Fiction Frenzy!

We've been studying fiction this past week: the kinds of fiction and fiction story elements. We've also touched on the skill of retelling and will continue to practice and develop that next week. Retelling such an important comprehension skill!

I tried something different this year: I taught the kinds of fiction during my Read Aloud time, rather than taking time during my reading block. It was nice because we could do some learning in a causal, relaxed way. Here's the anchor chart we created:
My anchor charts aren't pretty works of art (a la Pinterest), but hey, they get the job done!

These are the books I used to introduce each type of fiction:
Realistic Fiction (this book is great for my Midwest friends!)

Fantasy Fiction (if you follow my blog, you already know how I LOVE this book! Read all about it HERE!)

Mystery (No explanation needed :)

Science (SO funny!)

Historical (Great connection with Columbus Day last week!)

I taught the story elements during my Daily 5 minilessons. This week I introduced them, and we practiced identifying the elements orally. Next week I'm going to introduce the Writing station (no, I don't follow the Sisters' guide for setting up Daily 5), and the bunnies are going to be writing about story elements in their notebooks. Here's my Fiction Story Elements anchor chart:


After we learned about the fiction story elements, I introduced the comprehension skill, retelling. Retelling is so, so, SO important... it's the first question I always ask when doing running records! And it drives me nuts when the bunnies retell every.single.detail of the story! "and then..., and then..., and then...."One way we learn about retelling is with a Retelling Rope. Each student gets a "rope" (I just use yarn) with 7 knots. Each knot stands for a step in the retelling process:
knot 1: characters
knot 2: setting
knot 3: conflict or problem
knot 4: event 1
knot 5: event 2
knot 6: event 3
knot 7: solution
As they retell the story, students move their hand along the Retelling Rope. They keep the rope in their book box. It makes a great book mark too! Here's my anchor chart for retelling:

What tips and tricks do you use to teach retelling?

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Community Project Part 2 {includes planning sheet}

Earlier this week, the bunnies turned in their Community Projects they've been working on for three. Weeks. Read all about it HERE! I had a request for the planning sheet I used for this project. You can pick that up HERE! I also included the parent letter that explains what the project is all about.

Here are a few more of my favorites. I snapped some photos of projects that were simpler... I seem to be drawn to the ones that were clearly completed by the student with little to no help from the parents. To me, those are the best ones! :)


Love how this kiddo parked the car in the parking lot!

This kiddo put wooden animals and barns on his! The corn is a nice touch too :)

The bridge is super creative!

This student was SO proud of her community! It's called Candy Town and the streets and buildings are named after kinds of candy. There are even Swedish fish in the pond! Oh, and the main street is shaped like a candy cane!

Love all the little details! The speed limit sign, cross walk, trees and swings in the park... So sweet!
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Community Projects

The first social studies unit of the school year is complete! We learned all about Communities: what is a community, citizens, rules and laws, types of communities, and focused in on our own community today and in the past. The bunnies work on a big at-home project throughout this unit where they build their own community. I supply a large piece of green tagboard and various colors of construction paper, although many of them choose to add other items to it. They can choose to make an urban, suburban, or rural community. Every year, I'm so amazed by how well they turn out, and this year was no exception! I expect that parents help a little (or in some cases, a lot...), so I don't really grade them. More like, "Did you do it, or not?" There's also a planning sheet that the students complete that tells what makes the community rural, suburban, or urban. You can find the planning sheet HERE.

The projects were due today. We did a gallery walk where the kiddos could check each other's out close-up. Then I had them get into groups based on the type of community, and the bunnies had to compare their communities to each other and figure out what made them similar. Here are a few of my favorites:
This student added what looked to be fish tank plants. There is also a bench and a family of ducks by the pond!

What a lovely little suburb.... until T-Rex stopped by! Hahaha!!!
 This is a first! The entire community is made out of Legos! How creative!
This one was actually done by a student in another class, but I just HAD to share it. This kiddo hooked up Christmas lights and a little battery pack because he wanted his community to be at night! Look closely and you can see the street lights and how the buildings are lit up!

Didn't these turn out AWESOME?! Next up: Community Needs!

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October Currently

So I'm a little late jumping on the Currently bandwagon (this being my second time participating), but I totally diggin' this idea from Farley! Here's what's happening in my corner of the world:

How I Met Your Mother: LEGEN... wait for it... DARY! Enough said.

This week I dove head-first into a Math Workshop format in my classroom. It was scary. Really scary. But I have a huge range of abilities in my classroom, and I knew it was really in the best interests of the bunnies, so I did it. And it worked!!! Yip Yippee Yippito (book reference? Anyone? Anyone??)
I'll be writing a post about my Math Workshop soon :)

We're doing a book study at work for the book Embedded Formative Assessment. The first meeting is tomorrow. I'm not ready yet. OK, I need to wrap this up pronto!

I crochet hats for kiddos. I just finished making my daughter an owl hat (read about it here), and I found an image of a hippo hat on Pinterest. I am LOVIN' it, and I think it will be my next project.

So on Wednesday morning I put the kiddos in the car and carried two loads of schtuff out to the car, got in, went to turn it on, and..... nothing. I started to panic and was on the verge of crying. Car troubles is probably one of my biggest fears. The hubs works 1+ hour from our house, so he was in no position to help. Thank goodness one of my coworkers lives like 1/2 a mile from my house and after she dropped off her kiddos, swung by my house and got my troops, drove us to daycare (I have two drop offs...) and drove us to work. Surprisingly, we were only 10 minutes late! Turns out my car battery died, but I have no idea how because it's not like I left a light on or anything. My car is only 3 years old too. I pray this never happens again. I don't think I could handle it.

One of my FAVE fall books is Pumpkin Soup! Read all about it here!

Off to do my school work! Night night! :)
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