Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The End of the Year...

This is it, everyone! Your last blog post of the YEAR! As excited as we all probably are about that, I'd like for you to think seriously about the questions below and give some good, thoughtful answers.

You can do this any way you like- write it, videotape yourself or make a podcast answering the questions.

What were some of your goals at the beginning of this school year, both for school as well as for your personal life?

How many of these goals do you think that you have met? Can you please explain your answers?

For the goals that you've met, what helped you to meet those goals? Were there any people who helped you meet them, as well?

For the goals that you did not meet, what stopped you from meeting those goals?

What will be some of your goals for next year, both for school as well as for your personal life?

What have you learned about yourself this year, both as a student and as a person?

Do you think your English has improved this year? Why has it or hasn't it?

Have a fantastic summer, everyone, and I will see you next year!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Final Task: Analysis!


OK, everyone, THIS IS IT! This is your final task for our Unit of Inquiry projects, the Analysis part. This task MUST cover Criterion C and should cover Criterion D, as well.

This part of your project will be a three-paragraph writing assignment. Each paragraph must have one topic sentence and at least three supporting details. You will have the whole period to finish this post, and all posts must be finished by the end of the period in order to be scored on time.

Blog Post Title: Final Task: Analysis
Blog Post Labels: ESL, UOI, Analysis, Criterion C, (and Criterion D, if you are meeting it), Topic

Your three-paragraphs must include:

1.) A description of the Unit of Inquiry that includes the topic that you chose, as well as your essential question. Then explain why you chose the topic and essential question.

2.) A paragraph that describes the three levels of Bloom's Taxonomy that we covered (Knowledge, Comprehension, Application), and the tasks that you did for each level, including a link to each blog post on which you posted the tasks.

3.) An ending paragraph that gives your essential question, as well as answers the essential question. This will be the most important paragraph of this assignment!

Remember: Focus on writing good topic sentences and supporting details!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Practicing Topic Sentences and Supporting Details

We are going to be writing reflections on projects for the Analysis section of our unit, which will be scored according to content (WHAT you say), as well as HOW it is said. That means that you will be required to have correct topic sentences and supporting details in your paragraphs. Today, we are going to start a review of these writing skills. Here is a short form about topic sentences and supporting details that I would like you to complete, so I will know where we need to focus our attention for the review next class.

Good luck, and read everything CAREFULLY!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Interview Time!

Next week, in an effort to help every student achieve a score for Criterion A,  as well as to get some important information about your project, I will be interviewing you. Sounds like fun, right?

You will receive the interview questions a day or two in advance and have some time to prepare your answers. However, you cannot read anything during the interview, you must SPEAK only. Also, I may ask you other questions if I feel that you are not giving enough information in your answers, so be prepared to answer them.

The interviews will be recorded and posted on both your blog, as well as mine.

Below is a list of ten questions. You will choose THREE questions to answer and let me know what they are. Then, you will write a blog post explaining your choice.

Questions to choose from:

1.) If you could choose your topic again, would you choose the same one, or a different one? Explain why.

2.) If you could re-do any part of your project so far, what would you change and why?

3.)  Can you describe some things that you did well, and some things that you could have done better during the project?

4.) Can you describe some problems that you had when completing your tasks for this project? What did you do to try to solve them?

5.) Was this topic easier or harder than you expected it to be when you chose it? Explain why.

6.) What challenges or difficulties did you face during the Knowledge, Comprehension and Application parts of the unit? (This needs three separate answers for each part)

7.) How well did you work on your own, meeting deadlines and getting your work done independently? Explain why you did well,  or why you needed to improve.

8.) What have to you learned about yourself as a learner, and about the WAY that you learn through this unit?

9.) Do you think that you have successfully shown your learning through the tasks that you've completed during this unit so far? Explain your answer.

10.) If you were to give a lesson to other students about the best way to learn and to show learning, what would you tell them? Be specific and give details.

Your Blog Post:

Title: UOI Interview With Mrs. Raisdana
Labels: ESL, UOI, Interview, Criterion A


In this post, you will:

* Describe the three questions that you chose for the interview.
* You will then EXPLAIN why you chose EACH of those three questions (so there should be three   explanations in this part)
* Describe what you will do to prepare your answers, STEP BY STEP.
*  Predict how you think you will do when giving your interview, and why.

