Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study - Chapter 10

Hi, friends...we are almost finished with our In Pictures and In Words book study...my thoughts today are on Chapter 10 - Tone. Thank you to Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class for hosting!
Katie Wood Ray
by Katie Wood Ray
The main idea of this chapter is to ponder the reader's emotional response to pictures through the use of tone...yes, that would be the same tone that got me in trouble more than once with my momma...

But, in the context of the classroom, it means helping your students understand that tone can be "crafted" through the use of color, background, size, space and further through the use of shape, texture, exaggerated features, and whimsical details. I will detail a few.

Author / Illustrator extraordinaire, Steve Jenkins, showcases his strength for making powerful illustrations in his books. (Can you tell I'm a huge fan?!) One of my favorite is Actual Size.

Steve JenkinsLook how he takes images across pages to draw in the reader.

It is a wonderful
example of Technique 35: Crafting Tone with Size.

Your students would not get the enormity of just how large a giant squid's eye was if it was not drawn to scale. Although you would think the life-like size might scare some of your kiddos, he also keeps in mind Technique 37: Crafting Tone with Shape and Texture. The lines are soft and curvy, the background is textured and not in stark contrast from the eye, which lessons the intensity.

Another one of my favorite authors, Judy Schachner, of the Skippyjon Jones series, uses Technique 39: Using Whimsical Detail to Lighten the Tone when Skippyjon Jones sets off on his adventure in Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice.

Lost in Spice

Not only does Skippyjon Jones have a mask, cape, mirror, and marble...but he has his precious sock monkey as well. His trinkets are what help make Skippyjon Jones intriguing for children.

And later, when he meets a Martian, you can tell immediately, by their proximity, that they're going to be fast friends. This is an example of Technique 36: Crafting Tone with Physical Space. They are both the same size, in the same physical space, and almost touching...visual imagery for friendship.

Lost in Spice
What are your thoughts? What kind of literature will you use to explain the use of tone in your students' illustrative work? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study - Chapter 7 and a Freebie

Well, friends, after seven wonderful, collaborative weeks together, our book study has come to an end. I want to thank Kimberly from Funky First Grade Fun for hosting Chapter 7: Putting it All Together and Troubleshooting.

I want to start off by sharing this quote which "The Sisters" believe to be the "heart of choice: knowing the expectations, possessing the skills to meet them, being trusted to carry them out, and taking responsibility to do so"...isn't that what WE want from our administrators?

We know our grade level standards, have earned educational degrees in our content areas, maintain classroom structure and guidance for our students, and are held accountable so that our students succeed. We are trusted to use quality, yet challenging teaching materials as long as we follow our state-mandated curriculum. We have choice...I'm sorry if that sound soapboxish...but, it's something for me to keep in mind...

A few lingering questions I have:
I'm not sure how transient your school population is, but I had a revolving door last year...my class list did not become stable until April. How do you transition your new students to the Daily 5 structure? Do you choose partners for awhile? Do you do one-on-one mini-lessons? Since the newbies probably missed the mini-lessons and good/ not good model, I would love to hear your suggestions!

Fortunately or unfortunately, (it depends on how you look at it) I have not have any parent inquiries as to why they do not have daily worksheets that go home for literacy...yet. My student have journals, word work folders, work on writing folders, etc. to "show" their work. I just want to be proactive and not reactive if there ever was a question from a parent/ administrator. So, I found this gem from Bethany, a parent letter that informs them not only to what our students are doing during the Daily 5, but also ways they can support these same literacy activities at home:

get here

Here's a lil' something I created to assist those students that need a little more help once everyone has selected their literacy choice...and you are right in the middle of your small group lesson...and you do not want to be disturbed. Maybe they forgot how to access a website, or the volume is not right on their headphones, or they can't find the book that they were reading yesterday...enter Tech Support.

You can print these out (I would laminate them and print on card stock), punch a hole and use yarn or make a slit for a badge clip and your "tech helpers" can wear these to identify themselves to their peers.

click here to get them
Of course, I made these printer and classroom-theme friendly, but I also made some that match my new pirate theme :)

These are part of my larger packet, The Daily 5 I Can...Literacy Choice Picture Displays and More, that I have been adding to throughout our book study. I would love for you to take the time to give me your feedback if you download it on TpT :)

Over the course of our book study, I hope you were able to glean something useful for your classroom, gain a better understanding of implementing the five literacy choices, and realize that your students will succeed because they have a wonderful teacher guiding them...YOU!

As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions :)

If you want to read about the previous chapters, you can find those here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and Chapter 6.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Treasures Galore and More...part 3

So, who hasn't been school shopping yet? Said no teacher ever...lol...well, it happened to me...I got not only the shopping bug, but the fever as well! I don't know about you, but I might need to go back to school to keep me from spending! If you're like me, you can't help it, a bargain is a bargain...

