Thursday, October 4, 2012

Currently and Writing Wednesday (err... Thursday with Freebies for you!)

First up, Currently:
Thanks, Farley, for hosting!
Okay, okay, so I know The Witches isn't really all that seasonal ... actually, no I don't know, as I still need to read it!  But, it is what I am most excited about right now.  One of my awesome teammates has a unit she does every year in October with The Witches.  My kiddos ordered enough Scholastic books with our last book order that I was able to get a class set of The Witches, so our two classes are going to read them at the same time this year and of course I'll be using her unit.  I am ridiculously excited!

And now, Writing Wednesday on a Thursday (don't you hate forgetting your camera at school?!?!?)

With our district narrative writing assessment window starting NEXT week and of course a million things trying to butt their way into our writing time, I'm having a hard time getting through all of the pieces of a narrative before testing them.  Never mind revising and publishing.  That's going to have to come after the district test!

So far this year, we had been brainstorming and writing "shots" (see post here and here, respectively) on whatever students felt like that day.  Many had worked on pieces of upwards of 10 stories!  But now that we want to be published in the next two and a half weeks, I wanted the kiddos to start focusing on one story.  We made this checklist of questions to help choose a great story for them to write:

After we had all chosen a story, we talked about what drafting actually is:

Next, we identified the problem and solution.  We talked A BUNCH about how problems don't have to be bad and how solutions don't always have to be happy and took some notes on that:

Each student brainstormed and wrote on a sticky note a solution to the problem of an alien landing in your campsite.  They LOVED it.  Many were not school appropriate (too violent), but some were super creative!

Then, we got back to work on our stories.  Once we figured out the problem and some possible endings, students worked together to choose a solution that fit the problem.
Click here for the worksheet!
And finally, we got to leads.  I "read" two leads - one from a Magic Treehouse book and one I said was from a rough draft of mine (I'm going to tell you about my airplane ride.  Great, right?).  Almost all of the kiddos seemed to get why the Magic Treehouse one was better.  Then, I gave them notes (it would have been WAY WAY WAY too much writing notes) and we glued them like so into our notebooks. We read over the notes, wrote an example for each, and outlawed some annoying  uninteresting "leads" (Hi, my name is _____ and I'm going to tell you about ____ is one of my biggest pet peeves!)  Last, the kiddos read the leads in their independent reading books and we talked about what made those interesting.

Click here for the notes. Fonts from

And finally, today, we wrote leads!

Happy October!


  1. Oh my goodness, where do you live that you were in the near 100's this week?! I live in Central Texas and usually that is how our weather is this time of year!

    When you find the "magic" cleaning fairies, please send them my way, I am in desperate need of their help as well! :)

    1. I live in California (Bay Area). I was shocked by the weather this week!

  2. Oh my...I need to do some grading too! Thank goodness for a long weekend!!

    Mrs. Crouse @ {6th} Grade All-Stars

    1. I didn't realize that people other places still get Columbus Day off. We haven't in my area since I was in elementary school! So, sadly, no long weekend for me! Enjoy yours extra much for us California teachers! :)

  3. Uh...PD on a Saturday? What?!?! Why on earth is that?
    Love your polka dots!!!

    One Berry Blog

    1. The PD isn't district nor is it mandatory. It's something I started over the summer that ends tomorrow. We've had 3 Saturdays since school started. I loved it at first (see my post here), but I am so over it now. However ... there is a rather nice stipend if you go every day, so I'm certainly not going to miss this last one!


  4. ewww, I would hate to go to PD on a Saturday. Good luck to you!!

    Funny enough, we also talked about writing leads this week and made an anchor chart to go with it. :)

    I would also love to have it warmer rather than heading into winter weather!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

    1. I'm trying to figure out where I can hang anchor charts in my room because I think the kiddos might reference anchor charts more than they do their notes. I had five or six kiddos raise their hand (right after we reviewed the 3 leads I taught them) while they were trying to write their leads saying they didn't remember one of the types. They seemed genuinely shocked by the idea to check their notes!

  5. I am echoing JennyB... PD on Saturday?!? I am so glad my district has a great NEA to prevent that! I hope that your PD is beneficial and you get something out of it. Also, I think it's the time for a slightly messy room and lots of grading.


    1. Our district can't give us PD on a Saturday either. See my comment to JennyB about why I've even going!

      I'm glad I'm not the only one with a slightly messy room and pile of grading! I can't wait for November (when we actually have days off) to try to catch up and maybe even get ahead!

  6. Thanks for your problem and solution page! I actually just uploaded a unit on fractured fairy tales in which my second grade babies are identifying problem and solution!! This is very helpful!

    Sensational Seconds

    1. I'm glad it's helpful! I'm heading over to check out your fractured fairy tale ideas. We're working on the differences between fairytales, myths, and legends right now and all kids seem to love fractured fairytales!

  7. Just stopping by to check out your Currently post. Send that classroom fairy my way! lol

    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox,