What All Good Stories Need (Anchor Chart) & Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories

We are working through our Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories as a class and I created this anchor chart with the kids the other day about what all good stories need:

Gotta love white-out tape for the oopsies :)

I really like comparing stories to a roller coaster ride- you want to stay on-track the whole time (keeping a narrow focus) and you want the story to build up to an exciting point (climax), then come to a fun and complete conclusion.

For those of you who asked, I do my heading beforehand and then do the rest of the marker with the kids as we talk and I teach. After the lesson, I go over key words in Sharpie so that it sticks out. I made this on my 1/2 sheet chart paper and love the size since my walls are filling up quickly :)

It is then super-easy to conference with kids using the symbols to help. For example, one of my struggling writers was stuck on narrowing down their story to just one problem, so on the top margin, I wrote:
?: _____________________

and he and I worked together to come up with just one problem and how it would be resolved in his story.

We are currently knee-deep in our Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories and they are so much fun to read. I love how the kids are getting so into the Halloween spirit and also using their imaginations to come up with so many more examples of sound words.

Kids first chose one card from each set: 2 characters, a situation, and an onomatopoeia:

I put them face-down on the edge of the table so they would be surprised :)

They then spread their cards out and, using our anchor chart to help, began drafting a story that included all four cards in some way:

We are now working on COPS editing and some kids have started to publish. They came out so cute, I can't wait to see the final copies in our hallway for the Halloween all-school parade next week :)


Keeping the Writing Process Organized

Happy Friday!

It's been a busy week full of Parent-Teacher Conferences, so I am super-excited for this weekend of sleeping in and doing nothing :)

One thing I wanted to quickly share with you is how I keep my Writing Process organized with my kiddos. Now that Writer's Workshop is in full-swing, I like kids to be able to be aware of what step of the writing process they are involved in, especially when it comes to revising & editing.

The way I am using this year is to have my Writing Process Mini-Posters hanging in the front of my room in full display and also covering an ugly wire cover (yay dual purpose!).

In the past, I have also had kids use clothespins to attach to these for whatever step of the process they are working on at that point:

Because I have 27 kids this year and these are mini-posters, I am thinking that the full-size clothespins are too big, but the mini-clothespins are going to be perfect-o! If you have a smaller class, the full-size clothespins are a-ok. Note: In the pic above, I am using full-size clothespins.

You could also hang these on a ribbon or attach them to the tops of anchor charts as your headers, if you wanted. These are small and clear enough to be used all over the classroom.

I just uploaded them to my TpT Store HERE and hope you can use them! Have a wonderful fall weekend :)


Student Goal-Setting Sheets for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Our school's first round of Parent-Teacher Conferences begins tomorrow and we always frame them as goal-setting conferences. I really like this approach because it steers the conversation in a positive direction and helps to get the parents, teacher, and student all on the same page, which is never a bad thing :)

During conferences, I always share their child's first published piece, their DRA-2 reading scores, and their child's goal-setting sheet that he/she filled out in class. This is a nice way to have the student's voice in a conference (our P/T Conferences are adults-only, no kiddos) and it also gives us some nice talking points.

We filled these out in class today and I really like the responses that come back. Some need a bit of tweaking, so I will touch base with those kids to redo or add more detail to a section, but overall, kids have some nice ideas about how they want to improve this year.
Loved this little girl's response when it came to reading goals- she said she gets too into a book, so she needs help to "take her eyes off the book" and stop reading when it's time ;) If only this were every kiddo's "problem" :)
If you are interested in using these, they are a free download from my TpT Store HERE.

Are your parent-teacher conferences coming up? What are some ways you incorporate student voice?


Writers Workshop: Revising (ARMS) & Editing (COPS)

We are making our way through the writing process and have come to the two trickiest parts- revising & editing.

It always seems to hard to differentiate between the two-- during revising, I always see kids working on spelling or capital letters and the chance to really delve in and work on description and sensory details is lost.

I came across some great help on Pinterest (of course!) and wanted to share my Revising (ARMS) and Editing (COPS) anchor charts with you:

Analyze & Revise:

Note: I didn't draw the cute guy, he's from Microsoft Clipart :) I also added the marks on the right-hand side so kids knew what to do to add (use the carrot), remove (cross off) or move (circle and use an arrow) a word or sentence in their piece.

