I hate it on the playground
when someone’s on the swing.
I wait and wait and wait my turn
but hear the lunch-bell ring.
I love it, though, in springtime
and my teacher I adore
when recess isn’t over
and she gives ten minutes more.
I hate it in the classroom
when we’re sitting down to write
and Rob blames me for punching Pete.
Teach’ knows I never fight.
I love ‘em, though, the stories
of future, present, past.
I wish those times of wonder
Could last and last and last
My school is like kitchen and
my teacher’s like a mother-
serving up the Lima beans
with cookies like no other.
My school is like a woodshop and
my teacher’s like a dad-
sanding imperfections of
rough edges that I had.
If you spend at least 30 minutes a day reading, writing, speaking and listening in English, your English will improve.
- Write for 15 minutes (But don’t sit and say, “I don’t know what to write about.” That doesn’t count as time writing.)
- Read and listen for 15 minutes.
I already shared some resources for reading/ listening online.
Here is a curated list of resources to use over the summer:
Websites for Reading
Starfall Begins with sounds; continues through short stories
Robert Munsch– Wonderful stories to read and listen
Websites for Listening
A Story Before Bed– Read and listen to authors read their stories
Keep a journal– What did you do today? What will you do tomorrow? What did you like? What didn’t you like? 46 more questions to write about, 50 more writing prompts,
http://www.readworks.org/summer-reading-passages (requires a free account)
If you know of other great resources (there are lots of them!) please add them to the comments section.
From Beauty Is an Edge of Becoming by Krista Tippett and John O’Donohue:
“If you go back to the etymology of the word ‘threshold,’ it comes from ‘threshing,’ which is to separate the grain from the husk. So the threshold, in a way, is a place where you move into more critical and challenging and worthy fullness. There are huge thresholds in every life. You know that, for instance, if you are in the middle of your life in a busy evening, fifty things to do and you get a phone call that somebody you love is suddenly dying, it takes ten seconds to communicate that information. But when you put the phone down, you are already standing in a different world. Suddenly everything that seems so important before is all gone and now you are thinking of this. So the given world that we think is there and the solid ground we are on is so tentative. And a threshold is a line which separates two territories of spirit, and very often how we cross is the key thing.”
And where is beauty in that?
“Where beauty is — beauty isn’t all about just niceness, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming. And when we cross a new threshold worthily, what we do is we heal the patterns of repetition that were in us that had us caught somewhere. So I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.”
For more, you can read Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue.
Now it is time for the first graders- How do you end an opinion paragraph? Here I offer three possibilities.
- Just Say It
Dogs are the best pet.
Vanilla is the tastiest flavor ever!
Minnesota will be the best state you ever visited!
- Simple Summary Statement
That’s why dogs are the best pet.
Clearly vanilla is the tastiest flavor ever.
For these reasons, Minnesota is finest of all the 50 states.
- Act! Do! Go! Try!
Go get a dog! You will see how great a pet they are!
So try vanilla ice cream and you will see that it is the best flavor you have ever tried!
Are you going to go to Minnesota? Yes! You will love the lakes and trees and snow.
One of my 4th graders asked me for ideas on how to start a story. We had a great conversation and looked at some wonderful examples. Here is what we ended up with:
Ways to Start a Story
Once upon a time there was…
- Dialogue (people talking)
“Mom! Help me! I can’t…” I shouted to my mom as I fell out of the tree.
“But you promised to take me to the movies today! You promised! You promised! You promised!” I started crying.
- Action (something is happening)
My brother slammed the door just as the rain started. This time he did not get caught in the rain. This time he did not get struck by the lightning.
I watched from behind the bookshelf as the thief snuck into the living room and opened the top drawer of the desk. He did not know I was there.
4a. Description (what does the setting look like? sound like?)
The spring flowers bloomed and the honeybees buzzed along the banks of the river. The sleepy town woke up to the sounds of the roaring river flowing down from the dark mountains. Something floated in the water, trapped by an old tree branch.
4b. Description (what does the character(s) look like?)
Jaime was only 4 feet, 2 inches tall but he was the best goalie the team had ever had. He could jump higher than kids who were 5 feet tall. But he never bragged about it. He did not have to.
The house I moved into in Lima, Peru
Is not rather old nor is hardly that new.
The floors are of concrete, the walls made of brick,
New wall-to-wall windows that close with a click.
Yet still I hear sounds like an old wooden floor
When I rise from my bed and I head toward the door
of the bathroom to assure me that nothing is leaking.
I realize then ’tis my knees that are creaking.
Recently, I was reminded of the power of theater in education. Thinking about students who are new to English… but not completely new… I have been looking at improvisational theater exercises to get students talking. This is not a strategy to teach new vocabulary but to build fluency, spontaneity and confidence while speaking.
Imagine having two students create a skit where someone is lost and the other has to help the first person find his or her way. Imagine adding a third person who says that the first person is wrong. What would you say? What would you do? Can they ask for an additional person to assist?
Make it a little bit harder and open ended: Imagine students creating a skit based off of three nouns- pencil, stove, rake. Throw in a verb and shake things up a bit.
There are a million scenes that you can have students improvise based on anything that students need to practice. Try it; see what happens!