Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Creating a Digital Portfolio (Reflecting and Writing)


Creating a Digital Portfolio (Reflecting and Writing)  You have already build the foundation of your website, personalize it, and add content. Now it's time to begin the reflection process. The purpose of of a portfolio is to both showcase your assignments and reflect on them. Today you will begin writing about your selected digital assignments.

Make sure to introduce, explain, and reflect on each assignment.  Consider these questions: What did the assignment ask you to do? What does the assignment show that you know and know how to do? How did you feel about the final product? Would you do anything differently next time? Explain. I've included a model of how you may want to write about your assignments below. 




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Creating a Digital Portfolio (Adding Photos, Videos, and Google Docs)


Creating a Digital Portfolio (Adding Photos, Videos, and Google Docs)  Yesterday you created and named your website and began to personalize the look and them of your Digital Portfolio. Today you are going to begin adding the content (text, images, video, and Google Doc assignments), which in many ways is the heart and soul of your Digital Portfolio. The videos below are great tutorials on how to add content to your Google Site. Watch them at your leisure and try adding some content to your Digital Portfolio today.  

How to Insert Text and Images in Google Sites

How to Embed Google Docs in Google Sites

How to Add Video

Homework  (1.) Practice adding some content to your Digital Portfolio.  (2.)  30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available. Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here

Monday, April 28, 2014

Creating a Digital Portfolio


What is a Digital Portfolio?  Digital Portfolios (also known as e-portfolios) are digital representations of a student's work. Portfolios are a powerful way of showcasing your individual skills and talents, as well as illustrating your growth in learning and achievement. Your Digital Portfolio will also allow you to show off who you are as a unique student and individual. For your Digital Portfolio, you will build a website using Google Sites. Your Digital Portfolio Google Site will include a collection of your most important digital assignments of the school year and your personal assessments of these pieces of work.  We will be working on creating our Digital Portfolios over the course of the next several weeks. This project will make up a sizable portion of your final Language Arts and Social Studies assessment grade. In order to get a better a sense of what student Digital Portfolios look like, check out the video below. A link to a collection of student portfolios can be found here.   



Creating a Digital Portfolio  I have created a Digital Portfolio template for you here, which you will use to get started. It includes the basic structure, components, and guidelines for building your Digital Portfolio. However, you will have the opportunity to personalize your Portfolio and make it uniquely your own. To begin, you get to select your website's theme. First, click on the pull-down menu with a bolt on it at the top of your screen and select "Manage site." Next, select "Themes, Colors, and Fonts" located near the bottom of the screen. You may begin to personalize the look of your website here. Make sure to save your changes. 

Additionally, the videos below show you how to change the site's layout and how to insert text and images. Check them out to learn how you can continue to make the look and feel of your Digital Portfolio website a true reflection of who you are.    




We will continue to personalize our Digital Portfolio websites in class tomorrow and begin to learn how to incorporate our digital assignments. In the meantime, more information on creating Digital Portfolios can be found here.  

Homework  Begin to personalize your Digital Portfolio website.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Smarter Balanced Performance Task


Warm Up: NoRedInk  Good morning! Let's continue practicing subject/verb agreement at NoRedInk. Find the assignment entitled "Subject/Verb Agreement #2" and begin. What is not finished in class becomes homework. Please fix your errors in order to receive full credit. 

The Smarter Balanced Performance Task  A key component of the Smarter Balanced Assessment that you will be taking next week will be the 'Performance Task.' What exactly is a Performance Task? Check out the explanation from Smarter Balanced below. 
Now let's see what one looks like and process it together. Go to the online practice test here. After logging in and selecting your grade level, select 'Start G6 ELA Performance Task.' Follow along with Mr. McGinty as he guides you through its various components. 

Homework  (1.) Complete the NoRedInk assignment "Subject/Verb Agreement #2." (2.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  Deadline: I will be checking this week's reading log on Monday, April 28

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Subject/Verb Agreement and Test Prep


Warm Up: NoRedInk  Good morning! Please visit NoRedInk and start the assignment on Subject/Verb Agreement. If you need a little background on the rules of Subject/Verb Agreement, check out the site here. What you do not finish in class becomes homework. Please fix your mistakes in order to receive full credit.  

