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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Not every student is made to be a mentor.  A common thought about gifted kids is to encourage them to mentor other students.  As a teacher of gifted, I’ve seen students who work well with other students and I’ve seen those who don’t.  I feel it is important to know a student well before pushing him/her to help other students.

I haven’t taught Chloe long, but I knew she would make a great mentor. She is confident without being condescending.  She’s enthusiastic about whatever we are doing in class and spreads that enthusiasm.  So when I asked her if she wanted to teach her regular class about color poems, she literally jumped up and down.

At NCTE I grabbed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Polly Diamond and the Magic Book by Alice Kuipers and Diana Toledano. I also picked up a teacher’s guide which led me to the color poem pattern from Read, Write, Think.  (Polly writes a color poem that her teacher loves.) Chloe wanted to write a color poem like Polly.

First she chose her favorite color, pink, and made a list of pink things.  We talked about figurative language and how she could use it in her poem.  Chloe wrote this poem:

Pink is cotton candy.

Pink is a horn of a unicorn.

Pink is my blanket.

Pink is a flower.

Pink tastes like bubble gum.

Pink smells like a rose.

Pink sounds like a violin.

Pink feels like a pillow.

Pink looks like my mom’s lips.

Pink makes me beautiful.

Pink is magnificent!

When Chloe shared her poem with her classmates, they were ready to write their own.  Having a form helped.  Her friends selected their own favorite colors and used the form to guide their writing in their writing notebooks.  As she walked from group to group, Chloe checked in to see what they needed help with.  She was patient and helpful.  Her classmates were focused and serious about their writing.  Chloe was a proud teacher.

Writing is hard work!

 

by second grader Kelsie.

 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

On my daily weather report app, a snowflake appeared, then disappeared, then appeared again.  On Thursday afternoon, our superintendent cancelled school for Friday.  I was skeptical.  Snow?  Really?

The last real snow I remember was a freak one in early March of 1988.  I was pregnant with my second child, and I remember my coat would not fit around my bulging belly.  My oldest was 3.  Neighbors made a snow bunny.  Since then, we’ve had ice rarely, and snow flurries every 7 years or so.

I woke up a little later knowing I could.  When I opened the door to let my dog out, I was shocked.  Snow!  Real live snow!  Falling and sticking!

snowy camellia

 

Neighbor James makes a snow angel.

The snow fell for hours.  Reports say we got 1-2 inches.  To us here in South Louisiana, that’s a blizzard!

What a gift to open our Kidblog and see that Lynzee had written a poem about the snow!

So cold
No sign of letting up
Only white
White as can be
Falling down
Lonely snow
A white Christmas
Knowing that
Even then
Snowflakes will stay.

And we
Rush to
Eat breakfast

And play in the snow
Music floating in our minds
And snowballs
Zip by
Ice castles
Nothing can stop the joy of a
Glorious snow day

–Lynzee, 3rd grade

Our local news station, KATC, made this video about the 2017 snow event.  Such delight!

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Click over to Steps & Staircases for more Poetry Friday.

 

Inspired by Project 1,2,3 originated by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and continued by her daughter, Lisa challenged us to make a metaphorical poem from an object/image.  Many of us took the challenge.  To see more poems, click over to Lisa’s blog to read more posts.

I brought this idea to my students and combined it with a lesson from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book Poems are Teachers, “Make Metaphors” on page 136. We looked at model poems and talked about how an object can become a metaphor.  In one class, I passed around a paintbrush and said, “A paintbrush is…”  In another, I blew bubbles and said, “Bubbles are like…”  Each of these inspired beautiful responses from my kiddos.

  • A paintbrush is your imagination.
  • A paintbrush paints your path.
  • Bubbles are sparkling rainbows.
  • Bubbles are in orbit flying around Saturn.

As I wrote with my students, I grabbed a pink marker and made three swirls on my paper.  Back at home with a little time to craft (snow day!), I cut and pasted pink swirls in an art journal.  Thanks, Lisa, for the fun prompt.

 

Swirl of pink
sparkle-sky
diamond bright
stars of night

Swirl of pink
puffy parting clouds
play peek-a-boo
with the sun

Swirl of pink
licky-lick
sticky-lip
lollipop

–Margaret Simon, 2017

 

Chloe’s Bubble poem

Trace’s pink paintbrush poem

Austin’s wooden flute poem

Lynzee’s angel poem

After we wrote and shared our poems, Andrew had an idea.  “Why don’t we take a line from each of our poems and make a new poem?”  Sounds like a great idea.  Here’s the resulting poem.

To dream it, all you have to do is start.

Don’t erase yourself from the real world.
Paint your true colors.

There is no fright.
Not to lose but to gain.

Flying high above
a swirl of pink puffy parting cloud,

The sea is my world.
The sand is my happiness.

–Caneview GT Allstars

 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres invites bloggers to celebrate every Saturday.  I don’t always post, but today I wanted to celebrate our field trip this week.  My students are practicing for a play they will perform next week for first graders at the Shadows, a local plantation home.  Wednesday was the day we signed up for rehearsal, so my students were able to try on the costumes and see where each scene would be in the house.  They were excited and nervous.

After the rehearsal, we walked to an iconic cafeteria on Main Street, Victor’s, where Dave Robichaux eats. I had to give them a speech before we went in about how their eyes would be bigger than their stomachs.  The first thing on the shelves are delicious looking desserts.  My experience has taught me that young children left on their own to choose their food rarely pass up desserts.  Victor’s offers home-cooked meals like rice and gravy, smothered pork chops, fired chicken, and the Wednesday special was a stuffed catfish.  Yum!

