This and That

Vacations's been busy!  In between doctor and dental visits, I've been catching up on a myriad of chores.  Luckily we haven't been socked in with a big snow storm, so it's been easy to run around completing errands.

Today I found a fantastic giveaway at Primary Graffiti and I learned about a new piece of technology that would be the coolest thing in my classroom.  Mrs. Saoud blogged about the now!Board and is offering a $100 gift card to Learning Resources.  It can be used to offset the cost of a board or on any other Learning Resources product.  I'm in! Just click on the button below to head over to her site to check it out.

I also registered for Everything's Primary at Virtual Teaching Expo. If you pre-register the price is discounted, and it's more than worth it when you see the free items in the Goodie Bag!  I'm really looking forward to the presentations from Kimberly Gillow, Dana Richliew, Mor Zrihen and Mel D.  It starts tomorrow!!!  I'll be ready with coffee in hand.

In addition, I'm working on a new blog design for my blog.  I'm aiming for a cleaner look, with fewer graphics to load in.  It's oh, so fun but very time consuming.  I can get lost in the specifics for hours but I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate having 100 followers (soon, I hope).

Monday will be back to sausage (see this post).  I do love this time of the year in first grade.  Many of the children are zipping along, reading is clicking into place, and we are rolling smoothly, for the most part.  April vacation is now seven weeks away!

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Cute, Cute Valentine Bags

I just had to share these awesome Valentine's Day bags that my children made today.  This doggie pattern has been kicking around for years, and it's even in Canada!  Barbara at Grade ONEderful, who teaches in Canada, posted a picture of her bags last week.  I was floored when I saw it because it was exactly what I had in my plans to do today.  Barbara has a link to the doggie pattern on her blog, so head on over there if you'd like it.  You can also find the pattern at Mrs. T's First Grade Class.

We added a cute little poofy heart sticker for the nose!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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You know you're a teacher when. . .

There are some things that come with teaching.  By that I mean, some behaviors or ways of thinking and doing things.  And usually only teachers can understand these oddities, simply because it's what we do.  We live this job, love this job and wouldn't do anything else.

I have two:

Read more at Jeannie's Linky Party over at Kindergarten Lifestyle.  They're precious!

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Currently February!

It's time to link up to Farley's February Currently already!  I just can't believe how fast time is zipping by.  Before you know it, it'll be time for our February vacation. Yeah!

I wrote this out quickly yesterday, and now that I look at my responses, I can sense a theme.  Can you?

Happy February everybody!

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Writing a Story in Writer's Workshop

In writer's workshop we are learning how to craft a fictional story. This is always fun because my mini-lessons are completely unscripted, and inspired by imagining my dog as a super hero.  Love it!  (Can you picture a Scottie dog with red cape ready to fight crime and help the world?)

Illustration by Mark Paul
The mini-lessons take place over a couple of weeks, each one no longer than 8-10 minutes.  First we make a list of ideas, such as a story about a princess, or a story about a talking cat, or a Super Dog, etc. Then we pick one to write about.  We use the list organizer that I posted here.

So once we have determined that the story will be about Super Tamas, we move directly into the problem, which is the middle part of the story.  Maybe Super Tamas sees an airplane on fire in the sky, or maybe he sees some bank robbers leaving a bank, or maybe he has to catch a car on an icy road.  This brainstorming is always fun and takes place over a couple of days.

I begin with the problem because once we have that, it's really pretty easy to go back to the beginning and lead up to the problem.  Then we can figure out an ending, explaining how the problem got solved.

Here is the writing organizer we use to collect our thoughts. Just click on the image to download, or click here.

Once we have some thoughts mapped out on the above writing organizer, we begin to write the story.  This will take about a week of mini-lessons.  After the story is written, we will edit it (more mini-lessons).

The best part of this is that it all carries over into reading as we practice retelling a story with beginning/middle/end.

Now I'm eager to read the stories my students will invent.  They are always filled with surprises!

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