Smarter Balanced Test Prep  In order to better orient you with the features of the Smarter Balanced Online Test, we are going to watch a presentation about the logistics of the test process today. You can find a link to the presentation here, however I will be showing it on the SmartBoard and would request that you close your Chromebooks during the presentation. If you have questions or would like to refer back to the presentation please refer back to the link provided.  

Homework   (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.) Complete your NoRedInk Subject/Verb Agreement assignment.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nuts and Bolts and Test Prep


Warm Up: Nut and Bolts  If you need to get inspired about the day ahead, watch the video above. Then, head over to School Loop and check your grades. Do you have missing assignments that you need to make up? Do your grades reflect the actual work you've done? Do you need to send a message to one of your teachers via Loop Mail? Next, visit Accelerated Reader and check your A.R. points. Are you reading nightly and taking A.R. tests regularly? Are you making progress towards your goal? Finally, go to your Google Drive and make sure that you have published your Ancient China video and moved it to your name folder within your Social Studies folder.  

Smarter Balanced Test Practice  Yesterday you were introduced to the Smarter Balanced Field Test and had the opportunity to explore the format of the test. Today, you will actually practice taking a part of the exam. Go to the online practice test here. Sign in as a Guest, select Grade 6, click 'Start G6 ELA Practice Test,' check your sound, and then start the test. Today we will be working through the passage "Cure It with Candy." I will read the passage aloud to you and then give you time to answer the various questions. If time permits, we will review our answers and process together.  

Homework  30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Almost to the Finish Line


Welcome Back Message  Welcome back form Spring Break! I hope you had a fun and relaxing time and are feeling rejuvenated as we begin the final sprint towards the end of the school year. We are almost to the finish line! Let's finish strong! 

Warm Up: Newsela  Let's get the day started with a little nonfiction literacy practice at Newsela. Log in, check your 'Binder,' and locate the article entitled "Teacher ditches grades to help students." Set the reading level to 920L (Grade Level: 6), read the article carefully, and then take the quiz. Be prepared to discuss the article with the class. Do you agree or disagree with this approach to teaching and learning? Why or why not?  

The Smarter Balanced Field Test: An Introduction Next week you will be taking the "Smarter Balanced Field Test." Learn more about what this new test is all about by watching the video below.  



The Smarter Balanced Field Test: Exploring the Test  Now that we have a general idea about what to expect, let's explore the online practice test here. Follow along with Mr. McGinty as he familiarizes you with the test format and guides you through some of the different types of questions you should expect to see.  

Homework  30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Spring Break!


Happy Spring Break!  I'm sorry I couldn't be with you today, but as a father I couldn't miss my son's performance in his school play.  I expect each of you to be on your very best behavior today.  Follow the directions of your substitute and the activities outlined on the blogs.  If I discover that any of you are using your Chromebooks inappropriately during class time and/or not giving your substitute teacher proper respect, you will have serious consequences when I return.  With that said, I wish each of you a Happy Easter and a relaxing Spring Break!  

Warm Up: Typing Practice  Good morning!  Let's get the day started with a little typing practice.  Open up your Typing Club app and get started!  

Newsela  Please visit Newselalogin, click 'Binder,' and locate the article about NASA and space travel. Change the reading level to 880L (Grade Level: 5.0).  Read carefully and take the quiz.  Good luck!  

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.    (2.) Over Spring Break you need to read an additional 3 days and make at least 3 digital reading log entires.  Deadline: I will check your Digital Reading Log when we return on Tuesday, April 22.  I will be looking for a total of 8 entires (5 from this current week and 3 during Spring Break).  The Reading Log will be worth 40 points.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Feeling Blue

Mr. McGinty, Sad and Overworked
Warm Up: Grade Check and Deep Thoughts  Good morning.  I'm feeling a little down today.  As you know, I have been working very hard since the introduction of the Chromebooks to provide you with engaging learning experiences each day.  I spend hours of my own personal time each week creating lessons, researching new applications, and grading your digital assignments.  However, I feel that many students in this class are not putting in the effort or hard work that I expect.  Few students are reading regularly and completing their digital log entries.  Major projects, despite extra time and offers to help students at lunch, are not being completed.  Basic assignments are not getting turned in. It's discouraging.  I expect so much more from each of you!  

