mrs. yates class

A peek inside our classroom everyday!

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

A Featured Blog from a Student!

They finally get it! Read this today and HAD to feature it on my blog! Congrats, Rachael! Job well done!

January 28, 2013 @ 6:16 PM 5 Comments       Edit this Post

Well, before I go off into my ramble about the research my group and I did today, let me explain the title. Before I started typing this blog post I was thinking: “Why do we have to do these blog things everyday? It takes about a half-a-hour to a hour (depending on length) for me to do these every week night.” After that though, I began thinking. I thought: “Well, these blogs help make us better writers by testing our grammar and spelling skills everyday. These enhanced skills, thank to our blogs, help us write better school papers. Better school papers mean better grades, better grades mean better college choices, better college choices mean better education, and a better education means a better chance that we have for going on to have a successful career in what ever field we may choose, and not working at a fast-food restaurant, like McDonald’s.” The skills this blog gives me might be the difference between me being stuck at a community college (because no other college would take me)  while working at McDonald’s to make a living and me getting in to Yale and going on to work at N.A.S.A. as head Aerospace Space Engineer, if there is such a thing! (I may have “exaggerated” a bit in the last paragraph.)

Now on to my ramble about today. The whole class time today was devoted to research time. Since I missed the last major research day, I knew I had to make up today. I didn’t get a lot done though because the search engine was being a jerk and blocking a lot of stuff. That and it’s really hard to find a story of a specific mentally/physically challenged person that was killed or survived (I don’t know if there were any survivors) in the Nazi euthanasia program on the web in general, then add the fact that a whole bunch of websites were blocked and that makes things even harder. Anyway, that pretty much sums up my day in English class. I guess I’ll post again tomorrow; partly because my teacher will get mad if I don’t and partly so I don’t grow up to work at a fast food restaurant! Until then!

Book Talk Guidelines

Here are the guidelines your group will need to follow as you prepare for your book talk!

Book Talk Guidelines

Comments on Blog

Don’t worry if your comments don’t post right away.  I have to approve them before they go live on the blog. Keep going and I’ll approve them as time allows!

Last time (I hope!)

Well, as you know–I am out again for a meeting downtown! Fingers crossed, this will be the last meeting of the year!

PLEASE be on your best behavior! Stay focused and ON TASK! Don’t let your netbooks distract you from the work at hand!

Here is the plan & resources you will need for today:

  • First you will go on the Kidsblog site.  Since I am not there to walk you through the grammar/content check–you are going to do it by yourself.  Here are the steps I’d like you to take:
    • First, remember that this is a real person with feelings.  You need to be honest, but not rude in your critique.
    • Find the person’s blog to your right (from your table).  In the comment section-critique their blog.
      • I do NOT want to see, “Good job! Nice! Excellent!”
      • Be specific with your comments.
      • Was it long enough?
      • How was their content? Did they summarize too much? Not enough? Did they predict? Reflect? Draw conclusions? Did they give you enough details so that if you haven’t read their book or done their research that you understand what they are talking about?
      • Check their grammar! Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, sentence fragments etc etc etc!
      • Pretend you are me and be specific!
    • Then, choose someone’s blog who is in this class, but not at your table.  If you see many other people commenting on this blog post, do NOT choose it.  We want to spread the love around.  Do the same as above.
    • Finally, choose someone’s blog who is NOT in your block.  Follow the same directions as above.
  • Once that is complete, you will need to read your novels.  Today is Day 11 on the page number chart.  Before you read, check out this handout with the reading strategy for today.  stop_and_jot handout
    • You should have a package of post-its on your table.  Please use them correctly for today’s assignment.  When the reading and discussion is complete, return the unused Post-its to Mrs. Hux.
    • After the 20 minute reading time is complete, you need to discuss your notes and thoughts for the next 7 minutes.
  • Finally, when all the above is complete, you will have the rest of the period to devote to your research groups.


