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!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Day in the Life of a.......

What would it feel like to be an inanimate object we use, see, or play with every day?  What would we see and do?  How would we feel?  What would we experience?  These are the questions we asked ourselves as we turned into pencils, mannequins, sporting equipment,  school buses, cars, paper, plants, clothing, food, and more!  All students were asked to story map how their day would begin and end, and of course, what would happen in the middle.   Each map had to show the objects' feelings with strong adjectives and verbs.  The story was to be written in a way that the reader could truly feel and understand every moment the object was experiencing.  Older students were encouraged to use Voice creatively, giving themselves, the object, a personality.  The results were fantastic!  Enjoy these....

My Life as an Ice Cube, by Florence (2nd grade)

     What's happening?  I am water in an ice maker!  It's freezing!  What am I going to turn into?  I feel different.  My dream is coming true.  I'm ice!  Plop!  I fall into a bucket with others in my family.

     A hand comes and grabs me.  I feel scared.  The hand looks boney, and its finger nails are two inches long!  The hand puts me in a glass of lemonade.  I feel hot, hot, hot!  I'm now in a throat.  Yuck!  Yuck!  I'm in the tummy.

     I feel like I was ice a long time ago.  I'm water now again in this squishy red place.
 

A Day in the Gross Life of a Piece of Bubblegum, by Julia (3rd grade)

     Oh, wow.  Being in this cramped, pitch dark, old, and boring store wrapper makes my life so unpleasant.  As you must know, I am Julie the Bubblegum.  I have beautiful thick hair and I am very sticky.  I have only one wish right now: I hope somebody buys me today!  I would be the happiest bubble gum in the world if someone bought me.  

     Oh!  I hear someone picking my wrapper and me up, and boy do they have a tight grip!  I can hear this person's voice now, and it sounds girly.  So, I bet the person who is buying me is a girl.

.....10 Minutes later.....

     We're finally here!  My new home awaits me.  Click1  I am locked in somewhere, but I am not sure where.  But wherever I am, it sure feels empty.

..... 2 Hours later......

     Chatter, chatter, chatter.  I have been unpeeled from my wrapper..... and put into someone's mouth!!  EEWWWW!!!!!!  I'm being tortured!!  This person is mushing and crunching me.  I'm bumping into all of their teeth.  I'm covered with rotten teeth, germs, and cavities.  EEEKK!  I think I was just almost swallowed.  This is turning into a nightmare!  I hope it ends soon.

..... 15 seconds later.....

     Plop.  I have landed in the trash can.  That's right, I landed in it.  Can you believe it?  I thought this person was my friend.  Instead they have thrown me into the garbage can.  They are now the enemy.  Anyway, this trash can has only three things in it so far: an empty plastic bottle, a goldfish wrapper, and me.  Right now, I feel stuck and unfree.  BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.... That is a garbage truck!  I'm probably going to die.... but I had a great life.


A Day in the Life of a Baseball, by Ritik (4th grade)

     I'm having a wonderful day so far.  I have been thrown by the pitcher and have never been hit by the bat of the batter.  I like the wind that is pushing me.  I feel so relaxed.  I look at the scoreboard and see that it is the last inning.  The game is tied 0-0.

     I learn that after this inning, the other team has to bat.  Nobody has hit me, and after three strike-outs, the other team has to bat.  There are two strike-outs, and I think that the game will soon end as a tie.  I feel happy and relaxed.

     BAM!  I feel a hard bat crushing me with a lot of force!  The wind is flying past me, and then.... SPLASH!  I realize I have landed in McCovey Cove.  Now I am sinking, and telling myself.... Good bye!


A Day in the Life of an Airplane, by Aaron (5th grade)

     I woke up. It was Sunday morning and the tarmac was boiling. Then the pilot in my brain sent a signal to the control tower: five o’clock, pilot 253 ready for battle. I didn’t hear the message back.

       Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I am an airplane, an IL-2 to be exact. That’s a Russian ground attack aircraft.

        Ah, now we’ve started taxiing. The tarmac feels hard under my wheels. I feel nervous. Today we are going into battle with the Germans. I wonder if I’m going to survive.

        Owee! My pilot is pulling on the thrust. It feels like someone is literally dragging me along the smooth pavement. I’ m gaining speed. 100,200…300 kilometers an hour! In the blink of an eye, I’m off the runway and gaining altitude. I see the fields below me, the blue and white above me. Oh, the view is great up here! I can feel the wind rushing past my face at 500 KM/H. This is so exciting!

          Then everything turns to chaos. The Germans come too fast. Their airplanes are smirking; their pilots have jaws set with determination. I see an enemy coming at me. I will the pilot to turn, but he won’t. “Come on, come on,” are all my thoughts.

