Make Cycles

Our course is organized by “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. You can find the 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.

Month: November 2017

Final Stretch: Make Cycle 7 Posted

Final Stretch: Make Cycle 7 Posted

Hope you had a chance to relax this past week. I know many of you simply work more hours at other jobs, but I’m hopeful that you grabbed a few moments with friends and family.

Our last set of assignments is posted under Make Cycle 7: Revise & Reflect. This will take us through to final’s week.

Note that our last assignment is a Reflection & Manifesto that will be shared in a Google Doc and not in G+. The reflection is due on Wednesday of final’s week by midnight: Dec 13. Also please pay attention to my email for sharing with me in google since it is slightly different than my faculty email. Instructions for sharing with me can be found with the assignment.

First up: response to final chapters of About the Authors due Friday (Dec 1) in G+.

I look forward to reading your reflections and seeing your revised makes!

Featured Bloggers Make 6: Shannon, Karla, Amanda, Hannah, Jessica, & Alison

Featured Bloggers Make 6: Shannon, Karla, Amanda, Hannah, Jessica, & Alison

In this week’s Make Cycle, we got busy reading and learning about assessments, Common Core Standards, and establishing better peer conferences.  We also got the challenging task of creating our own writing lesson for our peer partner to try out as well as completing the lesson that was created for us.

In chapter 7 of our texts we learned about why it is important to assess our student’s writing and what are some ways in which we can do that: “the main purposes of our assessment are to find evidence of the children using these ideas to make decisions about their writing work each day” (Ray, Cleaveland pg. 120).  We need to know what is working or not working for students and then make changes to our lessons if needed.  One point that the authors made is that our students can usually demonstrate a task or activity when asked to do so, but it is far more important to catch them deciding to do it on their own.  This tells us that the student is taking charge of their writing and making use of the lessons we teach.

The authors listed four ways that we can assess writing:

  •         Looking closely at individual pieces of writing.
  •         Watching and listening as children are engaged in the process.
  •         Asking children to be articulate.
  •         Looking across the work of a single child over time.

I think to successfully assess our students we must first build a relationship with them.  We must really know our students to be able to assess their work.  When we have their trust, they will openly discuss the work they are creating which is especially important for younger students whose writing may be limited in the beginning.  Key things to listen for when discussing their writing are: Is the student decisive in their writing? Are they using language from the lessons?  What is the student able to demonstrate but not able to explain?

Also from our text we read Appendix G.  Here we got some insight on how to help the students develop their ability to have better peer conferences.  I loved how they described role playing how the peer conference would go so that they would better know what it looked like.  I think it was a great point that they focused on the individual writer’s needs rather than the response of the peer; giving help rather than criticism.

This week we got the chance to review the Common Core Writing standards for a grade level of our choosing.  Common Core got a rough start about eight years ago.  I think over the years it has been more widely accepted or maybe we are just getting the hang of teaching to the standards.  It was interesting to see how each grade level supports the next level; building on the standards from one year to the next.  I think having the Common Core Standards will guide us in developing lesson plans and in assessing our student’s work.

 Our writing assignment for Make 6 came in two parts.  In Part I we were to create a writing assignment for our assigned partner following the guidelines of the Common Core Standards and basing it from our previous mentor texts.  We could also choose a work from a list of authors.  I’m glad that we have had many excellent examples of writing prompts from our previous Make Cycles.  Part II of our writing assignment had us completing the writing lesson that our partners developed and then writing a reflection about the activity and what we found that worked or what we thought was challenging.

There were many lessons that were fun and creative.  One of my favorites was Grace Taylor’s lesson for her partner Marissa Willits.  Grace chose to base her lesson on the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Grace asked that her partner reflect on what makes her unique.  Once her partner brainstormed some ideas about her unique qualities, she was asked to write a book about it.  Marissa created a wonderful story and included some pictures.  She was able to complete the activity as Grace had intended.  What I liked about this lesson, was that students will get to showcase their unique qualities.  I think it is a terrific way for students to get to know each other.

Another lesson that really stood out for me was by Caleb Johnson.  

Caleb chose his lesson based on the story by Peter H. Reynolds, The North Star.  The lesson was for his partner Ismael to write a short story about a character going on their own personal journey.  I think this type of storytelling could be very fun and creative, or as Ismael chose to write, a story that works through some personal issues.  Children need an outlet for what they’re feeling or experiencing and often cannot talk about.  Writing gives them this opportunity.  I enjoyed reading the story Ismael wrote.  I think he did a fantastic job completing the writing activity.

The final lesson that I found interesting was by Jaycee Singleton.  She chose to base her lesson on Chapter 6 from our textbook, About the Authors, regarding mini lessons.  Her activity was to have her partner, Elizabeth Salazar, create a book about safety rules including illustrations.  I thought this was noteworthy because we have been talking about having our students start making books by simply stapling paper together and then writing and illustrating their ideas and that is exactly what Elizabeth did.  The way this lesson is created will help students have a deeper understanding of safety rules because not only are they writing the rules but creating an illustration that will be a visual aide for them to follow.

Clever work from all on our lesson plans and the work we created.  It was challenging, but I think we all did an amazing job!

