Five for Friday and a Poetry Freebie!

When testing ends and the year is coming to a close, I always feel like there is SO much to do. The engines get revved and we MOVE! We accomplished so much this week...finishing projects, writing poetry, continuing our folk tale study, and a little Earth Day in between.

#1: We started our week with Earth Day and we signed up for to participate in school wide clean up.  WELL...I guess a little nature got in the way. A family of raccoons have been making their appearance on our campus lately. They come out during the day and hang around. Some were trapped and taken away to a safer home, but others continue to show up. So...our clean up was postponed until Tuesday. 

When we finally were allowed outside we took our trash bags and gloves and started collecting. We picked up about 8 pounds of  trash! EWWW!  In total, the school collected over 140 pounds! WOW....we had a lot of trash around the school! (Littering is one of my pet peeves!)

#2: The kids are enjoying our poetry writing and they are producing some AMAZING pieces!! I'm so pleased! So far we have written bio poems, color poems, and cinquains. 

#3: We just finished our U.S. regions projects and presentations. They floored me again with their hard work and effort. I think their posters turned out beautifully and their presentations were fun. Some put the information in a song, some turned it into poetry, and another group created a documentary. So creative!

#4: Before testing I had started a study of folktales. We were only able to study fairy tales, but now we are back on track. YEAH! This week I reviewed the elements of legends, myths, fables, and tall tales. I collected books for each genre (some from my collection and some from the library). Over the next week or so, reading buddies will read a book from each genre and complete a traditional literature graphic organizer. These will go into their reader's notebooks when they finish as part of their last quarter grade. They were very engaged in the books and the activity. It's fun to hear them discussing and getting excited about the stories they are reading. For some, it may be the first time they have read one of these genres. 

I set out the books and organizers. The book American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne is a wonderful anthology. My kids are loving it!

#5: If you are a Florida blogger then you might be as excited as I am to see the new Sunshine State Young Reader's list for 2013-2014! (I get very nerdy about this stuff). There are some fantastic books on the list. I am SO happy to see that The One and Only Ivan made it onto the list! 

I finished reading this to my class and let me tell could have heard a pin drop. The last page really chocked us up. I could barely read it through! PLEASE read this book! (Lately, I have found that I enjoy children's/young adult books more than adult novels and this was one of those times!)
Since my class is knee deep into poetry writing, I wanted to tie Ivan into it. The story is written from the perspective of this mighty Silverback. You really get an emotional attachment to Ivan and the other animals, too. I decided that we would write an animal point of view poem. I created this brainstorm/fact collecting sheet.

 Next week I will have my kids collect information about a wild animal then put that information into a poem told from the animals point of view. Again, they will have a choice as to the form the poem takes, but I do like them to think it out first. You can certainly try this even if you haven't read Ivan. Grab a copy *HERE*!

Even if you are not a Florida teacher, check out the lists for middle and elementary *HERE*. These lists are compiled by media specialists all over Florida (mine happens to be on the committee!). Many states have similar awards. Does yours? At my school, reading these books is a BIG deal. Students have to read at least 3 of the 15 to vote on their favorite and to attend an ice cream social. The number of books they read determines the number of toppings they can put on their ice cream. YUM! If the kids read all 15, they participate in Battle of the Books.

Here are some of the books from both lists that I know and recommend:


  1. I love the poetry and the US regions projects. Lots of good stuff here. I'm your newest follower! :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. We are just starting our regions - we got a late start this year! It is one of my favorite things to teach.

    I'll have to check out The One and Only Ivan. Though I think my list of read alouds is currently longer than the number of days left! ; )

    Enjoy your weekend!
    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  3. I thought you were testing too... things have been so busy, we've been testing for two weeks! I've lost touch.
    I love Ivan.. and was thinkng of doing a similar project with my librarian. We are going to practice more expository writing, but I think I'll add the poetry to it as well. Great idea.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  4. Hi Gina,

    Your kids are having so much fun! I bet they love writing poetry. The countdown is on...yay!
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After


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