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Showing posts with label halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label halloween. Show all posts

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inspiring Aspiring Writers


There was this....
That's me and my first grade team. All 2 and a half of us. Denise and I, (she's on the right) have taught 1st grade together for 15 years now. Jean is on the left. She is an amazing combo teacher with the most difficult of all combination classes - a K-1!!! Kindergarteners should NEVER be in a combo class. Right? RIGHT?! cuh-razy. (Well no child should be in a combo class, but kinders?! ugh!) Anyhoo, we've been teaching together for a long, long time, too. 

Obviously I couldn't find a matching sweatshirt. It appears EVERYONE else in the known world wanted to be a minion, too.

Anyhoo... that's us. The dorky girls who teach first grade. We had our annual Literacy Day Parade at school. Most of the kiddos dressed up and brought a book in which their character appeared. It fell on our minimum day this year which made it absolutely fabulous. 
So on to real teaching stuff.


If you've been following me for a while, you know how important I feel it is to tie daily writing instruction into your balanced literacy program.

With these daily writing lessons and activities, not only do I see constant improvement in their writing, but in their reading skills as well. They truly do work together.

This past week we did a writing activity from the Falling Into Literacy pack.

We always start with a basic plan. For narrative writing, I like to use quick drawings.

From there we convert our visual ideas to simple complete sentences.
I help them edit their pre-writes... a bit. I don't correct everything. My main focus is on correct grammar, capitals, periods, and sounds. If I can use the sounds they wrote to figure out the word, I rarely edit it - unless the word (or phonic rule) is something we've already worked on and they should know. This helps the students develop the skills necessary to write new words and feel comfortable "sticking their neck out" in writing. If they are always fearful that they will spell everything wrong, they will be hesitant to try - and you will be looking at an empty page.

I do my very best to do "minimal - meaningful" editing. My kiddos hear things like "WOW! I LOVE that you used your sounds so well." "What a great word choice!" "Oh! Don't forget to use ck for the /k/ sound after a short vowel." When they do a particularly good job in using their sounds I do everything I can to read their sentences out loud to them super fluently, with expression, when they come to me to have me review it. The pride on their faces because I can read their ideas is absolutely priceless. Each time I edit something of theirs, I try to hit on one more little aspect. That way the learning is gradual, meaningful, and manageable.

All of this leads to some amazing final drafts that the kiddos are very proud of - and they should be!

Of course some kids pick up on the edit notes quicker than others and their writing skills jump profoundly. I do VERY little editing with these writers. I have found that each time I meet with them they improve upon the previous errors on their own just by paying attention to our lessons. They also write more each time. One or two little reminders go a long way.
This writing lesson and the bat craft - My Wacky Upside Down Day, can be found in
You can also find craft-writing lessons in 

Here are my digital, interactive plans for this week.
Click the image below to enlarge my plans and get a better look. Click HERE to grab a copy of my planner sheet. The download is a "clickable" .pdf so you'll be able to visit the links for many of the various items I have included in my plans for this week.

Click to grab a peek at a few more teachers' weeks.

Have a fabulous week, peeps! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Throwback and Interactive Plans

Last week we had a fundraiser at our local McDonald's.

It was CRAZY busy there. A lot of us teacher peeps "worked" there for a few hours that evening and a the turn out was great. The owner of our local McDonald's is super nice and very generous. It is an awesome fundraiser. If you've never heard of it/done it - I highly recommend it. The corporation encourages the individual stores to participate and the revenue earned for schools makes it a truly effective fundraiser.

I LOVE fundraisers that are easy, don't involve selling things to your friends and family, wrapping paper or greatly overpriced chocolates. 

AANNNDDD I got that stylish new shirt out of the deal. :-P
This week will be fun. In addition to our Literacy Day Parade on Thursday (I'm dressing up as a minion from Despicable Me... and I'm not thrilled about that!... more on that later.) I'm looking forward to making some mummies this week.

We are also making some monster glyphs.

Check out last year's post about Halloween Week {HERE} to find out more and 
grab a FREEBIE monster glyph sheet.

Here are my digital, interactive plans for the week.
Click the image below to enlarge my plans and get a better look. Click HERE to grab a copy of my planner sheet. The download is a "clickable" .pdf so you'll be able to visit the links for many of the various items I have included in my plans for this week.

Have a fabulous week, peeps! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Monsters & Mummies & Super Heroes! Oh My!

I've been boo'd.
Not in real life.
That would be sad.

But here in bloggy land... I'll take it as a sign of love. Thanks all of you "boo'ers".

