Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Puppy Pic Prompt

Puppy Picture Prompt:
Here's a cutie pie that has gotten into a little trouble! What did she do? That's up to you!

Original photo--Permission for Growing Smart Readers to post.
Copyright by L.St.Amour   All rights reserved.

Kids love pictures that tell a story. They love to make up their own story about what happened. Maybe they know what Honey, the cute pup above got into. Or, is she just waiting for someone to play with her?!

If you like picture prompts, be sure to check out my previous post: Hot Air Balloon prompt:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fall is here again....

Photo copyright by K.Gomez at Growing Smart Readers 2014

Fall Picture Prompt

The leaves are already changing! Especially in the northern and central part of the state. This picture just brings out all the emotions of the season. My students love picture prompts, but they have so much trouble getting started with their writing. Descriptive writing, using the senses is a good starting point for many primary and intermediate students.

Before they write, just talk about the picture! Oral communication first!
Brainstorm using all the senses--not just the five senses! Aside from sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch, ask kids questions like...

What do you feel? 
What does this picture make you think of? 
What would it be like if you were looking up from the bottom of the tree?
What would it be like if you were IN the tree?

Start with a pre-writing activity!
Kids will need to start out by creating a list or for many a word web is visually concrete. Random words, stream of thought, whatever comes to mind, one word, two or more words, color words....anything goes to start out.

Talk about what writers do to engage their audience?
They might...
-Make comparisons using similes, using like or as.
-Use metaphors....comparing this beautiful orange tree to another object or idea...
-Write a poem (often easier for some kids) using phrases to describe this picture. 

One way to start is to list phrases that involve strong imagery and verbs that punch....such as these examples:
-fiery leaves
-flaming trees
-with leaves so juicy, they taste like orange and lemon Starbursts (the candy)...and so on.

The suggestions here are merely suggestions. There are SO many effective ways to get started with picture prompts for writing. Just remember to start with talking about the picture before asking them to write.  I love picture prompts and I know your kids will to, so if you haven't really used them yet...try it.

Please SHARE! whatever works for your students. I would love to hear what you have had success with! Leave a comment!

Perhaps you might be interested in checking out my autumn/fall poetry resource. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Picture Writing Prompts--Chewing Gum for the Writer

This is a photo I took just last weekend! I chased the hot air balloon (my husband was driving) and made him stop the car to take this photo. I could only think of how this would be a cool writing prompt for my kids. What can we infer? What went wrong? Was anyone hurt? Did it land in a huge tree, or is this a bush?  Photos also can be deceiving....Writing can go in any direction with these prompts. Have you taken some fun pictures? Why not use them? 

Picture prompts stimulate our emotions, memories, and those centers of the brain where we pull together and synthesize information....Picture prompts are chewing gum for the writer! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let's Track Our Fluency--Progress Monitoring Tools for Reading

If you are a reading teacher like I am, you'll need more than one graph for the different fluency targets your students may need to meet. Print out graphs that suit your students, and keep them in folders so they can go back to them with a reading buddy or partner. Give them a timer, and let 'em read! It's fun and it's a technique that is backed up by research...We all know this, that kids who take responsibility for their own progress DO make substantial progress. These graphs hold them accountable for making progress at their own rate. We all know this too... that once they are engaged in their reading, it sticks with them longer.

This resource also includes a quick guide for fluency rate targets, adapted from Tim Rasinski's fluency target charts. 

Happy reading!

And while you're in my store.... please take a moment to check out this reading resource--which I had fun creating--but more importantly, hope  can be truly useful to teachers and homeschooling parents. I think you'll find that once you laminate these and hang them up on the walls (or use them as charts, or in a book), your kids will have a blast with these!  Thanks so much for checking my store out...I think you'll be surprised at the resources you can use for helping your kids become more proficient in literacy.