Friday, October 18, 2013

Language Arts...Fitting It All In!






Greetings Friends!
Mr. Hughes here of Created by MrHughes. I love my monthly slot here on ATUE! It is fun to share with you and learn from you. Today, I am going to address how I attempt to fulfill all the language arts requirements that are put on 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.

Each year I get the opportunity to work with at least 60 students and open their eyes to the wonderful world of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and all the goodies that go with it. I LOVE teaching this subject. The students enjoy writing (well...okay, not at first, but by the end of the first week they are begging to share!) and learning.

So, if I could just let them write all day, I would totally have it made. But, dang it, I have to fit in that study of pronouns somewhere... or wait, what about correct tense verbs, or... oh yeah, expository formatting! I thought I was a total ninja at teaching this "stuff" and had no fear of my students testing. Yeah... THAT didn't pan out.

I knew when I saw my students test scores last year that something had to change, that I couldn't keep teaching the way I was teaching. I truly had felt that my kiddos were going to rock the test. After all, we had studied, written, studied, practiced, and more. But, then I saw the format for last year's test and realized, that while my kiddos KNEW A LOT ABOUT WRITING AND THE NEEDED SKILLS TO BE GOOD WRITER'S, I had failed them in the test application department. You know, the super nitty-gritty items. (We never get to see the test unless we peer over our students shoulders and try to see what is on them!)

This really bothered me. I pondered and thought, sketched, and stressed. What came about the realization that I needed to focus on 8 key components each day AND do my regular writing. I set to work and ended up with my Language Arts Daily Dose. I am only making a 6th grade set right now. (Side note: Even though they say 6th grade, they are perfect for 5th and 7th grades as well!) Even though they are crazy to make, I am seeing growth in my students! They are remembering more of the basics and what they mean- such as adverbs and test taking tips.

The eight key components that I work on Monday-Thursday with my 6th graders are:
1- Spelling
2- Punctuation/ Sentence Correction
3- Literary Terms
4- Quick Write
5- Cursive Reading and Writing
6- Parts of Speech
7- Testing Tip
8- Media Awareness/ Reference Materials Use
Fab Vocab: One new word per day. (These words cover Reading, Science, Math, and Affixes. This cross curricular connection makes this an even more valuable resource.) 

Here is an example page:





On Friday, I work on reviewing the skills of webbing, reading for meaning, supporting answers with text, and/or rough drafting.

It has been eyeopening to see how little my students know about media use and vocabulary words I would have guessed they had mastered! I am thrilled at how well they can talk about how to tell if a website is trust-worthy and about print and digital resources that are available to them.

I won't lie and say these only take 10 minutes. These take up to 15-20 minutes for the students to complete and then another 10 or so minutes to correct. Because I was running out of time each day, I switched how I was using them.

Now, I correct the previous day and assign the current day. So I correct Monday's on Tuesday and then assign Tuesday which we will correct on Wednesday. I let them work for 10 minutes in class on the current day. This lets them ask questions on problems that are confusing, etc. Then, what is not done, is assigned as homework. This has cut the time needed from 35-40 minutes to 15-20 minutes, and I can totally "sacrifice" 15 minutes to cover so many topics with my students.

So, now I don't worry as much about if I am getting it all in. I still teach grammar mini-lessons to really go indepth on some topics or to cover a topic that didn't seem to be as well received on the Daily Dose pages. I also have the pages in a spiral review so that they can't just learn it for the day and forget it.

So... what about YOU? How do YOU fit in all your language arts topics?
-Mr. Hughes

AND, as a bonus for being a loyal follower of All Things Upper Elementary, I am giving away ONE COPY OF EACH OF THE FIRST THREE SETS to ONE LUCKY WINNER! WAHOO! Go ahead and enter the raffle copter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

47 comments:

  1. What a great idea! We have been using a lot of mentor texts for writing narratives (in 5th grade), I love that this daily dose gives students more tools and vocabulary to apply to their writing.

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    1. Thanks! So pleased to have you stop by. :)

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  2. I teach math but it's so important to integrate language arts in the content areas. I have just started doing end of class reflection paragraphs which give my students a chance to practice their grammar skills in math!

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    1. What a FANTASTIC idea! Thanks for sharing that. Have a great day. :)

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    1. Thank you. :)
      So pleased you stopped by!

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  4. Another great idea! And it is truly difficult to get it all in!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your stopping by. :)

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  5. I use lots of interactive notebooks and daily 5 in my room.