The last of my book orders arrived and here's what I have to share with you:

The Cafe Book, Fifty Shades FreedPeace Week in Miss Fox's Class by Eileen Spinelli is about getting your students to be mindful about how they are supposed to get along with everyone else...wouldn't it be great if it carried over to their home as well? It will be good to use to build classroom community and start discussions about the what they did and how they did it when faced with conflict. I'll be waiting for the sequel, Peace Month and Peace School Year...

The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction by "The Sisters"...Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. After participating in The Daily 5 book study this summer, I am ready to sink my teeth into The Cafe Book. Thus far, it's unread...anyone hosting a book study?

Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James. This is the third book in the 50 Shades trilogy...I'm still on book 2...I think you know what it's all about...

The Worst Day of My Life Ever! by Julia Cook is about poor RJ who just can't seem to make a right decision due to his inability to listen closely or follow directions...sound familiar? After a heart-to-heart with mom, RJ gets explicit how-to's on ways to "really listen" and "follow directions" which makes his next day the best day ever!

You Get What You GetMiss Fox's Class Goes Green also by Eileen Spinelli is about teaching our students how they can actively participate to keep our earth healthy. This would be great to reread on Earth Day.

You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman...a perfect book to go along with one of our favorite phrases, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"This is about Melvin who lets his teacher's classroom rule slip out and is forced to abide by it at home, too.

My Favorite Things, All About My TripAnd, here's some adorable student packs I found at my local Dollar Tree store: If I Were President, My Favorite Things, and All About My Trip. Now, I know I could make these and add some cute clip art...but these are pretty cute and were only a $1 for the pack...so worth the time it saved me!

Now for the treat...here's a Blueberry Crisp recipe that I found in the May issue of People...see, you get valuable fashion advice, celebrity gossip, and recipes...

Here's the recipe...I actually only had one pint of blueberries, so I cut the recipe in thirds and it turned out great!

Blueberry Crisp (serves 8)

for the filling:
6 cups (3 pints) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. coarse salt

for the topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as almonds
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Make the filling: mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Transfer to a 8-in. square baking dish.

2. Make the topping: in a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, nuts, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir flour mixture into butter. Using your hands, squeeze topping pieces together to form clumps. When I made this, I read "make the topping" and stopped reading and mixed all the ingredients together without using a mixer...and it turned out fine...up to you :)

3. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until filling is bubbling in the center and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Let me know how it turns out...

What are your latest book / recipe finds? Thanks for stopping by :)

Check out my other book finds and a smoothie recipe here and even more book ideas and a lemonade recipe here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study - Chapter 9

Welcome back to In Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study! Thank you for joining us on our literary journey. This week's musings are over Chapter 9: Wholeness of Text, the main idea being "how illustrators make connections between and among illustrations" (p. 168). A big thanks to Cheryl at Primary Graffiti for hosting!
by Katie Wood Ray
I don't know about y'all, but this chapter was a lil' tough for me. I mean, I understood Technique 26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead (circle story, right?) and Technique 31: Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time (as in a plant life cycle), but some of the talk about static details and insignificant details started to just all sound the same. Anyone else agree? But, then again, that's why I'm here...to learn from you and your interpretations of the text. I want clarity, otherwise how will I explain these techniques to my kiddos?

If your students are anything like mine, they love Laura Numeroff's books! Her books are fun, have excellent examples of ADD, and are classic examples of Technique 26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead. They are great picks for the beginning of the year due to their familiarity and engaging use of silly animals. Here's a cute craftivity to go along with If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

get Melissa's work here

This craftivity includes a writing activity with the sentence starter, "If I gave a pig a _________ it might want __________." Plus, there are easy templates for your students to use to make their own piglet to hold the writing illustration / prompt.

I think Technique 31: Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time can be exemplified by this book by Gail Gibbons, The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree. This illustration technique is probably one that our students can easily identify and, with guidance, use in their own writing...especially with so many of us doing apple studies early in the school year.

Here's a seasons reproducible book I found that would be great for the important writing connections. This 18-page book includes fact pages, acrostic poems for each season, and places for illustrations.

get Amy's book here
Another favorite book of students in my class is Chalk by Bill Thomson. This wordless picture book is an example of Technique 25: Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next since it is the illustrations alone that move the story. As you "write" the story with your students, it helps them with building vocabulary, connecting ideas to meaning, and drawing details from the story to build the "wholeness" of the story.

Have you had your students make wordless books for other students to "tell" the story? I think this would also help my students to understand how important the illustrations are to the story. If the pictures do not connect to take the story forward then meaning is lost.