This post should be about two short paragraphs long, and should have good explanations and details for every part.

PLEASE ASK ME if you have any questions at all about this interview.

Your Interview:

Once you have recorded our interview, put it into iMovie and share it to iTunes. UPLOAD IT  into your blog post, under the heading "My Interview:" 

Under your interview video, please write a reflection that answers the following questions:
1.) How much did you prepare for your interview?
2.) What did you do to prepare for your interview?
3.) How do you think you did during the interview? First talk about what you think you did well, and then say at least one thing that you could have done differently.

This reflection should answer these questions in a PARAGRAPH. 

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome to Mrs. Raisdana's Unit Of Inquiry!


Guess what, you guys? I am going to do this Unit of Inquiry right along with you! You see, I have always wanted to learn how to take better pictures, but I haven't had the time to get around to learning about it. So, I figured that since, as a class, we are focusing on how to learn new things, skills or ideas, I would use this as the chance for me to do some learning, as well.

My topic is going to be photography, and my essential question is: What are five things that I can do to take better pictures? It is important for me to become a better photographer because I want to use pictures to tell the stories of my family, and beautiful pictures are much more meaningful when creating memories and stories. I also want to use pictures to share stories on my blog, and people respond better to pictures that are taken well, because it shows more time and effort put into the post.

The Area Of Interaction that this topic hits is Human Ingenuity, because I am going to be exploring how to create new and better photographs. I will also be explaining why I am creating certain pictures as I take them.  I am a visual learner, so I most likely will not be simply reading articles about how to take good pictures, because I don't learn very well from reading only. I will probably read SOME articles or instruction booklets, but in addition, I think that I will probably also watch videos about taking good pictures, ask people that I know who are good photographers to show me some new skills, interview people about their photography successes, and just do some experimenting on my own with my cameras.

To start the Knowledge part of this project, I am going to look up some websites about photography and how to take good pictures, ask my friends what they do to take beautiful photographs, and watch a few tutorial videos. Then  I will make a list of these strategies and briefly describe the benefits of each one. These activities will help me because they will give me a variety of strategies for better photography that I can choose my 5 from. I will also look at recent examples of pictures that I have taken so that I can identify what kinds of things I really need to improve on.

Let's have fun and work hard with this!

Welcome to My Unit Of Inquiry!


Now that you all have chosen your topics and essential questions for your unit, you will write a blog post introducing your unit. Look at the following instructions:

Introduction Blog Post
Title: Welcome To My Unit Of Inquiry
Labels: Unit of Inquiry, Introduction

Write a blog post that introduces the unit, your topic, and you essential question. Describe which Area Of Interaction your topic fits and explain why. Explain the type of learner that you are (visual, auditory or kinesthetic), and explain how this will affect the kinds of learning activities that you will choose. Then, go on to describe some examples of activities that you will do during the unit, as well as to get you started in the Knowledge part of the unit. BE SURE to explain why these activities will be helpful to you.

Note: You MUST include an image that is CITED in your blog post!

Some ideas to help you write your post: (You can use these sentence starters, but your post MUST be written as a paragraph)

During this Unit Of Inquiry, what I am going to learn about is….my essential question is…..

The reason WHY I think it is important to learn this is...

The Area Of Interaction that this topic meets is……..because……

I am a _________ learner, so I will most likely choose activities that are…

Some activities that I will do to learn about this are:

To start the Knowledge part of this unit, the activities that I will need to do are:

These activities will help me because…

Good luck, have fun, and see me if you need some help!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Procrastinate? Us? Never!

Procrastinate:(verb) To put off doing something until later.

As in: Even though my homework was due this morning, I procrastinated and did not start it until 9:00 last night.

The noun form of this word? Procrastination.

Procrastination is a BIT of a problem for many middle school students (and some teachers!). There are many ways that people can procrastinate: by watching just ONE MORE show on television, by suddenly becoming VERY hungry and needing to eat something right now, by telling yourself that you will spend just 10 more minutes on the internet (which will usually turn into 45-60 more minutes!), etc...

