Our Morning Meetings have been a big hit! Watching my students greet each other first thing in the morning has to be one of the cutest things I have ever seen - so, so stinkin' cute! By the time we are finished, we all have a smile on our face! What an amazing way to start the day. We spent much of the first few days sharing our hopes and dreams for the year. Considerable discussion went into what our goals should be, but even more importantly, how we could reach them. Students have decided that we must invest hard work to make our dreams come true. Our next step was to decide how we could help each other achieve our dreams. We anchored many ways that we could work together for our goals.This discussion led to our "Commitments to Each Other!"
|Students will sign our Commitments :)|
Launching Writing Workshop has become one of my favorite parts of teaching writing. We have read many wonderful mentor texts already and shared our ideas as to "why writers write" or "where writers get their ideas."
|One very MAD Katie rescuing a puppy|
that someone threw off the cliff...
she was off the cliff, in the air before
the puppy came out of the water.
One morning while getting ready for work, I heard a song that reminded me of our own storytelling at school. (Some of my greatest lesson planning happens in the shower. And to keep from being too embarrassed about sharing TMI, I will just pretend that everyone gets most of their amazing ideas while washing their hair. ;) After our morning meeting, we talked about writing and storytelling, and I asked my kiddos what that might have to do with music and songs. My brilliant kiddos instantly said that songs "tell a story." (Their words exactly...yep, it is going to be a great year!) We watched the video The House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert.
We talked about stories, happy or sad, and how Ms. Lambert has shared the story of her childhood in a song. We also wondered what kinds of things she might have on her heart map. (The song was actually written by Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas, but for the goal of this lesson, we discuss it as Miranda Lambert's story.) After plenty discussion, I shared with students an article from Parade Magazine that I had clipped out a number of years ago and added to one of my writer's notebooks, coincidentally titled The House that Built Me by Connie Schultz.
|The home that inspired Connie Schultz to share her story.|
Because writers learn from other writers, if I find an article that moves me for one reason or another, I like to clip it out for future reference. (I can already tell this will be a lesson that I do in future years as well. They loved it!) We found that much of what was written by both writers was from their childhood memories, EXACTLY where my little readers and writers are now. We looked at the different things that each writer shared and the different things that may be on their heart maps. Here are a couple of ours...I will share more soon!
Our writer's notebooks are ready and kids are anxious to get to writing in them! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that they are excited about writing! Here are a few of our notebooks:
I am so proud that students took their time to find pictures, words and phrases that created a clear image of who they are and the stories they might want to share. I was even more pleased at how proud they were of their writer's notebook!
|Some of our Reading Workshop |
commitments to each other.
Now to share some of our reading from the week :)
When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant and What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan are both beautifully illustrated examples of writers writing from what means the most to them. When thinking about why writers write, these are perfect mentor texts.
"I love being a writer because I want to leave something here on earth to make it a better, prettier, stronger. I want to do something important in my life, and I think that adding beauty to the world with books like The Relatives Came or Waiting to Waltz or Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea really is important." ~ Cynthia Rylant
"I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to. But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I'll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you'll ever hear. Ever." ~ Patricia MacLachlan from Word After Word After Word
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter is a fun example of writing about what you know. Funny stories can happen in the everyday moments of living. I love the language and vocabulary throughout this story, and we will revisit it often as we begin our daily pages in our writer's notebooks.
Are you starting to see a theme today? Yes, I know - I have launching writing workshop on the brain. One of my goals has always been to have my readers read like a writer! A Chair For My Mother by Vera Williams is another example of writing from what we know. In this sweet story, Rosa shares her story of working hard to earn money for a chair for her mother. The objects around us can tell a story, and here we see a families effort to recover from a fire that destroyed all of their belongings. Lots of inferring here as we see how the concern that Rosa shows for her mother. Super book for character traits as well. What everyday items create powerful memories in you?
Many of the mentor texts above are shared in Denise Leograndis' Launching Writing Workship; A Step-by-Step Guide in Photographs. As mentioned in an earlier post, this is a favorite standby of mine every year. So much so that when I could not find my copy this year, I ordered a new copy to be overnighted. Over the years I have added my own mentor texts to my launch and work to add to my mentor library as often as possible.
Well...hoping that gets me all caught up on my quest to share a picture book a day. Does it count if I have to share multiple books on one day? Hope so :) but I promise to make a better effort next week!