Sunday, October 7, 2012

Currently loving fall days

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is enjoying this glorious weather! Whoo Hoo ~ loving me some fall now! I decided this would be the day for me to join Farley's "Currently" Linky Party.  Yes, I am a bit late, but that is pretty much the norm for me. Better late than never, I say! 
Look what I got!
A present dropped off
by a visiting student!
So I spent some time at work yesterday, surprise surprise ;) and set about planning for our short week. Can you believe we are a few days away from 4H Camp? This is the best field trip - so fun! In honor of camp, a friend reminded me of a fun little read aloud to share with my kiddos. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! by Allan Sherman, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, is a silly look at camp life and the bundle of nerves camp can bring out. It will certainly be difficult to read without singing. Let's hope for my kiddos sake, I can refrain. 

Hmmm....this cover reminds me of
Mrs. Marshall for some reason!  Maybe we
shouldn't get in the canoes this year!

As I worked in my room, I looked back at all the work we have accomplished in such a short time. We have planned our narratives and some students have begun their drafts. We are paying close attention to make sure that we include the figurative language and sensory detail that we have practiced for weeks now. Last week, we looked at what makes a great lead, and we went over a number of great strategies to hook the reader. Students really enjoyed some that I shared, but I have to say that my favorite is the Ba-Da-Bing! I have had the best luck helping students craft a strong lead using this strategy. I first learned of it when I attended a Barry Lane session at the Arkansas Reading Conference. He shared this writing strategy created by Gretchen Bernabei. Together, they wrote about it in one of my all time favorite writing workshop books, Hooked on Meaning


With a Ba-Da-Bing, students begin by writing Ba: what their feet did, Da: what they saw, Bing: what they thought. For example: When I rushed through the door, I noticed my son wasn't home yet. He was so grounded! ~ Can you believe how brilliantly simple that is?! Uugghh...this is one of those, "Why didn't I think of that," kind of things.

Ba-Da-Bing: Barry Lane, Hooked on Meaning
Here is a short clip of one of the lessons on the video that comes with Hooked on Meaning. Each year, my kiddos love these!


While thinking about our work in writing our own narratives and our pulling apart story elements in our reading, I have pulled as many of my favorite narratives as I could. There are so many great titles and authors out there: Bunting, Lowry, Rylant, and Polacco. I really want to encourage my students as we read this week, to take a look at some of these wonderful and touching stories. I will share a few with the class as we talk about character traits and plot and then bring it back to our study of narratives.


Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnel will have my kiddos asking lots of questions as five year old Charlotte May tells the story of how she was mailed to her Grandmother with such a sweet and honest little voice. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson is a wonderful narrative full of theme: acceptance and kindness. Both characters learn and grow watching each other from "the other side" of the fence. Just like Mailing May, this story is told with such an honest little voice; I can almost hear the little girl herself telling me her story. 

Crow Call by Lois Lowry is so perfectly illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, and Ms. Lowry left a beautiful author's note showing the significance of this story for her. This is a bit on the longer side for one mini-lesson, but it is definitely worth sharing over a couple of days. Again, I love sharing how a narrative story can pull in one small moment in time, one memory, and magnify it with such beautiful detail. 


OK, these next two are for seasonal fun! The Bones of Fred McFee by Eve Bunting and The Follower by Richard Thompson are rhythmical and repeating  and great Halloween reads. Would you think me completely over the edge if I told you that The Follower is great for reviewing prepositional phrases? Yes, I will try to find a way to fit grammar in just about anywhere, LOL.  I love them both and you just can't go wrong with a Bunting book.

One last thing before I call it a night and hit that huge stack of papers to be graded, edited, or replied to, whew...I wanted to say thanks to my sweet kiddos for donating books from the book fair and some from their very own libraries to help our library grow! So excited that we are sharing so many great books with each other! With that, I will say good night and happy reading!

Follow on Bloglovin


  1. Hi there! I found you though Farley's blog, and stopped by to say hi! I also wish my house would clean itself- I've been putting it off for a long time, but I'm too lazy to do anything about it! Ha!

    I love the book The Other Side. What a sweet story. I need to look up those other books you posted- they look awesome!

    Have a great week!

  2. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love the fall as well! I miss the days of colored leaves and cool air now that I live in Florida.


  3. Hello! Found you from Lori's blog, The Reinspired Teacher. I love all those books you posted! We're into The Walking Dead, too! As well as American Horror Story. Definitely a different kind of show but still good! As for you getting back into the groove of running... I need to GET into the groove... I haven't ever worked out so I need to start! Love your blog so far & cannot wait to see more!

    Miss V's Busy Bees

  4. I found your blog because Lori boo'd you. I'm now your newest follower. Come on over and join the party by booing 3 of your favorite blogs. :-)

    2nd Grade Pad

  5. I love your anchor chart on creating a good lead! I have saved that to my (seemingly never-ending) list of ideas to use ASAP! :)

    I love teaching writing and seeing the students develop into more accomplished writers with clear voices. We just did our first writing unit of the year, and these kiddos are having such a difficult time with introductions and conclusions. It wasn't a narrative - it was a compare-contrast essay - and the kids really struggled. I wanted to help without spoon-feeding them sentences.

    Do you have any ideas/strategies for teaching how to write good introductions and conclusions?

  6. I love "Ba-Da-Bing" for leads! We just talked about good leads this week and I think I'll do some reviewing and then introduce Ba-Da-Bing this week. It'll be a great fall back for kids who really need a go-to for starting their stories. Thanks for sharing!