Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rockin', Readin' & Writin' Animal Reports

Yes, we're rockin', readin', and writin' about dinosaurs. My kiddos have been dino-crazy over the last couple weeks and the enthusiasm has not waned!  My classroom (which is already small) has been invaded by animals from the Triassic and Mesozoic Eras. Big plastic figures and stuffed dinos line one wall. Next week, they are building a 5 foot diorama for the classroom. Pictures will come soon. I have "dino-mite" words in the room, and a tree chart which was almost too easy for them to fill out. They have so much prior knowledge, which is so helpful when it comes to writing and adding details. They've had fun with dinosaur related spelling words as their bonus words, too. This week, we'll be finalizing some of their writing pieces--especially their reports. So our dino portfolios are going to be stuffed when we're all done.  But they'll remember every bit of this unit for at least a few years to come!

Teachers know this already, but I feel it's worth repeating--Animal report writing is the greatest springboard for kids to get comfortable with longer forms of writing. The stamina they need for writing is proportionate to their enthusiasm--usually! The new Common Core expectations require stamina in both reading and writing.

Please check out my Animal Reports Templates! There are 2 products out: One of them has several pages of graphic organizers, including a cover, rubric page, and writing paper. It works for any animal. The other product is a shorter version, but there are 3 different styles with different borders. This one is more geared toward wild animals that are mammals--with paw prints and tracks on it. Now, writing about dinosaurs is another story! You want kids to be thinking about fossils, and prehistoric days, so those templates will look different. For starters, see my "Write Like a Scientist" (see below), the dinosaur writing prompt and fossil procedure writing may be what you're looking for.  It's hard for kids to write "all about dinosaurs"--gosh! so many! But if you have your kids write about fossils and how they tell a story, you're helping them narrow down the topic.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rejoice in the art of teaching and growing great minds! ~Karen

Dinosaur Writing Prompt and Fossil Procedure Writing
Cover Page to Activity Packet which includes a photo, prompt, and  procedure writing template

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Still new to blogging, and would LOVE to hear from you!

Hello and Welcome to Growing Readers Day by Day!

I'm still new at blogging, so I hope you don't mind weeding through my posts for random topics. I just discovered blogging despite my 20 years as a teacher.  But if I confessed to you that it was a first grader years ago who taught me how to turn on a computer, than you'd believe that I really have come a long way!

Well, I haven't yet learned how to organize everything, so bear with me, please. I do have some random freebies which link back to my teachers store, but I'm trying to figure out how to make it so you can also get them from this blog!  My teachers store at Teachers Pay Teachers is also new, so I'm learning all kinds of new things--along the lines of social networking, and technical things that I guess I always took for granted.

Having been a reading specialist for several years, I have a ton of tools and ideas that I've either created or discovered along the way. So I hope you'll join me again soon--and hopefully, I'll have tackled all the technical hang ups and blogging bugs.

I appreciate all you teachers, parents, grandparents, and others out there who are involved with the teaching of literacy, children's books, and love to do artsy-crafty things for kids....and of course, any tips or resources that just helps us teachers do our jobs a little bit better.

Let me know if you stop by--I would love to hear from you. I hope to share good stuff with you and hopefully, you've got some great things you'd like to share as well. If you're a teacher, then you know what it's like to find yourself more of a learner than a teacher! That's where I'm at right now!

Enjoy each day to the fullest, and Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 9, 2013