Secret Sentence Codes

brought to you by Lori's not a secret. I'll totally share it with you. 

One of my favorite new strategies for teaching grammar, sentence patterns, and punctuation is sentence coding. While sifting through spring scores [oooh...nice alliteration], it seemed like many of our kids had picked up points on writing but really struggled with the multiple choice revision and editing questions. This is not new news [again with the alliteration]. We've been in this predicament since the days of TAKS when Objective 6 [you know you remember obj. 6] was low across the board. We scratched our heads then and we're scratching our heads now. 

Ramping up for summer acceleration, I wanted to teach kids to think about a sentence in terms of parts that make up a whole so that they could easily identify fragments and run-ons. This makes them better writers, and, in a time crunch, helps them identify those as poor answer choices on a multiple choice test. I'm sorry to go there, but we're just being realistic. 

Take a closer look at coding. It is best introduced across 3 or 4 days, and must be referred to often to prove as a regular means to tackle revision and editing in your students' writing. It begins with manipulatives where students construct phrases and turn them into different sentences:

Students learn coding by first creating sentences.
  • Day 1--Simple Sentences (coding independent clauses with brackets)
  • Day 2--Compound Sentences (coding FANBOYS with a circle and each independent clause with brackets)
  • Day 3--Complex Sentences (coding AAAWWWUUBBIS words with a box, dependent clauses with parentheses, and independent clauses with brackets). For the purposes of this post, I simply highlighted the subordinate conjunction in orange. 
  • Day 4--Compound/Complex the way...I hate the sound of that. I just call it the Big Kahuna, and my kids know what I mean. (You're coding with everything...that's why it's the Big Kahuna).
Now these types of question stems sound familiar?
  • What is the best way to combine sentences 15 and 16?
  • What is the best way to rewrite sentence 11?
  • What is the most effective revision to make in sentence 6?
When coding is correctly implemented as a regular component of your writing instruction, students can look to those types of questions, and identify the parts of what they are given as answer choices. Look at the example. Now you have a tangible way to show students that certain options are not reasonable. For example, if you have an entire sentence in parentheses, it would not make sense to have a period after it.

(And while I believe that what someone eats is a matter of personal choice,) [it is not something that society should control.] (Because people need information if they are going to make wise decisions.)

It's a dependent clause, and therefore a fragment. However, without coding, students do not stop and take the time to look at the parts of the sentence. Coding simply gives them a system for applying what they know deep down inside. But notice how tricky the example is...which is a released answer choice from the state. They start the sentence with AND. Kids don't think you can do that. But if they use coding, they can see that the parts of a sentence work just fine. They can see that it is a complex sentence because it begins with an AAAAWWWUUBBIS word, is followed with parenthesis and then brackets. That's the code for a correctly written complex sentence. 

Remember that coding is a strategy and a process that takes time to introduce and students must practice it regularly. It's certainly not fool proof, but it guides kids through a thought process that is often missing. 

So now the secret's out! Go teach your kids to code and say goodbye to fragments and run-ons forever!

Pssst! Don't forget to take pictures of your classroom so that you can join in our first ever link-up on Tuesday--"Show Us Your Classroom."

Get the Picture

from your curly contributor, Suzanne

You know how each new staff development seems to produce the latest and greatest idea.  We throw ourselves into it for a year and then turn a blind eye when presented with something even more cutting edge.  I'm thankful that my district has stuck with a second year of implementation of the Fundamental 5.  I certainly don't think that this is anything revolutionary.  It merely encourages good teaching.

The first of these fun 5 is framing the lesson.  (That's where the title of this post comes in- frame, picture...Get it?...Anyone??)  

The top of the frame is what "We will..." learn today.  
The bottom is how "I will..." prove that I've learned the material by the end of the lesson.

Everything in the middle is stuff and things- activities for how you will teach the concept.  

So let's frame this post:
We will identify the components of an effective lesson frame.
I will create a meaningful lesson frame for an upcoming lesson.

This frame would be verbally acknowledged at the beginning of the class period so that students know what they will learn and how they will be accountable for that learning.  

It is important to point out the verbs here: 
"We will identify..." and "I will create...".  
During the lesson, the teacher moves the students to a higher level of thinking through the carefully chosen stuff and things.  When lesson planning, it is essential to establish your lesson frame first in order to have a clear goal.  Class activities should then be chosen according to their ability to help students achieve this goal.  It makes instruction more purposeful.  

So that's what a lesson frame is.  Let's talk about why the frame is important.  

