Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Year-End Reflections - English 8 at OHS

I asked the students in my 8th grade English class to reflect on their journey this school year and publish on their blogs as a culminating post.  A strong advocate for leading by example, I figured that I too would complete this final assignment.  

Students never cease to impress me, and their reflections did the same.  I’ve collected bits and pieces of their responses in order to reinforce the high points for me this year as well. 

“It was fun to feel like I was a real author.” - Nikki

This was more than a ploy to make students hate English class less.  Rather, it is truly my mission to help students see the connections between what they are learning in the classroom and the application of that knowledge, skill or expertise in the world around them.  I truly believe that each and every student can be and is an author.  Nikki is just one of many of this year’s class who actually proved it.  

This year’s eighth grade students were published in the Holt County Independent, Norfolk Daily News, and on Apple’s iBooks Store.  They spread their written messages on air on the radio, on blogs and social media, through email, and on bulletin boards and billboards.  They spoke their mind and expressed their insights to the School Board, to students outside of their grade level, and in letters to loved ones. They communicated through writing with their peers, within online writing forums with strangers, and with people in positions of power.  They wrote competitively - speech contests, poetry contests, essay contests, and more.  And they ARE AUTHORS!

“There is a lot more to writing than words on a page. You have to feel the words and put emotion in them so that the readers connect.” - Shayne

That personal connection to your writing with infused emotion holds true in the relationships within the classroom as well.  When I asked the students to list their three favorite things we did this school year, many expressed appreciation for the very first day of class.  This was a day devoted entirely to improv games, ice-breakers, and relationship building.  The fact that they remember that experience from over 9 months of language arts lessons, mixed among countless repetition of parts of speech and sentence fluency tips, shows the power of emotion in learning.  Connecting.  It’s what happens when an author composes words that reach a reader.  It’s also what happens in a successful classroom of middle school learners. 

“With Mrs. Morrow she can get really excited sometimes, so keep her under control. Mrs. Troester, on the other hand, can get very serious, so take everything seriously. And make sure to get everything done on time to keep them happy.” - Montana

This advice from Montana clearly illustrates the power of joy.  And yet the importance of staying focused.  And all the while, it sometimes is nothing more than being responsible and following through that can leave the biggest impact.

“My favorite thing that we did was the “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories mostly because they finally left us alone and just let us work instead of having to worry about constant deadlines and requirements.” - Nathaniel

I value constructive criticism immensely. We teach our students to do it in the peer review process and we need to model it as well.  It pains me to realize that we stifle our students’ learning with deadlines and requirements.  Nathaniel’s bravery to admit it, along with his exceptional creative aptitude when he did connect with an assignment is a reminder to me as an educator to build in more of these experiences every year. 

“An iBook is way cooler than just a normal book.” - Justin

WAY cooler! And requires more thinking, more creating, and therefore more learning.  iBooks Author is my current gourmet meal of teaching English(yes kids, that is a metaphor).   We authored collaboratively, published a collection of essays on patriotism, and were able to raise money for a great cause.  We authored nonfiction books to teach others great science and social studies content that we have learned.  We created widgets, intro videos, narrator characters, screencasts and animations to enhance our writing.  All the while we practiced digital citizenship by using creative commons & OER, applying attribution, and promoting via social media. We learned together, my students and I.  We fought through publishing challenges and debugged faulty media elements.  I can’t imagine teaching any kind of writing class in the future without iBooks Author, iBooks, and the iBooks Store as key ingredients.  

“Writing this year taught me that you can achieve anything or you can release yourself from everyone and everything.” - Trevor

Talk about reaching both ends of the spectrum!  Pushing beyond our limits or letting go of it all.  I think about all the talent in Room 220 each and every 2nd and 4th period this year.  Then I think about all that I have yet to learn about each and every one of these amazing students.  There is more to be written, for sure.  I hope that I get to continue to read it!

“English can be a little fun.” - Eddie

Or a lot fun.  Either way, thanks for the great times, OHS Class of 2018.  The world can expect many more great things to come from you!

~Mrs. Morrow

Monday, May 19, 2014

Daily blogger May 19 (late) By Jayde Miller

         I sat down in English nervously. I didn't get my "Choice Story" completely done. I only needed to hyperlink it. I don't know how to do it, but I will figure it out. Mrs. Morrow read the announcements and reminded us about studying for the maps test tomorrow. 
         After she read the announcements she went on saying that people really needed to get daily blogger done (like me), and she said that we will be doing our last journal entry on our blogs. Then she went into detail about our choice stories and I told that I only needed the buttons to go to their destined page. She said I would have to do that at another time and that I will get points taken off because I didn't get it done. When we got done with that and getting it finalized, she decided that half of the class would read the Ibooks projects and the other half would read the choice stories. After seven minutes we would alternate between them.
Me trying to do this.
          Then the bell rang and I ran off to Science. As I set my stuff done, I decided that I would go to the library to pick out magazines on video games for my brother. The bell rang as I stuff them in my locker and ran for class (literally running). I got settled down and I started on editing my weather report, and since I was the only one there today, I had to do it all by myself. Oh well. and the rest of my day went on as chaotic as that.

Daily Blogger 19

Today, when I walked in I herd Garrett yelling it smell really bad in English class. Than Julia start spraying around the room. The good thing I don't have to smell the bad stink. Sadly my nose is mostly plugged up. I have been sick for this weekend and today.

