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 4 Featured Bloggers: Ismael, Jaycee, Michelle, Mayte, & Samantha

Make Cycle 4 Featured Bloggers: Ismael, Jaycee, Michelle, Mayte, & Samantha

photo of IsmaelIsmael Munoz

We should all feel proud now that we are half way through the semester and becoming more knowledgeable and ready to become future teachers. I really enjoyed reading chapters 4 and 5 and Appendix E from About the Authors as it gave lots of great information that can help future teachers understand a child’s writing process better. In chapter 4, the authors talk how to help students find ideas that will help them with their writing projects: this is also where we’ll expect students to begin in their book writing. Children can write just about anything from everyday life events such as families, pets, friends, play time, and school. As a student starts writing their ideas in the story book, it’s important to TALK and ask questions about where they got their ideas for the book they’re making and the ideas behind it. By talking, we encourage all students to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers and this might also help other students who are struggling find their own ideas through the class discussion.

One of the ideas I really liked was on page 63 as it talks about ways to help struggling students to get started; it says: “When a student is struggling to get started with something, we might encourage her to walk about the room and see what other children are working on in their books. This often helps get ideas going for writers.” I found this to be very true as I seen many times a student who doesn’t know how to get started in their writing projects, but if they see some of their classmate’s work, it might spark an idea. It’s important as teacher to always encourage and motivate our students that way they can become successful in writing their story books. In chapter 5, Wood Ray talks about mini lessons and the importance of having students feel like “professional authors.”

“Remember that one of the first things we help young writers realize is that they make books, too. We staple the paper together so it looks like a book because right the start we want them to think of themselves as people who make books.”

By having a student feel like a professional author, this will motivate them more and encourage them to try their best when it comes to their writing abilities. I liked the idea of doing a “walk-through”: this will have the entire class participating and sharing their ideas about the book that is been discussed. By asking question such as “What do you notice about how this is written?” “What do you notice about the picture?” has students really analyzing each page that is been presented by teacher. I also thought it was very helpful that the teacher kept a chart in the classroom to record all the main things that were discussed during the “walk-through.” This will also help student visually see what other have said, as well as compare their ideas with those of their classmates. I loved how the chapter ended by saying “Our words matter, maybe more than we’ll ever know. And in mini lessons, where we do so much of the talking, we try our best to choose words both carefully and purposefully, knowing how much our talk supports the work of the young writers in the room.”

When responding to our mentor texts I chose to focus on The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywelt and Oliver Jeffers. This story was very interesting and unique in the way that each crayon shared their point of view on why and how they were being used. I liked how the story started by saying: “One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.” Each crayon writes a letter to Duncan, voicing out their concern or opinion about the way a particular color is been used. Some of the elements I see in the story is the way each crayons shows its emotions differently but go through the same process of writing a letter. I liked how each single crayon shared their silly stories in a fun way that will keep the reader entertain and wonder, what will the next crayon complain about. This story can really relate to kids who always grab their favorite colors and ignore the ones they don’t like. I enjoyed the way the story ended by saying “Poor Duncan just wanted to color…and of course he wanted his crayons to be happy. And that gave him an idea.” By listening to all the letters written by the crayons Duncan decided to use ALL of them and make everyone happy, a win win for everyone. This story can effectively encourage students to be more open minded when grabbing their crayons, and more importantly, is a great model for argumentative writing.

Finally, in our Compelling Arguments “Make” we had many different options to choose from. I chose to create posters with the help of Smore.com. The goal of creating the posters was to attempt to convince the people who see them to act, think, or behave in a particular way.

I thought all the Makes were awesome but here are some of my favorites:

Grace Taylor did a great job in her Make. She got inspired by the story The Day the Crayons Quit. In her Make, the Ugly Duckling is writing a letter to the Fair Godmother asking for help because he feels uncomfortable in the way he looks. The Fairy Godmother writes back ensuring the duckling that he has qualities that surpass looks and his kindness to others will take him far. I love the statement she uses: “A bright mind and a kind heart are much more important than good looks.”

The second Make I enjoyed was created by Karla Arroyo. Karla created posters that informed the public about earthquakes and advice on what to do when one strikes. I think this Make is very helpful for us to know, especially since we live in a state known for earthquakes. Kids need to also be aware of the dangers of earthquakes and understand what procedures to take. Karla states, “As future teachers we must be prepared for natural disasters like Earthquakes, Floods, and Fires.”

The the third and final Make I enjoyed reading was by Jillian Wright. She created a book that talked about the importance of taking care of some of our organs and body parts such as our brain, stomach, liver, and feet. The story informs us how alcohol can affect those organs in a very negative way and convinces the reader of making better choices when going out for drinks. She was inspired by the Crayon Book to format her own story. I loved how she used animated pictures to keep the reader engaged in the story. I thought it was very humorous when the brain tries to convince the reader not to drink by saying “Just remember, I, the control freak mind, will be back in the morning with vengeance as I make you recount every detail of even mild stupidity.” I thought it was a very informative, yet fun story to read.

