Archive for October, 2011

Here is a fun Halloween poem for this Poetry Friday. It’s a long one — the rest of the poem is on the Poetry Foundation website.


Goblin Market

ByChristina Rossetti

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

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What might work well as a portable work station? Where will I store these neatly? What materials will we need here? Where will students use these in the classroom… on the floor, at a desk, in the hall? These are just some of the questions you might have about portable work stations. Take a look at the following photos and ideas from Spaces & Places.

Wire cubes on a tabletop create a storage area for portable stations in this fifth-grade room. Each basket holds a separate station complete with a label naming it and materials needed inside the basket.

Students practice buddy reading using these portable materials stored in a basket. They wear buddy reading visors from a dollar store for novelty (and to keep buddy reading fun). On the right, upper-grade buddy reading materials are stored in a portable basket and carried to another area of the room where a pair of students works together.

Tri-fold project board is used as a portable writing station. Kids set it on the floor and write on clipboard in this fifth-grade classroom as an extension to the writing they do during writer's workshop. The board holds ideas and student writing samples to give kids ideas for their writing practice here.

A portable drama station for kindergarten includes a retelling board (in background) and props and books for retelling.

Portable poetry stations are used in these two classrooms. In the top photo, poetry books are stored in a basket with poetry task cards. In the bottom photo, precut and pre-typed poems taught with in shared reading are stored in a basket and can be glued into kids' poetry notebooks where they visualize and illustrate them.

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Poetry Friday: November

So, last week I posted the poem October, and while it’s not quite November yet, I wanted to share this lovely fall poem. Read it out loud and you will hear the leaves rustle under your feet.


November Night

ByAdelaide Crapsey

Listen. .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.

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Why I Write

Today is the third annual National Day on Writing. People all over the country share the reasons why they write on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Here is my contribution and I would love to hear from you: why do you write?
Why I Write
I was born a writer. From the time I was in kindergarten, I remember making cards, writing stories, creating poetry, and composing letters for family and friends. I write everyday and still am making cards, writing books and poems, and writing letters for those I love.
I write to express myself. Writing things down helps me organize my thoughts and communicate them to others. If I had a choice, I’d often prefer writing over talking. Writing brings clarity.
I write to remember. Many days I record my thoughts and ideas in special notebooks. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years. This written history helps me reflect over the many seasons of my life. Writing often brings order and helps me solve problems.
On this National Day of Writing, I hope you take time to write by yourself and with your students. Create, express yourself, remember, enjoy!

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Poetry Friday: October

I decided to go with a serious poem on this Friday: October by Bill Berkson. It’s a really lovely poem that captures this time of the year. Enjoy!

Bill Berkson

It’s odd to have a separate month. It
escapes the year, it is not only cold, it is warm
and loving like a death grip on a willing knee. The
Indians have a name for it, they call it:
“Summer!” The tepees shake in the blast like roosters
at dawn. Everything is special to them,
the colorful ones.
The rest of the poem is at the Poetry Foundation website.

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I love getting photos of various classrooms from around the country! Here is the latest batch from Traci McGraw’s classroom at Eastside Elementary in the Rogers Public Schools, Arkansas. If you want to share some classroom photos, send them to d.diller@live.com

These are the charts Traci uses to rotate her students through work stations


Traci's "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" tree that she uses for her behaviour system

Traci uses different colors on her word wall to help students find words easier

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Here is a fun way to spend a morning (dog, book, and me!), and a fun poem to teach to young learners.

Quiet Morning
by Karen B. Winnick

Early in the morning
dog, book and me
spend quiet moments 
just we three.

Snuggled by the window,
chin on my knee,
close to the raindrops,
dog, book and me.

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How to tell time

Telling time is challenging for young children, and it will take a lot of exposure before they master this skill. Model by demonstrating how to read the clock in your classroom frequently each day. If you use the Every Day Counts series, you might use the 8½-by-11-inch clock that comes with this program to teach students how to count the minutes each day as you color in and count them. Also, use a large model, such as a Judy clock or an old battery-operated analog clock, to show how the hands on a clock work by moving them around and having students observe the motion. Help children understand that the long minute hand goes all the way around the clock once in an hour, tracking 60 minutes, while the shorter hand moves from one numeral to the next, representing the hours.

Teach children how to first look at the long minute hand and count the minute spaces to determine the number of minutes past the hour. Then have them look at the shorter hour hand to see what hour the minutes come after. In first grade, as you teach students how to tell time to the hour and half-hour, model and encourage them to use math talk like this: The long minute hand is pointing straight up to the 0, and the short hand is pointing to the 2. So it is exactly 2 o’clock. And The long minute hand is pointing straight down to the 30-minute mark, halfway around the clock, so it is half past 2, or 2:30. Also, help students understand that the numbers on the clock tell two things: (1) how many minutes have gone past the hour, with each number representing another group of five minutes, and (2) what the hour is. A first grader put it well when she told me, “I get confused because I see the numbers on the clock, and I think that’s how many

This anchor chart was made with first graders in response to a student's comment: "I get confused because I see the numbers on the clock and I think that's how many minutes."

To demonstrate that each number shows 5 minutes, point out and count the 5 spaces the minute hand passes through in order to reach each number on the clock. As the class counts the minutes by ones, emphasizing the groups of fives,
you might have a volunteer use tally marks to record each minute, accumulating a group of 5 each time the minute hand reaches the next numeral. Children can see that the numeral 1 is at the 5-minute mark and goes with 1 group of five,
that the 2 goes with 2 groups of five, or 10 minutes, and that the 3 goes with 3 groups of five, or 15 minutes, and so on. Continue counting the minutes and emphasizing each new group of 5 to the 12. This explicit demonstration is very different from teaching children simply to look at pictures of an analog clock showing time at the hour (reading just the short hand), as shown in many math books and on tests.

Post a daily class schedule that uses either analog or digital clocks and use it to discuss telling time with your students. Use digital clocks with younger students and analog clocks when you are teaching about telling time to first and second graders.

Make a class schedule using analog clocks to teach students how to put time shown on clocks in order. Children won’t necessarily know that 2 o’clock follows 1 o’clock, so be sure to highlight this in your teaching of time as well. Also, knowing what comes next in their day can reduce anxiety for some children.

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