mrs. yates class

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Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Another contest! thinglink!

Create an Interactive Image for a Chance to Win an iPad Mini

from Free Technology for Teachers by (Mr. Byrne)

ThingLink and Rosen Digital have teamed up to run an interactive image contest for K-12 students. The ThingLink Interactive Image Contest for K-12 is giving away ten iPad minis, one to each category winner. All K-12 students are eligible to enter in one or all ten of the categories. Entries are now being accepted through this form.

The contest categories are as follows:
My Favorite Books or Authors
Science — Think Like a Scientist!
Health & Well-being — You, Your Family, Your Friends
Environment — The World Around Us
Community — Volunteering & Making a Difference
Money Smarts — Earning, Saving, Spending
Art & Music — Express Yourself!
Sports — Game On!
History & Social Studies — From Yesterday to Today
Animals — Furry, Friendly, & Fierce

Voting: Friends and family can vote on their favorite images by using “touch” icon on a ThingLink image. The most “touches” counts for a portion of the score. A team of educational advisors will review entries and determine winners.

Prizes: One iPad mini will be awarded to the top winner in each category. The winning school in each category will also receive one Rosen Database subscription for a year (Teen Health and Wellness, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy or the Power Knowledge Science Suite). Certificates will be awarded to second and third place winners in each category.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don’t or can’t enter the contest the list of categories is worth looking at for some ideas for using interactive images in your classroom. I like the idea of having students create interactive images about their favorite books. Students could create story maps then upload them to ThingLink to make the map interactive with pinmarks that contain additional images, video clips, audio clips, or links to additional reviews of their favorite books.


Tackk-Cool Presentation Idea!

Found this very cool site  via this blog and wanted to pass it along!

Communicate Differently With Tackk

Finding ways for kids to communicate information can be a bit of a challenge. Its easy to fall into the Power Point or Prezi track. Or even easier to not offer up any technology opportunities at all. There are loads of great creation/presentation tools out there. Voicethread, Google Sites, Animoto just to name a few are some of the creative ways in the past I’ve covered.

But I am always on the look out for something new and easy to use. And I think I might have found that.
Ok. So its similar to Glogster (which many people love) but in my opinion, much, much better. And I think it will continue to do so.
What is Tackk?
It is a really elegant way to display information.
When you land on the website you get a blank Tackk you can start working with share, no login required.
The instructions are pretty simple:
You have an editor on the right side that allows you to manipulate colors, fonts, backgrounds and tags. Again, we still haven’t logged in yet. And everything is happening in the web browser.
You click on a space you want to edit. In the header section you can title your Tackk and put in any other information needed. There are also options to add more sections, like pictures, text boxes and other media like embeds and videos.
The idea here is you can have multiple types of elements in a presentation of information. It’s still pretty linear but the options to customize how information is presented are really endless.
Once complete you have a URL at the top that you can share your Tackk with the world. First you have to preview and share (that locks it down so other can’t edit).
The downside is your Tackk expires after 7 days if you don’t create it under an account and you have to be 13 to create an account. But with the account you can customize your URLs, edit multiple Tackks and they never expire.
Again, its not designed for K12. But it could be adapted for use in the classroom. And hopefully the creators will make an EDU space similar to other services that allow for account management by teachers and the ability for students under 13 to have accounts.
So check out Tackk (and follow them on Twitter @tackk_it). At the very least it could be a great way to do some flipped faculty stuff or curate information for sharing.

Life Lesson #2

clipart_sickLife lesson #2 of the week–never tell your students that your family is doing better and that you will not be missing any more days in the near future.  Anyone want to guess where I am today? That’s right–the stomach bug continues! The grandparent that was going to watch my sick one today, has now fallen ill. Guess who that leaves? ME!  I HATE HATE HATE that I am missing again today, but I have to get my little guy feeling better and eating again!

