Getting Organized: Google Classroom, Powerschool and Homework

This week on Thursday and Friday (days 1 and 2), we’ll review Google Classroom and Powerschool to see if there’s anything we are missing. Then we’ll set goals for the next week for things related to Homework Completion, study skills, etc. 

We’ll also get into the routine of doing our individual math warmups, and we’ll spend time reading–so bring your independent reading book please!

Reading Strategy Review

Good readers think as we read; that’s why we say ‘Reading is Thinking.’ There are many ways to think about what we read, but most good readers use a mix of strategies. On days 1 and 2 this week, (Monday and Tuesday), we’ll review some of the ways good readers think about what we read. You’ve probably been hearing about this in Humanities, but a little review is always a good thing, since effective reading is one of the most important ‘study skills’ there is.

I’ll demonstrate these a quick read aloud from a book I like. Then when we meet individually on day 5 and 6 to talk about your reading goals,  I’ll check in with you about what strategies you are currently using the most.

Below are some strategies good readers use when reading.

Good readers:

Connect: Good readers use what they know to better understand what they read.

  • ‘This reminds me of something that happened to me.’Reading is thinking
  • ‘This reminds me of something I know from school.’
  • This reminds me of another book I read.

Question: Good readers ask questions as they read.

  • ‘I wonder….
  • ‘Who, what, where, when, why?’

Predict: Good readers use clues to think what might happen next.

  • ‘I predict ____ will happen…’
  • ‘I think this character will____ because….’

Infer: Good readers use clues and what they know to understand things that are not directly stated in a book.

  • ‘I think this means that…’
  • ‘This clue makes me think the character is nervous/sad/happy.’

Visualize and use sensory images: Good readers imagine what a story looks, smells, sounds like…

  • ‘In my mind I see…’
  • ‘In my mind, I hear…’

Determine what is important: Good readers use what is important in what I read so they can summarize it or find answers to what they want to know.

  • ‘This was mainly about….
  • ‘I found answers to what I wanted to know in chapter 5 of this book….’

Synthesize: Good readers pull together many ideas to find the big ideas or themes in what they read.

  • ‘The theme of this book is….’
  • ‘One big idea I see here is that…’

Use evidence: Good readers support my thinking about what they read with evidence or clues.

  • ‘I think this because it says…’
  • Because I know____, and it says ____, I think….’
  • ‘I can tell____, because it says_____’

Getting Organized

This week on Thursday and Friday (days 3 and 4), as IPads are rolling out, we’ll set up our study planning notebooks, and think about what we’ve done in the past to keep track of our work and what we may want to change this year. Remember, we all need a system for keeping track of our homework! 

When I was in middle school, there was only really one way to track homework: you’d write it down. The only  question was whether you’d write it in a calendar, a binder, or on a scrap of paper. I know I tried them all, with varying degrees of success.

Now at AES in 2017, there are many more options. Some students track homework by writing it into a hard copy calendar, such as the AES agenda. This is what I often do, myself. Others rely on electronic tools, such as Notes, Reminders, or Google Calendar. Some students simply check their ‘to-do’ list on Google Classroom each day. Every system has advantages and disadvantages. pic calenar

I thought it would be interesting to share with each other the systems we use for remembering what we have to do and when we have to do it. Please tell us what you do and why it your think it works for you in the comments below. If you are planning to use new tools this year, please share those as well. And while you’re at it, why not read what other students are doing? You might learn a new trick or two while you are at it. Don’t worry if you are new to AES middle school; we’ll be helping you find a system that works for you.

Organization: first thoughts

On most Day 1 and Day 2’s we’ll focus on organization. Going forward, I’ll confer with you about the work you are doing in other classes  and how you are managing that. This week, as IPads are rolling out, we’ll set up our study planning notebooks, and we’ll step back and think about what we’ve done in the past to keep track of our work and what we may want to change this year.

When I was in middle school, there was only really one way to track homework: you’d write it down. The only  question was whether you’d write it in a calendar, a binder, or on a scrap of paper. I know I tried them all, with varying degrees of success.

Now at AES in 2016, there are many more options. Some students track homework by writing it into a hard copy calendar, such as the AES agenda. This is what I often do, myself. Others rely on electronic tools, such as Notes, Reminders, Google Calendar, or Sunrise. (This year Sunrise is ‘sunsetting’, so we’ll be looking for replacement for that.)pic calenar

I thought it would be interesting to share with each other the systems we use for remembering what we have to do and when we have to do it. Please tell us what you do and why it your think it works for you in the comments below. If you are planning to use new tools this year, please share those as well. And while you’re at it, why not read what other students are doing? You might learn a new trick or two while you are at it! Don’t worry if you are new to AES middle school; we’ll be helping you find a system that works for you.