Global Blogs

The first piece of my professional practice video went live on the CODE website today.  I just saw it and wanted to share it all with you! WOW! It is showing the world some of the incredible work that you are doing every day! SO PROUD!

Our Train Car Activity

Here are some pictures from our Train Car Simulation today.  We packed close to 100 students into the tiny space that the people would’ve had while traveling to the concentration camps.

Opportunity for Student Bloggers


This post is taken from this blog.  (He is a good friend of mine and a former EVSC teacher and coach.) I would REALLY LOVE to see some of my students featured in his blog!!!

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 12.08.00 PM


#12DOD: Student Edition

This past December I ran a series on Education Dreamer called The 12 Days of Dreaming. Over a course of three weeks I posted twelve different blogs by fourteen guest bloggers. Each blogger was an educator and he or she wrote about her dreams for education. Some covered broad topics such as assessment and the physical structure of the school. While others focused on their personal classroom or subject area. It was a great experience with great results.
Now it’s time to take the project to the next level. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Education Dreamer is teaming up with the people at Student Voice and Choose 2 Matter to bring to you The 12 Days of Dreaming: Student Edition!  This will be a collaborative effort to highlight the dreams of the students who enter our schools. 

We are looking for a minimum of 12 guest student bloggers. The series will run in February. At the end of the series the post, along with some special guest post, will be released in the iTunes bookstore. The books will be sold with all proceeds going to the Sandy Hook Scholorship Fun!

If you are a student, or know of one, who would like to submit a blog post for this project, please submit your idea for a 400-600 word blog post by filling out this FORM by February 8. All you have to do is answer this question:

What are your dreams for education?

Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this project! We look forward to sharing your dreams with the world!

Rubric for Multi-media Presentation

Here is the rubric I will use to grade your multi-media presentation.  Please –as a group– take some time to look over it and be sure that your video will meet (or exceed) the expectations!

Holocaust Multimedia Presentation Rubric

New Opening Song?

Are you tired of hearing the Black Eyed Peas to start class each day?  I’m taking suggestions for a new opening song! Must be school appropriate, peppy, and at least 3 minutes long! (Leave a comment!)

Train Car Activity

Today we will be looking at the railroad system that was used to transport the people to the concentration and death camps.

First, you will receive a paper (I know! Paper!) of this map:

Europe 1942

You will want to be sure to take note of these links, as they will be very helpful to your activity today.

The activity:

For marking the map, you will need three different colored pens, pencils, or highlighters.

  1. On the Railroad Routes to Auschwitz map, locate and write the names of the following capitals and cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Hamburg, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Pristina, Rome, and Vienna.
  2. Using a different color, write the names of the following ghettos: Bialystok, Grodno, Kovno, Lodz, Lublin, Radom, Theresienstadt, and Vilna.
  3. Using a third color, write the names of the following concentration camps: Buchenwald, Narva, Sachsenhausen, Salonica, and Westerbork.  You will need to mark Kovno in this color also because it was converted into a camp in 1943.
    Use the back of the paper to answer the following questions:
  4. Using the scale provided on the map, estimate the distance trains traveled to Auschwitz from the following ghettos and camps: Buchenwald, Lodz, Narva, Salonica, Theresienstadt, Vilna, and Westerbork.
  5. Auschwitz was in operation as an extermination and concentration camp from March 1942 until November 1944.  How many months is this (be sure to include both of these months in your total)?
  6. The boxcars used to transport people to Auschwitz were 30 ft. long and 8 ft. wide.  How many square feet is this?
  7. Each boxcar contained 100 to 120 people.  When a boxcar held 120 people, what was the average amount of space each person had?
  8. What can you infer to be the worst aspect of these train journeys?

Column Notes Strategy


The end!

Today we finished The Diary of Anne Frank.  I was sad to see the story come to an end-but am looking forward to the conversations that will still be taking place.

