Monday, January 14

Hospital

You never, ever know what a day will bring.

My 4.5 year old daughter woke up last Monday perky as usual and went to school like normal.

She had to get picked up by my husband mid-day because she threw up.

I scrambled to write sub plans for the next day and rush home. What sick kiddo doesn't want their mama?

Had to stay home the next day, too. Let's just say that I was bowl holding and back rubbing every 15-20 mn for a day and a half solid.

Even through the night.

My second day home with her wasn't so tough. She seemed on the upswing.

So I went back to work on Thursday. Got a text from my husband that I didn't see until my after school meeting was over. She was sick again and that I should be planning to be out the next day, too.

Before I got sub plans ready I called her pediatrician, who encouraged me to bring her to the E.R.

While I finished getting my sub stuff ready to go, my husband and eight year old son drove her to my school and I took her to the E.R. at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin...about a 15 mn drive.

She was totally silent. Which is incredibly unlike her. So so soooo unlike her.

I was so worried I could barely drive.

Emily got seen right away.

And she e...ven...tual....ly got admitted. While waiting I could hear Code Blue announcements, followed the sign inside the room that suggested remaining in the room with the door closed due to infectious diseases, screaming kids, beeping equipment...

Scary.

We finally got to Em's room in the hospital and were there for two nights.

She may have a condition called cyclic vomiting, which is also known as abdominal migraines. She's had multiple vomiting illnesses over the last few years...

We have an appt with a specialist (apparently he's the leading expert on vomiting in the country and he practices at Children's Hospital of WI...lucky break) in a few weeks and will know more at that time.

Getting to go home to our own beds was amazing!!!

You just never know what a day will bring.

If you know anything about cyclic vomiting/abdominal migraines I'd love to hear from you! 

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Saturday, January 5

Editing Circles in Writing Workshop

I have found that my first grade writers do a more consistent, stronger job at editing when there are editing circles on each writing page. The editing circles act as a visual reminder to look over each page for each of the writing conventions.

My sweet firsties and I are pretty much maniacs about Writing Workshop and if you're looking for tips about Writing Workshop hop on over to this post filled with Writing Workshop Tips. Our district implements Writing Workshop with a Units of Study emphasis and we have 45-60 minutes of it every day. 

The main genres we have in first grade are:
Personal Narrative/Small Moments/Slice of Life
Information
Friendly Letter
Reviews & Opinion Pieces
Realistic Fiction
Question - Answer Books 
How-To

We've used a variety of paper styles in the past and they've evolved into what I'll give you at the end of the post...so if you want to skip the explanation, just scroll, scroll, scroll down...

My kiddos are currently creating narrative, poetry and informational books, as well as comic books. It's such a pleasure to read their writing...it is a guaranteed way to put a smile on my face!

If you'd like to read two of my kiddos books, click the pics to head over to Google Docs for them in pdf form. Feel free to share them with your class. They're filled with opportunities for teaching points!

The quality isn't perfect, but I've doctored it up in the pdf.

Each sample is a different Google Doc so click them both if you want them both.

Student A's piece is a narrative and is titled "Books". She has so many wonderful characteristics of a writer and illustrator in place as well as areas for growth...

c


Student B's piece is informational and is titled "Space". It ended up to be a 14 pager so I just included excerpts. It was his first attempt at an informational text and he was so proud. He also has so many amazing traits of a writer and illustrator present...and opportunities for growth...


My son's first grade teacher (who we also have the pleasure of having her again because she is a looping teacher) has the BEST ideas and is such a wonderful teacher. We are beyond blessed to have her!

The writing he'd done in his first grade class would come home and I noticed editing circles at the bottom of the writing paper...You might already know about and use them, but they were new to me.

The editing circles have made a nice difference with my firsties, as it raises consciousness and elevates the importance of editing.

My class constructs their books and do their own stapling. As a scaffold, I have added a tall skinny rectangle to the cover page so that they have a guide on where to put their staples. 

Sorry that none of the pictures have a border around them...I hope you can get the idea of where the edges are...
The dedication page has a lot of white space and many kids add their Table of Contents underneath the because part:
We do a lot of noticing how authors and illustrators place their words and pictures on their pages. They've been asking for different styles of paper...after we talked about it as a class here's what they wanted. They knew exactly what they wanted and I'm happy to give it to them (and you!)!

Picture space on top, lines on bottom:

Lines on top, picture space on bottom:

Page full of lines:

Pages with no lines or boxes whatsoever (for being able to do a two page spread where the lines or pics cross onto the other page or for interesting word placement on a single page spread):

3 picture boxes vertically placed with lines to the right (they love this in Kevin Henkes' books):

4 boxes with no lines (so they could do it comic book style OR add words in "cool" ways not just on lines):

9 boxes with no lines (comic book style):

And, to keep all those paper choices organized, I have one of those paper sorter mailbox thingies that was a hand-me-over. I hadn't decided what to do with it yet, so it's been just hanging out...now I have a plan.

I will number the little compartments and nearby will post the page below. Each paper will be stored in the corresponding number compartment.

How do I use the editing circles in my world?

Well, the kids each have an editing marker (thin Crayola) and prior to stapling a book together, they are to edit it entirely with the goal of each circle containing a smiley face. If there's anything to fix for that particular part (making sense; upper/lower case; punctuation; spelling; details) then they need to fix it first (with their editing marker) and THEN they can fill in the circle with eyes and a smiley mouth.

Some kids like to write their entire book and then go back to do the editing all at once. Other kids like to write a page and then edit the page before beginning the next page. I'm cool with whatever works...as long as they're doing it.

When the editing is done, they put their pages in order (the numbering is a huge help) and head over to the stapling table where I have one low-effort, jam-free stapler.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Here's the freebie of the writing pages!

You might also be interested in this Wintry Fun Syllable counting/sorting/spelling freebie...Click the first picture to download it.


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