      Then everything goes red and time slows. I spiral out of control! My back is full of lead. Then, a split second later, BAAM! I slam into the ground at a speed exceeding 1000 KM/H. My pilot, the lucky guy, managed to eject. But now I’M a burning wreck. Gah! I’m so mad at my pilot. And I thought I was gonna have a fun day....



         A Day In the Life of a Roasted Chicken, by Crystal (5th grade)

     Ahhhh.... this rotisserie’s heat is like being inside a sauna! A chef wearing a ridiculous hat walks over to turn the skewer I am on. Oh, that feels so marvelous! Another chef with a curly waxed moustache comes to take me off the skewer. Darn it! I am whisked onto a neon-yellow plate, and set to cool on the counter. Just then, a round of dirty dishes is brought back to the kitchen. I can clearly hear the leftovers talking in hushed voices: “He nearly got me! I thought that I was about to die!” Upon hearing this, all of the newly cooked dishes, including me, chorused: “Please tell us a scary story about those monsters with two legs and lots of hair!” Carrie the cornbread, a gentle food who had nearly been chomped on, finally relented to our cheering encouragements.


            “I was on a plate with some other foods, being carried out to the dining room. I knew that I was soon going to die. It’s terrible knowing that you are going to die in 15 minutes and you can’t do anything, you know. At the table, I saw that my life would be ended by a little girl in a pink tutu, holding a sparkly fake wand. Suddenly, I couldn’t stand the fact that I was going to be murdered ruthlessly by a 5 year old girl. I spoke quietly to her. ‘Please don’t kill me! I’m too young to die!’ I whimpered. Surprisingly, she understood my shaking words! She left me on the edge of the plate and didn’t touch me for the whole meal. But, her dad nearly stabbed me with a sharp metal thingy. He just missed my arm. See, here’s a part that he cut off! Anyways, I now owe my life to that little girl.” Carrie finished. We all cheered softly as she blushed, as modest as always. I can’t imagine how anyone could ever eat sweet, kind, Carrie!   


            Then, the moment came- a waiter walked in to carry me out to my doom. I was put next to some rosemary garlic fries, and taken out to the room filled with nothing but horror and murder. On the serving tray, I looked at my surroundings for one last time, then closed my eyes. When I finally opened them, I was on a table, next to a girl. Maybe I could do what Carrie had done! But the girl was eating the rosemary garlic fries, and clearly enjoying them. I could hear the muffled screams as each fry was stuffed into her mouth. How could these monstrous creatures be so pitiless? Didn’t they see and hear us foods suffering? I thought in despair. Oh, well. No time for these thoughts. I was about to be eaten alive! The girl had finished the fries and reached for me. Just as I was about to pass her mouth, I screeched the simple word: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The word did the trick. She stopped, mid-bite, and stared wonderingly at me. I shrank back in fright. She kept staring, but slowly lowered me down, back to the plate. There was hope!! But then, in that moment of fate, she shook her head, stabbed me with a fork, shoved me in her mouth, and ended my life with a single crunch.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Poetry!

I love teaching Poetry!  It really can be taught to any age.  Teaching kids to appreciate poetry and find out what makes it beautiful is one half of the lesson; the other half is teaching them that they too can be poets!

Here are some samples of poems my students wrote right around the first day of Spring.

My youngest students were taught the BIG word ONOMATOPOEIA!  It was so fun having them sound it out after writing it on the board.  Then we discussed that ONOMATOPOEIA is when a word sounds like it's meaning.  We talked about how spring time is full of onomatopoetic words, and we gave examples.  The students then had to write a poem fill-in-the-blank style, using onomatopoeia whenever they could or wanted to.

Here is Jessica's (1st grade.)  I absolutely love it!

Spring is when.....
Rain pitter-patters
Birds peck the tree
Lambs jump
Chicks peep
The wind blows and smells fresh
Flowers bloom
Leaves drink the rain
And the Easter bunny hops!

Here is Alec's (3rd grade).  Notice all of his onomatopoeia!

Spring is when....
Rain drip drops
Birds peep
Lambs clip clop
Chicks chirp and peck
The wind swooshes
Flowers swish
Leaves rustle
and the Easter bunny hides eggs!

Some of my younger class members chose to use the Fill-in-the-blank format as a brainstorm for their own original poems.   Aren't these wonderful?

Spring is.... by Josh (3rd grade)
Sprouting flowers
Fluttering leaves
Chicks peeping and tweeting
Rain pitter patters
The Easter Bunny hides his eggs and boings his way through the world.
Spring is so much fun!

Spring is when... by Adeline (2nd grade)
Rain pitter patters on the roof,
Newborn birds chip in their nest,
Lambs leap in the grass meadows,
Chicks squeak beside their mother,
The wind whistles amongst the tree tops,
Flowers dance with the grass,
Leaves appear a pretty light green,
and the Easter Bunny boings while delivering Easter eggs with treats.
Let's sing a song of Spring!

