Friday, March 9, 2012

Writing and a Freebie

Honestly, I thought about not blogging until I could give myself an attitude adjustment...but I just can't seem to whip myself into shape. Maybe I need you all to give me a "swift kick in the pants" as my Dad used to say.

I've had to close down shop in the classroom this week, and I *hate* doing that.  I have soooooo much I want and need to teach, yet assessments {the whole dang slew of 'em} are breathing down my neck.  Seems like I asked the kids to "get out their blockers" at least 10 times this week.  Poor things. 

And I'm grouchy.

I do have to brag though - my group this year is so darn tootin' sweet so it basically took 8 days to finish up all my F & P/Fountas and Pinnell {or Effin' P as most of us call them} assessments. I was able to do two during Daily 5 and two during writer's workshop each day.  My little babycakes were so on target; they made it easy this time around.  One kid did fall asleep in Yertle...but hey, at least he wasn't bugging anybody and could you blame him?!?

On top of assessments, after school, school-life has been nutty too.

I know a lot of you are already hot and heavy into the Common Core - we're on our way in Michigan.  Our district is doing a lot to get ready for the adoption and are doing a pretty good job at giving us the skinny.  I'm on the District ELA Common Core committee and was so impressed with the writing program our ISD {Intermediate School District} is developing.  Several of the teachers at our ELA core meeting are piloting units and shared some of their goodies.  One was this awesome paper that I tweaked {of course} and wanted to share with you.

If you do Lucy Calkins you're familiar with Small Moments {personal narratives}. At some point, early on in the program, Lucy has you make booklets for the kids to write their stories in.  I kid you not, I have tried implementing these booklets and they send me over the edge every year.  Basically, I find putting them together to be time consuming and most of all I find them to be a waste of paper.  The kids will write one sentence on each page of the booklet {if that, especially early on} and leave the rest.  Maybe I don't give them enough time - maybe I jump ship too soon, who knows?  This year I didn't even try them.  I just have the kids write their stories and then staple at the end.

What I do like about the thought process behind the three/four page booklets is it gives them a good sense of beginning, middle and end.  When I saw this paper I got goosebumps {doesn't take much, does it?}.  I was like "Where have you been all my life?!?"

Clipart: MelonHeadz and Cre8tive Hands.  Numbers: 3AM Teacher

Sorry it's in three different documents - my computer wasn't being very friendly this week either! Grrr! 

I started using this new paper right away this week and I have got to tell you - it's awesome.  So, like always, I have the kids tell their stories across their hands to their partners.  Beginning is their thumb, next three fingers their middle, and their pinky is where they wrap it all up - the end.  I have a poster of this but I want to make it cuter before I share.  Basically, the icons on each page match what's on the poster {one icon on each finger}. 

I put the paper in three different trays and the kids come up and grab which page they need whenever they need it {I like for them to get up every now and then during writing - keeps 'em focused longer}.  The first page is for your beginning where the two icons; one of a house and the other of a person remind you to include who, what and where.  On the 2nd page {and possibly third, fourth, etc. depending on how detailed they are - this why there are no page numbers} are numbers reminding them to include at least three events/details} and the last page has a gift and heart...wrap it up/heart of the story {if retelling}. This paper makes me happy.

Wanna know something else that makes me happy?  My boys are going to their cousins' house tomorrow for a sleepover and hubby and I are getting some much needed us time.  What should we do? Go see a movie?  Go out to dinner? Both?  You know what we'll end up doing?  Grabbing a quick bite to eat and running errands.  Why we always end up walking the aisles of Target or Walmart is beyond me!?!

Happy weekend!



  1. you and hubs should do something for you guys!!!!!

    Ms. Rachel’s Room

  2. I hate how assessments do that! I am in the middle of them too. But I do love the paper by firsties struggle with this too and this should help many of them.
    Also I would gladly change my poem for you! Just let me know what you need and I will see what I can do!

    Apples and Papers

  3. Thanks for stopping by my lil blog. I'm following you now.

    You and hubby should most definitely have dinner and see a movie. I say throw in a glass (or more) of wine as well. Make the most of it xx
    Daydreams of a Student Teacher

  4. Gosh, glad it's not just me! It's bad enough when we were deciding for my birthday dinner, and the first two choices were Cici's and Red Robin! LOL

    At least the assessments are almost over, right? Ours are starting soon, with IRIs and (ugh) AMC math assessments! Hang in there!

    Chrissy/Adventures in Second Grade

  5. haha.... we end up walking the aisles of Target, too. Why is that?
    Dragonflies in First

  6. Totally get the goosebumps!! So cool!
    CA is not talking about the Common Core . . . we always have to be different. Ugh.
    Enjoy your night with the hubby, whatever it is!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  7. Go on a date!! Dinner and a movie sounds good!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  8. Love you. Really. I call it the Effin P as well :) This writing paper is so perfect. I am totally going to use it next week.

    First in Maine

  9. Thanks for sharing! The papers are great.

  10. I also get frustrated when a lot of assessments come all at once. But it's just one of those things you have to do. The following week is usually full of crafts because I feel badly for them. :)

  11. Love the writing pages. THANKS! I do Lucy's small moments too. Can relate with the little booklet issues. My district is starting the new common core too. Went to a meeting Thursday night. I'm liking what I see! I hope you and hubby have a great date-stay away from Target and go to the movies.

  12. THANK YOU!!!
    I teach near DEE-troit area...HEAVY into the "core" in my county and district. We are using oakland county writing scope/sequence as well as Lucy Caulkins (they go hand in hand). I HATE the writing across pages, but I do have the kids say their story across their hand. This is PERFECT!

  13. We just gave you 2 awards! Come by and check them out when you have a chance :)

    Love your blog!

    Melissa from Awesome in 1st

  14. I think our minds are hot-wired together, because I was having the same frustrations with booklets this week too. I asked my instructional coach what she used for them and she didn't really have a good solution either. Thanks for sharing your amazing paper. I am printing it off right now!

  15. Hi Holly! I just gave you an award so come over and grab it while it's hot!

    2B Honey Bunch
    The Best Endings


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...