Monday, September 30, 2013

Chalk-A-Bration September 2013

I just recently experienced some of the most amazing chalking a girl could ever dream of. Ruth Ayres was celebrating writers in Dublin, OH on Saturday. She suggested, with a little help from Franki Sibberson, that we should chalk some poetry as part of the celebratory conference. I cannot even express how I felt when I returned from lunch and saw a saturation of people among dust and pastels chalking away. Of course I joined in after the shock. Mary Lee Hahn, Cathy Mere, Franki and Ruth all got busy and we chalked up the sidewalk like champions. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was smiling. What could be better?

Here are some photos and a video that doesn't do the experience justice but you can imagine the excitement. I wish you could have been there (if you weren't already)!

 Ruth Ayres chalk, and I believe Franki Sibberson did the "L." At least that's what I heard. :)

 I wish I could give credit to all the chalkers. There were too many to count!

One group of chalkers.

 Mary Lee Hahn and her beautiful chalk art. 

 My offering this month.

 Some of my favorites.

A perfect day indeed. 

The video shows all the chalk drawings, words and poems. It was such a beautiful day apparently my shadow wanted to be a part of the video too. Enjoy the chalk and the perfect accompanying song, I Chalk by Justin Roberts.

Now it's your turn. Chalk some words (your own or borrowed with the author's name), take a photo, post it to your blog and share the link in the comments. I will happily round-up all the chalketry later today. If you do not have a blog please email me your photo and I will add it to this post,

A side note: If you would like to be a guest blogger on Teaching Young Writers please email me your idea. I consider K-12 students all young writers so I welcome you to contact me.

And the roundup begins!

At Hubbard's Headlines my students share their abration of chalk!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from The Poem Farm joins us with a poem in a pear tree!

Cathy Mere from Merely Day By Day came along for the ride this weekend at the Literacy Connection conference in Dublin, OH.

Cathy also had her students join in with a treat filled poem at Merely Learning. See there tasty post too!

See Ruth Ayres celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes. She also shares her favorite bits of the week.

Katie DiCesare's students chalk inspiration came from a question: What is First Grade? See there chalk at Growing and Learning in First Grade.

Miss Scott's first graders also answer the question: What is First Grade? Check out First Grade Learners and Wonderers post!

Margaret Simon from Reflections on the Teche came prepared for chalking today with chalkboard contact paper! Her students wrote poems for two voices. Go listen now!

Join Robin at Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders for her iPad chalk poem. Thank you my dear friend. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sensory Details

Today we began talking about how to add details to our writing. We are starting with sensory detail, something with which they are familiar. This video was a great tool to get a conversation going. It suggested writing in your notebook about what you were noticing in the video clips. We did shared writing instead and ended up noticing that our phrases looked like a poem. Then began the challenge to write a poem about each sense. EXCITEMENT was brewing! We had such a great time. The kids sat for forty minutes as we watched a minute of video, talked and then wrote a poem together. "FORTY MINUTES" you say? Yes, it normally would be way too long, but we were on a roll.
I love my class. Their stamina for learning is fantastic. What a fun lesson and a fun time together. 

Students then went to their writing from yesterday to see if they could add sensory details to make their writing more interesting. Many of them did just that! I use the word amazed a lot as a teacher but I find myself in this position often. I am AMAZED to see them take on learning and utilize it so quickly. I can't wait for tomorrow when we chart what we learned and share our details peer to peer. FUN!

Chalk-A-Bration is coming up soon, September 30th.
I hope you will join in and share your chalk poetry. 
Click here for more information. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Internal Debate


I am finding myself questioning a few things this year because I am in a new grade level. As some of you know, I looped with my kindergarten students this year and am teaching first grade. For the first time! I feel a little bit like a first year teacher.

So, the debate begins. In kindergarten writing workshop we focus a lot on drawing and talking at the beginning of the year. I am finding my students have easily gotten back into the swing of this routine. It has been a great process to observe. I am also finding that they are spending a great deal of time drawing their picture instead of getting their words on the page.

I am such an advocate of planning and taking time to do this with drawing and talking. However, I am feeling this need to put a bit of a limit on the planning if it goes much past fifteen minutes. If I thought it was successful for everyone I might feel differently, but their results are not necessarily their best work.

Before Workshop Today

I am planning on setting a timer today for students to pause in the planning process after fifteen minutes to try and write their thoughts. I want to see if they are able to do this, therefore not necessarily needing all the drawing as plan time. The illustrations could be enhanced after the writing. I hope to update as the workshop begins and ends today!

After Workshop Today

Well, I am happier with the results of pushing the writing over the planning. I set the timer for fifteen minutes explaining this was their plan time. Several students used the entire fifteen minutes. I only required five minutes of writing, but most wrote for longer than five minutes. Many students were able to transition easily.  They just needed the push and the structure.  A sizeable handful chose to write  a small moment as well. This was exciting to me as we have been talking about small moments in writing and stories for a over a week now.
We continued our writing workshop for forty minutes and the students seemed to more easily pace themselves. I hope to only need the timer for a short time until they more independently regulate their planning vs. writing time. Overall, a successful day in workshop.