Here is a visual example of the many, many ways that people can procrastinate:

The Procrastination Flow Chart!

Does this look familiar to any of you? If it does, then good for you for being aware and honest enough to admit it!

So, why am I showing this to you and talking about procrastination? What does this have to do with our Unit of Inquiry? Well, I am glad that you asked that question!

I just want you to be aware of the meaning and idea of procrastination, so that you will be able to recognize it when (or should I say "if"?) you do it. This unit will require you to do a lot of work, activities and learning on your own, so if you are someone who like to procrastinate, then you may need to sit down with yourself (or with me, if you like) and try to come up with ways that you will be able to meet your deadlines.

Oh, and do that soon- don't procrastinate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unit Of Inquiry Topic- Some Questions To Ask Yourself

I hope that you are all starting to think about some topics that interest you for our Unit of Inquiry. We will not actually be choosing topics until next week, but here are some questions that I want you to ask yourselves when you are brainstorming ideas:

Question #1Will this hold my attention and interest for 8-10 weeks?

Please remember that this topic will be the basis for all of your work and research until the end of the term, and you will be doing much of the research and work on your own. Therefore, it is very important that you choose a topic that really interests you, and that you will keep wanting to learn more about If you think that you are only "kind of" interested in your topic, you may want to continue brainstorming!

Question #2Is my topic something that will require me to do a lot of work outside of class/school? If it is, am I organized enough to handle that?

Please be honest with yourself about this, as it is very important to your project. If you want to learn about different ways to make pizza, you will not be able to make pizza during class time.  You would be able to do the research and gather ideas during class, but much of your practice and learning would take place at home. If you are not a student who usually handles doing things on your own and meeting deadlines, you may want to choose another topic that will be more manageable during school hours.

Question #3Is this something that I will be able to learn in 8-10 weeks?

This is HUGELY important when you are choosing your topic! If you decide that you want to learn everything there is to know about the history of Indonesia, or how to play your favorite song on the guitar (and before starting the unit, you have NO IDEA how to play the guitar), this will most likely not be done in the short amount of time that we have, at least not without spending a lot of time outside of class on it.  Now, 8-10 weeks may seem like a looooooong time to a student, but considering that classes only meet 3 times a week for one hour, it is actually not much time.  Please keep this in mind.

Question #4Do you have what you will need in order to learn about your topic?

 I don't think that I need to tell you that if you decide that you want to learn how to play a basic song on the piano, but you don't HAVE a piano, or know anyone who has a piano that you can use, this may not be the best topic for you. Please make sure that you have REGULAR access to the things that you will need in order to complete your unit project.

Question #5: Is this topic something that I will be able to understand?

 I may decide that I am very interested in learning about Quantum Physics, but unless I have a strong science background and know a lot of scientific vocabulary, this would probably be extremely difficult for me to do. You will want to make sure that you have the following things in order to be able to successfully learn about your topic: the language skills to understand it, some background knowledge (if necessary), and the skills to be able to learn it.

                                  Good luck and have fun! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome To Our Unit Of Inquiry!

Welcome back, everyone! I hope that you all had restful holidays, and that you are all refreshed and ready for our FINAL UNIT OF THE YEAR! I know that we are all excited to start this one...right?

Well, our next (and final) unit is going to be different than the other units that we've done this year. In this unit, YOU will decide what you are going to learn about! Yes, that's right- YOU! Are you excited yet?

The question that we are going to work on during this unit is: How do I express my learning?


Before we get started, though, here is a survey that I want all of you to take:

Take your time answering these questions, and many of your answers will help to guide you through the unit.

Good luck and have fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parts Of Speech Final Assessment!

For this final assessment, you will take all four of the parts of speech projects that you have made (along with the reflections that you did for them) and put them into one blog post. Please make sure to separate them into categories.

