Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Writing Process on Display

Here are the final drafts of our animal reports, alongside the edited rough drafts.  See if you can use the clues to discover who the animals are!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Research, Write, Review and More: the writing process

For the last two weeks, the kindergartners have walked through the steps of research, writing, rewriting and illustrating a favorite animal.  The students used and read National Geographic Kids magazines, Ranger Ricks, Click magazines and many different non-fiction books from our school library.  One child was eager to research and write about the harpy eagle--for that one we had to do some computer research.  But now we all know about the harpy eagle!

An important part of research was understanding the life of the animal chosen. I asked each child to imagine how that animal got through its day--what it's body was like, how it lived, where it lived, what it ate and how--if it hunted, munched on grass, gathered nuts, etc.

Research and Rough Drafts:

We talked a lot about including an animal's habitat in our final illustrations--on how our illustrations would support what we are writing.  Each child had a mini conference with a teacher to do an edit.  Using those edits to create a final draft or "masterpiece:"

 Final presentations and posting of animal reports: Pictures coming soon!

We are also going to extend our learning tomorrow with some broader concepts gathered from our collective reports.  How many children chose to write about pets?  Wild animals?  How many children will never see their animal in real life?  How many child enjoy learning about their animal, but would not want to encounter one in real life? Which animals do we see in art-and from which cultures?  Since we just finished our study of folk tales and began our study of fables, we will get to see which animals are featured in those different genres.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Look for the helpers

As the kindergartners finish up a new writing piece on a rainy day and begin animal research reports (to be posted soon), I wanted to pause to add some links.  Since the tragedy in Boston yesterday, I have found myself listening to a lot of news, with my son possibly overhearing in the background.  As a Bostonian born and raised, I have been glued to the news.  While not every child will be exposed to the events on Patriots' Day, I find it useful for myself as a parent to have some resources handy in case my son questions me about what he hears.

The Children, Youth and Families Education and Research Network has valuable insight found here.
The National Association of School Psychologists also has a tip sheet listed here.
As always, I find PBS to have fantastic and thoughtful information.  A piece about talking to children about the news is here.

As another parent wiser than myself said, when something scary happens, look for the helpers-- the first responders, the onlookers. There are always people helping.
Saturday, April 6, 2013

Elephant and Piggie Comic Strips

Mo Willems is our author and illustrator for April!  His hilarious stories are a perfect fit for our emerging readers, and even more advanced readers are tickled by the whimsical repartee between Elephant and Piggie, or between Pigeon and Duckling.

Each child applied their own humor to create a silly mini-story or comic strip in the Mo Willems way.  I found these wonderful comic strip templates in a great teaching blog, found here.  Each child did a fantastic job coming up with their own silly story--we used our "brave spelling" (phonetic spelling), along with correct punctuation and capitalization.  I felt this was a great way to use those higher order Bloom's Taxonomy thinking skills (synthesis, evaluation, etc.) in a silly kindergarten way!