Saturday, August 25, 2012

Writing, I-Pick Books, and Book Boxes, Oh My!

Three days is not an incredible amount of time, but it was time for my 6th graders to get a solid start to the school year.  With some procedural stuff and lots of paperwork to be organized, those first days can fill up quickly.  I was bound and determined, however, to lay our foundation for the Daily 3 and hit the ground running.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this school students are enthusiastic, my team is incredible, and our schedule is ideal.  I am a lucky reading/language arts teacher for sure!!

Here is how I began our Daily 3 work this very first week of school...
  • On Wednesday students organized their Reader's/Writer's Notebooks-these are 1-inch binders with a pack of paper and one divider separating the two sections.  I utilized Beth Newingham's Reader's Notebook template, but I can't remember which site/blog I found it.  If you send me an e-mail, I will happily send it to you...
  • Once our binders were ready, we began work as writers.  I wanted students to have the opportunity to open those Writer's Notebooks up to a fresh piece of paper and begin their journey.  I explained that I wanted to get to know each of them a bit better and that presented the perfect prompt for the I-Chart.  Students made a giant I in the center of their paper, and after a few examples, they worked to fill their I with all things about them-athlete, 6th grader, brother, sister, roller coaster rider, cotton candy eater, etc.  

They came up with great descriptors.  This gives them the chance to share, but also brainstorm topics to write about in the future.  I then gave them time to share, which allowed for students to add things to their I-Charts they hadn't thought of.
  • On Thursday we began our narratives about "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."  I read the picture books How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague and The Sand Castle Contest by Robert Munsch as mentor texts.  Then we utilized the ABC Brainstorm to generate ideas about things we did over summer vacation as a whole group.  Finally, I asked students to select one event from their brainstorm organizer to write about and begin writing.  Off they went...a few were even willing to share.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Dragonfly Books)
 The Sandcastle Contest

My goal for my students this week was to get them thinking like writers.  I stressed that none of the pieces we work on is ever 100% finished and that they will always have the opportunity to go back and include more details, fix organization, add dialogue, etc.  They were especially responsive and excited to write.
    • On Friday we focused on reading!  YAY!  I brought in pairs of shoes-my son's, my daughter's, my husband's, and my beloved running shoes.   I showed them all about "Good Fit" shoes, which led us to "Good Fit" books that we will be filling our book boxes with.  They loved watching me try to squeeze my foot into my daughter's shoes that she wore as a baby.  The little things!  We took a few notes on "I-Pick Books", students decorated their book boxes, and began finding books that they wanted to read based on that criteria.  Check out some of their great designs...

    I leave you with a song I wrote to help my students understand the idea of "I-Pick Books."  The song is called "My Favorite, Maybe" and they are currently memorizing it and preparing to star in their own music video.  As soon as the video is completed, I will post it.  I wrote the song to "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.  I figured it is a tune every person on the planet knows by now.  If you are looking for some inspiration to help your students learn about "I-Pick Books", feel free to utilize.  I hope they love it as much as my students!  If anything else, they will love to hear you sing-I am certainly not a talented singer, but I have no problem singing and dancing away, if it makes my students excited to read!




    At Saturday, 25 August, 2012 , Blogger Heather said...

    I got so many ideas from this one post! I would love you to email me the Reader's Notebook Template you are using. I will send you an email with my email address on it. Thanks!
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    At Sunday, 26 August, 2012 , Blogger Erin Beers said...

    I am more than happy to send you an e-mail with the PDF file. Just send me an e-mail so I can attach the Reader's Notebook. I hope you have had a great weekend and an excellent start to the school year. I am headed to your blog now!)


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