Friday, March 13, 2015

Five for Friday March 13th

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! Happy Friday the 13th!
I was out a couple days this week for professional development and an RTI conference, so I felt like much of the week was spent writing sub plans!  But we did get to do some fun learning along the way.  

Here was a spur the moment math review activity the kids loved.

 Every day a different student brings snack for the day.  This day's snack was iced animal cookies.  (OK- yum...  I know they are horrible, but for some reason at 10:30- when lunch isn't until 1 they become delicious to me sort of like left over goldfish crackers from snack-  that I never eat at home, but eat at school some hungry days like I'll never eat food again...)

ANYWAY- we have been working on reviewing our facts of five, so I gave everyone 5 animal cookies out of the bag.  Then, one at a time, they each came to the board to write their five fact, by writing how many white cookies and how many pink cookies they had.  This was great for fluency practice, because we kept reading the math sentences and noticing how many were the same. 

The funny thing we noticed was that nobody had 5 pinks or 5 whites- everyone had a combination of the two.  

We finished our author study of Donald Crews.  The children love his books.  He uses great color and detail, with lots of movement and perspective in his illustrations. I posted about how I use books by Donald Crews as mentor texts for small moments in narrative writing here, as well as how I love Ten Black Dots.  

For this author study, I focused mainly on the illustrations in his books, so the children could see the continuity of his work and really get a sense of his style. We read Harbor, Parade, Freight Train, Truck, Flying, School Bus, Sail Away, and Carousel .  

The books are quick and easy to read, so the first two days of our author study, I read a few books with illustrations that we could really study, and ended with one that I used with a writing prompt.

I made a packet of Author Writing Prompts that I use all the time.  I included eight authors in the packet.  

I also use my Author Prezi to go along with these prompts.  My Author Prezi features 13 authors. This prezi has links to information about the authors and to some of their work.  I keep this prezi up on the Smartboard while we work on our author study.  

My Author Study featuring Donald Crews is FREE this weekend if you would like a copy! I just put it up on TPT.  I would appreciate your leaving feedback at TPT if you download it.  Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it.  If you like it, the Author Writing Prompts packet has prompts for eight different authors!

Here are some samples of the Flying writing prompt that we used this week. 

The next day, we wrote our own books like Donald Crews.  This was a really fun way to switch up Writer's Workshop for a while.  We have been working hard on writing Narratives and How-To books, so these books were a way to write a quick little book, work on some conventions, and add some fun details.  

Author studies are so neat, because the children really get to know the author you work on- and then they start comparing every book you read to the different authors they know, 
because they now "know" them.  I love it. 

 Finally, the last day of our author study, I had the children write about their favorite book by Donald Crews.  I sent home a copy of the author bio (in the packet)  on the back of this paper, along with their book.

My class loves to play our Detail Games.  For this game, I have everyone stand in a circle.  I secretly choose an attribute that will be my "detail."  I go around the circle and say, "sit" to anyone who does not fit the attribute or "stand" to the ones who do.  After I get around the circle, the children guess what the detail was that I was noticing. (for example, stripes in this one.)

Another fun game is to have everyone stand.  Choose one person whom you will be describing gradually.  As you say a detail, if it fits the student, they remain standing. If it doesn't fit, they sit.  So, I may say, "This person is a girl."  (Boys would sit.)  "This girl has a pony tail."  (Anyone without a ponytail sits.) Continue with more and more specific details until only one child is standing.  The kids love to try to be the describer.  It takes a little practice for them, but after a while they get really good at it. Then, later, when they are writing, I can use this game to remind them how important the details are for picturing what they are writing about. 

My little tennis friend makes me smile every time I see him.  These are so easy to make- and great review for practicing any skill with a child.  During free choice time, you can have letters all over the table, and call a student up to feed the letters to the tennis ball.  (We named ours Lovey. We voted.) Lovey loves to learn. They have to say the letter name and sound as they feed Lovey.  You can say, find the letters to spell "can" and feed Lovey, so they have to feed him c-a-n. It's great for practicing spelling names in the beginning of the year or practicing numbers, counting, shapes, coins...  I only have one Lovey, because I use it one on one, and it's special for the kids.  You could make lots of them if you wanted, and have the children use them- or even send them home with the kids.   You could get old tennis balls from a tennis club or even from the school team.  Be sure the ball is easy enough to squeeze.  Some of them are practically impossible because they're so hard.  Just cut a slit in the ball with a box cutter or an Exacto knife, and then decorate as little or as much as you'd like.  The minute those eyes go on, it comes to life!  Lovey has a pretty "carefree" look with the hair...   

Here is my wonderful moment of the week. (Well, one of them!)  We sold our house, and are renting while we wait to move into another.  We are actually renting the home we lived in from 1992 until 1999.  It's an old Victorian house, with so many fabulous memories for me, because my children were young when we lived here. I love it.  Well, the other day, something fell behind the register in the kitchen, and I had to move the register out to get it...  and this was behind the register!

My Emily made it for me when we lived here BEFORE. I had it on my "heart wall" which was right above the register.  I love hearts, and had a bunch of them hanging on the brick above the register. This must have fallen down behind there sometime before 1999- and was STILL there, waiting for me, still beautiful.  I remember water coloring with the kids. This one Emily made on lined paper with cotton swabs. I remember like it was yesterday!  What a happy little gift from the past this was!

Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by! 


  1. Oh my gosh! Emily's picture story is wonderful! I'm sure it took your breath away! Your kids are writing beautifully, Carolyn! I think my little friends were all absent on the day I taught about spacing. HA! Wonderful post as always!!

  2. Your wonderful moment is incredible! I am a big believer in things that are meant to be and that was certainly meant for you to find & to keep forever!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

  3. Great post much appreciate the time you took to write this.


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