Author Bio: Shannon Lane lives in the central valley and attends Chico State via the online Liberal Studies program. She is a senior and will graduate in December 2017.  She hopes to obtain a multiple subject credential and go on to teach at the 3rd grade level.

In Make Cycle 6 we went into detail on assessment and how to assess our students as future teachers. We read from About the Authors chapter 7; I imagine borrowing the idea in section “Watching and Listening As Children Are Engaged in the Process” because as we watch them we learn the way they are learning. Also the section explains how watching and listening we can catch the little things like Levi’s process. When watching him, the authors noticed his process and the pictures he drew. They noticed that Levi was growing in his writing with the way he wrote the poems and the process he did to do so. I feel like this chapter helped me become more informed about assessment in children’s work; this is not something I thought about but realize how important it is. We also looked over Common Core Standards and tried to blend them in with ideas from chapter 7 we read before. Some of the ideas I noticed that pair well with About the Authors is the pictures being labeled by the student. 

We also had an assignment to make an activity for another classmate to try out. We were able to borrow from the past reading or assignments we have done in order to make an activity. This was very fun and engaging activity to design. We were able to then see what worked and what didn’t after we let a classmate try out our activity. We then tried to assess the work they did like we would with our future students. This really helped me figure out how to assess assignments and to be able to explain myself in a way students will understand want I expect on the assignment.

The overall ideas of these past few weeks have been on assessment and Common Core standards, as well as how we can blend them both as future teachers; it is important to see what works best for the students in order to grow their abilities.

These are some of the highlight work from the Makes 6 assignment:

I really enjoyed reading Jessica Maldonado’s activity. What really stood out to me is that she made a worksheet assignment and did a great job connecting it to her mentor. Her partner on this assignment gave great feedback on ways to revise the activity.

Here is Jessica’s work below!

Writing Activity Part 1: Jessica Medrano

I chose to use the book “Chrysanthemum,” by Kevin Henkes, for my writing assignment.  This one page writing activity is intended for 1st grade and would be a back to school/first week activity in the classroom.  I chose to do this because being so young, it can be scary for kids to meet other kids, and now a days, children have unique names.  I felt this would be like an ice breaker activity for students to get to know their peers.  This would be a homework assignment after reading the book in class, with parents or guardians helping the child answer the questions.  I would then welcome the children to share with the class in a group their responses to the questions and a picture if they drew one.  The goal for this assignment is to start learning how to research and get input from their parents/guardians about their name and why it was chosen. I would expect this page to have a lot of spelling errors, besides their name, very few sentences, and some pictures drawn of their family. I would hope that each child would be able to do this assignment and get the help that is required for them to answer these questions, and I would hope that this assignment would be a good start for the kids to learn how to research.  This activity would focus on CCS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2, 1.5, and 1.8.    

My next highlight is Alice Mylod-Vargas: her work was very organized and thought out. Her activity connected with her mentor and it was very creative as well. She had lots of great detail and explained her activity being done in a classroom. Her partner did a great job as well and gave Alice great feedback.

This is her work below!

I chose to do my activity based off of Kobi Yamada’s book What Do You Do With An Idea? This activity is intended for third graders and is chosen from the 3.3 Common Core standard. The theme of this activity is to allow children to share their ideas no matter what they feel about them which is portrayed in the book. By doing this, they will allow their imagination and creativity to take over without anything stopping them. I imagine this activity taking place in the beginning of the year in order for the students to open up from the start of the school year. The materials needed would be a piece of paper and a pencil for all students without an eraser. Through this activity, I hope children learn that any idea is valuable and important in writing. I will access this activity by hearing them explain to their groups their ideas and also by reading their writing. If things go as expected, I hope to see creativity and originality in their writing. I hope to see many different outcomes that is unique to each individual.

For this activity I will first start off by reading the book out loud to my students. After that, I will have them talk about the main theme of this book. If my students don’t pick up on this theme I will guide them to come to this conclusion as a class. By doing this, they will all be introduced to the concept that all ideas are accepted and that there is no judgment in my classroom. After this, I will put three topics on the board. I will explain that they will have 1 minute to write as many phrases or words they can think of about each topic. After this minute they will move on to the next topic and same as the third. The three topics will be green grass, rainy days, and chocolate chip cookies. I chose very different topics because I hope that the outcome will have very unique and different responses. After this, I will hand out a piece of paper to each student, along with a pencil without an eraser. I will explain how they are not given an eraser because the point of this task is to write ANYTHING that comes to mind when thinking about these words. No ideas need to be erased or hidden.

After they finish writing phrases or words that come to mind when they think about these topics, I will have them get into groups and share their lists they came up with. This will allow them to be less embarrassed about sharing personal ideas. If my students feel accepted with their ideas, their writing throughout the year will improve and they will be able to fully use their imagination and express it in their writing. Next, I will then have them chose one of the three topics they just wrote about. They will be passed out an addition piece of paper and be given ten minutes to include 5 or more of the phrases they wrote down under their desired topic in a short, one page story. I will also include that this short story should be descriptive and detailed. After the ten minutes is up, I will give them an addition five minutes to explain why they wrote about the topic and what meaning of the phrases that they associated with that topic. After this, I will have them turn in their papers to me and I will get to read over their creative and original writing!

