March 7, 2012

Creative Writing

I have been loving the FREE monthly creative writing booklets created by Ashleigh at Ashleigh's Education Journey.  I never did print February's, but I made the booklets for January.  For March I've changed it up a bit.  We do 'work on writing' as one of our rotations during guided reading, but I wasn't getting the accountability that I wanted with the rotation.  To fix that problem I printed the pages of Ashleigh's booklet as full page copies with a few copies of each page.  These are all in a folder, sorted by page.  Now, instead of students having their own booklet, they select the page and prompt that most interests them to write about. 

Each group is at the 'work on writing' spot twice a week, so they have plenty of time to pick a prompt, spend quality time writing on it, AND do one of our other writing options.  Their new requirement is that they need to turn in one quality response to a prompt each week.  This has already been a lot easier to manage than my previous process of searching through our classroom journals or their monthly booklet to see what they worked on for the day.  Now I just have one page to seek out per student and they are neatly placed in our "Best Work" basket waiting for me!

Here is one that seriously cracked me up today.  The prompt was to use the given design (an oval) to create any picture and then describe the picture.

I didn't get the full picture in this image, but there are sharks swimming in the water too!  Here is her description:

 Oh my gosh!  That guy is surfing a huge wave but he doesn't know how to surf!  He wanted to do it because he wanted to impress a girl by surfing in shark infested water!!  Let's just hope he makes it!

I'm the Lucky One

Today was one of those days that left me completely exhausted.  We've had illnesses among staff members and had lots of substitutes in the building today!  So many substitutes in fact that they couldn't find one to fill in for the para that is usually in my room full time.  Oops!  My kids were actually pretty wonderful today and things went smoothly until the very end of the day.  Suddenly it seemed as if everyone's patience just ran out at once!  I had to go deal with a situation but had promised 2 of my girls they could stay after school to redecorate our door.  When I came back in, feeling like my spirit was a bit deflated, I found them working hard on this little project.  Completely their idea and completely stole my heart.

I am so lucky to have my students.

March 1, 2012

Celebrating Seuss!

I've had lots of things to post lately, but with the end of the trimester and what seems like 800 other things happening at school lately, I just haven't gotten them up!  New posts WILL be coming though!

Tonight I just wanted to share our cute little Truffula trees we made to help us celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday.  We had our birthday celebration a day early because our district's girls basketball team played in the State tournament this week and there was a chance of us not having school tomorrow.  Unfortunately, they lost a heartbreaker on Wednesday and we'll be back in action tomorrow.

To celebrate Dr. Seuss each grade level was assigned a color to wear for the day - thankfully our fourth grade crew was in purple - my favorite!  Our grade level team hung purple streamers down our hallway and we mixed our classes to read Dr. Seuss books in the 'party' hallway this morning. 

Throughout the day we also had Stop, Drop, and Read times announced by the principal - the kids LOVED this and although we were only told to read for 5 minutes, my kids begged to read longer - who am I to stop them from reading?!  We kept track of our class' total minutes read and ended up with 1,900 minutes of reading accomplished today! 

For every 200 minutes, we planted another Truffula tree in our little piece of land.  The Truffula trees were made from pom-poms glued to crazy straws.  I put a piece of floral foam in a bowl and covered it with Easter grass to be our land.

Do you see our cute little Lorax hanging out among the trees?  That was the kids' idea - we made him quick at the end of the day to protect our trees overnight! :)