Welcome to our Authors and Artists blog! This is a web site for my "Budding Authors and Artists" (grades 1-2) and "Awesome Authors and Artists" (grades 3-6) to have a chance to showcase their work. Please feel free to leave any comments for these outstanding authors or their teacher!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Halloween Costume Draw Game!

The "Budding" Authors and Artists celebrated Halloween with a writing game.  First, they drew a picture of themselves in their Halloween costume.  Next, they wrote 4-5 sentences describing their costumes in clear detail.  On the second day, I pinned all of the pictures on the white board and read their descriptions to the class.  We had 100% correct guesses this year, which signified that the students wrote REALLY clearly and descriptively!  Here are a couple for you to enjoy:

The Emoji Face, by Kyler (1st grade)
     My costume has a small emoji face.  It also has cool black glasses.  I'll also be wearing orange pants.  My favorite part about my costume is the glasses because they are cool.  My costume is funny!

The Night of the Munchkin, by Colton (2nd grade)
     My costume has red, green, and orange colors.  It also has an orange wig with two bald spots.  I'll be wearing elf shoes that are black and curly.  My favorite part about my costume is my big lollipop in my hand.  My costume is very old!

The Monster Draw Game!

     This fabulous On-Demand Writing lesson is a favorite of my students year to year.   Here is how you play:

Step 1: Draw a monster or imaginative creature.  (We do this right before Halloween, so that is usually the theme that comes to mind.)

Step 2: Write a vivid description of your monster, organizing into paragraphs its different features and background scene.
Step 3: Trade descriptions with a partner, and without communicating, attempt to draw the other monster strictly from the descriptive writing.

     This game always results in some good laughs, as students learn the importance of including EVERY detail, and what happens when something important is left out.  This game is played in one class period, so students must work quickly, edit their work, and pace themselves.  Students then vote the following week on which monsters are practically twins!  Winners get blog honors, and here they are!

Sasha's Monster (5th grade)
     To start my monster, you should draw four water bottle-cap sized circles that are vertical.  The higher circle overlaps the one below by a little bit.

     The top circle has one medium eye exactly in the middle with one black pupil in the middle of the eye.  Below the eye there is a smiling red mouth that is slightly open.  On top, there is a blue bow which is medium sized.  The top circle is aqua green.

     The second circle (the one below it) is cerulean and has six violet polka dots in  it.  The dots are small.  Out of this circle there is an arm out of each side.  It is only a stick!  The arm on your right is holding an orange flower with four petals, a yellow middle, and a  green stem (no leaves.)

     The circle underneath has five horizontal stripes in a pattern: aqua, green, cerulean.

     The last ball is violet.  Out of this ball, two medium feet with a little line on the end come out.

     Under these feet there is a medium magenta heart and above the cerulean bow on top there is a medium yellow heart!

     After the second ball, but before the third one, on each side there are two little hearts that are salmon.

Sasha wrote so clearly, describing each little ball on this creature, that her partner Claire (4th grade) drew the twin!

Evelyn's Monster (3rd grade)

     My monster's body is a circle with pink fur and dark green polka-dots.  It has seven eyes: one on each wing, one on each shoe, and three on its face.  My monster has two arms that are pink.  It also has legs that are pink.  It also has a triangle shaped hat with a puff ball on the top that is pink.  Its face has three noses.  Its legs are pink, and the shoes are orange.  There are two yellow wings.  There are three mountains behind my creature.  The one in the middle and the one on the right both have ice on the top.  The one on the left side does not have any ice, but it also has a stream flowing down to the pond.  It has a gray moon on the left side.  My creature also has two big pumpkins and two small ones.  They go small, big, small, big.
This was Evelyn's first time every playing this game!  She wrote so clearly, that her very experienced partner Daniella (5th grade) drew this:

Ruby's Monster (5th grade)
     First, you have to turn your paper so that it's vertical.  Then, we will start on the face.

     Make a medium-sized circle.  Then, in the middle of it, draw an eyeball with a magenta pupil.  Then on the cheeks of this monster, there are three whiskers on each side.  Make sure the whiskers are light silver.  Then lightly color the face red.  On top of its head, it has three lines.  The left one and the right one are slanted, facing the sides of the page, but the one in the middle should stand still.  By the way, the lines are black.  There is no mouth or nose.