Down below are the step by step instructions that I would like you to partake in. Let me know if you have any questions. These instructions are a little different than my in class activity because this activity is online but there are only a couple of differences!


  1. Read Kobi Yamada’s book What Do You Do With An Idea? Down below is the link to the book.

  2. After this, think about the theme of the book. If you are unsure, read the paragraph above where I include the theme of the story I want my students to get out of the book.

  3. Next, log into your email and open a new google docs sheet and title it “Alice’s Activity”.

  4. Next, type “green grass” , “rainy days”, and “chocolate chip cookies” at the very top of the page.

  5. Set a timer for a minute and type out as many phrases or words that you associate with the first word at the top of the page. Start with green grass. Repeat this step for rainy days and chocolate chip cookies.

  6. After you are done with this choose one of the words (green grass, rainy days, chocolate chip cookies) and set a timer for ten minutes and write a short story (5-10 sentences) incorporating 5 of the words you came up with from one of the three words you just wrote about. Write this short story underneath your three lists.

  7. After this, set a timer for five minutes and explain why you associate these 5 words or phrases with the word you chose to write about. Write this underneath your short story.

  8. Next, post your lists and your story + reflection in google plus.

Author Bio: Karla Arroyo is from Southern California and loves nature. She loves working out and being apart of endurance sports like triathlons. She wants to travel around the world and experience cultures. She wants to work outdoors after college and pursue working in ministry as a second job or hobby.

This week’s make was without a doubt one of my favorites because it gave us the freedom to have a feel for what it is like for teachers on an everyday basis when making lesson plans. For example, my partner this week Jake Muck gave me a blast from the past. His assignment was to write about an experience I had over summer and it was intended for when we just returned after summer vacation. I absolutely loved this assignment because it had guidelines but was still broad enough for me to explore my creativity.

From what I saw on the Google+ page there was a lot of thought and effort put into each assignment, especially for Michelle Rodriguez’s make how she came up with a worksheet which was really interesting, because it exercised different common core standards for the kids too! Designing the lesson plan was definitely underestimated by many though, however, because I thought it would be easier to come up with an activity, but I looked around the internet for a while and really didn’t like any ideas so when I remembered back to the ABC’s book I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do because that is one of my first assignments I will be carrying out as a teacher!

Everyone’s responses/reactions to their partner’s activities are all really positive and no negative comments, only constructive advice and recommendations. For example, my instructions could have been more clear, but then once I clarified what I was asking specifically it was easily understood and fun!

Chapter seven from About the Authors reinforced the importance of working in groups and utilizing conversations with others. As a teacher, some goals to strive for with your students should be to learn new concepts and apply them when writing and talking with their peers. Katie Wood Ray speaks of the importance of assessment not only short term but long term as well. In this chapter it states that there are four ways of angling assessments in order to truly get insight about what the children are learning. The four assessments are the following:

  • Looking closely at individuals pieces of writing
  • Watching and listening as children are engaged in the process
  • Asking children to be articulate
  • Looking across the work of a single child over time

The assessment that I would like to highlight is watching and listening as children are engaged in the process. One great ways to achieve this observation is through group communication. The students being able to bounce ideas back and forth, helps a teacher gauge what the students have taken from the lesson. Giving the students the space to practice communicating and expressing their ideas, helps them evolve with the inspiration from their group members. We want students to initiate conversation about a topic, and their partners hold the ability to teach the information, are examples of why group discussion is important. Teaching students when to utilize tools, they have learned, like peer conferencing, is what teaching is all about. Giving students the tools to succeed is the name of the game, it is not only a matter of giving them the information but the tools to process the information. Once the tools are under their belt then they can use them to help their creativity blossom.

Bailey Nicole’s goal in her activity really encompass the idea of enabling their creativity.

“My goal for this writing assignment is for children to have fun with their writing. I want them to learn that they can switch things up, everything doesn’t have to be done in the ‘normal’ way. Students need to know that their creativity is important and needed.”

I thought was great because I too like to remind the students that normal is what you make it, aiming to fuel their creativity. I loved, Peter H. Reynolds’ book, Sky Color: it’s encouragement for student’s inventiveness supports your activity perfectly: great choice Bailey.

Creating Lessons for our future classroom’s and having a trial run with our partners is a great activity when in the process of developing lessons. It allows everyone to acquire information about our lessons and iron out the kinks. I have truly enjoyed my time in this class with all of you and truly appreciate all your assistance with my development as a future teacher and student.

This week we worked on our creating our effective writing assignment by applying what we have learned in the class. However, before we dig into the three makes I found very impressive this week, I need to recap our assignments leading up to the makes.

First, we read Chapter 7 and Appendix G from About the Authors and had to think about how we would asses our future student’s writings. This was one of the things I was very concerned with. I kept asking myself, how will I know what to look for? However, this chapter taught me to look for verbal and writing cues that the children understand what you are teaching them. Then if the children are not grasping what you are teaching them, you can tailor the mini lessons in what they need more practice in.

