If Michelle were a character in a Western film, she would be…

I am continuing to draft writing for each of these real life writing purposes according to Kelly Gallagher in Write Like This:

51RYe58cBjL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Express and Reflect √

Inform and Explain √

Evaluate and Judge

Inquire and Explore √

Analyze and Interpret – ↓

Take a Stand/Propose a Solution

Apparently iMAgiNiff is a board game that I missed out on as a child.  It is also an inspiration for an activity in the Analyze and Interpret chapter.  This one seems like lots of fun and would be great analyzing practice as a Morning Meeting activity with my new fifth graders.  It could also be used to reflect on characters in books.

Pose a question for students to answer, explaining their reasoning.  For example: “Imagine if _________ were a character in a Western film.  Which would he be?  a)  Sheriff  b)  Outlaw c)  Deputy  d)  Farmer  e) Stagecoach Driver  f) Barkeep”

Since Michelle is hosting the Big Time Blogging Challenge this month, and that is why I have been writing every day, I am going to use her.  Thanks Michelle!

If Michelle were a character in a Western film, she would be the barkeep.

Michelle is a social butterfly and can talk to anyone. She can serve people their selected beverage and make them feel at home.  This is similar to what she does as a literacy coach, she has to develop relationships and make teachers comfortable with her.  She knows when to help and provide support.  She knows exactly when to hold back.

Everyone tells their secrets to the bartender.  People can spill their guts to her and she can keep a neutral expression, not always needing to give an opinion.  Let me tell you, co-plans can be tense!  But, I have heard more than one teacher say that Michelle knows how to stay cool and not take sides.

Finally, when push comes to shove, Michelle is capable of putting people in their place!  Chairs fly, glasses break.   Someone has to put an end to it…

Save

Querencia

In his book Write Like This, Kelly Gallagher shares six real world writing purposes and different ways to get kids to start writing with each in mind.  I’m going to try at least one example from each chapter.  Although this is written with high school in mind, I think most of the ideas can be adjusted for middle and intermediate elementary school.  And the real world writing purposes:51RYe58cBjL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Express and Reflect √

Inform and Explain – Trying this one today!

Evaluate and Judge

Inquire and Explore √

Analyze and Interpret

Take a Stand/Propose a Solution

There are so many great ideas for Inform and Explain.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “You Should Know”  Biographical Paper (“Find an ‘average’ person in your life with an ‘above average’ story.”)
  • How does _______work?
  • Unwritten Rules  (Inspired by The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian)
  • My Favorite Words

 …

Today I am going to try “My Favorite Words.” Christina, this one is for you, my word loving friend! The word I decided to write about isn’t in all dictionaries and I hadn’t actually heard of it until today:  querencia.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 11.42.27 AMQuerencia

noun

Definition according to www.merriam-webster.com:  “an area in the arena taken by the bull for a defensive stand in a bullfight”

Origin according to www.merriam-webster.com:  “Spanish, fondness, haunt of an animal, favorite spot, querencia, from querer to want, like, love (from Latin quaerere to seek, gain, obtain, ask) + -encia -ence (from Latin -entia)”

I’m not a huge word person, so when approaching this idea, I searched around a little on Pinterest for words.  (To clarify:  I consider myself a reader and writer.  It’s just that I’m not one to use big words when a simple one to do.  I love stories, words strung together.)  In my search I found this:

64e0411d0eb6bdce4d487388cc8067d9

 This word alone didn’t stand out, it is it’s definition that struck me.  “the place where you are your most authentic self”  This is a powerful word and got me to thinking about my querencia. Do I have one?

For a very long time, I don’t think that I had a querencia.  I’m not sure I do now.   At this point, my home is becoming a place I am comfortable.  Each new memory, each laugh, erases some of the damage done.  Each smile makes me feel safer.  One day, this home may become a place that I can draw strength, my querencia.

I think the place that I have always been able to be closest to my authentic self is in the presence of children.   Standing among kids, I have always been able to take chances – dance, twirl, joke, and even sing.  I have always drawn strength from my time with them and not needed courage to be myself.

I hope that my classroom can be a querencia for my students, as well.  I hope that my students feel safe, at home, and accepted each year.  I hope that my students have a querencia in their life, but if they don’t – I hope our classroom can be that place for each of them.

#btbc16

Shopping Carts

Most of the chapters of Write Like This are organized by purpose.  In the Express and Reflect chapter, one idea I tried is childhood games.

Today I’m trying “Things I find disturbing…”  from the Inquire and Explore chapter.  The idea is to write a list and then choose something from the list to write long about – Why do you find that thing disturbing.

Another option he suggests is for students to research using the newspaper and find articles that are disturbing to them, research, and then write about that.  However, based on the horrible things I am sure to find in the news this week, I am going to go a little less research-based and more light-hearted…shopping carts.  Here is my flash draft…

Why do I find people leaving shopping carts in the parking lot, not in the cart corral, so annoying?

I have very early memories of sitting in the car hoping my mother would not get back out of the car to yell at the person leaving the shopping cart in the parking lot.  I have other memories of my mother reprimanding people for leaving the shopping cart in the parking lot. 

Oh, and there is that time that my aunt, my mother’s twin, got out of the car. My mom, my sisters, cousins, and I sat watching her chew out some unsuspecting shopper.  Awkward!

