Sunday, April 17, 2016

Day 2: Imaginative Narratives

On the second day of Imaginative Narratives, we sketched out our two main characters first through shared writing. We discussed how we wanted our characters to look making sure that we were very descriptive. As students shouted out their ideas, we quickly started sketching. Then, we discussed what kind of characters we wanted them to be by describing their personality. We wrote these words around the characters. We also discussed how these characters needed to sound realistic and jive with out story line. Once, we were done with our characters for our class story, our students set off to work sketching and describing their characters from their story map. Our students had a lot of fun doing this and were eager to share their ideas. By spending the time doing shared writing with the class, there is more ownership and excitement about writing. Below you can find our lesson and a student's notebook entry:

Be sure to come back and see what we did next...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Imaginative Narratives

I've had so much fun in 3rd grade launching a new writing unit on imaginative narratives. While the stories are imaginative, I wanted them to be realistic. I may have them write another story in the genre, but as a fantasy, perhaps as a revision unit...more thoughts on that later.

Before we started, they read and talked a lot about the genre in reading workshop. We began our work in writing workshop with shared writing. I used a story map to help get them thinking about a plausible story line between two main characters in a realistic setting, with a problem and solution. They helped me brainstorm our class story on chart paper on the first day. Then,we moved into the Writer's Notebooks where they were to begging brainstorming their own stories by applying what we did together as a whole group. Below you can see the beginning stages of our story taking shape.
The next day we moved onto characters.
Come back to see what we did as a whole group and what a student did in her notebook 😀

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blogging Club Update!

So...I have been HORRIBLE at keeping my promise to blog weekly with my Bloggers. We did have a week off for Spring Break in excuse for the other weeks....hmm give me time to think. J/k! I am very proud of my students  that continue to show up week after week. I have had a few quit, but I figured that would happen with such a big class. I can't lie and say that I wasn't disappointed in the fact that they'd rather do something else, but I won't take it personal, it just wasn't their thing. Anyways...back to the students that do come...I've been so impressed in how they have been helping one another and how they have taken charge of their learning. One week a student asked me, "How do you put in a link?" I responded, "Great question. That will be what I teach you next week!" (It was at the tail end of class and rather than just show him, I figured the rest of the class would like to know, too.) Then last week, I wanted to teach them how to create their own avatar for their page; however, once I got to class, I discovered that the 5th graders had actually learned that in computer lab that week. So, I did what any WISE teacher would do, and I said great, "Nick you're going to teach the rest of the class how to do it and while you're at it, create one for me, too!" He did a great job! All of the students were able to customize their own avatar to look as much like themselves, or not, as they wished. This week's lesson will be on: How to Comment on Blogs. I have allowed them to view one another's blogs and comment, but it has turned into a chatting message board. With that being said, we need to discuss how to leave constructive criticism and comments. I will let you know how it goes :) 

Check out my avatar:
What do you think? lol
Have you started blogging with your students yet?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Biographical Poems

I've had so much fun in 3rd grade the past couple of weeks. In reading workshop they have been researching an inspiring African American for Black History month and created a poster to show their learning. Their classroom teacher invited me into their classroom to take their research and bring it into writing workshop somehow. I decided that it would be fun to take their research and write a poem about their subject. As a mentor text we used the book below:
Their classroom teacher read many of the poems aloud. When I came into the classroom I used one of the poems to imitate for my writing mini lesson with the research that one of the students supplied me with about her subject: Rosa Parks. See my mini lesson below:
I used the strategies of imitating a mentor author, thinking aloud, and modeled writing to show these 3rd graders how to construct a poem. I was using chart paper without lines, so I used a highlighter to show them where I would make new stanzas. I wanted them to stick to one event/topic when they wrote about their subject. Once I was done modeling, students were able to have a go with their subject. Many students were able to come up with many versions of poems about their subject. 

I came back the next day to show students another way that they could take their research to construct a poem by imitating the same mentor text.
See chart below:
I wanted students to try a quick write about one topic/event about their subject. Again, I modeled using research supplied by one of the students, but this time the subject was Jackie Robinson. After we did the quick write, through think aloud and modeled writing, I demonstrated how writers can remove extra words from their writing to construct a poem. Again, I sent students off to have a go using this strategy. Once they had a poem, they took it through the writing process. They are currently in the publishing stage using Chromebooks to type their work in GloogleClassroom. Once they are done typing, they will find an image to upload into their document.

I will post more once they are done :) What do you think about taking research and presenting it in a different format than the traditional essay? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Interactive Writing

I started the year very hesitant and overwhelmed to attempt Interactive Writing in our first grade classroom. I didn't understand it and it made me nervous. What do we write about? How do we keep it authentic? We attempted to tie it into our work with our author study of Kevin Henkes and his books. Our class especially enjoyed his books about his mice characters: Lily, Chester, and Wendell. We decided to discuss their character traits by providing evidence from the texts. We made a list of their traits around their illustrations (yes, I have been teaching myself to draw this year, too!) and we noticed similarities and differences amongst these different characters. Here are some pictures to show where we started this journey of interactive writing: 

What do you think?
More to share later :)

Blogging Update

It has been awhile since I have blogged and I promised my Blogging Club that I would get much better at holding myself accountable since I would be blogging beside them every week. The problem is we had a snow day, followed by President's Weekend, so I got a little lazy. With that being said, I decided to update our school's website tonight by adding a new page with all of my bloggers new blogs. You can check it out by going to East Coldenham Elementary School; Teachers; Literacy Consultant: Launa Kruithof; EC's Blog Club. I'm excited to see their excitement and enjoyment for blogging! I can't wait for them to post their first post this week and start their second.
Now, my new goal: get back to blogging about my experience in learning Literacy in the K-2 classrooms! So much to tell...maybe tomorrow...😜

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blogging Writing Club

Image result for blogging

I'm SO excited to announce that I am starting a Blogging Writing Club at my school for 4th and 5th grade students! My Principal came to me asking me if I was interested in starting some sort of writing club at our school. Of course I said I was interested, since I am the Literacy Consultant for the building. However, I knew that I didn't want to do just any ordinary club. I didn't want to do a school newspaper...I thought about a poetry club...maybe an extension off of the school website somehow? No, nothing seemed right. It wasn't until I sat down with our District's Technology Coach, Jim Treloar, that we came up with the idea of creating a club where students would be able to make their own blog!

What would they blog about? ANYTHING is the answer. We are constantly asking students to write for us...but, how much experience have they had sharing their thoughts on an on-line blog? I bet none! Do they even know what a blog is? I want my students to make their blog about what interests them. A place for them to share their thoughts...maybe like an on-line writer's notebook? Now, that would be cool. I can't wait to discover what THEY want to write about and share with the world. My plan is to share with them my blog and what I write about: literacy of course! I'm sure they will figure that out before I even show it to them. 

When we first thought of this idea, Jim asked me, "How many students are you thinking?" I laughed at him and said, "I don't think that many will show, maybe 10? I mean they have to write. You think they really will want to come and write for me? For an hour in the morning, before school?" Boy, was I blown away by the response that we received back from our students. In our small school with only two sections of each grade level, we received 22 responses! TWENTY-TWO! That's a whole class worth! Wow! I just realized I have a blogging class. :) I wasn't expecting that! 

Well, tomorrow is the first day full of introductions and getting them started. I can't wait to get these blogs off the ground and see what they come up with to write about. 

Are you blogging in your class?
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Wish us luck!