February 22, 2011

"My furry dog is as warm as a comforter fresh from the dryer"

^ My personal favorite simile from the simile love poems we wrote on Valentine's day.  :)  I really loved teaching this lesson, but I was floored by some of the finished products that have been trickling in this week!!

We spent about an hour on the actual Writing Workshop lesson (mini-lesson + writing time + sharing time). but the kids have been working hard on them during Daily 3/general Writing Workshop time.  I challenged them to get creative with their similes, not just saying things like, "His hair is as brown as chocolate," but going one step further with something like, "His hair is as brown as creamy rich hot chocolate."  Once they got the hang of it, the kiddos completely ran with the idea.  

Some of the finished poems: 

Turns out we need to work a little more on stanzas and line-breaks.  But for a first-crack at poetry, I'd say these babies are something to be proud of.

Between the individual books the kids wrote for Celebrate Reading and Writing last month, the class book of Pourquoi Tales we worked on together earlier this year, and now this book, we are starting to accumulate quite the collection of student-authored books!  The best part?  The kids adore reading each others' work.

Student Author Bin
One other thing I did before peacin' outta school today was pull books for my ISAT read alouds next week. Figured it was better to have them ready early than be scrambling Monday morning when I'm back from my trip!  Here are some of my favorite read alouds for during testing...

  • Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss--A hilarious testing must-read about a school that teaches all kinds of fun, silly things.  When testing time comes, the students are all super nervous until they realize that they are being tested on all the silly things they've been studying!  I remind the kids that we have learned all of the things on the tests too (partly true...), and that this is their opportunity to show off!
  • Testing Miss Mararkey by Judy Finchler--This book is as fun for the teacher to read as for the kids.  It mostly highlights how uptight the parents and teachers get over testing!  Reminds kids how silly all of the stress is, and that things will all be back to normal soon.
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco--One of my favorites to read ANY TIME (although I always get a little choked up at the end!!).  A real-life story of the author's struggle with learning disabilities and the teacher who saved her.  I love reading this book and talking about the individual gifts we all have, especially at a time kids might feel a little stressed out or nervous.  
  • Salt in His Shoes by Deloris M. Jordan--This story about Michael Jordan's childhood highlights the benefits of hard work and believing in oneself.  Michael Jordan is one of the skinniest, shortest kids on the basketball court, and even though he wishes and prays to be taller (sprinkling salt in his shoes even...), what really matters in the end is that he gives it his all.  The rest is history. :)
What are your favorite books to read aloud (on test days or any day)?


  1. Oooh, I love all of those read-alouds!! Especially Ms. Malarkey :)

    I think the kids came up with some great similes!!

  2. Okay, sorry, that comment above was from ME, just signed in from my other account (oops)


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