Sunday, January 26, 2014

My New Favorite Latte, Writing Instruction, and the 100th Day

Coffee first, okay?!

That's actually what I said to my husband this morning when he asked what I wanted for breakfast. My latest favorite is from Peet's coffee... an almond milk latte with 1/2 pump of vanilla and 1/2 pump of chocolate. The taste is a little reminiscent of almond toffee like the Toffee-ettes at See's candy or a little Almond Roca. Bring it. It's fabulous. And my husband is the master of the espresso machine, but he is still working on his technique for foaming the almond milk. So instead of making coffee this morning, he smoothed down his bed head with a little water, and went out for our drinks. That's love.

And on to some teaching and learning and reading and writing topics, now that I've had my coffee!

It's no secret that writing instruction is a priority for me! My students participate in writing workshop nearly every day. I feel like I have to say "nearly," because it does happen that there is an assembly or a fire drill or something unusual that interferes with Writing Workshop. I'm honest that way! We don't have Writing Workshop every day, but it's a rare day when we don't.

In addition to Writing Workshop, my students have at least 8-10 other opportunities to really write each week. I have creating many lessons over the years, and every year my students write their own informational texts, poetry, explanations, letters, descriptions, clues, recipes, all kinds of things!

I was out of the classroom during the week before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I postponed all my lessons until after the holiday. I read some books with my students to help them learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King

I used a close reading lesson with a circle map to help students gather adjectives that described Martin Luther King, Jr. We read this book, Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo, together. I read a page and then had my students "turn and talk" about what they had learned about Martin Luther King. Then we discussed how to use that information to come up with adjectives to describe him.

We read other books about Martin Luther King, and students recorded facts they had learned from the texts.

NG Kids Martin Luther King Jr




My First Biography MLK












But their favorite activity of the week was when I let them loose... to write ANYTHING they thought was important about Martin Luther King. Most of my kindergartners wrote several sentences, and my first graders wrote even more!

Want some Martin Luther King Jr activities for your class?

Here they are! Click on the picture to get them in my TpT store!

Martin Luther King Jr. Common Core Math and Language Unit1 As far as other ways to incorporate writing into the day, I will be sharing lots more very soon. But I can't end this without recommending a few of my favorite resources:

6 Traits Writing

I've had lots of success using ideas in this book with my kindergartners and first graders. One great thing is that there is no special order for teaching the Traits, and it's pretty simple to insert a lesson into a content area. Love. This. Book.

Guided Writing

Guided Writing by Lori Oczkus has some really great ideas to think about. Why wouldn't we guide students in writing, much like we guide them in reading? I try to incorporate some guided writing lessons into my guided reading groups whenever I can! It's scaffolding that works... and that our struggling and beginning readers and writers NEED.

And finally...

Units of Study

Yes, this is the "old" version from 2010. But it is amazing, and the new version splits some of the lessons by grade level. I have both versions and I know that they are useful for different things. I love the Poetry and How-To units in this set, which are not included in the new first grade version.




Next up? I'm working on lots of great activities for the 100th Day of School! This is one of my favorite days of the entire year, and we are celebrating soon! Stay tuned!

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