Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exploring Nonfiction

We all know and recognize the importance of children reading and comprehending nonfiction. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task due to lack of books and the difficult levels of text. My students spent a few weeks specifically studying the conventions of nonfiction. We created nonfiction convention flip books and they designed my bulletin board displaying these conventions. This board stays up all year and they can use it as a resource. Once students are familiar with the conventions they each choose a topic of interest and do an in depth study utilizing nonfiction picture books and the internet. They create wondering questions and those become the highlights of their search. As a culminating project we created nonfiction posters that represent their wonderings and research. Of course they had to "write like a reader" and utilize nonfiction conventions just as our authors do!
We completed this study months ago, but I must say I was beyond thrilled this past week when several of my students were using terms such as "cutaways"and "close-ups" when reading their science textbooks!
I received many of my nonfiction ideas from Debbie Miller and her book Reading for Meaning. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Door Contest for Red Ribbon Week

I am getting this picture on here a little late, but I was so proud of our class for winning our Red Ribbon door decorating contest back in October that I just has to add it! Each student created their own spider and wrote about what they would rather do than drugs.

Leprechaun Traps!

We will soon be beginning our new project that incorporates both science and writing! Yea..we love writing across curriculum! Leprechaun traps are a creative way for students to use their knowledge of simple machines in order to build a trap that will catch our tricky leprechauns. Right now in writing workshop, we are working on direction writing. After students have built their trap they are to write the directions for using the trap being specific and using time order words! Listening and presenting skills are then put into place when they must present their trap and read their directions to the class. After the presentations are over, I leave gold coins (chocolate candy from the party stores) on each child's desk with a little note from the leprechaun saying they made clever traps but not tricky enough so he left behind a little prize for them. They eat it up!

I give students about a month to work on these before we present before St. Patrick's Day. If you would like a copy of the assignment that I give the students please email me at I have added some of the pictures of our traps from last year. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have discovered Edmodo! It is a great place for students to take quizzes and polls based off of school work.  Students can take the quizzes during computer lab time or on their at home. Once they take the quiz I get the scores to see how they did. These quizzes could even work for a formal grade! Right now I am using a point system with the students that we are keeping track of on our blog.  After they get so many points from taking the quizzes, they earn special badges for each level. Check Edmodo out!