     Now moving on to the body.  The body is about four times larger than the head.  It is also a circle. My monster is like a snowman with two circles.  Then, in this circle, draw a swirly whirly, like a lollipop!  Make sure it's dark blue.  Now color the rest turquoise.  Now make two little circles for hands.  Make the hands slightly bigger than the holes on this paper.  Make them sky blue.  Now make five green ovals for feet on the bottom of the body.

     Last thing is the background.  The monster is on a white path, and on the side is green grass. 

     Can you draw my monster?
Ruby is an experienced pro at this game!  So is her partner Talya (5th grade).  Look at how close these two monsters are!

Congratulations to our Winners!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Noun Poems!

     The "Budding" class studied nouns.  They learned that a Noun is the name of a person, place, or thing.  A Proper Noun is a Special Noun, and it starts with a capital letter because it is so special and has such importance!  This simple project made studying nouns fun!  It is a simple fill-in-the-blank poem that the students loved filling out, and most of all, reading aloud!  They got pretty silly!  Enjoy!

Peterson's (2nd grade) Noun Poem

Violet's (2nd grade) Noun Poem

Backwards Animal Adventure Stories

     Our last assignment involving our amazing backwards animals came in the form of a creative style for the "Awesome" students.  The students story mapped a simple "Beginning/Middle/End" story map and told imaginative tales about encountering the creature they had carefully created in their imaginations.  Enjoy these samples!

My Champion Ekans, by Alena (3rd grade)
      I was in my yard on a stormy day.  I saw the Ekans.  It looked sad, so I gave it some fruit, flowers, and orange juice.   Then I took it inside.  I warmed it by putting a cozy pink blanket on it.

     Next, I dried it off.  I gave it more food, and it took a nap.

     Two days later, I signed it up for ballet.  It saw the Enarc Denworc Nacifra at Ballet class.  It had so much fun that it kept on going. 

      I eventually gave it a home in my back yard.  I adopted it, and gave it food every day.  It even had a spot at the dinner table.  It got so graceful.  It danced so much!

     One day, the Ekans came home.  It told me it would compete on a ballet team with the Enarc Denworc Nacifra on Saturday!

     When it was Saturday, I went to the show.  The Ekans won with her friend!  My Ekans came home with three gold medals, and one gold trophy.  I put it on my shelf.  My Ekans and I had fun together.

The Day I Met (and Tried to Recognize) an Arbez, by Amelia (4th grade)
     About a year ago, I was in Hawaii.  It was a bright sunny June afternoon, and I was scuba diving for the first time ever.  I was passing a school of beautiful rainbow fish when something very remarkable happened.   I was ambushed!  (Well, not really, but I was constricted by this scaly eel creature with a beak.  It's pretty much the same, right?)

     At first, I just saw it from far away.  I freaked out and started swimming back as fast as I could.  But this animal was faster than I was, so in a few seconds, I found myself wrapped tightly in the creature's scaly tail.  "Let me go!" I screamed frantically.  Not that I thought it would obey me, but still, who knows?  

     To my utter amazement, I felt oxygen coming back to me.  The animal had brought me to the surface of the ocean and unraveled itself!  Now free, I saw away as fast as my legs would carry me to tell my friend Zoe.

     Surprisingly, Zoe burst into laughter as soon as I finished telling her what I had witnessed.  "What?" I asked, confused.

     "You just swam away from the most endangered animal ever, the Arbez," she replied after hiccuping herself back to seriousness.  "Endangered, but not dangerous.  They just like playing with humans."

     "Oh," I said.

     I wasn't exactly embarrassed, just disappointed that I hadn't taken a picture.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Research Papers!

     The art of outlining to prepare a research paper is a difficult one, but it is so important!  The "Awesome" students moved on to putting 5 paragraphs together to create a research paper on their Backwards Animal.  The research, of course, came from their imaginations!
     The first part of this lesson was to teach how to outline.  A sample outline looked something like this:

I. Intro- introduce your subject

II. Body Paragraph One (appearance)

III. Body Paragraph Two (diet)

IV. Body Paragraph Three (habitat)

V. Conclusion- restate important information-- no new info allowed!

     The students had at least one paragraph to work with from Assignment #2, which proved to be helpful in their research and writing.  Here are some samples of students who really stretched themselves to tell us MORE about their amazing, creative creatures!

