Thursday, April 18, 2013

Late Link Ups: Show and Tell Tuesday and Workshop Wednesday- Freebie Included

I'm late, I'm late for some very important dates linky parties!!  

Is it just me or is the week after a break always a whirlwind?

Surprisingly, my kids were on their game for the first 2.5 days this week before the crazies set in again on Wednesday afternoon.  

Today was especially wild since we had to do a footprint project for a school mural.  Some parent volunteers came in to paint my kid's feet, so they could make colorful footprints.  Needless to say, the kids had a blast, but were quite amped up by the experience.  Rather than teach an actual lesson right after the event, I opted for a game of Sight Word Bingo instead.  The kids were so excited and got so into the game that they didn't want to get ready for recess.  I had a lot of fun too, but still got a bit worn out from trying to control the noise volume.  

Does anyone have any tips for maintaining relative calm during especially fun games or activities? 

Despite the craziness today, the week has actually been quite good.  In the spirit of good things, I am linking up with Denise from Sunny Days in Second grade for Show and Tell Tuesday Thursday.  This week the theme is to share something that made you happy this week.
Besides what I have already shared, the thing that made me most happy this week was that the process of trying to get one of my students the help/support he needs is finally starting to yield results.  All year long, I have been knocking on doors asking for help for this one sweet boy who is SO far behind grade level.  He is barely on a first grade reading level, cannot write more than a few sentences, has trouble with multi-step math, and has an attention span of about 3 minutes.  He has also missed 32 days of school!  As a result of all of this, I think he needs either to be classified and/or retained.  I want him to get the chance to really succeed in first grade.  I am so scared that he will go from "floundering in first" to "sinking in second."  Ba dum tss....

In all serious though, he really needs help and this week, things finally started to get moving, so that he will get what he needs for next year.  I am so happy to have hope for him, since all year I have felt like I was failing him as a teacher by not getting him what he needed.  It's so hard not to take the whole weight of the situation on my shoulders.  However, I know that God blessed me and challenged me with the opportunity to have him in my class and I am thankful that He did.

Now, that I got to Tuesday's party, it's time for Wednesday's!  Thanks again to Jessica for hosting Workshop Wednesday.  This week the theme is Favorite Writing Mini-Lesson.
It was tough for me to choose just one, since I LOVE teaching writing and enjoy most lessons.  However, as I thought about our upcoming realistic fiction unit, the following lesson came to mind.

At the beginning of realistic fiction writing, I love to spend a ton of time on planning characters.  It's so important for the students to understand how characters work and how to create realistic ones that can have realistic problems.  Therefore, for my first major character lesson, I have the kids help me create a class character.  We start off by talking about characters in books and what we learn about them.  I think that this conversation will be enhanced this year by the fact that we added a character study unit to reading.  Anyway, after we get started talking about characters, we begin to create our class character.  This actually takes several days because we first focus on external characteristics and then move to internal.  I encourage the kids to think about lots of different details and descriptive words.  As we create the character, I draw him/her on chart paper and list the information all around the drawing.  I wish I had taken a picture of last year's character Tim.  He was quite cute!

After we plan the class character, the students get to plan their own using the following Character Planning Sheet.  Again, it takes several days for them to do this, but by the time they are done, they have really gotten to know their characters and really love them.  This helps them get really invested in their stories once they start writing.  It's very exciting to watch!

So, that's my favorite mini-lesson.  You can pick up the Character Planning sheet for free by clicking the picture.  Please let me know if you do.  I would love feedback.  Thanks!


  1. This is great! I am going to file this away for next year when I work on narratives with my kiddos. Thanks for sharing!
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. What an AWESOME graphic organizer - I am definitely going to use this with my kiddos in the upcoming weeks.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Joy in the Journey

  3. Thank you for sharing!! And thanks for linking up! :)

  4. Thanks so much for linking up to Show and Tell! It's funny, I just wrote a post about my kids literally vibrating with energy! Like crazy foot tapping, drumming, dancing, flapping...things I don't normally have in such an exaggerated, constant, widespread way! What in the world? Was it a full moon?? lol!

    Sunny Days In Second Grade