Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Small Moment Stories and Minding your "Peas" and Q's!

Hello Everyone!
I know! I know! Two posts in two days???  What??? Well, I told you that I was digging deeper into Lucy Calkins Units of Study for first grade and her first resource Small Moments has once again inspired me to create something fun for my little writers.  Lucy suggests using the little book, Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements, as a mentor text for helping kids understand what a small moment story looks and sounds like. As soon as I saw that title, I knew I wanted to dig even deeper!  It is a great little book about a boy who turns into a monster when he has to eat a pea! (How perfect for our beginning of the year monster unit too! I already had the book lined up to read!)
Well, if you know me, I can't just read a book once and leave it alone.  I wanted to really inspire kids about small moment stories by comparing peapods and peas. I know, a little wacky, but the connections just scream out to kids!!  So I created a little intro to small moment stories using peas.  It is very similar to the unit I've posted in the past about using pumpkins and seeds.  I can't wait to try this with my littles this year.  It is my intention to start this after we've done all the brainstorming, heart mapping and setting up of our notebooks. 
Here are a few pics from the 15 page mini unit.













I can't wait to help kids understand that their little tiny moments from their lives can become wonder-filled stories!!

Click!!

If you want to learn more about the resources Lucy Calkins put out, you have to look into getting her books!!!  Great investment!

I am getting more and more excited  about the new school year!!  
I hope you are too! Let me know if there's anything else you would like to see, or if there is a problem with anything you do see.  Until next time, look for the joy today!!!
Joyfully!
Nancy



Monday, July 20, 2015

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” - William Wordsworth

Hello Everyone!
This post is a joyful and emotional one for me.  Mostly because as I was creating this little writing unit, it brought back some incredible memories and  brought some joy for the days to come.  I was working on setting up some pieces for my writers workshop and decided to beef up my motivational lessons for the kids.  Part of this motivation includes the well known "Map of the Heart," a beautiful idea from Georgia Heard.  I've been doing the map of the heart thing for years, but I always thought something was missing. I needed the kids to be able to make more of a connection. Using a mentor text like "Treasures of the Heart" by Alice Ann Miller helps to clarify the heart part! I have used this book for other things before, but it fits so perfectly with the motivation and inspiration with which I want to cover my kids. The book is about a little boy who has many treasures hidden under his bed. His mom wants to clean, but this sweet boy wants to share the wonder of the treasures of his heart with his mom instead. 
Many of you know that my boys are older and are out of the house.  Many of you also know that I don't throw anything away.  Well, as a connector for me, I went upstairs to my oldest son's room. (Yes, it still looks the same as the day he left for college!) I dug around a bit, with tears rolling down my face,(cause I just get sappy sometimes) and found a few of the treasures from his childhood. He even had a little jar with some things tucked in, just like the boy in the story. Such sweet memories. I added a few more things to the jar and knew I had my own inspiration. 


Every kid has his/her own treasures, heart treasures, things that are so meaningful. I want to motivate my kids to write about those treasures. I don't want just their favorite food, or their pet. I want them to feel safe in sharing the treasures of their heart.

Giving kids time to develop an idea bank is something I want to spend a lot of time on this coming year. I want to set them up for success, and never have the chance to say, "I can't think of anything to write about!" 

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
We will try our best, Mr. Wordsworth

So, that's how my new map of the heart student page came to be. It is included in my mini unit!









The picture right above shows another fun motivator. The idea came from another great mentor text.  Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. There is a mirror down in the bottom of the can!!  Kids need to see themselves as authors!! 

If you think you might want to try this you can CLICK here for the 15 page mini unit!

The unit includes other book titles to use, some other writing idea pages, and pics of some motivators. 
I am getting excited to start this new school year!!  How about you??
Next up?  Some more writing.  This time, a new small moment mini unit!

Till next time!
Have a joyfilled week!
Nancy








  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Monster Beginning of the Year Unit!