So, here is the plan for today! (I hope after our little “talk” yesterday that all of you are checking the blog today for directions and will complete the items listed below! 😉

  • Silent read.  You should silent read for 20 minutes today. WITH YOUR OWN BOOK! 
  • Yesterday only Block 1 started the RUPR exercise.  I’d like to continue that with the rest of the classes today.  Go to back to this post  to get the writing prompts.  (Block 1–you can do the exercise again–it will NOT hurt!) 🙂
    • Pick any prompt you like
    • Read it
    • Underline key words and phrases (format, audience, key words)
    • Prewrite!
      • If you were going to write a 5 paragraph essay on this topic–what would you want to include? Don’t worry about it being right at this point.  Just write down everything that comes into your brain! Make sure you address ALL parts of the prompt! Before you think you are finished-go back and look at the prompt and be sure that you haven’t forgotten anything! You should prewrite for at least 5 minutes.  Watch the clock–if it has only been 3 or 4 minutes–KEEP THINKING! This is your foundation for your entire essay and you want to make sure you haven’t left anything off.  (Remember–grocery list!)
      • Once you have finished writing everything that popped into your brain–organize it.  What would go into paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5? This will make your writing flow and make it easier to write!
      • Then, think about the yo-yo writing we talked about yesterday. (Go back and look at yesterday’s prompt if you need to see the handout again.) I want you to write a matching beginning and ending based on the prompt that you have chosen. (Remember–the middle is not important in this step.)
  • Transitions
    • Another important component of getting a higher score on your ISTEP writing is to be sure you know how to use transition in your writing. Since I am not there to have the conversation with you–I will include some items below that you need to read thoroughly and be sure you understand.
    • Transitions in Writing handout (Open and read!)
    • Tools for Writing: Transitions (Open and read!)
    • Here is another transition reference.  I’d open this and save in your “ELA” folder that I’m confident all of you have!
    • I’d like you to practice a little with transitions.  Here is some practice.  Open this doc.  It should work in Open Office.  You should be able to type right on the page.  When you finish–save it and we will look at it tomorrow together. TRANSITION WORD PRACTICE
    • Here is one more.  This one is a PDF file. I’m pretty sure I was able to change it around this morning, so you can write on it. Transition Words-typable
  • Don’t forget to blog today! Talk about RUPR, Transitions, etc!

GOOD LUCK TODAY! Please stay quiet and focused for the sub!!! I will really try to make this my last day out for a while! 😉

Surprise, Surprise!

sickLesson learned.  Today I typed on Facebook that I was grateful my kiddos were all healing and that I was finally going to teach all 5 days this week.  Since you are reading this, you have figured out that I spoke too soon.  My little 2 guys are both fighting fevers and a VERY nasty stomach bug! So, once again, I am home with them! The good news is that the grandparents are on standby for the rest of the week–so this will be my only absence this week. (They were all busy today!) 😦

Luckily, I had already prepared 2 other blog posts for today before I left school yesterday.  You should see both of them posting below this one. Things will have to alter just a little since I won’t be there to guide you and have the discussions I was hoping for!

Here is the plan for today:

  • Read in your silent reading book for 15 minutes. (Yes, you were told yesterday that you should have one in class everyday–so NO ONE should have any excuses!! I don’t want to learn that many of you took them off my bookshelf either.)
  • Then, I want you to look that QAR post below. Find this link QAR-Gr3-8_ISTEP_examples and click on it.  I want you to take time to read through it.  It is an older ISTEP that shows the 4 types of QAR questions.  I want you to see what they look like and how to spot each type of question.
  • Next, read the “David Text” to yourself and see if you can label the questions that are provided.  When your table is complete–compare your answers and see how did.  (Do them ALONE first, BEFORE you compare answers!)
  • Then, download the QAR Question Practice link.  Number a sheet of paper 1-55. (Yes! I know! Paper and pencil again! The world must be coming to an end!) Obviously I didn’t create this one for looks–but for practice.  Go over the questions ALONE and label them. (RT [right there], TS [think & search], AM [author & me], OO [on my own]) When the class is finished, I’d like for you to go over each one and debate the correct answers.  (The substitute will need to referee this discussion since I know how much you love to talk over each other. Unless you want to appoint one of you to take the lead and keep the conversation focused and moving forward.)
  • Once that is complete, find your children’t book that I gave you yesterday.  No, you cannot switch.  As a group, I’d like for you to create 2 questions of each of the 4 QAR types.  (Mix them up.  They should not be multiple choice.  However, they must all be based on your book.) (If you get stuck, go back to yesterday’s blog where I gave you multiple resources on the various question stems that each question uses.) Be sure to include your names and the title of your book at the top of the questions.  Send me 1 email/group with your information on it.
  • I doubt that you will have time to move on to the circles of knowledge and Yo-Yo approach to writing.  However, if time allows–go ahead and read over that material so you are familiar with it for tomorrow’s discussion!

