Thursday, December 18, 2014

8th GOAL: To Kill a Mockingbird

You've heard the book, and now you've finished the movie.  It's time to reflect.

Write a blog post about the following:

* What does this story mean to you?  What are your thoughts and impressions and questions after finishing it?

* Who is(are) your favorite character(s)?  Why?

* Compare the movie to the book.  Talk about similarities and differences, which you liked better, and why.

* Discuss the lessons of the book.  Why are these lessons still important, over 50 years after the book was published?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Graduate Research Project PowerPoint

The following VoiceThread explains my graduate research project on Sustained Silent Reading.

Please click this link to view.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

6th Grade GOAL Models & Design Unit

For your final assessment for the models & design unit, please write a blog post addressing the following items.  Answer the questions completely so the readers will know what the question was even though you are not recopying it.
  1. Put in the picture I sent you by e-mail.  If you were gone when I sent them, search for an appropriate picture on Creative Commons (an online database on Mrs. Lantz's website).  Experiment to discover how this is done.  Google a tutorial, or consult Blogger help if you're still not sure.
  2. In science, what is a black box?  Explain in detail.
  3. What does consensus mean?  How did your group reach a consensus either in black boxes or Humdingers?
  4. What is the difference between conceptual and physical models?  Explain.
  5. How did your physical model of the Humdinger change over time?  What was the best part of your physical model?  What part needed the most improvement?
  6. How does having a growth mindset help in a unit like models & design?
  7. If you could change anything about this unit to improve it for next year, what would you suggest?
When you have competed your blog post, you may read for your independent reading contract for the rest of the period.  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

End of Quarter Self-Evaluation Post

Can you believe it's the end of the first quarter?  Time to reflect on the work you've done so far.

Create a blog post to answer the following questions.  Read carefully to make sure you've included all parts of the question in your answer.  Write your answers in paragraph form, rephrasing the questions so your audience knows what you mean.  Be careful, and watch for spelling/grammar mistakes.

1.  Update your Goodreads account if you haven't done so.  Did you make your goal for independent reading this quarter?  Why or why not?

2.  Out of the books you read this quarter, which was the best?  Why?

3.  Look at the genres you've read this quarter.  Which genres have you read more than others?  Why?

4.  Set a goal for your reading for the second quarter.  Include how many books you'd like to read as well as a goal that includes something about a genre you haven't read yet.

5.  Go to the read aloud wiki.  Look at the posts you've made about the read aloud book so far.  Include the link to the post you'd consider to be your best, according to my expectations.  What makes this post better than your others?

6.  Did you make your goal with the wiki of a minimum of 2 posts and 6 replies for a B?  Why or why not?  How can you improve with discussing on the wiki in the future?  Set a goal for yourself.

7.  Do you think you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?  Explain.  What can you do during the second quarter to improve your growth mindset?

8.  Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve the class and/or your learning experience for the second quarter?  Explain.

9.  What went well during your first quarter of the school year, both in general and in GOAL?  What were your successes?  What were your challenges?  What do you want to improve for the second quarter?  Be specific with your goals.

10.  If you have any concerns that you'd like to discuss privately, please e-mail me at  When you're done with everything, you may work on independent projects (7th & 8th grade GOAL), or you may go to any site in the Idleness Prevention Society (6th grade GOAL) found in the margin of this blog.

Great first quarter, everyone.  I can't wait to see what you will accomplish during the second quarter!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Analyzing Our Own Differences in Learning

Take the following personality/learning tests.  Record your results for each activity in one new blog post.

Jung Typology Test (Analyze your results here)
Multiple Intelligences Test
The VARK Questionnaire:  How Do I Learn Best?

Then, in your blog post, reflect on your results.  Answer the following:
  • What do these tests tell you about yourself?
  • How can this information help you in class?
  • How can this information help you outside of class?
  • How can this information help you advocate for your own learning?

After writing your own blog post, read the blog posts of others.  See all the different ways your classmates learn!  Comment on at least 3 posts.  When done, you may read and/or go to any site on the Idleness Prevention Society section of this blog.

Miss Nelson's results:
Jung: ENFP (Extroverted, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving)
Top 3 Intelligence: Language, Musical, Social
VARK Questionnaire: Visual: 1, Aural: 2, Read/Write: 11, Kinesthetic: 2

These tests tell me that I am a reader and a writer.  I need to read the directions to understand something best.  I communicate through words.  I'm an idea person, but I'm a procrastinator too, especially if I get bored.  Knowing this can help me in school by making sure there are written directions to follow.  I also need to keep a calendar for long-term assignments so I don't wait until the last minute.  Outside of class, I think this information confirms my favorite hobbies: reading and musical theatre.  I can advocate for my own learning by knowing how I learn because I can create situations that go best with how I learn: I can work in groups, I can focus on reading & writing, and I can ask teachers to break long-term assignments into manageable smaller goals and deadlines.

Monday, September 8, 2014


For today, please complete the following:

1.  Fill out this quick survey regarding your blog: GOAL Blogs Survey.

2.  Make sure the reading survey from September 4 is complete.

3.  Make sure your first blog post is published (about the goals for the new school year).  Check it and fix for errors and incomplete sentences.

4.  Finish working on your Goodreads account.  Update your reading, accept/request friends, rate and label more books.

5.  If you haven't done so, view the video at the bottom of the post from September 5 which is the introduction for our first unit.

