Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today is CHALK-A-BRATION and Slice of Life! Two things that put an instant grin on my face. :)
 If you can't chalk today and want to link later this week I will still add you to the post. On Poetry Friday, unless the weather is uncooperative, I will be chalking again and link back to this post for blogosphere friends to see.

 My students will be doing their chalking during the day so I will update this post as the day goes on, comment on other chalkers and add their links.

Here are my a-brations to chalk about:

 I love the shadow on this one. Below the chalk is the typed version of this quote from Osho's book, Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously. There were no line breaks in the text of the book but I broke it up to fit my canvas.

"A poet lives through the heart and, by and by, in the heart he starts listening to the sounds of the unknown." ~Osho

Here is a notebook peek into my chalk poem:

 Wet pavement put a damper, literally, on my chalking all of April. It was a clear beautiful weekend until it started raining AGAIN! But, got my chalk done and only had to endure a little sprinkle.

I wipe my head clean
erase the stain
paint the moment
and write the day

~Betsy Hubbard

Drum roll...finally...here is my class and their chalk-a-bration poem with pictures and words!


Linda from TeacherDance improvised her chalk today using an app (smart idea). Here is her poem about the appreciation of bees.

All the way from Singapore some first graders from The Learning Adventures of Grade 1AC chalked some Haikus. Check out their hard work and beautiful chalky words.

Mary Lee joined in to share a poem about Oak Pollen, quite clever she is. Take a peek here.

Robin, at Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders chalked with her students today...with a very nice improvisation on the canvas! She also added her own poetic words, that are well, chalk-tastic, you'll see what I mean. 

Cathy at  Merely Day by Day also had a chalky share about capturing moments, it is a beauty.

AND...now Ms. Mere's students add their poems to the mix and there is a lot to celebrate when it comes to their poems! 

Mrs. Frazier's first graders from Ohio got their hands dusty with some great chalketry. Check out their awesome work here!

Ms. Mac's emerging writers share their experience and their chalk. You have to see these little ones working and writing, great stuff.

Slice of Life is hosted by Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing a HOW TO...with Kindergartners--Stage Two

A few weeks ago some HOW TO writing was tried out in my kindergarten classroom. In the beginning we read examples, talked and did a shared writing example. Students explored the HOW TO's with hands on activities and we really immersed ourselves into teaching someone else how to do something.
Then we got further into the process.

Students were able to talk with partners and with the group in our "sharing circle" about their ideas. I had modeled the planning process of the HOW TO with both words and pictures. It was now their turn. Here is one example of what a student did with the plan. I am a bit partial to this story since it is about writing a book. Sigh...

Everyone filled out the plan and talked about it with a "knees and noses" partner. Then each got started on their booklet.

"How to Make a Book"

 "First you talk."
(I think it also says, "about writing" but she did not say that when she told me and I didn't notice right away...ugh, opportunity missed).

 "Then you get a piece of paper. Get a pencil and crayons."
(It is fun for me to notice what she needs here. She has it organized for herself but not with her reader in mind. Some lines might be a good next step for her when she has multiple things to say on a page).

 "Then you color."
(Did you notice the perspective here. She has done the drawing so we see the back or above the writer. I loved that).
"Then you write."

"Then color."
It took about two-four days for students to do their plan and then transfer it to a booklet. I modeled this process and showed student models who had moved quickly into this phase of the writing. It went quite smoothly and the students seemed very satisfied with their work. Then we moved into stage three...publishing and celebrating. Coming soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Writing a HOW TO...With Kindergartners--Stage One

We started working on HOW TO non-fiction writing about two weeks ago. The students did better than I expected...it seems like that happens a lot! I should start by saying we read some HOW TO books prior to starting this process. We began by taking a subject they knew a lot about already, hand washing. We made a plan that matched the format they would receive in a few days.

The students watched and participated in planning a HOW TO shared writing using words/phrases. Below is the chart of this work.
 Then we continued to read books that taught us something new! You can see we also tried out these fun projects.

After reading about slime we made a short plan summarizing the steps we would use when making the slime using words and pictures.

This slime recipe was what I always called Oobleck. It is corn starch, water and food coloring. This was the recipe in the book so we went with it!

It was a fun day to start thinking about what students would want to teach someone else. Can't wait to share  Writing a HOW TO...With Kindergartners--Stage Two. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Think in Poems

Two Writing Teachers
Go get some inspiration.

I almost always get ideas when I am in the car for slices, poems, school work, student next steps all those things that swirl in our heads. Maybe it is the scenary. I have a beautiful drive. Maybe it is me trying to block out the, "he's touching me...she's poking me" that is inevitable in my tiny Matrix.

My point. I realized today that when I am in writing mode I begin to think in poems. I was asked what I was thinking the other day and I wrote what I was thinking...it was a poem. Unintentional. I am now writing poems without intention, hmmm, I think that might be the best kind.
People (not a lot mind you), in the blog world have said, "you should publish your poems." I can't say I have no desire to do this but my poems are for me and obviously the people I share them with here. However the idea of publishing is sort of exotic isn't it? It is like that thing that you can't touch because it might go extinct or get damaged if you mess with it. I wonder if I got published if I would feel my poems like I feel them when I just write them for me. I wonder.
Then as I pondered this thought, I wondered, what would the name of my book be? Immediate answer, I THINK IN POEMS. I love the title of my non-existent book. It is me.
Then I realized that every title has to have a poem that goes with it, well, at least I think it should.
So, I wrote two versions of my title poem.

I think in poems
They swirl
They spring
I think in poems
Words brought
Words bring
A sense of wonder
Will, I weep
I think in poems
In slumber deep

I think in poems
In slumber deep
I think in poems
They swirl
And bring
A sense of wonder
I weep
I think in poems
Words to keep.

I kind of think there is a better version somewhere out there that combines these two sets of words in a better way. But for now, this is what I got. Happy poetry month. 

We have had so much rain I haven't been able to chalk. Maybe this week...fingers crossed. However, I do hope you will chalk a poem with me on April 30th here and link it so others may enjoy your CHALK-A-BRATION too.
What, what did you say, you want to know what CHALK-A-BRATION is...click here!