Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Blogging

Since it's the big thing that I am doing with kids this summer, I thought I would post a few more details about the "nonfiction blogs" that we've been working on.  I showed this space to the kiddos as an example of what a real blog is and they thought it was pretty cool.  Because it's a camp, we do this over the course of a week, with them doing a blog entry each day.  In my class, I plan to do it once a week.  

We have about an hour and a quarter with each group.
We all started with an "About the Blogger" page because it was something they could do without a lot of instruction.  I showed them the About the Author section in a few books to get them on the right track.  Then I did a quick model on the board with just a couple of sentences.  With the Olympics on, many of them chose to write about favorite sports. 

Then I did a mini-lesson.  Today's was about things good readers think about when they are reading.  I read a small section of a book and then the kids noticed things I was doing while I read.  The kids came up with a list that included 

  • deciding which facts were the most interesting or important
  • making connections (thinking "this reminds me of...")
  • visualizing/making mental images
  • comparing and contrasting information
  • making predictions
Then the kids get to choose a book and start to read.  I have all my nonfiction books grouped by topic so the kids can find something that really grabs their interest. 

Either as they read, or when they finish, they take some time to write about what they have read.  They are encouraged to write about all the smart reading they did (from the list above), but most of them start out by just writing interesting facts.  Here are pictures of the blank forms that they use for their blog.  The link is in the previous post (**if the link doesn't work, try closing the window and clicking the link again... not sure why but that seems to be what works**).                            That's pretty much how the first day goes.
Tomorrow they will start their day by reading each other's posts.  The back of the page has spaces for them to write their comments.  They create a symbol for the box on the left and then write their comment. The kids are encouraged to write meaningful comments, to avoid the "I like" syndrome.  I post the chart below (sorry it's blurry) and go over it with the kids pretty much every time they make comments.

I will wrap up with just a couple examples of completed blog entries by the kids.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Welcome to Room 13, a 4th grade classroom at the West! 

This space will be used to keep the kids and families updated on what's going on at school.  I will also (hopefully) be posting all sorts of fun teaching things to share with all the fabulous teachers out there.  

I've spent my summer taking classes and teaching summer camp.  I've learned lots of great things, gotten great ideas, and had a lot of fun.  

At summer camp, Mrs. Higgins and I are working on a Nonfiction Blogging Club that is going really well.  The kids get to research a topic of their choice and read all about it.  Then they write a "blog" about what they have read and their pod-mates can write them comments.  Because of limited access to the computer lab, so far all of our "blogs" have been done on paper, but maybe someday we will get to type them up.  I am still figuring out this format, but I think this link will get you a template.

As a teacher, I have to admit I have no idea what I did before Pinterest!  How did I know how to decorate my room or what to teach??  As I am trying to bring my classroom more into the 21st century (a blog, twitter, etc.) I was so excited when I saw an adorable idea for a job chart yesterday on twitter.  I immediately went out, got supplies, and made it!  I love it!!
I bet it will look even better on the wall in my classroom than it does on my living room floor.  The "apps" are library pockets and the kids will each have an index card with their name at the top that will slide into the pocket.  It just makes me smile!