January 31, 2013

Snowman Fiction Writing and A Freebie

So I was going to post last weekend but life has been a little hectic.  Both of my little guys got that yucky snotty gross cold thing going around and it has been TONS of fun at my house!  J

When I got back from maternity leave, I really wanted to get my kids going on writing more stories.  Have I mentioned I love teaching writing???  My sub did a fabulous job getting them going with writing using a 4 square plan so we were able to take right off.  I noticed that they were having a problem writing imaginary stories so I came up with a graphic organizer to help them plan their story before they wrote.  Here’s a freebie of it if you want to try it out! 

To provide some background, we read The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, a wordless picture book.  We worked together on a larger version of the graphic organizer first.

The next day, I read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner to help them brainstorm some ideas for their own snowman story.  I passed out the graphic organizers and we went through each area step by step.  We talked about the characters, the setting, and then the beginning, middle and end.  I did this one section at a time so they had time to think about their story, not just write something quickly without a plot.   
Here is one of my kiddos plans:

We talked about how a lot of imaginary stories start.  Many wanted to write “Once upon a time.”  We decided it would be good to tell the characters and setting on the first page so readers know who and what they are reading about! 

Then we were on our way to publishing their own book.   I have “books” made by stapling half sheets of paper together.  I don’t have lines on the pages because I let them put their words where they wish, just like an author and illustrator would in a real book.  I let them illustrate their own books.  It’s great to see the different levels of writing and drawing in my room!


After they wrote and illustrated their story, I introduced the idea of a blurb.  What is a blurb???   I honestly didn't know the name of this until I started teaching first grade!  It is what the author puts on the back of the book so people can find out what the story is about.  My kids are all about blurbs now.  Here are a few of my favs!



January 29, 2013

Fairy Tale Fun Unit & a Giveaway

I am so excited to share with you the unit I started pre-blog, Fairy Tale Fun.  We use the Scott Foresman Reading series, Reading Streets which for some reason does not cover Fairy Tales......so each year we take two to three weeks off from our reading series to explore the land of Fairy Tales.   I have to say   "Fairy Tale Time" is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year, mainly because it doesn't involve a basal, haha.  I'm not the only one that loves learning about Fairy Tales the kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it too.  We cover Fairy Tales around March or April so check back I will post more on this unit in the future.  Here's a sneak peek....ALL FAIRY TALE RELATED UNITS WILL BE 20% OFF FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS.  CHECK THEM OUT HERE..........

Click on the picture to check out each Unit .  I also listed both units together at a discounted price,  you can find it in my store listed under Ultimate Fairy Tale Fun.  The first two people to comment can pick which part of the unit they would like to have, don't forget to make sure you are following too!  :)
Sweet Dreams.......

January 14, 2013

Nouns and Snow Writing Freebie

Oh, How I do  love my job but going back to school after two full weeks of  being home with my own kiddos made me think of this e-card
Came out a little blurry
              It says the first five days after the weekend are the hardest,
      what it should say is the five days after Christmas Break are the hardest. 

  We actually had a beautiful snow the day after Christmas and boy was it fun playing in the snow.  We were snowless last year so we had SNOW MUCH FUN riding four wheelers and sleding, not to metion taking pictures in the snow are the best. 

After going back we started our week  with a writing activity about the ten kinds of fun  we had in the snow. First,  I modeled about all the fun I had in the snow using a Four Square Graphic Organizer.  My team decided to move the middle rectangle that is used for the lead sentence to the top because those little kiddos always get confused about what sentence to write first, no matter how many times we've went over it....... and why wouldn't they we teach them to read and write from left to right and top to bottom.  RIGHT? 

                      Click on picture to get a four square organizer and snowflake writing paper. 

Later in the week we spent time going over Nouns.  I am such a visual learner  I try to make learning as visual as possible, regardless of my inability to draw a straight line.  In the past I have made noun anchor charts on plain paper(which I love beacause of the lines, ha!) but this year I branched out and made a cutout for each type of noun............person, place, and thing.  

                                                                 What do you think?

Once we finished brainstorming and charting the different types of nouns students hustled back to their seats to come up with their own nouns.  I never allow students to copy off of the charts we make.  What type of thinking does that require?   I am telling you what these kids were done with this follow up activity LICKITY SPLIT and did they have some outstanding thoughts.  Here's one that absolutely stole my heart.......

Check Out the last two under person, Awwww!
      (Click on the picture for your copy)

Well there's so much more I'd love to share but there never seems to be enough time in the day!  Come Back Soon!  We are 17 followers stronge!  Yippie!!!
I leave you with another picture of the fantastic snow we had last week, well maybe more than two weeks now.  I love when the snow sticks to the trees, GORGEOUS!

January 5, 2013

The "C" Word Has Crept Into Our Lives, Calling on All Prayer Warriors.

I come to you today with a very heavy heart.  On Thursday, the "C" word crept into our lives when we were told  my mother in law (the best MIL ever)  has esophageal cancer.  Over the years , I have experienced all too often the "C" word in families around me but never in our family.  There are no words to express how our family is feeling at this time.  We are a very tight farm family who looks to my MIL for everything, she IS the rock of the family.  It is not clear what the next few months will bring but what is clear to me today and always has been is PRAYER IS POWERFUL.  So, this is a call to all prayer warriors out there in blog land to please pray for our family.   Blessings

January 3, 2013

New Year's Craftivity and I'm Baaaaaack from Maternity Leave

So…first off…Happy New Year!  This past year was a crazy, busy, exciting, nerve-wracking, and short (?) year.  I had a new baby, finished grad school (for the second time…lol), and started this blog with Alison.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store!

Since I’ve been just a little absent from this blog, I thought I would introduce you to the reason why!
 This is  little guy #2, he was born at 33 weeks due to my severe pre-eclampsia that started a few days before his birth.  Thankfully he’s been growing like a weed even though he started out teeny tiny.  He’s my little cuddly guy.  The sad thing is, I have to go back to work on Monday!  Why can’t he come with me? 

While I hate that I have to leave little guy at the babysitter, I am super excited about seeing my kiddos again.  I had the pleasure of reading their letters to me and I cracked up.  One gave me a multiple-choice quiz:

Dear Mrs. Mason,

How is your baby doing?  fine     not fine   (circle one).  Does Little Guy #1 like him?  yes   no  (circle one). 


My hubs doesn’t get how funny/cute I found that.  It went on with about 3 more questions, too.  I can’t believe I forgot it on my desk!

Speaking of desks, lets talk New Year’s Resolutions and my new FREE crafitivity at my TPT store.  It’s a little door that the kids put together and place their resolutions or goals inside.   You can put your students real picture inside or have them draw a self-portrait.  Either one is cute!  There are two different choices, either students write goals or resolutions.  Enjoy!

What does that have to do with desks you ask?  WELL, let’s just say I’m a messy desk teacher and try as I might to keep it clean, stacks of books and papers grow.  So, I am going to do my best to keep my desk neat, if not completely cleared off in 2013.  Any other messy desk teachers out there?   Anyone? 

Here's my resolution:
Let us know what your teaching resolution is!!  If you like what you see, leave a comment!  I'd love to hear from you.  Happy New Year!