QAR Continued

QARTake a moment to open this document.  It is an actual old ISTEP test with examples of the QAR questions. QAR-Gr3-8_ISTEP_examples

David Text

            David woke up fifteen minutes late.  As soon as he saw the clock, he jumped out of bed and headed for the shower, afraid he’d miss the bus again.  He looked in the dryer for his favorite jeans, but they were actually still in the washing machine.  “Dang! I told my sister to put my stuff in the dryer! Now what am I gonna wear today?”  After settling for a pair of baggy shorts and a Hilfiger rugby shirt, he grabbed a bag of chips and a soda from the kitchen, and search frantically for his history book.  When he found it, he put it in his backpack, along with his breakfast, his hat, and his lucky deck of cards.  As he ran to the bus stop, he told himself, “I will not stay up late watching wrestling anymore!”


What kind of question is it? (Right There, Think & Search, Author & Me, On My Own)

  • What did David do as soon as he saw the clock?
  • What did he tell himself as he ran to the bus stop?
  • How did David get ready to leave the house?
  • What did David look for before he left the house?
  • Where was David going that morning?
  • At what time of day was David getting ready to go?
  • Should teenagers be able to watch TV on school nights?
  • Should parents always wake their kids up in the morning?

Here is a sampling of ISTEP test questions.  I’d like for you to see if you can decide which type of question they are. QAR Question Practice

You will be creating your own test questions based on your children’s book today.

Circles of Knowledge | Beginnings & Ends

Circles of Knowledge! (This is GENIUS!) Circles of Knowledge

You will also need this handout on Yo-Yo Beginnings & Endings yo yo beginning and ending


BLOG POST: (Pick 2)

Explain 4 types of QAR questions and how to find answers.
How is RUPR helpful to approach a writing prompt?

Explain Circles of Knowledge and how to use it!
What is the Yo-Yo Strategy in writing? Why is it important?

QAR-ISTEP Strategy

QAR=Question – Answer – Relationships


QAR Question Prompts for Resource– (Download and save!) qar question prompts

Here is another QAR detailed resource. (SAVE!)

Another good sentence starter resource! (SAVE!) QAR- Possible Question Starters

What Does This Look Like in Practice?
Good question. Just for practice and as an example, let’s apply it to the following passage of text. Following the passage are one example for each type of QAR.

      The sun was setting, and as the senator gazed out his office window, he could see the silhouettes of some of the unique buildings and monuments of Washington, D.C. Directly in front of him at the other end of the National Mall, the stark obelisk of the Washington Monument thrust dramatically skyward, its red warning lights blinking in the approaching dusk. Although he couldn't quite see it, he knew that beyond the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool just past it, a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln sat thoughtfully in the Lincoln Memorial.      The senator was worried. A bill was before the Congress, called Safe Surfing for Safer Schools, that would deny federal education dollars to states that didn’t have laws against internet pornography on their books. He was concerned about kids having access to dirty pictures, and even more concerned about internet predators having access to kids. But he also believed strongly in the right of people to freely access information, even if it meant sometimes children might be exposed to adult materials. And it seemed dangerous to take money away from schools, where the need was desperate, if state legislatures balked at this federal pressure on them.      His constituents had let him know in no uncertain terms that they supported strict standards of decency on the internet. He knew if he didn’t support the bill, his next election opponent would paint him as pro-pornography, and anti-child. But he didn’t want anything to get in the way of providing monetary support to schools through federal grants.      The unique spires of the original Smithsonian Institution were getting harder to see, but there was still a faint gleam on the green dome of the Museum of Natural History. What was the right thing to do?
Right There What legislation is the senator worried about?
Think and Search What arguments is he having to weigh in his mind?
Author and You How would you advise the Senator, and why would you advise him so?
On My Own What’s a tough decision you’ve had to make?