Book titled '“No, we DON’T want to go out tonight':'Read this free book made on StoryJumper

Author Bio: Ismael was born and raised in Salinas, Ca and graduated this past May from Hartnell Community College where he received his Associates Degree. He transferred to Chico State as a junior this fall where he is working toward his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Ismael currently works full time with special needs children, as well as the extended school program. He loves knowing he can make a difference in a student’s life and looks forward to becoming an elementary teacher soon.


photo of JayceeJaycee Singleton  

I think that this Make was a success for everyone. For this Make we were asked to create a compelling argument text which could be done in many different ways. I saw a lot of posters, which were amazing and a few other different presentations.  The main point to get a cross to the reader was to argue a particular topic in either a letter, poster, write up, or a few other ways. Each one that I read was outstanding, and while many of us did made posters, they were very powerful. A few people chose topics that have been on everyone’s mind lately and I thought the way they were shown through the images were great.  

For the first week of this Make Cycle, we read and discussed chapters 4 and 5 and appendix E in About the Authors. I thought these topics that we covered were important for our future teachers to know. I found them to be very helpful and it pushed us forward in how to teach children the importance of reading and writing. Most of us talked about how we enjoyed and would use these skills, particularly the use of writer’s workshop, in teaching. When children write stories, their revisions are the most important. It gives them the chance to look back at what they have written and a chance to critique it. It is also a great time for the teacher to sit one on one with the student to talk about their thinking process and how they may want to change and correct spelling or wording. Also, that starting to write is always the hardest for the children (and us!). Finding that perfect topic to write on will get them started and sometimes all they need are some hints and they come up with their own plot. This is all shown in these two chapters and the appendix examples of how these are implemented in real writing from children. I very much enjoyed reading the post from Bailey Nicole. She talks in great detail about these topics. For example, she points out the “Planning for a Draft” section. She mentions that book says “most children go straight from having an idea, to announcing that have it, to beginning the first page.” This is what we talked about being that first barrier for young writers to get across.  

For the next part of our Make Cycle, we read four mentor texts that all did a great job in demonstrating compelling arguments. We read, Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Day the Crayons Quit, and I Wanna New Room. Someone I would like to point out is Grace Taylor. She discusses the story of Click, Clack Moo and how each side of the argument could be great to discuss, the cows versus the farmers. She gives the idea to split your future class up and have each side argue from the side of the cows and then the farmer. This would be such an effective activity for children to participate in.  

Lastly, I enjoyed our Makes most of all. Each one portrayed a topic that could be argued and many of us chose ones that we are currently discussing in our government and communities. For instance, Rafael Sevilla made three great posters. He went for the topic of “immigration, equality, racism, freedom of expression.”  This was great because it is a huge controversial subject going on right now. My favorite poster from Rafael was the poster of Kapernick kneeling down during the National Anthem. This was a big issue going on, but it really should not have been because it has been going on for years.  Rafael's social justice poster

Compelling arguments are great for children to engage in because they get exposed to both sides of the stories. They see different points of views and or they can be differently seen by everyone.  Many of us related to projects and activities we could use in a classroom and or already have used it before. It is helpful to see how these have played out with our own personal stories. It is a great practice in the teaching of these compelling arguments. I would like to comment on Tamara Ligon, who showed her son’s classroom, which she is involved in. She was able to show what we were talking about in class and reading about, in a more personal way. This was an excellent thing to add to her discussion post.  

Overall, this was a great Make Cycle and I want everyone to know they did a great job. Keep up the great work!

Author Bio: Jaycee is 19 years old and is the Chico State Class of 2020. She will graduate early with her certificate in Liberal Studies to go on and become an Elementary School Teacher. She currently lives in Chico, working at Starbucks and is a full time student. For fun, she plays tennis and works in an After School Program. She cannot wait for the exciting adventure in teaching that awaits her.


photo of MichelleMichelle Rodriguez

We started off week 7 with the continuation of chapter 4 and 5 from the book About the Authors along with the appendix E. The following is a summary of weeks 7’s reading and some interesting things I found.

Time after time in the chapters I have seen that doing writing workshop goes on even outside of the classroom such as the student Cauley, who was thinking about his book the night before, mentioned in the beginning of chapter 4. I enjoy reading about how meaningful the writing workshops are for the students.

I like the idea of not giving students a set of rules or even give them steps, but instead, giving them paper and writing tools and asking them to make something with writing. Later on, when students have started writing, we start refining their writing. The important thing is to get them started on writing. Some students might need help getting started. The book suggests to help student who are struggling to get started by encouraging them to walk around the classroom, look through their folder, or even hold a conference with them to get them inspired for their next book.

