Weekly Video Updates

Make Cycles

Our course is organized by two week “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. We will read, discuss, and write based on the mentor texts we’re reading. You can find the weekly tasks for each cycle in the drop down menu above.

Google+ Community

We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We will upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and “makes” here. Peter Kittle’s class will be joining us too.

Make Cycle 3 Featured Bloggers: Stacie, MacKenna, Marissa, and Cori

Make Cycle 3 Featured Bloggers: Stacie, MacKenna, Marissa, and Cori

picture of StacieAs a group, we totally kicked it up a few notches with Make 3. We are really getting into the groove, and hitting our stride. This Make we worked on expository writings, and learned more of the process for Writing Workshops.

Chapter 2 from About the Authors gave a detailed, almost step-by-step on how to run your writing workshops. Katie Wood Ray explained that keeping the schedule uninterrupted until the routine is down is vital in the beginning. Centers are usually a huge part of Kinder and 1st grade, but centers don’t work for this type of workshop. Writing takes thought and planning, and trying to do that in 5-15 minute increments is stifling to the process. It doesn’t allow for the “rigorous teaching” that is part of their writing workshop. The author says they also miss out on the “support you feel when surrounded by a whole bunch of others who are learning to do the same thing you’re learning to do.” This encouraged me as I try to write with my kids when we have a writing lesson. They know how much I don’t love the process, so I think it makes us all work together knowing I am willing to try. The authors stressed that a “really, really important” thing in helping them to write is to show them many, many types of other writings that other kids have done. It is supposed to give them the idea that “hey, I think I could do something like that.”  Showing the students so many types of works also inspires them to realize how many stories they have inside of them; they are full of writing ideas. They just need a way to realize it. I think this is the part that matters as a future teacher. It’s teaching these kids that have something to say, and we can help them reach in and find a way to say them.

Jessica Medrano summed up chapter 3 be saying,

“Chapter Three answered my question, how will I teach students the written language? By reading aloud, songs and games, demonstrations, and writing to support other work. These systems will become daily routines that we as future teachers will become comfortable teaching.”

Then, we moved onto our Mentor Texts. We read a cute little book about a dragonfly. The story was intriguing for kids, but it also gave lots of facts about the development of the dragonfly. Our second text was a rather macabre story with 26 ways a child could die, all in a witty A-Z style.

Now for the fun part, our expository texts…

book cover

Daisy Ronquillo wrote a lovely story about flowers from A-Z

She included great descriptions with beautiful photos. I enjoyed reading the book, and learning a bit more about flowers.

Shannon Lane added interesting educational tidbits to her Tardy Turtle book.

“The shell of a turtle is made up of 60 different bones all connected.” “Many, but not all, species of turtle can hide their head in their shell.”

I think these types of writing are wonderful for kids. A fun story, but with some education mixed in. People love to walk away with a quick and memorable fact.

Book titled 'Tardy Turtle Finds a Friend'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/43741326/59ba29e8a95e3

And lastly, my absolute favorite, How to Strive…The Chico State version by Alexis Guerra. This quick read really did a great job of summarizing all things awesome about Chico State. I think it gives a great insight into people who may not know Chico, it gives locals something to bond over, and for someone like me (someone who left Chico 4 years ago, and misses it dearly) it gives them some great memories to ponder.

Author Bio: Stacie Beadel is a married, home schooling mom to 4. She will graduate in December, and head on to the Credential Program at National University. She hopes to one day work as an Educational Specialist at Inspire Charter School in Southern California.


picture of MarissaI loved chapter 2 from About the Authors because it was all about how to start children with the writing workshop. It brought a lot of things that I was wondering about to light. Katie Wood Ray went step-by-step into how to get children excited about writing and how it all worked. One thing that did puzzle me was I was wondering how she picked which kids to share during the share time. The kids were not allowed to talk to her during this time unless they were in conferences. One thing that I found very interesting was how she started off them by letting them choose what type of book they wanted to write. One of the books she said did not even have a space for words. I guess she was just hoping that they would slowly move up to writing sentences. This just really interested me because I would think that the whole point of this time was to write down a story. I guess with little kids they learn to draw a story first then are able to put words to it.  This matters as a future teacher because it is a different perspective one writing. With just drawing picture they are not learning writing skills, but in the end they are learning how to formulate a story so that way later they can actually write their stories with both pictures and words.

