Have ya’ll seen this pin?
I chuckle every time I see it.
Today I had one of those lessons where it could not have gone better. We had just gotten back from a few days off for Easter and I wanted to revisit how and why and what we can write about.
I read aloud the story Rocket Writes a Story….
(Side note: you NEED this book)
…and Rocket took it from there. The book is amazing. It encourages students to love words as Rocket goes through the beginning of the story collecting words he loves.
Then he decides that he is going to write a story.
My favorite part of the story is when his teacher asks him, “what inspires you?”
I don’t want to give too much of the book away but Rocket begins to write his story and adds new things to it every day. He uses descriptive words and similes and writes a beautiful story about friendship that had my first graders awe-ing by the end of it.
After we read the book, I asked my students what Rocket taught them and reminded them about writing. They came up with some amazing ideas. We did a quick mini lesson on using descriptive words to “paint a picture in your reader’s mind” and then I presented my question to them.
“What inspires you? What do you want to write about today?”
I usually end my writing mini lessons with a question for my students to think about and I have my students think of an idea before they leave our carpet so they can get right to work. If they get an idea they put their hand above their head and open their fingers up wide and mouth the word “lightbulb” to me. (It’s corny I know but my first graders love it. It also makes me giggle on the inside because I think of Despicable Me when he says, “Liiiiiiiiightbulb” hehehe ) I then nod to them and they go off to write.
If my students can’t come up with an idea I send them to our “idea chart.” This hot ticket (which we refer to every.stinkin.day ) was seriously one of the best purchases I ever made from TpT. My friend Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter made this and I swear it has been a life saver.
I’m so sorry for the blurry picture. (You can find these cards in her Topics to Write About pack.)
The packet that I bought has a BUNCH of topics that students can use when they are writing. In fact, what you can’t see is that I have two pocket charts right next to each other in my room at kid level so they can go up to it and take a card to their desk to write.
So, my kids who didn’t have an inspiration, went and got inspired, and then wrote for 20 minutes. I turned down the lights and played some quiet working music and the kids WENT FOR IT today.
After they wrote, two of my kids shared their fabulous stories. After each friend read, (and we applauded) I re-read their story and stopped occasionally to ask my listeners what they were seeing in their heads.
For example, one of my boys had written a story about a race car that was driving too fast and it crashed. (He is obsessed with Nascar and racing cars) I stopped and asked, “what color is the car you are picturing in your heads?” I got: red, blue with a yellow stripe, green with rockets, etc. I asked the author and he said, “actually it’s rainbow striped and it has giant rockets on its tail lights.” (who would have guessed that, right?) I asked my students what are some of the things they wish ______ had told us? They told him they wished he told them what color the car was and how it crashed.
So, I wrote in his journal, (on the opposite side of where he wrote.) Dear _______, This is a fantastic story. We enjoyed listening to it! What color is the car you are writing about? How did the car crash? Thanks so much for sharing.
Love, Miss Smith
Then two of my students gave him a compliment and he picked the next friend to share.
It was really neat for the kids to generate the questions and give heart felt compliments.
Tomorrow we will continue with Rocket. We will add words to our “words that are important to me pages” in small groups and talk about how we can describe something to “paint pictures in the reader’s minds.” I am trying to encourage my students to not just say things like “the bird had a yellow beak.” But rather that they can write “the bird had a beak the color of a buttercup.” (from Rocket!)
After those lessons, my students will add to their stories from today.
I’m looking forward to their great stories!
In closing, I totally felt today deserved a #nailed it.
I hope you’re having a good week!