With In November, I introduced visualizing with a lot of think aloud. As we read, we talked about writing techniques and how Cynthia Rylant used repetition in both When I was Young in the Mountain and in In November. We went on to create a patterned poem about the changing of the seasons using repetition. I got wonderfully expressive writing from all of the children in this group, but then, we went on to Scarecrow. We practiced visualizing further with the many descriptive phrases Cynthia Rylant uses and wrote about A Day in the Life of Sammy Scarecrow. I decided to scaffold the writing just a bit by making a four square plan with the group and having them use it to practice carrying out a central idea. What I got from the kids was honestly phenomenal. They added so much elaboration to the plan, funny anecdotes, and lots of detailed description. I may just have to photograph a few to share. Anyway, the wow moment really hits me when I think of where we started with writing and in the discovery of a hidden talent my little girl has. She's a struggling reader, so the mechanics of her writing are not as polished, but her writing is filled with voice and superb word choice. I've always enjoyed teaching writing, and one goal of mine for this year is to really step up my students skills and show them how to be successful with it. Reading and writing go hand and hand, so we are building reading skills while we work on our writing. Today's projects were proof that what I'm doing is really helping the children. :-)
The other wow I will share is my latest project for Facebook Frenzy. I've been making a unit for the book I mentioned a week or so ago, Snowflakes Fall. The book is dedicated to the children lost at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the unit I will be sharing through the Frenzy will be a paid product after with all proceeds being sent to the National Alliance on Mental Illness which works to provide education and support to address mental illness in America. It is so sad to think that the Sandy Hook incident could have been prevented. As a teacher, I was so moved by the stories of heroism and shaken by thoughts of "what would I do if..." This book is so beautifully written which changes the thinking from horror to the magic and beauty that is our children, and like the books I used by Cynthia Rylant, Patricia MacLachlan writes with such description that the reader can really visualize the images of each little snowflake and the joys of childhood. You can grab this unit the weekend of December 5th through my Facebook link or wait and purchase to make your donation to NAMI. Either way, I hope that my unit will provide teachers with the materials needed to use this book in instruction. Here's a glimpse of what's included with the unit.
I hope you've had lots of Wows for the week. If so, I'd love to hear about your Wows in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!