But the highlight of the trip was the movie Wonder.  I’ve read the book a few times.  Some of my students have read it at least once.  Some had not read it but now want to.  I asked them to write a blog post about the field trip and gather here some of their quotes about the movie.

I was crying through out the whole movie. This movie made me realize that I am very fortunate and that I should never ever bully. Bullying can be horrible. Auggie had many problems but he knew he would get bullied and he knew that there will be issues caused because of him. This is one of the only movies that touched me emotionally. I really recommend this to you, but you all saw it so just watch it again. Faith, 6th grade

 Auggie’s mom decided that Auggie would begin Beecher Preparatory School in the fifth grade, so he would not be the only new kid. And the day before he started, he met Julian, Jack, and Charlotte. The whole time Charlotte was talking about Broadway, and Julian goes out of his way to be rude. When they get to the science room, Julian says, “This is the science room. It’s supposably hard.” And Auggie says, “It’s not supposably. It’s supposedly. Maybe my mom needs to homeschool you, too.”, which made us all laugh. And at the end, Auggie got the Henry Ward Beecher medal. If I could give Wonder a grade, it would be an A+. Lynzee, 3rd grade

That was such a “wonder“ful movie. That was probably the saddest and most heart-warming movie I ever saw in my life. It almost made me cry and that is a hard thing to do but I didn’t. (Surprisingly).  Andrew, 5th grade

 

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Click over for Coffee and Donuts with Jama and more Poetry Friday.

 

Laura Shovan’s 5th annual February Poetry Project continues with one of us selecting an article each month and pulling out ten words.  This month Kathy Mazurowski selected this article and these words: nostalgia, reflect, interferes, cope, memories, personal, uncertainty, crystallized, bittersweet, science.

One morning I sat at my computer determined to get some words in for the day. I looked at the words Kathy selected, at my reflection in the kitchen window, and this poem appeared.  Every once in a while the muse visits me. I just need to sit here every day.

 

Glass reflects
the shape of things–
shadows of me
sitting here:

a cup of coffee
a vase of daisies
a cat
a stack of books

crystallized in a photograph
nostalgic for
the bittersweet taste
of uncertainty.

News interferes.
Memories flee.
How do we know what
tomorrow will bring?

Somehow we cope–
put on the cloak
of science and move on.
It’s not personal.

I reach over
to pet the cat.
Her fur is soft,
and she purrs.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Collaboration was the name of the game at all three schools this week.  At each school, I was working with my gifted students on projects that required cooperation, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, the 4 C’s of 21st Century education.

At school #1, students were working on “Mood” stories.  With the celebration of Halloween, most stories took on a scary mood.  Some of my students asked if they could work together.  I considered it and decided to let them, but I was skeptical about whether they could truly collaborate.  I was pleasantly surprised.  They gathered together and used a story board to plan their stories.  They talked and wrote, wrote and talked.  The class was buzzing with the sound of collaboration.

Dawson was writing on his own.  He asked for big paper to use for his story board.  He wrote his “longest story ever!”  I enjoyed his use of text features to create the mood.  This was his favorite part to read aloud.

They all sat down and chanted,”Oh Ouija Board, oh how do you do, show us the spirit that lives here too.” Their hands moved and spelled L I G H T S O U T. At that exact moment the lights went out and the tv came on with static.

In the static they could make out a man that said,” III WWW III LLL LLL KKK III LL LL YYY OOO UUU!!!

At school #2, we are working on podcasts about endangered animals.  Each student chose an animal to research.  One of the best things was when we were able to talk on the phone with a local bird expert.  My students are powering through the steep technology learning curve.  I am hoping we’ll be ready to publish them next week.  We are looking forward to a call with a marine biologist this Monday.

At school #3, we worked with Mystery Science lessons and made a chain reaction machine.  After many tries, I was sure it was going to work for this video.  I ended up giving a little hand in the chain.

 

I am a strong believer in project-based learning experiences.  My students become motivated and engaged, and they own their learning.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Poetry Friday posts are with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Much has been written about this amazing new resource for teachers.

There’s this one at Live your Poem by Irene Latham.

And here is a review by Laura Purdie Salas.

The Two Writing Teachers featured an interview with Amy.

Literacy Lenses includes words of wisdom from a Good to Great (#G2Great) Twitter chat with Amy.

Like many others, I have a personal connection with this book because some of my students have featured poems.  Amy’s book not only teaches in a wonderfully accessible way; it also celebrates teaching poetry.  Lots of student samples sit alongside poems by children’s poets worldwide.  The depth and breadth of the message reaches well beyond the pages.

I am passionate about teaching poetry in my classes, but I am never quite sure how my lesson plans look to the administrators who check them.   Poems are Teachers is the affirmation I’ve been looking for.  In my heart, I know that practicing poetry is playing with language in a way that can inform other writing as well.  Sometimes writing poetry is just plain fun.  Nothing makes me prouder than a student frantically waving his hand in the air to share his poem.  If we use Amy’s book to create active writing experiences for our students, they will rise up and feel the amazing power of poetry, too.

Emily’s poem is in the chapter “Marry Music and Meter to Meaning.” She wrote this poem after a real lock down.

Jacob’s poem appears in the chapter “Let Art Inspire.” Jacob wrote this poem after looking at Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night.

Amy with Heinemann has generously offered a give away for this blog post.  Please leave a comment by November 10th and I’ll randomly pick a winner.  You definitely want this book in your professional library.

 

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