Friday, June 29, 2012

In Pictures and In Words: Chapter 7-Ideas and Content

The second section of this marvelous book covers the 50 illustration techniques and how the relate to the qualities of "Good Writing"
Although Katie Wood Ray suggests book titles, she invites teacher to take books that they already know and look at them through a different lens.

I love how she has organized each illustration technique:

1. Something to Notice-Names the illustrative technique
2. Illustrative Example-Provide an example of what this looks like in a picture book.
3. An Understanding for Young Writers and Illustrators-Involves the kind of thinking you might do with the technique.
4. In a Teacher's Voice: An Idea for Trying it Out-This is just what it says.  There is a little script that you might use when discussing the use of this technique with your students,
5. A Writing Connection-This section helps make the composing connection between writing and illustrating. For me, this is the "Aw, Yes!" moment.  This is the section I want to understand and internalized.  This is the justification for conducting illustrative studies.

Chapter 7:  Ideas and Content
This quote from the book caught my eye.  Katie Wood Ray mentioned a quote from Pulitzer Prize winner, Annie Dillard, "The writer of any work, and particularly any nonfiction word, must decide two crucial points: what to put in and what to leave out."

This was an issue with my students' writing.  They write about going to the fair, but the bulk of their writing is about getting in the car and driving.  Then they would write, "We had fun."  Sigh... 

While it is tempting to tell you about 12 illustrative techniques she talks about in this section, I will just brush on a few.

I already spoke about this book during Chapters 1-6, but I didn't have the book.
So on Monday, I ran to school and grabbed my copy!

Love this book!  (Brace yourself... I am going to repeat myself). This is the story of 4 people who go the the same park and interact with each other.  However, their perspectives are very different.  The park looks very different to the characters (and the readers) because of their perspectives. 

Technique #2: "Illustrations have positioning perspective: a central image may be pictured from the front, the back, the side, above, or below."

The text says, "Then his mom called him and he had to go.  He looked sad."

This young boy is sad to say goodbye to the friend he made at the park. I find this picture extremely effective.

Technique #12 "Illustrations may show the perspective of the narrator, so you actually see things through his or her eyes."

The text on this page says,"Of course, the other dog didn't mind, but its owner was really angry, the silly twit."

Um... Yes!  I can see she was angry.  She is peering down at me!

I modeled this technique with my students when I wrote about my trip to Lambert's Restaurant. This was one of the pages from that book.  My students and I co-wrote it.

Then one of my students tried it out.
I am making a big sandcastle.
The next book I wanted to share was another Anthony Browne book, called Willy the Wimp. Sorry this book is out of print, but you maybe able to find it in your library.  It is the story of Willy who is bullied by a street gang.  So he decides to take action.  Anthony Browne likes to use gorillas as his characters... so fun!
Technique #6:  "Small,separate scenes can capture what happens over time."

The text reads,"Willy took up weight lifting, and gradually over weeks and months Willy got bigger... and bigger.. and bigger... AND BIGGER!

Now it is your turn!

You can enter to win
Here is how (pick just one)

1.  Followers:  Leave your reflections on chapter 7 in the comment section of my blog...Simple!
2. Bloggers:  Blog about chapter 7 and include a link back to this page.  Then link your blog post below.  

Two winners will be randomly selected  and announced on July 5th.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supplies! Lists!, and Winners!

This post might seem a bit random... but stay with me!
Last year I did a post about my classroom tour. In that post you will notice that all of my bulletin boards start out looking the same. Each wall has the same paper and the same border.  This is not because of a poor imagination.  3 or 4 years ago I saw Debbie Diller talk about classroom design. She spoke on many things, one of which was "visual noise."  She said, you want the students to focus on the learning and one way to do this was to pick a color scheme and keep your bulletin boards/borders the same. This also helps your classroom look larger if you have a small room.

Sometimes getting the supplies can be a problem for me.   First of all... I live here... right in the middle of ... well, not a whole lot. When I need to do "BIG" shopping, I drive to St. Louis.  This is 200 mile round trip expedition.

Last year I got so frustrated because I had driven to St. Louis to a teacher store to buy my borders. They only had enough to cover 3 of my 4 bulletin boards.  The nice lady said, "I can order more and it can be here in a few days."  Um... another 200 miles in my car?  I. Think. Not.

Consequently, I do a LOT of internet shopping.
When I heard about MPM... I knew exactly what I would order.

I loved their filter feature! I could filter the borders by color, design, theme... 
Since they had over 900 items, it made it much easier!
Yay! Think of all the money I saved in gas!
MPM is offering a discount to the first 25 people who order from this post.  Click their emblem below to get the 15% discount.

As promised, I have started a book resource list based on our current blog study.  You can grab it here by clicking on the picture below.  I will continue to update it as our study continues.  The list will "live" in the upper right-hand corner of my blog.  I tried to include everyone from Chapters 1-6. 
 Sorry, this list will not be available in an editable format.

Congratulations to  Vickie and Sandi!  
They each won a $25 gift certificate to The Clever School Teacher!
Time to go shopping for some of those books we have been talking about.
Sandi~ Please email me!  I did not see your email in the comments!