I spent several hours yesterday grading your assignments.  Please go to School Loop and check your overall grades and performance on individual assignments.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to send me a message via Loop Mail or meet with me privately.  I'm on your team!  I want you to succeed!  But you have to be willing to put in the hard work in order to get the results that you want.  

Check out the video below about a young man who has put in the hard work and whose effort is about to pay off in a very big way.  



Library Visit: Book Finding, Silent Reading, Test Taking, and Digital Logging  In order to ensure that you are stocked with good books to read over Spring Break, we are heading to the school library today.  Please use this opportunity!  In addition to finding books, you may take A.R. tests, silent read, and even log your reading using our online Reading Log.  Are you making progress towards your A.R. goal?  

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.) Deadline:  'The Connotation Worksheet' assignment is due tomorrow, Friday, April 11. Make sure it is completed and in your name folder within your Language Arts folder.  

Reminder: Apostrophe Re-Take Quiz Today  If you were disappointed with your recent Apostrophe Quiz result, I am offering a one-day-only re-take quiz today in my classroom at lunch.  You're welcome to bring your lunch and try to raise your grade! Hope to see you there!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

District Benchmark Test


District Benchmark Test  Good morning! It's time to take the District Benchmark Test. I will provide each of you with a test booklet, an answer sheet, and a pencil (if you need one).  This exam covers material that we have studied in class this year, so, yes, this test will count towards your Language Arts grade.  Take a deep breath, read questions and passages carefully, and do your best!  If you finish early, you may silent read until all of your classmates have also completed the exam.  Good luck!  

Homework  30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Denotation and Connotation

Warm Up  Good morning!  Let's get the day started with a little typing practice.  Open up your Typing Club app and get started!  When you hear the alarm, please end your typing session and return to the Language Arts Blog.  

Vocabulary: Understanding Denotation and Connotation  The English language is filled with words that at first glance appear to be very similar to each other.  However, when we look closer at the context these words are used in, differences in meaning become a lot more apparent.  Don't believe me?  Check out the video below.  


Words have shades of meaning.  In addition to a literal definition, otherwise known as denotation, words also have what we call a connotation.  Connotation includes the emotions, feelings, and images associated with a word.  Learn more by watching the video below.     


Now that you understand that words can have similar denotations while also having very different connotations, let's put your understanding to the test.  You can find a list of words here that are similar to each other with regards to definition (denotation) yet have very different feelings (connotations) associated with them.  Use the assignment here to match the words from the word list with similar denotations.  Next, sort the pair of words by which has a more positive connotation and which is more negative.  

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.) Complete your 'Connotation Chart' assignment.  

Coming Up: Apostrophes Re-Take Quiz  Some students have privately expressed their disappointment with their grade on last week's NoRedInk 'Apostrophes' Quiz.  I hear your cries for mercy and therefore will be offering a one-time 'Apostrophes' retake quiz this week.  If you were disappointed with your score and its impact on your overall Language Arts grade, come to my class on Thursday, April 10 at lunch and take a new version of the same test again.  Whichever quiz grade is the highest will be the one entered in School Loop.  In the meantime, you are welcome to go on NoRedInk and do the various apostrophe practice activities.  I hope you take advantage of this offer.  Good luck!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Introducing Propaganda

An example of propaganda.
Warm Up: Silent Reading and Digital Reading Log  Happy Monday! In order to keep you from becoming complete tech zombies, we will spend some time away from our Chromebooks today.  When you hear the alarm, close your Chromebooks and began Silent Reading using actual books with pages made from real paper.  When you hear the alarm again, you may open your Chromebook and make a reading entry using our digital reading log here

Introducing Propaganda  Propaganda is a means of communication that people use in order to try to get people to buy into or believe in a particular cause or position.  The ideas or statements used in propaganda are often false or exaggerated and intended to influence people.  Read more what propaganda is, it's history, and the various types about the history and types of propaganda here.  

Check out the images below.  Why do you think they are considered examples of propaganda? (Warning:  Some images are disturbing and offensive.)  


