HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


The title says it all. HAPPY HALLOWEEN to everyone!

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What is R.A.F.T.?


What is RAFT?

The RAFTs Technique (Santa, 1988) is a system to help students understand their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the expected content. It is an acronym that stands for:

  • Role of the Writer – Who are you as the writer? Are you Sir John A. Macdonald? A warrior? A homeless person? An auto mechanic? The endangered snail darter?
  • Audience – To whom are you writing? Is your audience the Canadian people? A friend? Your teacher? Readers of a newspaper? A local bank?
  • Format – What form will the writing take? Is it a letter? A classified ad? A speech? A poem?
  • Topic + strong Verb – What’s the subject or the point of this piece? Is it to persuade a goddess to spare your life? To plead for a re-test? To call for stricter regulations on logging?

Almost all RAFTs writing assignments are written from a viewpoint different from the student’s, to another audience rather than the teacher, and in a form different from the ordinary theme. Therefore, students are encouraged to use creative thinking and response as they connect their imagination to newly learned information.

Here’s the direct link: R.A.F.T.

Books I Read the 1st Week of School & Why


This post is a little late, but here it is. I love reading & I love to get my students to love to read, so I make reading in the classroom a daily thing. I have a Book Checkout Log where the students can check out books, any book, from the classroom library or my own personal books. The only thing I require is they respect them books (I show them exactly how). So to start the year off right I read:

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. This book is a great self-esteem builder. Even though the title character is brown, the child you’re reading it to does not have to be.

How Full Is Your Bucket for Kids by Mary Reckmeyer and Maurie J. Manning. I read this one to introduce my students to the concept of bucket filling.

Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. We read this as a follow up to How Full Is Your Bucket. This book is the opposite of bucket filling. The title character, Alexander, is having such a bad day, that his bucket is dipped into and he is nearly empty by the end of the day. Once we read it, we discussed ways of filling up people’s buckets.

The last book that I read was The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster. I read this to introduce the students to different points of view and how important family & connections are- to let them know that I expect them to be a family.

Constantly Sabotaging Myself!!!


I’ve been doing Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body and seeing results. I’ve lost about 20 lbs. Well, I went on an emotional eating binge last week and put some of the weight back on. No bueno! I’m going to have to exercise to get this weight off again. I looked in the mirror and noticed my fat face & huge boobs. I could only get mad at myself. I had no one else to blame. I saw the weight coming off and for some reason, I got scared. HELP!!!

What a Breakthrough!!!


Lately I’ve been raving about Coaster because he is making such great progress. Last year, he was extremely difficult. He didn’t interact with the students, he eat with the students, he didn’t complete any classwork, and he had major attitude with the teacher. He’s missing test scores from last year because he didn’t want to take the test. It’s not like he wasn’t able to perform at a high level (The year before he scored at the 98th percentile in English/Language Arts), he just didn’t want to.

The teacher last year didn’t know how to handle him, so he ran over her with a MAC truck. He ran up one side and down the other. He knew that he couldn’t treat me like he treated her. When he came into my classroom, I laid down the law. I told him that I expected more of him and that I knew he could do more work than he did last year.

He respected my expectations as is evidenced from his progress (playing with other students) and attitude this year. I simply cannot believe the progress he’s made. If you knew him last year, then you would know that he is a completely different child. In a good way. I would love to say that he doesn’t have off-days where he produces absolutely no work. I would love to say that I’m so good that he did not test me, but that would not be the truth. He did test me on several occasions, but I stood firm, stuck to my rules, and did not budge one iota on my expectations of him. However, by and large, those days are anomalies. I am so proud of him and his progress.