We are WORD COLLECTORS!

Whew!  This week was crazy!  Besides it being World Read Aloud Day on Friday, we had TWO “it’s-too-cold-to-go-outside-today” days off of school!  It was a nice refreshing mid-week break, but definitely made for a week where NO ONE knew what day it was. LOL

So…remember how last week I mentioned a super project that was sparked from another Peter H. Reynolds book we read?  Well, I finally have enough of it up and photographed that I can share it!

Last week as one of our read aloud we enjoyed hearing The Word Collector.   Basically, in the story, Jerome collects words that he hears and likes–short words, long words, funny words, nice words, you get the idea.  Eventually he ends up have a GINORMOUS bag of words on little slips of paper that he drops and they get all spread around, then being shared with the rest of the world!

We decided that as super readers and word-lovers ourselves, we could also collect words!  It really only took a quick mention of the idea for first grade readers and writers to be IN and start finding great words all over the place!  We “officially” worked on it for one reading/writing time, but I know they literally could have done it all. day. long.  I love how Sam and Jaxon, who were working together, said they collected pages and pages of words for 20 or 30 minutes but said, “I think we could do this for 20 or 30 more HOURS!”

Now, when something like this happens, I can’t ever decide if the best part is what happens in our room, or what happens when someone decides we should share the idea with other kids.  In this case, it may have been both.

I went ahead and covered the door in blue paper, which was supposed to look like the cover of the book. See?

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Then as a class (well our class and Ms. Turken’s kiddos, too), we decided what we might do to share our work with our school on our doors.  We agreed that we should have a picture of Jerome, telling our Robinson friends about our inspiration and the word collecting we began to do.

We decided rock-paper-scissors would be the best way to decide who would create Jerome, and so after many, many games, Makhi, Wyatt and Isaac became our illustrators.     They made a most-handsome version of Jerome, and also a word bubble that we added words to together.

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Beckett helped add some words to our speech bubble, using interactive writing and his best first grade letters!

One of the best things that happened as we talked about what our speech bubble should say, was when Hailey suggested we invite other Robinson friends to collect words WITH US!?  I usually have an idea of what I think the words could say, but it’s generally up to kiddos to decide what they will say. Hailey had the great idea that we should invite the rest of Robinson to collect words WITH US, which I had not even considered.

On Friday we finally had time to get our lists and lists of collected words onto our slips and finish our Jerome and words.  We still have to add the pocket that will house the slips, tape, and sharpie for other people to use, but it’s up and it’s FABULOUS!  Don’t you agree?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that these kiddos are already learning to pay attention to how words sound and think about the power they have!

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What words would you add to our display?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments and we’ll put them up for you!  Can’t wait to hear what you say and from how far away our words will come!  So in addition to your words, please tell us where you live!

EVERYONE’S a Reader and Writer in Rm. 202!

I hope by now you’ve read at least part of our journey with #classroombookaday this year.  I hope you’ve heard how much it’s impacted the readers in my room to LOVE books, to LEARN authors and illustrators (so that now we can name them by their work as we see them in new texts!), to SHARE their favorites with us so we can all hear them, and how much FUN we’re having reading and reading and reading every day.

Well…one of the things that I guess I didn’t expect to come out of this is the strong connection to WRITING that has come out of this challenge.  The reading part made sense, but I love how it’s inspired so many kiddos to write the books that we read!

Of the 316 books we’ve shared 19 OF THEM have been written by Rm. 202 friends!  The best part is how the excited of one author had lead to so many more.  Of course, some of that is the “famous” factor, and getting their book on the door, but really a lot more of it is just that the writing bug is contagious!  Many of the books we’ve written have been inspired by the books we’ve read.

Check out the smiles of those writers–don’t they look proud?

I think I mentioned something the other day about how the suggestion was made to give our Rm. 2o2 authors an author box in our library for their books.  This finally happened on Thursday, and two of our authors now have a special place for friends to find their texts!

Isn’t that cool?  Ella joined the club and started writing fashion magazines she wanted to share.  The boxes are empty because the books are all being read! Perfect!

Now…aside from the WRITING that keeps coming up, there are lots of kiddos who have been asking to READ to us recently, too!  They are excited to share their reading skills with the rest of us!  And boy, are they amazing!

Ciyah was the most recent one to join the party and shared Green Eggs and Ham with us.  She was a super reader and did a great job! (Ayonna read Anna’s New Glasses to us the other day, too, but somehow I didn’t get a picture of it! What was I thinking??)

And somehow, I don’t have a video of her reading the book, but I do have a video of what happened when we all started reading it together!

I know I’ve said it over and over but I’m saying it again–the reading and writing that has been inspired by our participation in the #classroombookaday challenge BLOWS MY MIND!!  Can’t wait to see who we add to our reader/writer list next!

Our First Writing Celebration!

We have been working on getting our Writers’ Workshop set up, as well as learning about and writing Small Moments.

