Saturday, March 31, 2012

Story Endings and Dedications

This week we started to think about story endings. One of the things I love about Nancy Carlson's books is the way she ends her stories. I thought they were all happy endings until I created this chart and we started recording the different categories. I turned to the book Mentor Text and Google.

You can see some are similar. I picked some from the list and created a chart. I have not named the chart yet but when we read a book we can put the title on a Post-It and stick it next to the type of ending.

 The class wanted to put jubilant ending  instead of happy ending which was from the word work we recently did. This was an easy lesson to get kids to think about how authors use different kinds of ending. We did take a child's story and talk about how could we make her ending...with a wish or a surprise.

Story Dedications

I always read the dedication page when I read a book to my class but I didn't realize until I did this lesson that some kids needed a lesson on why you write a dedication. I wrote a few of Nancy Carlson's dedications she had in her books on the easel. We had a group discussion on why she may have wrote that. Some kids were confused so I am really glad I did this lesson.
We created some topics and brainstormed who would you maybe dedicate that story too? If I wrote a book about swimming would I dedicate it to my dancing teacher or my swimming teacher???

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feelings Books

I shared last week how much I love these books!!They are quick and simple reads. The text gives excellent examples of showing the feeling and using great vocabulary. Here are some reading responses I made connected to the different feeling books.. You will also see related books that were found at the back of these books.

click here for downloads

Book Suggestions From the Feelings Series

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writing Workshop Word Choice

Rock Words

 How can we help kindergartners learn about word choice? I love reading stories and highlighting WOW words/Interesting words. How can we take it to the next step and see a kindergarten pick stronger words in their writing?? Can they get beyond I felt happy. I felt sad. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled when I see a child writing about their feelings. But when we see lots of the same kinds of sentences I think it's the perfect opportunity to teach students better word choice. I found this great lesson on explaining words choice for primary writers.
Vicki suggests the idea of teaching kids the difference between word being pebbles or ROCKS. A pebble does not tip the scale like a ROCK word. A Rock word has muscle. It's strong. It can have an impact. The kids connected to this idea. 
My friend Genie across the hall tells her students some words are like vanilla ice-cream and vanilla ice-cream is okay. But, some are like hot fudge sundaes!!

Showing that  Rocks Tip the Scale

 I created a bank of words listed above in the red. I read words aloud and we discussed if the word was a pebble word or a rock word. When we first did this it was really tricky. 

I wanted the kids to help write this chart. Vicki's book does suggest gluing a rock on the rock word and a pebble on the pebble word. I just put clip art. I wanted the students to do kid spelling because I wanted to send the message that they can write these words on their own.

I had no desire to glue rocks on paper but I have seen on Pinterest those beautiful story rocks and thought why don't I put Rock word on rocks and let the kids paint and decorate them! The kids loved this!! We painted the rocks one day. You may be able to tell we tried to put words that go with the rock color. 
Happy words are pink and purple. Angry red. 

We went out in our school yard and collected rocks. I was SHOCKED at how many big rocks the kids found. We lined the rocks up on the grass by our outside class door. That is where I got the idea to make a rock garden of rock words.

This list was created by the students and me. I picked words I felt like they could learn and maybe use in their stories. I picked words that you often hear in stories read  aloud. Now of course, when I am reading kids are yelling out, that's a rock word!!

We decorated a rock for each of the words above. After the rocks dried I used Mod Podge to put the word on and gave students arts and crafts items to glue on. I had the students glue  similar colors on to their rock. They could draw too but many wanted to glue.
I sprayed the rocks with a clear spray paint. This was a really fun activity to do. The kids loved finding a rock and decorating a rock. They may not write rock words in their stories, but I think this is helping them think about the words we use and why.

Monday, March 26, 2012


The Shape Lesson
 The class comes back from a special and find a letter from Shapey.
click Here for Letter

The students had the choice to draw if they did not want to cut out the shapes. 
I had student color the shape and then cut out.
The kids do a lot of discussions about Shapey. They do think he is real and  because of that a lot of conversation swirls about him. They are  concerned about figuring out what he looks like. I told them, Shapey loves math, and he would be thrilled to see how we came up with so many different ways to solve this problem.

Every Year I do this Lesson It's a HUGE hit
 My friend across the hall was covering my class with her class, and she told me ... I have to do that Shapey lesson your kids started talking about it to my kids... they talk like he's real, and they had such  excitement about him. 

I was amazed that all of the kids figured out the symmetrical thing with ease. We made symmetrical butterflies a few weeks ago, and they remembered from that lesson. Some needed me to say go back and add some squares or triangles. Some are missing some of the shapes, but that's okay! You could recreate this letter and put shapes you are learning at that time. I love that it shows kids problem-solving. They came out great!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Writing Worshop Paper and Spider Legs

I have created some new pages for our writing workshop books. I like to have books pre-made for kids.

Giving Your Book A Dedication

We have been reading Nancy Carlson books, and she does wonderful dedication in her books. Her dedications give you a hint to why she wrote that book. 

Learning from her dedications, we will be including dedication pages in our books and telling why. If you watch the video on her site, she mentions her dedication in the book Henry and the Bully.

New Paper to Help Kids Remember Important Stuff

I made these new templates for my writing workshop books. It's like a little checklist at the bottom of the page.  

I reread my work.
My sentences make sense.
I am using spaces.
I am spelling words from the word wall.

 Quick Thoughts About the Paper

I know it would have been better if I added a little picture but I was under a time crunch, so I didn't. 

The rule at writing time is that when you take out your work the very first thing, you are supposed to do, is reread your work.  

I am always emphasizing during conference time the importance of rereading your work. 

I still have a handful of kids who don't. Hopefully, this sheet will be a quick reminder. 

The first sheet is what I am using right now. 

I made some templates for my first-grade neighbor with different objectives. I

 have never used this kind of checklist on the paper so I will tell you how it goes next week!
K sheet
Click Here for the Writing Paper and Dedication Pag
Spider Legs

I was conferencing with a child and suggested that he needed to add more information to his story and that I was going to teach him about Spider Legs. Of course, I told him that adding a Spider Legs is BIG stuff in kindergarten! To think you have so much to say, and you ran out of room! Of course, the girl at the table immediately ran out of room on her page, and she needed to add a Spider Leg too.  

By the next writing workshop, this is what was popping up everywhere! Spider Legs!! Spider Legs!! The little boy said to me I can't wait to go home and tell my mom that I am using Spider Legs at writing time. My reply, you should this is something special that good writers do.

You can see below that they started adding two sometimes three to a story! I did have to hold a mini-lesson and explain when you need to use one and when you don't. 

I also touched on if you have too many Spider Legs you may need to add another page. 

It's the thrill of something new!!

What is a Spider Leg??

It is a strip of paper that the child can staple to the side of their story to add more information. The Spider Leg was folded in when you turn the paper.

There is no erasing at writing.
Crossing off shows your thinking. 
She had happy but crossed off to put joyful. 

I just cut strips from stories or have the kids cut a strip from a plain piece of paper.
You need to show kids how to use the staple remover and when you staple the leg on be careful not to staple all your pages.

I  had not even talked to this child about how to add a Spider Leg,  but she figured it out and had three! This is what I love about kindergarten!!!

Feeling and Showing

I came across these books in my class, and they are fantastic!!!!!!!  If you read my post about feelings and Showing these books, compliment those themes. I bought them in a Scholastic book order this year. I will be sharing next week how I have incorporated them into some of my writing lessons.

There are two more feelings books in the series.
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