It’s official. I am starting a writer’s club this school year. For several years now I have wanted to conduct a writing club, but wasn’t sure how. This year I took the plunge and wrote the proposal! My principal is excited about this new endeavor at our school. The name of the club is The Spilling Ink Writer’s Club. I have the book Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook and wanted to learn more, so I googled it. Guess what? The authors have a blog with a plethora of writing information for young writers. This year we will use the book Spilling Ink. I have made buying the book optional. The club is for students in grades 4-8. My hope is that the students will come to enjoy being with a community of writers along with creative writing. Our first official meeting will be Wednesday, October 21. I can’t wait!
Wild Goose Chase Theater April 13, 2011
Today my sixth graders had a special treat. The Wild Goose Chase Theater came to our school! Matt Sandbank made his shadow puppets come to life with his voice and poetry. He taught the students how to create imagery in their poems. He engaged them the entire 45 minute period. Even the science teacher wrote a poem! During his show he had the students pick an image and then list nouns, verbs, and adjectives that would go with the image. He modeled every step that he did. After they compiled their lists, he had them create music with their words. He taught them about alliteration, metaphors, and similies. Yes, I teach these at my school, but it was good for my students to hear it from someone who writes their own poetry. Below is my list and poem.
fun lime green red green stripped juicy black seeds picnic slices chunks summer messy munching devour child running soft basket adults children humongus ripe fruit plump crisp quench bite flesh rind ants dribble eat large rotund table spit hard mounds water melon abundant pile
Mounds of messy melons
Stacked on the picnic table
Ripe juicy fruit
Dribbles down my cheek
Chunks of plump red flesh
Seed spit in the air
This is more fun than the fair!
Gratitude November 2, 2010
Each year I have my students create a gratitude project. I got the idea out of a scrap-booking magazine eight years ago. The project has progressed from a scrapbook to a poster to a power point. I have found that the power point is highly effective. Students learn technology skills along with using writing in a nontraditional way. My students are to write 5 entries of gratitude. On each slide they must include pictures and why they are grateful. I work with the computer teacher so that they work in computer classes 3 times throughout the month of October and at least 2 times in my English classes. Students are to incorporate slide transitions and music in their power points. This is a learning process for me as well. I get to know my students more, which is truly a blessing. Once the students have finished their power points and edited them, we invite their parents in to view their projects before Thanksgiving. I create one BIG gratitude sideshow with all of their projects combined. I love this project; it puts the ordinary of every day in perspective. I am grateful for my students because I get to see them develop and grow into wonderful human beings!
Peer Responding October 21, 2010
Last weekend I attended our writing project’s writing retreat called WOW (Writing On Water). It’s a time for us to get together and write. This year we wrote teaching stories and one point during the retreat we had a peer response session. Each person read some part of their piece while the rest of the group listened and responded on post-it-notes. After the read aloud, we placed our post-its on a sheet of paper with the person’s name on them. I enjoyed reading all of the comments my fellow teacher consultants wrote.
I decided that I wanted to bring this to my classroom, so today my seventh graders peer responded in this manner. Instead of the whole class reading, I placed students into groups of 6. Before the students responded, I asked them to write a praise and write in question form something that may be confusing or need of revising. As my students read and responded, I traveled around the room and responded to those students I heard read. After the read aloud, I passed out a colored sheet of paper so they could place their post-its on it. Tomorrow my students will be turning in their writing of choice piece with those post-its.
I look forward to reading how they responded to each other. I am curious to see what they wrote. I did poll my classes to see if they liked this way of responding. Some did like it and others did not. One student said that she didn’t like sharing in front of everyone.
Ode to Fall October 20, 2010
www.treelink.org/woodnotes/vol6/no3/content.html (picture came from)
Ode to Fall
Your shades of brown
red, yellow, and orange
dance among the trees.
Your cool crisp air
so that I may appreciate
me of God’s
that awaits –
Writer’s Notebook Strategies October 19, 2010
Each day I try to give my students a new writing strategy with their writers notebook. Aimee Buckner’s book Notebook Know How has several strategies and ways to incorporate writer’s notebooks into your classroom. I also use Roberta Allen’s book The Playful Way to Serious Writing. I have decided though that any mini-writing lesson can be a strategy. I have branched out on my own and have come up with a few strategies on my own.
I do grade my students’ notebooks. 9 weeks have come and gone. Last week I graded my 6th and 7th graders’ writer’s notebooks. I was impressed with how many students used the writing strategies taught in class with their own entries. My classes are to write 3 home entries a week in their notebooks. At the end of the quarter, I have my students count all of their class entries and then all of their home entries. I like to separate the two so I can tell who is writing at home.
This week my 7th graders are working on writing of choice so I wanted them to have another poetry type idea, so today I read them several examples of odes. I got the idea from Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home. I would like to share with you the ode I wrote today with my students.
Picture came from Babycenter.com
Ode to My Hair
I love thee
Your wispy strands
Glistening in the sun
You are a fashion
I would be
Writing Marathon July 1, 2010
Today my young writers and I had a writing marathon. This is where you travel to different places, write for a set amount of time, read your writing aloud, and then move again. There is no responding to anyone’s writing. It’s a great time to just write. The most interesting place we wrote was inside the kitchen of the school cafeteria. I enjoyed hearing the spontaneity in their writing. One of my students shared more today than she had all week.