Sunday, September 26, 2010

Trip Down Memory Lane

Last week, I went to see my aunt in her new home.  After lunch, my mother and I sat with her and reminisced.  It was pure pleasure to remember the many times that the three sisters had taken me, my sister, and cousins on overnight trips and vacations.  I have wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.  If someone asked me to write about these memories, I would have trouble choosing which one I wanted to share!  Our students have memories that they can use to “find their voice” when writing.  We need to help students awake the memories that are sleeping quietly under the surface, and get their thoughts onto the page. 
Saturdays and Tea Cakes, by Lester L. Laminack, is a wonderful read-aloud that can help you awaken students’ memories.   This is the official Website of the author Lester Laminack.  He is an award-winning children’s author and educator.  Laminack’s, Cracking Open the Author's Craft, provides you with multiple tools that you can use to introduce your students to techniques and literary elements.  (I have a copy, if you would like to see it!)
The illustrator of Saturdays and Tea Cakes, Chris Soentpiet, offers lesson plans and background information on his Website.
Scholastic has wonderful resources to help you!  You will find an author study of Lester Laminack, and teacher resources for the study on memoir.
I hope that you enjoy these ideas and can use them in your classrooms.  For information on starting writing workshops visit Lucy Calkin's Units of Study here, or Katie Wood Ray information here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Using Video to Create Excitement

If you love Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, you will want to see the trailer for her new book, Pout-Pout in the Big-Big Dark.  Video clips are great tools that can be used to create interest and excitement.  You can watch the trailer for the book here.  This page also has pictures of the new book!  There are several clips for the book posted on YouTube.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Having Fun with Phonemic Awareness

There is considerable evidence that the primary difference among good and poor readers lies in the good reader's phonological processing ability.  Because it is so vital, we need to saturate early learners with a multitude of opportunities to learn phonological processing skills.
PBS Kids Raising Readers is a great resource.  Take a look at these read-alouds.  There are several stories that can be used to teach mini-lessons.  I especially like this one for teaching similes.
Check out WordWorld and Build a WordThing. Every grade-level can use these ideas to introduce vocabulary in mini-lessons.
Between the Lions is a must-have for K-3.  You can download to your computer and then to portable media.  Here is how!
Thinking about starting a book club or literacy circle? Here's all the information you need to run a Between the Lions book club for kids 3-5 or 5-7.  I know that your Media Specialist will be glad to work with you!