Second, we were asked to pick a grade level, research the standards, write about what we noticed, and then incorporated the standards from the grade level chosen into a writing assignment. The grade I chose was seventh. After reading the standards I noticed that the main focal point is with conveying clear details and ideas. With having the focus be on creating a clear, detailed ideas I would give a designated writing workshop time. During this time, I would utilize both Mini-Lessons, peer evaluations and assessments, and oral presentations. With doing the Mini-Lessons I would be able to help the students with gathering enough evidence, generating the relevant information, organization, and writing structures. With doing the peer evaluations and assessments it will cover the Production and Distribution of Writing standard. Finally, with having the students do oral presentations, it would help with ensuring the Research to Build and Present Knowledge standards were covered. I would utilize the Common Core standards in my writing assignment by incorporating and focusing on each stand to ensure the students are touching on each point.

Third, was time for us to try out what we have learned and create an assignment for our partner to do. I chose to do seventh grade again because after researching the standards it seems like a challenge. I chose to create a writing prompt based on two stories, the Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. This assignment was a fun way for me to put my creative juices to the test. I was so excited to see how my partner would answer.

Finally, my partner answered the prompt. The waiting was over but the prompt she answered was not the one I wanted her to answer. That’s when I realized my awesome writing prompt was not so awesome. However, I learned a lot from this assignment. I learned that I need to be more specific in what I am asking for and, to first try out the assignment myself to see if I can answer it the way I believe it should be answered. Thank you Amanda Green for being my partner and taking the time to do the assignment. I enjoyed reading your editorial as it was very creative.

Now for my spotlight makes….

First, Ismael Munoz, I enjoyed your No, David writing activity. This was such a great way for the children to learn why we follow the rules and if we don’t why there are consequences. I have never read the book before and it was a very good book. Your writing assignment went along perfectly with it. 

The second make I chose was Alice Mylod-Vargas; her activity was based off Kobi Yamada’s book What Do you Do With An Idea? Her activity was designed to help the students brainstorm and create a short story. I loved your activity and explanation of the assignment. You were so detailed and specific, and it was very easy to understand a follow. Plus, your three key phrases, “green grass,” “rainy days,” and “chocolate chip cookies” were very cleaver. In addition to this great assignment her partner Sophia Tisdale did an outstanding job with answering her activity.

Lastly, Bailey Nicole, your idea of creating a book based on all different sky colors was very good. I thought this was a great way to get the creative juices flowing by using both illustrations and words. In addition, you could do this with multiple grade levels by increasing the difficulty. Great idea!!!

These were just a couple of the makes I thought we impressive. However, there were so many more that should be spotlighted too. Great job everyone with this make cycle!!!

Author Bio: Jessica is from Orange County and loves entertaining, hiking, and cooking. She is going back to school to be a teacher but currently works as a graphic designer/computer programmer for an outdoor display company. On top of all that she is planning her upcoming wedding and putting the finishing touches on her new home.

For this last make, we created a lesson plan for our future students by integrating our readings from the textbooks, the Common Core Standards, and our imagination. We got a taste of what it will be like when we are actually in the classroom creating lesson plans.

From our textbook About the Authors, we read Chapter 7 and Appendix G which, as always, is captivating and inspiring to the reader. This chapter basically informs readers of what to assess and how to do it, which can be hard in a classroom full of 30 students who all have difference strengths and weaknesses. There are different ways to get students thinking about their writing and initiating their own ideas without being told what to do. Creating the lesson plan and then actually doing the activity assigned to you really supported the reading by showing us that there are endless ways to satisfy standards and help students get creative with their writing.

At first, I thought it would be difficult to think of an activity that would satisfy multiple standards and then choosing a mentor text and creating an activity. I was super nervous but once I started watching some videos on Youtube, I got really inspired to have my partner recreate one of the books so I chose Are You a Dragonfly? which was a children’s story that our class had read in a prior make cycle. I decided to have my partner, Shannon Lane, recreate this book with her own favorite animal or insect, and she did a fantastic job so I would like to highlight her work.

Below is Shannon Lane’s make in response to the lesson plan I created for her:


I chose to do this activity using Storyjumper as you suggested. I really like how easy it is to create a story using this site. I think that for a 2nd grade level they can accomplish this with assistance from the teacher without too much difficulty. I think this lesson plan fulfills the common core standards that you stated:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2 which requires students to write informative/explanatory texts.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.6 with guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing.

I thought it would be interesting to explore the life-cycle of the butterfly. The images were fun to add to the information that I had researched. I did not have any trouble completing this activity as I had used Storyjumper in a previous activity.

I imagine a 2nd grade class could do an entire lesson on insects, and have the class creating books on their favorite choice. It combines and benefits multiple subjects; science and language arts to name two.

I could not think of any changes or additions to this lesson plan. I really enjoyed doing this activity and I hope you like my story.

Thank you,

Shannon LaneBook titled 'BUTTERFLIES'Read this free book made on StoryJumper

I thought she did an amazing job following the lesson plan. It was challenging making sure it was clear enough for our partners, but all of the makes came out beautifully: all the feedback was positive and constructive criticism. I loved that Shannon wrote on her response that she thinks this could turn into a segment on insects. I definitely agree; I think many of the activities are cross cutting with other subjects, like science and history. Responses like this helped students recognize what they can improve on the lesson plan they created. I think our fellow classmates felt really accomplished with both their lesson plans and their makes that they created.

