Mrs. Harris' Blog

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Multigenre writing April 5, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Reading Assignments — samanthaharrisblog @ 11:42 pm

While reading this week, I was amazed at all of the different genres I had never thought of before.  I know that eductators are always told to expose students to a multitude of texts; however, I don’t feel that many of us truly step outside of the box.  I never thought about an obituary or post card as being a type of genre.  I think giving students exposure to these examples would prepare them for real world situations.

From the Writing Without Boundaries article, I love the idea of students beginning with a persuasive peice and then moving into different genres based on the perspective of the person they studied. Very neat idea!


More memoirs… March 28, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Reading Assignments — samanthaharrisblog @ 7:32 pm

I think the idea of doing memoirs w/students has a lot of neat possibilities.  I know that my students will love it because 2nd graders embrace anything that is different and taps into their creativity.  I also think they would be successful because it is just a “snippet.”  In the past, my team has done autobiography units where we studied different autobiographies and then at the end had students write their own.  Many of my students hated this because they would say “I haven’t done anything…. I was born, I went to school, and now I’m here.” After a few years of this, we stopped requiring students to write their own.  I think a memoir would be completely different for them.  They all have those special memories & moments that are dear to them.  Every Monday they come in and I can’t get them to be stop talking about them.  It would be easy to turn these conversations into great writing.  After a lot of modeling, marinating in the literature, and enthusiasm…. I think my students would get a lot out of memoirs. I am definately going to try!


Memoirs March 7, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Reading Assignments — samanthaharrisblog @ 3:42 pm

I enjoyed the article about memoirs.  I think it is important to point out that the author did not just decide on a whim to do a year long study on memoirs and then the next day introduce it to her students.  Instead, she spent a whole summer marinating herself in the genre.  I love how she finally introduced memoirs to her students with a scavenger type activity.  I know I am guilty of starting a new unit with my students by just telling them “This is what we are going to learn….” followed by too many minutes of me talking.  I think students need the opportunity to explore new learning independently.  I admire her for digging so deep into memoirs.  This is a great example of not just touching on the surface with students.  I was impressed with how in-depth they got with memoirs.  For example, discussing embellishment in writing while still keeping integrity.  Obviously, the way she approached memoirs worked because even her most reluctant writers were successful.  I am excited to start reading memoirs with my 2nd graders.  I know they will love My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.


My Poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthaharrisblog @ 2:08 pm
I enjoyed writing my own poetry.  I think the experience of composing my own poems will allow me to more authentically help my students embrace poetry.
Serenity after a long, busy year       
Unpredictable days filled with exciting adventures and
Moments of reflection of the past 180 school days
Majestic mountains to be hiked and
Enticing beaches calling me to the shore
Rejuvination to prepare me for another year

The text says: I sat on the shore and you came tumbling, roaring, rushing right up to me. You left me with a beautiful gift, pink shells on the sand at my feet. Then all at once, you were gone. You left me quickly and leaped back out to sea.

A Place to Call Home
I am quick and agile
I am one of 900 species
I have a body flat like a pancake
I have antennae long like a fishing rod
I own strong, powerful legs that allow me to jump with a spring
I am quick and agile

I prefer the dark night over the bright day
I worry that frogs or lizards will catch sight of me
I lay my eggs in the crisp  fall and wait until the warm spring to hatch them
I wonder why people confuse me with the grasshopper
I rub my legs together to make a beautiful chirping sound
I am quick and agile

I search for delicious plants to eat
I understand that I am small but important
I want people to know I am different from the grasshopper
I hope I will be remembered for my beautiful music
I long to find a nice rock to dwell under
I am quick and agile

Journal Invitation February 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthaharrisblog @ 12:25 am

My first idea for my journal invitation was to create a brochure type theme: “travel with me into writing.”  Immediately after beginning the brochure, I realized that too much text at once would overwhelm my second graders.  A few days later, I was looking  at the stack of leftover tissue boxes from Valentine’s and got a new idea!

I decided to use tissue boxes so that my students could pull out the information in small pieces.  I thought this would add to the excitement as well! I designed everything in a word document so that I could easily print 25 copies.  My assistant and I glued the pieces to the 25 boxes in only 20 minutes!

 I typed up the following information, printed it, and cut it into strips to place in each box.

What is a writer’s notebook?

A place where you can write about ANYTHING you want. 🙂  
You are the author and you decide what goes in your notebook.  Isn’t that fun?

Why should I keep a notebook?

Your notebook is a place for you to keep memories, ideas, secrets, or anything else you decide.  Notebooks are fun!  Mrs. Harris even has one. 

 What do I do first?

Mrs. Harris will show you how she got started with her notebook later today.  If you want to start now, you can decorate the front of your notebook in anyway you want.  (Yes, you can use markers, colored pencils, even glitter!) 

 What else can I do with my notebook?

You could make a list of all the things you like and all the things you dislike. Remember….  YOU get to decide what goes in your notebook. Most importantly, have fun!


Poetry cont… February 22, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Reading Assignments — samanthaharrisblog @ 1:29 am

I LOVED I Am the Mummy Heb-Nefert & Atlantic.  Amazingly, I had never read either of these books.  The words in both were so beautiful to me.  I think it is so neat to write from a different perspective than our own.  I think my students would really enjoy this kind of writing.

Kucan’s article was very informative.   I am amazed at all of the types of poetry I was never exposed to as a student.   I think as teachers we struggle with creative ways to teach characterization, setting, plot, etc.  I think I poems would be a great way to enhance these parts of literature.  I love her idea of having students create I poems before reading to activate prior knowledge. I can’t wait to try these in my classroom!


Class 4- Love that Poetry February 14, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Reading Assignments — samanthaharrisblog @ 9:18 pm

Chapter 9 in Elliot got me exicted about gathering language with my students.  Honestly, this is one area of writing I had never thought about.  I think she made some great points.  She discussed the importance of read alouds for student of all ages.  I am a huge believer of read alouds.  In fact, reading aloud to my kids is one of my favorite parts of the day.  I read to them after lunch with the lights dimmed.  It calms them down and lets them regain focus after a fun lunch.  It is amazing to see them get engrossed in a good book. Many days they beg me to read more! What more could a teacher want?  One thing I need to work on is being more mindful about books that I choose to read.  Often times, I pick books that I love or I let them choose books that they love.  I think it is important for me to make sure I am choosing books with different types of language so they can be exposed to different forms of text.

I love the idea of having students keep a section in the back of their notebook with words they love.  I also like the idea of having students “play with words.” I think just telling them they were going to play with words would excite my 2nd graders.  The smooth sounding words, bumpy words, hard sounding words…. such a cool idea!

The writing workshop ideas were interesting. For some reason, I cannot remember ever creating a found or concrete poem during school.  I do remember creating acrostic and haikus.  I LOVED reading Flicker Flash.  I cannot wait to share this book with my 2nd graders and let them create concrete poems. African Acrostics is a beautiful book! I know my students would love it.

I enjoyed reading the manuscript.  I think creating acrostic poems will definately help alleviate the stress of poetry for students.  I can relate to students writing poems that make no sense just to make them rhyme.  I was one of those students in elementary school!  The manuscript made a good point about the importance of modeling poetry.  I think teachers do a good job of exposing students to poetry but then just saying “ok go write one.”  I agree that students need to see their teachers write poetry (but that does take the teacher out of his/her comfort zone).  The real life classroom examples were very helpful to me in integrating content area.  I think this is so important because as teachers we always feel that we can never fit everything in.