Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally the first day

What a blur today was! It is amazing how fast a first day in fourth grade can go! We did lots of "get to know" you activities, and it seems that I definitely have some southern BBQ rib lovin' boys in my room. Lots of modeling and practicing of procedures also took place today - whew - enough to make a teacher tired.

With all the practicing and procedures, we didn't get to as much reading and writing as I would have liked, but I guess we got a small start. I read my favorite first day book, Scaredy Squirrel, which I already shared here. When I asked the students to turn and talk about why I might have picked Scaredy Squirrel to share, I was glad to hear them say that I wanted them to "take a chance." What a safe place we are working hard to build!

I also read another fun favorite of mine, Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. This is another of my just "put a smile" on their face stories. Even though we giggled along with it today, we will come back and revisit this when we talk about different kinds of endings in our own writing. This was a surprise ending for the kiddos, and it cracks me up to see those gaping smiles every time. 

The first time I heard this story was when I listened to author Michael Shoulders speak. Mr. Shoulders is author of many alphabet books including N is for the Natural State. If he could get up and read that in front of a room full of teachers missing a day of their summer and make us giggle, well, I knew my fourth graders would love it as much!

We also shared some stories in preparation for our writing workshop. I showed my latest writer's notebook to my students and told one of my favorite stories from it. We will do lots of oral storytelling this first week as we prepare to tell stories on paper. It is funny how when you turn students loose to tell a story, they have a million of them, but turn them loose to write a story and they look like you're speaking Greek. Well, we are going to work on that this year! Students are also eager to personalize their own writer's notebooks. ~ Parents, feel free to send pictures with students for this process, but please make sure they are copies as they will not be getting them back. 

Today was the day we began thinking about our "Heart Maps." Here are a few of mine.


Sometimes what is on my heart map stays the same from year to year, and sometimes it changes. These maps will be small guides to our writing later. Students really have fun creating them, and I am always pleasantly surprised how honest and open kids can be when they create from their heart! I will share some of theirs later :)

We created a few goals regarding our Reading Workshop, and I was certainly smiling when students decided that something important for us to do in reading was to challenge ourselves! What a way to set high goals for ourselves! I am also looking forward to sharing our commitments to each other later this week. I cannot wait to see where their thinking leads us with this. 

One more book to share...

As we continue to build a safe place to grow and learn from each other, this book is a MUST! The fact that it is illustrated by David Catrow only helps. I love anything illustrated by Mr. Catrow and usually will buy it without even reading it. There are a few of his that I will share early on, but let's start with Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell.

I feel like I say, "This is such a sweet story," so often, but this is really a sweet story! Not sure of how many other ways to say it. Molly Lou Melon is a precious character who is not afraid to be just that, her very own character. In our room it is perfectly fine to be different; that is what makes us special, and we will revel our differences and use them to help each other in every way possible! 

"Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you."

Happy Reading! 

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled across your blog. I am your newest follower. I, too, teach reading and writing, and I love using picture books.

    Teaching Fourth