Hello Everyone!!
Well, it happened again. A huge apology for not posting much this summer!  I am so enjoying being home.  I am just feeling the stress melting off my sholders.  I'm getting a lot done on the house and am still planning some beach time with the fam!!  Can't wait!! I love my guys!! (and I love the beach!)
But I wanted to answer a question I've been getting lately...I've lost count on how many e-mails I've gotten about a new beginning of year theme.  Thank you for your patience!!! I finally got some things put together to send out.  Our theme this year will be MONSTERS!!! Oh. My!!  The kids are going to have so much fun...and learn a little bit along the way!  If you don't have the book The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Haber, you seriously need to order it right now!!!  It is precious and a perfect little book to use for kids. I picked it up on a whim at our Scholastic Book Fair this past spring and fell in love with it!! 
So my Monster Unit ended up to be a little over 100 pages.  I may add some more as we get into it, but it's a good start.  It includes a lot of beginning of year fun, plus some ELA, a lot of Math, and some very cool science observations.  I hope you find something you can use!! Here are a few pics!













































As always, please let me know if you spy any typos or inconsistencies. And check back soon for an update!
Next up? Spelling and writing!  WOOHOO!!




Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Learning

Hello Everyone!!
I can't believe how long it has been since my last post. School has been out for 2 weeks, but we've had our staff retreat, a facebook bookstudy, another writing curric. to study...and don't forget all the family fun and the stuff I want and have to do around the house for which I don't have time  during the school year. 
Every summer for the last 33 years since I started teaching, I inevitably hear someone say that teachers have it so good, getting summers off.  Off? Summer for teachers is yes, a little time to rejuvenate, reconnect with fam., catch up on reading for pleasure, etc. after the crazy busy school year. But it is also a time for learning and growing as teachers. Sometimes I feel as though I do some of my best learning and growing in the summer because I actually have time to research, reflect and internalize.  My brain isn't scattering in a gazillion different directions. 
As I said earlier, some of us are participating in a district book study via facebook.  The book we are concentrating on is "No More Phonics and Spelling Worksheets" by Jennifer Palmer and Marcia Invernizzi.  It is all about engaging our young learners in word study.  Those of you who know me and have followed this journey know that I am all about getting my kids excited about learning and worksheets don't always fit that bill.  I can't wait to implement some of the ideas! You should check out this little book!! I'll be back later with a more complete report.
We are also working toward incorporating Lucy Calkins "Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing" into our first grade writing curriculum.  I love Lucy Calkins books so much, I went ahead and bought the whole unit myself, so I can start reflecting and organizing. Be on the lookout for more posts on this tool for writing teachers!!!  Can't wait!!

I hope you are having a good summer so far. Please visit again soon! I want to leave you today with a collection of quotes that I keep close to my heart.  Each one reminds me of why I teach and why I learn! 







My plan is to print these off and hang them in my classroom behind my desk.  I use a lot of primary colors in my room.  If you want these with a different color background, let me know and I will send you the set with your preference! 
Keep Learning!!! 
Joyfully!
Nancy 






Monday, May 18, 2015

Camping Unit

Hello Everyone!!
I know I said I probably wouldn't post again before school got out, but I wanted to quickly share this little pack that I hope to have time to do the very last week!  I wanted to save time to have a little end of year camping theme. I took some of the ideas from a camping theme we did several years ago, added some fun new things and came out with some anticipation for a fun week!! Here are a few things I hope to have time to do with my little learners!!







 









 

































These are just a few of the fun little learning opportunities included in the unit! 
If you think you want to try to fit it in  SIMPLY CLICK HERE!  It is about 76 pages!
I'll try to click some pics as we are engaged in the unit to show you more. Till then...have a super duper week!! Are you counting down yet???  I find myself getting a bit teary eyed at this time of year.  I am going to miss these littles!!!
Thanks for stopping by for a peek at what we are up to!! Don't forget to leave a comment. We love hearing from you!!
Joyfully!
Nancy 

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