Welcome to our Authors and Artists blog! This is a web site for my "Budding Authors and Artists" (grades 1-3) 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!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Snowman Draw Game!

We started off our first meeting focusing on writing fabulous sentences loaded with detail.  We talked about how adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases describing where and when can turn a boring sentence into an exciting one.  The following week, the students worked on putting many detailed sentences into paragraphs to describe in the greatest detail a snowman they had drawn.  The Snowman Draw Game works like this:

1. Draw a snowman complete with background and clothing.
2. Write a description of your picture so thorough and vivid, that when someone else reads it, they can picture your snowman perfectly.  Every sentence should mention size, shape, color, and number!
3. Trade descriptions with a partner.
4. Attempt to draw your partner's snowman.  If they are twins, you did a great job!

Adjectives, adjectives, adjectives!  They can tell size, shape, color, number, and personality.  I encouraged the students to write every sentence with these concepts in mind.

Winners of the game would win candy and blog honors, so here they are!

This first drawing and writing piece was done by Ashley (3rd grade).  She uses so many "color" adjectives that her partner Sophia (3rd grade) draws a great match!

     My snowman has three body parts.  One is small, one is medium, and one is big.

     My snowman has a top hat with yellow with a pink belt on it.  He has pink glasses and a short carrot nose.  He has two coal eyes and five pieces of coal for a mouth.

     He wears a magenta vest with magenta round buttons.  He has a black belt and black boots. 

     The background has a Christmas tree with six blue balls and black tinsel.  There are ten snowballs and a house with five windows with yellow in them.  The house is blue with an orange roof and has a chimney with smoke coming out.

This next picture and description was done by Brandon (4th grade).  Brandon did an amazing job with his adjectives-- so great that his partner Henry (5th grade) drew a practical twin!

     My snowman is evil and cunning.  It has a medium head, a white big body, and a really big bottom.  It has red fiery arms the shape of a straight branch.  They have a dull ending with no fingers.  It has a trident with blood red tips and a  white shaft.  It holds nothing in its other hand, and has the same color and size as the other hand.

     It has bright orange wings extending from the middle of its body.  The wings are large with a sharp wavy shape and a crescent bottom.

     I forgot to tell you that the head has two red small devil horns and two round medium eyes with red fire blazing in them.  It has a red and orange pointy short nose.  It also has a bright orange tail extending from its bottom.  It has a red arrow shape at the end.

     It has two fluffy clouds with yellow lightning extending from them.

Emma (5th grade) focused on a detailed background, but described it so vividly that her partner Sophie (5th grade) got every detail right (except the sun.... but it was still really good!)  Size difference didn't matter as much as accuracy with other details.  Emma organized her paper very clearly!

My Background
     In the middle of the picture is a mountain.  The mountain is light brown except for its wavy snow cap.  Behind the mountain are two others; both take up half the page.  The mountains are the same as the first.  Also, all of them are outlined in black.  There are seventeen snowflakes falling that are blue.  The sun is yellow but it's a half sun.  It's on the snowman's left.

My Snowman
     My snowman is right on top of the middle mountain.  The snowman is small.  The bottom ball is large, the middle is medium, and right on the top is a small ball.  All three of the snowballs are light blue.

Snowman's Details
     On top of the small snowman's ball are three tiny hairs that are brown.  My snowman has black sunglasses with an orange carrot nose, regular shaped.  Also between the middle and small ball is a purple bow tie.  In the middle are three black dots that are horizontal.

Go from beginning to end or you will fail!

Savannah (5th grade) came up with a very clever design and described it very accurately.  This is Savannah's fifth Writers' Workshop, so she has really mastered how to get her partner to draw her snowman's twin!  Notice how she includes measurements to get Abby (4th grade) to draw her masterpiece.

     My Snowbot is in the shape of a robot.  His head is exactly six centimeters long and four centimeters high.  His head is gray and he has a simple smile just off center.  He has two eyes that are right next to each other, touching.  Each eye is one centimeter long.  His eyes are square.  Inside the eyes, there is one triangle per eye and the triangles have a flat top, not a point.  His eyes are just off center, in line with his mouth.  His eyes are off center to the left (same as the mouth.)  In his eyes, there are two vertical lines.

     The snowbot's neck is 1/2 centimeter long.  He is sporting a v-neck tee-shirt that is an orchid color.  The sleeve of his shirt is three centimeters long.  He is wearing mini shorts that are one centimeter long, and his shorts are salmon colored.  His legs are two centimeters long and are gray.  His shoes are 1/2 centimeter long and 1/2 centimeter tall.  His hands are 3 1/2 centimeters long and 1/2 centimeter tall.  They are gray.  His shoes are orchid colored.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Super Sentences!

A new session of Writers' Workshop began last month, and I have 47 wonderful students with whom I am working.  Some are returning students, some are new, and all are working hard and doing a great job!  It will be hard to pick the best of the best when it comes to the blog, that's for sure.

We started off our session with a lesson in how to write a detailed, vivid sentence, with imagery that creates a picture in the reader's mind.  We started off with a base sentence:

The snowflake falls.

We then proceeded to add to it, to make the sentence more exciting.  We added:
- 2 adjectives
- 1 adverb
- a phrase that tells "where"
- a phrase that tells "when"
- We even had a lesson in how to correctly start a sentence with "Because."  Only my returning students knew that they were "allowed" to do that!  Many teachers simply tell their students not to start with "Because," for fear of sentence fragments.  I always teach how to do it correctly-- it can add a beautiful effect to the sentence, to begin with a "why" phrase.

After we experimented with the placements of our clauses and phrases, as well as our "because" clause, we came up with two of our best attempts, and had our classmates vote on their favorite.  It was an excellent opportunity for peer teaching and teamwork.  When the final decision was made, each student got to cut a beautiful snowflake, glue it on blue background paper, and add designs if they wanted.  Here are just a few samples of great work!

On a freezing winter night, a crystal clear snowflake falls swiftly and softly on the end of a swan's white tail.
- Claire, 4th grade

Because it's a cold winter day, the unique, white snowflake gently falls on my warm gloves.
- Haley, 3rd grade 

Because it wanted to be melted, the fragile white snowflake swiftly fell on a warm hot dog in AT&T Park while Buster Posey was batting.
-Loren, 5th grade 

While the graceful ballerina is performing, the beautiful white snowflake falls daintily on her pink ballet shoe.
-Meghna, 3rd grade 

The amazing and graceful snowflake falls gently at 12:00 on New Year's Eve.
-Riley, 4th grade 

On Christmas Eve, the white unique snowflake falls softly in the snowy park because it's December.
-Sophia, 3rd grade (Notice how Sophia moved her "because" clause to the end of her sentence, where she thought it sounded better.) 

I had the pleasure of visiting my daughter's kindergarten classroom and doing a mini Writers' Workshop with her class.  I adjusted the expectations for the assignment and did more of a fill-in-the-blank style, while teaching the little ones about descriptive words and "where" a snowflake could fall. 

You know how 5 and 6 year olds love glitter and stickers!  Here is how they turned out!
 The big pretty snowflake falls on my cold little nose.

Here's how they all looked on the bulletin board.  Fun!
Good sentence writing can and should be taught at all ages!