Monday, January 28, 2013

Penguin Invasion!

Hello friends!  I just wanted to take the time to share one of our very favorite units...Penguins!  There's so awkward and cute and sooo interesting.  Like in most of our thematic units we start off with some kind of graphic organizer.  We made a KWL chart in the shape of a penguin!  Here is the one Sandra made.  I love it!
Our writing focus for the week is beginning poetry.  The students had to describe an object so we decided to describe a penguin.  First, we made a bubble map to organize our thoughts and write down our descriptive words.
Next, we used the words from the circle maps to write a diamante poem.  It has a noun, 2 adjectives, 3 verbs, 2 adjectives, and the noun again.  I used Microsoft Word and a cute penguin coloring page to make the paper they used for their poem. I was planning to attach it, but unfortunately I left my flash drive at work.  Here is what it looked like.

The kids did a really awesome job on it.  My more advanced writers had fun and were able to come up with different words.  My struggling writers had the bubble map for support and were all very proud of the end product.  Another penguin activity we did was an easy sequencing foldable book.  I got this activity from The Mailbox Magazine, I just translated the labels that went with the pictures and scanned the sheet so that I could save it.  It has a simple explanation of the life cycle of the penguin.
Sandra and I both love to do cut paper activities.  I had a penguin cut paper activity that I found online, but I have no idea where I left it or where to find it lol.  So I made my own smaller version of this activity.  I'll post the sizes of paper and instructions when I add the penguin freebies.  Here's an example of my little penguin.  I used trail and error to find the sizes.

 The last activity that we make during our penguin unit is an all about penguins book.  I really like the way Sandra's came out.  She had a diagram in it and each page had a topic.  It seemed to help the students really focus what they learned.  Her kids did really good and their books look great!
I will try to upload the penguin freebies tomorrow.  We hope you enjoy these fun ideas and find them useful.  We really love everything about penguins and hope you do too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making Better Writers!

Hello friends,
We hope you all a restful break!  One of my favorite things about coming back from winter break is how some of my struggling students are finally ready.  One of those proud moments in the lives of teachers. :) We're going to share a few of our "how to write a sentence" anchor charts.  We meshed some charts that we've used in past years along with some ideas from Pinterest.  The first one is about punctuation and how to use it.  I made a three column chart where I wrote a what each punctuation symbol is used for and a sentence using each one.  We refer to it during writing so that they students can become familiar with how to use it.
 The next chart I made it my how to write a sentence  it focuses on what a sentence needs: begins with a capital letter, spaces and punctuation.
Sandra's chart focuses on writing a proper sentence with a subject and a predicate along with the punctuation as well.  I might have to redo mine like hers it came out really nice!
 Sandra did a directed draw activity with her students using this book.  This book breaks down the picture into steps showing them and easy way to make very creative drawings.  This is the book and sample that is in it.
Here is the teacher example along with a sentence starter for the students to tie the directed draw into the writing mini lesson which was using the criteria chart to make a proper sentence.
Here are some of the student examples.  Each student wrote a complete sentence or more and then had to read it aloud to the class.  They gave themselves constructive criticism.  I think they look really good!
We have lots of fun and exciting themes coming up can't wait to share our fun ideas.
-Cindy :)