Friday, March 28, 2014

Perfecting Paragraphs: Day 4

This is Day 4 of my Perfecting Paragraphs series.
Frame by Lovin' Lit, Kimberly Geswin Fonts, Clipart by Melonheadz Illustrating
This was our last day of working on writing a descriptive paragraph from a picture.

We started the day by finishing our critiques of our previous paragraphs.

Again, we talked about how we could improve by adjusting little things here and there. For everything that we talked about improving, we talked about an equal number of good things.

(We started with what they could improve and ended with the good-I try to make sure we leave on a good note!)

Then, I put up the last picture and had them write a descriptive paragraph from it-using all the steps we had talked about.

While they were writing, I passed back their previous work so they had all four paragraphs.

Then, we split into critiquing pairs.

We talked about how to give a good critique (1 improvement=1 good thing), and I passed out a smiley rubric for them to use to help guide their critiques.

I had them work with all four paragraphs-so they could hopefully see the great progression from when they started to now.

I also had their critiquing partners (which I chose by picking sticks) make some recommendations on how they could improve their writing.

Then I had the students pick their favorite paragraph and really work on that one-because we are be going to the computer lab to type it!

They've done a very nice job with this-I'm pleased with their progress! Next, we'll be working on creating a short story from a picture-using it to inspire us!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Perfecting Paragraphs: Day 3

This is Day 3 of my Perfecting Paragraphs series.
Frame by Lovin' Lit, Kimberly Geswin Fonts, Clipart by Melonheadz Illustrating
On Day 3 (which we split into two days), we worked on yet another picture. This time, I put the picture up on the board and had the students take their notes.

After the initial note-taking, we talked about what they noticed in the picture, and zoomed in a different parts of it.

So if the students who didn't have the best notes got a chance to add to their notes, and see what they might have needed to add.

I gave them about 15-20 minutes to write their paragraphs.

Then I gathered them all up, and went through them.

I picked a couple to really focus on-some that were really good examples, some that needed a little work.

(Day 3.5) I typed them up on the computer-so we could all see them.
As a class, we went through them and talked about what the student could improve on, and what they did well.

(I did check with the kids if it was okay-I promised there would be no names, and no one would know (unless they told them) and told them to let me know if they didn't want their paragraph up there-they were all okay with it!)

While we were critiquing, for every thing that needed improving, I made sure that there was something that they did well (and I made a big deal about it!)
After we critiqued the work (we only did about half of what I picked-the rest we saved for another lesson!), I sent them back to 'tweak' their paragraphs. While I was flipping through, I noticed that their paragraphs were fairly good, but just needed to tweaking here and there.

I had the take out their pens and add in their tweaks! It definitely made their writing better.

Getting closer to perfection!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Poetry

Happy Wednesday!

Jivey picked one of my favorite topics this week: Poetry!

It's one of my very favorite things to teach students-and I spend time on it all year long!

I usually start out by showing them an example of what we are going to do, or show them a SMART Exchange lesson.

This week, we are going to be focusing on Haikus, so I'll be showing this (yes, I know it's grade 1, but it is a good intro-since most of my kids have never heard about it before!) and this.

After we learn a little about the type of poetry, we brainstorm a list of ideas we could use to write.
Then, I usually model how to write a poem (using an opposite topic-for example- if they are writing about Spring, I'll write about Fall or Winter)

Yes, I know those are cinquians-but they show my point :)

Then I send them to work!

They usually do a rough draft, and we edit it-they do it on a nice piece of paper and illustrate.

They love doing it too! Our poetry lessons are usually a fun, quick lesson that they kids enjoy-they always ask if they can do another one!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Favorite Things

Happy Wednesday!

One of my very favorite shops to peruse is:

Teaching With a Mountain View

I recently picked up her Informational Text Structure Task Cards, and used them with great success!

Differentiated Informational Text Structures Task Cards {
We first started out by making an anchor chart to refer to (and adding in Nicole Shelby's notebook entry)

Then I spread the cards out (after copying them on colored cardstock!)-having the kids move around!

 Everything I needed to practice the skill was included in the packet-and she has some free assessments in her store!

Another favorite is Jennifer Findley!


She also has a wonderful abundance of things-especially her themed Math centers! My kids loved using them last year. 

Please check out these two awesome ladies' shops-you'll have a lot to add to your wishlist!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Perfecting Paragraphs~Day 2

This is Day 2 of my Perfecting Paragraphs series.
Frame by Lovin' Lit, Kimberly Geswin Fonts, Clipart by Melonheadz Illustrating
On Day 2, I put up another picture and asked my kids to write a descriptive paragraph.
After they finished writing, I did a mini-lesson on how to improve their writing.

I used the polar bear picture we had previously worked with.
I started off by showing them how to take notes, of what they first notice.

We talked about how to work off what they notice first-as that is probably the biggest part of the picture.

Then we worked outward-what details they noticed. We made sure to add in plenty of adjectives.
We reread (and caught some mistake I made while typing!), and added in a few more adjectives.

Now it was their turn! I posted instructions on the board (for those who did it for center work)
and set them free! They wrote their 2nd draft in pen, so we could easily see the difference.

The revised drafts are much better!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Monday Made It

Happy Monday Eve!

The kids have a three day week this week, as us teachers have PD days on Thursday and Friday~we'll see how fun it is!

Time for:
First up, I changed my blog design!

I went from this:

To what you see now!

I've also been making a bunch of Explorer article and foldables for our Explorer Unit!

The kids seem to really enjoy them!

I've also started a new series called Perfecting Paragraphs~Day 2 will be out later this week!
Frame by Lovin' Lit, Kimberly Geswin Fonts, Clipart by Melonheadz Illustrating

 I made the button for that too!

(And their writing is getting sloooooooooowly better!)

Some hooky time has been had as well...

This one is 98% done-just need to finish the second strap

I made two bags! (one is a little bit smaller than the other). You can get the pattern here if you're a hooker!

They worked up very quickly over our February break, I had the most trouble doing the straps-deciding on the length, how to attach them, etc! Once I figure it out, it went well.

I used two of the big Sugar and Cream~just over one made the bigger bag, and I made the smaller one with the rest!

I love the variegated pattern-no need to worry about color changes!

Enjoy your Monday!

Smiles and Sunshine,