Thursday, April 28, 2011

Writing Paper

I've mentioned before that I use Lucy Calkin's Units of Study for Writing. Today I want to share the handwriting paper I use with my students to help them organize their Writing.

I want to start by saying this was not my idea, I just made it cuter. When we being the year my students start with a one page sheet. This has one box, for a picture and 2 to 3 lines below for a sentence or two about their picture.The Kindergarten and First grade look different so I will show you both. I will also show you my Second graders writing papers. (Some of you may not know I see 4 second graders for 30 minutes everyday to work on Writing.)

 You'll notice that Kindergarten only has 1 line. This is because at the start of Kindergarten, as many of you already know, most children only manage to get one or two words on paper. As the year progresses more lines are added.

First Grade
Why lines for 1st Grade and not Kindergarten? In Kinder we concentrate on the context of the text and not the actual handwriting. Don't misunderstand, they do receive handwriting instruction daily, we just don't want them to get hung up on it during their story telling writing time. While in 1st grade they have already had a whole year of handwriting and we want the students to apply what they have learned. 

Second Grade
This is front & back and they can use as many as they need to complete the story. It usually ends up being 1. :(

Halfway through the year my 1st graders are writing in 5 page books. It is just 5 pages stapled together. This helps them to stretch out their stories. If you use Units of Study you know exactly what I am talking about. However, my students struggled with remembering what to put on each page.

One morning when a teacher friend showed me how she had added some picture visuals to her students writing papers to help them I love this idea. (Thank you Miss. H) I had just downloaded some new fonts from Kevin and and it just so happened that some were Doodles. I knew exactly how I would use them. So I went about adding them to my 1st graders writing sheets. Here is what they look like.
Let me move on now. By the middle of the school year my Kindergarten students move to what we call 3 page books. We've taught the trait of Organization and they know that their story must have a beginning, middle & end. We teach the Organization trait with the "O Train". This is a clip art poster that has a train with 3 parts. At this point we introduce using 3 sheets of paper stapled together. My ELL students had a hard time making the connection. My 1st graders were so successful with their sheets I thought I would do the same with the K paper. I took trains from their planning sheet and put them straight on to their picture box. Here is what it looks like.

Here is the Planning sheet:
This is the revamped writing pages:

I am not sure why they were scanned crooked but my students don't seem to mind so I left them. As you can see I also added letters and numbers to the trains to help them remember. With my ELL kids I do EVERYTHING I can to aid them and help them be successful.

At this time I thought it would be a good idea to add words to my 2nd graders writing sheets. Here is what those look like.
I decided I would give them 3 sheets instead of letting them choose how long their story would be.

I cant being to tell you how much this has helped my students. I didn't even realize what an impact it had made when I heard one of my 1st graders today reading the titles to see what went on that page. :)

Now it is time to share.
Do you want these writing sheets to use with your students? Feel free to grab any or all of them and use them with your students. The only think I ask is that you leave a comment because I like to feel loved. :) Enjoy!

K Planning Sheet
K 3 pg bk
1st Grade 5 Pg Story
2nd Grade Writing
The second grade paper is meant to print front and back.

This post is participating in Ladybug Teacher Files "Successes Linky Party." Hop on over there, by clicking on the boy, to see what other teachers are celebrating.

Move Your Body

I'm sure you've heard of the First Lady's campaign to get rid of childhood obesity. Well Beyonce has now joined her cause revamping one of her songs and making a video to "Move Your Body" to promote getting off your bottoms and moving around! Wanna see? Check it out below.

I think I will play it for my students today and have a little fun moving our bodies. Enjoy your day... it's practically Friday already. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

April showers brings a May flower ABC strip...

 Hi everyone,

It is that time again. What time you may ask? Well it is time for me to post a fee alphabet strip for you to use... for free. :)

Here is a preview.
Disclaimer... I had a difficult time finding a color that showed up well on these flowers, so I chose white. I hope it works for you all. I may do another, if I find the time and a flower that works better.

I had some difficulty with Google Docs again, so I am back on Scrib. I hope I can work out my problems. I do love Google Docs a lot.
ABC Flowers

Until next time,

Ms. M

Friday, April 22, 2011

And the winner is...