I would like to highlight another make created by Stacie Beadel, who was partnered with Karla Arroyo.

Karla Arroyo had a really fun idea for students to get outside and appreciate their Earth at an early age, which in my opinion, is really important! Here is her work below:

Hey Stacie!

I picked this mentor text because this book teaches children how important it is to take care of our earth. I also feel that doing something fun and creative can be done with this book! This activity can be done as a take home activity after reading the book in class. Children can take pictures of anything based on nature to give the message to the whole school about keeping the earth clean.

What I want you to do:

Listen to the book, take some creative photographs that connects to the book about keeping the earth clean. You can take some Photographs of nature! Make sure that the overall message is to take care of the earth and write a short paragraph about the connection with the book and your Visual.

Grade intended level:

The book is a first grade level and I feel that parents can help take pictures if the student needs help doing so.

Common core standards:


Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

What part of the school year:

I would do this assignment during earth day because the students will be able to learn about the environment while
celebrating earth day and doing a fun activity. Also students will learn how to connect books to their own writing style.

What materials are needed:

You will need a camera from your phone or anything type! You will also need to upload it on word or what works for you with the short paragraph under it!

Goals for the activity:

I hope to see students learn how to connect books they have read and use ideas from them to write on there own work.


I will asses the activity by looking at the students photos and how they made the connection with the book. For example
maybe they take pictures of things from the book and they made a connection to that specific part in the book. I expect the students to take pictures of things related to the book and to connect why that part stood out to them.

Her instructions were really clear and the book she chose was a adorable and will surely get first graders involved in caring about the Earth and excited about a lesson plan that takes place outside the classroom. Her partner created a beautiful make with pictures of a Table Mountain, which is local to Chico and likely something first graders will include if they were to be assigned to take pictures of nature. This is Stacie’s response:

This activity was fun. I’m a photographer, and enjoy taking photos of nature. I cheated a little, and decided to use photos that I took in the spring. We live in the desert forest, and its ugly here right now. That was my only challenge. This activity would be so fun to do with a class. Seeing all of their visions of what nature is, and reading their words would be so eye opening. I’m sure it would lead to future assignments on the environment, and how to take care of it.

She did an amazing job at completing the assignment and I think the idea of having students get outside and take pictures will be something new and maybe challenging but having the help of their parents will make it easier and allow the students to get introduced to something new!

This week’s makes were all wonderful and I enjoyed going through and reading the stories and passages created by my classmates. I think everyone enjoyed this make cycle; it was definitely one of my favorites.

Week 13 Reminders

Week 13 Reminders

Hi all,

Please remember that your posting your writing and response to your partner as a comment under their original assignment description. You can create the response/activity in a Google Doc and share a link too as a comment to your partner’s post. Make sure the share settings are set to “anyone can view.”

Also, make sure you’ve at least checked out your partner’s plan so you can clarify any confusion with your partner before the assignment is due Tuesday.

Here is a great example of what we’re doing from Alice and Sophie. Both the activity description from Alice and Sophie’s response are great models for this make cycle.

Writing and response to partner’s activity due Tuesday. Don’t be late since you all can’t write your reflections on the assignment until the writing partner has completed the partner’s assignment. If you both get your response done early, then you could write your reflection and be on break for our class (with the exception of the featured bloggers). Just sayin…

FEATURED BLOGGERS (Karla, Amanda, Jessica G, Hannah, Shannon, and Alison): I hope you will write up your blogs before you leave for break. See email from Nov 2 from me.

The last Make Cycle (which takes us to final’s week) will be posted Sunday night or Monday morning after break (Nov 26 or 27). I know we’ll read chapter 8 and Appendix K from About the Authors and you’ll be revising one of your Makes from this semester, so if you wanted to get ahead, you could read and think about which make you might want to return to as part of the Manifesto assignment.

Make Cycle 5 Featured Bloggers: Bianca, Kristine, Jessica, Kaia, & Deanna

Make Cycle 5 Featured Bloggers: Bianca, Kristine, Jessica, Kaia, & Deanna

I really enjoyed the information in chapter 6 of About the Authors. I liked how Wood Ray describes a unit as a series of mini lessons. Basically, you take a big topic that you as a teacher think is relevant and you teach it over a period of time in your writing workshop. I like how she explained how you could choose a unit to teach in your workshop. Besides following the states standards, I always thought about “how would I choose my mentor texts?” In the beginning of chapter 6 it talked about how Lisa (the first grade teacher) helped Forrest get out of his comfort zone when she had them write poetry. This goes along the lines of your vision of how you want your students to be as writers. Lisa took poetry, which she as a teacher had an interest in and thought it would be beneficial for her students to experience and learn. Through this, Forrest learned he had a passion for poetry. From the chart on page 105 I really liked “an overview of the kinds of writing that exist in the world, or a look at a specific kind.” This one stood out to me the most because it is important to teach students different forms of writing. I thought this one was relevant too because throughout this course we have been exposed to numerous forms of writing and then applied what we have learned to make out own stories, poems, compelling arguments, etc.

