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08-09 Literacy Units


Senior Member

You will not be embarrassed b/c those plans are nice! I particularly liked how you tied November and December into one unit. We always run low on time in Dec. with all the interuptions-- that's why I put poetry there, but I really like your way of solving it.

Hope you're having a good day at school. ;) How's your class?


Senior Member

Cesar Chavez is a mentor that my kids always love. I agree Bookmuncher that I don't have much schema for a lot of the mentors either. This will be a way for me to learn also. I love the Walt Disney idea, I never would have thought of that. I also love Ghandi.

All of the plans posted look great. I know what I'm doing this weekend.LOL


Senior Member

Thanks! And thanks again for the inspiration to get started!

The Character County Post Office is a school-wide activity...Each classroom gets an "address" (Truth Trail, Respect Road, etc.) and then the kids can write letters to friends in other classes, other teachers, brothers and sisters, etc. and send the letters through the mail. It's great because it teachers them about letter format, addressing envelopes/return addresses, etc...and then the really neat part is that kids are the "postal workers" and run the whole thing...all the mail goes to the post office and is stamped that it was mailed or returned to sender if its addressed incorrectly, then its delivered every day after lunch...the kids are so excited to get mail, and I think its fun because it because I get letters from kids from the previous year (as well as a whole bunch of letters from the kids in my current class, as soon as they figure out they can address letters to our classroom :p )


Senior Member

I think your plans look great! (they actually look a lot like what I've started)

I am definitely going to wait until November to do decoding. One thing I realized, I forgot was reading partnerships. I really want to work on that this year and developing meaningful conversations between them. That will be a big focus in October. I think you just posted a blog about this last week???? (All these great blogs now I get them a little mixed up).

BookMuncher, It is amazing how you are able to inspire people! :)


Senior Member

cathybev... cesar chavez-- great great idea! I'm going to read up on that one a little! Check out my next blog-- it's on integrating reading and writing.

miss.anderson-- thanks for sharing about your school's adorable character post office! Our school does the 6 pillars (character counts) ... it sounds like we might do the same as you? I love that idea! I'm going to share it and see what others say!

kaycee-- partnerships is a big deal, i agree. Yeah- my last blog was about conversation and I think that you could infer from it that you can do a lot of your deep partner work during the interactive read aloud. You can use that time both to teach into some actual reading strategies-- but really more important is the conversation skills that are nutured in that setting and will soon transfer to many other settings.


Senior Member
Life and Learning Mentor

Bookmuncher- I was wondering if you would share a little bit more about what you envision doing related to the L&L mentor. You mentioned some student research? Would you mind sharing a little bit more of your thinking about this. I'm loving the idea!! I too would probably be learning along with my class- which makes it even more fun!


Senior Member
Cynthia Rylant

I just KNEW I would be embarrassed when I reread my thoughts from last night. It seems like I was on a Cynthia Rylant fix--I had her as my mentor author for about 5 months! :D (I knew I was tired.) I've changed a few things but at least I've got a start. August is pretty fixed in my mind so that will get me focused.

BookMuncher, I've got more kids than I've ever had in first grade--22 and we still have registration tomorrow. The kids/parents come on Sunday for a Meet and Greet with a half day on Monday. I'll know more about my numbers but I'm in shock.

<!--lovestruck-->As a positive, I know several of the children through siblings that I've had in the past few years. I think I will have a great class!

<!--schoolhouse-->I am beginning to think the few days of staff development before the actual first day is more stressful than any other time of the year. It is the feeling that I've never done this before, I wonder what I should be doing to get ready for the first day, and ALL the planning for classroom, paperwork, etc. that has to be done.

One thing that helps me also, BookMuncher, is to plan something in the classroom that is visible and will require me to follow through (as you stated in your blog). I think the Timeline helped me in that manner last year. Because it was there and I had started it, I did follow through.


Senior Member

1stgradenew-- I don't really know much further than that... I have this time during the day where no new instruction is delivered that I can do enrichment and remediation. I thought that allowing partnerships to study more about the mentor or about another mentor that they choose and then synthesize the info. for the rest of us might be another way to learn more about the person. I don't know though... I guess a lot depends on if they like this or not!

liketeaching-- eek! sounds like the class of 08-09 will be a big one! Take some deep breaths, because before you know it- you'll be comfortably into your school year and the rest of us will be whining!


Senior Member

<!--schoolbus--> For those of you who wanted to know more about integrating reading and writing, I wrote my next blog for you. I realized that I never really went into detail for you on exactly how I made those decisions. We can have further discussions about integration on that blog, if you want. <!--schoolbus-->


Senior Member
mentor idea:

How about Jane Goodall? She's a pretty amazing person, and I know that there are a whole lot of educational resources available through her foundation.

Also, Albert Einstein is an interesting example of someone who didn't fit the mold of what a "smart person" should be (didn't do well in school, etc).