     The Regit, by Tyler (3rd grade)
     The Regit is an interesting animal.  He has an amazing appearance.  The Regit has one of the weirdest diets in the world.  It is extremely wet and always rainy where the Regit lives.

     The Regit has a unique appearance.  His ears are soft and pointy, just like a cat's.  The Regit has two enormous brown eyes, with short, straight eyelashes.  The tail of the Regit is striped with black and blue lines.  It has a fluffy tail because it has a lot of fur.

     The Regit has a very interesting diet.  The Regit is a very picky eater.  It will only eat bats and dolphin meat.  It is weird because it only eats live animals.  It is disgusting to come across it when it is eating.  It makes a lot of noise when it eats.

     The Regit lives in a very cool habitat.  The tall, jagged mountains that he lives in are amazing.  It is always misting and raining there.
     The Regit has an interesting diet, and a misty habitat.  His appearance is cool.  He is an amazing creature!

The Magnificent Arbez, by Caren (4th grade)
     The Arbez is an interesting animal.  It has a miniature appearance with a diet of crumbs.  With a city as a habitat, find out how these Arbezes live.
     The appearance of this animal is miniature and small, from its little shaded wings, to its soft, tiny body.  The wings are shaded from hot red to light pink.  Its small wings are so tiny that they can't pick up the Arbez, so it can't fly.  But once a year, the wings of the Arbez are strong enough to carry it!  The feeling of the Arbez is fluffy, like a soft dog, but also soft like a pillow.
     The Arbez's diet is quite right for its size.  Crumbs are its diet.  When an Arbez finds a crumb, it will sit on the crumb and start eating it with its wings.  The Arbez eats all crumbs, but its favorites are the pink crumbs.
     The habitat of an Arbez is quite unusual for an endangered animal.  The city is a great place for an Arbez.  People drop many crumbs for the Arbez to eat.  Parks make a great home for an Arbez.  Trees in parks are often strong and healthier than the ones in the forest.  Also, in cities, there are trash cans. Lots of trash cans are around the city, so the Arbez will jump on something lower than the trash can and then leap into the air.  Once the Arbez gets on the trash can, it will dig to the bottom of the trash can to find crumbs.
     The appearance, strange habitat, and unusual diet helps keep the Arbez alive.  Truly, the Arbez is a magnificent animal!

Examining the Nihplod, by Flo (6th grade)

The Nihplod is an unusual animal. Its confusing behavior and mish-mash of everything appearance will have you dizzy. When you hear about its oddball diet, please refrain from screaming “EW!” as it might offend any nearby creatures. Although it would be difficult to keep as a pet, once you hear about how loving it can be, you'll be clamoring to catch one. Plus you'll definitely want to make this species’ future better than its history.

The Nihplod’s behavior is confusing in many ways. It waddles awkwardly on land, but in the water is swift and graceful. Sadly, it is plagued with daily spells of hiccups made of fire. Because of its odd behavior, it is often labeled as “mysterious,” though it only hides from humans who do not show it kindness. Despite its contradictory behavior, the Nihplod would make a loving and cuddly pet.

The appearance of the Nihplod is also quite strange. For the most part, it is round-bodied and covered in green fur, except for its human-like nose. Its curved horns command the attention of anyone who behold this beautiful animal. These horns have similar properties to that of the unicorn. While it does have awkward ovular feet, it has no arms or outer ear at all. Even though the Nihplod may look like the work of Picasso, some find it charming.

Unsurprisingly, the Nihplod’s diet is just as atypical as its appearance. Its favorite food is twigs and wood chips, but it will settle for pebbles. In terms of what it drinks, it loves to guzzle up puddles off the rainforest floor. When it hasn’t rained for a while, the Nihplod can go for up to two months without water. Anyone would agree that the it has an eccentric diet!

