November 21, 2013

Mrs. Lyons' Class and the Runaway Turkey Class Book

I've always LOVED writing!!  Writing and illustrating have always been a passion.  I still enjoy it today but I've found that teaching it is also very exciting.

I especially enjoy that moment when kids look forward to writing and no longer see it as "work."  They quickly learn that we write everyday for EVERY subject.

For the first trimester, we focused on opinion writing.  I added narrative writing in but it was very direct teaching.  They wrote pieces focused on mom, dad, friends, the seasons, etc.

Now, it's time for the more CREATIVE and IMAGINATIVE writing which can be difficult for some students.

I decided to introduce narrative writing differently this year.  After the read aloud, Run, Turkey, Run, I introduced the story planners the kiddos would be using.

You can download them here if interested (Narrative Story Planners)!

I modeled how the story had a beginning, middle events, and a closing.  We discussed that the events helped moved the story along.

Instead of having the kiddos jump right into writing their own story I told them we'd be making a class book about a runaway turkey.  They helped to brainstorm and voted on the characters, setting, and events. As we talked about our story I filled in the planners.  

We created our runaway turkey story and they had GREAT ideas! They orally told me the story and I wrote it.  Today they illustrated the pictures.  I absolutely love their illustrations, how they added dialogue, and labels.  

Take a peek and enjoy!!

I wanted to do an illustration too!

I believe it should be lying and I wrote laying...

Such clever kids!!  They came up with naming the turkey Tom (male turkey) and adding our assistant principal's last name.  So fitting...

I can't wait to see the stories they come up with.

November 20, 2013

Gobble...Gobble...Turkey Investigations

Students get so wrapped up in their science investigations.  We've spent the last week learning more about turkeys.  Kiddos have also been writing turkey facts on feathers to help build our class turkey!

The kids began making their two page spread.  For this investigation, I color copied some of the pictures from the books we've read. Students were able to use them in their work and weren't consumed with how their pictures came out.

I introduced two new text features-captions and definitions.  Kids practiced using them in their investigations.

Here are some examples.

Look closely!!  Robert photobombed the pic!

I'm so proud of their hard work!

Colonial Times

Students have been learning A LOT about the colonial period.

We began by learning about the Mayflower and why the Pilgrims sailed to the New World.  We created a bulleted list of facts we learned.

After the read aloud, many said they wouldn't want to be on a ship for that long! Sleeping on the floor, dirty clothes, and hard biscuits didn't appeal to them.

They also listened to read alouds about what life was like for kids during this time.  After each book we completed the T Chart for boys and girls.

Students learned school was VERY different too.  Boys had to bring logs to keep the fire going and if they didn't they sat in the back. Once kids learned to read and write they were usually done school. Discipline was also much harsher (YIKES)!

Next up, we'll complete a Venn Diagram comparing kids then to now!

November 15, 2013

Would You Cook a Turkey for ONLY 16 Minutes?

I ALWAYS love this writing activity.  We talked about how this was a form of informational writing. They wrote the steps on how they would cook a turkey!!

After the read aloud, they began writing.

This was done as an interactive writing piece.  A student would write the step on the chart paper while the rest of the class helped with the spelling and then wrote on their own copy.

We also made these cute coffee filter turkeys to add to our writing.

I'm not sure if I would want to eat turkey at their house.  The cooking time ranged from 15 minutes to  87 minutes.  I know I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my break off sick!!

What's Your Favorite Legend?

We read Raven and talked about the lesson.  Even though Raven stole the sun he put it in the sky for everyone to have.  The kids have thoroughly enjoyed these stories.

Here are a couple of legends I'll also be sharing with the class.

They created their own raven.

I even had a super hero come to school this week!!

We discussed movie and book reviews.  They wrote their opinion on which legend was their favorite and why.  Working in groups they created their favorite scene from the story.  

November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day from Mrs. Lyons' class!!  Be sure to hug and thank a veteran today.

November 10, 2013

Native American Legends

Our class has been reading a variety of legends.  They absolutely LOVE these stories and the lessons they teach.

Last week we read the books below and our mini lesson was, "Good readers retell the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

We retold the stories and lessons learned in each book.

For the story, How Chipmunk Got His Stripes, students made flip books to retell the story.

We'll continue with legends this week.  Students will listen to Raven and will create one!

Writing Bold Beginnings with a Question

Last week we focused on Question Leads.  Instead of having the kiddos create a new piece we go to their writer's notebooks and create new leads on pieces they've already written.

I begin by showing MANY examples.  At first, they couldn't figure out how each author had started but I had one student who piped right up with, "They all begin with a question!"

I've included a list for each type of lead I introduce at TpT (Kick of to Beginning Writing).

Then the kids practiced, practiced, practiced.  We began in their narrative section of their notebooks and they were given Post-Its and "teacher" pens (which makes writing so much more fun)!!

Once we shared, we looked at our informational books and found question leads.  The kids went to their informational section and began practicing.

Here are a few examples.  

November 3, 2013

Where the Wild Things Are

Students learned last week that good readers can retell a story. They're able to tell the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

I always use the book, Where the Wild Things Are.  After the read aloud, we retold the story orally and then wrote a sentence for the beginning, middle, and end.

On Friday, students painted their very own Wild Thing.

This week we'll cut them out and make a mural to hang up!  Here's our mural.

Harvest Arts Festival

We celebrated Harvest Arts Festival on Friday!!  After a night of trick or treating and a rainy Friday, this was the perfect way to end the week.

We began the day by making origami puppets.  The kids were so creative and their puppets were adorable.

The University of Maine band came to play for us in the afternoon.  The kids were up and moving for some of the songs and they kept telling me how good they were.

I hope your child had fun on Friday.