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We used the analogy of a watermelon and its seeds to help kiddos think about a BIG idea and the SMALL parts of that larger story.  This picture was really helpful for kids to have a concrete idea of what I was talking about.  After I drew my initial picture, writers tried their own watermelons. 🙂

Wednesday was the day we were finally ready to share our finished writing pieces.  This was our first for the year, and so we did have to start with a few instructions on how it would go.  I also tried something new this time (which, by the way, I SHOULD NOT have done on our first try at a writing celebration…oh well, lessons learned), and had kiddos do writing compliments on their iPads using eBackpack and the MarkIt tool.  Writers circulated and read their friend’s stories, leaving kind words about what they noticed and what they liked.

Great job on your first celebration, Rm. 202 writers, and great job on your first stories!  Way to start the year as writers! 🙂

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 8

It’s the end of the 1st Quarter, and I am SO GLAD I decided to keep track of our books like this!  I know that it has helped us in loads of ways, and has changed some of my thinking as well.

First of all, while it is not hard data, I can tell that the kiddos in my room have gotten more interested in both reading and writing because of the presence of so many great books!  The first few days of school, I remember saying sadly to my friends, “This class doesn’t like to read!  They don’t like books! What is up with that!?”  Honestly, I remembered the sounds of disgust and the moans that emerged from many first grade bodies when I’d announce that we would meet on the rug to share a story, and the mention of having THEM read was like asking them to drink vinegar!  I was seriously worried that we’d be fighting all year about how amazing reading and writing are and how you should do them every day.  To look at them now, you’d never know that was where we had started.  I can say that everyone in my class is a willing reader, and many choose to do so whenever they get a chance to make a free choice.  It has also upped the excitement about writing, as well, since Rm. 202 kiddos understand the connection between reading a great book and where it came from.  They have, on many occasions written their own versions of great stories we’ve read–mainly Elephant and Piggie, but also other Mo Willems books (yep, we’re still HUGE FANS!).  They are then super excited to be able to read those books to the class; this is a new phenomenon in my primary classes–I’ve never had kiddos so eager to read to their friends!  You will notice many of these kid-published titles on our door. 🙂

Secondly, I’d have to say that our excitement with #classroombookaday has changed my intention, purpose and selection of read alouds in our class.  Read aloud has also been a big deal in my classroom, and I completely believe that it is a crucial piece of the puzzle to creating strong readers and writers–and thinkers!  In the past, however, my read alouds have been primarily chapter books.  Even in 1st grade, my book choices were longer texts (often series or other stories) that I know and love that I want to expose my kiddos to so they can love them, too!  First grade read alouds last time included graphic novel series like Lunch Lady and Babymouse, which most kiddos hadn’t yet heard of.  We also enjoyed many authors that wrote a variety of different kinds of books, like Kate DiCamillo.  We have read the Mercy Watson series, the Leroy Ninker series, as well as The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  While I do believe I will eventually get around to reading longer texts and starting our Read Aloud Timeline (another core part of my literacy instruction), I think this will probably not happen now until after the new year.  Because of my focus on the #classroombookaday challenge, I’ve become more interested and aware of great picture books and picture book authors that I didn’t really know before (it’s weird I know, I am a first grade teacher and I didn’t really read picture books).  This has lead to some new friends and new favorite books and new people to connection with on Twitter with my class.   This whole process has also increased the amount of books that kiddos bring me from home or from the library that we “HAVE TO READ.”  I love that they are being more discriminate about what their friends might like or what a “good” book sounds like. Win/win for everyone, wouldn’t you say?

Ok, so here’s our new door picture, up to date from last Friday.  We’re up to 152 now–which blows my mind!  And we still stop to look at the beautiful book covers (as does almost everyone else who walks by!) every time we’re in the hall.  Check it out!

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This week we read many less books than previous weeks.  I’d say it was probably because it was the last week of the quarter and so worked much more on finished up assessments and such instead of gathering together on the rug for a lesson (which is when most of our read alouds happen).  We have 3 kid-written books on our door this week, as well as a Curious George book, a wordless book by Tomie dePaola (which is a new author to us), another Ashlyn Anstee book that also has an Emily Arrow songEmily Arrow song, a Pigeon book we hadn’t read, a Pete the Cat math book and the second book from the Global Read Aloud schedule.  Whew!  Even with less titles, we were busy and engrossed in REALLY GOOD BOOKS!

I do have a couple more pictures to share before I go…

Mara, Kaiden and Aadish are three kiddos that have been most interested in writing their own texts for our class to read.  This week we had one from each of them, but I’m sorry to say I only have a picture of Kaiden’s book–not of him actually reading it.  Sorry buddy!

Ok, one more. 🙂  Ms. Turken’s class is also on the #classroombookaday journey, and their board looks like this:

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Don’t all those books just make you happy?!  Thanks for reading!  As always, if you have a book or author suggestion, please leave us a comment and we’ll definitely try it out! 🙂