Student benefits:  
  • provides a visual cue of what is expected
  • establishes an expectation that all are included/involved
  • helps students create relevance 
  • allows distracted or tardy students (re)engage
Teacher benefits:
  • create a clear intent for each lesson (all other decisions are then made to support that intent)
  • keeps the teacher on track and purposeful
  • closing task ("I will...") provides more immediate feedback of student's ability 

Here is an objective/closing cheat sheet to help you as you plan your lessons for this new year:

How to write a good objective:
How to write a good closing:
-Review my lesson plan
-Review my lesson plan
-Imagine a student asks me, “What are we learning today?”
-Ask myself, “What is the MOST critical element for students to understand today?”
-My answer is the “We will…” statement
-That is your “I will…” statement
-My objective is specific to the day’s lesson and written in student-friendly language
-My closing is specific to the day, student-friendly, and can be completed in the last 5ish minutes of the lesson*

*The closing comes at the end of the lesson, not necessarily at the end of class.

These tips can be used in all grade-levels and content areas.  It allows both the teacher and students to focus on the big picture- student learning and success.

Who's that Blogger Reveal and Winners

Who's that Blogger Reveal and Winners!!!

I have labeled the childhood photos with the matching blogs for you all to peek at!! Because of the volume of entries, winners will be notified throughout the weekend. I appreciate your patience as we send out emails and prizes.

Click on each image to see the photo

Winner of the $125 Amazon Gift Card!!!
You will receive an email notification and once your email has been confirmed, I will send you the Amazong gift card!!

Thank you so very much for playing!!
The 3AM Teacher (aka the lovely Michelle who put this all together) created a fun FREEBIE for everyone to grab!! 
Please feel free to share the freebie through pins, and she always appreciates your feedback!!
Click the image to visit her TpT shop and download the new decorated owl FREEBIE!!

Celebrate Good Times

We've been blogging for just over 2 months.  What started as a hair-brained idea (pun always intended) has turned into something that is more fun than we ever imagined it being!  What makes is so fun is YOU!

Please know that we have celebrated every follower (and updated with spirited texts when a new one joins us), marveled at each comment, gushed with every repin, and faithfully reported each preview and wishlist on Teacher Pay Teachers.  Recently, we've had our first purchase which was announced by way of a screaming telephone conversation.  I already spent my portion of the profit on a pint of Ben & Jerry's.  Hey- a girl's got to eat!!

This blog started as a means to provide quality resources for secondary ELA classrooms, and we are honored that you have allowed us to become a part of your new school year. As you try things out in your classroom, let us know how it's going.  We're here for you and the students we serve.  

**Coming Up:  Show Us Your Classroom!  You've worked hard in your room and are ready for students to join you (or at least you will be by 8 am Monday morning).  It's time to show it off!  We're hosting our very first link up on Tuesday, September 3rd.  We want to see your space!**

TPT purchases and Giveaway Winner

Phew.. what a wonderful TPT sale it was!!  : ) I want to thank each and every one of you for your purchases over the last two days... the sale was a success for me, in that it will allow me to purchase more for my classroom and pay more of my bills.  XOXO thank you all so much!
Owl Chalkboard Thank You
I wanted to share with you the amazing resources I have found... since there are SO many wonderful teachers whose products I am SO excited to use, I am going to list each of their stores - they are ALL worthwhile checking out!!

(This includes the amazing Rachelle and Natalie's stores!)

The wonderful Donna's store!

 The 3am Teacher
One of the best people I have grown to know -Michelle the 3AM Teacher's store!

The talented, generous Jennifer!

 Lovely Hadar's store!

The sweetest lady I know - Lisa!

Sweet Reagan!

Erica's Ed-ventures
The talented and cute Erica's store!

My wonderful friend Katie's store!

The "graceful" Jennifer :)

Good Enough Teacher
The "Great Enough" Teacher Krystal!

My hard working lovely Susanna's store!

Miss Teacher Resources 101 
The terrific Miss Brittney

The LibraryFox
My sweet, creative friend Crystal!

A helpful Kindergarten teacher - Tiffani :)

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs
The sweet and adorable Beth's store :)

 The Moffatt Girls
 The amazing Annie's store!

My newest love who's been so helpful - Cindy :)

  Kreative in Kinder
A very talented Kinder teacher, Krystal!

