Ten Pin Linky - Writing Ideas

I'm back for another week of the Ten Pin Linky with Ashley from Just Reed.  This week's focus is on Writing.  I have to admit that Pinterest has inspired me a lot in this area.  I cannot believe the incredible anchor charts that other teachers out there are making.  I pin them and then try to make a modified version in my own room.  You'll notice I don't post pictures of my own anchor charts - they look like an epic failure in comparison :)
Anyhow, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite Writing pins:
 Writing Goals - I loved the idea of students choosing an area to focus on with the CAFE strategies.  Why not carry this idea over into Writing?  I loved the look of this one:
When I introduce journal writing to my students, the biggest frustration is hearing, "What should I write about?"  I loved this anchor chart and how The Teacher Wife created printables for it.
Another thing that has been on my wishlist is a Writing menu.  Lori (Teaching with Love and Laughter) created these printables.  I love that they can be added to a display as you introduce them to your students.
I also think it's important to teach students about author's purpose.  I love this anchor chart to show the various reasons:
I fell in love with the idea of a traveling class pet and even got things ready to implement it last year.  Unfortunately, some ideas just don't always make the cut when you are just trying to survive the first few months of school.  Perhaps this will be the year to try it:
I've mentioned this anchor chart before.  I created one very similar and it was a saving grace for my second graders when writing opinion pieces.  FYI - when I went to credit the source, it said the blog couldn't be found.  I'm hoping it's just a fluke.
Here's another one I've posted about in the past.  I was already teaching How-To Writing and looking for a way to spice it up.  I fell in love with these craftivities at first sight.  This is jam-packed with topic ideas, planning pages, and various writing papers.  My kids loved this style of writing! 
I don't think I did a lot of justice to friendly letters last fall.  I think I released responsibility too early and we all got frustrated with the process.  I have some new ideas for the fall and can't wait to use them. 
Source: Unknown (if it's yours, please let me know)
Here's another anchor chart that caught my eye:  
Finally, I know students need to evaluate their own work.  I've seen a few different ideas on Pinterest, but I really like the idea of a visual comparison so students can compare their work to the posted examples.  Here's one of the rubrics I found:
Source: Primary Punch
I can't wait to see what everyone else has pinned to get some new ideas :)

Building Mathematical Comprehension - Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - Determining Importance
"Of the comprehension strategies, determining importance is certainly one of the most valuable when reading mathematical resources." (pg. 210)
"Unless {students} learn to recognize important and useful information, they grasp at facts, no matter how irrelevant they may be to the mathematical work at hand." (pg. 199)
 I saw this on Pinterest and thought it fit in really well with the chapter (source is unknown - it just led to the photo).  There is even a little explanation of a minilesson you can use with this image on pages 214 and 215.   
If you can't see it clearly, the title says, "Mrs. Hunter's Class is Catching the Important Parts in Our Reading".  I love the idea of using a strainer/colander to sift out the important ideas. 
So how do we get students to determine what is important rather than what they find interesting?  Students need explicit modeling.  Just as in reading, we teach our students about the features of text we can rely upon to help us (bold text, headings, illustrations, diagrams, etc.), we need to carry those explicit teachings over into math instruction. 
When modeling, you can use the following ideas as your minilessons (pg. 207):
* finding the purpose for reading
* activating background knowledge to make mathematical connections
* knowing which text features may aid in the location of critical information
* recognizing when to pay attention to the text
* determining what may be ignored without detracting from the meaning
* discovering the relationship of facts and details to the big idea
* assessing the value of the text relative to the purpose for reading (if it contains no relevant information or if it requires careful reading)
I have to admit, this one scares me a bit with primary students.  I imagine pages covered in yellow highlighter simply because not only is it fun, but it makes a really cheerful page!  Luckily, the authors recognize this and say, "highlighting only works when the person highlighting is actively considering the parts of the text that merit a highlight." (pg. 208)
One thing you can try is using sticky notes alongside the highlighting.  If a student highlights a sentence, they can use a sticky note to jot down why they decided that sentence was so important.  This might backfire and keep some students from wanting to highlight at all.  Another suggestion is giving two different colors to highlight with - one for important ideas and the other for ideas that are important to the individual.
Since students do have a hard time separating interesting from important, we need to "help students separate fact and details of purely personal importance from those that are crucial for making mathematical meaning."  How?  Model, model, model.  When I'm modeling for my students, I still feel silly and think if anyone walked in they would see right through my over-acting.  However, sometimes kids need that to really grasp the idea.  Oh, and if you don't feel comfortable with what you should be saying during think alouds and modeling, the author gives some great examples on pages 211-214!
Oh, and a little FYI...I don't generally use highlighters with my kids anyhow.  I just ask them to use yellow crayon.
Read a Little, Think a Little
The third strategy is to break a large piece of text into smaller, easier to digest pieces.  I often model this strategy in reading for my kiddos who struggle to comprehend, but read very fluently.  After reading a few sentences, stop and think aloud:
What did I just read?
What was it mostly about?
However, we know that in word problems it is easier to break things down to the sentence level.  I teach students to look for the following: 
Question - what am I being asked to solve? 
Information - what are the important numbers I need to solve this problem?
Key Words - am I supposed to add, subtract, etc.?
Here are a couple of other Pinterest finds you might enjoy.  These come from the site iTeach 1:1


