Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When I was little,

When I was little, we couldn't jump on our laptop and blog away our days and nights! ;) Boy, am I glad I am not little anymore. Oh wait...I mean I am glad to be older. No, that's not it LOL...wish I was still a little bit little hehe, but glad to be a bit more grown up, sometimes, wink wink!

We have jumped in to complex sentence structures with both feet! The grammarian in me just LOVES teaching this! Well, I should say the grammarian-wanna-be! Lord knows, there was a time that teaching complex sentence structures made my head hurt and my eyes cross. That was until I spend one summer afternoon at the workshop of Mr. Jeff Anderson, aka "the write guy." Yes, I know I repeat myself at times, but I promise you that his wonderful book Mechanically Inclined changed my teaching life; can you hear the sigh? I swear I should get paid as his agent or something as much as I brag on his work, but all the same, I am thankful to have found it. Sadly enough, I have become a "write-guy groupie" of sorts, and if he ever makes it close enough, I go out of my way to make it to one of his workshops. 

I now look forward to this part of writing, and we have a ton of fun with it! So much so that I almost feel smart enough to call myself a grammarian. Just don't look to closely at all that I have written here. ;)

Well now... how was that for a rabbit trail? Anyway, let's just say that there are plenty of "aaahhhhwwwwheewwbuuusss" howls happening in our room right now. Actually, that is our fun way of saying AAAWWUBBIS, which is an mnemonic device to help my kiddos recognize subordinating conjunctions and dependent clauses, comma causers: although, after, as, when, while, until, because, before, if, and since. 

One of the fun lessons in his book Mechanically Inclined refers to When I Was Little by Jamie Lee Curtis as a gentle introduction to the ever-so-lovely subordinating conjunction, and luck of all luck, wouldn't you know I already had the book. After reading the book, I display some of my own when I was little thoughts, and we discuss what we notice about the sentences. This truly is an easy bridge into complex sentences, and it is so simple that it's genius! The fun part is listening to their ideas of "when I was little." So cute, my kiddos!
All of this opens the door to the idea of independent clauses, dependent clauses, and comma causers, and builds the habit of looking for where to put the comma if they happen to use one of these words in their writing, which is what we want, right?! We have fun with the poem on the first few days, and trudge through those first looks of furrowed-brow, open-mouth confusion until the light bulbs start glowing, the brow relaxes a bit, and the slack mouth forms into smiles as they see just how easy it can be. Don't you just love seeing those light bulbs start glowing!


As the students publish their finished pieces, I will share them here. If you have any of your own when I was little thoughts, please share them here. I would love to share them with the class!
This is another fun mentor text that I will pull out
later to review  and practice :) You should see the
responses for this one! 

I have started reading homework this week to a chorus of boos, but for the most part, I think they are getting used to the idea as they see my expectations. It doesn't take long for most to see that I am not trying to torture them; yes I know, believe it or not! In discussing our expectations, we have reviewed common reading strategies that help on those benchmark like passages. Definitely NOT my favorite kind of reading, but it has to be done I guess. If it were up to me, we would all sit around in comfy chairs that are in cozy places and read whatever we wanted as long as our hearts content! But I guess they didn't ask me, LOL.

I only have one little picture book to share today. Can you believe?

Where's My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi was one of the sweet (cheap) little finds I found on my minute hour long run into Books-a-Million. I really didn't buy it so much to read aloud, but rather just to add to my library. As soon as the kids saw it though, their begging and pleading won out, and I read it aloud. The pleasant surprise was all of the wonderful alliteration and onomatopoeia in it. So yet again, I planned that!

With little baby mummy, I shall say goodnight! Happy Reading!

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