I am not the type of person to give a random stranger a piece of my mind.  When I see a shopping cart sitting alone in the middle of the parking lot, I push it to a corral or push it inside.  My son is used to it at this point.  If the person that left it there is still near, a dirty look is all I share. 

As a new mom, getting the groceries and the kid in the car wasn’t simple.  However, I was never willing to leave the cart, so I started parking right next to the cart corrals.  Problem solved.  Try it people!

For some reason, there are never cart corrals near the handicapped parking…What’s with that?  Yet, I once saw a lady that was obviously having trouble walking, push her cart up to the other carts in front and then struggle back to her car in the handicapped lane.  I remember thinking, “If she can do it, why can’t everyone?!”

So, I guess my answer is that putting shopping carts away has been ingrained in me since childhood.  I wonder if one day my son with have the same issue?

What grates on your nerves?

#btbc16

 

New Grade Level…New LC Units of Study

I am moving to fifth grade after three years in third and I couldn’t be more excited!  However, it does require some extra preparation this summer.  It’s nothing that I haven’t done already:  My district adopted LC Units of Study for Writing the summer before my first year as a classroom teacher and I spent that summer reading the third grade units.

Since I know I’m not the only one needing to prepare for a new grade level, I thought I would share how I approach the Units of Study for a new grade level.

1.  I read each Unit of Study book, taking notes on each session.

Yes, I know Lucy is wordy and goes on and on.  The very first unit I read, I read EVERYTHING, which I would recommend if you have never used Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.35.31 PM.pngthem before.  However, after that it isn’t really necessary to read each word on each page.  Within each session, the main points are in bold, it isn’t necessary to read all of the dialogue/text after that unless you don’t understand what is being said.

When I take notes, I try not to put my own thoughts or take out what I know won’t work.  I try my best to keep it as it is.  These notes come in so useful because I can copy, paste, and adjust into my plans during the school year.  This has really been a time saver in the long run.  Plus, I am a big picture person and I am more effective if I know what is coming.

2.  I read in the genre, looking for mentor texts appropriate for the grade level.

The units name some mentor texts, but there are so many more out there.  I read as much as I can, after all I need to be ready to write with the kids!

A few additional thoughts…download

  • During the year, as I am teaching a unit, I read the dialogue that LC includes for each session before I teach it.
  • I put in a lot of my own lessons into the LC units, more each year as I get to know the kids, standards, and units better.
  • I’m finding that the fifth grade writing units, especially the Memoir one I am working through now, is more “fluffy” than the third grade ones.  Anyone else?
  • Don’t be scared of LC or the Units of Study!
  • My dog snores…

Save

Virtual Vision Board

 

 

Troy is the most amazing child I have ever met.   I realize that I am biased, but he is special.  I need to remember that regardless of all of the mistakes I have made and will continue to make, he is a good kid.  I want to continue to encourage him to be himself: that creative, unique boy, mismatched socks and all.

A Library!  I want a library in my house!  It needs to have lots of high shelves, filled with books.  And a ladder!  A sliding ladder!  I will have one of these one day!

“I love crazy!”  Do you know where this is from? Frozen.   Toward the end of the school year my co-teacher and I were listening to Disney Pandora when I heard this line.  Immediately I said, “That is what I we need! Well…we each need separate guys that like our kind of crazy.”  (or something like that) And so, I will settle for nothing less than someone who loves my kind of crazy!

OPEN is my One Little Word for 2016.  If you don’t know about this idea, I would suggest looking into it.   It has honestly changed me much more than any resolution I have ever made.

dewey.jpg

If you are a teacher, you know why this is part of my virtual vision board.  Standing up for what you think is best for the kids isn’t easy, but I can’t stop questioning.

“Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt!”  I think I’ve got this one covered and, coincidentally, I just got confirmation this weekend.  I was at my grandparents house and so was my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews.  I got up to get something to drink from inside and my four year old nephew took my seat.  So, of course I made a big deal of it, sat next to the chair, and stuck my feet (my bare, stinky, dirty feet) in his face.  He looked at me and said, “You’re weird!”  SCORE!

Use Your Words:  I just finished this book yesterday and it has been so motivational and though provoking.  It is a symbol to keep writing, make time for it.  More posts about this are in progress!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

“Keep on believing.”

Save

Sign of a good book…

 

I sat on the bathroom floor sobbing.  I should have been in the shower, but I needed to finish the book.  Down to the last two pages and the silent tears turned into audible sobs.

That is a good book – You don’t agree with the characters’ choices, but you still love them.  You still want them to be happy.

You have seen the movie.  You know how it ends.  And yet…you are still sobbing on the bathroom floor.

Sign of a good book.

#btbc16

Summer Reading 2016

20160702_175659.jpg

 

I’ve finished six books so far this summer and have many more on my summer reading list.  The books in the pile on the right are up next.  Plus, I am reading all of the fifth grade LC Units of Study for Writing and Reading to prepare for my grade level move.

 …

Me Before You

I planned to read this one before seeing the movie, but it just traveled in my purse for ever and I never got past page three.  Instead, I read and finished about eight other books!  Sometimes I’m just not ready to read a book – it isn’t the right time.  I am always reassuring my son that it is fine if he isn’t interested in reading a book right now.  Just put it on the shelf and eventually, when the time is right, he’ll read it.You’ve had this issue before, right?

IMG_20160703_110400.jpg
Ready to read it now!

 

 

Save