Monday, October 26, 2009

How to Help our Readers

The past couple of months we have worked on our writing while learning our writing workshop routines. Some of our mini-lessons have focused on where writers get ideas. We read a variety of books and then discussed where we think the ideas for those books came from. The author information in some of the books was particularly helpful to us in figuring it out.

Other mini-lessons have focused on things we can do to make our writing more readable. The other day I asked the group to help me make a list of ideas we have covered that help our readers. Here is the list they came up with:
Make spaces between words. Stretch words and put down the sounds you hear. Make the letters big enough to see clearly. Use punctuation!

I have made a chart of these ideas and posted it with some of our other charts. Since then a student has said we should add "Use our word wall to help with spelling" and I will add that to the chart soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mo Willems Excitement

Our Lower School was one of 200 schools and libraries chosen to participate in the recent Mo Willems Simulcast. It was great fun (he and his books are endlessly entertaining.) And it was inspiring for all of our student writers, as he talked about how he began writing as a child and about his writing and drawing process. We got to see his studio and hear him read his two newest releases, one of which, Big Frog Can't Fit In, is a "pop out" book.

Several students in my writing workshop have begun figuring out ways to add pop-ups and pop outs to books they have written. On Friday afternoon we did a project that involved making a pigeon pop-up. Students quickly embraced the project and put their own creative spin on it. Several students are working on a pigeon card game with different pigeons (including the fearsome Dark Pigeon) on the cards, each worth a different amount of points.

For more information on the Mo Willems simulcast see