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Thursday, February 28, 2019

New Uses for Cotton Candy

One of the ways we practice critical thinking in our class is to do activities throughout the year where the students come up with a new use for something. I demonstrate for them with a pencil. A pencil can write-but what else can it do. I can put my hair up with it. I can open a can with it. Then we try it with other objects,

Because this week is the rodeo in Houston, we read the story:



It's a story about a boy who inadvertently distributes cotton candy all over the fair. We discussed how we might solve that problem (many wanted to eat their way out :). And then they wrote about what else we can use cotton candy for-thinking about the color, the texture. Now when we first do these activities it's like pulling teeth. But trust me when I tell you the more you do activities like this, the more creative their thinking becomes.

Here's what they came up with:























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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Painting the Blues

I truly believe that students do not get enough instruction in the Arts in our schools today. My students attend art class every 9 weeks the way we do our ancillary rotation. And Music class once every other week. I try to make up for that in my classroom. Now I do have to sneak it in, using other objectives, but we still try to teach the whole child. 

Today we listened to some music by Blues artists. We listened and thought about what it made us feel. What it made us picture in our minds. Then we painted what we heard and wrote about what it made us think of. Here's what The Blues looks like to my students:

Makes me think of black and blue.


pretty people


all colors



happy people


if you get sick and you get scared


a horse







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Saturday, February 23, 2019

My Favorite Wordless Books

I think wordless books can be a great unit to do with your kiddos. They can be used for lessons on making inferences and comprehension strategies. You can give each student a page and they can write the text for it or the students can create their own wordless books. There are just so many possibilities. Here are some of my favorites to use:



I just think this is a beautifully written story about being brave and facing your fears.



A little girl loses her adored stuffed animal and discovers a little fox now adores it. Magical illustrations in this one.


A classic. She works to get all the ingredients for her pancakes but her pets make a mess of them. What can she do? Mooch of the neighbors of course. :) 


A little girl works to be able to afford a bicycle at the store. Big idea is to work to reach your dreams and there is also a theme of kindness.


Kids find magic chalk on the playground-whatever they draw comes to life. But what happens when a boy draws a dinosaur!


A mysterious camera is found and the tale is told in photos.


A community comes together in friendship. I used this one the first week of school.




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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

If I Were a Wordless Book....

One of my passions in literature is wordless books! I love discovering new ones. I think they are great for making inferences and I consider them to be a genre of their own. I will post tomorrow a list of books that I like to use, but today I am sharing the writing we did today.

We used Multiple Perspectives from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity. I asked the students to consider what it would be like to be a wordless books. How would it feel? What would they wish for? What would they see? 

 















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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Conversation Heart Writing Prompts

One of my favorite writing activities to do is perfect when conversation hearts start to go on sale. :) I glue a heart to each paper before hand. Each student receives a word or phrase they have to use in their sentence. We are working on writing a complete sentence right now, so this is perfect to practice that objective. I liked not only seeing how creative some of the ideas were, but also how far they are coming along in sounding out their words!


Miss You: I told my Mom "miss you".


Cool:  Be cool! (usually I'd ask for more elaboration, but that works :).


Hug me: My Mom said "hug me".


Smile: My Mom made me smile (you see a trend?)


I hope: I hope my dog chases me.


Puppy love: I like puppies so it is puppy love.


LOL:  At a party the girl said LOL.


So nice: She was so nice to me.


Love: If I had a pet pig I would love it.


Love you: I told my mom "love you".


Awesome:  Game night is awesome.






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