Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer School Wrap Up!

Over the past four weeks, I had the opportunity to grow as an educator by teaching summer school; however, I was even more fortunate enough to get to know 18 incoming 6th graders for the upcoming school year.  They brought with them a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.

During our summer school reading program, we focused on a different reading topic (context clues, main idea, summarization, and inferences) each week for four weeks.  Over these past four weeks, my students mastered these topics and demonstrated their learning through projects, activities, and assessments.  Students had the opportunity to investigate these four topics through various online videos such as BrainPop and Flocabulary, construct interactive notebook pages on the topics we studied, reading and decoding A TON of non-fiction text, and writing… A lot of writing.  As a class, we wrote on a daily basis, and I was fortunate enough to NOT receive the typical question, “Mr. Marconi…Why do we write so much?” until late into the third week. 

Throughout the four weeks that I worked with these students, we worked on constructing a well-developed paragraph on a daily basis.  Every week we started out with a new brainstorming page and moved to writing our details/explanations.  After that came our topic and closing sentences, and finally we put everything together and constructed our weekly paragraph.  At the end of each week, we usually utilized our paragraphs by completing various activities that extended our learning of the topic for that week, especially during our two weeks on main idea and summarization.  In one of the pictures below you can see where I had my students copy their paragraphs onto chart paper in order to allow other students to identify the topic, main idea, and supporting details of their classmates’ work.  After students completed finding the elements of main idea in the paragraphs their final task was to summarize the paragraph they mapped out in twelve words or less. 

Overall, these four weeks have given me an extreme amount of hope and satisfaction.  I have hope that each of the 18 students I worked with will take the information they learned into the new school year with them as new middle school students, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that my school will be getting some amazingly talented new 6th graders come August 25! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Donors Choose Round Two: Let us Learn with Graphic Novels and Nonfiction!

Do you ever remember sitting in your seat as a middle school student pretending to read? You did this because you didn't understand the book, or it was not interesting to you and you probably didn't have the option to choose another book. So, you sat in misery, pretending to read.
My school has roughly 920 students, and of those 920 students nearly 70% are on the district's Free and Reduced Meal program, because their families cannot afford the standard cost of $2.75 for lunch.
Out of those 920 students, I teach approximately 140 of them over the span of 5 classes. My students and I have the same goal in mind-becoming stronger and more fluent readers.
My students will be able to use these books on a daily basis! These books will be organized and placed in our classroom library where students will have access to them at the beginning of class, when they finish work early, at the end of class, or even at lunch. Students will have the opportunity to read these books in class or check them out and take them wherever they go.
For struggling readers, reading can be a daunting and overwhelming task. This project will truly make a difference by giving my students the power of choice. My students will have the variety of literature that they need, and with your support will include engaging graphic novels and creative nonfiction texts.  
Here is the link to help out my students: 
Help me get the word out about our project because my students need more choices in the books they read, graphic novels to gain interest for struggling readers, and nonfiction to create a foundation for critical thinking. 
Be a Hero!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A blog by any other name would be just as super, right?

Since the moment I decided to jump head first into the world of blogging, I have received the great question about how I came up with the title “The Superhero Teacher.”  First, let me be clear about the fact that I don’t think of myself as some sort of amazingly awesome teacher that doesn’t make any mistakes after only one year of teaching (even if I act that way sometimes). I fully recognize the fact that I chose a career path that requires one to be a lifelong learner, which is AMAZING in my opinion, because that is what I do on a daily basis--I learn.  I learn from my family, my friends, my colleagues, and most importantly of all--my students.  I learn more about who I am as a teacher on a daily basis from my students over anyone else, and I believe that’s exactly how it should be for every teacher. 

So anyway, back to how I came up with the title for my blog…  I came to the realization that all any child wants when they are growing up is a hero; but, if I learned anything from this past year, it’s that this can be a much more complicated request than what it seems.  The problem with this request is that not all children are blessed with a mom, dad, brother, sister, or even a family at all.  So, my question would be to my readers, whom do those children get to view as a hero? And this ladies and gentlemen, is where you will find the answer to how I came up with the title of my blog.  Every kid needs a hero and for any kid who is struggling to find one in his or her life--for whatever reason, I hope that I can be the “hero role-model” for him or her to look up to. 

I have included two other inspirations behind the naming of my blog.  The first is a picture of my sister and me before going to see Man of Steel last summer, along with a picture of me when I was just a “Little Superman.”  If you already know me or if you read my “About Me” section then you know that I am a HUGE superhero nerd.  I have been a fan of Superman since before I can remember and throughout the years, Superman has become a part of who I am.  Another inspiration I included is a TED Talk video titled Every Kid Needs a Champion.  If you have never watched this TED Talk then I highly encourage you to do so.  While watching it simply replace champion with hero and ask yourself, whose hero are you? :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Brave New World of Blogging!

Hi, friends!

Welcome to my new teaching blog.  My name is Steven Marconi and I am going to be entering my second year of teaching middle school English and Journalism in just over a month from now (yikes).  Less than a year ago, I was almost a two month old college graduate and still waiting for my dream career to come knocking.  I waited, waited, and waited some more. Finally, the opportunity came.  I interviewed and accepted a position at an AMAZING school with an even more amazing group of students and staff.  Throughout my first year, I definitely learned a lot about who I am as a teacher and I am a strong believer that I will be learning even more about who I am as a teacher for many more years to come. 

Anyways, more about my blog and less about me… I wanted to start a blog for two different reasons.  The first reason I started this blog is to open my classroom doors to the parents and families of my students for whenever they want to drop by without actually having to step foot in the school.  The second reason I wanted to start this blogging adventure is to share some of the ideas with my fellow teachers that I am using in my English and Journalism classes. 

Please feel free to take a look around my blog and see all of the awesomeness it has to offer.  Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin, like my Facebook page, and check out some of the great resources that I have uploaded to my TpT store.  If you choose to follow my blog, you can either enter your email address or simply click on the follow button on the Google Friend Connect icon when you scroll down. 

Thank you for taking the first step in joining me along my journey as a middle school teacher.  It’s going to be filled with some amazing adventures and I can’t wait to share them all with you. 

Friday, July 11, 2014


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