Your finished blog post should look like this:

Parts Of Speech Final Assessment


(Your video reflection should go here)



A Day In My Life, Part 1: Present Tense Verbs

A Day In My Life, Part 2: Past Tense Verbs

(Your second verb video project should go here)


(Your written reflection should go here)

***Note: If there are projects that you do not still have saved on your computer, you can still move them to this post by going into the "Edit HTML" section of your original project post, copying the HTML code, and pasting it into this new post where ever it needs to go.***

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teach Us About Sentences!

Want to know what to do for your final project about sentence structure? Watch this and find out:

 Post your final project on your blog with the same title and labels as this post.
                                            Work hard, good luck, and have fun!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Final Project- What I've Learned About Grammar

OK, guys, it is time to show me what you've learned! To do this portion of the final project, you will need to go back to the writing sample that you all did at the start of the unit. You will then edit it, film the editing process, and explain the changes that you made and why.

In order to complete this project, you will need to do the following things:

1.) Look at your original writing sample and take a screen shot (apple + shift + 4) of it.

2.) COPY AND PASTE your writing into a new document ( DO NOT edit your writing in your blog post!) and edit it for the following things:

* Sentence Structure = Make sure all sentences have a subject, predicate, and complete thought. Fix   any sentence fragments and run-on sentences.

* Parts of speech = Make sure that all verb tenses are correct, that all subjects and verbs agree, and edit or add adjectives and adverbs to make your writing more interesting.

   *Important: You MUST make at least 10 changes to your writing!*

ALSO: As you make each change, you will use Sequence to record yourself making your changes. You can choose to do this with or without sound, as it can often be difficult to type and talk at the same time.

3.) Take a screen shot of your new, edited piece.

4.) Import your Sequence movie clips into iMovie and start a new project called "Editing For Grammar".

              Include:  An introduction scene
                             Your completed movie of editing your writing piece
                              An ending scene
* Important: If you did not record yourself talking to explain your changes in your Sequence movie, you MUST now record yourself on iMovie explaining your changes as you watch it. You must explain the changes you made, as well as WHY you made them.*

5.) Create a new blog post called, "What I've Learned About Grammar". Your post MUST include the following three things:

          1.) The screen shot of your original writing piece in your blog post.
          2.) The screen shot of your new, edited writing piece.
          3.) The iMovie that you made showing you editing your writing.

                                                          For a visual of this, look below:

Here is my original writing piece:

Here is my edited writing sample:

Here is my iMovie explaining my editing process:

Good luck, and PLEASE come and see me for help if you get stuck or are unsure of what to do.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's Make An Adverbs Movie!

Check out this sample movie that I made to help you explain our new adverbs project! I used a site called Dvolver to create this 3-scene movie.

And now you'll create one, too!

Students will pair up and write a script that teaches viewers about adverbs (what they are, what they modify, and some examples). They will then go to Dvolver and turn their script into a short movie, complete with voice over and music.  Not sure how to do this: Follow the steps below:

1.) Find your partner and write a 3-scene script about adverbs (what they are, what they do, and a few examples). Each scene can be 6 lines long. Please make your sentences somewhat short.

2.) Go to Dvolver and start making a movie. You do not need to sign up to create a movie.

3.) When you have finished your movie, you will need to EMAIL IT TO YOURSELF, then open it and use Sequence to take a screen shot video of it. Please come and ask me for help with this step if you don't know how to do this! (Note: Sequence is an application on your Mac)

4.) When your Sequence movie is completed, drag it into iMovie and do the following things:

A.) Record yourself and your partner speaking the lines in each scene.
B.) Choose music to put in the background (iLife sound effects)
C.) Put in transitions in between the scenes. If you can, edit out the scene transitions in the Dvolver movie.
D.) Record a video introduction with you and your partner explaining what adverbs are and what they do. Then, give an introduction to your movie (who are the characters? What are they doing? What are they going to teach us?).
E.) Send to iTunes

5.) Post your video in a blog post with the same title and labels as this post.

6.) Include in your post a WRITTEN reflection that includes the following information:

  - What did you do to make this movie?
  - What have you learned about adverbs?
  - How did making this movie help you to learn about adverbs?
  - Did you enjoy this project? Why or why not?
  - If you worked with a partner, do you think that you shared the work and responsibility well? Were  you a "good partner"? Explain this answer.