Throughout this course we have also been exposed to many mentor texts. A lot of these I personally would like to use in my own workshop one day. This is my first English class that I have taken that is tailored to future teachers and the ideas I have been learning from About the Authors and from our instructor have been so helpful. I took a theater class and one of the assignments we learned about was story mapping. I think this would be really useful in helping students learn to comprehend what they are listening to and reading. By making a story map they are starting out by talking about the characters and their stories. Then, you go into the climax and the ending. Their map would be a diagram of events and they can even add illustrations.

I also enjoyed reading “Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” I thought this mentor text was full of great ideas and Ms. Gilrain had a lot of examples of work she had done in her classroom. I loved the examples she had of the students learning about Odysseus. I liked the way the teacher asked the students who the Sirens are in the story and the students told her and said they are bad. The teacher would then ask if the students wished they were Sirens and Kiara said no because they were evil, but, then Ellen said yes because then she would be able to fly. Ms. Gilrain was about the get Ellen to think outside the box by making them think if they would want to be one or not. Ms. Gilrain asked Miguel how he related to Odysseus and he related his experience of traveling to go see his father who he missed very much to Odysseus trying to get home to Penelope. We learn about a student who had recently lost her father and her mother told her teacher that she would never speak about her fathers sudden death on Christmas ever. This student was introduced to poetry and was able to express herself. Her teacher showed her mother her work and she was in shock. Thanks to poetry I think she was able to grieve her father’s loss. After reading this article I want to use art in my class because thanks to the art that Ms. Gilrain used her students showed a passion and interest in poetry. Not only did they find their passion, some of her students had tragedies in their lives and art helped them through the grieving processes. I also believe that due to Ms. Gilrain’s teaching style the students had an easier time understanding the materials that were being taught.

Make Cycle 5 has to be my favorite: not only did we get to create our own website or calling card but we were also assigned to make our own meme to reflect writing workshop. One of my favorite memes was by Rafael Sevilla. I thought his was hysterical and spot on. I wish growing up I had writers workshop.

For Make Cycle 5, my favorite project was by Kaylee Dashiell. She did a story all with memes about the typical day of a server. I thought this was really creative and funny. You can tell she took her time in making this project. She started with a meme of a sad looking bear at the beginning of her shift then ended with a crazy picture of Christian Bale for her closing shift.

Amanda Greene did a website make from Weebly and it was absolutely perfect. He teaching metaphor was gardening and how she was planting little seeds of knowledge. She had a calendar on her website that showed how many months till she was in the credential program. Very Creative!

I have learned so much in this class the last few months and I am so excited to be able to run my own writing workshop and inspire my students to want to be writers. There are so many mentor text that we have used in this course that I would like to use in my own classroom.

Author Bio: Bianca DeRee is 23 years old and commutes to Chico State from Live Oak, CA. She will be graduating with her BA in Liberal Studies, December 2018 and starting the credential program January 2019. Her hope is to become a 1st grade teacher: working with the younger kids has always been her passion.

Over the past two weeks, our class has really dug deep and written some really great responses to our mentor texts, and created some awesome makes of our own. In our fifth make cycle, we started looking at multimodal texts and learning about how we can create our own and get students more involved in learning. We all got the chance to have a lot of fun with this make cycle, especially with the addition of making memes.

My favorite reading from this make cycle was the multimodal article, “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” This article had over 10 different types of writing and was a really unique way of understanding this particular classroom, and how the students were learning. I thought reading all of the different forms would be tedious and annoying, but I enjoyed it a lot. With so many different forms of writing, the students were able to thoroughly express themselves and their feelings and the teachers were able to showcase what their students can do. The mural conversations were a great way to see that the children really understood the story they were reading and how they related to the characters. In the mural with the Sirens, I like how the students were able to explain what was happening and how the characters were affected. I also loved how the students, Miguel in particular, were able to emphasize with the characters and could point out what they had in common. I really want to incorporate art like the murals from the article, to get students to understand the stories they read and what they are learning. I have learned a lot about teaching multimodal writing from About the Authors, especially about poems. I also loved the section on teaching poetry to students and how some students at first hated it, but soon came to love them and even start to write them in their own free time. I really appreciate how multimodal writing gives students so many different opportunities to find a way to express their feelings and have fun while doing it.

In addition to reading this great article, we also learned a lot from this week’s reading from About the Authors. When reading Chapter 6, I really liked the idea of using a “big topic of interest to people who write” when creating lesson plans and how we need to understand how important it is for the children to see themselves as people who write. I also appreciated how these different ideas for studying the writing process and products can be used for any age, from first graders to freshmen in high school. I also loved how the author told us the story of Forrest and how at first he was absolutely sure he could not write poetry, but after he started writing he became comfortable and started using poetry as his form of writing for other assignments as well. This example shows us how important it is to have different units of study and to make sure each student tries their best when writing something they might feel uncomfortable with.

Our class had so many great posts and discussions about ideas from this week’s readings. I feel many of us were a little overwhelmed at the multimodal article, such as Elizabeth Salazar pointed out in her response: “there was far too much in one article. It would have been nice if she broke it down into different articles.” On the other hand, many of us were excited about how many different forms of art was used in the classroom, as pointed out by Bailey Nicole in her response, “I liked reading in all the different forms. It keeps you more interested and excited to read because it is so different from what I am used to.” While we all felt a little differently about this article, I think we can all agree that this make cycle started to get us really excited to start teaching.