 What tips and tricks do you have when teaching students about determining importance? 

Horrible Harry

 Harry has been the other man in my life this summer.  I have been busy with my nose in a Horrible Harry book off and on for a few weeks now.  Don't get me wrong, I am also reading for professional development (Building Mathematical Comprehension) and pleasure (just finished Gone Girl - outstanding read, by the way).

Some days after reading I feel like singing a little Taylor Swift: "We are never, ever, ever, ever, getting back together.....like ever!"  However, even if I do break up with Harry, we will get back together...at least until I'm done with the series :)

Slowly, but surely I'm going through and creating a mini novel study for each book in the series.  It is a growing bundle, which means it starts out at one price.  As more files are added, the price will go up.  However, buyers who already have the file will get all of the new book units for free - they just have to go back to their downloads to get the newest files.
Here are the books that are included in the bundle right now:

Are you curious to know what I put into each of my book units?  Well, here you go: 

 If these images aren't big enough, you can also download the preview to get the same images.  The individual book units are $2 each in my store.  Right now this bundle is priced at $15.  That brings the cost for each file to just over $1 each - big savings!  Not to mention that you will also receive the future book files at no additional cost.  So, if you're ready to start your Horrible Harry obsession, head on over to grab the bundle.

If that isn't enough, here's one more fun Horrible Harry project.  Do you know Amy Lemons from Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons?  Last year I saw that she posted about Horrible Harry, too.  She created a little craftivity.  Head on over to this post on her blog to check it out (it's FREE).

Ten Pin Linky - Reading

I am happy to announce that the winner of my pencil sharpener giveaway was Kathy W.  Congrats!  I have contacted Classroom Friendly Supplies and your pencil sharpener should be on its way.  Enjoy!
I had so much fun looking at all of the math pins last week on this linky so I decided I had to join up again.  This week's focus is on Reading ideas.
Here are 10 of my favorite reading pins (in no particular order, of course).  I have tried to give credit to the original source, but two of the pins led straight to images, not to a website.  If it's yours, please let me know so I can give you credit.
Using fun duct tape to bind Reading A-Z books:
One genre of reading I want to do a better job of teaching is biographies.  I have been scouring the internet (and TpT) for some fabulous resources.  I came across this pin.  These are file folders that have been turned into a biography book report, of sorts:
A different spin on a visualizing anchor chart:
Reading incentives:
Some great ideas for teaching fairy tales:
Source: Mrs. Terhune's First Grade Site
Teaching author's purpose: 
Source: unknown :(
CAFE strategies at your fingertips: 
Source: unknown :(
Summary foldable:
 Reading goals: 
I have seen this idea around the blogosphere a lot and I really like the idea of using clues to infer what object may be hiding inside of the bag.
If you're looking for new reading ideas, head on over to Just Reed and see what everyone else has pinned for ideas!

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