Monday, November 24, 2014

Poetry as Mentor Texts for Writing

When I first started talking with my students about poetry, the response I got was not exactly what I had hoped for.  To say there were moans and groans when I announced that we would become poets is an understatement.

In the Common Core for fourth grade, students study poetry as a text, but nothing is stated about students having to write poetry.  As a writing teacher, I know that writing poetry is a excellent vehicle for growing students as writers, as well as working in many grammar and reading standards.

Last year, I came across this wonderful resource for introducing poetry using one poem per week:
You can read more about how I incorporated the lessons from this book here.

This year, I decided to add a writing component to our weekly poetry study.  Now, on Fridays we take the week's poem and use it as a mentor text to inspire us to try our hand at poetry.

Here is one of our recent Poems of the Week (from the Poetry Friday Anthology).
(The red papers you see are from our analysis lesson on using specific word choice.)

To use this poem as a mentor text, we first began by writing a class poem together.  Here is the poem we wrote.  Hopefully, you can see some of the inspiration we pulled from our mentor poem.
Next, students paired up and went to work.
It was exciting to see my students use resources like rhyming dictionaries and the online thesaurus.  There was a definite hum around the room as the teams worked together to write their poem.

Finally, it was time to share.  This can be one of the most powerful parts of the writing workshop, but I never force students to share.

However...these same students who previously grumbled about having to write poetry ALL shared their poem.  And let me tell you...they were pretty good!

Some poems make better mentor texts for writing inspiration than others, I will admit.  But if you make poetry a regular part of your classroom, you will come across some wonderful poems that can inspire your students to take chances and stretch in their writing routines.

How do you use poetry in your classroom to teach writing?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {11-20-14}

Wowza!  It's Thursday again, which means it's time for some positive thinking!  Thanks for joining me today.
This week's positive thought is in honor of one of my favorite teachers EVER -- Dr. Corey Thompson.  Corey was my classroom management instructor when I went back to school to get my teaching certification.  He is amazing!  This is one of my favorite quotes from Corey:
This would be a good one to share with your students, especially since we are getting to 'that time of year' when effort starts to wane.

Positive Thinking Thursday will be on holiday next week, enjoying turkey and pumpkin pie!  I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop {11-16-14}

Did you wake up to snow this morning like I did?  Ughhh...It's a good thing it's Sunday which means I don't have to drive anywhere in it.

Sunday also means getting ready for the upcoming week so I'm linking up with the ladies over at Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop.
Have to Do:
* The short week before Thanksgiving, I have been called for jury duty.  I have to think about sub plans for what could potentially be three days out.
* This Thursday is the second night of parent teacher conferences.  I enjoy talking with the families of my students, but I do not enjoy spending almost 12 hours at school.  It makes for a very long day.
* We are putting a hardwood floor in our dining room and in case my husband hasn't noticed, Thanksgiving is a week and a half away.  Better get a move on it...

Hope to Do:
* I've been working on some short content-area themed fluency passages and hope to get them finished and into my TPT store soon.
*  With all of the recent updates to iTunes/iPhone software, my photos have stopped automatically uploading to my iPhoto file or the cloud.  I have NO IDEA why this is suddenly happening (AGAIN!) and it makes me feel really cranky about blogging because adding pictures is such a problem.  Does anyone know why this is happening???

Happy to Do:
* My dad and stepmom are coming up for lunch today.  We haven't seen them since June so it will be nice.

I hope you have a great week!  Don't forget to stop back on Thursday for Positive Thinking Thursday.  In the mean time, I'm going to see if I can figure out the picture downloading problem I'm having so I can get some new posts going.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {11-13-14}

Hi everyone!  Thanks for stopping by.
This week, it's going to be short and sweet for me.
Ben Canales photographer .. trying to get people to realize "light pollution"..
And remember that after the darkness comes light...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {11-06-14}

Happy Thursday, friends!
Well, here we are in November and if there is a common theme running through the month, it is the reminder to be thankful for what we have.

I am so very blessed.

* My family is healthy.
* I have a job I love.
* My students challenge and engage me.
* I work with wonderful colleagues.
* I have a warm home with anything I need.

I could go on and on....

How about you?
I am participating in a 30 day blogging challenge over at Teach Thought Online Community.  These reflections are posted on my writing blog, Sweet Writing Life.  It's not too late to join up to share your #attitudeofgratitude.

Wishing you a day full of blessings!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Currently November {Really???}

Here it is a new month which means it's time to link up with Farley for Currently.
Listening:  It's early so the only thing I hear is the ticking of a clock (that I forgot to turn back one hour last night.)

Loving:  I have a slight clip art addiction...OK, maybe not so slight.  This weekend, there is a huge sale at Sweet Shoppe Designs.  Most of these products cannot be used on TPT products, but I love to use them to design cards, posters, etc.  Basically anything I use for myself that I want to be extra pretty.

Thinking:  I heard Christmas was 8 weeks away.  Ughhh...

Wanting:  Nothing says cozy like a fire in the fireplace.  Tonight will be our first!

Needing:  This one is a biggie.  We are in the process of changing over from standard grading (A-F) to standards based grading (0-4).  I am all in favor of this and believe it will be a much more effective way of assessing students, but I need to find a good grade book that won't make this an enormous task.  Any ideas?  I need to figure this out now.

Reading:  I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora.  It's funny and fast moving and my son keeps bugging me to finish it so he can read it.  Winner!
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What are you currently up to?  Head on over to Farley's blog and share!