Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Zoohoo!  Doesn't that sound like a good name for an app or a game or a book?  It's really just a combination of "zoo" and "boohoo"...because it's taken me a whole month to get to this post about the activities we did to prepare for the zoo trip in my classroom.  Better late than never...

We finished our animal research projects the week prior to all this zoo themed business.  I like the students to wrap those up just in case we need to consult an "expert" during our zoo themed activities.  You can read my previous post about our animal research books here. My students design their own covers, but we use my Animal Research Book format.

We started out the week by reading Animal Action by Karen Pandell and Art Wolfe.  This book is a great way to review verbs.  It also served as a mentor text for our writer's workshop mini lessons.

At the writing workstation, my students listened to a book called How to Ride a Giraffe.  I recorded the story on one of our iPads and put the link on our classroom Edmodo account.  That makes it easy for my students to find the link to the story and the directions for their writing work all in one place (without disturbing me while I work with small groups for reading instruction).  Their assigned task for this particular week was to write their own how to story after listening to the story.

We also read Giraffe's Can't Dance and the children created their own giraffe.  

I do this art project every year and I absolutely love how their giraffes turn out.  I call it a "get a frame for this one" project!

During writer's workshop, we worked on a sentence expansion activity.  Toward the end of the year, my students began to suffer from "I'm done syndrome"  during writer's workshop.  I decided it might help if we worked on editing and revising another writer's work, rather than our own for a bit.

My school subscribes to Reading A to Z.  I used one of the level AA books as a springboard for this project.  The book we used is called The Zoo.  I explained to the children that the author wrote the simple repetitive text in this book with the specific purpose of helping beginning readers build confidence, practice the sight word "the" and use the picture clues to help them identify the unknown word on each page.  The text on each page follows the pattern "The lion.", "The tiger.", "The elephant." and so on.

Using a book with a simple repetitive text pattern allowed us to practice different skills throughout the week.

Day 1 - adding a verb on each page (using the Animal Action book as a model for choosing interesting verbs)
*example:  The lion stalks

Day 2 - adding an adjective on each page to describe the animal
*example:  The sneaky lion stalks

Day 3 -  expanding each sentence to add details to answer the questions who, where and when
*example:  At sunrise, the sneaky lion stalks his prey at the edge of the woods.

Day 4 - add an introduction to the story

Day 5 - add a conclusion to the story

Day 6 - change the title to make your reader want to read the story

When they were done with each of these steps, they were ready to write a final draft of their story so it could be published in time to be on display with their animal research books for our Ice Cream Social/Showcase.

And...if you follow me on Instagram you already saw how excited I was for school to be out for the summer!  No sad goodbyes for me this year, because I'm looping to 2nd grade with my class!

School's out for summer!

pictured in this photo: my teaching BFF's

FYI - I'm sitting on the couch to write this post!  I.NEVER.SIT.ON.THE.COUCH from when school starts all the way to June.  PEOPLE - I'm sitting on the couch with my feet up!!!  Oh happy day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Currently June!

Currently...many of you are experiencing summer break (and I am not).  
Oy...  2 more Mondays...I CAN DO THIS!

Here's what is going on currently...the short version so I can hurry off to school. :)

Head over to visit Farley to see what is going on with everyone else.  Thank you, Farley for hosting this party each month!