Monday, October 13, 2014

Apples, Apples, Apples!

Hi There!

Before we talk apple talk, I have got to share a quick picture from a good friend's FROZEN birthday party that my daughter Ella went to this weekend....

 This mama was so creative and brave!! She made "snow" for a snowball fight out of baking soda and hair conditioner (I had to close my eyes when going back into her was covered in snow...such a mess!!!) She also gave each guest a can of silly string to shoot out like Elsa's magic powers. SO.DARN.CUTE!! But oh my, the mess! The girls had a great time at the party so I am guessing it was all worth it!

Apples! Apples! Apples! We have had so many learning opportunities while studying Fall and apples...

Since we  have been studying "How-To" writing I decided it would be relevant, fun, and engaging for my students to make applesauce in the classroom. {Our recipe came from The First Grade Parade Here} Each student brought in an apple.

First, I asked a sweet parent volunteer to come in the morning to peel, cut, and core the apples.  

Next, I had my students gather around the carpet area and we put water, sugar, cinnamon, and apples into the crockpot.  

Then IT happened....a sweet boy shouted out...Mrs. Winter, Mrs. Winter, this is like a how to story!!  

Last, I was dancing in my teacher chair...cha-ching!!

We went about our day as it cooked it for 5 hours.  At writing time I reminded my students of the procedure and we brainstormed a graphic organizer with key words they might need to write their How to Make Applesauce stories.

My 1st graders went back to their desks and used this template to write their procedural piece. I just love this template. ALL of my students are successful writers using this template. The format clearly defines what is needed in a procedural piece. You can see more of how I use it {here}

YUMMY! I love how she used labels in her writing too!

This week we will use this same graphic organizer to write How To Carve a Pumpkin!

I know this writing piece will be high interest!

How to Carve a Pumpkin is one of my How to Writing templates. I love that all my writers are successful using these templates AND they can publish a final copy on this fancy paper!

You can check out these templates and the publishing papers in my shop {Here}

As they finished writing, I dished them up some of the apple deliciousness! Clean plates all around. :)

What "appletastic" learning have you been up to? Have you ever had homemade warmed applesauce over ice cream?....mmmmmm...I just love this time of year!

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Fall Treat for you!


Happy Fall!
Some of my North Carolina Blogger friends and I are hosting a FREEBIE blog hop! HOP through each page and pick up your free resources, then HOP to the next page for more! Don't forget to "LIKE" each page to get future freebies! Please tag and share the post with your friends to give them a Fall treat they deserve!

What are you waiting for?  Click here to get hoppin!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Write Spot! {a homework freebie}

Hello There!




How do you feel about homework?

As a teacher I have the belief that it is important. I might have a different reason why than some teachers though... I want homework to be a way for my students to "show what they know" to their parents. I want it to serve as a gateway for parents to communicate with their child about topics they are learning at school. I want it to be user-friendly for parents. Last, I want homework to be fun.

As a teacher, I need homework to be manageable. We have a bajillion things on our plates everyday and the last thing I want to do is have to "find" homework for my students.

So I want to share something an old teaching partner (miss you Susan) and I came up with many years ago...The Write Spot!
Just edit the prompt text box, print and you are good to go!

I have been is school now for 10 weeks and I am about to send The Write Spot writing prompt home for the 1st time next week. After that, I will send it home about every other week.

My firsties have learned a lot about the processes of what writer's do while writing. They know my exceptions while writing, (use your tools, stretch the words, check over your work, don't forget your closing...) They are ready to write at home!

When I send home The Write Spot for the 1st time I always make sure to communicate with parents in my weekly newsletter about how to best help their child with this homework. I also check in with them at parent teacher conferences to see if they need clarification and to find out how it is going for their child.

A sample of my weekly newsletter with The Write Spot directions for parents :)

When students bring their homework on Friday (I do weekly packets) I read through their stories and choose 3-4 to be shared with the class. It is so powerful when they share...other students are engaged as their friends are modeling, they give them feedback and cheer, and there is such a sense of pride for the writer to be up in front of their peers reading their masterpiece. Then I have them hang their story on the WOW wall. (I keep good notes in my gradebook of who has shared their stories and has had a chance to shine on the WOW wall.) It is definitely worth the effort.

Parents report to me that their child is motivated to write well and edit their work so they can "be picked to share and hang their story on the WOW wall."

So there you have it, an idea for you on how to make homework meaningful and manageable for your students. If you like this idea you can grab this freebie {HERE}. I have secured the clipart and the special fonts I used to make the primary lines, but the text box is editable so you can change the prompt easily. (Remember to save the prompt each time with a defining title so next year you don't have to start from scratch!)

You can see more on how organize my Homework Folders and weekly Newsletters. These files are EDITABLE also to make it work for your class! {HERE}

If you download The Write Spot, please leave me a comment or some feedback!

Happy Teaching! :)