Tuesday, April 2, 2013

sols: waking up!

Slice of Life hosted at the 



"Hey, welcome back!  What did you do over spring break?"  

“I didn’t do anything."  "I stayed home."  "I sat around.”

After a week off from school, from reading and writing and thinking hard, some of my students needed a little brain massage to wake up this April Fool’s Monday.  

Of course, I thought: What about those books your borrowed from me? What about that blank notebook waiting for your stories?  

But instead, I said, “I know you had to do more than just sit around and do nothing.  You have stories to tell, I just need to help you remember them.”

I grabbed a couple copies of the “Words from A to Z!” organizer:


Topic: Spring Break

To do:  Fill in as many letters as you can about spring break, including:  Places you went, 
people you saw, things that you did, etc.

I started to share some of my spring break activities to spark some thinking.

This allowed my small group of students to start sharing and remembering and gathering ideas from each other.  The conversations continued and ideas were scrawled  onto the organizer.



After about ten minutes, I explained that we were going to do a quick write:  write and write and write as much as you can about one of the ideas without worrying about spelling or fear of grammar mistakes.  Just write.  They flipped over their paper and wrote their selected topic at the top.  I set the time and we all wrote.

Here’s one of my quick writes:


This month I wrote every single day.  31 days straight.  I wrote about BIG things.  I wrote about small things.  I wrote a lot about my girls.  I wrote about writing and the process, and the frustrations and celebrations.  My goal has never been to write a book or publish my work, but rather capture stories in my life, today, in this moment.    


The timer beeped, and we finished the sentence we were writing.  Round two:  either continue your first story or pick another idea to write about next.

Here’s another one of my quick writes:


Yesterday our family enjoyed a walk down the street to an open field.  We let out the string and quickly the wind took hold.  Up, up, up into the air.  Swaying and swerving in the sky.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  The wind died and it quickly dove towards the ground.  We pulled on the string and the wind caught hold again, lifting it higher and higher -- until M. accidentally let go.  She was convinced the wind took it away.  It skimmed the ground gaining speed.  Daddy chased as fast as he could to catch it.  He finally did catch it only after it was stopped in a big leafless tree.  Flapping in the bare branches, M. pointed and said, “Get it.”   


After writing, some students shared their quick writes.    Slowly, we are waking up those reading and writing brains.  Ready for the last two months of school.

18 comments:

  1. They did seem to need to be woken up a bit... until lunch that is ;-)

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  2. I guess my brain didn't wake up, as I couldn't think of a thing to write about. Glad you could get them motivated. I'll have to try this method when I run dry. Thanks for sharing. Love ya M

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  3. I loved how you coaxed their brains awake. I have seen the ABC sheets, but never the topic in the center. What a great tool. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. An interesting spin on brainstorming. Writing along with them is powerful.

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  5. Love this! Slowly you gave them the tools they needed to build up to the construction of the writing. How long do you do the quick writes?

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    1. I don't know if there a "right" time limit, but five minutes each round worked for my fourth grade group!

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  6. This is great - what a low-pressure way to wake up their writing and story-telling brains!

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  7. This is cool. I have seen ABC books as final products for units of study, but I have never seen or used anything like this for warm up. I have to give it a try.

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  8. Totally stealing this idea for our first day back after break...which is next week....which is too far away!

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  9. Great idea to wake their brains up after vacation. I especially liked the fact that you did TWO rounds, Michelle.

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  10. I loved seeing this glimpse into your classroom. I agree with Stacey - this is a great idea.

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  11. I love this idea and I am completely going to steal it when I get back to school next week if that is okay.

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    1. Absolutely Andrea! Steal away and can't wait to hear about it!

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  12. I like the pages to help the students brainstorm, Michelle. What a great way to get those brains waked up.

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  13. I love your Words from A-Z organizer. I hope you don't mind my borrowing it. I'm so glad that your husband was able to catch your daughter's kite. I was getting worried as I read about it flying through the air. :)

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  14. What a great way to get everyone thinking. Isn't it amazing how our brains get to work after we chat for a bit and the way one idea links from another.

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  15. What a great way to spark ideas. Thanks for sharing the graphic organizer.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.