Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Some Great Things About Spring!!!!! {Crafting & Writing Freebie}

I can't believe I'm saying this, but SPRING HAS FINALLY SPRUNG here in Illinois!  We've had three consistent days above 50 degrees!  I know, right?  Many of us never thought this day would come!  And now that it has, we all have a little Spring Fever.  

So I pulled out my craft binder and found these cuties:

We always have a solid hour on Wednesday afternoons when kids are getting pulled out for Math RtI, Reading RtI, Title I, or the Reading Grandparents.  So instead of trying to do lessons,  I plan extension activities and crafts.

This is the result:
 Click here and here to get your own copy of the patterns.

And of course, these spring-y crafts got me thinking about all the great things about Spring.  So I pulled out all the books in my library that are Spring related.  I also like to keep old issues of Time for Kids.  I dug out magazines about gardening, thunderstorms and tornadoes, the effects of the sun, and insects.  We spent the last half of our crafting time reading.

I was actually amazed how many books I had that related to Spring in some way.
Hibernating Animals and Holidays 

Fiction and Gardening 

Weather and Life Cycles 

Non-Fiction and Time for Kids

And to put all that new information to good use, we wrote about all the great things about Spring!

Since most of my class struggles with writing, (and don't we all?!?!) I like to do a whole-class writing before I set them loose on their own.

Though this writing is more expository-like, I encourage my students to write using elements from narratives: an introductory and closing paragraph, and feeling and transition words. 

Now it's time to see what they can do on their own!
At my school, we use the 4-square writing method.  (I guess technically this is a 5-square.)
Click here to get your own copy of this graphic organizer.  

Here are a couple shots during our pre-write.  This part of the process is very slow because I have each student share what they're planning to write before they write it.  This gives the strugglers a chance to "steal" some ideas on what to write themselves.  I also refer to our whole-class writing often during this stage.  
But I gotta say that we are ROCKIN' this!  My kiddos are coming up with some A-MA-ZING sentences!

Then we did a little peer editing . . .

and voila!

Isn't great when a craft leads to a reading opportunity, which leads to writing opportunity?  Some connections MUST have been made. Right?

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