Monday, January 20, 2014

Mentor Monday Linky

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG, for her first ever Mentor Monday Linky.  This week the topic is using mentor texts for personal narrative writing, specifically for developing ideas from small, memorable moments.

We use the writer's workshop model by Lucy Caulkins in our school.  I simply love her writing lessons!  One of my favorite books to use for teaching students how to narrow their focus is The Snowy Day  by Ezra Jack Keats.  

The Snowy Day is perfect for introducing "Small Moment" writing because most students (especially where I live) can identify with having a snow day (we've had a lot of them lately).  

After reading the story, we discuss the big idea, smaller topic, and seed moment and record them on a chart.  Students quickly see how we keep narrowing the topic to zero in on the small, memorable moment.  (I use this chart idea from Kelley @ Buggy for Learning).

Buggy for Learning
Then we brainstorm all the things we do on a snow day that would be considered small moments. 
  • make snow angels
  • catch snowflakes on our tongues
  • go sledding
  • make a snowman
  • build an igloo
  • have a snowball fight
Finally, we think of our own small moment ideas for writing and post them on our chart.  We read them one by one and decide if they are "watermelons", "slices", or "seeds".  Don't you just love this chart?  It's from Colleen @ Totally Terrific in Texas.
Totally Terrific in Texas
I found these posters and the corresponding graphic organizer for small moment writing at Fit to Be Fourth on TPT.  You may want to grab a copy for yourself.  It's the perfect complement to this lesson. :)

Fit to Be Fourth {Freebie}
Do you have a favorite book that you like to use to introduce Small Moment Writing?  I'd love for you to share it.  Hop on over to visit Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG and link up your ideas.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Each Kindness {Freebie}

Each Kindness is a gem.  It tells the story of a young girl who learns the importance of her actions.  It sends a simple, yet powerful message that readers are unlikely to forget.  While this story doesn't have a traditional happy ending, it can open the door to a thoughtful classroom discussion about friendship and kindness.

Click here to visit J. Woodson's website.
Reading Level: 2.7
Interest Level:  Elementary
Themes:  Kindness, Friendship, Bullying

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya.  Every time Maya tries to join Chloe's group of friends, they reject her.  Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether.  When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship.

Click here to visit illustrator, E.B. Lewis's, website

Discussion Questions:  
  • Who is Maya?  What clues does the text reveal about Maya’s personality? 
  • Examine the illustrations in the book. What is Maya doing in each picture?  
  • What can we learn from Maya's actions? 
  • What happened to Maya at the end of the story? 
  • Where do you think she went?  Why?  What clues in the text helped you?
  • How does Chloe feel at the end of the story?  What clues in the text helped you?  
  • How could Chloe have changed the outcome of this story?  Why do you think that?

Compare and Contrast:  After reading Each Kindness, read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.  Guide students as they compare and contrast the two books.  
  • In what ways are the characters of these two stories alike? different?
  • Why do you think the characters act the way they do? 
  • What did Wanda and Maya do to deserve the treatment they received? 
  • What are the lessons we can learn from each book? 
Click on the image to download this Venn Diagram {Freebie}.
Graphics & Fonts by Melonheadz, Creative Clips, KG Fonts

Write a New Ending:   Think about how the outcome of the story would have changed if Chloe had chosen to show Maya kindness. Rewrite the story with a happier ending.

Letter Writing:  Write a letter to a friend.  Tell him/her all the reasons why you think they are special.

Journal Writing:  Write about a time when you did something you regretted. What happened?  What made you act that way?  How did you know it was wrong?  How did your actions make you feel?  What were the consequences?  Do you think that experience will change your future actions?

Make a Personal Connection:  How do you feel about meeting new students and making new friends?  Do you worry about what others might think of your friendships?  How would you feel if you tried to be friends with someone and they ignored you?

Make Ripples in Your Classroom:  Chloe’s teacher throws a rock in water, and says, "Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.”  Create a bulletin board with a large pond on it.  Each time a student is "caught" in an act of kindness, ask him/her to write the action on a paper rock and attach it to the pond.

Make Ripples in Your School or Community:  Challenge students to continue to spread ripples of kindness throughout their school and community.  Participate in No Name Calling Week in January or Random Acts of Kindness Week in February.

If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for?  ;)  Hurry out and get yourself a copy.

A Special Announcement

I'm one of four bloggers featured today on our new collaborative blog.

Stop by Adventures in Literacy Land each day this week to meet the authors of the blog and read their introductory posts.  Be sure to enter the Blog Launch Giveaway for your chance to win one of four $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates.

EVERYONE who enters will win an exclusive prize pack.  Please join us on this new journey!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Adventures in Literacy Land

It's here.  It's here.  It's finally here!  It's been over two months in the making, but today we announce the launch of our new literacy blog…

Twenty bloggers with a specific interest in literacy (reading specialists, reading coaches, literature teachers, etc.) have joined together in this effort.  I'm so excited to reveal the authors!
This group represents more than 250 years of teaching experience in the field of literacy.  We plan to share information on the best practices in literacy, keep you abreast of current trends, and provide you with excellent teaching resources.

Stop by Adventures in Literacy Land each day this week to meet the authors of this blog and read their introductory posts.  Be sure to enter the Blog Launch Giveaway for a chance to win one of four $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates.

EVERYONE who enters will win an exclusive prize pack.  Please join us on this new journey!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Countdown to a New Blog

Just popping in to say, Hello!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday break. Classes resume tomorrow for us, provided the weather cooperates.

Question:  What do you get when you combine twenty literacy teachers, one talented artist, and a much sought after blog designer?

Answer:  A Brand New Collaborative Blog!

Adventures in Literacy Land

Please join our team of reading teachers, specialists, and coaches for our blog launch this week.  Each day we'll bring you blog-author introductions, our thoughts on literacy topics, and some amazing prizes.

The adventures begins tomorrow.  Be sure to join in the fun!

Well I'm off to watch The Bachelor.  Don't judge.  ;)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's Currently 2014!

Welcome 2014!  A brand spankin' new year . . . a blank canvas.
How will you leave your mark on 2014?

I'm joining Farley to share what's happening with me, currently.

Listening:  Zombies aren't really my thing, but in this house I'm out-numbered by boys. ;)

Loving:  Several of my blogging buddies have joined together to launch a collaborative literacy blog, Adventures in Literacy Land.  I love the new friendships we've formed along the way.  I hope you'll consider visiting us.  Every follower who enters the Giveaway will win an exclusive prize pack and four lucky winners will receive $25 TpT gift certificates.

Thinking:  I've been so blessed this year.  I'm so thankful for my family and friends.  Love them!  I'm especially thankful for all of you.  :)

Wanting:  I guess it's time to start taking down the holiday decorations.  I wish they would put themselves away.

Needing:  I just finished reading Divergent.  It was a page-turner filled with action, adventure, romance, and suspense.  The movie is coming out in March.  I want need to finish reading the rest of the series before break is over.

Memory/Tradition:  When my children were little we started the tradition of hiding a glass pickle ornament on the tree.  So cute!

So what are you doing, currently?  Hurry on over to link up with Farley and share your Currently.

Wishing you a happy, healthy new year!