By the way, dead vs. alive words is SUCH a fun way to teach boring vs. exciting words. My boys, especially, LOVE to act out the fact that "said is dead" and hey, if that gets them to revise, I am willing to let them do it ;)

Editing & Proofreading:

Note: This guy is from Microsoft Clipart, too. I have also seen this done with "CUPS" where U=Usage, but that was a bit over my third-graders' heads, so I stuck with COPS and can now act like the Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization Police if I want ;)

We have a district-given "High Frequency Word List" for third grade that we use (it comes from Rebecca Sitton's 1200 High Frequency Word List). I also encourage kids to use their "best effort" spelling, especially on this first piece. As long as it's not on their High Frequency List (I have them glue that to the inside cover of their Writer's Notebooks at the beginning of the year for reference), it can be their best try and I'm ok with that. This also keeps my reluctant writers and strugglers from looking in the dictionary for one word for...the....entire.....writing...........period.... ;)

And a great COPS display (that uses my favorite Scrappin' Doodles clipart!) can be found at The Eager Teacher- cuteness!

What do you do to teach the difference between revising and editing?


Whole Brain Teaching: Switching Up Class-Yes

Have you ever used Class-Yes to get your class' attention? I LOVE it and it's so much fun to vary its delivery.
There are at least a thousand ways to say Class-Yes in your class and a few of them live on this post HERE.

Some new ideas I have been trying are shouting out math facts (addition only, for now) and having my kids reply with the answer. For example, doing some doubles one time, or all combinations of ten for another. It typically takes me 2-3 times to have the entire class' attention, and the extra practice never hurts :)

One thing I am loving this time of year is adding in some additional words so it's not always "Class" that I am saying out to the group. Since it's Halloween season, my new phrase this week is "Hocus Pocus" and the kids reply "Everybody Focus."

Click on the sign above or HERE to pick up this freebie from Google Docs. I hope you can use it as a super-fun way to keep Class-Yes fresh :)

Here are some additional ideas, courtesy of Dragonflies in First:

Hope you are enjoying your week so far!


Brain Breaks & YouTube: Watch & Wiggle Links + FREEBIE

My kids and I are loving Brain Breaks this year and it's been fun to experiment with some new ones and have them take over as official "Brain Break Chooser"... it's a big deal :)

One thing I have noticed popping up all over Pinterest are videos that are perfect for Brain Breaks!! I have been using them for the "Dance Off" break, but wanted to make something a bit more specific for those videos, since they are so cute and all :)

We decided on "Watch & Wiggle"-- how fun is that?!

Now, whenever this one is pulled, we get to choose from some of the engaging and silly clips on YouTube (kid-friendly, of course!). My laptop spends most of its time hooked up to my Mimio, so this doesn't require a lot of setup for me. If your technology setup is different, you may want to pull this from the general bucket and hold onto it for special occasions only (like Scoreboard reward, for example).

YouTube Videos To Use With Watch & Wiggle:

Disclaimer: As with everything on YouTube, WATCH IT BEFORE YOU PLAY IT! I watched all of these before I posted them here, but you never, ever know!! There are some ads that pop up from time to time, some of the comments may not be suitable for kids, you know how it goes-- just be a careful monitor and watch it first before you play it to your class :) Ok, thanks!

Sesame Street & Will.I.Am: What I Am (BEST video EVER!)

Kung Fu Fighting:

Shake Break with directions for kids to follow (shake, jump, turn):

Dance Like You've Got Ants in Your Pants:

This is for my bestie who teaches at my school and LOVES the Muppets:

The "Continental Drift" or "Sid Shuffle" from Ice Age (pretty cool since it shows kids from all over the world doing the dance):

There are tons and tons more, I wish I could include them all!

If you would like to pick up a FREE copy of the Watch & Wiggle Brain Breaks choice, click HERE and enjoy! It matches my other Brain Breaks, so you can add it to your current collection, no problem.

What are your favorite YouTube Watch & Wiggle ideas? Leave them in the comments below, I would love to add to my options :)

**UPDATE** I have added a board to my Pinterest account dedicated to Watch & Wiggle YouTube links- check it out HERE!

**UPDATE 2** Does your school block YouTube? A Turn to Learn has a GREAT tutorial for how to download YouTube videos to your computer!! Do this at home and be ready to go whenever :) Click the image below to find out how:

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