Mar 27, 2015

Fractured Fairytales


Writing fairytales and fractured fairytales is a wonderful activity in ANY grade!  My class wrote the fractured kind and they were SO creative!   I started out the unit by reading lots of funny ones that are easily recognizable.  Here are some of my favorites!

Why do fractured fairytales in Workshop? Kids have fun comparing and contrasting them to their old favorites.  I must admit that I laugh each time I read the Cinderella one and LOVE reading it in a "snotty, snobby" voice.  I love it as much as the kids do!  And the one from the wolf's point of view is GREAT to read in a gruff, sneaky voice. YEP- this may be my all time favorite writing unit of the year!!!

The first year that I taught writing the tales I made a HUGE mistake. I REALLY DID!  I used these books and then thought that my kiddos could just write fractured fairytales on their own. What I didn't do was assign the reading of the original stories. I had a few of the originals in class, but not enough to go around.  My kids NEEDED the original story to follow along with to write their own.  So, the 2nd year I tweaked my lessons and it made the biggest difference in the world. Read on to see my tips to make this go easier in your classroom.

1. I let each child write with a buddy.  They had to decide together on a tale that they would fracture and they had to discuss the changes first.  THIS WAS HUGE in getting the stories to go in the right direction because talking them out let them figure out mistakes before writing them down.  WOW!  THE COLLABORATION WAS WONDERFUL!  They were forced to build on their partner's ideas and find ways to make their stories funny...together!  It was almost like they were writing a play because they had to keep their stories flowing.  The best part of this  was that I paired a weaker writer with a stronger one. It really freed me up to work with less groups and I had less questions because the stronger writer led! I was so surprised at how well the weaker writer shared ideas, too.  They LOVED the collaboration and help!  Each group ended with a product that they were proud of.  I did make sure that I talked through "sharing the responsibility" before starting though.  Each member was aware of pulling their weight AND allowing the partner to have ideas. 
I found this link to them.
2.  I got the set of Scholastic Easy Readers above.  These tales were written at much the same level as my mid-writers.  They were easy to follow along and the children could read a little about how to change it for their story...write it down...then read a little more...and so on.  They were PERFECT!  My advanced writers added so much more detail, too!

3.  I got my students excited to write by creating some CUTE fairytale paper so that their published pieces looked awesome. If you show it to them beforehand they can't wait to use it.  I used the one below and they turned out really cute.  The picture at the top shows my example that I show them.  We even made little puppets of the character that the children held while reading their tales to the class. Now, buddies each wrote their own final copy so that each child had a book and puppet.  They looked great displayed all around the room and everyone had a great time reading them over and over!

What else might help a child OR fellow teacher with the fairytale unit?  Post it in the comments section!

   Grab mine on TpT if you want to save time!


Mar 23, 2015

Task Cards! Get your TASK CARDS!

Wow!  Everywhere that you look there are task cards on every subject and for any grade level possible. They are cute and easy to make yourself or pretty reasonable to buy.  If you haven't seen them or used them, you are missing out.  They are fantastic for your small groups and stations.

What are they? They are small cards that give the student a task to do in that subject area.  A lot of the ones out there are for very specific goals of the Common Core. The best part is that they are little treasures that you can put in your drawer and use year after year.   Here are some ideas for using them!

Center or Station Time Activity (You already knew this one! :) 
Whole Group Practice- Place one card on each desk.  Children move around the room with white boards or recording sheets. 
Partner Activities-Partners grab a container of cards and work together to solve the problems.
 Homework- many come with a recording sheet.  Give one card per child for homework review OR copy the cards to send home.

Click here!
Early Finishers- Have several baskets of different cards around the room to work on while others finish their work.
Parent Helper activity- Parents who love to come in and help can be given the cards to work individuals or small groups.
 Indoor Lunch Activity
 SUB TUBS!  Perfect for easy planning!
 Gifted or Remedial Learning-Get task cards below or above your grade level to help meet the needs of your learners.
Challenge Boards- Place one card a day on a bulletin board and have children find the answer and place it in a container. 
Click Here!

Warm-ups- digital downloads can be pulled up on the Smart board and use as a warm-up for students OR lay the card under your doc camera!

Click for free task cards!

 6 FREEBIE geometry task cards for you!!!

Challenges- keep a stack on your desk and do some brain break challenges during the day.

Bathroom Break CALM-  (some cards will work for this!)Take the stack with you to ask children the questions while they wait.

Did I leave anything off that has worked in your class?  Leave it in the comment section so that we can all enjoy :)

Persuasive Writing Prompts

March Madness

March came in like a lamb here in Central Illinois, but man it sure isn't ending that way.  I envy all of you who live by the warm sunny beaches. I keep trying to persuade my husband to move to Florida, but he isn't budging from our prairie home!  Anyway, the year is buzzing by quickly and soon it will be warm here too.  One can only dream :)

I did manage to make a few things for March.  I've included a FREEBIE sheet for you there in the middle.   Persuasive and opinion writing go hand in hand so that is where I have spent my time.   I LOVE this kind of writing!  What better way to get to know someone than hearing their opinions? (hmmmmmm, maybe I should write one for great reasons to move to Florida and give it to my hubby!)   What is the BEST prompt that you have used in your classroom?  Feel free to share in the comments section!

If you like it, you can click below the kit for more choices, a cute plan sheet, and an equally cute drafting sheet. Hanging all of the pieces up together really does highlight the writing process! 

If you want the whole set, you can get it by clicking here!