Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Writing Workshop Wednesday: Mini-lesson 1: Where do you get ideas?

Thank you to Educasong, Kimberley Geswein, and Creative Clips!
I used their wonderful products to make my button!

Okay!  Onto Writer's Workshop stuff!
I LOVE teaching writing.  Am I really that good at it?
I don't think that I really am, but I enjoy it, so it makes it seem like I am good at writing.  :)

I have been working really hard this year to try to do my mini-lessons in a sequence that makes sense.  It makes sense to me at least!

Of course I started with building stamina for Writer's Workshop.  If you are interested is seeing our daily routine check out the post HERE.

Now that we are into the routine, we get down to the nitty gritty!

The first lessons that I do are to introduce our classroom writing goals for the year.  You can read more about my classroom goals and our Writing Notebooks HERE.

I start every W.W. with a mini-lesson.  Sometimes I model writing.  Sometimes it is a grammar lesson, sometimes I share what a classmate has written.  It just depends on what we are working on. 
Our lessons always fits into our two goals:
My audience CAN read what I write.
My audience WANTS to read what I write.

 I try to vary my lessons so that I cover what I need to cover and we don't get hung up on one topic.

Monday: What do Writer's Write?
Tuesday: Grammar (sometimes Mentor Sentences)
Wednesday: How to make our writing so that other want to read it.
Thursday: How to write so others can read what we write (conventions).

We don't always have W.W. on Friday's because we switch for "Non-fiction" Fridays (science, social studies, and health).  So if we do have W.W. that day it is usually something fun.  Do I stick to this schedule all of the time?  No.  I am a pretty go with the flow kind of teacher.

I was at a workshop one time where the presenter mentioned that if you don't want the kiddos to copy off of what you write about, write about things that they can't or don't do.  Funny, I am infamous among my students for writing about doing laundry.  They find it interesting that I can find so many ways to write about doing laundry, and I have so many laundry adventures!  
We decided as a class that having a good Idea is important to help us meet our goal of "My audience wants to read what I write".

 we start working on Ideas.  Where do ideas come from?  What kinds of things do writer's write about?  
Then, we work on making some lists.
Here are the pages that we used to do our brainstorming.

First, we talk about things that we like.  This list usually is where you get "Video Games", "Ice Cream", "My Family".  We talk about what kinds of things make good topics for stories.  
We write one idea in each heart. 

But, we also talk about how sometimes good stories come from those things that we don't like.  So we also make a list ideas of things to write about that we don't like.  This is usually a lot of fun.  It is generally good for some grossness and some giggles. We right one thing we don't like in each "Stop Sign".

Click on the picture above to get your own "Things I don't like" freebie!

Of course, then we share with our partners what we are thinking about writing about during writing time and go off to write.  We usually have a lot of good ideas after this lesson.

What would be on your "Things I don't like list?"  Bugs are always on mine!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Ideas! Volunteer Spot

Howdy y'all!  I am so excited to share with you a new website (okay, so it is new to me) that a colleague of mine shared!  It is called:
Volunteer Spot Logo

This is a free online sign up sheet!  Oh my goodness!
You can create sign up sheets for volunteers or classroom donations.  Parents go on-line and sign up for a spot using their e-mail address (they don't have to create an account), and then, Volunteer Spot will even send them a reminder
So, I am trying it for our upcoming pumpkin math.
It only took about 5 min. to set it up.
I have it set it up for parents to sign up to send in pumpkins and or come in to volunteer that day.
When someone signs up, it takes off a slot so that only the allotted number of people can sign up.
Once I have it all set up, I can share it with my parents in a number of ways.  I can e-mail them right through Volunteer Spot, I can send them the link, or through social media avenues.  I chose to e-mail the link to the sign up to my parents. 

I also plan to use this to schedule my upcoming Parent Conferences.  It will e-mail you (or not depending on how you set it up) when someone signs up.  You can also print out your schedule once Parents have signed up.  
When I set up my parent conferences, I put in a time range and increment (our conferences are 15 min.) and it set up all the spots that I needed.  Only one parent per slot can sign up.  It is super easy to add or delete slots as well.  It also gives parents the option to swap spots with someone if needed! 

 I am so excited about this site!
It says on their homepage you can even collect money! 
I hope you will find this site useful too!
Volunteer Spot Logo
If you enjoyed this post please consider following me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest. 

While you are at it, check out these other amazing bright ideas!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Scare and Share! Freebies and $1 sale!

Hello everyone!  I am sooooooo excited to be linking up with some amazing Indiana Teacher Bloggers to bring you Scare and Share!  You will find some incredible freebies and some great deals on some great products!  Have a great time!  Thanks so much for stopping by.

So, first up my FREEBIE!
Doubles Zombie!  A frightening math game.

This is my students favorite math game!  It's so much fun, they forget that they are practicing their doubles facts! are my items that are on sale for just $1

October Pick a Prompt! My first item is one of my Pick a Prompt products.  These are fun writing prompts that help the kiddos to get writing.  They have a choice of a character, a setting and a plot, then they write the story to go with it!  Check out the preview for a freebie prompt!