6.  Complete the blog entry on the video (instructions found on September 5 below the video link).

7.  Read and respond to the blog posts of others.  First you need to know HOW to write good comments.  Yes, this seems obvious.  But with student blogging, it's the area which always disappoints me the most.  Even first graders seem to know how to do this better than middle school students.  Case in point: Watch the first grade video on commenting, and PAY ATTENTION to what these kids are talking about.  I know this is geared for elementary kids, but have fun with the Panda and learn from the younger generation about how to write a good blog post.


8.  Now actually read and respond to other blog posts.  Look at the righthand margin of this blog to find all the GOAL student blogs.  Read and respond to at least 3 posts about goals for the new year and at least 3 posts about the Temple Grandin video.  Try to find blogs that don't have any comments yet.  Read and edit before you post to avoid silly errors.  You may comment on GOAL blogs from any grade.

9.  Go back to your blog and see what others have said.  Respond to their comments if/when necessary.

10.  If there are any design modifications you'd like to make to your blog (background colors, margin widths, etc.), you may do it now.

11.  When you're done with everything, you may go to any of the sites on my blog along the lefthand margin under the category: Idleness Prevention Society.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Here's what we'll work on today:


If you DO NOT have a Goodreads account yet, we'll get you set up with one.

If you DO have a Goodreads account, you need to edit your bookshelves.

  • Instead of "Poetry," rename the shelf "Poetry & Novels Written in Verse."
  • Add a shelf for "Action/Adventure."
  • Add a shelf for "Graphic Novels."
  • Add a shelf for "2014-2015 School Year."
  • Add any books you read over the summer, and tag them with the appropriate shelves (NOT your new school year shelf).
  • Add any books you started since school began, and tag them with the appropriate shelves, making sure to include your new "2014-2015 School Year" shelf.  You'll need to include this label for every book you read for this year's contract.
  • Add friends from the FMS GOAL group, if you'd like to.
  • Read through your updates, looking for books you might want to add to your "Want to read" shelf.


When your Goodreads account is ready to go and you've finished your blog post from yesterday, watch the following film to give you an introduction to our new unit to start the year.  This unit will be on Differences in Learning.  This unit is to give you an awareness of all the ways people learn.  You will develop understanding for people who learn differently from you, and you will better understand your own ways of learning.  When you know how you learn best, you can begin to advocate for yourself and take charge of your own learning and academic success.

Then, write a blog post describing what you saw, what you learned, and what it made you think about and/or wonder about.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


It's going to be a great year in room 101... here's your first assignment:

1. Reading Survey:  Please complete the reading survey found at this link.

2.  Blogs:  Make sure you can get into your blog, and write your first post!  It should include the following:
  • What you're looking forward to this school year
  • What skills you have that will make you successful this school year
  • What challenges you have that might hinder your success this school year
  • What your goals are for this school year... How do you want to improve yourself and change for the better?
3.  Goodreads Accounts:  We're going to get these set up and adjusted for the new school year.  We'll make a couple of changes to better manage your reading this year.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

End of the Year Evaluation & Blog Posts

6th grade: After embedding your projects, answer the following questions:

1.  Give an overview of what you learned in your research.
2.  Tell your most interesting fact.
3.  What was your favorite part of the field trip, and why?
4.  How could the field trip be improved for next year?  Explain.
5.  How did your project and the trip tie together?  Explain.

8th grade:  Answer the following questions in a blog post about our overnight Images of Greatness trip.  We made the following stops:  Des Moines Art Center, Drake University, State Historical Museum, Iowa Hall of Pride, Des Moines Science Center (if you need a refresher).

1.  What was your favorite part of the trip, and why?
2.  At the art museum, you had to find 4 things: favorite, best example of "art," Why is it ART?, and celebrity award.  Try to remember as many of these categories as you can.  Write about them and include pictures if you'd like.
3.  What was the most educational part of the trip, and why?
4.  What was the most fun part of the trip, and why?
5.  If you could improve the trip in any way for the group next year, what would you change?  Explain.

When you're done with your blog posts,  please go to this link to complete Miss Nelson's End of the Year Evaluation. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hannibal Reflections

Please write a blog post to respond to the following questions:

1.  Give a summary of the field trip for anyone who might not know about our Mark Twain unit or might not have ever been to Hannibal, Missouri.

2.  What was your favorite part of the trip and why?

3.  What was the most fun part of the trip and why?

4.  What part of the trip would you improve for next year's class if you could?  Explain.

5.  How did your Mark Twain research help prepare you for your trip to Hannibal?  Explain.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Movies Galore!

Last Thursday, the 7th & 8th grade GOAL classes presented their movie projects.  7th graders presented stop-motion animation movies, and 8th graders presented documentary films.  They are all embedded here.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

7th Grade GOAL Webquest

Please click for the Mark Twain Webquest.  Follow the directions with your group.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird Reflection

8th Grade GOAL:  Today, you will blog about To Kill a Mockingbird.  You are basically writing a short piece on what the experience of the the story meant to you.  Some possible topics to discuss include:

* Favorite Characters
* Favorite Moments
* Lessons the Story Teaches
* Compare/Contrast the Book to the Movie
* Questions You Still Have
* Would You Recommend It and Why
* Analysis of Harper Lee's Writing Style
* Racism and How It Relates to the Story
* The Setting of the Story
* Comparing the Text to Yourself
* Comparing the Text to the World
* Comparing the Text to Other Texts

Refer back to the class wiki if you need refreshers.