    
 

Now that you have a basic understanding of what propaganda is, head on over to EDpuzzle and interact with a video about the topic as it relates to advertising.  If you haven't linked your EDpuzzle account with your Language Arts class, here's the class code:  Class code:  bWPL3E b. WaWPL3E 

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.) Complete the 'Propaganda' EDpuzzle video and questions.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Last Class Day for the Argument Essay


Warm Up: NoRedInk Apostrophes Quiz  Happy Friday!  I expect you to be on your best behavior for the substitute teacher today.  It's time to take your 'Apostrophe Quiz.' Head on over to NoRedInk and find the assignment of the same name and begin. Make sure to keep your eyes on your own screen during the quiz.  If you fix your mistakes you will receive extra credit. Once you finish, you may begin putting the finishing touches on your Argument Essay.

Writing an Argument Essay: The Final Class Day  After two weeks of work, this is it. This is your last class day to work on your Argument Essay.  Please take full advantage of the time you have.  Refer back to previous blog entries for helpful hints and links to resource materials.  If you don't finish in class today, please use the weekend to finish your essay.  It's due Monday!   

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet READING LOG can be found here.  Deadline: I will be checking this week's reading log on Monday, April 7.  (2.) Deadline: THE ARGUMENT ESSAY is due (in your Language Arts name folder) Monday, April 7.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Write an Argument Essay: Closing Time


Warm Up: NoRedInk Apostrophe Practice  Good morning!  Let's continue our apostrophe practice at NoRedInk.  Log in and locate the 'Apostrophes # 3' assignment.  Remember to fix your mistakes in order to receive full credit.  What you don't complete in class becomes homework.  You will have an Apostrophe quiz tomorrow.  Are you prepared?  

Write an Argument Essay: The Conclusion Paragraph  It's finally time to put your Argument Essay to bed and write the conclusion paragraph.  This is your opportunity to make your case one last time, reminding readers of your main points while making a strong final impression.  You want to finish with a strong sentence.  Looking for an idea? Try referring to your hook, finding a quote, or inspiring your readers.  You can also find some argument essay conclusion examples here.  If you would like to meet with me today, sign up and make an appointment.   

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 8.22.47 PM.png

Homework  (1.)  30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here  (2.) Complete your NoRedInk 'Apostrophe' assignment.  You will have an 'Apostrophe' quiz in class tomorrow.  Please make sure your are prepared.  (3.) Deadline:  All assignments related to the Argument Essay (except the essay itself) are due tomorrow, Friday, April 4. Make sure they are in your name folder within your Language Arts folder.  You can find a list of the assignments due here. The Argument essay itself will be due on Monday, April 7.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Writing an Argument Essay: The Saga Continues


Writing an Argument Essay  This day is dedicated entirely to refining the introduction and body paragraphs of your essay (tomorrow we'll start work on the conclusion paragraph).  If you need resources, please refer back to the previous days' blog entires.  If you need to schedule an appointment to meet with me, please sign up on the white board.  You've made it this far, so don't stop now!  Make this an essay you can be proud of!  

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.)  Complete work on the introduction and body paragraphs.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Giants Won (And Writing the Body Paragraphs of your Argument Essay)

Buster Posey crushed a home run last night to lead the Giants to their first win of the season.
Warm Up  Let's continue practicing using 'Apostrophes.'  Visit NoRedInk and start the assignment entitled "Apostrophes # 2."  If you make a mistake, simply fix your error in order to receive full credit.  What's not finished in class becomes homework.  We will be having an 'Apostrophe' quiz later in the week, so make sure you're learning by doing.  If you still need some help understanding how to use apostrophes check out the site here.

Write an Argument Essay: The Body Paragraphs  Now that you've introduced the issues involved and established your point of view (thesis) in the introduction paragraph, it's time to really make your case.  In the first body paragraph,  clearly present the strongest pieces of evidence that support your thesis, and provide additional details for each to strengthen your argument.  Make sure you order your details appropriately and use transition words (which you can still find here) to tie your ideas together.   



In your second body paragraph you want to make sure to acknowledge the opposing point of view, but then refute it.  Explain using evidence why this line of reasoning is wrong.  


Make sure you check the 'Body Paragraphs Checklist' before moving on.  

If you didn't start your Argument Essay yesterday, you can find the document you will be using to write it here.  

Homework  (1.) 30 minutes of silent reading at home.  Make sure to record your reading on one of the digital reading logs available.  Our weekly Google Form reading log is here and the Google Spreadsheet reading log can be found here.  (2.)  Complete the NoRedInk Apostrophe assignment.  (3.) Work on the body paragraphs of your Argument Essay.