Multi-Genre Presentations

I just want to congratulate everyone on their fantastic Multi-Genre projects/presentations!  I was really impressed and really wish we had had the time to look more closely at each other’s projects.

Also, I am sorry that I haven’t been updating my blog much!  I’ve been seriously busy!

Memoir

I absolutely loved all of the memoir books we read.  And actually, after reading about the memoir assignment, I really wish we had time to do it.  I have never really considered books like Shortcut and To Dance to be memoirs, but rather auto-biographies.  Like I said in class, I have used Shortcut in my classroom as an example of how I want my student’s to write their personal narratives.  (I’m going to start calling them memoirs in class now!)  I think it’s important for students to be able to elaborate on one small moment, or snapshot, rather than summing up one large event.  Especially for my students; some of whom are only writing 5 sentences.

 

I can see how older students would be so engaged and interested in books like To Dance.  I wish more teachers would see the benefits of graphic novels and would encourage students to read them.

My Multigenre Project

My plan is to make one of those ology kind of scrapbooks.  I want it to flow like a narrative text, though, sort of like Amelia’s Notebook.

In first grade we have a very basic social studies curriculum.  One of the things we always do in the Spring is a unit on Community Helpers.  We learn about them in class and then take a field trip around town and visit the Post Office, Bank, Police Station, Fire Station, and a restaurant.  The kids love it!

My idea is to make a sort of scrapbook out of artifacts from the field trip.  I want to have my character be a little girl who goes on this field trip in first grade with her teacher and steals these artifacts.  She would take everything she could get her hands on… informational pamphlets about fire safety, post office to-do lists, love poems from the police chief’s wife, restaurant menus, etc.  I’m also thinking about adding to my fictional field trip and doing hospital and farm as well.

Any ideas?

Multigenre Papers / Writing Without Boundaries

I can honestly say that throughout my high school and college career I always dreaded writing research papers.  It’s not that I disliked writing, or research for that matter, it was just the type of writing that is generally associated with research papers.  So many citations, formal language, and not enough room for creativity.  Not that I ever fancied myself as a “creative writer” so to speak, but, in my opinion, most writing allows for more creativity than a traditional research paper.  

It’s really refreshing to see what Cookie has done for her students in the Multigenre article.  I am really impressed with the creativity her students exhibited while writing their multigenre papers.  I know that if I had been assigned this type of paper in high school, rather than a traditional research paper, I would have really enjoyed working on it.  I think it is very important that she let her students select their own topic, and that she pretty much gave them no limits.  This allows students to choose something they are truly passionate about.  I’m sure writing poetry, letters, articles, etc. comes much easier when he topic is something you enjoy.  This type of paper also forces students to truly analyze the subject they are writing about.  Rather than just reading, paraphrasing, and writing students are forced to take it to the next level and totally immerse themselves into their chosen topic.  I think this makes the quality of learning multiply.

The portion we read from the book really laid out this innovative method very clearly.  It was interesting to see all of the different components that can be used (like the workshops, study groups, and conferences).  I also liked seeing student work samples.  But really I am very interested to see if and how this type of project can pan out in my classroom.

I Poetry

I wasn’t introduced to I Poetry until my senior year when I took Dr. Trathen’s class.  I loved it instantly.  I enjoy writing them from the stances of characters in books, but have used them in my classroom to specifically discuss historical figures.  We have written them while learning about the Civil Rights era and when discussing President’s Day.  It is always amazing to me how profound my young students can be in their I Poetry.  I am always proud of what they do.  Not only do the I Poems show how creative the students are… it shows how well they have learned the content.  I am planning to do a project with my students and I Poems very soon.  On my poetry page you can see the I Poem I wrote.  I plan to share this with my students.  I wrote it from the perspective of one of our class pets:  Humphrey the turtle.  They will really get a kick out of it and it will be a great model for them.  I have never had my students write I Poems that are that long, but we have always used the template.  I think they need the fill in the blank model at that age.

Love That Dog / This is Just to Say

These are both fantastic!  I can’t get over how clever both of these publications are, and even though they weren’t created by real students, they totally could have been.  I think this serves as great inspiration for teachers.  Either one of these would work very well in a classroom of almost any age.  I do think it’s a bit heavy for my young students… not that I’m doubting their ability… they can do truly amazing things!  But when I see projects as cool as these I do sort of think to myself:  gosh Kelly, maybe you should be teaching older students since you love poetry and literature so much!  But I’m very happy where I am and think I’ll stay a while longer.  I am trying to think of a way to modify it down a bit… not poems of apology, but I’m thinking letters as poems written to animals or something.   The students could write their question poems and then trade with a partner and write back.

Poetry

I have always loved reading poetry, but I have never been overly comfortable writing it.  I read a lot of poetry to my students, but it’s usually the sing-song rhyming kind.  They love it!  We read a lot of Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, but I haven’t read too much else.  As far as writing with my students, we haven’t done a tremendous amount.  I’ve never tackled free-verse with first graders.  We have done I Poems, Acrostics, and Limericks.  They really like acrostic poems, so I am eager to share Silver Seeds with them this year.  I really like the idea of showing them a famous poem and letting them make it their own; giving it their own spin.  I think first graders would do great with that, and it’s something I’ve never considered.  My first graders love imitating my writing, so why not let them imitate a famous poet?

This is modeled perfectly for us in the book Love That Dog.  Even though Jack is using well known poems as inspirations for his writing, his poems are very creative!  The Certo article states “By reflecting on, imitating, and “trying on” other poets’ styles, a child can find his or her own voice in poetry.”  This is exactly what Jack has done in Love That Dog… I’m sure my students could do it too!  

I really enjoy how the author of this article has included tips for implementing this kind of poetry writing into your classroom.  I especially like that the tips can go for younger students and older students alike.  I think I will definitely be trying this in my classroom soon.  I think many of my students aren’t quite ready for independent poetry writing at this point in the school year, but think of what great poems we can create during a shared writing time!