Friday, July 31, 2015

Five for Friday: July 31st

It's Five for Friday time! Summer is pretty much over, but that's OK. Soon I will be meeting my new group of 2nd graders and I will be reminded I am the best teacher ever based on notes I will receive all year long :)
This week we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. The sea creatures inspired me! Off to make some new units! By the way, this aquarium was seriously awesome! I have been to many aquariums and this one was really good.

I thought I was touching a hammerhead shark and I thought I was going to live to tell about it. Then I found out that shark is not a hammerhead baby, but a bonnet head (a cousin of the hammerhead). Whatever!

On Saturday I met up with some amazing teachers! I feel so blessed to have been able to share ideas with these great ladies. This is not a picture of those ladies. It's a picture of the fabulous name tag and goodie bag made by Laura from Luv My Kinders. Truth be told. . . there were so many cameras out, I figured I'd steal some of theirs :)

So this is my classroom right now. I always underestimate the time it'll take to get my room set up. I think I'm down to hours left to get my room ready. Not days, hours. We have training all next week and then. . . Oh! Wait! I have 1 day and some hours left.

If you haven't checked out my latest post, I really think you should. I love teaching writing and I want to share my excitement! I've began a series of posts for using mentor texts in writing lessons. See those 6 Traits posters and the My Word Collection book? Free on my blog! Check it out here.

I'm linking up with Whitney from With Love From Texas for a blog hop. Check it out!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Teaching Ideas with Mentor Text (Rocket Writes a Story)

Mentor texts are books that can be used to teach students the characteristics of good writing. They are books that inspire writers. They are books that inspire you, the teacher, to get excited about teaching writing!
I have chosen some great books to use as mentor texts, but before I reveal the first book, check out these 6+1 Traits of Writing posters! Click on the posters to download and print.

OK! Are you ready! So, here is the first book I will be recommending for the trait ideas. I chose this book because it's about a dog that is busy looking for ideas to write a story. Seemed perfect!
Rocket is a dog that collects words wherever he goes (kind of like our kiddos). If he likes a word, he writes it down and adds it to his collection. One day Rocket decides to write a story, but he has a difficult time coming up with an idea. Rocket's little friend tells him he should write about something that inspires him. And so he does. . .

As a mentor text, this book is a great resource for teaching ideas.

Ideas are just that, ideas. When we ask our children to write, we need them to come up with ideas. Those ideas may come from experiences, books they have read, movies they have seen. . .

So how do we get this across to students? We begin by telling them that when we write, we need an idea. Rocket chose an idea that inspired him. He chose an idea from something he knew about. 

Ask students: What are your ideas? What are things you can write about?
As an activity to tie to Rocket Writes a Story, have students write a list of ideas. These are things they can refer to when they're having trouble coming up with an idea. Also have the students write a collection of words (over time) to help them with their ideas. You can download My Word Collection book by clicking on the photo above.

I hope this gave you some ideas for teaching writing. Remember our little ones can't be expected to just write. They need the tools to get them there.

Check out these other posts:
Teaching Ideas with Mentor Text (Enemy Pie)
Teaching Ideas with Mentor Text (I'm Not Afraid of This Haunted House)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Using Mentor Texts to Teach Writing

Using mentor texts to teach writing can be very powerful. Mentor texts offer valuable information to help students hear and see great writing. In the primary grades, where children are just beginning their writing journeys, students benefit from seeing the correlation between reading and writing. Mentor texts can do just this.
using mentor texts to teach writing in the primary grades
I will be posting awesome ideas for using mentor texts to teach writing. I'll show you some great books and post free resources to use with those books.

You won't want to miss this!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Top 10 Things Teaching Has Taught Me

Hey there fellow teachers! Today I'm linking up with Diana and Jayme from My Day in K and Teach Talk Inspire for Tell All Tuesday. Head on over to their blogs to link up!

This week's topic is Top 10 Things Teaching has Taught Me. I've learned so much, but these things came to me first.
10. At the end of every year, I like to think about what I would like to differently the following year. I think about how I can make things better. This reflection is imperative for a great classroom. If we keep doing the same things over and over each year, we'll never get better. Note: it's actually good to do this more often than at the end of the year.

9. Good classroom management is the key to a successful year. You may be the best at teaching math, but if you're classroom management stinks, the lesson will be a flop.

8. I've worked in schools with kids from different backgrounds, different socioeconomic levels, etc. . . They just want love. They just want to be accepted for who they are. No matter where they come from.

7. Learning about verbs CAN be fun. It just takes some creativity.

6. All teachers must keep learning. I want my doctor to be informed on new research. I want my hairstylist to know what's fashionable. Teachers should behave in the same way. We need to keep learning.

5. Always have paper bags and Ziploc bags available. They come in handy.

4. I love to try new things in my room. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don't. It's not a big deal.

3. As teachers we see some sad things. But we also have the power to make things better. Most people don't see what we see. It's our job to help people understand that not every child has a parent read to them or help them with their homework. I have to say, though, we are so lucky to be able to be the light in a child's life.

2. I need to be told by administrators that I'm doing a good job and so do our students.

1. Have lunch with small groups of kids. Hang out with kids during recess. Have some stay after school with you. Get to know your students.

As I reread this, I got a little emotional. We are so lucky to touch the lives of kids everyday.

Thank you for stopping by!
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