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Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's Winter! Let's Write a SNOW Poem!

Still no snow in Virginia, but that didn't stop us from writing about it!
Last week we spent our writer's workshop time having fun playing with words as we composed acrostic poems about snow. 

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At home, when we try new dinner recipes, we tell whether we think it should be a "Do Over"...whether we should cook that meal again or not.  Do you do that with the lessons you develop and teach? I do...some flop and will not get repeated-ever. Other lessons work so well, you know you'll add it to your line up again the next year. I'd say this acrostic poem idea is a "Do Over". It worked super well, it was quick and easy but allowed me to hit
SO many important reading and writing skills. All kids were successful with it and enjoyed the process. 
Here's how it ran. 
On Day One, I introduced the acrostic poem. You can probably find acrostic poem books in your school library.  We have this one: 



I gave my students an acrostic poem on WINTER to glue in their poetry journals. 
We spent day one analyzing this poem. We talked about the different kinds of words authors use. 
This led to a review of parts of speech. We circled each word that began the lines of the poem. We saw that the author began the lines with nouns or adjectives that described the nouns and noticed that the lines were all complete sentences with subjects and predicates.  We talked about the "Targets" the author hit in writing the poem - targets like "Word Choice". We found some pizzazzy words. We talked about the meaning of "eager", "stiff" and "steep" and added them to our word wall. 
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We loved the descriptive language like the "trees wearing coats of snow" and "icicles sparkling like jewels".  Finally, we talked about how poetry is meant to be read aloud. We recited multiple times,sneaking in fluency practice while enjoying the sound of the words coming off the page. 

After Day One, we were primed and eager to begin writing our own poem on the topic of SNOW. 
We spent day two brainstorming possible words to use to begin each sentence. 
We took out our dictionaries for this. We were lucky enough to have the Rotary Club in our area donate a dictionary to each child earlier in the year!
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This writing project gave us an opportunity to crack them open. We went to the S section of the dictionary and began our search for possible words that could start our first line. We wrote them down on the top portion of our writing sheet. 

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We spent time "playing around" with different "S" words to see how they might work. We orally rehearsed  different sentences using different words from our brainstorming. 
This gave us time to experiment and play with words. I find this "rehearsal" stage is so important. I always get a better end product when my students are allowed an opportunity to talk it out first.

That brought us to Day Three. On Day Three we were ready to actually compose our lines. We talked about our writing targets first. We wanted our lines to include adjectives and descriptive language like the mentor text poem. 
Students put pencils to paper and began crafting lines. 
We will stop occasionally during the drafting stage to share a few lines. I think that gives writers inspiration. They learn so much from each other! Students listened to each other's lines and celebrated when the writer hit the "Word Choice" target.
 In this child's poem, kids appreciated words like: scraping, purchased and gliding. 
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With poems composed, Day Four was spent revising and editing. We began by reviewing our Writing Targets. Then students met with their writing partners. They took turns reading their drafts out loud. 
The listener must give: Positive Praise - tell what they liked or point out what targets the writer hit. Then they give:  Friendly Feedback - give advice or suggestion on how the writing can be improved. Students revise in green pen. That way I can tell if they made improvements. 
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I like to reserve a little time at the end of Writing Partner time to have students share their
"Writing Make Overs". We call it the Befores and Afters. I want kids to see that the revising stage shouldn't be neglected...we can always improve our work. 
This is a mindset message we've been working on!

Kids were proud of their poems and were ready to share them out. I had them rewrite their final drafts onto this fun hat paper. Then they got to spend time on an art project. 

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They really made them look like themselves!
Check out how this child actually braided the construction paper hair. 
Kids were ooohing and aaahhhing about that one!

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Here are the finished products! We hung them out for others to read. 

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If you are interested in trying this project with your young writer, you can head to my TPT Store. 
Just click the link below to check it out: 


I LOVE connecting with other teachers!
Questions? Comments?  
Email at youngdor8@gmail.com 
or comment below.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Groundhog's Day: Poetry, Reader's Response Booklet, Math and More!

Can you believe it is nearly the end of January??  This season is flying by. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel much like January. Temperatures reached 60's last week and should again this next week! 
I am missing winter and awaiting our first big snowfall, but am feeling doubtful that we will get it.
Maybe Punxsutawney Phyllis knows!

Image result for punxsutawney phyllis
Do you know this character? She is a spunky little groundhog who is bound and determined to take over for her uncle Punxsutawney Phil. No one believes she can do it...after all, she's a girl!
Love this little story and I know my third graders will too. 
This picture book will give us ample opportunities to work on practicing many of our third grade reading strategies. 
I've introduced a bunch of reading skills/strategies already this year. We add notes to our reading journals as we learn them. 

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These sheets are so easy to use. We just slice and stick them into our journal. On one side is an explanation of the reading skill or strategy with fill in the blank notes. On the other side is a short text that students can practice applying the strategy. Sweet and simple. These printables are part of my "Cooking with Comprehension" set. You can check it out here: 

Since Groundhog's Day is right around the corner, I created a Punxsutawney Phyllis reading response booklet. 
Students will record their thinking about this book as they predict, use context clues, summarize and analyze characters. 
This along with poetry, math activities and a writing prompt sheet are all included in a Groundhog's Day bundle that I have added to my TPT store. 

                                               Click the link below to check it out...

How about you? Have you gotten some real winter weather yet? If so, I'm jealous but still 
would love to hear!
Comment below or email at youngdor8@gmail.com