Senior Member

I love the idea of mentors and thought of a few:

Claude Monet He spent lots of time painting the same subjects at different times of day, in different seasons and from slightly differnt points of view.... his Waterlilies paintings, Notre Dame Catherdral, Haystacks to name a few. I think you could use him to show children how to slow down and really look at things, to examine, to spend time and to revisit as in reading literature or in their own writing. A contemporary artist who does the same thing is Wolf Kahn. They are my 2 favorite artists! You can find books and calendars about both.

George Washington There are good reasons why he became our first president. He was incredibly brave in battle during the Revolutionary War and showed remarkable persistence and determination when the war was very bleak for the colonies . I read 1776 this summer and was impressed with his perseverance.


Senior Member
A Mentor Name

I don't know if you want to stay away from authors for this, Bookmuncher, but I always use Patricia Pollaco as a source of information for my children.


Senior Member

Bookmunchers and Everyone!
I had a brainstorm today... why not check out what local art museums/exhibits are going to be in your area?? As I contemplated the list of mentor names, I saw today on my local station what there is going to be a Georgia O'Keefe art exhibit at a local musuem. I thought what a great opportunity to study her and possibly have a field trip OR call the art museuem to see if anyone would travel to us to talk/show some of her stuff...:)


Senior Member

Thanks for all these names! It really helps a lot! I have a really long list now and a lot of choosing to do... I'm thinking I'll keep them all on the list and see what my class is like as I go. It always helps to have back ups!!

PS- random-- i just bought a Jane Goodall book the other day... I hadn't even though of her till I saw a biography!! What a great life AND learning mentor!


Senior Member
more on l&l mentors

Even though I teach sixth grade I always peruse your blog. I always and I do mean always find things I can use in my own little way with my gawky giants. (I do love them so!) This time I found your l&l mentors. I'd like to use them to show my kids that people make choices and that they make choices too each and everyday. I'm thinking of modeling it for them and then having them research their own l&l mentor. I want them to find one that fits for them and explain why. I'd like them to do showcase their research and apply it to their lives. Thanks for another great idea...it's so funny that what works for your little guys works for gawky giants of 11 too!


New Member
Reader's and Writer's workshop

I am a 1st grade teacher anxious to incorporate reader's and writer's workshop into my teaching. What books would you recommend?


Senior Member

Hi-- welcome to PT! I currently teach 2nd, but part of the blog is from when I taught first. For the first grade entries, scroll the whole way back until you see the entries in century gothic font.

I don't know what books you've already read, but some of the most basic and most foundational would be:

Reading with Meaning, Debbie Miller
Growing Readers, Kathy Collins
The Art of Teaching Reading, Lucy Calkins
Reading Essentials, Regie Routman
Writing Essentials, Regie Routman


Junior Member
Book Muncher, miss Anderson

I feel like Lily as she admires Mr. Slinger...."Wow!"

Just to let you know about myself; I am new to this board and have been sitting on the sideline for the last two months. During the past few years I have been reading Collins, Miller, Calkins, Allington and have just browsed several chapters of Keene's "To Understand" After 11 years of teaching, I realize how much more I need to grow as a teacher of reading and writing.

I just finished a week at Columbia's Writing Institute and am currently resting at my sister's house in New Jersey. On Monday I return for the Reading Institute. Already my head is exploding with ideas.

Do either of you use Collin's book or Miller's ideas in designing lessons for "Building Good Habits" when designing the September lessons? I left most of my professional literature at home in California so I have no way of referring to them. Last year I used The Sister's "Daily Five" to begin my independent reading time and the children experienced success the first month. I'm not sure how D5 marries with Miller & Collins though.


Senior Member

Hi! WElcome to PT! I don't know much about Daily 5, so I don't know how it marries. Most of my September plans, however, are closely aligned to Collins. I like a lot of what she does in terms of not just starting the routines but thinking about ourselves as readers and writers.


Senior Member
Reading Unit

I just finished typing up a rough draft of JUST my reading plans for the year. It took hours, even though it doesn't look like too much! My next plan is to connect writing to this and post that when I'm finished, in addition to author studies and key read alouds. I'd love to hear what people think and if they feel I should modify anything. If you are not able to read the font, just let me know and I can change it.
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Senior Member
It's Official

I am now freaking out.

I'm an eleventh year teacher (although it's only my second with 1 and 2)and so much of what's been posted here is foreign.

I'm trying to take inspiration from all of you and not panic, but so far,I'm not doing too well.

Where do I start?


Senior Member

I'm sure if you're an 11th year teacher you have a lot of things in place that are foreign to me, so you have a head start there. I guess where you starts depends on where you are now!


Senior Member
December goals

BookMuncher, I looked at your literacy goals for December. Could you elaborate a bit on your self portait anthology idea? I'm thinking this would be a wonderful gift and priceless!