Tag Archives: write2connect

A Writing Kind of Day

Today was a writing kind of day.

On Friday we began celebrating the National Day on Writing with a field trip and a puzzle piece that I wrote about here.

But today was the cherry on top of the writing sundae.

Our morning began with a version of a chalk talk.  My teaching partner taped white butcher paper to the wall ball court and posted a few questions for students at our school to respond to: How do you use writing to connect?  Where do you like to write? and Who are your favorite authors or what are you favorite books?

With markers in hand, our students started writing.

They wrote about places they love to write: writing on couches, on the beach, and in libraries.  They love Shel Silverstein, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, and J.K. Rowling.  They write letters, texts, emails, books, notes and more.

They wrote and wrote and wrote.  And when they weren’t writing, they were reading the writing of their classmates on the wall.

Our school-wide puzzle was also on display in the wall ball court today.

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And students enjoyed reading what other classes at our school wrote for their puzzle piece (and finding their own and reading it again!).

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And then we went on with our regular classroom activities…and more writing!  Our students have been drafting a just-for-fun piece of writing about an animal of their choice. And they were applying what they have been learning about using figurative language (similes), specific and interesting verbs, and sensory imagery (sound, movement) to write a “moment” featuring their animal.  Today they took some time to give their writing a “check up” (you know like the doctor does to make sure you are healthy).  They reread their writing and looked for the features mentioned above…and then went back to their writing to make it even better.

And the best part of the day was that these writers enjoyed writing, sharing writing about their writing on Twitter, and even revising their writing…because they are writers.  And today was all about writing.

Photo-Inquiry…Art, Science, and Writing

I’ve been taking pictures every day for more than a year now.  Some days it’s a struggle, other days it’s pretty easy.  But one of my favorite things about being a photographer (albeit, amateur) is that it makes me pay attention…and ask lots of questions.

Yesterday I was up in our local mountains enjoying all that fall brings…colors and pumpkins and apples…on a warm fall day.  As I was photographing some beautiful leaves turning orange and red and yellow, I noticed this beautiful pine tree.

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Looking closely, I was fascinated by the texture of the bark on the tree.  And an even closer look revealed all these tiny holes…with many filled with acorns or other nuts.

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That observation set off a million questions…how does this happen, what animal does it? Does it hurt the tree?  Is it squirrels?  And then I noticed this nearby fence post.

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So it’s not only about trees…it’s about wood.  I noticed the nearby utility pole also had holes and nuts.

With all these questions running through my head, we continued our adventure and I continued to look for interesting subjects for my photography.  A while later, at the edge of a little pumpkin patch I looked up and saw a beautiful blue bird with red markings high up on a utility pole.  I thought it might be some kind of jay, but my husband was quick to point out that it was tapping the pole…a woodpecker!

We watched closely, listening to the persistent tapping as it pecked into the top of the pole.  I attempted several photographs…but one thing the iphone camera is not good at is long distance photos!  Here’s an attempt.

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If you look closely you can see a tiny silhouette at the top the pole.  As I watched I started to make connections to the pine tree and fence post I had photographed earlier.  These holes with the acorns in them were the work of an acorn woodpecker!  A little internet search today led me to this information:

The group will guard their territory, and will often have a single tree in which they store their acorns; known as a granary. A single granary may contain tens of thousands of acorns. The acorns themselves are placed individually into a hole drilled into the tree. Acorn Woodpeckers also feed on insects (including aerial flycatching), sap, and fruits.

I love that photography always ends up teaching me interesting things about nature and about the world.  It makes me pay attention, notice details, and ask questions.  It makes me curious…and makes me wonder…a perfect tool for inquiry!  And as I write this on the National Day on Writing, I get to share my photography and learning with you!  #write2connect in action!

How do you write to connect?  What do you learn from the activities you love?

Write2Connect!

People all over the nation are celebrating the power of writing this week and next.  October 20th is the National Day on Writing…and with it falling on a Sunday, there are even more days to celebrate writing.

We’ve planned for multiple parts to our celebration of writing…in our classroom, at our school, in our district…and beyond.  And with the theme, write2connect, we’ve focused on how writing connects.

In our district every class has worked to create a puzzle piece highlighting student writing…that interconnects with the other puzzle pieces to create a collage of writing at each school site.  For our pieces (we have two since our class has two teachers and twice as many students) each student has a puzzle piece that interconnects to create the larger puzzle piece.  In their individual puzzle piece each student answers the question, how does writing connect us?  They included answers like writing letters to grandparents, sending emails, writing books and notes, and connecting with teachers in their Homework Writer’s Notebooks.

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Our school-wide puzzle will be unveiled on Monday…stay tuned!

Today we also physically connected with older students at our other school to write together.  Nearly 100 students in grades one through five spent the morning playing with writing.  Using the Common Core text types as broad categories, they explored writing about the same topic in three different ways.  This whirlwind of writing was such fun…and successful.  Students wrote an amazing amount–and such variety, they wrote about soccer and horses and books and clubs and so much more.  In our last few minutes at the end of our allotted time, a few students read their writing aloud while the others guessed whether the writing was primarily narrative, informational, or opinion in nature.

I love watching writers at work!  They were so focused and engaged as they scribbled ideas into their writer’s notebooks.  They all wrote and wrote and wrote…and we didn’t have nearly enough time to hear all who wanted to share!

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And we have more in store on Monday!  We will be participating in a large-scale “chalk talk” posted in our wall ball courts…and admiring our puzzles of connected writing.  We also plan to initiate our class twitter account and share some of the amazing and thoughtful ideas students are writing!  Check out the #write2connect hashtag on twitter!

How are you celebrating the National Day on Writing?