Secondary Smorgasborg 6-12: Classroom Traditions

Welcome to another installment of the Secondary Smorgasbord linky party! One of my favourite classroom traditions is my Christmas Career Project! I complete this with my grade 10 career class and they love it. My educational assistants, in particular, also look forward to the project each year as it's a lot of fun for everyone. Where I live in Canada, Christmas is overwhelmingly celebrated. As not all teachers would be able to use this project in their class (due to the various differences in holiday celebrations) I have a similar project - just not a holiday version - that might be useful for your students!
Thanks again to ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for the link up opportunity!

Don't Be a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins!

Take Buddy's advice and don't be a cotton-headed ninny muggins when it comes to being a good student. Keep your students on track by displaying this helpful classroom management poster. A great reminder to students who are teetering on the edge of being on the naughty list.
For some creative inspiration prior to starting this activity, make yourself a plate of spaghetti, add some chocolate syrup, sprinkle a few M&M's, and crumble up a Pop Tart or two. Now, you're ready to begin!
STEP 1: ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPLIES While I have created a poster that could be displayed on a classroom door, you can also use the same steps to create mini Buddy's. That might be a fun activity for younger students (using their faces instead of Buddy's). You'll need the following items to complete your poster: green, yellow, white, and black construction paper, glue, scissors, a large poster paper, and a printed picture of Buddy's face.
STEP 2: CUT YOUR SHAPES When cutting out the upper body, position the paper horizontally. That will give you the proper width for the jacket. For a touch of creativity, cut out collar and cuffs by adding a jagged edge. They will appear ruffled with this cut, but you can also cut them using a straight line which also looks just fine!
STEP 3: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER Once your 'big' Buddy is glued down, you can decorate around his image by using a fun saying, your classroom rules, or perhaps some general management tips.
If you like the idea, but are not interested in a poster for your classroom, why not create a 'Buddy' for a bulletin board to add some decor to your classroom?!
I will conclude with some words of wisdom from Buddy....


Essay Writing 101: Thesis Statements

Essay 101: How to write an essay, introduction to the thesis statement.
Ah, yes! The dreaded essay. Students hate hearing that five letter word. Why? Not because essays are hard, but because they do not understand how to write an essay and the importance of a thesis statement. Honestly, the only reason why some students despise essay writing is because they just can't get the format down. Once they have the format figured out, it's smooth sailing! Start off small, and improve from there. My goal is for new essay writers to write a solid two pages. Their word choice and vocabulary might not be very diverse, but if they are able to get all of the parts of an essay down, that's all I am looking for at that time! By the time they write their second and third essay, they have made huge strides!

One of my most prized teaching possessions is the Essay Writing Scavenger Hunt that I created. If you are struggling to get your students to understand HOW to write an essay, then I suggest you give this a try. After some initial review, they often only need to complete the activity once to understand the format (the activity can also be used as an example for when they write their own essay). For students who need a little extra support, I have them complete the scavenger hunt twice. This helps them to remember the different parts of the essay in preparation for when they write their own. You don't even need to waste class time on that second activity - it's perfect as a homework activity too.
Every good essay starts with a great thesis statement. Here are some strategies you can use to help your students remember how to write a thesis statement. These examples are applicable for students new to essay writing, for those who are still struggling, or for those students who just need a review.
TIP: If students are new to essay writing, start out with a persuasive essay. The thesis statement is often easier to write and students are able to come up with their three points a lot easier.
Once students are comfortable in writing a thesis statement, they can start to explore other ways of writing their thesis (still using the ABC format). The format is just rearranged to help students create more diverse, effective sounding statements.
Happy essay writing!
 P.S. Black border with apple clip art created by Jax and Jake!


Trick-or-Treat! Halloween Resources for the Classroom

Halloween is just around the corner. As a high school teacher, I still enjoy incorporating holiday-themed activities and projects into my classes. Whether you're a grade 1 or grade 12 student, they all love holiday themed school work (although the 'big kids' might not like to admit it). I still put stickers on their work...and if they don't get one and their friend does, I hear about it. So, I will continue to use holiday projects and activities, and stickers and stamps on their work because we all like a little holiday cheer when we do something great!

Two holiday-themed activities that I both created and use with my students are a Halloween-themed career project and a Halloween news article writing activity. Both activities allow students to complete course requirements in a creative and engaging manner.

As I was perusing Pinterest, I found a few really cool bulletin board ideas. While the books that surround the zombie are more appropriate for older students, it's a great library display for any age (just change the books so it's age appropriate).

Looking for short story ideas?

• The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

• The Tell-Tale Heart

• The Fall of the House of Usher

• The Monkey's Paw

• The Landlady

Looking for book ideas?

• World War Z by Max Brooks

• Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

• The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

• The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman

• Feed by Mira Grant