In chapter 3, the first part that I found important for future teaching is on page 38 where Wood Ray talked about the boy who thought that sea anemone was spelled with a k because they went over how to sound out words for spelling. It was also great that she did not correct the child. I think that as a teacher I am going to have a hard time not correcting every little spelling error but I need to remember that it is the content of the writing not that they spelled everything right. The child logic behind it to was great because he used the skills that he learned in class and actually applied them to his work. I also really enjoy how this chapter is all about how writing is in almost everything that we do in school. Another part that is interesting is the point about sings with the kids on page 46. I use to love songs as a kid in school because it made it a lot easier to remember things. I really want to be able to do this as a teacher because now a days there is so much more out there that way almost every lesson can have a song with it to remember.

We also worked with mentor texts again this week to support our own ideas for expository writing. All these texts are informational texts about a certain subject. In the Dragonfly book it was all information to know about dragonflies and in the end it related the book back to the child reading the book. In “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” it was all about learning your ABC’s but in a different way. Some features that I noticed was that in both the dragonfly book and “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” they used rhyming to help move the book along. Unlike with the “Education Around the World” and “Writing,” these two were just informational posters that laid out what was happening. We could use these texts as models for our writing because this week we made an informational book about a subject. These are prime examples of what we could do and how to lay them out. Just like with the Dragonflies book, I could make an informational book about an animal or something and use the text as a template for my writing. The authors of these texts had to do research on their topics. In “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” there may have not been much research done on it but the author probably had to use a thesaurus for some of the words to figured out what rhymed with them. All they other texts had to have a lot of research done as to find the facts about their subjects. 

Here are some of my favorite makes from this week from my peers:

Kristine Cowan’s book “Are You an Elephant?” was great. It was just like the mentor text “Are You a Dragonfly?” She created this book for little kids that was all informational about an Elephant but was still exciting to read. I really liked her story because it wasn’t all about an elephant, she related it back to the child that would be reading the book.

Alice Mylod-Vargas made a book on the “ABC’s of Fall.” This book was very cute because it was a different way to learn your ABC’s, while also creating a colorful book that shows all the great things about fall. The mentor text that she used would be “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” were the author create a scary version of the ABC’s. Instead of scary ideas, Alice kept her story upbeat.

Finally, Jaycee Singleton made a great book about the “ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables.” I really liked her book because not only was it the ABC’s it was also about how each of these fruits or vegetables can help our body. It would be a very educational book for kids. The mentor text she used was also “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” but she made it fun. 

Author Bio: Marissa Willits is from a small town in the mountains called Taylorsville, CA. She grew up there and went to the local junior college. She received he AA in Liberal Studies and transferred to Chico State in Fall of 2017 to get her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and become a elementary teacher. Marissa hopes to eventually receive her master’s degree.


picture of MackennaIt is amazing to see so many people able to make such beautiful works of art. It’s even more astonishing to have this amazing group of people write stories that are mostly facts and yet still very interesting. Some are funny, some are creepy, all are informative. These last two weeks we have read two amazing chapters. Chapter three from Katie Wood Ray really intrigued me in this make cycle reading. I was baffled by the idea it was putting forth: that kids as young as kindergarten could learn to write and make stories by pretending to write and copying the actions of their peers. This is before any formal introduction of letters. This means that before they learn what letter make what sound and how to make those letters they can start learning to write stories. After another classmate talked to me about how her grand-daughter pretends all the time and how it helps her learn, it finally started to make sense. Kids pretend to do things all the time; they imitate the actions they see on a daily basis and try to do the same. They are learning every time they do something.

