Writing Takes Time. Forget the Rush.

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Cause I’d rather pretend I’d still be there at the end.photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

Oh my what a busy start to the year it has been. In the blitz that September and October have been we have fully launched our students blogs. Blogging is a learning process for all of us. From what standard of writing we expect on our blogs to the simple mechanics of how to post to your blog. My students have embraced blogging and are enjoying writing for an authentic audience. I had to chuckle one day when one of my students said “You know, blogging is better than writing in my notebook because now I know someone is actually reading it.” Wow, talk about getting it and being motivated by it.

On Friday I was talking to a good teacher friend of mine who asked “When are you going to write your next blog post?”. I was a bit stunned. I have 3 drafts I am working on but they aren’t quite there yet. Some of my posts take months to write simply because I need to think things through. Others, like this one, I can whip out in under an hour.

Her question also made me think about my students. Some have written over 10 posts since getting their blogs 2 weeks ago. Others have only written the 2 posts I asked them to write for me.  I suspect some of my students are writing their blog posts quickly and in one shot. Tomorrow I want to talk to them about how writing takes time and not to fear if they can’t write a long essay in under an hour. Writing is a skill and it is something that they are learning to do well and efficiently.

I as their teacher, also want to remember that writing takes time. We all need to remember that it is okay to take a bit longer on something to ensure that we deliver a good product. It’s time to forget the rush, slow down and take our time.

2 Years… Oh What a Journey

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Life Journey photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

I know the cobwebs were forming after a prolonged summer blogging break… but I am getting back at it again! So after the hiatus here is a blog post dedicated to my journey.

WordPress informed me this morning that this blog is two years old. Say what? I can’t believe I have been blogging that long already! Oh what a journey it has been! This blog has always been a place for me to share my thoughts and reflect on my learning. It has seen my transform from a student teacher to a fully fledged professional. This blog coupled with my learning on Twitter has done amazing things for my growth as a teacher. It has forced me to reflect and share ideas with my PLN. Blogging has also stretched my identity as a writer. I have never considered myself to be a writer but this blog has helped my start to see myself as one. Sharing my writing life with my students has helped me encourage even the most reluctant writers. And that is perhaps the most special impact of all.

Falling Into Our Imaginations

Here is an overview of an integrated art / writing lesson I did with my students last month.

It all started with a simple video I found on The Literacy Shed.

After watching the video we discussed what happened in the video and what happened to the boy as he fell into the ball pit. I then introduced them to the  art concept of foreshortening using a Powerpoint from http://www.mrsbrownart.com/5th.htm (Lesson is called: Falling into Foreshortening. 1/2 way down the page).

I then challenged the students to create an image of them falling into ‘something’ using the technique shown in Mrs Browns blog. The process is pretty simple. Students first trace their feet onto the bottom of the page and then trace their hands so their toes overlap the bottom of the palm of their hands. They then draw their body to create the complete the illusion of them falling.

After the students were done they were asked to write a short piece about what they were falling into. (I had modelled my own process from art piece to written piece).

Time Allotment:

3 – 4 classes

(One student even finished the project at home while she was sick!)

Materials:

Large pieces of drawing paper,

Pencils and Erasers,

Pencil Crayons,

 You may want to use markers to really make the pictures pop!

We had students falling out of planes, into a ball pit, into hockey arenas and one was even shot out of a volcano!

Here are the final products:

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The Art of Beautiful Storytelling: Storybird

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 Another Summer Day photo credit: @ifatma. via photopin cc

Since January Storybird’s have been all the rage in my classroom. I had not planned it to become an ongoing project in my classroom but once word got out about the beautiful Storybird graphics it has snowballed into a phenomenon in my classroom. I have also introduced it with two students in grade 6 that I tutor and they are also hooked! (You know you’re onto something good when students go home and write on their weekends!)

If you are not familiar with Storybird it’s a website where you can use beautiful artwork to create stories.

Reasons I love it:

– It’s easy to use. Kids just play around with it and get it!

– The artwork is amazing and provides endless writing inspiration.

– It’s a sneaky way to draw in my reluctant writers. They have all given it a try!

– The ease of use and beautiful final product ensures a feeling of success right from the start.

– I can create classes and monitor my students work.

– It’s easy to share and access.

– The stories remain private unless you choose to make them public.

It’s free!

The reasons they love it:

– The artwork provides writing inspiration so it doesn’t feel forced.

– It’s easy to use. They don’t have to be very tech savvy to use it.

– They get their own account. (Always a big deal in grade 4!)

– The artwork is already done so for my students who don’t feel confident in their drawing abilities feel instant success.

– It’s done on the computer – instant motivator.

Student Examples:

Friends By Reann Grade 4 Student

Family By Julia Grade 4 Student

The Little Ghost in the House Together By Arianna Grade 6 Student