Friday, May 5, 2023

The Power of the Quick Write

Writing and teaching writing can be intimidating.  As any writer/teacher will tell you, it's hard work, and it takes time.  Quick Writes are a low-stakes, nimble instructional strategy that can help students learn to write and write to learn.  Moreover, Quick Writes can be used any time during a lesson.  I love them!  

To do a Quick Write, students are invited to write for three to ten minutes off a found idea, a borrowed line from a text, or responding to a stimulus - such as a painting, an image, or a piece of music.  The idea of a Quick Write is that it sparks a reaction in the mind of the writer. This process helps scholars generate ideas and get words on paper, without the pressure of it having to be perfect.  

If that's not enough to sway taking pen to paper, here are Seven Benefits of adding Quick Writes to your instructional repertoire:


Seven Benefits of Quick Writes 

1) Quick Writes build student confidence.

2) Quick Writes increase engagement and decreases lesson anxiety. 

3) Quick Writes improve student stamina and fluency in writing.

4) Quick Writes strengthen relationships in class community. 

5) Quick Writes develop the writer’s voice. 

6) Quick Writes foster a habit of writing: engages critical thinking, promotes reflection, amplifies creativity.

7)    Quick Writes synthesize content. 


One of the greatest gifts we can give our students is to instill in them the love and confidence of writing regularly. Quick Writes not only support our reluctant writers "who have nothing to write about," but the fluent writers who may be in need of fresh perspectives, new ideas, and exposure to different stimuli. Through daily writing experiences like Quick Writes, rising authors can find their voice while synthesizing content.  The stakes are low, but the rewards are extraordinarily high!



For more Quick Write Prompts and Inspo, 

Click HERE

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

How Do I Love Thee, April? Let Me Count the Ways!

Hey Lit Lovers!

Just a reminder that April is Poetry Month and National Shakespeare Day is on April 23rd - the anniversary of both William Shakespeare's birth and death! 

Celebrate verse and the Bard with this glorious Poetry Jumbo Bundle and Sonnet Writing Bundle for super fun and engaging reading/writing activities. (Students will love the Shakespeare Sonnet Insult Activity)!



You can also share these fascinating facts on Shakespeare: 

1) Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was three months pregnant at the time.

2) Shakespeare’s parents were probably illiterate, and his children almost certainly were.

3) Shakespeare’s epitaph wards off would-be grave robbers with a curse.

4) Some people think Shakespeare was a fraud as there is a conspiracy that he didn't write his plays. 

5) Shakespeare had seven siblings. 

6) Shakespeare wore a gold hoop earring.

7) Shakespeare was a Catholic. 

8) Females were not allowed to perform on stage during Shakespeare's time. 

9) Shakespeare introduced 3,000 words to the English language. 

10) Shakespeare was an actor as well a writer. In fact, he played the Ghost in ‘Hamlet.'

With Literacy Love,

Kimberly 


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Celebrate National D.E.A.R. Day

 D.E.A.R. Day, also known as Drop Everything and Read Day, is an annual celebration that takes place on April 12th. As the name suggests, this holiday is intended for everyone to dedicate a small or significant period during the day to reading. 




National D.E.A.R Day is also the birthday of the beloved author Beverly Cleary who created one of my all-time favorite childhood characters – Ramona Quimby.  On National D.E.A.R. Day, schools are encouraged to read together while promoting books as an integral part of daily life.

So how will you be celebrating D.E.A.R. Day?  Fun activities to do with family, friends, or an impassioned book club include making bookmarks, reading favorite passages, and acting out scenes.  Character charades, anyone?  While April 12th is official D.E.A.R. day, every day is a great day to Drop Everything and Read!  So take a literary timeout break today and get your read on!

Amazing Reading Facts:

1) Reading for six minutes a day reduces stress by 68%.   

2) According to many studies, regular reading is correlated with a longer lifespan.

3) Reading fiction can make you a better decision-maker.

4) The three books that have been read the most are: The Bible, Quotations From Chairman Mao Tes-Tung, and Harry Potter.

5) 'Bibliosma' is the word for loving the way books smell!

6) Adults who read for only 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to have greater life satisfaction.

7) 19% of readers say reading helps them feel less lonely.


Need some D.E.A.R. Classroom Goodies?  
Click HERE

Monday, April 10, 2023

April Literacy Loot

Hey Lit Lovers ~

April showers bring May flowers and testing season! Here are a few instructional goodies to leverage literacy in your classroom this busy time of year....  

Don't stress about the test! Check out my Grammar Bundle and Ultimate ELA Test Prep Bundle for instructional PowerPoints, strategies, task cards, and easy-to-score assessments just in time for Testing Season.  

April is also Poetry Month! Celebrate verse and balanced literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening) with the glorious Poetry Jumbo Bundle and Sonnet Writing Bundle for super fun and engaging reading/writing activities. (Students will love the Shakespeare Sonnet Insult Activity!). 

