Out of This World Literacy : September 2014
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Reading Workshop: Sharing Feelings About a Text

Hello friends!!

I am super excited to share with you all a reading mini lesson about how we can teach our young readers to share their feelings from reading.

So many things are happening inside a reader's mind every time he/she reads.  One of the things the brain is doing, often times without the reader even realizing it, is developing feelings.

As we read, we are reminded of personal experiences or recalling things we know.  Those memories trigger emotions in our minds.

Watch this video to see how we learned how to recognize the emotions our minds are already thinking about during reading!!

I hope this video was helpful for you and your students to explore feelings and evidence during reading time!

Happy Teaching!!

Interactive Edits...Correcting vs. Noticing

Hello again friends!

This is Jen from Out of This World Literacy.  It feels like forever since I've blogged here and I am excited to share my latest thinking about interactive edits.  In the past, I have used D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language) worksheets in my classroom in the hopes that my students would correct all the mistakes in poorly written sentences.  I hoped, that by knowing how to correct numerous errors in poorly written sentences, they would be able to write correctly themselves.

My thinking completely shifted when I learned about Jeff Anderson and his idea of showing students well written sentences, rather than putting poorly written sentences in front of them.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Mr. Anderson speak, TAKE IT!  He is phenomenal...and highly entertaining I might add.

Check out this amazing 3 minute video of Jeff Anderson as he explains how to invite students to notice great writing.

     Asking students to notice what works well in a sentence, rather than to identify errors, helps students learn good grammar and mechanics.  When we practice finding mistakes, we only focus on mistakes.  When we practice finding what is good, we are focusing on what works well in sentences.  Since we want our students to write sentences full of strong grammar, mechanics, word choice, figurative language, etc., we will look at good quality sentences that model these traits.   

     After all, we don’t teach math by showing students how to find the wrong answers, or all the ways they could solve problems incorrectly.  We teach math by showing students many different ways to find the right answer.  Likewise, we rarely chose a poorly written book as a read-aloud.  And we certainly would not pick a lousy piece of work and use it for mentor text in writing.  We choose well-written work that models good writing.  Let’s do the same through interactive edit by choosing well-written sentences that give students the opportunity to notice what makes a great sentence!
    I have been inspired by Mr. Anderson to create resources that will help teachers implement interactive edits in their classrooms. 

Here is a peak inside one of my monthly resources:

If you are interested in interactive edits with monthly themes throughout the year you can click on the image below.

    Thank you all so much for reading!  I hope you are able to learn as much from Mr. Anderson as I have!!
Best Wishes!

Getting EVERY Student Writing Poetry

Hello again friends,

I hope everyone has had a great start back in their classrooms this fall! 

I wanted to talk today about something that we should be teaching our students throughout the year...POETRY!

I absolutely LOVE teaching and writing poetry. 

It is magical for me when every student realizes that they are all poets that have something important to contribute to this word. 

I am going to share the way I get all my fifth graders started writing and enjoying poetry.  

Like every class, there are those students who start writing a million ideas in a million different directions. 

Then there are those who have no ideas and spend 30 minutes finding anything and everything to distract themselves from attempting to write poetry because it's just not easy.

There is a way to bring both these extreme types of learners together and have everyone else in between successful as well.  The way I introduce writing poetry is to NOTICE really great poetry as readers.  We begin by exploring lots and lots of different poetry anthologies that interest students.

 Here are the steps I take:

1. I read several different poems I enjoy to the class, sharing my thinking about each poem.  I often talk about my emotions, connections, and experiences with the text.  I also discuss the author's use of language and the way in which he/she put the words on the page.  This modeling is a critical first stage in showing students examples of what readers should be thinking about when analyzing poetry.

 Here are some of my favorite collections of poems!


2. I lay out bins of poetry books and tell students that today they are going to spend some time enjoying poetry as a reader.  I ask them to choose a book to read and then pick one poem that really stood out to them while reading and copy it into their poetry anthologies (blank bound cardstock paper).  They MUST copy it EXACTLY as it appears in the book.  This helps students think about line breaks and spacing in poetry.  They even copy any illustrations!!

 3. At the end of class I ask students to share the poem they copied with a partner. Then I have them talk about why they chose that poem.

That's it!  We repeat these steps over the course of several days until I feel students have been exposed to enough poetry that they are comfortable enough to try writing their own.  That is when we move into writing a poem about a poem.  We look back at all the poems we have copied and try to write our own that is similar to one of our favorite poems.

I have found this way to introduce poetry really fun and successful for every student.  Plus, it gives me great insight into what types of poetry my students enjoy reading.  We keep an anchor chart of all the things we notice about poetry and add to it each day.  This chart is extremely useful when students transition into writing their own poetry.

If you would like to learn more about the process of reading, thinking about, and finally writing poetry, you can visit my TpT store, where I have a month-long Poetry and Figurative Language Unit of Study for the reading and writing workshops.  The units have identical lessons, but are broken into individual grade levels so that all 40 lessons can be attached to the grade-specific Common Core State Standards.  Click on the pictures below and you can download the FREE preview to see the first four days worth of lessons!

Click on the link below to see the units available in my store:


               Thank you all for reading and I hope you and your students are enjoying some time exploring poetry in your classroom!


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