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Student Writing: Puppy Mills

Viva 7th grade 3/12/20 Have you ever wondered where your dog came from before you found it in the window of a puppy store? Well chances are they came from a puppy mill. So what is a puppy mill? Imagon metal grates stacked on top of each other for rows and rows in those grates are insane numbers of dogs with little to no food, shelter, water, or adequate care, this is a puppy mill, those dogs in the grates have no human interactions and are forced to breed over and over again. I believe people shouldn’t buy a dog from a place where you can’t verify where it is from such as puppy mills. In places like puppy

March 12th, 2020|Student Writing|

Helpful Handwriting Hacks

I often get requests from parents to teach their child proper handwriting techniques. Achieving legible handwriting can actually be quite challenging. If you suspect your child is having serious challenges with the physical act of writing, getting an evaluation from an OT (occupational therapist) could be helpful. I have included some of my favorite resources for handwriting here. I am not a specialist or an OT, so I will leave it to the experts!  Your child may have already developed a pencil grip that inhibits proper letter formation and ease of handwriting. When a child has not achieved appropriate pencil grip, they may tend to hold the pencil awkwardly or with an especially tight grip. This can lead to

10 Ways to Manage Behavior

Helping children develop appropriate behavior and ways to self-monitor is one of the most important aspects of raising a child. It can be an exhausting, consuming, and frustrating task, but when done well and with intention, it can be rewarding. Behavior management is also what takes up the bulk of a school day for young students. Imagine trying to corral a group of 20 adults into the same task or command a room of your peers, and how hectic that could be. Now imagine you’re a Kindergarten or first grade teacher with the same amount of people, except these people have had about 5-7 years on this planet, practically 0 social experience, and are still figuring out how to

January 22nd, 2020|Behavior, Learning, Parenting|

Student Writing: Police: An Exploration

Olivia 13 years old  7th Grade (Homeschooled) Police:  An Exploration  Introduction The word ‘police’ comes from the Greek word for city, polis. Over time it developed into the Latin root politia, meaning civil administration. Since then it has become the French word for regulating and controlling a community and later turned into the word we know today. Police. When we think of police, we think of men in blue uniforms, maybe with guns or even in a crisis, saving lives or other times interfering with things they shouldn’t be. We hear a lot in the news today about how police saved the day, how police risked their lives to save an individual or a group but we are also

January 2nd, 2020|Student Writing|

I “Literally” Don’t Get It

Words are not always used with the literal meaning intended. Strong readers are able to understand the figurative meaning that often eludes readers who struggle with comprehension. In fact, you can have a large vocabulary, strong decoding/word attack skills, and good fluency, yet still misunderstand an author's meaning. The dictionary definition of a word is know as the "denotation". I teach my students to remember that both start with the letter 'd'. But that is only a piece of the puzzle to understanding the deeper meaning a word can possess, depending on how it is used and the context. The "connotation" tells us a word's intended or suggested meaning based on the ideas and feelings it evokes. For example,

December 11th, 2019|Reading|

Tips for Reluctant Writers

Make a List For some writers, starting with sentences is too overwhelming. Making a list of words associated with a topic may be an easier place to start. Begin with a basic writing prompt such as, "What should someone pack for a day at the beach?" or anything you know your child/student has solid knowledge of. Then, support your learner with making a list of items that are related to a day at the beach. For example: towel, swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. From there, you can move on to a new topic and continue practice with list making, or if your learner feels ready, choose an item on the list and see if they can generate a sentence about

Student Writing: The History of Photography

By Mason Introduction When you think of a “camera” what image comes to mind? Most likely you are thinking of a big DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, or maybe your point and shoot, or maybe even your smartphone camera.  What you probably don’t think of is a film camera, or the camera obscura which was invented nearly two thousand years ago.  Even if you are knowledgeable about the older versions of cameras, you may not be aware of the lesser-known versions that were the stepping stones of camera development between the major advancements. It is incredibly interesting to learn about how photography became what it is today. The first photographic processes used dangerous chemicals contributing to the early

September 4th, 2019|Student Writing|

Pictures Support Comprehension

Pictures can help children engage with reading and writing in ways that support comprehension and creativity. As an adult, you may not realize how much you rely on pictures, images, and visualizations to help you understand the world around you. When you read a news article, there’s usually an image to accompany it. When you run through your mental to-do list, you may imagine yourself doing those tasks. Road signs, advertisements, and some of our favorite apps rely on pictures to help us understand. Teaching young learners to visualize is more than just a fun activity that should be reserved for Kindergarten and art class and has its place in elementary grades as well. When good educators teach reading,

August 8th, 2019|Learning, Reading, School|

Student Writing: 1,000 Miles Away

This summer, I worked with a small group of homeschool kids in a weekly writing class. We explored fiction writing including story elements and the hero’s journey. The goal was to develop a protagonist and antagonist, outline a story line including setting, characters, plot, and problem and resolution. The students then learned about the “hero’s journey”, a narrative that dominates most fiction, and structured their tale around that format. Each student chose one part of their story to stretch out using sensory details to make it more interesting. The writers were of all different abilities and had varying experience with fiction writing. Each student was immensely proud of his story! The following is written by Jacob. 1,000 Miles Away

July 25th, 2019|Student Writing|

Student Writing: Doggon

This summer, I worked with a small group of homeschool kids in a weekly writing class. We explored fiction writing including story elements and the hero's journey. The goal was to develop a protagonist and antagonist, outline a story line including setting, characters, plot, and problem and resolution. The students then learned about the "hero's journey", a narrative that dominates most fiction, and structured their tale around that format. Each student chose one part of their story to stretch out using sensory details to make it more interesting. The writers were of all different abilities and had varying experience with fiction writing. Each student was immensely proud of his story! The following is written by Lucas. Doggon by Lucas

July 25th, 2019|Student Writing|

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