Hi everyone,

I hope your having a happy Earth Day. I know I am. :)
 I am here with the winner of the Honey Bunny Studio Giveaway. 
Without further ado.
Becki email me at msk1ell(at)gmail(dot)com and I will get you Nelvis's info.

Ms. M

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If all you need a Writing...

I've done it again, I've made a new Lesson Plan template. This one is a Writing Lesson Plan template and is called Wendy's Writing. It is a one page template so it is dirt cheep... only $2.00. I patterned it off of Lucy Calkins Unitis of Study, but made it generic for everyone to use with any writing program. Want to read more about it?
Hop on over to A Teachers Plan. Here is a screen shot.

Wendy's Writing

To read more about it please visit A Teachers Plan to get all the details.
Ms. M

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animal Reserch Reports

My 1st grade students have been working real hard on their Animal research reports over the past few weeks. We started out by talking about nonfiction animal books. We used the Pebble Go series because, 1. our library has tons of them, & 2. they are VERY kids friendly. I picked Giraffes, check out this cover! My tatter tots could not stop giggling because he has got his tongue in his nose. :)

Anyway once we talked about nonfiction books and it's components, which took a couple of days, we then dove into our research. I made a graphic organizer for my students that has 6 topics: What the animal looks like, eats, where it lives, babies, predators/ survival and other/ fun facts.

Here is  a download of my graphic organizer.
Non Fiction Graphic Organizer

We fold it in 3 parts and the side with "Other Facts" and the "Name" line should face out.
Then we tuck it in our books. This makes my life easier because I don't have to pass out a bunch of papers and books. It all gets passed out at once.

The first day I model what it looks like to take notes from our books. The second day I model again and then have them go off to take notes independently. The third day, I review with a quick model and then they attempt to take notes on 2 sections in one day. It usually takes a day or two more to get the whole graphic organizer filled up.

After we learn to take notes from a book, we learn to take notes from the internet. My school is lucky enough to have laptop carts for us to check out & use in our classrooms when an opportunity arises. So I pulled a few for this lesson. You could stretch this out for 2 days and with a larger group I would, but my 1st grade ELL classes are pretty small so 1 day was enough for us. We went to the animal section of  Pebble and signed in. This is what we see:
Because we were only spending 1 day with the laptop I just had the students type their animal name in the search box above. In the past I have allowed my students to kind of roam around looking for their animal... not this year. Anyway, Once they find their animal they see this page.
I love this site because it is so kid user friendly. If you notice on the bottom of the page there are different tabs to pick from. Here's the best part for my ELL kids, if you click on the speaker the text will be read to you! If you click on a word you don't know it will say it for you too, and bold words get a pop up window with the definition. On the top right there is a "watch" button that allows the student to see a few minute long video of their animal. they LOVE that part. The very last thing we do is click on the "Print and Label Picture" button. This prints out a color picture of the animal which the students then label for their report. Here is a picture of what it looks like.
You will notice that the words and definitions are on the bottom for easy referencing. :) I print up 2. One in color and one in black & white for us to practice on first.

After all their research is completed we then start to write up our report. We use the paper below.
Nonfiction Heading Paper, Portrait

I follow the same pattern to teach my lessons as I did with the taking notes section. The top two lines are for their heading, even though not every page will get a heading. So if "What the animal looks like" takes up two pages the first one will have the heading & the second one wont. will I make sure and stress that they do not illustrate until their writing is finished so that their words match their picture. Again that will take several days to complete.

Once all that work is done we start to put the finishing touches to our report. We number our pages, & create a table of contents and references page. I make a cover page using the Comic Life program. Then I take them and bind them! *whew*

I decided not to post the Table of Contents & References pages because I know you all would come up with something WAY cuter. If you want them leave me a comment and I will email them to you. There are pictures down below of some examples.

Here is what they look like.

Here is one on Zebras:

We spend a lot of time on these so we make sure to have a celebration for our hard work. I have even been know to have my students visit several rooms around the school to read what we have learned. This year I decided to turn them into their second Digital story. Once I get them all done I might be able to post them. However, that is a whole post by its self. :)

I do something similar with my Kinder kids only we do a whole class report instead of individual reports. I won't get to those until the very end of the year. Thank goodness, I don't think I could take it right now.

I hope this helped you in one way or another. I am sure I have left out a ton of steps. Please feel free to ask if something was unclear.

Ms. M