For the second part of our make cycle we had to read the mentor texts, “Are You A Dragonfly?” by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries as well as “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” by Edward Gorey. “Are You A Dragonfly?” was a fascinating story that reads in first person. The moment you start reading it fully emerges you into it. Plus, it’s a very fun way to learn about dragonflies. “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” is an ABC book; however, it’s not your everyday ABC book. It’s dark and daunting. As an adult, I found the book to be very funny and intriguing, but as a possible children’s book I found it to be very inappropriate. Each letter it names a child or a Tiny and how they died.

For this make cycle this time, the class had to write expository writings. We could make them like Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries book or like Edward Gorey’s book. You could create them as an infographic or a video.

The first make that I fell in love with this week was Bianca DeRee’s book “ABC’s of Disney Characters.”

Book titled 'ABC'S of Disney Characters'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/44300656/59cf0e372b346

This book was full of color that made every page and picture pop. Each page’s background matched the character, from C is for Cinderella being a very close match to Cinderella’s blue dress to T is for Tinker Bell in green matching her dress. On each page, there is a fact about the Disney character. This includes what movie they are from and who they are in the movie.

The second make that I really liked was Lisa Valdez’s “ABC’s of Farm Life.” Each page had an animal or an everyday chore of farm life that corresponded with a letter of the alphabet and an interesting and sometimes funny fact about that animal or everyday chore. On the next page was a picture of the animal. My favorite page was “B is for the Bronco whose body was too big.” The picture on the next page had me laughing. While reading her book, I also happened to learn a lot about farm life.

Book titled 'ABC's of Farm Life'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/44311676/ABC-s-of-Farm-Life

The last make I want to draw attention to is by Ismael Munoz. He wrote a story called “Our Heart” this make is all about our heart. It gives you location of the heart, how big your heart is and how to find that out, as well as what the heart does and at the end gives some interesting facts about the heart. I really liked this book because it wasn’t an ABC book. Most of the makes were ABC books and finding one that wasn’t was intriguing in and of itself. 😉 

Book titled 'Our Heart'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/44214666/59cc7566590c7

Author Bio: Mackenna Paige Gott is a transfer student from the College of the Siskiyou’s and this is her first year at CSU, Chico as a Junior. For the last two years, she ran an after-school program for ages K-8th grade through SCOE. She is now working for the BCOE as a college tutor in their after-school program. She hopes to get her teaching credential and teach any grade between 2nd -5th grade.  


picture of CoriExpository writing was interesting because we had the option of incorporating information into an existing story, creating an ABC book, a how to or anything else you could come up with. I really like how so many people took different approaches to creating ABC books: they are all so great! I really enjoyed Elizabeth’s, Alice’s, and Matthew’s ABC books because I felt that they were different from the normal ABC books I read to kids.

I really enjoyed how original Matthew’s idea was and I like that it has a serious topic but would still be informative and practical for kids learning their ABC’s.

Elizabeth’s story was very cute and creative. I like the vibrant colors she used throughout the book.

Book titled 'Dia De Los MuertosABC's'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/43926246/59cc884fc1335

I think Alice’s book is so perfect for this time of year: it can be hard to teach kids about the seasons and here we can teach them about fall while utilizing the ABC’s. I think that most kids would enjoy these books because they spark interest in a specific topic so there is something for everyone to relate to.

I also liked Kaia’s how-to video on baking cookies. I can totally relate since I used to bake cookies with my mom all the time when I was little.

I thought Shannon also did a great job on her expository writing; this style is nice because it can stand alone as a story but has added elements to it. These expository texts are almost like two books with one cover, you get a story and then also facts about the topic of the story. It’s interesting to think about expository writing because there are a lot of them out there that we don’t think about being informative.

I would like to add that I love StoryJumper! The books turn out so cute, the site is very easy to navigate, and the visual makes all the difference in the world. This will be a tool that I will use in my classroom and share with colleagues. I really enjoy the product it creates!

Author Bio: Cori Hale just started her senior year here at Chico State. She is majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Math. She is looking forward to graduating so that she can get into her own classroom and start teaching!

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