Check in tomorrow for Chapter 7!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Overhead Station

Last year my students loved the overhead station. However, by mid year, I struggled to keep it fresh.  I rolled the projector into my closet and it stayed there.  Every time I would open the closet door, my kids would sigh and say,  "Remember the overhead station?..." with sad puppy dog eyes.  I kept meaning to kick it up a notch and reintroduce it, but I never got around to it.  
Summer is a wonderful time to scratch things off your "to do" list, don't ya think?

I have heard from some teachers that they are struggling with paper restrictions.  The overhead station is a great way to keep your kids actively learning with little or no paper. 

If you don't have an overhead (search janitor's closets) you can use  your SMARTboard or Promethean Board.  Another option is to print the learning material, laminate them, and use an Expo Marker.

In any event...

Ta Da!
Click on the image to go to TpT

Handwriting practice for the letters of the alphabet.
Nursery rhymes for letter and word hunts.

Two levels of word and sentence building.
Students will build letters using magnetic letters.

 There are also 12 different "I Can..." charts so your kids can work independently.

Do you use an overhead projector... or am I the only dinosaur?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Catching Up!

I have wanted to update my Back to School Math Work Stations, so today I finally did. It went from 10 pages to 45... Yes, I think I have expanded my math stations a bit last year... LOL!

If you bought them last year... good news, you can download the revised version at no additional charge. Just go to "My Purchases."
Click on the image to find it on TpT

Also, I wanted to tell you all that I had finished my Writing Work Station Unit for August and September.  

Click on the image to find it on TpT

Ok~that is everything I know! Ha!

Happy Sunday!

Beat the Heat Massive Giveaway!

Wouldn't it be cool if you could enter a contest and pick your prize? 
You can!
You can gear up for next year with 18 products from some of your favorite sellers.
How cute is that graphic from Lindsey?

Hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to enter.

Looking for the book study?
Here it is!

Friday, June 22, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Chapters 1 to 6

Here we go!  

First a HUGE thank you to everyone who has decided to join us on this massive PLC!  These are the BEST!.
Before I dive it, I want to say this from my experience in using this book as a guide in my own writer's workshop.  Teaching students to study and adapt techniques from other writers (illustrators) makes for a very passionate writing student. The first few chapters states the case for illustrative studies. While you can glean the meaning of these chapters from my reflections, you will want to read these chapters for yourself... then ... you will want to reread them.

Chapter 1: Why Illustration Study Matters to the Development of Young Writers
In this chapter Katie Wood Ray makes the case that writing is about communicating meaning.  She suggests that teachers can "support children in making meaning both visually and verbally." p.10   She goes on to say that the key elements of good writing can be demonstrated  through illustrations... Can I get an A-MEN!  I totally agree!

Here is one part of this chapter that jumped out at me.  Katie (my BFF) says that there are two different philosophies in writers workshop.  1.  to teach "out of illustrations" and "into words" quickly.  The other perspective is to "teach into illustrations."  Katie suggests that when students are thoughtful composers of illustrations they will, in turn, be thoughtful composers when they begin to transcribe.

Chapter 2: Building Stamina for Writing by Supporting Children's Work as Illustrators.
In order for students to become proficient with anything (reading/writing) they need to build stamina. By inviting students to "make books," you invite them to think about their writing over a period of days.

I shared this image in November (click here to see that post) , but  I also modeled how writers think about their writing even when they are away from it.... Stamina! My students would come bustling into the classroom each morning saying, "I know what I am going to add to my book today."
My "stretch the word" lesson was inspired by Deanna Jump's Chit Chat.  

 Chapter 3: Writing and Illustrating as Parallel Composing Processes
Katie talks about how the process of writing and the process of illustrating are the same.  There endless decisions a writer makes when they compose and we want to teach students that these decisions should be purposeful. 
Exposing students to a variety of illustrative techniques provides a pool of possibilities for their own writing.

Chapter 4: Teaching an Essential Habit of Mind
This chapter is about reading like a writer.  Katie uses this expression, "game knows game".  Once we started studying the illustrative work of other authors, we became more noticing of the work they did.   I found myself having to really set the purpose for reading every time we opened a book:

1. Read for fun (enjoy the language, laugh at a story...)
2. Read to learn (look for words that rhyme, learn new information...)
3. Read to notice (notice what the author and/or illustrator did) This is when we would "lean in close" as Katie says and really look.  We would linger over pages and return to them frequently.

When we read to notice, I would hear something like this, "I'm noticing something, the illustrator used action marks to show him running." of course in kindergarten it sounded like "wunning" instead of "running".

Chapter 5: Learning Qualities of Good Writing from Illustrative Techniques
In this chapter Katie talks about tone in writing.  She compared these two books by Nicola Davies.

These two informational books have entirely different tones both in their words and illustrations.

Can emergent writers use tone in their writing?  Absolutely!  I had one student write about the death of her grandmother. (Sorry, I do not have a copy of this piece).  Her pictures showed her family with their heads hung low and they were crying.

You can see the tone of this young writer's piece that I blogged about in April.  Click here to read it.

