Monday, September 3, 2012

Time warps and notebooks being a three day weekend and all, I spent a little extra time in my classroom Sunday trying to catch up on the stacks that seem to rotate around my desk. It was during this effort that an all too familiar phenomenon occurred. I swear to you that when I walk into my classroom on the weekend, I am walking through some crazy time warp. I get to planning, gathering ideas, making copies, rotating book baskets, or about a million other things and the phone rings. It is usually my hubby asking how much longer I will be, and it is then that I notice that I have been there for almost 12 hours...yes, I said 12 hours. Though that is not even the kicker; the sad part is that I could easily stay there yet another 12 hours and have plenty to occupy my time. Who does that? Someone walking through a time warp I tell you! 

All silliness aside, I am proud of our productive and hard working little class! Our writer's notebooks are well on the way to holding a ton of ideas for our writing! Our first goal is to capture as many of those ideas as we can, but our most important goal is to fall in love with our writer's notebooks!

We have found so many different ideas we can add!


In looking at how the small details of our life can end up as a great story, there are a number of great texts to share. Amelia's Notebook by Marissa Moss is a perfect example of everyday moments and observations creating such a personal story. I love how lighthearted and fun Amelia is even as her thoughts and ramblings fill the margins of her notebook. 


Is There Really a Human Race and Where Do Balloons Go? both by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell are easy examples of  how silly questions and "fierce wonderings" can trigger their own stories. I am a huge fan of this team, and I use most of there stories as mentors at one point or another. I love this clip where Jamie Lee Curtis shares how she came up with the idea for Where Do Balloons Go? and how quickly she wanted to write her story. Ideas can come to us in the craziest ways!

Our next step is to take our wonderful ideas and thoughts through the writing process, from life-to-notebook-to-draft! We will spend a few more weeks gathering ideas and daily pages before we launch into writing our first narrative this year. 

Our thoughts concerning A Writer's Notebook
have really grown in these last two weeks!
In the early days my writing workshop, my big push in selecting read alouds focuses on "why writers write" and "where they get their ideas." Two great books that I have not shared with you yet are My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Gray and My Rotten Red Headed Older Brother by Patricia Polacco. Mama's dancing heart is such a lyrical beautifully illustrated story that you cannot help but to love it. Rual Colon did an amazing job on the illustrations, and the language of the story is just as moving as we see a daughter's memory of her mother move through the seasons, and her life, and her story. You honestly cannot go wrong with a Polacco book. I can use just about any of her books to share digging deep and adding more of "you" to your story. 


Taking a moment to share how each story adds
to what we know about writing...

Did I mention we have had a very productive two weeks? I am tired just thinking about all we have done! Our morning meetings have been so much fun! Watching kids "Go Bananas" and survive "Shark Attack" make me giggle and would be perfect other than I walk around singing them in my head all day. Go bananas, go go bananas.... (I shall now be singing this song until I go to bed.  hmmm) Here are a couple of our morning messages.

One of our "for fun read alouds" is a fave of mine. No really, more than most haha. This playful story, Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian, starts off simple enough: "Day One I swam around my bowl. Day Two I swam around my bowl. Twice." However, before you know it Goldfish's simple life is filled with a number of challenging characters and it is more than he can handle. In the end, Goldfish learns how much he loves his new "family." I like to think of my classroom as our own little family, full of many of its own challenging um... interesting characters!


Kids are getting ready to start sharing their Reading Response letters with me. Lots of practice (and a little "cheat-sheet" which brought out tons of "you're the best teacher ever") have prepared most students to turn in their response notebooks on the appropriate day. I glanced at many last week as students eagerly shared what they had so far. This is a new step for some of these kiddos, and I think it may be a while before I am seeing the quality I expect. 

I am very proud of how much reading stamina and joy in reading my students are showing. This is the first year for me to use my little "book worm" as a drawing for a book prize. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but as students complete a chapter book, they fill out a completion form and drop it in our book worm jar. (Students must have also had this book entered on the reading log in their binders and have responded about this book in their reader's notebooks on a dated page.) Just look at all these entries so far! 
Alright, here is the familiar song and dance; I think that catches me up on my goal for a picture book-a-day. I am thinking about making a page just to pull out each book, so I can really see where I am at. Guess we will see!

Happy Reading!

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