When it comes to owning a Nihplod, there are both pros and cons. On the pros side, it is easy to feed, loves to cuddle, and, if you show it kindness, it will be more loyal than a dog. On the cons side, you would have to deal with the fire hiccups. If you don’t think you can handle it, you might change your mind after hearing its terrible history.
Historically, the Nihplod has always been neglected. It is known for its majestic horns, which are the reason why the animal is widely hunted, even today. This why it has always stayed a predominantly wild species, and why it is known as mysterious. As you can see the Nihplod’s history is not pleasant.

Obviously the Nihplod is quite unique, with its confusing behavior, atypical diet, and a appearance that resembles a work of cubism. When you consider its troubling history anyone would agree that Nihplod is an animal worth studying.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Powerful Paragraph Writing!

     Assignment #2 was a lesson in Powerful Paragraph Writing.  While the Budding Authors and Artists class focused on doing their best with 3-5 sentences, the Awesome Authors and Artists were given a format to follow in order to teach the art of varying one's sentence patterns.  In their samples, you will find a wonderful variety of sentences:
~Vivid verbs
~Sentences beginning with clauses such as "where," "when," and "Because"
~Replacing nouns with pronouns to avoid redundancy
~Fabulous conclusions that tie it all up

     The topic for these fabulous paragraphs?  Animals, of course!  But not just any animals.... these animals were created in our imaginations by spelling real animal names backwards!  This would lay the groundwork for many upcoming assignments.  We've learned how to write vivid, clear sentences with various grammatical patterns, and now it is time to put many sentences together, stay on topic, and have fun describing this animal to our readers.  Enjoy these samples from across the ages!

The Peehs, by Brendan (1st grade)
     The Peehs' colors are blue, green, and red.  This animal has curvy horns and long scaly legs.  The peehs eats a table!  The peehs lives in my shoe.

The Tanhpele, by Nathan (2nd grade)
     My animal's colors are red, green, gray, and blue.  My animal has wings, two tails, and two noses. My animal eats grass.  My animal lives in the wild.  My creature sprays water.  My tanhpele is fat!

The Enarc Denworc Nacifra, by Larsen (3rd grade)
     The enarc denworc nacifra is a graceful ballerina.  It looks like a crowned ballerina.  It wears a shiny gold medal that glistens in the bright yellow sun.  At a recital, the enarc denworc nacifra wears a pink fluffy tutu.  At the end, the creature takes off her tutu and puts on her jammies.

The Yeknom, by Noah (4th grade)
     The yeknom is a good builder.  It's a good builder because it's really strong and smart.  The yeknom has really thick fur in case its building collapses on it.  Because the yeknom has thick fur, it will not feel pain as much as a normal animal would.  As you can see, the yeknom is a very good constructor.

The Noil, by Cassia (5th grade)
     The noil is a musical animal.  It has several kinds of musical instruments on its body.  With all of those instruments, the noil doesn't talk; instead, it sings and dances!  Whenever it sings, its noise disturbs neighboring villages.  The noil is a musically unique animal!

The Rotagilla, by Nikhil (6th grade)
     The rotagilla is a medium-sized and furious beast.  It is very dangerous, and it likes to scare people and other animals.  With its powerful and sharp teeth, it consumes its prey with ease.  When the rotagilla finds its prey, it swims slowly toward it, in an attempt to intimidate, while its prey tries to swim away.  The rotagilla is an animal that anyone would want to stay away from, because of its very aggressive and malicious nature.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Superb sentences!

We are off to another great start in the "Authors and Artists" classes!  The "Budding Authors and Artists" are in 1st and 2nd grade, and the "Awesome" class includes 3rd, 4th, 5th, and at one school, 6th graders.  I love starting every session with a strong sentence writing activity.  This year, the "Budding" students took the base sentence "The Sun Shines" and turned it into a sentence that had adjectives, adverbs, where's, and when's!  This is actually an amazing feat for 6 and 7 year olds!  The "Awesome" class picked their own noun and verb, and made what we call a "boring" sentence.  They added phrases, clauses, adjectives, adverbs, and even learned how to correctly start a sentence with "Because."  The "Budding" class tried this in a simpler form, on Week 2.  It was also fun to do art to match!  Enjoy these samples.

by Jeff, 1st grade

 by Kayla, 2nd grade

by Natalie, 2nd grade

 by Neel, 3rd grade

By Sophia, 4th grade

by Claire, 5th grade