Chapter 6: The Writing Workshop
This is a unit about planning and implementing an illustrative study unit (I grabbed that almost directly from the subtitle) Here is the predictable framework:
1.  Gather:  A stack of books you want to study.  Enough for 1 book for every 2 students, so roughly 10 books.  These books should offer great illustrations techniques that you will want to go back to over and over again. Ok... I've done that
2. Expect:  Be sure the students understand what they are studying and that you expect them to try it out. Ok... I've done that
3. Immerse:   Shower the students with reading/talking about these books and noticings.  Ok... I've done that
4. Study:  Look at these books closely until you can become articulate about the text (Ok... I've done that) and can chart it... Uhh! Oh!  I need to do that!
5. Write: Both teachers and students need to write and be articulate about their writing.  Ok... I've done that

Ah-Ha!  Illustrative studies sounds exactly like what you would do with writing units of study!

Katie Wood Ray has some amazing books included in this chapter.  In addition to these books, I could include these:

I love this first book. It is a totally wordless book.  This engaging story is totally told through the illustrations,  I KNOW this will be a book we read all year.

Click on the book to find the source
Here is an inside view... LOVE it!

Hilarious book! George has trouble being good.  Basically, throughout the book, he makes bad choices.  Why I like this book is the author/illustrators use of color.   On pages where George is reminding himself to be good, there is a white background.  Then when the trouble starts, the background has bold colors.
Click on the book to find the source
Can you tell I am a dog lover?  
The first page of this book says this, "When I was five, I said, 'I'm an artist.  I need to paint and draw every day.'"

Title is written in paint... I can do a lesson on thoughtful book covers.
Click on the book to find the source
I am noticing that the illustrator chose to bring the paintbrushes into the foreground.  This gives the feeling that  this boy is surrounded by art.  And that every inch of his room is filled with evidence of his art passion.

One last book!  This may be one of my all-time favorites.  This totally belongs in the study.  If you are not familiar with this book, it is about 4 people who go to the park (and they all interact with each other).  The book is divided into 4 sections.  Each section is told by a different person in the park with their own perspective.  The illustrations have a different tone to match the personality of the characters... Love it!
Click on the book to find the source.
Sadly, this book is at school so I don't have any photos to show you. I will try to grab it this week and I am certain I will talk about this awesome book as we continue our book study.

Finally, I will be creating an master document that will catalog all of the books that were suggested during this book study. If they came from a blog, I will link the blog to this document. My plan is to keep this document on one of my side bars so we can go back and reference it. This should be up by the weekend.

Now it is your turn!

You can enter to win
Here is how (pick just one)

1.  Followers:  Leave your reflections on the first 6 chapters in the comment section of my blog...Simple!
2. Bloggers:  Blog about the first 6 chapters of this book and include a link back to this page.  Then link your blog post below.  

Bloggers,  I am going to be super tough so be sure you link your post (not just your URL).  Last year we had people linked up and they never posted about the book we were studying.  This caused people to go on a wild goose chase.  So this year, I will delete those links that are not related to this book (GASP!).  Sorry!!  It does not have to be deep or extensive, but it does have to be related.  

Winners will be selected on Thursday, June 28th.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Pictures and in Words... OOPS!

I am ready!  Well, ALMOST!
So last night I started to write my post.  I worked on it for a few hours then realized I was not making sense, so I saved my blog post in "draft"{I thought}!  
Then, merrily, I skipped off to bed.  
This morning, after my morning dose of Diet Coke,
I hopped on my computer... WHAATTT????  I hit "publish" instead of "save".  So sorry!  Those of you who already saw the my blunder were probably thinking, "Well, that was sort-of lame!"   

So one thousand apologies!  I will REALLY post the first six chapters tomorrow.  You will REALLY  get a chance to link up.  You will REALLY get two chances to win these (one for people who comment, one for people who link up)!

You can do a little pre-winning browsing by clicking on the gift certificate.

My 3 friends who already commented, your comments have been saved!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Common Core Math Assessment... and a Flash Giveaway!

Oh my dear friends...  Today I had to finally locked myself away... turned off my phone and stayed off of Facebook in order to FINALLY finish the revision work I wanted to make on my Common Core Math Assessments.  

I originally made this assessment last year and it got wonderful reviews (thank you my sweet friends).  However, I knew I could assess in a more efficient way through some whole group assessing. 
 Thus... the Rapunzel routine of locking myself away.  Now I can let down my long hair (ok... it is short and curly) and show you what only took me 1 year and 3 long weeks in the summer of 2012 to make!

 These are the forms where you will record your student's results.
 These are intended for a few of the oral assessments you will still need to give...sorry... no way around it.
 Drum roll..... these are the whole group assessment forms.
 So are these!
How about a Flash Give away?

I will select 4 winners at 10:00 tonight... just follow me and leave a comment (with your email)

NOTE:  If you have already purchased these, you can get the updated version at no additional charge.  Just go to "My Purchases" on  your Teachers Pay Teachers Dashboard.

This giveaway is over
We have some winners!
Thank you to the 200 people who entered.  Remember... If you already purchased this assessment, but grab the update from your "My Purchases" section on your TpT Dashboard.  Congratulations!   Your loot is being emailed right now!

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