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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Narrative Writing- The Heart of the Story

Hello Buddies-

How's it going? Life is pretty busy here as we enter the final inning of the "big game". As I write this blog post I am currently in the middle of PARCC testing(yuck), my DRAs are due in two days (double-yuck), and somewhere in there I am trying to teach.  But this ISN'T a complaining post (I promise).  This post is all about my recent Narrative Writing Celebration.  Thanks to a dear colleague of mine and my extreme fear that for my looping class I would be the last writing teacher they would have before middle school (PANIC!)- I dived deep into Writers Workshop and it has been a HUGE success.  Seriously, like my kids are writing better than any other class I have ever had and the district keeps sending teachers to my classroom to see my writing instruction.  Not too bad for year two of Writers Workshop.  

Celebrations are a HUGE part of Writers Workshop and this time around I chose to publish our books hardcover using a great website called www.barebooks.com where you can order a variety of blank templates to write in.  They look great when finished and the kids talk about having created a "real" book. LOVE THEM!

Look at my writers and readers with their hardcover books
Although our book were fantastic, and they were.  I wanted those in attendance to see behind the published piece so besides a video of my kids explaining the writing process and answering some pretty challenging questions about writing we created exposition boards. An exposition board included samples of our work with post-it notes showing off some of our techniques and the changes made to our writing throughout the process. 

Here one of my writers teaches our second grade buddies about the process behind his story.

An exposition board close-up- (and sideways! LOL)

The boards are really impressive and help my kiddos to guide the conversation when parents, kids, administrators, or other teachers stop by their station in the APR. The post-its show what they want to showcase and help them share what happened, in some cases, weeks ago in our classroom.  God bless my classroom para who photocopies the samples for the kids to use on their boards.  

In the end our celebration was a HUGE success and my kids were so proud of their writing and a few people (including myself) teared up as the read the HEART of their story aloud in small groups.  

How do you celebrate the writing that your students have completed? Is your school using Writers Workshop? I'm dying to know!

'Til next time!
-Damien 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hello- REMEMBER US!

Hello friends-

Remember us, The Reading Buddies? We probably hang out at the bottom of your blog feed.  Oh, now you remember us!!!!!

Well we are back.  We are working hard dot spruce up our blog and post on a regular basis- It's our new resolution.  

I was wondering how many of you run a "class blog" that your students can read and respond to? I do.  Here's a particularly profound post that I wanted to share with you that I just finished writing.  Check it out and don't forget to let me know what you do as far as "class blogging". 

Nice to touch base again friends and we promise to pop by more often. 

Here is my most recent class blog post: 

29....28....27.....
What do those numbers symbolize?

My age? (I wish)

Years teaching? (not yet)

They actually symbolize the final days of the school year.  As I write this post (Tuesday night) we have 27 days remaining in this school year which means we have spent the last 333 days together learning, laughing, and loving being around each other. As I have mentioned before I was really nervous, yet incredibly excited about having a looping class. However, I can honestly say that you have alleviated all of those fears and and surpassed any expectation that I had of our time together.  Although I know that you are ready to go, it will be hard to let you go on that final day in June. 

It's a weird thing, teaching. You are partnered up with a group of people who you will spend six hours a day, five days a week, for 180 days (and for us-double that). Then, some warm day in June as the sun blazes and the desks empty, it's done! That's it! We say goodbye knowing that we will never be part of the same group again. WEIRD, right?

The end of the year is a time to reminisce, to look back at the good times we had together. Let's look back at all we have learned and the fun we have had.  In your comments below answer the following question:

What's one experience you had in FOURTH grade that you hope to remember for a long time?


The Reading Buddies
Damien & Kelly