Another thing I liked was to give or even have the students make a little notebook they can always carry to jot down ideas as they go on about their day because ideas don’t always come when they are sitting down to write. When we are guiding the students in mini lessons, we want to show them how to write envisioning their books. When reading other author’s books, we want to point out things they could use themselves in their books. Chapter 5 talks about great ways of teaching and introducing new techniques into the students’ toolbox as does appendix E

During week 8 we read the mentor texts and worked on Make Cycle 4, compelling arguments. I think Make 4 allowed a lot of freedom to be able to talk about real issues that are going on today and really matter to us. Many peers were able to share and bring awareness to issues they are passionate about. There was a variety of topics given importance to; for example, driving under the influence, fire and earthquake safety, bullying, sea life, law enforcement, and many other important topics. One that really stood out to me was Kristin Fondersmith’s print, which brought awareness to veganism. Kristin shared great reasons and statistics on why being a vegan is a good idea. The reason why this flyer stood out to me was because I myself have started my journey to eating and leading a healthier lifestyle.

Another make that stood out to me was Kaylee Dashiell’s about ocean life. I loved her make because I love the ocean and I of course want to do anything I can to keeping it clean for its inhabitants and for other future generations to enjoy as well. Kaylee shared things we can all do to create a safer environment for all sea creatures.

Author Bio: Michelle is in her fourth year of college, first year at CSU, as a transfer student. She looks towards being an elementary school teacher. During her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and being creative.


Mayte Rendon

During the past two weeks with these posts and this week’s make, it was very interesting and went by pretty fast. I do honestly enjoy making them because it is pretty fun and I get to learn more about future teachers. I really liked how we started off by introducing each other to the whole class and communicating with each other.

The last two weeks, we read about ideas on how to teach kids to start writing. There were some pretty impressive “taken away” ideas that I liked personally. Some ideas were letting kids write about their favorite things and just keep writing about it and why they like it. Also, let the students walk around and talk to their classmates and use conversations to start thinking of ideas on what they can write. Playing some fun writing games would be a good idea too. Have kids go into teams and let them write on the board and have like a spelling bee challenge.

One of the peer’s argument that I liked is by Jessica Maldonado:

Every child would love to have their own room, and when Alex couldn’t have his own room, he made a very compelling argument, and compromises were made for everyone to be happy. In the story The Day the Crayons Quit, I was very amused.  It was very cute and different for the crayons to be writing letters to Duncan telling him that they were being overused or underused.

I chose these quotes because I agree with her post and also think it was cute how the writer put the characters suggestions/arguments into letters. I liked how she related these stories to her past and it is pretty cool that I can also relate to her by saying that I also wanted to have my own room when I was young and should have used my crayons evenly and not just mostly used my favorite ones all the time. Overall, our peers did some thoughtful work with arguments. 

Author Bio: Mayte is from Live Oak, California and came to Chico to attend Chico State to study and graduate with a bachelor’s degree to become an elementary teacher. This year is her third year attending the University.  


Samantha Prosser

This class has brought me so much inspiration and joy over the course of the last couple months. It is so inspiring to watch future educators write such amazing stories and ideas. This last make we talked a lot about the readings in chapter four and five of About the Authors. Both of these chapters had some great ideas and strategies to use in the classroom to help children with writing and their creative process.

One of my favorite ideas and statements in chapter 4 is the line that says:

 

“essentially the goal is for writers to find a process that helps them go from an idea to the best piece of finished writing they can possibly produce, not for them to jump through management hoops we’ve set up in the name of process.”

From chapter 5 I liked the idea of coming up with strategies. Wood Ray argues, “strategies offer students possibilities for how to go about doing something while they’re in the process of writing.” Teaching multiple different strategies to children to help them to process, understand, and succeed in writing is a tool that they will be able to carry through life.  I also really liked the idea of studying published writing with the children. Seeing “real” writing might help to inspire them and get them thinking about new ideas for their writing.

We also studied a variety of different stories. One of my favorite mentor texts was Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Heidi Vargas did an outstanding job of really showcasing the uniqueness of the story. She said, “instead of repeating the exact same phrase, the writer has the character use multiple ways to convince the audience to let him drive the bus.” I loved how this story was interactive with the children in the sense that it allowed the audience, or the children, to help the driver.

At the end of Make Cycle 4 we talked about and practiced writing compelling arguments. My favorite make from this section was one made by Jaycee Singleton. Her argument was about recycling. I think recycling is an easy and fun concept to add into your classroom!

Author Bio: Samantha is a 23 year old preschool teacher attending Chico State with the hopes of earning her BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Child Development. After obtaining her degree, she plans on attending the credential program and eventually becoming an elementary school teacher.

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