     Zombie!  Addition Game! Next, is the addition facts version of my Zombie game!  This game has all of the addition facts from 0+0 to 12+12!  

Word Collector for Reading and Writing Last, but not least is my newly revised and updated Word Collector!  My kiddos use their to collect fun and interesting words while they are reading to use when they are writing!

I hope that you are enjoying your freebies and your shopping today!  The next stop on the hop are my friends at Primary Possibilities! 
Primary Possibilities

Don't forget to check out these amazing one dollar deals while you are hoppin about!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Charlie and the Curious Club: Candy or Medicine? and a giveaway!


Hello!  Today I am reviewing a book by my friend Erainna Winnett from Counseling with Heart.

This story is a perfect one to read during Red Ribbon Week!
It is about a little boy and his friend who are curious about EVERYTHING!
When a new neighbor and her parrot moves in, of course they have to investigate.
While they are visiting they find some "candy" in a funny box.
They quickly learn that it is not candy!  Their neighbor kindly explains about her medications and gives them a book about what could happen if they take medication that isn't for them.  She lets the Curious Club borrow the book if they promise to tell their friends about what they have learned!

This story is very appropriate for second grade students!  The illustrations are bright and vibrant, and the message is easy for the kiddos to grasp.

I will be using it as a starting point during Red Ribbon Week to talk about the difference between medication and "bad" drugs.

In class this week I used this book to start a discussion on curiosity.  We discussed things that we were curious about and decided some of our ideas would make great writing topics!  We added using our curiosity to find writing ideas to our writing board!  The kiddos came up with some wonderful ideas!
If you are interested in this book, or other similar books you can find them here along with activity sheets and other goodies:
Or, you can click on the picture of the book at the top and it will take you directly to Charlie and the Curious Club!

Erainna has also generously donated 3 copies of her book for me to giveaway to my dear followers!  Just enter to win in the Rafflecopter below!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

Classroom Snapshot! Writing Part 3: Writing Conferences.

Hello all!  Today I wanted to write about Writing Conferences.  Now, if this seems a little out of order to you, you are not alone.  I really mulled over the order I wanted to do my Writer's Workshop posts in and #3 was supposed to be about Writing Mini-lessons.  Here is why it is not:  
I have too many writing mini-lessons to put in one post!

So, my plan is to do the mini-lesson post last, then do periodic Mini-lesson posts as I teach them throughout the year.  Does that make sense?  

So, today I want to talk about Writing Conferences.  
I think that conducting writing conferences is the most difficult (but rewarding) part of teaching with the Workshop method.  It is also the most successful at meeting the needs of all of the budding authors in your class!  It is differentiation at it's finest!
Where do I start?

I am the type to just kind of jump right in. Once the kiddos have had time to get used to our routine and build up their stamina I start doing Writing Conferences.   I do a mini-lesson where I show the kiddos what a writing conference looks and sounds like, then I start conferring that day!

I have the kiddo I am conferring with read me what they are writing.  While they are reading I am thinking of what we should start with as far as a goal goes.  I always start with a positive or two about what they are already doing well!
You have such a great picture!
What a good idea!
I can't wait to hear more about...
I love the colors!
Your first sentence really makes me want to read more.

Then, I try to hone in on something that will help take the writer to the next level.  I base all of the kiddos goals on our 2 classroom goals:
1. My audience WANTS to read what I write.
2. My audience CAN read what I write.

Obviously I could write on and on about what types of conferences that I do. 
Here is how I organize and keep the kiddos on track.

I keep all of my conferring sheets in my writing notebook at the back.  Each kiddo has their own sheet.  When I fill up one, I get out another one.

I write down the date, title of the piece we confer about, I circle the goal W for Wants to read, C for Can read.  Then I write down any notes about the child's writing.  I also ask the kiddos to rate themselves and I write down how they rate themselves and how I would rate them.  The next time I confer with that particular child, I read back over my notes so I know what I am looking for.  

I also give the kiddos a goal or "I CAN" sheet.

I write down for the kiddo what their goal is, what their strategy is and some suggestions for things that they can do to help meet the goal.
This one is a CAN goal.  Their strategy is to write at least 5 sentences each writer's workshop (the audience has to have something to read).  The ways that they can have more things to write about are:
Label your picture.
Talk to a partner about your topic.

Then, the kiddos rate themselves on where they are with their goal that day.
Once they are at a 3 or 4 more than one time, we start on a new goal.  The kiddos declare their goals on our Writing Board with a sticky note.
As you can see my board is just getting started this year.  Then, I send them back to work on their goal.
Each Writer's Workshop I remind the kiddos to work on their goal and during Turn and Talk, tell their partner what they are working on.  This helps them to remember and keeps them focused on their writing goal.
So far, so good.  I still have a few more kiddos to conference with before everyone has had their first conference.
Next step will be to do some small guided writing groups based on kiddos with similar goals.

How do you do writing conferences in your room?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Winner! Hurrah!

Drumroll please......
the winner of the $25 Teachers Pay Teacher Gift Certificate is...

Andrea L.!
Please check your e-mail because it is on the way!
Thank you to everyone who entered!  This has been fun, I will have to do it again soon!  
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