Saturday, August 31, 2013

Free Writing Prompt: My Vacation Memory Book

Have fun writing in this shape book! Summer shorts, vacation shorts, any kind of fun shorts...make it fun to write in. Several prompts will help your kids think writing is actually a "cool" thing! The best thing about these shorts is...they're FREE!

Just Updated: My Summer Vacation Memory Book

First Week-Crazy But Exciting!

Whew! I'm still winding down--and it's almost noon, Saturday! What a week! But what fun!
This year, I'm co-teaching with two teachers during literacy block, and I have to say I'm learning as much about kindergarten as the 5 year olds!  I also have 4 of my literacy intervention groups on top of co-teaching. I'm hanging on!

Second graders are off to a great start. They are ready to learn. After we covered our expectations, I felt like we had to hit the ground running with W-O-R-K!  But they really needed to have a bit of fun.
Sight word bingo and getting-to-know you games are just the best for those first few days.  They're rockin' and readin' already.

To all you busy and bustling teachers out there--Have fun, even if it looks like work!  Building routines and moving around with hands-on activities seem to work for me. Oh, and tons of praise, praise, and more praise!

~Karen :-)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Featured Fellow Friend--Honey!

Honey is the subject of my newest teacher resource: Doggie Writing Prompts: Honey's Adventures.
She's a real pet living in the country in Vermont. As you can tell, she loves camping--and was a bit disappointed to find the marshmallow bag empty. In my writing prompts for kids, Honey has a mishap and gets all muddy. She must take a shower, but hates showers (of course!). She'd much rather be out chasing squirrels and running through the mud! Check it writing for kids who paws-itively love dogs!
Doggie Writing Prompts: Honey's Adventures

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Savoring Summer, a Babbling Brook, and Ralph Fletcher

Holy cow! I feel like the sands of summer are slipping by even as I fix my morning coffee! Where have the days gone? The panic of needing to hurry and do all those things I had on my Summer Bucket List has set in. I want to be ready for school, organized and prepared. I really want to offer an exciting year to my students. Thinking about planning...led me to thinking about writing.

I took a walk down to my brook in the back of my house....I had forgotten what a quiet spot it was--even Thoreau would've appreciated it. I started reading my book that's been on top of a pile of books, A Writer's Notebook, by Ralph Fletcher. I had only skimmed it before, and now feel guilty I'm only reading it now (I've had it for years).  There's so much to glean from his book on keeping a notebook that I can't sum it up so simply. But I like how he says, "Keeping a writer's notebook can help you be more alive to the world." I think that's so true. Written for young adults and aspiring writers (much younger than me), I found his words to be riveting.  He reminds us that we don't have to have polished writing, complete sentences, and so on. Snatches of conversations, and bits and pieces of human talk, are enough to jot down and revisit later.

But it really hit me when I read, "Many people drift through life...." (I'm trying hard to avoid that!) and adds, "Your writer's notebook can work as an alarm clock to remind you to wake up and pay attention to what's happening in your world, both inside and out."

So, I'm savoring summer--savoring it with the flavor of words...seasoning it with moments of writing little jots and notes, lists, and all those dreams and wishes...'though it's best to work with the here and now. The babbling brook reminds me to be more present about things.  But of course, it's really the chatter in my own mind... And that's how I can savor the summer before it fades away.

I'm almost done with the book--but now, I have to start a new notebook. I have a lot of them scattered here and there, and half written in each one. So, I've got to get organized!  Well, one thing I know (which I knew anyway, and have done in the past, but forget to do from time to time) is to make writer's notebooks a big focus this year with my students. Tomorrow, I'm off to buy a whole pile of spiral notebooks!