Monday, October 14, 2013

A Writer's Celebration Tea Party Style

This is only my 3rd year in first grade, so that means I should be an expert at it right? (NOT, said no one ever!) It has taken me three years to master the ability to teach students how to write a personal narrative in FIRST grade. But after much research, reading, and conference, I was able to help my students produce an AMAZING, and I do mean AMAZING personal Narrative. It did take us three weeks to draw, write, publish, and create this writing piece. So now I am going to explain the process and just maybe you can so with your own students!
I first begin this unit by teaching them that a personal narrative is a story about your self. They understood that the story had to be about them. Keep in mind we have already been learning about story elements through Kevin Henkes unit I posted about earlier. So, they also knew that a personal narrative has to have a setting, characters, problem, solution (beginning, middle, and an end). As we explored deeper into learning how to write a personal narrative, we first started drawing a picture of the setting and characters in our story. Of course you know I modeled it for them by sharing my own story of sliding down the steps of a fair ride and landing in puke as I got off of a ride. (Boy, was that a horrid site to see, lol)  After I drew that characters and setting of my story in chart paper, their eyes were glued as I proceeded to tell them who was with me at this horrid event. Only after I drew my characters (and I labeled them) and setting of the story did I allow for them to draw their own characters and settings on their white paper. Each day I added a piece of my story the next day was followed by the beginning of the story, then by day 3 we were all on the middle, and of course by Thursday of that week we had finished drawing pictures of what our own stories were about. You would think they would be tired of, right? Well they were not, because I gave them something to look forward to on Friday of that week. (We also looked at different illustrators and their art. Doing that gave them ideas of how they could illustrate their story.) I told them if they finished writing we would go over our drawing full of crayon color with water colors. Many of them were so excited that they would be able to paint. It was sad to here because many of them told me they have never painted before or haven's since Pre-K.

After our wonderful day of painting our pictures, we finally finished were finished with the illustrations. The 2nd week we moved on to me modeling how and what to write just looking at my picture. We then begin to write on our own. On Monday we wrote about the setting, Tuesday we wrote about the beginning, Wednesday the middle, and on Thursday the end! By Friday we were able to begin putting are text together to make a book! The BEST thing about this whole process to me is the publishing party or writers' celebration. This is my favorite because they get to show off and share their work.
We voted on the type of theme we wanted for our party and then we voted on the suggestion listed. The majority picked having a tea party. So that was the plan; however, we didn't stop there! We then begin to research what a tea party is, what a tea cup is, how do we hold our tea cup, how we were suppose to act, what we should wear, and what to eat. I read them the book:

In this book it shares a lot of answers to our questions that we generated from the ones above.
They loved it! I also sent home invitations with them to invite their parents: 

Oh they were thrilled and could not wait to tell their parents ALL about it!
By Thursday all of our books were laminated and bound together. Late that afternoon, we practiced how to read in from of others. By the end of the day they were ready to share their published pieces!
Here are some pictures of their amazing stylish tea party outfits and more: 

I am in LOVE with her hat!

The boys even dressed up with their bow ties and ties.

After chatting, drinking tea, eating our dainty treats, and waiting for our families to join us, we were ready to begin! 

One by one we shared our books!

I love the way she is playing teacher here an showing the pictures to the audience!

After we all shared and said our good-byes, we put all of our stories in our reading station: classroom library. We are going to keep them there for awhile so we can enjoy all of the books we published! 

Tasting, Tallies, Tables with Apples!

During the month of September, we learned about the life cycle of an apple and Johnny Appleseed. 
We also had a wonderful day tasting all things apple. We all tasted apple sauce, cinnamon apple sauce, Red Delicious Apple, Yellow Golden Apples, Granny Smith Apples, Apple Juice, Apple Cider, and the class favorite hot 
Apple Pie!

Check out our Apple Day Celebration of tasting, tallies, tables, and graphing!

Most of them loved the Cinnamon Apple Sauce! They raved and told me it was delicious! One little girl told me it was too spicy! 

One of my 8 boys love drinking apple sauce, he kept begging for seconds and thirds. 
If you are LOVING this awesome clipart you should totally check out:

After we tasted, tallies, tally tables, completed our picture graphs we then collected the data in groups and put it in our math interactive notebooks.

I just loves how it brightens up our first grade hallway. You can find this unit that also includes word problems and writing at

Kevin Henkes Author Study Finale

Oh my, it has been way too long! So much has happened since my last post, so I have so much to share with you all! We finished have our Kevin Henkes unit and I must say it just turned out FABULOUS!! Check out the pictures below of our literacy chart:

I just love this response to what she regrets. She wrote, "I regret putting gum in my sister's hair!" WHen I read her response I laughed out loud! 

My students did a wonderful job connecting to Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.

We even made connections to Wemberly. This turned our to be a great writing response to do with connections! Wemberly worried about everything, I worry about....
Check out this great unit with fun activities to go with Chrysanthemum, Wemberly Worried, Lilly's Plastic Purse, Jessica, and Sheila Rae the Brave at

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kevin Henkes Unit

So we have finally finished our first author mentor and literature study unit! Yay!!! We had a blast reading making connections, learning new vocabulary, and responding to writing prompts! Check out the great anchor charts and responses from my students:

You can check out this great unit and more at my teacherspayteachers store!