The homework for English is to write on your blog of 3 of your favorite thing you did in english. The second thing was to write was 2 things of what you learn. The last wright in your blog was advise for next year 8th graders.
When your writing this is what is should mostly look like.
By: Breanna Storjohann

Daily Blogger 5/15/14

    Today I had an orthodontist appointment this morning so I wasn't at school until 4th period, which is perfect because that is exactly when English starts. We kept doing our choose your own adventure books. You can make a story and the reader is the main character and they choose their own paths throughout the story and it make them really fun to read because you can engage you self in the story more.

    In other subjects that we had today we reviewed for a quiz in Social Studies. In Technology we wrote our blog post on our own personal websites about a recap of the week. State track is this saturday and I'm really pumped.There are 9 people going 6 boys and 3 girls. The boys that are going are Trevor, Shayne, Justin, Tyler, Nathaniel, and Ehric. The girls are me, Aurora,and Mikayla. We are all super excited.

Well that about raps the day up, this is officially my last daily blog post ever. I can't wait for this school year to come to a stop even though it was pretty good I think it's time to end. Summer is right around the corner and it's so hard to believe. Goodbye daily blogger.

-Sam Eichelberger

Daily blogger 5-8

Seriously? I have to do the daily blogger for today because I was scheduled to do it the day before we get out of school but our computers get turned in the day before. Ughh.. Well to start of my day I didn’t have to go to civics class. Instead I got to go to the elementary to give a presentation for FFA. Our presentation was over how to grow radishes. That was fun to actually plant them in a plastic bag.

In English class the first thing we did was DGP. Not surprising. Then we talked about our iBooks. My iBook is about the Dust Bowl. Then, we had the option of adding more things n our books or keeping it the way it was. I decided to keep mine the same. This is all we did in English today, actually the past week. Tomorrow we will hand them in.

English class is almost over along with school. Yay! Things are starting to slow down and we are done with big projects! Summer can’t come soon enough. 

Daily Blogger!!! for Tuesday

Well today started out kind of rushed. I had to make sure I had everything for MAPS testing. My computer was at 99% so I walked out of my house and got in the car. When I got to school nothing seemed different just a little bit of end of the year flair in everyone’s step. Checkout sheets doted every hand as they ran to every teacher’s room and begged for their signatures. I got to my testing room and as usual they had to drag on through the introductions to every single test like a broken record player, but you got to do what you got to do. All four test went pretty great! I know we will represent our school well! Good luck and Go Eagles! Represent!

Daily Blogger

Welcome to English class! Here you can find what we did today and you can catch up or refresh your memory. We didn't do anything special today we did catching up and also you had to hand in your "Own Adventures Story" put it in "Hyper links only and first tab" also you had to write "How English helped you" and put it in your "Blogger in a 3, 2, 1 sentence." That's all we did today! So have fun catching up or refreshing your memory!

Dailey Blogger April 22

            Sporty was the look when I entered the door of O’Neill High School. Today is the Junior High track meet. We are hosting it at our track and it begins at 12:00. I am really looking forward to competing. During first period we had some confusion over if our quiz was today or tomorrow, but we came to an agreement to have it tomorrow. After first period I entered English class the talk was polar plunge. A lot of my classmates have participated in this event and there should be more to come. Personally I thought Shayne’s was the best one because he rode his bike into the pond. It was so funny!
            Today in English class we started with our journals. We wrote about our progress and what we feel we need to achieve in our iBooks project. After this we went over our agenda for the week and the tasks we need to have done before the end of the week. Our first rough draft is due next Monday. We also went over how to make our glossary for the book. Mrs. Troester and Mrs. Morrow went over all the things needed to have your complete book. This book should be a great children’s novel that all kids would love to read. We were given the whole class period to work and everyone started on his or her masterpieces.
            I am going to have a long day. After the track meet I have basketball practice for bison. These practices are very fun. As time ticked away until we will finally get dismissed at 11:00 for our track meet, we all chattered with excitement. Everyone is hoping to have a good day at the track meet. Some girls do it for the tan, some guys do it for the ladies, but everyone is ready to get out of school. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Daily Blogger. Friday, May 16 By: Daisy

Friday, the day everone likes. Friday is the day before the weekend. Today, I woke up with the sound of my alarm telling me to wake up. When I walked into the school there comes a student holding a cinnamon roll for breakfast at the moment I remembered it was Friday.

Today in English Class we had to finish our keynote slides for our "Choose our own adventure book." Then after we finish everything and we are all caught up make sure to go through your slides so if you have a mistake, fix it! In Geography Class we had 3 quizzes that were not that long but a little long.

Well, We have 4 more days till Summer vacation and everyone is so excited but don't forget about paying your fees and everything before you leave. Make sure you turn in everything before you leave and HAVE A GOOD SUMMER EVERYONE!!!

Friday May 16 -Sarah Ethington

When I entered the school the seniors were already out. The sophomores were also on a field trip, so the school wasn't as loud or crowed as it normally is.  However the school year is almost over so things aren't completely quite. Final projects of the year are being finished and handed in,like in Science. We're creating two day weather forecasts and they're all being wrapped up.
              When I entered English I grabbed our yellow box and passed out folders because we all knew in a matter of minutes DGP would start. We did Friday's box which was sentence structure.  After we finished that Mrs.  Morrow went over things people could still do for a grade. Things like daily blogger, and past DGP's that have been lost in mounds of other various papers. She then told us we could spend the rest of class working on our adventure books.  It's been a good day for catching up on work and raising grades.