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    1. I am working on using INB more and more. Daily 5 is still a thought on the back burner. :)

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  6. You do such thoughtful stuff, Mr. Hughes! Your students are lucky! I really need to do a better job of making sure I keep things balanced--I know how easy it is to let some of those foundation skills go!

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    1. I can same the exact same for you, my friend. I hope to be able to spend a day or two in your classroom someday in the future. I KNOW I would learn so much. :)

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  7. I think the hardest part this year has been trying to make sure we cover everything we need to cover! These look great!

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  8. I have been doing a daily dose...but not this complete! I really see improvement with cycling it through...we only have a four day week so I really have to be exact in what I do. I would love to win these!

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  9. Totally agree with you about the lang arts skills and the thought process about testing. Unless you present it the way they may be tested they will not necessarily apply it. They may not have prioritized it the way we want them too. Will check out your packets, they look like what I have envisioned just haven't had the time to create. Thanks!

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  10. Have used "Grammar with a Giggle" in the past. This year trying to incorporate writing every where possible.
    Toni Nicholson
    chief9937@Yahoo.com

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  11. I have used Daily Language Review in the past....but yours is so much nicer! Great job!!

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  12. Love your teaching products!! :) I use a combination of things in my class... Daily Paragraph editing... Mountain Language... It would be fun to incorporate these as well and mix it up a bit. I think my kiddos would respond well to them!!

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  13. I love the blog and your product. As a sixth grade teacher I find it difficult to find ELA resources.
    Thank you!

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  14. I love this idea. I'm not a fan of traditional DOLs. Your idea is so much better -- it incorporates each area of language arts.

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  15. I love this idea. I'm not a fan of traditional DOLs. Your idea is so much better -- it incorporates each area of language arts.

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  16. I like this idea. I do a lot of writing and the grammar sometimes gets put on the back burner.

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  17. I feel your pain. Fitting it ALL in is always what keeps me up at night blogstalking and pinning LOL. I already do a 10-15 minute grammar/paragraphing review to start off Writer's Workshop each day, but I love your product that incorporates so much more than just grammar. I can't wait to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

    Melissa O'Bryan
    Wild About Fifth

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  18. I am really interested in these. Our new curriculum has moved away from direct practice of skills and I am afraid that our students are going to not get the direct practice they need. Trying to fit it all in is killing me (and, sadly, the kids).

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  19. Have checked your preview - wow! You have put so much work into this and it looks truly fantastic! On my wish list!

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  20. I still use the parts of speech jingles from the Shurley Method, even though I don't use the SM program anymore. I also use interactive notebooks and Grammar with a Giggle. I really like that your daily dose gives students more tools and vocabulary to apply to their writing. Every day is an overwhelming challenge trying to fit in reading, grammar, and writing in just 65 minutes. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!

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  21. Your Language Arts Daily Doses are a wonderful way to fit in a lot of necessary content in not a lot of time. Thanks - and keep up the great work! :)

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  22. Thanks everyone! You are all amazing! WAHOO!
    I love hearing your thoughts and what you use. THIS is what the internet was designed for- SHARING INFORMATION!

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  23. Wow I love this! I have had the same problems with testing.

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  24. I do grammar minutes, mountain language, and integrate it across subjects.

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  25. I would love to try to implement this in my classroom! On my wish list!

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  26. I would love to apply this in my classroom too.

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  27. I love this idea! It makes so much more sense than separating all the components. Thank you!

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  28. I feel like I have been having trouble finding time to fit in many of those topics featured in your Daily Dose. What a great resource to cover it all! I love that you designed it to be spiral so they can't just forget about it (which is what it feels like students do with much of what they learned in LA in previous grades!)

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  29. Thank you so much for this idea. Daily practice even in small doses help in the long run. Great post!

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    1. I do something similar and then a whole sprinkling of mini lessons as well.

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  30. I have just moved to a 4th/5th Resource Room but I used to use something similar for Math in my previous classroom. Great instructional tool!

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  31. Loving all these amazing comments and ideas. So great! :)

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  32. How did I miss these when you first posted them? They are being purchased as we speak. Thank you!! =)
    ~HoJo~

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  33. Always trying to find goodies to help my son...new 5th grade teacher..YOU are his go to blogger! THANKS! wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! So happy to help out! :)

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  34. This year I am using interactive journals along with their Daily 5. Also, I love your creations and blog!

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  35. Do you think you will do a set for 7th grade? I'm not sure if these would be too easy for my 7th graders. I would love your input before I purchase them.

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-All Things Upper Elementary

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