Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flat Stanley, Photos, and a FREEBIE!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mommies out there!  It is midnight here in Wisconsin, so I am officially beginning my very first Mother's Day celebration (which, apparently, involves taking some "me" time to blog).  :)
Throughout this school year (my first year as an ESL teacher), I have found it extremely challenging to keep my lessons cohesive.  After all, I see most of my students only a few times a week in small groups for about 30 minutes.  Then, you throw in intersessions (our school is on a year-round schedule), holidays, early release days, professional development days, sick days (on my end), absentees, etc.  It can be quite difficult to keep everything "glued" together!
Something that has been working though, specifically with my intermediate groups, are chapter books.  In the Fall, I browsed our school library for chapter books that I figured would be interesting for the students and appropriate for their reading comprehension levels (I read aloud to my English Language Learners).  Oh yeah, and I looked for books with SHORT chapters!  (Did I mention I have limited time with my groups?)  Nearly every session, we read a little bit of our chapter book.  That way, we all have common background knowledge that we can move forward with in order to engage in activities that meet our district standards.
One of my 3rd grade groups (that I only get to see twice a week) is finishing up the second book in the Flat Stanley series.  Earlier in the year, we learned about "Fact and Opinion," tying it all in with the story.  We also created our own Flat Selves and wrote letters to some friends in Australia.  A few weeks back, we received a special package in return!  My students were pretty darn excited, to say the least.  :)
Our Australian friends asked us to take their Aussie Stanley on a tour around our school and snap some photos that we could share with them, so we grabbed my camera and off we went!
So now these awesome kiddos are working on the following Common Core Standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
I created a simple graphic organizer to help them brainstorm ideas and get started.  (Side note:  Our Reading / Writing Coordinator for our school district visited our schoon on Friday in order to do a Writing PD.  She emphasized the use of graphic organizers as a pre-writing tool.  Yay!  Don't you just love when you are told to do something you are already doing!?)  Anyway, if you would like to grab this FREEBIE to use in your classroom, please click HERE to visit my TPT store.  (P.S. - I always appreciate comments on my always free products.)

Are you interested in finding a school across the nation or even across the globe, so that your class can also take part in the Flat Stanley project?  This is the place to go:  Flat Stanley!
Okay, I am off to bed.  Enjoy what is left of the weekend!  As always, thank you for stopping by my little blog.  :)

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