I'm confused about the rules - I've seen a wide variety of them. Each explaining something different to do. Name 3 blogs. Name 5 blogs. Share something on your blog. Share something via email. {Is booing normally this difficult?}

So, I'm doing what I tend to do when I'm unclear - my own thing. :D

First of all, there are far too many wonderful blogs out there for me to just mention a few. Check out my blog roll on the side to see a list of my bloggy friends who I visit ALL the time. They always have fantabulous things to share.

Second, I'm including a treat for all of you - cuz that's the way I roll. :D

Third, I don't do much with Halloween in my classroom. It's limited to a day, maybe two if I'm feeling desperate... at the most. And even then, its a sporadic item or game interwoven with all of the normal routine. So I really don't have a lot of Halloween-type things to share.

If we use the word Halloween at school, some of our parents tend not to send their kids to school. I don't like it when that happens. I find it so upsetting that the kiddos don't get to have the same fun I did as a kid, pretending and using silly imagination to explore monsters, witches and goblins... oh my! I certainly don't want to offend anyone - but pretend is just, well, pretend! And FUN! Besides... there's c.a.n.d.y.!!!

Anyhoo, I prefer the kids come to school. AND I prefer not to get upset letters from parent concerned that we are learning about the "dark arts" Harry Potter style while at school. So I refrain. Mostly. And only do a little bit. A super duper tiny amount. And I tie it all into reading, writing and math.

And then I whip up a magic elixer to cast off any unwanted ... "Hey we'd rather you not talk about Halloween." notes, letters, email or phone calls. ;P

October 31st is called Literacy Day on our campus. Children are asked to come to school dressed as their favorite character from a book. They MUST bring the book with them to school. Otherwise... they will... uh.... their teacher must quickly come up with a book for them to hold. {hrmpph}
The entire school does a parade around the campus. We all take our chairs and sit outside our rooms. (No halls here... all doors lead outside.) We watch as the parade passes us and then join the end of the line. Each group sits back down on their chairs as they complete the full route so they can watch the rest of the parade go by. It's lots of fun. Completely adorable. The kids have a blast.

Some of the teachers dress up, too. Many are very creative.

I've been "The Giving Tree", "The Teeny, Tiny Ghost", "Dorrie, the Witch", "Miss Spider" and I can't remember what else. Last year, I came up with a being a super hero. "Teacher Woman". I wear a mask and a cape and a T-shirt with a big ol' red T on it that says "I Teach. What's Your Super Power?" that I had made last year. I know. Boring. But comfy. Very comfy. I'm pretty sure I will be that Super Teacher again this year. {Are you booing me for real now?}

I LOVE Halloween and have quite a few books that make their way into my reading center during that last couple weeks of October.

One of my all time favorites is:


I have the kids make this:
You can read my post about it {here}.

We made an adorable monster glyph last year. I created it after seeing this on Pinterest. I LOVE everything about this picture. The kiddos could easily make all of those little penant pieces!
I cut out basic construction pieces and the kids used this glyph sheet: create these little "monsters".

I plan on making these again this year. I will be adding a writing element to it wherein the kids will turn all of those glyph components into complete sentences to tell about their monster.

{CLICK} for a copy of the Monster Glyph sheet. 

Another thing I try to do this month is read Where the Wild Things Are.

Have you seen the Where the Wild Things Are unit from Vicky at Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After?
The pack is huge. There are many fabulous ideas. I know my kids are going to love the writing activities. Adorable.

So... what's it like in your neck of the woods? Do you step lightly around "Halloween" or can you go nuts with it? Do you dress up?

❤I LoVe your comments!❤

Friday, October 28, 2011


I absolutely LOVE this adorable book.
Where's My Mummy? 
When I saw it in the bookstore a few years back I HAD to have it. I've noticed that a lot of bloggers out there enjoy it just as much as I do. I've seen so many versions of projects based on the book. Today we read the book and did our project and as usual the kiddos loved it. (One writing paper, one pc. black construction, 1/2 beige/brown/whatever construction for face, 1 small piece of black construction for eyes, lots of white construction strips... the kids draw a circle for the face any size they'd like, same with the eyes - no tracers, no rules... just cuteness.) One little girl's version just blew me away today.

Check out that BOW! Isn't it super-duper, fantastically cute?! Seriously, she came up with that on her own (of course all the little girlies had to copy her after that!) ... yes, yes she obviously didn't spend as much time on her writing as she did the bow - her artistic vision absolutely took over. I was so blown away by the bow cuteness, I didn't notice the lack of words on her page.

If you aren't familiar with this book - ya gotta check it out. It's so cute and the kids love to write about what their "mummy" does when they are scared.

Don't ya just love it when the kids make the projects "their own"?!

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