Finally, our makes for Make Cycle 5 were so interesting and so much fun to create. I want to point out a few that really caught my eye. I really enjoyed Jaycee Singleton’s Prezi presentation on different styles of teaching writing. This presentation was very informative and also had links to youtube videos as examples of what she was talking about. I believe Jaycee really used our mentor text, “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry,” as inspiration and also some elements from our textbook, About the Authors.

Second, I found Bailey Nicole’s reflection of our About the Authors reading through Disney Princess memes to be so creative and fun to read. I really enjoyed how she specified each chapter and made a meme to express the overall idea of each chapter. Bailey definitely knows the reading from our book and this make showed us just that, in a fun and exciting way.

Finally, I loved Bianca DeRee calling card website! Personally, I had a little trouble creating a website for myself, but Bianca’s website is so well done and professional. I believe Bianca really took her time and figured out all the tricks to designing a website and she really blew it out of the water. I also really enjoy how she has reflection blog posts from her child observation classes; it really gives visitors a look into her education and her goals.

Overall, this was a really great couple of weeks for English 333 and my peers all did an awesome job with these multimodal makes.

Author ​Bio: Kristine Cowan is a sophomore at Chico State, majoring in Liberal Studies and hoping to one day become a second or third grade teacher. She lives in Crescent City, CA and enjoys being outdoors and by the beach. She is excited to finish up her degree and credentials and get into the classroom with students.

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Medrano. This is my junior year at Chico it has been exciting and challenging. Exciting because I feel closer to my goal of finally getting a Bachelors Degree, making me the first in my family to achieve such a goal, but challenging because I had to go through some family problems while trying to stay focus on my studies. This was a difficult time and I’m still trying to get ahead, but I know that getting through stress can be achieved. So, we are all close to the finish line of Fall 2017, some of us are tired and others, well, maybe crazy, but we are all in this together. Good luck guys, we can do it!

Creating multimodal text was a fun and creative project, like Dr. Jaxon said, “really, you have been creating multimodal texts all semester via StoryJumper, with the images you’ve added to your writing, and in your posters, videos, and audio files. ” I enjoyed merging text, storytelling, and video, all in one, to convey an idea. This is the future of literacy, really, merging video and literature, more and more, todays students are fascinated with telling a story using digital media. Memes are the best thing that come out of Facebook; they can be funny, clever and rude. In a few words a meme can tell a big story. Memes are about using the right image to convey a message using minimal words, if possible. Some of my favorites for this make cycle:

Chapter 6 from About the Authors, introduces us to units of study, and how we can create lesson plans based on the units of study. What are units of study? Author, Katie Wood Ray explains, “ Simply image an extended series of lessons happening over period of days and weeks, with all the lessons focused on some big topic of interest.” Big topics of interest are broken into two sections, Process Studies, how to write, and Product Studies, studying the written work. The chart that is provide is an excellent resources for new teachers on creating “mini-lessons” or units of study. I agree with Marissa Willits choice on creating a unit lesson from the Product Studies on coauthoring; she explains:

“The focus of study that I chose was how to coauthor with other writers. If I were to create a lesson on this subject, I would find some mentor text where two authors wrote a book from a wide area of different authors and subjects, so they see that if you work together you can come up with amazing ideas. I would ask my students to pick a different partner after each book that they write so that way they can work with different people and have different shared ideas.”

The makes for cycle five were clever and entertaining. I hope that everyone considers on making learning how to write a joyful and creative experience. Students will be eager to learn if we use the current tools that they love using; for example, using memes and gifs, as a writing tool is excellent for a story.

Rhiannon Edlund, your story and gifs were incredible: “I put my make into kinetic form by going new-school and including GIFs and memes that I thought depicted sorority life perfectly, since that was of course the topic of my last make cycle.” I really liked your story because you were writing about something you know and love. In fact, I shared with my kids the stories that were written using gif and memes, they enjoyed so much, that I challenged them to write one too.

Overall, we are learning about writing in a new era of technology by using the latest digital media that is popular with the kids to get them to write. Dr. Jaxon has made our makes entertaining and a bit challenging, but the result are always amazing. I can attest that I feel more like a writer every day and look forward to Friday’s deadlines to turn in our latest creations. I have to admit to checking my email daily just to see if Dr. Jaxon has commented on my make; it makes me excited.

Make cycle 5 has been one of my favorite makes we have done this semester! I have really enjoyed learning about writer’s workshop and the benefits of using art to teach reading and writing. We also learned about multimodal texts and how they can help engage your students in your lessons. These ideas are ones that I hope to use in my future classroom because I find them very beneficial for the students. Writer’s workshop helps the students build confidence in their writing and become better and more experienced writers. It is a time where the children get to generate new ideas and focus on their work.

From this week’s make cycle I picked three of my classmate’s work that I thought were great responses to our prompts.

The first one is Marissa Willits who made her own websiteHer work was very well done and impressive. In her website she included her own pieces of work from our make cycles to share. I really like that idea because it gives future employers a look at her work. Her website was also beautifully laid out and very organized. Great job Marissa!

