English teachers---syllabus, journals, and new room

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by EngTeacher15, May 25, 2007.

  1. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    May 25, 2007

    I teach 9th grade English, and I'm about to wrap up my first full year of teaching (go me!) but I want to make some improvements for next year.

    First of all, I'm wondering how other English teachers use journals in their classroom. I love starting the class a few days a week with a journal, but I was a traveling teacher last year, so it was difficult to get them started. Do you keep the journals in the room? How often do you write? When do you grade? How do you grade them?

    Secondly, is anyone willing to share their syllabus with me? I want to make changes to mine for next year, but I'm not sure what to change!

    Finally, I'm getting my own classroom next year (YAY!) so what are some things that I 100% need? What are some things that you couldn't do with out?

    Thanks in advance! :D
     
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  3. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    May 25, 2007

    What types of prompts do you use for the journals, and how do you keep them focused on a common theme?
     
  4. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    May 26, 2007

    Well, they don't usually have a common theme. I usually just relate it to that day's reading or activity, but I'm looking to improve/do it better!
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 26, 2007

    I don't have my old English 9 Syllabus, but if you pmed yours I would be happy to look it over.
     
  6. HannahB2

    HannahB2 Companion

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    May 27, 2007

    Each child is required to have an English binder for my class. They use dividers and one of the dividers is labeled journal. Each day when they come into class the journal is on the board. They are to get in their seats and complete the journal. I usually want them to try to write atleast 6-10 sentences. At the end of the period on Fridays, I collect the journals and they get them back on Monday. Let me find my syllabus around here on my computer somewhere, and I'll PM it to you.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 27, 2007

    Would you mind Pming me your syllabus also?
     
  8. HannahB2

    HannahB2 Companion

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    May 27, 2007

    Sure, I'll send it your way now.
     
  9. wig

    wig Devotee

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    May 27, 2007

    I googled "ninth grade english syllabus" and quite a few came up since many teachers now post them on line. You might try using that source also.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    May 28, 2007

    Journal ideas

    There's a really great book called Write Brain that's full of journal topics/writing activities. Most of them are very fun and creative.

    I teach high school, and I keep a folder and spiral for each kid in my class. I've been teaching for 14 years, and this year I started "grade day Friday." Each Friday, I go around to each student and grade his/her work (not essays... I'll explain that in a second). Most of the work I spot check for key concepts. It really helps me keep up with exactly what the kids are understanding. During weeks in which we've written an essay, I generally pick a paragraph and check it very closely. I grade the essays in full in a more traditional manner. I have to move quickly through the room, but we have 90 minute block classes, so it's possible. I don't see how I could do it with a 45 minute class.
     
  11. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    May 28, 2007

    What are the kids doing while you walk around and grade?
     
  12. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    May 28, 2007

    Just to play devil's advocate for the teacher's that use journals: How does this teach writing structure, organization, and logical flow to students?

    I have found journal writing to be of marginal value in this regard, and that is my view of the mastery that students should have.
     
  13. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    May 28, 2007

    I think one of the main goals is to simply get kids writing (and maybe even enjoying it occasionally:)? ).
    For an English class, they should also be writing "proper" essays, but I think journals are a great way for students to walk in the door and get their juices flowing.
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    May 28, 2007

    I have an independent assignment for them to work on... sometimes reading, sometimes grammar, sometimes writing, sometimes a test... it depends on what we're working on at the moment. I try to keep it as much a review/test as possible so that I can focus my attention on the student directly in front of me and not on specific instruction for the day.

    For the person who asked why journal, I agree with what the other poster said. Mainly I use it to help develop writing fluency and hopefully an enjoyment of writing.
     
  15. sisterto4

    sisterto4 Rookie

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    May 30, 2007

    My students journal because I want them to be able to write in a non-threatening environment. It's really just about getting their creative juices flowing and allowing them to write. Some kids don't care for writing time, but I hold them accountable by looking up occasionally while I'm writing and give them points if their pen is moving. Also, about every other week, I allow students to choose one piece they would allow me to read and dog-ear the page for me. I flip through their journals for completion and read the one they've chosen for me, and they get journal points in response.
     
  16. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    Jun 1, 2007

    I didn't have much luck with journals this year. I think I will just use warmup questions instead of journaling. Anybody have any feelings about warmups?
     
  17. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    Jun 2, 2007


    I like the idea of warmups. Especially ones that approach language usage and grammar.
     
  18. sisterto4

    sisterto4 Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2007

    I'm also working on warmups this year. During student teaching, warmups were a lifesaver in my classes. My mentor teacher had already set up the structure of them for me, and it was awesome. Students came in, the bell rang, I turned on the overhead, and they begin correcting sentences.

    I showed students two sentences a day, in which they had to write on their warm-up sheets in corrected form. The sentences were part of a story, so some students were interested in them. At the end of 10 days, I gathered the warmup sheets and gave them completion points for one side of the sheet, and actually mulled through them all and corrected the other side. Then, I gave the sheets back and students could earn half credit back on the side where there was a mistake (in each sentence).

    It worked fabulous for me. Since I'm going to be teaching at the school I student taught at, now I just need to find another similar way to do this, since my mentor teacher works there too! I don't want it to be redundant if someone has her too...
     

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