And last but CERTAINLY not even close to least (more like closer to first ;) ) a woman who needs no introduction, the beautiful Deanna Jump :)

There are so many other sellers that I adore and appreciate.... thank you all - I am SO blessed!!  Feel free to share your TPT purchases/best sellers with me : )

Also... Giveaway winner time! Check out below if you are the winner of the Dollar General Giveaway :) Your goodies will be arriving to my house this week and I will ship them to you very shortly.  Thank you to everyone who participated!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

brought to you by Lori

And now some summer-time math brought to you by an English teacher (who should not, in general, attempt math):
3 Subject Areas
3 Types of Writing
11 Days of Instruction
1.2 million Tiny Pieces for Grammar Manipulatives 
[I don't know how the .2 got there. I'm not a math teacher, but that's what it felt like when I cut them out one by one. Perhaps I'm using a bit of hyperbole, but if ever a situation called for hyperbole...cutting out class sets of manipulatives for 3 separate lessons for 7 different teachers would be that situation.]
2 teachers
RIDICULOUSNESS. That's what it equals. 

This was a summer unlike any other where I worked way more and way harder than I have ever had to in the past. Luckily, my good friend Suz is just a crazy as I am, so we help lighten the load for one another. It's so easy to say this now, being on the other side of it, but summer acceleration went really well, and I hope to share giant success stories with you once our scores come rolling in. For now, as we begin to say farewell to the last days of summer, enjoy some pictures of the ridiculousness that ensued mere weeks ago. 

Suzanne is pouting because we had been working for HOURS. I think I left her house after midnight that evening. I mean...of course we took a break to go have dinner and go to Dollar Tree. But still...I'm telling you...HOURS.
We cut some manipulatives at school, but I ended up taking the bulk home with me. Ignore the toys. This is real life, folks. And I promise that I do clean my house, but these two really short people mess it up. All. The. Time.

Speaking of my short people, they do come in handy. My oldest helped me unroll some manipulatives. By the way...this looks absolutely atrocious. But the lesson was SO worth it!

No one likes working during the summer, so after the lessons had been prepped, Suzanne and I organized them neatly so that all teachers had to do was walk in my office in the morning, pick up their materials, and teach. 
What do you see? That's right...who is that?'s just 2 Curly Haired Crazies planning for the following week's summer acceleration lessons. I'm surprised there aren't tumbleweeds blowing by in the thousand degree heat. 

And that is how we spent our summer vacation. We hope yours has been wonderful! Use the last remaining days to rest, recharge, and (of course) replenish your hoard of school supplies. 

Ready or they come!

Who's That Blogger?

Welcome Everyone!!

         Are you ready to have some fun??
                                              ....Play a game?
                                                              .....Win  prizes and cash?

I have teamed up with 65 AMAZING blogger buddies to put together the ultimate Back to School Linky/Giveaway!!!

Each one of my blogger buddies submitted a cute childhood photo & generously donated something special from their online TpT shops for this occasion!! We have included a fun game for you to play for a chance to win over $300.00 in prizes and a BONUS  CASH-PRIZE raffle you can enter at the end of this post!! 


The game is easy to play....

 Your job will be to try and match each blogger with their childhood photo!!! With over 60 childhood photos and bloggers to match up, this might get tricky!! As I mentioned above, each blogger has generously donated one awesome prize from their TpT store. Successfully match a blogger and childhood photo, and you win the prize offered from that blogger!!! The more you matches you make, the more prizes you win!!! 

Check out some of the prizes you could win!!!

but Wait....
That's not all....

ONE lucky follower will win a $125 Amazon Gift Card!! Scroll to the bottom & follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $$$

The link below will open a form that will allow you to submit your answers for the match up. 

Use the blogger links and numbered images to help you along the way!! Each childhood photo has been assigned a specific number. 

Once you open the form, use the drop-down menu beneath each blog button and select a number that corresponds to a childhood photo. 

The form results will be collected throughout the week. At the end of the week, each submission will be "graded" and you will receive a prize for each blogger and photo you successfully matched up!!

The game closes on Friday, August 23rd at midnight (Arizona Mountain Time). Answers will be announced on Saturday, August 24th. Winners will be notified through email throughout the week. 

Use the blog links below the photos to search for clues!!
Click HERE to Play the Matching Game!!


Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $125 Amazon gift card!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for participating!!! Good Luck!!!

If you would like to post about this linky/giveaway, grab the special image below to display in your post and link up below!!! Make sure to use the link to the actual post,,,

Back to School Sale!

Back to School Sales are here!! I am very excited to tell you that my Teachers Pay Teachers store will be on sale from 8/18-8/19 for 20% my products! Use the promo code: BTS13 and receive a total of 28% off!! Such a great deal : ) I am also have my Teacher's Notebook store products on sale for a total of 25% off  too if you are a TN shopper :) Stock up your wishlists now ;)
 Look at this adorable graphic from Creative Clips! Love her : ) 
Here are some of my products that you might be interested in for Back to School : ] Click the pictures to take you to the product link! Happy shopping!


golocal4health Proudly Powered by Blogger