If you want to combine poetry and test prep, check out the TPCASTT Poetry Jumbo Bundlefor thirty engaging, high leverage strategy, no-prep lessons! 

Are your students showing Spring Fever and everything that entails? Reestablish your class management routines with the Class Management Jumbo Bundle and Morning Meeting Year Long Jumbo Bundle.  

I've created a Writing Activity Jumbo Bundle for narrative, descriptive, informational/explanatory, argumentative, and response to literature no-prep writing packets.     

Is one of your professional goals to become a teacher-leader in your building?  Impress your adminstrators and colleagues with the Teacher Leader Meeting PowerPoint Bundle that will showcase your leadership skills in no time!  

And finally (because it's that time of year)...I made (27) Teach and Test Bundles for when you need to teach and check for understanding on a high yield literary skill - STAT!

April is a busy month.  Be sure to take some time out and practice self-care.  Read, walk outside, and write a poem.  

With literacy love, 

Kimberly =)



Thursday, April 6, 2023

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world.

Why should we devote an entire month to honor words written in verse?  Because poetry is the language of the soul.  When life drowns us with its dark moments, poetry throws us a raft – a verbal sanctuary of healing and beauty - especially during this unprecedented time of fear and uncertainty.

So I urge you to release your inner poet and succumb to the sensory language, rhythm, flavor, call and response of poetry.  Feel the human spirit and universality of life's shared stories in a stanza.  Read or write a poem this month.  Restore your spirit.  Restore your soul.


April Challenge:  Write a Cinquain

A cinquain is five line poem that follows this lyrical pattern:

1) a word for the title

2) two adjectives

3) three verbs

4) a phrase

5) the title again – or synonym


Examples:


Chocolate

Dark or milk

Smooth, silky, sweet

Best thing ever

Yum! 



Eyes

Large, mysterious

Watching, rolling, blinking

Tell more than words

Soul-windows



Cinquain

Short, sweet

Five, simple steps

Maybe not so easy…

Voila!




Students need a brain break?  Try a Poem Pause!   

By projecting a short poem, such as "Dreams" by Langston Hughes, students can have a silent reflection period where they read and ponder the poem.  After five minutes, students can share their noticings and wonderings - if they choose.  


Poem Pauses are "Power Brain Breaks."  They build community, reenergize the room, and allow the students to share moments of the soul through verse. 

Next time your students need a Brain Break, do a Poem Pause instead.  Along with April being Poetry Month, you may just inspire a poet or two!    


For more Poem Pause Inspo, click HERE 
and for Poetry Instructional Goodies, click HERE 



Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Why Curse Cursive? And the Dangers of Not Teaching It!

Back in the day, cursive writing was a third-grade rite of passage.  You sat down with the dotted lined handwriting paper and eagerly practiced each letter and loop in hopes of earning a sticker, maybe even a coveted "puffy" one.  Eventually you added your own flowery flair to be used liberally when writing notes to friends as you passed in the hall or surreptitiously in class (another rite of passage)!  Yet the art of cursive writing - once associated with good character and virtue - has been rudely discarded in favor of keyboarding and bell-to-bell instruction on more “relevant subjects.”  


So, should cursive writing make a comeback and be taught in school?  Absolutely yes!  Although the world is becoming more technology dependent, there are many reasons why we should still teach students cursive writing.  First and foremost, learning cursive writing increases literacy! 


Research shows cursive refines writing aptitude as it gives students a clearer understanding of the alphabet and how letters are formed.  Learning cursive is good for children’s fine motor skills and helps students retain more information and generate more ideas.  Moreover, studies show that kids who learn cursive actually score better on reading and spelling tests, perhaps because the linked-up letters force writers to think of words as wholes instead of parts.


To that end, the College Board found that students writing the essay portion of the SAT scored higher than their printing peers due to more efficient writing speed, allowing students to allocate more cognitive space to content than the physical act of writing.  Makes sense as writing cursive engages both hemispheres of the brain, including areas associated with thinking, language, and memory.  Kids who write in cursive don’t just form words more easily; they also write superior sentences as cursive writers craft stronger phrases and more complex sentences.

 

Perhaps most astoundingly, learning cursive benefits students with disabilities, specifically dyslexia.  A student with dyslexia can have a very difficult time discerning between printed letters, such as b, d, p, and q.  Cursive letters give dyslexic students an opportunity to access text as they reduce letter reversals.  Isn’t this an example educational equity in its purest form?


If that’s not enough evidence to embrace the art of loopy letters, teaching cursive allows kids to sign their names on future documents which prevents forgery and communicate authentically with older generations, such as grandparents.  Did you know many historical documents were handwritten in cursive, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Declaration of Independence, manumissions of enslaved persons, census forms, letters from Civil War soldiers, the original manuscript of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and minutes from the meetings of the National Organization of Women, just to name a few? 


So, let’s keep cursive writing part of the curriculum and maintain its inherent value in an effort to promote literacy for all.  Because not only is writing in cursive a lost art, it’s a practical life skill that can literally change one’s future.