Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nonfiction Writing

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page have published so many beautifully, written nonfiction books together. To my surprise, when I visited Steve’s website, I learned that they are married.

Every year, I enjoy sharing their books with my class you can quickly tell a book illustrated by Steve because of his collage style. Beautiful, unique and creative are the words that come to my mind when I look at his illustrations.  If you visit his website he has a video demonstrating the process he goes through to make his books. One of my students said, “Wow Mrs. Clancy it takes A LOT to make a book.” His website is loaded with information about his work process, his strong interest in science and where he gets his ideas. I think all of this is so important for children to see and hear. Some kindergartener’s think books just come from the bookstore.

During the month of March my students started writing “Research/Informational ” books about animals. Students had to write about what their animal looked liked, where their animal lived, what their animal ate and any interesting facts. Of course one child in my class changed interesting facts into FUN FACTS. 

 This year I decided to have my students look closely at Steve’s books. Could we maybe find something that he does in his books, that we could do in ours to make our books even better? And also talk about WHY he makes these decisions as a writer. What affect does it have on us a reader and writer?

This is called “Reading like a Writer”.  Katie Wood Ray (an author who I admire) has an amazing book called Wondrous Words that is all about this BIG idea.

Learning from Steven and Robin

The first book I shared with my class was the book ActualSize. We began by looking at the cover and making predictions about what this book could be about. A child immediately predicted that the hand on the cover could be the actual size of an animal hand. As we looked over his book we talked about what we noticed. There were lots of discoveries and amazing facts learned.

On page 5 there’s a huge picture of an bears head, to think an animal has a head this big!

The next day, during writing time, a child in my class made a butterfly wing that covered the whole page she ZOOMED in on the scales and pattern of the wing.

When I noticed this, I immediately asked the child to share and as a class we gave Aila’s idea, a name. We called this ZOOMING in.

WOW, Aila, you did your picture just like Steven Jenkins (take book out)you zoomed in. This picture is really going to help the reader really understand what a butterfly’s pattern looks like.

The next day, room 5 was reminded of Aila’s idea of ZOOMING. Before sending students to tables, we took one last look at Aila’s picture as a reminder. Students turned and talk to a partner about how they might use the technique of ZOOMING in on an important part of the story. Mary shared how she might ZOOM in on the pink tongue of her frog because that’s how the frog eats.  On that day half of my class used the strategy of ZOOMING in and their illustrations were so unique and beautiful. Although we did this lesson a few weeks ago, many students are using this technique of ZOOMING.

On a different day we read my favorite book by Steven MOVE! Right away students started shouting out, “The words are moving like the animals.” “Yes you are right.” Why do you think he did that? “He wanted us to really get the feeling of the way the animal moves.” One child called it “Animal Action”

After reading MOVE we created some MOVING WORDS that students could illustrate and write about. (click here to see my class book)
Animal Move Book 
Room Five Move Book

On a different day, we took out our Animal Research books and we added a moving sentence about the animal. As a class we called this MOVING words. Why would we add moving words? Adding actions to our words and animals always helps the reader get a better understanding.

Here are the things we noticed about their books.
*The pictures are a collage of animals.
* There is usually a word pattern in his books about the animals.
*He gives lots of information.
*He writes about important features of animals.
* You can find out more information at the back of his books.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Moose Games

This blog post will share with you some of the MOOSE games 
I have students play in my class. 

Students shuffle the cards and place them face down.
Players take turns taking a card and reading it.
If the student reads it correctly, they keep the card.

If you get a MOOSE card, you need to 
put all of your cards back in the pot. 

Alphabet Moose
Alphabet Moose 

{Recording Sheet} 

Sight Word Moose
 Sight Words List One
Sight Words List Two 

Word Family Moose

Moose AM, AT, AM, AP 

Word Family Moose 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Doubles Game

Two children play together.
Students share one game board.

Players take turns rolling the die and doubling the number.
Record the number sentence and color in the box.

Students can play until someone gets four/five 
in a row or play until blackout.
For the game board below students can roll two dice and double the number.
Click Here for DOWNLOAD

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Favorite Nonfiction Books

 I always try to read a balance of both fiction and nonfiction books to my students.  As a class we have many conversations about the similarities and differences in these kinds of texts.  Because we are learning about the features of fiction and nonfiction, I find when students begin writing in this genre it becomes easier. 

This post will share with you some of my favorite books to use when teaching nonfiction.  

The first books are animal books by Kate Riggs.  Right away, I fell in love with her bold, big, photographs and layout. Students can easily “picture walk” these stories and gather lots of information.
When my class looks closely at these books with a writer’s eye this is what we noticed.

·      Kate always begins and ends her books saying Hello and Goodbye.
·      She writes simple sentences on each page.
·      She often begins sentences with the name of the animal.
·      She puts important words in bold colors
·      She always has an animal label/diagram at the back of the book. 

Cathryn Sill writes an amazing animal series called THE ABOUT Series 

For kindergarten, I want my students to hear books that they can envision themselves making and this series is perfect for that.  The ABOUT series is written with just the right amount of text.  I can see kids thinking, “Hey I can write a book called “ABOUT DOGS “.

The left page has a simple sentence with lots of white space and the right side has water colored illustrations of an animal. The flow of the information is perfect. When looking closely at the lay out, students can quickly see that Cathryn begins by telling us where the animal lives and what the animal looks like. Cathryn Sills words flow beautifully from page to page.
I love that my students can return to her books again and again and learn something new. The back of the book has an afterward that gives facts and information about each animal featured in the book.   

Happy Reading and Learning!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Color Word Game

Here is a new board game I plan to teach 
my class called  Rainbow Fun
This is a dynamite game for teaching color words. 

You need to print the game board on 11X17 paper. 

Players start at home and draw cards in order to race around the board.
When you draw a "terrible trouble" card, you have to do what 
it says. 

This game comes from the book Games for Reading by Peggy Kaye. 
This book has LOTS of great games!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

How To Writing

Some new 
How To Books teachers have  shared with me:
{Thank You Stef}
How To by Julie Morstad
{Thanks you Susan}

This book will spark the imagination of
 any five year old. 
The illustrations are BEAUTIFUL.
The text is a simple pattern on each page.
The ending of this book is perfect too. 

Transition Words
For this lesson the children had to help me put the transition words in the correct spot. This lesson comes from Linda Hoyt Mastering the Mechanics

After the lesson, I glued the words into a class big book.
Students helped illustrate the pages. 
{I need to fix the second word in the 
sentence to make it lowercase}
Work Work
Students practiced making transition words.
Transition Word Cards
Students can bring the word
cards back to their seat during writing
click here for Transition Cards 
How To Anchor Charts
{Lucy Calkins}

I love how this anchor chart connects with the mentor text!
Mentor Text

click here to see some class How To Writing 

Classroom Checklist for How To Writing
I put a + for goal and a circle around the +
if the goal was achieved