Sunday, October 21, 2012

Writing Time...

Last week our 'lead' Kindergarten teacher informed us that our next unit in writing was non-fiction writing! PANIC!!! That's exactly what I felt when I heard this... really? Non-fiction science writing in November?!?! Seriously how am I going to teach this??

Well I took a deep breath and pulled out my handy Curricular Plan for Writing written by Lucy Calkins, ok confession time, I've had this handy book sitting on my shelf for an entire summer and did nothing about it... WELL boy do I REGRET that?!?! I read the first few chapters including the one about the unit we will be beginning and boy was it eye opening. I am actually SUPER excited to start this new unit but also SUPER STRESSED because I am sooo not ready to start this unit. I've got a ton of prep work that I want to get done to make sure my kids are going to get this unit 100%! Ironically I've been prepping my kids for this unit and I didn't even know it. With all the inspiration out there in the blogging world I started making so super cute charts with my kids based on some of the non-fiction books I've been reading to them and guess what, the majority of them were on trees and leaves! As the characters in one of my daughters shows exclaim when something works out "TRIUMPH!"

So now my brain is going a mile a minute... What do I need to do:

  1. Create a scientific word wall based on the non-fiction books I've already read to my kids... ok I can't create the wall yet because we are supposed to build it together as we are learning, BUT I do want to get ahead of the game and create some word wall cards with images that include all sorts of important words involving trees (anyone out there have these cards already made and would like to share?!?!)
  2. Read alouds - I need to collect a lot of read alouds about trees and leaves! I want to immerse my kids in as many books as I can to help them really learn a lot about this topic. My kids loved the few books I read to them about trees and I NEED to find some more books that are engaging and bright and colorful and chocked full of information that is age appropriate... Any suggestions??
  3. Book Basket Books - I need to go through my entire library and make four table top bins with lots of tree/plant books that are a good combination of easy readers as well as "look books." 
  4. Magnifying Glasses - somehow I need to get my hands on 26 magnifying glasses! I wish the magic school supply fairy would appear in my room and generously give us these! That would be such a wonderful gift!
  5. Colored Pencils - I need lots of colored pencils for this unit and since those weren't supplies we asked for in the beginning of the year I'm not sure exactly how I will be handling this, maybe that magic school supply fairy will bring them to us too!
  6. Sketch Pads - While I'm not in need of these I do need the time to MAKE these! I have all the paper but they need to be folded and stapled and put together into sketch pads - Anyone available to come help me tomorrow at 7am? 
  7. Scientific Collections - Since I didn't do all my homework, yes that is my fault and I have learned my lesson, I need to take my kiddies on lots of scientific walks and gather lots of scientific evidence related to trees... I'm thinking that this may also be a good homework assignment to get my kiddies talking about trees at home. Tomorrow at some point we will go outside together and gather items from trees and make some collections. I will have to figure out a good way to store and organize these items but I do love the idea of the kids collecting and examining the items they find! I think this will really get them excited about this unit, I know I am not excited...
So as you can see there is lots to be done and well, I have about an hour and half in the morning to get it all done... that's because I get in to school that early! 

Ok I have one last question... at the completion of each unit HOW do you organize cleaning out your kids folders? I always find this to be messy, time consuming and just unorganized. I give each kid a baggie with their name on it and they put all their writing into that bag, however, I often have to help them or do it for them because it is hard to get all their papers into one bag in a somewhat neat fashion. So let's add that to my list for tomorrow also... empty their folders!

What are you doing in writing this month??


  1. I just cleaned out their folders this weekend.. I prefer to do it with the kids but it is time consuming and I find this year I don't have that time this year :(

    So Each child has a folder for writing and on the pockets I have Finished/Not Finished (I used same symbols I use in my Finished/Not Finished baskets so it was consistent).

    I went through their Finished side to find an Opinion piece of writing, a Narrative and an Informational (we worked on Informational writing last week). Then I looked for an earlier writing sample.

    Let me tell you we need to talk about what is finished and what is not.. was a big eye opener.

    Then I took the rest of their work, stapled it together and made sure their name was on the front. Now I can pass it out into their mailboxes.

  2. I have no idea what happened to the New Teacher Blog Tuesday post on Tuesday, but it didn't post and I JUST realized it! I am so sorry! It is up now!