Harvest Heaven

This month has been one of those really amazing months. You know what I'm talking about the kind where everything is falling into place and connections are being made and your kiddos are incredibly engaged! I couldn't wait to jot the days events and share it with all of you!

My day starts with morning meeting and morning message. Right after we are finished we jump into writing. We are just starting to teach nonfiction in reading and writing and I have to admit that I always get a little bit giddy when we teach this.

I started off this topic of nonfiction writing by reading a phenomenal book called: Shout! Shout it Out! Afterwards, I created an anchor chart that has four different parts: People, Places, Things, Animals. I break this down to really make sure my kiddos have a great understanding of each. Today we discussed the topic of "Things we Know All About". I brought up that we have been learning all about apples and pumpkins and my kids took it from there.

After we were done brainstorming all the things we knew about I wanted my kids to see the "how" in writing an all about book. What better way to do this than by 1st showing them writing from authors 2nd showing them previous students' writings, and 3rd by showing them my writing.

Tieing everything all together, I pulled in the words that we have learned. I have quite a few english learners and I wanted to make this lesson as authentic, while connecting it to our reading and phonics lesson.

I had a printable book that contained simple repetitive text using the words that we have learned! HOW PERFECT!!! We read this book together and discussed the receptiveness of the text. I presented the question of "Can we use this repetitive text in our writing about apples?"

Of course they were thrilled! We wrote out a few sentences using I see the _____. while I modeled my thought process to my kids.

Once we read over the sentences off my students went eager and ready to write what they know about apples.

Here are a few examples of the writing we did.

During reading we are beginning to explore nonfiction books and the text features that can be found in them. We began by discussing some of the different features we have and the purpose of each feature. Here is a picture of our anchor chart. I've now given my kiddos a challenge. As they re reading during reading workshop I wanted my students to become aware of the nonfiction text features so we are going to tally each time we see a text feature. This is of course limited to labels, diagrams, close-up, deifintions, captions etc. I chose to leave out photographs and illustrations.

We reviewed The Pumpkin Book  by gail Gibbons and read Seed, Sprout, Pumpkins.

Our culminated activity was our pumpkin books. We practiced with apples and just got our feet a little wet. For pumpkins we went all out. Students had a specific sub heading that they had to write towards. This was done very explicitly and slowly. I would introduce one sub title and we would brainstorm and discuss. Once we had our thinking down we came up with a sentence and used this to help us write. Here are a few pictures of some books!


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Last Page
You will notice on one of the pages this sweet little dude added check marks to each sentence; when I was teaching I had a page with three different example sentences. One sentence would be all scrunched together with no spaces and we decided to put a big x next to it. The next had all capital letters and it too was awarded a gigantic x! The last was just right. It had spaces and lowercase letters so we gave that a check. So when my kids were writing they felt the need to do the same and self check themselves. LESSON WIN!!!!!

We threw in a little bit of learning about spiders and bats to help build up the excitement of Halloween! Our big wowza of a project were our pattern spiders and writing. This was a mixture of Tunstall's spider writing and a spider that was inspired last year by a dear teaching friend of mine. I thought these came out AMAZING!

For Halloween, we celebrated with a spooky campfire reading in a tent and an educational activity that got the kids excited to go home and retell the story to their family and see if they could scare them!

We had a delightful snack and did a little bit of trick-or-treating.

And just cause.... here are my boys all dressed up for Halloween.

We revisited our harvest unit by ending it with corn. This was a great way for us to slowly lead our way into Thanksgiving. For corn, we did the same with all the others and read Corn by Gail Gibbons. We built up our anchor charts about corn and discussed the parts of a corn plant and an ear of corn. We also explored three types of corn: sweet corn, feed corn, and Indian corn. I brought in examples of each and we discussed some characters about each type of corn. We ended the unit with this little number:

Now, I am introducing Thanksgiving and I am so super excited to tell you all about it next week!

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