Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Autobiographies are IN! :)

It is so much fun on the day a project is due!! Students walk in to school with their best work, ready to show it off! The excitement that they have always puts a smile on my face! They work so hard on their projects and they are so proud of themselves. The students turned in some amazing autobiographies this year, showcasing some awesome text features. I was so proud of them and truly enjoyed reading all about their lives. I was highly entertained by many of them and I must say, I believe I have a class full of creative writers! :) Take a minute and look at some of these wonderful timelines!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Autobiography projects are underway....!

On Friday, the students were given a nonfiction text features project to complete. You can find the project and the rubric below for reference or to reprint...

I have had some parents questioning how this project should be completed. In this project, the students are to write a short autobiography using the nonfiction text features we have learned so far. They are each listed on the project sheet. To help them organize their "life so far", we completed a Life Map together in class, and they were given one to complete as a planning sheet for their autobiographies.

For each major event on their Life Map, they should create a subheading and then write about that time period/event in their life. This can be done with one event per page, or several events on multiple pages with the subheadings in special type, or honestly, however your child decides! PLEASE be CrEaTiVe!! :)The other text features should be fit into the autobiography wherever they see long as they are there and they make since with the overall theme of the project. 

I am getting excited to see all of the awesome autobiographies! The kids are so excited about them and from their feedback- they're having a BLAST! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nonfiction News!!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Over the last several weeks we have been exploring the nonfiction genre and completing a genre study. I am a true believer that when children are exposed to concepts over an extended length of time, they will be more likely to master the information. I LOVE completing author studies and genre studies for this reason!! It gives us a chance to really delve into the meat of the text, rather than just skim over it! When this is done- the result is a deeper learning that lasts. :)

We began our author study by exploring the differences between fiction and nonfiction. Each group completed a Venn Diagram charting their "noticing" about the differences between the two genres. There were SO many light bulbs that went off in so many of their minds! It was wonderful to watch their discoveries. Hearing them notice newer things like flow charts, pie graphs, special type...was SO neat. After the students completed their individual venn diagrams, we transferred much of their information to a class diagram. This diagram has become a work in progress, as we continue to chart noticings throughout the study!

Over the next few weeks we will be "digging deeper" into the purposes behind each type of nonfiction and informational text as well as it's structure and features. Please enjoy the rap I discovered about nonfiction on youtube. The kids absolutely adore it and we usually listen to it each day as we open our study! They have gotten pretty good at singing the lyrics- and the coolest part is- it has really helped them remember different text features and their purpose! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

We hope everyone had a Happy Valentine's Day this year! The students had a great time exchanging Valentines in our class. They were so excited that we exchanged first thing in the morning this year to get the ants out of our pants. :) Here's a little peek at the Valentines I made for my little friends... thanks to Pinterest and The Teacher Wife blog for the idea! :) They were thrilled to get to "glow" all afternoon...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Riding the PLOT Coaster!

This week our focus has been studying the structure of a story- including the rising action, climax and falling action. We have also been exploring different types of conflict within a text. As a roller coaster has a "rising" point, where the coaster is traveling up, a story also has one! This was such a great connection for the students to learn a story's plot. It also provided for a wonderful and FuN visual! Thanks to all of the learning blogs online for such a great idea!

After reading the wonderful and heartwarming story The Honest to Goodness Truth, the students were asked to illustrate and chart the story's plot on their own "Plot Coaster". Take a look at some of their work that they are so proud of!