Friday, January 4, 2013

Guest Blogger---Lisa from Growing Firsties!!

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Hello Everyone! I'm thrilled to be participating in Primary Possibilities' Blog Hop! My name is Lisa Mattes and you can find me at my little blog, Growing Firsties.

I love to post ideas, freebies and giveaways and am currently hosting a monthly Shout Out Linky Party that I'd love for you to participate in. You'll find some really great blogs as your travel through the blogs that have linked up. Hop on over and check it out by clicking the Shout Out Linky picture.

Today I want to talk about the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. Our district (after much drama and overdue changeover in senior leadership at central office) has become a "workshop district." This means no reading series. In my near twenty years in the district we've never had a reading series.
This has its positives for sure. But, fidelity was seriously lacking.
Enter TCRWP. (If you create a login name you can access their reading and writing curriculum calendars.)
I love Calkins. Like really, really love Calkins. Units of Study in Writing (both the 3-5 and k-2) have transformed me as a writing teacher. I have seen her speak and she even randomly joined our school's table during lunch time! Lucky us. I'm reading Pathways to the Common Core right now. Working my way through it, a few golden tidbits at a time. Transformational.
But her materials are not the most teacher-friendly in a implement-this-right-away kind of way. I always need to read, marinate, talk, marinate, reread, marinate, create "stuff" to go with it, marinate, talk,'re seeing a pattern. Once I've done that, I STILL generally have her materials literally inmylap as I teach. For real. And, guess what? The kids don't mind at all. Love them.
As a grade level team we are studying the TCRWP reading curriculum and toe-dipping into the units this year. Right now we're implementing the non-fiction unit of study in Reading Workshop. So far we have just done the first few days where the kiddos are presented with a bunch of non-fiction books and are encouraged to sort them.
We talked about how much thinking librarians and bookstore owners have to do to organize their books in order to make them easy to find. We talked about how our school library has different sections where you can find different kinds of books. We talked about some of the specific categories in our library. The kids thought of sports, poems, space and how-to-draw sections. I felt encouraged...
To start the sorting process...I had about 50 titles that I separated into six tubs and the kids worked in groups to create categories.

I walked around while they were working and was a little less than encouraged by some of the categories they had come up with. I mean we'd talked about the school library categories and all. Here's what some of them had come up with:
Soft Books
Little Books
Hard Books
The Outside Books (titles in this group included hurricanes, flowers, seasons)
GAH! next teaching point became clear. So we did that and then I put two groups together to "marry" their books and combine categories and hopefully come up with better categories.

Thank goodness...many of the categories improved!
Little Books became Vehicles
The Outside Books became three categories (Storms and Seasons and Plants)
Encouraged again...
I'm curious about what Readers Workshop will bring over the next weeks...
K....This next part semi-connects to the above part.
Go with it.
During writing workshop my kiddos looooovvvvveee to make books.
We've traveled a long way in our writing workshop this year and the kids are currently able to make books by combining paper types of their choosing. Tons of kids love to make non-fiction books. Some of the little cuties are even incorporating a Table of Contents into their personal narrative stories. Too cute. I have a Writer's Details anchor chart to help them include different types of details. You can check it out in my TpT store.
Soon I'll be posting the different types of writing paper the kids can use in my room as they construct their books.
Back to the friends who write non-fiction books...I thought this chart could help them with details they might want to include in their non-fiction titles.
You can have it, too...just click the picture below to grab it.

I'll be posting about more adventures in my first grade world over at my blog. Thanks so much for putting up with me today! Smiles - Lisa

Thank you Lisa for guest blogging today! If you head over to Danielle's blog at Crayonbox Learning I am guest blogging over there! Just follow all of the links below and you will meet lots of new "friends" and hopefully get some "new ideas"!


  1. Great post Lisa. I will be checking out TCRWP for sure! Glad I found this blog on the hop!

    The Resourceful Apple

  2. Thanks so much for setting me up as your guest blogger, Nicki! It's been a fun hop!
    Smiles - Lisa
    Growing Firsties

  3. I love reading your articles.. they are very interesting..
    Pune'S Top Preschool