RUPR = ISTEP Strategy

Writing Strategy for ISTEP!


R=Read the prompt!

U=Underline key words! (What are they? Why?)

P=Prewrite! (List, words, phrases, grocery list!) (List & Organize)

R=ReRead the prompt 1 more time before writing

Here are some writing prompts to help us practice. Writing_Prompts_for_gr5-12


Good morning!


My son was doing better this evening–so I was planing on returning to school in the morning.  Sadly, some complications have arisen.  I will need to stay home again tomorrow to call the doctor and take care of him again.  Since this was unplanned, I had to call in a sub-very late at night.  You will probably have a new face with you today.  PLEASE be nice and cooperative.

You will take Acuity today.  Mrs. Kassenbrock has generously agreed to come over and help the sub understand how to give it to you.  PLEASE take your time and do a great job.  Remember the goals that you set and do your best to achieve them.

When the entire class has finished Acuity-then you can take your break.  You MUST remain silent while everyone is finishing their test.

Take 20 minutes to silent read. If you still have any time leftover-you may work on something else.  If you take your time with Acuity–you SHOULDN’T have any time leftover!


Good luck!!!

Tuesday’s Plan

photoToday is surgery day! So, once again I will be out! I just want to thank all of you for the flexibility and maturity you have shown while I have been dealing with my son.  Many of you have sent nice emails and stopped by to say that you were thinking and praying for us! You will never know how much that means to us.  (Hopefully we have reached the end of the crazy days of Mrs. Yates and all the missed days!)

  • A group of students from PEERS PROGRAM (from NHS) will be here to talk to you during the 1st period of the block. You will need to clear off your desks and put all your netbooks away. You will need to be respectful and quiet during their presentation.  If they ask for participation, then I’ll expect that you participate with them as well.
  • During the 2nd part of the block, you will review for Acuity.  Acuity C will be given tomorrow or Wednesday–depending on when I return to school.
    • First, I want you to be able to check your growth report.  Remember, we set a goal last after Acuity B.  I want you to see your growth.  Log in to Acuity.  Then you should see this screen.  Click “view reports”Acuity Screen Shot
    • Click on Language ArtsScreen Shot 2013-02-15 at 10.29.05 AM
    • Finally, you should see this page.  There should be 3 places that are hyperlinked and allow you to click.  Take time to click through ALL THREE of them.  As you scroll down, you will see your test, the standards, your answers, etc.  This is FULL of data that should help you prepare for the next test.Screenshot_2_15_13_10_30_AM
    • After at LEAST 5-7 minutes–YES–SPEND THAT MUCH TIME POURING OVER YOUR DATA–make sure you have your goal set for this time.  In today’s blog, write what your goal will be.  Remember, it should be measurable. (words like: better, more, good–won’t work! Give your goal a number. [i.e. I want to improve by 3 points.])   Explain why you set that goal, why it is important, and you hope to achieve it.
    • When you finish with your goal, go back into Acuity and click “Study.”  There are many resources that have been added from your Acuity B scores.  You must work through 4-5 of them.  Take your time–remember, I see exactly how long you spend on each one, in addition to your score.
    • If you still have a few minutes at the end of the period, get out your free reading book and read.  You should be reading for 20 minutes each day.  (In a book that YOU have chosen and that YOU continue to read–IN and OUT of class. You need it EVERYDAY in class!!!!!!!!!)

Field Trip

Many of us will be gone on the field trip today!

Here is the plan for those remaining:

  • Silent Read for 20 minutes.  Yes, you should have a book! I told you to get one on Monday when you went to the library.  Watch your time and monitor yourself!
  • Go on the the Kidsblog and comment on 3 peoples blog.  Same rules that you always follow for this practice.
  • Logon to Acuity.  Go to study.  You should see some practice resources for ELA.  Do at least 3 of them.
  • With any time you have leftover-you may work on something else.  QUIETLY! These teachers are watching you as a favor for Mrs. Akers and me! Do not make them regret their decision to help out!  If you cause an issue with them–you will have a bigger issue with me when I return later this afternoon!