                             Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Suggestions for Writing Blog Comments

Many times, when I tell my students to go onto other students' blogs and comment on their posts, they sit and stare at the screen for a while before writing a very short comment that is not very meaningful. When I asked some of my kids why writing comments is such a difficult assignment, they responded that they just don't know what to say.

We've gone over what a good blog comment should look like, the kind of information that it should include, and the kinds of things you should avoid doing when commenting. They seemed to get that. Yet, when it came down to actually WRITING the comments, they were stumped.

So, one class period, we talked about some sentence starters that might help students who get blocked when writing blog comments. Here are 12 of their best ideas:

"I'm confused by what you mean when you say ________ because..."

"I really like what you say about ______ because..."

"I disagree with you when you say ______ because..."

"I think I understand what you are saying, but could you please explain _______?"

"This post was so interesting to read because..."

"I understand how you feel, because..."

"I'm confused by what you mean when you say _______ because..."

"Something that I learned from reading this post is..."

"Something about _______ that you might not know is ..."

"I agree with you when you say _______ because..."

"I really like this post because..."

"When you talk about ___ it makes me think about ____ because..."

Then I took all of their comments and turned them into a class display:

The Commenting Wall!

 Now the students look to the Commenting Wall when they are in need of help when writing blog comments. We are getting one step closer to learning how to write meaningful comments and having blogging become a useful classroom tool!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Are Adjectives?

For those of you who are starting the review about adjectives, here is a fun new project that we are going to start. It involves a YouTube clip, a knowledge of adjectives, and some iMovie skills! The first one you should have done for homework, the second we've covered in class, and the third I can help you with if you are not sure what to do.

Here is an example of the project which I have done by using a clip from the movie "Tangled". Your finished project should look something like this, but with an added introduction, as well.

As you can see, this project involves several steps:

1.) Choose a clip from YouTube about anything, as
     long as it is appropriate for school and save it to
     your computer as an mp4 file.
2.) Import the clip into iMovie (File > Import >
3.) Select about 30 seconds worth of the clip, and
     open a new project called "What Are
     Adjectives?" Then, drag the selected clips into
     the project.
4.) Remove the audio from the clip so that there is
     no sound.
5.) Choose about 7-10 adjectives that describe
     what is going on in the clips (people, places,
     things, ideas), and put them as text into the movie where they belong.
6.) When you are finished and happy with the way your movie looks, choose music/sounds from the
     iLife Sound Effects menu and include in your movie as background music. The entire movie
     should have some kind of music or sounds.

     ****Note: Make sure that the music/sounds that you choose match the MOOD of your scenes.

7.) When you are all finished, record yourself explaining what an adjective IS, and what an adjective
     DOES. Then explain what the movie project is about. This should be about 30 seconds. Include this
     video introduction at the start of your movie. This part should NOT have music in the background!
8.) Share the movie by sending it to iTunes.

Here is a video tutorial that I made to help you with any problems that you might have:

You will then create a new post on your blog with the same title and labels as this post. Upload your finished video from iTunes and publish the post.

Good luck and have fun! I am excited to see what you guys can do!

A Day In My Life, Part 1- Present Tense Verbs

Hello, everyone! We have started the verb portion of our Parts of Speech review, and are focusing on present tense verbs (actions that are happening now or that usually happen). As a practice project for these verbs, we are going to do a photo project that will be called "A Day in My Life- Part 1" (Part 2 will come when we start past tense verbs!).

Here is an example project that I made so that you can see what the final project should look like:

As you can see, this project involves several steps: taking pictures, editing them, using iMovie to string them together, as well as adding text, voice-over and music.

Here are the steps that you should follow in order to complete the project:

1.) Take SIX pictures of scenes that describe a normal day in your
     life. These pictures can include people, places or things.
2.) Upload the pictures to your computer and edit them.
3.) Open a new iMovie project called "A Day in My LIfe- Part 1"
     and drag the six pictures over.
4.) In each picture, add text that shows the VERBS that are being
     used in the scene. You can have as many as you need, but you
     should have at least TWO per picture.
5.) Go through and record yourself describing your day, using the
     verbs that show up in the pictures. Please make sure that your
     speaking matches the text. If you  need to, you can adjust the
     length of each scene to help make this happen.

