Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday fun and the boys of fall

What a busy week we have had! I cannot believe just how quickly time has flown by this year. Is it a sign of getting older that the years are speeding up? With this sweet group of kiddos, I wish I could find a pause button. We rolled picture day, book fair, Grandparent's Day celebrations, homecoming, and early out into one mad rush of a week! 

That now leaves me one very tired teacher this Friday evening, and this is my first post of the school week. I cannot say how many times this week that I have thought, oh I need to remember to blog that or don't forget to mention that. Yet, life decided that family, my own kiddos, and football needed attention; couldn't ask for better distractions though :) With an away football game that is just a little too "away" for this mama to make, I have found my first quiet moment to post some of the fun things we worked on in class this week!

I really wanted to share the sweet pics above of my kiddos dancing to "Gummy Bear" during our morning meetings this week. It was an instant hit and so darn cute to watch! Below is a very small clip of them. I will try to get more on here later.

As much fun as we tried to squeeze in this week, we did even more work! Planning, planning, and more planning! We have really discussed all the things that make an amazing narrative (we have sure read a lot of them), and we decided to be as thoughtful in our planning as possible. We are thinking small, but writing big as we narrow down our topic! Even after narrowing it down to one precise moment in time, we have tried to plan ahead in using some of the great techniques of our favorite writers. These first plan sheets we use are a bit much, and not something that I will always expect us to use in our writing. This heavy planning early on will help us form some habits and expectations in our own writing.


I know I posted this previously, but here is a pic of the story I am using for my narrative. The kiddos were asking about it, so I thought I would add it again. If you would like to see the original post, click here.

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.

After a lesson on writing leads, we finally started drafting! Woohoo... we are on our way to a published masterpiece!

We are still working like crazy on those
complex sentences!

We are having fun with our story Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. As we have read, we have looked at character and story elements, but you know me; I had to throw some great picture books in to help pull it all together.

Feathers and Fools by Mem Fox is one of my absolute favorites to teach rise in action, climax, and falling action. This is an amazingly illustrated story that is very moving and without fail brings out tons of conversation in my room. This is also a very easy discussion of theme - acceptance! I love how the end shows that looking at what we have in common rather than our differences can mean so much! Mem Fox does an amazing job of bringing that message home to kids in a way that jumps right out at them. LOVE this story!

Keeping in mind story elements, we have also really looked character traits, and just how much a character can move your story. When comparing and contrasting characters, my faithful standby is Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. Manyara and Nyasha are two beautiful sisters, but both are about as different as can be. Students easily identify the contrasting traits of these characters, and it is such a beautiful read.

Looking at setting, I shared this sad and moving narrative. Working Cotton by Sherley Anne Williams is remarkably illustrated by Carole Byard. I share this story to remind my students that the images of a story and the dialect and behavior of its characters are all impacted by the setting which is not just place but time as well!  

Our focus in reading this week became our guide
in helping us plan and organize our own narratives!

 Lots of great work happening around our room this week....


Have I mentioned how proud I am of my hardworking group? :)

Just for fun we read a couple of my favorites for this time of year. Here is another David Catrow beauty! Lu and the Swamp Ghost by James Carville. My book came with a CD narrated by Mr. Carville, but honestly most of the time I cannot bring myself to use it because that would mean giving up a chance to read to my kiddos. Besides, it is so fun to try and bring out that deep down southern girl. There are a plethora of things I could teach with this, but seems like I focus on the fun of it mostly. We giggle at the illustrations and make predictions as to just who the ghost may be. After we have our fun, I do manage to go back a discuss the theme of this story, kindess and loyalty.

Now this next favorite...well, I try to start out reading it for fun, but I must say that Tony Johnson paints such a brilliant picture with words, we often slow down, really breath in, and savor the text. When I have fourth graders oohing and ahhing at how well written something is, then you know it is noticeable! How many times is it acceptable for me to say "I LOVE this story" in one post? LOL...I don't think I could go one Halloween without sharing this, and the timing of it is perfect in that students are finding all kinds of figurative language in this fun little read, The Ghost of Nicholas Greebe.


That is almost it for now. I will have more to share Sunday after I do a little planning. We are gearing up for a fun time at 4H Camp, and I know the kids are so excited!

I have just a few videos to share. The first is one of my kiddos singing along with Uncle Kracker's, Smile. They have really enjoyed learning about simile with his song. The second is something I have had stuck in my head since going to Joshua's game last night. I do love the boys of fall! Kenny Chesney tells such a memorable story with his song - just had to share. Makes me think of my boys! 

Last but not least, I am linking up with Kelly and her blog, Teaching Fourth, for Fun Friday! We try to have fun everyday, but this week, I think "Gummy Bear" was a blast and a brain break all rolled into one! Be sure to click on her link above to see what other fun things teachers are doing.

Happy Reading!

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