You Can Take the Teacher Out of the School, but not the School out of the Teacher . . .

Since my son will be visiting a doctor in Indy –we stopped by the Indianapolis Children’s Museum this afternoon.  Imagine my excitement and surprise when I happened upon an ANNE FRANK EXHIBIT!! I got super excited.  Sadly, my 6 year old wasn’t as impressed.  He took a detour with his mamaw and I stayed behind and took some pictures.  Of course, I thought of some great conversations we could have had and I was sad to think none of you would see it.  I took a bunch a pictures for you.  Not the same as seeing it in person, but wanted all of you to know I was thinking of you. 😉


The Final Countdown

countdownThe final countdown has begun to the multimedia presentations. Today, you will have just a few minutes to put finishing touches on your presentations. Although you have each been assigned a day for the book talks and presentations, please be ready on Tuesday.  No, you all won’t go on Tuesday, but you need to be prepared to go when the group in front of you finishes and we have time left over. We won’t be meeting on Friday, due to job shadowing, so we need to get all of these in-in a short amount of time.


Plan for today:

  1. Today is Library Day! Using the sticks, you may go to the library 5 at a time.  Remember, you need to have your own book starting this week since our novel reading is over.  Your book MUST be on your level and not too easy or hard! This book is part of the daily expectation of materials being brought to class.  You SHOULD have it with you daily. (Block 1–goes 2nd period, Block 2–goes 3rd period, Block 3–goes 5th period)
  2. Look at the Kidsblog site. Choose 3 different blogs–before today’s date–and comment on them.  (Content, Length, and Grammar [word choice]) Your comments should be positive, yet constructive.  Same rules apply as last time.  I have turned off the setting where I have to approve them first, so be sure you are happy with what you post before you hit the publish button.
  3. Next, your blog post today will be a diary entry.  You will assume the role of a member of the sub-group that you have been researching.  It is the end of a long day where you have been fighting for your life. (or trying to end someone else’s)  If you have been researching the Nazi point of view–be careful how you choose your words.  You do not want to be too violent or cruel in your word choice.  Plus, we do not want to offend any of our readers.
    1. Your title should be “Diary from a __________ point of view.”
    2. You should think about a typical day from the group you have researched.
    3. Plus, think about Anne’s words.  What did she record each day? Could you hear her voice? What made it relatable? Use that background knowledge as you think about what to write.
    4. Blocks 1 & 2–You should have a minimum of 12-15 sentences.  Block 3–You should have a minimum of 5-7 sentences. (Spelling, punctuation, content all count!)
    5. Be thoughtful in your post.  Not RANDOM! Try to include some of the interesting facts you learned into this narrative. (DO NOT simply give statistics.)
  4. You are going to send me an email. Move AWAY from others eyes.  This will be a private email that only I will see.
    • Send me an email entitled: Group Report.
    • Part A = Book talk
    • List each group member and their contribution to the group.
    • Then, if you were me–how would you rate them? 1,2, 3, 4 (A one means they did nothing and contributed very little.  A four means they went way ABOVE the expectation for the group.) Then, give me at least 2-3 sentence justifying your rating.
    • Do the same for the members in your research group.
    • Then send it to me! (Remember–I will be the only one to see it–so be honest!)

If you have any time remaining–as a group, be sure that you have your presentation ready to go.  Tomorrow, everything should be loaded and ready to roll.  Save it on a flash drive or be sure that MULTIPLE people have access to it.  That way it won’t matter if someone is a no show–someone will still have the presentation information.

Digital Heroism Challenge

Students in grades 6-12 are asked to participate in the Digital Heroism Challenge.  Please encourage our students to complete the tasks each day this week.  There will be prizes drawn and it’s an opportunity for our NJHS students to represent us with PRIDE!


Calling all Heros! Starting on February 4th and continuing until February 8th we challenge you to a noble quest for knowledge about what it truly means to be a Digital Hero! Each day a new posting will appear from a noble digital citizen. Read it and reply to it. Do this all five days and you will be entered into a prize drawing. You could win one of two HD Flip Cameras or an iTunes Gift Card! Are you up to the challenge?

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