We began our class with our review of classmates blogs.  As of today–each student should have a total of 7 blogs.  As I saw today, many students have a lot of work left to do to catch up. Remember the ratio should be MORE reflection and LESS summary. Look at other students who you  know have written a great blog and try to use theirs as a model for yours.

Students were asked to create a Double Bubble graphic organizer. (Although we ran out of time today to complete it–we will start there tomorrow.)Double Bubble Map

Either in small groups or whole group-we completed the Diary of Anne Frank side of this graphic organizer. Story Elements final Once students were in their small groups, they were to complete as much of the novel side as possible.

Tomorrow we will have more dedicated time for research.

Great resources!

21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning


I hope you enjoyed the past post and welcome you to a series of posts  dedicated to Creativity in digital classroom. I have some reflections, ideas, and some amazing resources to share.  Please enjoy and share this post via email or a retweet. While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Also, feel free to contact me about any conference, in-service plans, or PD you might wish to include me in. ( You can learn more at the Booking Link.  Please continue to network and join me for our special journey into 21st century education.  – Mike Gorman (

I believe that creativity is necessary in today’s classroom. In fact, creativity is one of the important 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity) that make up part of the…

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Yes, Ma’am!

Today we began to use our daily blogs as a source for proofreading and editing.  I drew 3 students names at random. (Some classes we had to draw more than 3 since some students blogs were not posted! [Read: didn’t do their homework!]) Since over 5,000-yes, 5,000 PEOPLE have read our blogs, sharing their blog with the other 33 students in the room should not be that big of a deal! 😉

After reading the blog post aloud, we collectively looked at length, grammar, and content.  The students do a great job of critiquing their classmates. I even saw a few lightbulbs even go on today as others were realizing some issues that they too needed to fix. Here again is the Blogging Tips handout that should help the students do the best on their blogs.  Blog Post Tips Remember: always write as though your reader knows nothing!! Don’t assume anything!

NOTE: Students should be in the process of answering 4 of the 7 questions posted regarding Anne Frank.  I have STRONGLY encouraged them to use the Yes, Ma’am approach to ensure they have the correct framework to answer the question.  Some have asked me to post it again.

Yes Ma'am

We also applied the 5-3-1 Strategy to our reading.  Here is a short explanation of the strategy for those that are absent.  531_strategy_ We did this as a class for Diary of Anne Frank and then had students apply the same strategy in their novel groups. The students came up with some great 1 word summaries!

I continue to be amazed at the engagement and hard work the students are putting into this unit.  They are excited to learn and are reading each of their novels so quickly.  Some have even asked to read another novel if they can finish their first one in time. (WOW!!!!!) I will hate to see this unit come to an end in a few weeks.  But, I am looking forward to the next unit and the exciting things that will bring.

Scholastic Magazine has just released the newest arrivals. I will say that THIS month’s selections are the BEST I have seen all year.  There are some really great titles being offered at great prices.  Plus, there is even an entire section on WWII and Holocaust books.  The Diary of Anne Frank as a whole narrative is even in there.  PLEASE consider purchasing some books this time.  For every 1 book you buy (especially online) I can get 2-3 books for our classroom library.  Students will need to have their own SSR books again in just a couple short weeks.  I do have hard copies of the latest Scholastic book forms in my room if students would like to take them to look at.

Use our class code: L7L3T

In closing, I had a student tell me today, “Mrs. Yates, I NEVER bring paper to your class.” I told him I took that as a compliment.  He said, “Really? You aren’t mad?” I told him no! “My expectation was to make you 21st century students who could survive a world without paper and pencils and keep up with the digital nation surrounding you!!!”  Today is a day when I look at all my students have accomplished so far and really get excited about Part 2!

Diary of Anne Frank Discussion Question #7

Are the van Daans and Mr. Dussel part of Anne’s family? Are Bep, Miep, Mr. Kleiman, and Mr. Kugler part of Anne’s family?  Why or why not?

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