copy the link from the website/binder they created into a Google form I created so I can keep each classes digital binders together. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! This is so exciting!


We spent a few more minutes with pronouns and their antecedents today in preparation for tomorrow’s first exit ticket exam.

We also had a great discussion about informational text structures and created this anchor chart to help us remember. Students were then able to take a picture of the chart or save from an email I sent them so they can add this picture to their binder notes in the RI section.

Netbooks are HERE!

Today was another crazy day in Yatesville.  Copy machines have been broken, technology not cooperating, schedules have changed, and today. . . we enter netbook world.  Retrieving the netbooks, testing them, playing on them, and trading out broken ones took a large majority of our class time today.  We spent some time doing our Daily Language Review and began our discussion of text structures, but found getting our netbooks set up-was the main focus of the day.

Honors students are to find a resource that will work best for them to use a digital binder instead of a paper one this year.   A few resources would be livebinders, weebly, Google Sites, Wikispaces.  If a student finds something else, they are welcome to use that as well.  I will spend a great deal of time this unit walking them through the steps on how to build this online binder so as the year progresses, they will become quite quick at utilizing skills to be a 21st century scholar.

My 3rd block, Periods 5-6, need to have their binder and tabs in class by the end of this week.  We need to move forward and without their binders, they will not be able to keep everything organized.

Tomorrow we are going to play catch up and finish our discussion of text structures, pronouns, and maybe a bit more discussion of online binder sites. Friday will be our first EXIT TICKET on Nouns and Pronouns.

Monday, Monday

Today was a great Monday morning in the Husky Hallways!

We began the first official “classroom” discussion today and laid the groundwork for what promises to be a very busy year! We began by discussing what our binders would look like for this year.  Honors classes will host their binders online this year.  Today I suggested a few websites for them to look at as they begin thinking about this new approach to organization.  (Livebinders, Weebly, Google Sites, Wikispaces, etc)  We also discussed the 10 divider tabs that they will need:

  1. RI-Reading: Informational Text
  2. RL-Reading: Fiction
  3. SL-Speaking & Listening
  4. W-Writing
  5. L-Language
  6. Bellringers
  7. Vocabulary
  8. Journal
  9. Standards
  10. Misc

Following that discussion, we looked at the I CAN STATEMENTS for this Unit.  (Unit 1 = The Lighter Side) Students will track their learning this year.  They should know exactly which standards they are currently learning as well as their proficiency level for each.  I will be tracking it as well, and will send a report to parents at a later time.   This painted a pretty clear picture of how much work we have ahead of us for this unit that ends in September.  Students are starting to see the seriousness with the change in curriculum and movement to the Common Core and PARCC assessments.

Vocabulary was supposed to come next.  However, since we had no netbooks and the copy machines were down, we had to just look at the example on the board.  Tomorrow, we are hoping to get that issue solved.

We then took a few minutes to discuss The Lighter Side theme.

We followed our discussion with a tribute to humor via a children’s book.  We watched Tim Tebow read Green Eggs & Ham  from YouTube. Ask you child about the piece of trivia they learned regarding the inspiration behind the book. I DARE you. (hint! hint!)

We then moved into a discussion regarding the parts of speech.   This week our main focus is on nouns and pronouns. After brainstorming definitions, examples, and notes–we watched 2 cute songs for additional help. (Nouns video) (Pronoun video)

We also had a discussion on media/mediums used.  Today we just looked at the definition and examples.  We will go more in-depth with that tomorrow.

Please turn in your $5 student fee as soon as possible so we can start ordering the informational text subscriptions we need for our classes.  Also, for my 5-6 period students-please have your binders here BY WEDNESDAY!!

A peppy end to a great week!

Today we were lucky to attend the first pep assembly held in the new stadium.  It was a great end to the first week of school, and an even greater way for us to unite as the Husky Family!

During class we were able to finish the Digital Citizenship Discussion and even create those dreaded seating charts!

Monday, finally, we get to start on the wonderful world of English.  Can’t wait to embark on this new adventure together!


Happy weekend!!

Classroom Expectations

After watching this hilarious PBIS video, we talked in length about P.R.I.D.E. and what it looks like in our classroom. Students had great answers regarding what it looks like for us and the importance of these expectations.

I also passed out the parent information letter and went over the change in grading, teaching, and standards-based instruction.

Parent Letter

Tomorrow, we are headed over to the new Husky Stadium for the inaugural pep assembly.  Looking forward to joining the Husky family to promote such a great school and team!!

Going to discuss digital citizenship tomorrow during class.

Back to School…Hallway expectations

First Day of School (cute video)

Back to school….Back to school!

Today we returned to the hallways of NJHS to resume another great year.  With new policies, procedures, and PBIS in place–things looked a little different.  Each content area took time today to teach, model, and practice the expectations for each area in our building.  That way, our students all know the right way and the wrong way to accomplish each task.

The ELA team taught hallway expectations today.  With the help of my other ELA teammates: Mrs. Kassenbrock and Mrs. Jones, we were able to take all our students into the hallway and model exactly what it should look like in the hallways.  (i.e. walk on the right side, hands to yourself, help someone who falls, don’t play around, get to class on time)

Another great day–even though we were on a very shorten scheduled.

Tomorrow we should be passing out handouts and parent information!


Twas the night before back to school. . .

As I sit here to type, 8th grade back to school orientation is winding down.  However, my excitement about this upcoming school year is abounding.  I met 24/26 homeroom students and a large majority of my ELA students.  What an impression they made! The students all came in, shook my hand, and introduced themselves.  Quite a skill for an 8th grader to have.

To see the excitement when I mentioned that we are going to become a digital classroom! English just might be cool again this year! I can’t wait to see what amazing things my students accomplish this year.  Even more, I look forward to the opportunity to learn along side them and see what they teach me as we begin our digital journey together.

As excited as I am, I must shut down and prepare to leave, only to return again in less than 11 hours to start our 180 day journey to greatness!

Back to School


Hello 8th graders and their parents!

This year we are moving into a more digital classroom setting.  Our netbooks will be utilized daily as we work to incorporate many 21st Century Skills into our new Common Core curriculum.  This blog will serve as a communication device for students, parents, and myself.  Each day, we will post what has happened in our classroom and what is around the corner.  I say we, because soon, it won’t be just me.  After a few weeks of training, during each block, one student will blog about the days events and hopefully begin posting a daily picture as well.  We will be able to comment on here and talk about questions you have and eventually reach outside our 47725 community.

I’m looking forward to an exciting year and can’t wait to see each one of you in just a couple of weeks! Check the blog often!

Always remember–you leave your digital footprint wherever you go–so be careful about what is written.  It never goes away!

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