The next piece of work that I enjoyed reading is by Grace Taylor. She made a Prezi on many broader topics we have talked about this semester. Her Prezi is a great recap on some of the ways of teaching writing that we have learned this year. It was very helpful to go back and review some of the great things we have learned! Her work was very thoughtful and organized. Keep up the good work Grace!

The last make I would like to share is done by Jaycee Singleton. She also made a Prezi resource: Her Prezi is about the different styles of teaching writing that we have learned. I loved how she included youtube videos for us to watch that help explain and support her work. This would be a great thing to look back on when I become a teacher. I thought it was very helpful that she gave us a  description about each style of writing and then provides us with examples. Awesome job Jaycee!

Author Bio: Kaia Enstrom is a sophomore at Chico State. She is majoring in Liberal Studies, in hopes of becoming an educator. She volunteers with CAVE and works in a classroom twice a week. This summer she hopes to be a part of Camp Adventure and work with kids in a US military base across the world. She will graduate in Spring of 2020 and then work towards her teaching credential.

Over the last two weeks, I have learned a lot from Chapter 6 in About the Authors, and the article “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” What stood out to me the most from chapter 6 was the explanation of why you should organize mini lessons into units of study. I liked the idea of taking a big topic and breaking it into smaller lessons to ensure deeper understanding of a big topic of interest. In stretching out a big topic, it allows you to come at it from different angles. If one mini lesson on a big topic wasn’t really suited for a child, then maybe the next one will be. Instead of a child saying, “I didn’t like that topic” altogether, hopefully they will realize that one bad mini lesson doesn’t mean that the entire topic is also bad.

In the article “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry,” I thought the multimodal format was interesting. At first, I really didn’t care to read through all of the changing formats. I’m just not used to that, but once I got into it, it wasn’t bad. I like the idea of art integrated instruction, but it’s hard to imagine myself teaching it because it is so unlike the any way I have ever been taught. Art wasn’t integrated much into the curriculum in my schooling, but sometimes it was set aside as a separate project. I’m not used to the idea of it integrating art into instruction, but the kids in the article produced work that was well thought out, and seemed to display a deep understanding of what they were learning. So, I definitely think this format can be beneficial to children. I’ve learned that visual arts, as well as theater arts, can enhance a child’s learning in the classroom.

From the compelling argument makes, one that stood out to me was “Letter to the Lunch Lady” by Cynthia Curiel. This make stood out to me because it was funny and relatable, but it also made a good argument.  This make was a letter from a student who is unsatisfied with her school lunch. In the letter, the student makes a plea to the lunch lady to make changes to the lunch because it is basically not edible. Not only does the student bring light to the issue, but she also offers solutions to the problems, so the lunch lady can solve them. The lunch lady listens to the student, and agrees to make changes. If I were a parent, and I knew my child, as well as many other children at school felt that way about their lunch, I would feel compelled to do something about it, so I felt her work was a great display of a compelling argument.

Another peer’s work that stood out to me was Tamara Ligon and the flyers she made about fire safety. I chose her work because I thought it was smart to write about the subject of fire safety when there were huge fires spreading over California. Because of the fires going on at the time, it was one of the first set of flyers that caught my attention. The topic was very relevant, and I think that is important in persuasive writing. It’s hard to be persuasive about a topic that is not relevant to an audience. My friend had to evacuate from Sonoma at 4 in the morning, and she said it was absolute chaos! So, I especially found the flyer about making an escape plan to be particularly helpful to know.

The third make I chose to highlight was the advice column by Alice Mylod-Vargas. I chose this make because I thought it was posed in a fun way. Using Disney characters made her work stand out. It made immediately interested in what she wrote about, and it made me care what she was writing about. I think that is important in persuasive writing because if I don’t care about what you are writing about, then it is probably not going to be very persuasive to me. I also thought the content had a great message for children about finding a compromise. I thought that was a great lesson to embed into the assignment.

Author Bio: Deanna Dumas a transfer student from Sacramento State University. This is her first semester at Chico State, and she is now a senior. She currently works with adults and children with developmental disabilities, and hopes that experience can serve her in the classroom after she graduates next fall.

Updates: Week 11

Updates: Week 11

Thanks for your patience! Make Cycle 6: Creating Effective Writing Assignments is now posted. Link here too.

Please note that you have a partner for this cycle who will try out the writing activity you create and provide some feedback to you about how it went for them as the writer. You’ve all been good about timing all semester, but just know that it will be crucial that you meet assignment deadlines so that you don’t leave your partner hanging.

First prompts are about assessment (reading Chapter 7 and looking over the Common Core standards in the next week(ish)). I made the chapter 7 response due on Saturday instead of Friday this week since I am late getting things to you.

Finally, I have one final conference this month: giving the Keynote address for the California Association of Teachers of English Yosemite Conference this weekend, along with my colleague Peter Kittle. I may be delayed in email responses this weekend, but will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible. Remind me not to do three conferences in a four week period again. I look forward to things slowing down a bit after this.

I am thrilled with your multimodal makes that I’ve peeked at so far. Such creative work and I’m glad so many of you took the opportunity to start your professional websites!

Thank you again for your work!