In writing we discussed "seed stories" versus "watermelon stories." Since we will be beginning the year with a personal narrative in writing (an essay about a personal experience), it is important that students write a story that is focused on one moment and with specific details (a seed story), not overly broad and consisting of too many moments (a watermelon story). Seed stories tell the most important part of a story, and writers are able to reach a conclusion, or learn something, from the experience. Watermelon stories often ramble and seem like a list of events, or multiple seed stories.
Today we worked on Capitalization in grammar, focusing on proper nouns and the students learned a little capitalization tool MINTS (Months, the letter I, Names, Titles, Start of Sentences). In reading we read chapter 13 of Because of Winn-Dixie independently and students wrote predictions for the book. Predictions are an important component to comprehension, they can tell us how deep an understanding readers have of characters, plot, theme, and setting. In addition, students can later confirm or revise their predictions, and who doesn't like to feel like they were correct!
In writing today we looked over our house "blueprints" and chose a story to do a quick write on from the list of possible story ideas. This story will be our first personal narrative we write over the course of the next few weeks. We will take this story through the writing process (prewriting, write, revise, edit, and publish) during that time, and conclude with a Writer's Celebration! I can't wait to get started on helping students craft their stories!
In reading today we wrote a Reading Response to Chapter 10 of Because of Winn-Dixie, and did a visualization of Chapter 11. I see Reading Responses as a very important comprehension tool, so I want to encourage students to build upon the responses they gave today, with text evidence (of course). Some ways you can practice this at home might be, "What do you think about the book you are reading? Why do you think that?", or "That book sounds pretty good, why do you like it?", or "Wow, sounds you don't like your book very much, why not?", or, "What do you think is going to happen? Why do you think that?"