Writer's Workshop, Units of Study

Table Teams Writing Folders

How about trying to add labels?

Our field trip yesterday to a forest habitat in Acadia National Park, made this poster an ideal model for labels.

Some writers added to their words today.

Some writers started a new piece.

This book on tools is all about the labels.

Making plans for writing.

On the field trip we saw a Garter Snake and I told the kids to "Put that story in your pocket for writer's workshop." With the help of the poster model, it was a serendipitous moment for a writer who was working on a narrative about the field trip.

Kindergarten Writer's Workshop

The writers made a plan.

Three pages stapled together. Big box and one line.

They brought a lot of knowledge to the paper.

I have 6 table teams of 2-4 writers.

I start day one of kindergarten. Happy kids.

Economic Inequality in Picture Books

Children can develop, change, strengthen, and question their bias and perceptions through the portal of the picture book. They unearth understandings about themselves, their communities, and the larger world they share. They deepen insight about the known, while peeking at the unknown, as meaning gets created. Children better understand their sense of self through messages of validation. And they lose confidence when they are absent from the narratives read to them. Access and exposure to diverse narratives in picture books offer children opportunities to both learn about their familiar communities, and those unexplored.  Words and illustrations on the pages invite the reader to participate. The exposed and personal experiences unravel off the pages offering a transaction with the reader, and meaning served.  Thus, there is a great need for a variety of representations of family, school, and life, as children seek to deepen their own sense of self and others, through the portrayals they connect too.  Bishop said:

Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange.  These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author.  When lighting conditions are just right, however a window can be a mirror. (1990, as cited by Harris, 2007, p.153)

Words from A Shelter in Our Car... Mama opens our little ice chest and makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We drank some leftover orange soda. It's sweet but flat.

Early next morning, Mama wakes me up and reminds me, "let's use the restroom in the park before it gets to crowded." It's chilly there, and I shiver as I put on my school clothes. Then I splash water on my face from the faucet.

Words from Getting through Thursday...
And the next day, my family and I grit all we got toward getting' through Thursday. That's because payday at Mama's school where she's a lunch lady doesn't come till Friday.

Words from Those Shoes...
"Grandma, I want them." "There's no room for 'want' around here- just 'need," Grandma says. "And what you need are new boots for winter."


Please note and consider, I do not necessarily recommend all the books shown here. These books have content that leads to economic inequality discourse, but in isolation of that use they could be problematic as single stories.

Science Read Aloud

Summer Green To Autumn Gold Uncovering Leaves Hidden Colors by Mia Posada #SummerGreenToAutumnGold #NetGalley
This vibrant cut tissue paper collage illustrated informational text explaining why and how leaves change color, belongs in every pre-k through grade 2 New England classroom, ready to be read aloud to children every fall. An accessible explanation given through fluent facts written in clear sentences about the mysterious and interesting transition changing leaves experience. 

The use of labels, the font and placement of the text, the use of bold color words (deep purple) and interesting verbs, the glossary, and the seamless transitions of change throughout the seasons, are some of the highlights of this beautiful presentation of the life cycle of a leaf.

STEM to STEAM to STREAM. We need more science read alouds in our classrooms.

Tatsuya Miyanishi

Sometimes you come across a book that offers you something you feel like you have not seen before. This is that book. A story of a bold Tyrannosaurus who learns what friendship is all about. Lessons of loyalty, communicating with actions over words, and cross cultural relationships. The story structure feels almost like a folk tale. Beginning with a character who leads with a confidence based on his strength. As Tyrannosaurus ages, resulting in new vulnerabilities, he begins to feel isolated and lonely. Read I Really Love You to see how some new "friends" guide Tyrannosaurus through hardship and unearthing the possibilities of love and loyalty conquering any amount of physical strength.

The woodblock illustration art work is stunning. A weaving dance of single spreads, double spreads, borders, and full bleeds offers the viewer a deepen sense of being both a participant in the moments that matter the most- and an observer of a curated moment when it is time to reflect. The earthy colors, sharp lines and the fluid unsettled textures deepen interest and widen comprehension.

As educators seek to fill their book shelves with quality global and multicultural literature, this series by Japanese writer and artist includes 12 books, with 4 published in the United States. 

My Brother and Me

Aloush's much older big brother Ramez used to pay much more attention to him. From taking Aloush places and helping him with his school work, to being much to busy with...his new fiancee. I love how this narrative of an extended family with two siblings who are over a decade apart, shows a less visible in picture books type of family. An added bonus, as this sweet and relatable problem and the interesting and detailed illustrations present a great story. I appreciate the interesting and diverse culturally details that unravel in such a delicate manner, adding to the readers understanding of the experience. Grandmother making tabbouleh and hummus, and the jaha with the men, to ask Deema's family for her hand in marriage. Aloush comes in with several strategies to sabotage any threat to his family. In the end Aloush can't help but warm up to the kindness and interest in him that Deema exhibits, resulting in another person in his life who loves him...and he loves back.

A Forest Mystery

Switzerland's Marcus Pfister, who wrote the US popular The Rainbow Fish, has an impressive portfolio that extends wide and diverse. He offers refreshing voices of understanding animals with human tangles and behaviors to navigate. He gently weaves a thread throughout his children's books, resulting in opportunities to engage in discourse around strong feelings and reactions to those emotions. This book reads like a fluent poem, with interesting vocabulary and delicate and beautiful illustrations. I appreciate the juxtaposition between squirrel's inability to self-regulate, and all the other forest animals reasonable and mature manners. The stunning illustrations are gentle and warm, and Marcus makes interesting choices about his placement of white space, illustrations, and text. I love the hazelnut end papers. All the characters (even the beguiling squirrel) are irresistible. Each page is a work of art that could be hung on the wall or the cover of a beautiful card. The fact that it is a mystery adds another reason to add this book to your classroom library.