My older students were taught my "Favorite Five"-- five poetic tools that a poet can use to create imagery in a poem, and make poetry sound great!
end-line rhyme: rhyme at the end of a line
internal-line rhyme: rhyme in the middle of a line
repetition: a word that is repeated (for effect and emphasis)
alliteration: two or more words that start with the same sound
onomatopoeia: words that sound like their meaning

After reading a sample which contained all five, the students were encouraged to use as many tools as they could when writing their own poem.

I LOVE Sulwen's (5th grade).  She used all five tools!  Enjoy!

READING
Reading is a way to go away,
It isn't a time to laugh and play,
Swish!  Swish!  Swish! go the pages as you flip.
Into the book you silently slip.

Reading is a journey,
You can travel to faraway lands.
You can be surrounded by knights and dragons,
Or by a blaring band.

Reading is a creative way,
To inspire yourself to write away,
Whether it's a poem, novel, or a picture book,
Into a book you should look!

This is beautiful, by Eliza (4th grade)

HAWAII
As I go swimming across the waves,
With my cousin I cherish the days.
Stepping across the rocks with care,
I am happy I am there.
The seagulls that fly, up in the sky,
Make me happy that I am there.
Even when I got water in my eye,
I am happy that I am there.
Splish!  Splash! listen to my feet, 
As I splash in the shallow beach.

Hear me sigh as I leave the beach,
I am sad I am leaving there.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Paragraph Game

My older students understand that a paragraph can be about only one topic.  However, the challenge to writing engaging, interesting paragraphs is to have a variety of sentence patterns and starters.  "The Snowflake" sentence-building activity taught the students various ways to create a sentence.   Now my challenge as a teacher was to present a lesson on paragraph writing that was entertaining and challenging.

"The Paragraph Game" was an idea I thought up at one of those moments when I should have been trying to go to sleep, but was instead planning ahead for workshops.  I must say, I am glad I didn't fall asleep early!

Here's how it goes (and I recommend this only for students in grades 3 and up):

1. Students are given a list of 10 or so sentence writing cues.  These may include:
- Start a sentence with a "when" phrase
- Start a sentence with a "where" phrase
- Start a sentence with "Because"
- Include an interesting verb
- Put an adverb in your sentence
- Write a quote sentence
And more!

2. Students pair or group up based on their topic choices/interests.

3. Each group is given a bag filled with papers numbered 1-10.

4. Each person takes turn drawing a number.  The number they draw corresponds to a sentence style or pattern, and the group has to come up with a way to write that type of sentence in their paragraph.

5. One "pass" is allowed, if the pattern simply won't work or sound right.

6. Students know they are done when they have a 4-8 sentence paragraph, and the last number they draw just leads nicely to a conclusion.

5th graders Annika, Ellery, and Michelle selected the topic "Favorite Vacation Spot."  They chose to do a story-style paragraph where they describe a day in Disneyland.  I love this!

     Annika, Ellery, and I took a vacation to Disneyland.  Dizzily we got off the twirling Teacups.  We rushed off to get to the next ride, which was Splash Mountain.  When we got there, the speaker exclaimed, "Prepare to get wet!"  Because Ellery didn't want to get wet, she whined the entire time.  Finally Ellery calmed down when Annika and I told her we would buy her cotton candy after the ride.  "Splash Mountain" was thrilling and we got soaking wet.  Quickly we hustled to "Haunted Mansion."  At the end of the day, we all went home with huge smiles on our faces.

I can't even begin to describe the teamwork these three girls used to write this super paragraph.  They were open to advice and truly worked as a unit to write this.  I am proud of them! It can be harder to work with two other people, especially with the potential of everyone having different ideas. 

Call me biased, but I absolutely loved Alex's (5th grade) and Katie's (3rd grade) paragraph.  See if you can tell why!

     "Awesome Authors and Artists" provides many fun creative writing projects with amazing art work to go with it.  Excitedly, students work together to create interesting paragraphs in the Paragraph Game.  "'Awesome Authors and Artists' is a wonderful class where kids can learn a lot and still have fun!" exclaimed 3rd graders Mira and Anja.  Because a few people left out details in the description of their snowman, there were a few wacky-looking snowman drawings in the "Snowman Draw Game."  The great assignments and excellent teacher make "Awesome Authors and Artists" an amazing class!

Okay, maybe it's obvious why I chose this paragraph to blog.  Even Alex realized it would be an excellent advertisement, and convinced me I should blog it for that reason alone.  But that's not the only reason I chose it!  Notice the wonderful adverb starting sentence two; the fabulous adjectives used; the appropriate use of a quotation sentence; the fantastic conclusion.  This is a very well-written paragraph, especially considering the fact they were challenging themselves with different sentence styles and rules the entire time!

My classrooms were abuzz with teamwork and collaboration the day we did this game.  I will definitely be making this a permanent assignment in my curriculum!