In writer’s workshop, we adopted Jon Scieszka as our mentor author.  This means we read his books, look closely at the skills and strategies he uses, and then try those things in our own writing.  We read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Frog Prince Continued, and The Stinky Cheese Man.  We noticed he uses humor in his stories and loves to take stories that already exist and give them a fresh twist.  These are often called Fractured Fairy Tales.  We then brainstormed stories we could twist and fracture, adding our own sense of humor into the voices of the characters.  Some students even began writing fractured tales.

We’re also reading another Fractured Fairy Tale by a different author during interactive Read Aloud.  It’s called The Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives and it’s by Michael Buckley.  As we read this story, we’re making and modifying predictions.  We’re also listing character traits to describe each character based on clues the author leaves for us in the text.  And when we independently read, we’re remembering to use post-it notes to leave tracks of our thoughts as readers.  We also began our book blogs, a safe online community for our classmates to learn about the books we are reading. 

As a class, we’ve built our independent reading stamina up to 30 minutes.  While most students read independently, some students are conferencing with Miss Mitton to create reading goals and reflect on reading strengths.  We’ll continue to conference throughout the year.

During the first month of school, we will be spending a lot of time learning how to think and act like readers and writers.  The following is a summary of our first week activities.

In Readers’ Workshop:
·      We learned how to PICK a just right book:
o  P: Purpose – Why do you want to read a book?  What’s your goal?
o  I: Interest – Is this a topic that fits your personality and interests?
o  C: Comprehension – Do you understand what is going on as you read?
o  K: Know – Do you know what most of the words mean?

·      We talked about ways readers choose books:
o  Look for authors you know
o  Look at the cover
o  Look for a favorite genre
o  Listen to the recommendations of others
o  Read the back cover
o  Read a chapter or two and see what you think

·      We practiced building our reading stamina.  Just as athletes increase their stamina by practicing more and more each day, or taking on harder and harder challenges each day, readers also need to build their independent reading stamina.  By adding a few minutes a day, our reading-to-self skills are strengthening.  All students should be practicing their stamina at home by independently reading for 15 minutes and having their reading log initialed by an adult.

In writer’s workshop:
·      We created a list of topics that we enjoy writing about or discussing with others.  We added areas of expertise to our lists, as writers tend to write about what they know.

·      We combined writing with social studies this week as we drafted and performed respect “radio ads” or public service announcements.  The goal of this project was to explore what respect really means, how we can show respect to ourselves, our neighbors, and our environment, and how we can send a clear message through our writing.  We’ll be listening to and reflecting upon our radio ads from last week as we continue throughout the month of September.

·      We also took a baseline assessment in writing.  This assessment is not for a grade, but gives the teachers an idea of what the students can do in writing, and what areas they still need to practice.  We’ll be spending the majority of the first semester writing narrative pieces (writing that tells a story).


    October 2009
    September 2009



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