      ***Note: Verbs should NOT be popping up when you are talking about something else!

6.) Use the iLife Sound Effects to choose background music to put into your project. Please don't
     choose music that is too loud, or that doesn't match the mood of your pictures.
7.) Put in a video introduction that explains what a verb is, as well as what present tense verbs do.Then
     give a short introduction about your project (What is it? How did you make it?). Also, include an
8.) Share by sending to iTunes.

You will then make a new blog post that has the same title and labels as this one, and upload your video.

Good luck, have fun, and ask questions if you need help!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Are Nouns?

We've been doing a basic Parts of Speech review to kick off our grammar unit. We started with nouns, which everyone seems to think are easy, but are actually more tricky once you get into the different kinds of nouns! To illustrate our understanding of these noun types, my ESL classes have collaborated on a slideshow with pictures and explanations of various nouns.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Does A Good Blog Comment Look Like?

Welcome, everyone! The week before Winter Break, we did some lessons on writing blog comments. Here are the things that we discussed in these lessons, and the ideas and suggestions that you guys all came up with (good job!):

WHY should we comment on other peoples' blog posts?

 Blogging is an activity that is meant to be more than just a place to put your work from your classes. It should be seen by more people that just you and your teacher. Blogging should be an activity that connects students with the outside world, and gives them an audience so that they realize that their work, words and thoughts are actually meaningful. The more people read a blog, the more the blogger will want to post on it. It is as simple as that!  So read other peoples' blogs, and comment on them so that the bloggers KNOW that you are reading them, and hopefully the same will happen to you. Remember that if you want people to comment on your blog, a good way to do this is to end your blog post with a question for them to respond to.

What should blog readers do when commenting on someone's blog post?

If you are reading someone's blog and want to comment on a post, there are three things that you should always do:

1.) Read the whole post before you comment.
2.) NEVER, EVER write a comment when you are upset, angry, sad, etc. because you might write something that you will be sorry for later.
3.) Talk about specific things from the post.

You keep talking about writing meaningful blog comments. What does a meaningful blog comment look like?

Excellent, excellent question! I talked about this with all of my classes, and this is a summary of all of the answers that I got from you guys:

A good or meaningful blog comment...

- Talks about the content that is in the post and mentions specific things.
- Is respectful and appropriate.
- Does not go off-topic (keep the focus on THE POST!).
- Gives specific details (example: I agree with you when you said _________ because _______).
- Adds new information about the topic of the post (if possible).
-Has constructive criticism (you don't have to like what the blogger is saying, or agree with it, but you should say this in a positive or helpful way).
- NEVER, EVER contains personal information of any sort (names, addresses, phone numbers, email, etc.)
- NEVER, EVER contains gossip or says bad things about other people.

What should I do if someone writes a rude or inappropriate comment on my blog?

Hopefully this will not happen to you, but in case it does, here are the step that you should take if you get a comment like this on your post:

-DON'T approve it!
- DON'T delete it (you will need it to show to an adult).
-DON'T respond to it or confront the person who wrote it.
- DO show it to an adult.

Important! Remember that if you approve a rude or inappropriate comment and it shows up on your blog, you are just as responsible for it as the person who wrote it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome Back!


Welcome back to all of my returning and new students! I hope that you all had restful and relaxing holidays, and that you are ready to jump right in to our new grammar review unit! We will be starting with a review of the parts of speech (if you are not sure what I mean by this, you may want to look it up before class, because I'll be asking!).

Below is a little video I want to share with you that I saw and thought was very funny. If you are a person who is good with technology (also known as a "techie"), then you may relate to the way the tech instructor here is feeling. If you are a person who is not so great with learning new technology, you may not be aware that your teacher/friend/sibling/parent is trying VERY hard to keep their patience when they are trying to teach you how to do new things!

Which of the characters in the video do you think you are? Can you explain why?

Enjoy the video, and welcome to second semester! Let's have a great one!