Friday, September 9, 2011

This is the Start of Something Good... Don't You Agree?

It's hard to believe that we just wrapped up our third week of school, but then again, maybe not.   I definitely fell asleep by 8:30 a few nights ago while watching HGTV.  That is about two hours before my bedtime... and I was O-U-T... out!  :)  The hubster and I move in two weeks, so in between teaching & packing, I am squeezing in a little home decor television.  I'm just a tad excited about our new forever home!   Unfortunately, I have been neglecting my camera in the midst of all of this excitement, and I don't have a TON of photos from the first few weeks of school.  Here's what I do have from this week... and it's not much!

We were learning about how to write a character description based on character's actions and inferred character traits.  We decided to create a character description about Farmer Brown from Click, Clack, Moo and Giggle, Giggle, Quack, because most of the students had read those books at one point in time or another and it was an easy, accessible text for all of my students.  So, we started to brainstorm actions performed by Farmer Brown in either story and what those actions reveal about his inner-feelings or personality.  We created a T-chart, and then used the T-chart to create a really simple paragraph modeled after our sample in Reading Street.

Then, I had the kiddos re-read previously read books from my classroom library to get reacquainted with characters.  They were armed with Post-It notes to jot down what they noticed about the characters' actions and character traits.  I gave them ten minutes to think and jot... then I asked them to find a partner.  The partners shared what they found about their characters, decided which character would help them create the most descriptive character description, and then worked together to practice writing one.  Each student was responsible for recording the description in their Writer's Notebook to refer back to in the future.  Dare I say it?  Even though I am missing UofS right now, I actually enjoyed the lesson!  :)

I actually used the lesson as an opportunity to model drawing vs. sketching.  I started by writing my title on the anchor chart, then beginning the T-chart.  I quickly sketched a head shot of Farmer Brown with pink marker and tried to just get the gist of his appearance.  Then, the kids were encouraging me to add some color to make it look a little more like him, so I just sort of dabbed in color quickly to the shirt and hat using a yellow marker.  I asked them to think about the differences between illustrations, drawings and sketches.  They were quick to point out that illustrations usually accompany text in books, and that drawings can be anywhere.  They were unable to differentiate between drawings and sketches at all.  So, I pulled out Giggle, Giggle, Quack and my old file folder activity for the book.  I shared the illustration first, and we talked briefly about what we noticed.  Then, I showed them my drawing, and we discussed how many details I tried to capture through my drawing like colors, texture, patterns. and even shadows.  Then, I redirected their attention to the original sketch on my poster.  We discussed how it was only a small part of the illustration and how it lacked lots of details.  We also discussed how quickly I generated the sketch.  I explained that sometimes I will ask for detailed drawings, but mostly we will be sketching in class.  :)  I seriously wish I would have thought of this before... because I could see all of the lightbulbs go off in their heads.  Seriously though, I am not the best sketcher, so it looks a little sad next to some of my other charts.  Haha!  Probably because I also tried to write quickly and draw lines that were a little wavy to show a few of my perfectionists that sometimes we can make everything look wonderful, and sometimes, especially when we're thinking or planning, it's okay to be a little messy.  {Secretly, this is my own hang-up too, but shhhh!}

Examples of a drawing & illustration!

My perfectly imperfect chart...
Check out the sketch, the wavy line, and the fabulous thinking! I love that he wrote "Good Job"  and gave himself a star after I conferenced with him about his progress!  :) What a sweetheart!!!!  I wish the picture came out clearer and didn't cut off words!

This is absolutely random, but I wanted to share my cover sheets.  They are just laminated construction paper.  They're nothing fancy, but they work like a charm, and I have re-used the same set constantly for four years now! They're a little worn!

We started our economy unit!  The posters are part of my Economy bundle on TpT! :)

A visual brainstorm.  Once again, this is to illustrate that thinking can be somewhat messy, but it's okay!  Note that my third graders mentioned that we need money to pay for warranties, mortgages, insurance, taxes, money for repairs & video games!

This is the over-arching essential question for the week for Social Studies and Boom Town!


  1. Great post! I love your anchor chart! You're super creative!

    Congrats on your new home!!! BTS & moving at the same time is nuts! Good Luck!

    Stop by to check out my Freebie Friday!

    A Teacher's Treasure
    A Teacher's Treasure

  2. Love the drawing of Farmer Brown. I shared your site with my third grade teachers. They loved it!
    I have posted your blog as one of my favorites on my new blog.

  3. Just called a realtor last night and I am STRESSED. Hope all goes well for you! I am excited but just not the best timing in the world for us either! Love your post! My son is a third grader and he LOVES to talk about money and economics. He would have really enjoyed your lessons!

  4. Your first paragraph could have been written by me. :) Except, I don't have a "hubster", and instead of packing to move. I am talking to banks about a loan to build a house. I am also doing grad school work. I'm having "shutterbug withdrawals" also.

    I love how you displayed your essential question.

  5. I like the Essential Questions! Do you use learning targets, too? We use them in our district. I love the brainstorm visual!


  6. Great Anchor Chart! I taught Character Traits two weeks ago. You always have great ideas.

  7. Looks like you are enjoying Reading Street! I love Boom Town! Such a fun story and absolutely love the historical side of it. My darlings loved learing about the California Gold Rush and the 49ers!
    Life's a Teach!!

  8. LOVE that Farmer Brown "gets stressed out"!!! Great lesson idea!