Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Social Stories in the Workshop

Every year is so different. I am always thankful for the students I have and the differences that challenge me each year. This year has posed new challenges and pushed me further. I have found this year that aspects of workshop time are overwhelming because of the number of transitions. There are materials to gather and talking and listening and drawing and on and on. I love all these things but not everyone does and it can be very challenging for even the brightest five year old! :)
I really feel that there will be great improvement as we sprint toward spring but in the meantime I decided today I would focus on creating some social stories and individual charts tailored to specific students. I really think this is going to benefit my whole class and hopefully create some confidence.

Take a look here at a class-size chart we can clip our way through as we progress in workshop time. This chart serves a different purpose than the other anchor charts that help children with the actual writing of workshop time. This will hopefully help students organize their time and work comfortably and happily.

Have you had your slice today?
You can go get several over at Two Writing Teachers with Ruth and Stacey. ENJOY!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Marla Frazee

For more great books and sharings go to Teach Mentor Texts where Kellee and Jen host the wonderful meme featuring everything from picture books to YA.

I am wrapping up a Marla Frazee illustrator study this week. She is the author of many books as well, but my kindergartners have been focused on many elements of her illustrations. She has taught us to use background color and shading. She has taught us to think about our color choices before actually filling in the drawing. She has also taught us a lot about how to show feeling in our own characters. I see glimmers of illustrations like Marla Frazee in my students more and more. It is because of her wonderful stories and characters. Here are some of my favorites from the past few weeks.

The book above, pictured next to Marla Frazee is her most recent book, Boot and Shoe. A story of two funny characters who find themselves in an interesting situation.

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray is a lovely story about finding stars in all kinds of places.

All the World is a beautiful story by Liz Garton Scanlon with equally beautiful illustrations by Marla Frazee.

The Boss Baby, this is by far the most hilarious children's book I have read recently. 

Rollercoaster, another great offering by Marla Frazee that allows readers to see a small moment perfectly modeled for the young reader and writer.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Floating Stories

Prior to going on break I was trying to think about the foundations I wanted to continue building on when January came around. I knew that I would need to turn my attention back a bit and really re-focus my students on how to talk about their writing. How to plan their writing verbally. How to listen to someone else talking about their writing. Then I realized I didn't need to wait until January to review these topics, in fact maybe late December was a good time to review. In prior lessons on talking I used a catchy phrase, "knees and noses," to remind them how to sit and look at there partner during our "talking" time. I decided to ask them what "knees and noses," meant and what we would need to remember when we came back in January that we might otherwise forget. Then I made small charts of their thinking for them to use while practicing during the last week of school before winter break.

I go back to school tomorrow. This evening I made a larger version of the chart to share with the students on Monday. I am hopeful that some of the images and language will be familiar.
I hope to get each of the steps in the writing process clearly re-charted and visible for review as we get closer to the start of the second semester of kindergarten. I can't wait to hear all their stories tomorrow.