Punctuating Sentences Task Cards

 

These task cards reinforce and supplement your regular lessons for punctuation of sentences.   Students are provided with the rules to learn, then given opportunities to practice and apply the punctuation to their writing.  They are applicable to all grade levels from elementary to middle schoolers that need to learn and practice end punctuation.  Students like that the rules are there to refer to if needed. Teachers like that it is an independent learning tool to enhance their writing program. 

How I Started Out The Year As A Middle School Teacher

Teaching middle school students can be tricky and I found out that getting off on the right foot the first day of school was paramount!  I discovered early on that if the students knew I was in charge from the first moment they walked into my class I was going to have a great year.  Here is how I started out the year in each of my middle school classes.

I found in teaching language arts that students worked better if they had their own desks rather than tables.  That is just a preference of mine, I know many successful teachers that love using table and groups. 

First, I made a seating chart for each class using the following criteria:

  1. I took the alphabetized class list and re-alphabetized it so it was boy, girl, boy, girl
  2. I made sure no ethnic names were together

Then when the students entered my class for the first time I had the students stand around the back of the room and I asked them to sit down one by one according to my new seating chart.

Next, I explained that this was where they would be sitting throughout the year. I also made it clear I was not inclined to move students around unless I decided it was necessary, so to please not ask if they could change seats.

Finally, I know this sounds harsh, but I would wait for one student to mess up and I would quickly call that student out.  I would explain that that kind of behavior was not tolerated in my class, that I did not my degree in babysitting, and I did not expect to spend any of my time disciplining students that did not know how to behave.  Then I would end by lightening it up and saying, “You now know that you do not want to open a can of Darling!” The students would laugh, but they  knew where I stood on discipline and what my classroom behavioral expectations were.

I’m not saying it would work for everyone, all I’m saying is that it worked very successfully for me and I’m sharing in case anyone needs a new way to start out their year.

 

DAZZLE’S FAVORITE NIGHTIME WRITING LESSON

Teachers, here is another writing lesson from Dazzle.  It is an observational lesson through the senses that can be used anywhere and often.  This lesson is for a nighttime observation that  you could do for one night, a week, or a month of nights.  You can incorporate as many or as few extras into it as you like such as write a poem, a song, or draw a picture or a map.  Students love having options and will surprise you with the extra things they came up with themselves and they love to share out loud what they write. You will be surprised and happy with the outcome.  If you don’t want to assign the lesson now, save it for a warmer time or when something special is occurring like fazes of the moon, an eclipse, or a holiday.   Here is Dazzle’s lesson for you to share with your students. 

Dazzle has a funtastic nighttime writing lesson that can be done anytime of the year, but since it’s winter lets give it a try now.  Imagine stepping outside your house on a winter night and opening up your senses to everything that is going on around you.  This assignment is ALL about your senses here’s what you do.

  1. Put on your coat, grab paper and pencil, and head outside.  If you live in the city are close to a park then ask your parents if they mind if you go there or if they will go with you to the park, otherwise just go outside wherever you live.
  2. Find a place to stand or sit that is kind of off by yourself, take out paper and pencil, and start describing everything that is going on around you.  Note the:
    1. Sounds your hear – Example: an owl hooting, a big truck going by, someone laughing, the sound of the wind, a dog barking, the crunch of someone walking in the snow etc
    2. Things you see – The clouds partially covering the moon, how dark it is outside, the shadow of the trees, the blur of a car passing by, etc.
    3. What you feel – The sting of snow as the wind blows it into your face, the sweat rolling down your back because you have on a very warm coat, cold hands, nervous because you hear a wolf howl, etc.
    4.  What you smell – Dinner cooking, exhaust, clean air, the neighbors barbecue cooking on the grill, etc.
    5. What you taste – the cold snow as it hits your tongue, the taste of the chocolate cake you had for dinner, the lollipop you are sucking on while you make your observations, etc.

Once you have finished your observations go inside, look at your notes, and start writing your story in your composition book.  Now here is where it should be fun! instead of just writing the facts, elaborate and make it interesting and try NOT to say the words I saw, I felt, I smelled, I tasted, I heard, but find more descriptive words to describe the scene and the senses.   Example:  As I looked up into the dark cold sky, a veil of wispy clouds shrouded the silvery moon.  That sounds much better than saying I saw the moon and clouds.  

As you write you can add illustrations to go with what your are describing.  You could also add a poem or song if you felt inspired to do so.  Have fun with your writing!

Dazzle was brought to me by RZ Alexander. Check out all RZ’s wonderful clip art here.

Check out this totally student-directed interactive writing notebook that includes lessons on narrative, compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argumentative essays as well as a poetry unit with guidelines and rubrics for each step each lesson. Students use provided rubrics to grade each assignment and essay before turning them all in for instructor evaluation.

Interactive Writing Notebook If you are interested in more student directed and assessed language arts and writing curriculum click here. 

Dazzle’s Note Writing Time Filler Activity

 

MEET DAZZLE

MEET DAZZLE

Meet Dazzle, the amazing language arts wonder dog!  Dazzle was brought to me by RZ Alexander.  Drop by RZ’s TpT store and see the amazing clip art offered there.

Dazzle is chalk full 😉 of helpful teaching ideas, hints, thoughts, and lessons that will make teaching and learning language arts and writing so much more fun and less stressful. In fact, here’s one now.    

Writing notes is something all students want to do so why not let them. With a few quick rules, you will be on your way to a fun time filler activity that keeps students writing and quiet for those times when you run out of things to do and still have some time left before class ends. Use this activity sparingly, usually a few times a month, and your students will be begged to do it.

Students should NOT make any noise as they write their notes and tiptoe around the room delivering them.  SO PLAY SOFT MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND, SIT BACK, AND ENJOY THE QUIET TIME.  THE STUDENTS WILL LOVE IT AND SO WILL YOU.

PS:  If a student writes a note that is not nice, reiterate what the word NICE means to the class, then refrain from letting the class write notes for a few weeks. They will get the message and be good when you let them resume note writing.  

And speaking of writing…here is another fun writing lesson from my TpT store that can be used on Monday morning to get your writing students’ juices flowing and loosen up their writing fingers.  It increases fluency and is fun.  What could be better?

Holiday Creative-Writing-Plans01_02