Do you think it's best to use as many different books as you can for the illustration examples or would it be best to use a smaller number of trade books for showing examples of many illustration techniques? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study - Chapter 6 and a Freebie

Hey, friends...we are almost at the end of our Daily 5 book study...this week we are onto Chapter 6: Work on Writing and Word Work. A huge thanks to Deb from Fabulously First for hosting :)

Work on Writing
What I had my students use last year was a folder to keep their writing in during Work on Writing. (For Writer's Workshop, they used a draft book.) We started out with this basic format of paper:
get paper from C&C Teach First here
As my students built up their stamina, I would add different styles of writing paper to keep it fun...and to keep them interested...because we did Writer's Workshop almost every.single.day. By the end of the year, most of my kiddos were filling up two pages of paper that looked like this:
also from C&C Teach First
My only source of conflict (such a harsh word) is that as another bribe incentive for choosing Work on Writing, I allowed my students to use colored pencils and crayons...which was a big no-no during Writing Workshop...please don't throw virtual things at me...But now, after reading In Pictures and In Words by Katie Wood Ray, I am now in a quandary...she emphasizes that illustration work is just as important as the writing and therefore colored pencils, crayons, and markers should be allowed during the writing process????

What do you do in your classroom? Am I way over-thinking this? You know how it is...some kiddos can get sooo caught up in "coloring" their pictures...please share how you handle this in Writer's Workshop/ Work on Writing...

Word Work (Work on Words)
One of the activities my kiddos l-o-v-e-d was using dry-erase boards during Word Work. My only rule for using the dry-erase boards (I know I have so many rules), is that they had to be able to read the words they wrote down. It wasn't meaningful if they were only writing down letters without any meaning attached to them.

Then they progressed to writing sentences using words they found around the room...then adding correct capitalization and punctuation. It was so much easier for them to "see" the "end" of their sentence versus putting a period at the end of every line...you know what I'm talking about :)

They also had cardboard and magnetic letters to manipulate and spell words, but the dry-erase boards were the biggest hit. I have discovered so many fabulous resources on Pinterest this summer for Word Work that I can't wait to use with my kiddos! Here are a couple of my favs because I'm all about recycling and easy:
from Pink and Green Mama
from The Activity Mom
And now onto the freebie...I created these as covers for my students' Work on Writing folders. These could also be used for Work on Words folders (W.O.W folders)

get yours here
The black and red matches my pirate theme, but they are also available in black and white so you can have your students color these in or they could be printed on colored paper to match your theme.

Frames by Tales from Outside the Classroom and font by Kevin and Amanda.

I would love to hear how you plan to use them in your classroom :)

What successes/ challenges have you had with implementing Work on Writing or Word Work?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Days Are Coming...

Open, open, open...oh, come on...you know you stand there (along with all the others) silently chanting...waiting for the doors to open. Yes, the magical time between savoring the last few weeks before school starts and the excitement of a new school year is upon us...

It's Teacher Appreciation Days coming to a office supply store near YOU! Yes, I know you can wait for the postcard reminders or the notifications via email, but, if you're a planner like me, you want to know what the dates and times are as soon as possible...get a sitter, give the honey a to-do list, and grab your girlfriends...it's YOUR day!!

I thought it would be helpful if all the links were in ONE place for you...just type in your zip code or your state to get started. The links will take you to each store.

for the first 100 teachers


Now, I know Staples got some flack for taking away their higher purchase limits (OfficeMax is picking up their slack)...but you get this cute BAG (they were red last year) and a bonus coupon.

Last year, at my location, there were nearby businesses that had giveaways and promotional items that are perfect for treasures boxes...

breakfast for you

At Office Depot you will get complimentary BREAKFAST and can also enter giveaways (on the Saturday of the Teacher Appreciation week). You can also enjoy 20% off your purchases.

Two years ago (yes, I've been at this for awhile), I was in Houston during the Teacher Appreciation Saturday, so I made my poor boyfriend drive me around in a strange city and wait in line with me. Turns out, they gave full-size chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-A! Score! (Yes, he got one, too).

free tote

Finally, at OfficeMax, you will get a reusable TOTE, usually filled with goodies, and can save 25% off your purchases. Here they will give you higher purchase limits (up to 20 items).

All these stores require you to participate as a Teacher Reward Member (sign up is free) and show some sort of teacher identification...along the lines of a school I.D. badge or a letter on school stationery.

There are, of course, limitations, so check your local store for complete details. I have not been compensated in any way to share this information with you. (Though I wouldn't be opposed to it, ahem...Staples, Office Depot, and OfficeMax). I did it as a THANK YOU to you for following me and letting me into your home :)

What are your back to school traditions for Teacher Appreciation Day? Do you grab your colleagues and map out your stops (guilty)? What is the longest you've waited in line? What's been the best deal you've gotten? Or are you rolling your eyes and saying "no, thank you?" Either way, I'd love to hear from you!

Good luck and happy shopping!!