Monday Made It…Live from NYC!

Woo hoo!  It’s Monday Made It time and I’m in NYC!  Holy cow!  Can’t believe it!  Really.  I.  Can’t.  Believe.  It.

I have the fabulous opportunity to learn from the best of the best…Lucy Calkins…at Teachers College.  The August Writer’s Institute looks like it is going to be the bomb-diggity!  I’m looking forward to so much new learning…my head is swimming already!

(In honor of the wonderliscious time that I am sure to have in NYC , I plan on putting out a boatload of ideas that I have for mentor texts.  Do check back throughout August to see what I’ve posted, won’t you?)

Anywho…thought I’d pull all of the stuff I’ve been working on together so that I don’t experience the backup of projects.  I tend to feel that my posts have been a tad overwhelming being that I just shifted gears and am starting to panic about everything…new grade level, new teaching partner, new room, new Writers Workshop Units of Study…everything is just so danged bright, shiny, and new…I’m totally blinded by it all!

So…here’s what I’ve been working on the last few days.

The Customary Catsups and Metric Mustards for my Footlong Measurement Center/Station.  I put these together and a while back.  Click here to see the original post.  I’ve been asked by quite a few folks where I got this idea from.  I can tell you…it’s my idea.  I’ve never seen these before…they were just something that came out of my warped mind.

I put together a few extra to give to my new teaching partner and my “favoritest” teaching buddy, The Wonderful Linda!

A new “Random Facts of Weirdness” for 2013-2014.  My enthusiastic 12-year-old put this baby together for me.  He did, however, spell Weirdness incorrectly.  I took the picture and am posting it, but do rest assured that this is now spelled correctly.  You can find out more about how I use this by checking out my link to last year’s volume here.

I finished up my “Pop Your Top” station with QR codes for Perimeter and Area practice.  The original link to the FREE coaster templates can be found here.

Here’s something new…and either a real low point or a definite high point in my creative life, depending on how you look at things…

SENTENCE KABOBS!

I know…great idea, but your kids are sure to poke their eyes out!  (I’m envisioning Christmas Story dialogue here!)
Well, I am picturing that this will need a great deal of instruction on the front-end as to expectations at a station such as this.  (Note that I am also taking the bamboo skewers and cutting the sharp ends off.)  However, you’re the teacher.  It’s your call.  You don’t need the skewer to make great learning and potential danger happen in your classroom.  This could be done with unsharpened pencils, shoelaces or anything else really.  The sky’s the limit!
It really just started with a few empty Pringles cans and these great foam blocks that have been in my stash for a couple of years.  The blocks came from Michaels and were only a couple of bucks. I covered the cans with some scrapbook paper and these funky labels.  You can access them here:  
RED   BLUE   GREEN
Then I put two bamboo skewers in each can.
Using one of the skewers, I “drilled” holes into each block and used a Sharpie marker to write words on each block.  The red blocks have assorted nouns on them, the yellow blocks have assorted verbs on them and the blue blocks have a combination of adjectives and adverbs on them.  My suggestion is to build your own word list using the words you want your students to access and be accountable for.  (I’m low budget here.  I want to be able to help put an idea in your head by sharing some of my creative process, but I want you to build in what your students need.  I’m funny that way…I don’t want to sell you anything…I just want to give away a little inspiration!)
By throwing a handful of these blocks into the can, my students now have a portable sentence creation station.  I want them to grab a yellow, blue, and red block and then skewer them onto the kabobs in an order that makes sense.  From there, I’d ask students what other words are necessary in order to have their “Sentence Kabob” make sense.  This would be a great opportunity to talk about pronouns, conjunctions, or any other part of speech that is appropriate to your situation.  
I see lots of possibilities here.  How about you?
I’d have the students write these down in their word play notebooks or on a whiteboard…your call.  You know what works best for you!
As always, remember that “Sharing is Caring” and that your willingness to make and give a set of these to a treasured colleague, wonderful teaching partner or “brand-new-fresh-out-of-the-box” teacher is always appreciated!
I’d love to hear what you do with any of these ideas!  
Have a terrific week!
Nikki
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Mentor Text: 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore

Writer’s Workshop has taken over my school and my district and I’M LOVIN’ IT!  This soooo fits the way I teach and it is just thrilling to be able to use great mentor texts to model the best in writing.

I’ve decided that I’m going to set the bar high for myself and try to get in ONE BLOG PER WEEK on great mentor texts.  (Ok…that’s a pretty high bar and I’m pretty out-of-shape when it comes to blogging…I’ll admit I’m a slacker!  But I’ll give this a go and see where this goal leads me!)

So…enough pontificating…I’m ready to share!

17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter is one of my all-time favorite books for so many reasons.  What’s not to love about this book?  Great illustrations combined with some great retro mixed-media and an extremely imaginative main character make this book a natural read aloud.  (I know, I know…you aren’t supposed to read a mentor text in its’ entirety during a mini-lesson…but your students will be so intrigued that you’ll need to share the whole darned thing!  Really…it’s that engaging!)
Here are a few ideas I have for using this book for Writer’s Workshop:
  • Idea generating:  Every house and school has rules.  Heck…if I blow up a balloon at home and start batting it around with my son, we have a well-developed list of rules in a matter of seconds! I have my students write a list of things they aren’t allowed to do.  My favorite?  “I’m not allowed to pee on my sister’s toothbrush anymore.”  TMI  🙂
  • Capitalization:  The authors take a little bit of liberty with capitalization.  My kids catch these “errors” quickly and a quick and necessary mini-lesson on mechanics is born!
  • Show, don’t tell:  “I had an idea to give my brother the gift of cauliflower.”  “I’m not allowed to give the gift of cauliflower anymore.”  The pictures in this book are worth a thousand words.  How can we “paint” a picture using words and not drawings or graphics?  
Do you use 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore with your students?  If so, how do you use this book with your students?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Update for April 9, 2013:  I went back to this mentor text and linked it up with the gals over at Collaboration Cuties…check out some other great mentor texts that others have shared!

Make a wonderful week!
Nikki