Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

 My wonderful husband is coming in to my class today to carve our magic pumpkin!  I posted all about it last year HERE.  It's really one of my favorite moments of the year.

I have been working on putting together my writing prompts for EVER- and I finally finished!  I am so excited. I made a packet of MORE QR Codes and Writing Prompts- featuring Author Studies

This packet features Author Studies for Eric Carle, Donald Crews, Kevin Henkes, Laura Numeroff, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, David Shannon, Mo Willems, and Karma Wilson. I have included writing prompts and QR codes for over 100 stories. I love using writing prompts with my students. These prompts meet almost all of the CCSS in ELA. They provide great insight into students’ thinking and understanding after we read a book. They also provide excellent opportunities for authentic, purposeful writing.

In this packet, I have prompts with QR codes on them and without, so you can choose which ones you prefer to use with your students. Children love to have the story right on their paper with the QR code, so they can listen to it as much as they want at home!

You can choose the books you want to use to create an Author Study packet with these prompts. Use one or several of the activities on their own as you study an author, or use these prompts as homework for the students. Many books have a few different prompts for you to choose from.

This packet also includes my Author Prezi. This Author Prezi has links and videos to go with each of the 8 authors featured in this packet, as well as Jan Brett, Norman Bridwell, Theodor Geisel, Robert Munsch, and Shel Silverstein. The videos and links can be used with the whole class, and add a lot to any author study.



The prompts are easy for the children to see and understand- not too busy, just simple and ready to go!  I like simple and easy to read. 

The packet also includes my Authors Prezi.

I LOVE author studies. (Can you tell?!) I love when the children  know so much about authors, and talk about authors like they are their friends. The books that these particular authors and illustrators have created are just so valuable for teaching so many writing skills- from summarizing, inferring, predicting, retelling with beginning/middle/end, characters, setting, plot, and making connections to noticing text features, conventions in writing, detailed illustrations, and just plain learning to LOVE books. 

I have the packets printed out for each author, and that I can choose the ones I want to use.  I also keep a copy of the prompt in the corresponding book, so I always have the activity right on hand with that book.  That has saved me SO much time when I don't have to dig through and find something!

I always use these for teaching and practicing using conventions in writing.  It gives the students a purpose for organizing their thoughts, writing a complete sentence, remembering what they want to say, beginning with a capital letter, leaving spaces between words, and ending the sentence with a period.  They don't get to focus on all of these things  as they write books, because they are trying to remember so many other things.  Sometimes we need to have a certain focused writing prompt to practice these things.

I have used these forever. They also make fabulous lessons to leave for a substitute or if you are a substitute and want to take a lesson or two with you in case you have extra, unplanned time- just make copies of a lesson, stick it in the book that it goes with, and you are all set.

Here are some samples from my class this year to show you- and this is only the beginning of the year! These would work well for K-2, because older students can work more on upper level skills and thinking when they write, and add more to their answers.

My favorite shirt is my jewel shirt.

Me in my party "jress" Sofia

 I love how she also wrote, "I do my best" because that's what I am always saying to do...  She heard the sounds and wrote it all by herself! 
My dad built a teeter totter.

 Apparently, Payton is a website! 

 He loves his Pokemon...
 For this activity, I had the kids paint watercolors with a cotton swab to make the feather marks. Then, they labeled their birds when it dried.

 Nike was a very soft cat. He had 5 mice.

 When my dog bites me it makes me mad. 

 I LOVE the bouncing marks!

I just love Mouse's First Halloween by Lauren Thompson! It's great for inferrences and for seeing some fun features in writing.  The illustrations by Buket Erdogan are so detailed and sweet, and look like they are made with chalk.  

Look at the fun text!

And the ways the kids can use their "eagle eyes" to infer what will happen on the next page!

We got really into different ways to write fun text.  I wasn't going to put this anchor chart on my blog because it is kind of a mess, but then I kept looking at it as the day went on, and it sort of made me laugh. Sometimes, some of the best anchor charts aren't the neatest. Let's just leave it at that...   We had lots of laughs making it, and the kids had all sorts of ideas!

We practiced pointing to each word as we read with spider rings this week.  My kids are really pretty good at pointing to their words.  The rings just made it so much more fun!

Oh, bat rings work just as great, by the way...


Isn't it funny how changing something just a tiny bit makes it new, different, and SO much more fun? 
Every day during a few minutes of transition times, we read our sight words and letter/sound flash cards.  I LOVE using these voice cards from Cara Carroll.

 I laminated them and put them on a ring. They were just a tiny part of her Rock Your Fluency Packet, which is great.  The kids never know what voice is  next.  I do about 5 or 6 words or letters, and then change voices.  It works like a charm!
Rock Your Fluency ~ Pre-Primer & Primer Dolch Fluency Phra
These pencils made writing about Halloween SO much better and SO much neater!  The kids could pick a favorite and take it home with their Halloween story.
And finally, apparently, reading with a partner under the table= the best thing ever.

I posted earlier in the week about our Hidden Partners Sight Word Game.  In case you missed it, here it is!  I decided to make this game, because my kids loved the "math edition" so much to help reinforce math facts... so I thought we would have some fun with sight  words.
Math Edition
Make as many cards as you have students.  If you have 20 students, make 10 sets of two letter words, or 6 sets of three letter words, and one two letter word. You get it...  As you can see, I wrote the word on top of the card and one of the letters for the word on the card.  That way, if a child has an "o," he/she knows if it goes with to, go, do, so,  no, or on! 

 I made a couple different sets of cards.

I gave everyone a card and told them they could not look at it until I said, "Go."  Then, I had them spread out anywhere in the room.  When I said, "GO," they had to find their Hidden Partner to make their word.  Once they found their partner, they sat down together where they were as quickly as they could, so we could see who had made a word.

We checked together as a class to see that each group made its word.  When we got to a group, that group stood up together, said, and spelled the word.  We clapped if it was right. We've had a ball with it.  

I sent my friend Dan (Rocking Dan, Teaching Man) a picture I had doodled during one of our math professional development classes.   He turned it into an AWESOME song.  What a great guy!  Our friend Susanna from Whimsy Workshop gave the little secret agent his wonderful looks, and Dan made him come to life and gave him a mission- to solve some number bonds. What a fun way to reinforce and understand what number bonds are!

Dan has so many great teaching songs on his Youtube channel.  His Friends of 10 Song is great to use for math facts, too! You can go check them out and subscribe here!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. So many great ideas! I completely forgot about the magic pumpkin! I've got to get to school early this morning and get that done. I'm excited about your writing prompt packet. It looks wonderful, Carolyn! Very helpful!!! And Number Bond is adorable!!!! Great post, as usual!

  2. Love the magic pumpkin idea. I am going to definitely do that next year. Your little kiddos are doing a fantastic job with their writing. I love your anchor chart of emotions. Great variation on the partner game for practicing sight words. So many fantastic always. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

    Luv My Kinders


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