Make Cycles

Our course is organized by two week “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. 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.

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 3: Rayn, Shelby, Jennifer, Jillian & Chelsea

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 3: Rayn, Shelby, Jennifer, Jillian & Chelsea

Rayn Buford

Through the process of Make Cycle 3 we had the opportunity to read chapters 2 & 3 from About the Authors. In chapter 2, we were introduced to writing workshops within the classroom and just how important it is to set aside writing time for children. The best way to support students as they practice writing is to set them up for success by allowing them to choose where they want to sit to create their story, adjusting how much time they are allotted, and encouraging them to share their work among their peers. Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland do an excellent job at demonstrating just how important it is as future instructors, to understand how work, space, and time go hand-in-hand. In chapter 3, the importance of writing workshops was extended throughout the reading as we touched base on how you can correspond your classroom and daily routines to help your students understand literature. My favorite part about chapter 3 is the amount of information I was able to take away as a future teacher. I found the Environmental Support section to be the most interesting (40-41). I found myself nodding as I read these pages, as I agreed with the reasoning behind environmental support in a classroom: “We don’t underestimate the power of environmental print to support language learning either.” It is true that print can cover the room in various ways for the children to use it as a reference for their own writing, and even reading: “The walls, desks, tables, sides of bookcases, even the floors-basically, every flat surface in a primary classroom classroom-can be filled with print that children can look at, wonder and talk about, and use as a reference when they need it to help them with their own writing.” I think it is an excellent idea to have alphabet charts, number charts, color charts, pictures, calendars, signs, labels, name tags, word walls, class charts, and alphabet strips. I also enjoyed the idea of “talking into our routines” (42). Example: “If the name of your favorite ice cream starts with v, you can get in line now…” there are just so many insights with each reading. In our Google+ Community we spent all week discussing the assigned chapters and what we were able to gain from each additional assignment. I would say the hot topic for discussion was the analyzation of Edward Gorey’s ABC book. This book was one of the mentor texts that we reviewed in Make Cycle 3, but over 50% of the class thought it was a creepy, dark, and unusual text. Another interesting discussion was expository writing itself. The purpose of this Make Cycle was to learn about expository writing and most of my peers were able to come to the realization that although expository writing is informational, it can be happy, playful, and fun!

We were lucky enough to experience two amazing mentor texts for Make Cycle 3. Are you a Dragonfly? by Judy Allen and The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. Both authors are teaching children through a story format in a way that is unforgettable. Judy Allen takes an informative but fun approach to teaching a lesson about Dragonflies and how they live and adapt to nature. By having the dragonfly be “you” (the reader), it easy for children to use their imaginations and then the information they retain is almost hard to forget. Edward Gorey’s version of the alphabet is very creepy, but it is such a creative way to relate letters to the real world!

For our “makes” at the end of Make Cycle 3, we had to construct an expository text, infographic, piktochart, ABC book, or video to demonstrate that we understood the purpose and different approaches behind expository texts. Cori Hale’s “make” was by far one of my favorites because of how brave she was within our google community. She actually made a tutorial video that was very informative on how to style hair and “make it look pretty” even after not washing it for a few days.

I actually recently learned that you are not supposed to wash your hair everyday (whoops, I have been breaking this rule for years) mainly because I have thin-ish hair myself that tends to build oil quickly. Her “make” was one that I can actually log on and watch again one of these days to style my hair. I am so happy she found a way to make an “informational” video fun, and changed it up compared to our usual scenery of posts. I would assume she was most influenced by the book Are You a Dragonfly because she gave information in a way that had the viewer completely intrigued, much like Judy Allen did.

Many of my peers seemed to be inspired by Edward’s Gorey’s ABC book, as they came up with some sort of alphabet book themselves. Not all of the inspired “makes” were creepy and dark like Edward Gorey’s story though! Some “makes” were cute and happy such as Maritza Caceres’ story. Maritza gave each letter a theme with a human characteristic, much like Edward Gorey did. She used kid-friendly words and even made her illustrations with all shapes, which made it even more resourceful. I really liked how her overall theme was connecting vegetables and fruits too; usually kids avoid new foods so it could be a great tool/idea to put a positive twist on fruits & vegetables, learning the alphabet, and studying shapes! Another alphabet approach came from Josue Nava in his make, which was a story about animals eating humans! Still not as scary as Edward Gorey’s, but in the eyes of the first grader it is probably a little creepy even though it has a silly twist. Each letter A-Z was represented by an animal and he did an excellent job at describing each animal. It was so fun to review everyone’s “makes” and I love how we all always take different approaches.Book titled 'ABC's of getting eaten by unusual Animals'

As future educators it so important that we remember how to think outside of the box! When the standards tell us to teach our students about expository writing, we can teach them with confidence that you can write an informational story that is fun and engaging. In a nutshell, my peers and I have enjoyed the About the Authors book, and Make Cycle 3 because of the unlimited insights it offers to us as future teachers.

Author Bio: I am a sophomore at Chico State. My ultimate goal is to pursue my dream of becoming a Special Education teacher. I’ve always had a love for children so I am super excited to become an educator and even a mother someday. I have four (animal) babies (two dogs and two cats) that are my whole world! My favorite movie is “Tomorrowland” and my life pretty much revolves around school and being a full time nanny. 


Shelby Baccala

I love that chapter two of About the Authors introduced the way a writing workshop should be introduced to students and how one is organized. I found this to be very helpful as a future teacher who may incorporate writing workshops into my classroom. The sections “Understanding Space” and “Understanding Time” are things I may have never thought of on my own. Providing supplies in easy to access areas for children is something I try to do in my current preschool classroom but is not something I considered when thinking about the writing workshop. Having both prepared books and blank paper available to students is a great way of scaffolding. Having all of the tools available will result in unimaginable creativity from students as they create their books. Creating a time frame that students must be working on a specific task the whole time and then stop when the time is up is a daunting task in its own. Slowly increasing the time they sit and work on their books and providing a five minute transition window is a great idea! Lisa commented, “The progressively longer time periods also help children to not be frustrated trying to ‘fill’ their time, as it helps them to get used to shorter time periods first, and then as they get better and more involved, that time will fly by and they will soon transition to a longer time period without even noticing it.” I think this is such an important idea! Children can get bored and frustrated when they are first starting a task. The progressive increase in time intervals allows for students to gain more confidence before diving all the way into the task of making books for an hour a day. It is definitely something that can be used in all areas of teaching, not just writing. Math stations can have a steady increase in the amount of time children spend at each station. Science, history, and arts can be done this way as well. Children will enjoy and be able to get more out of their school day when they are confident in their abilities to conquer the subject.

I appreciate the units of study because they are something I can look back on as a teacher and create lesson plans from. Unit C providing texts and the techniques to help children pull from them is beyond helpful. I was also very impressed by Autumn’s story, Rainforest Adventure. It incorporates so many techniques she has probably seen time and time again. I love the “Enter Here” on the door to invite readers into her story. Cheyenne said, “I loved how the teacher included the ‘not so perfect’ books as well as the ones with illustrations that flowed. It’s so important as future teachers to make sure we are making all students feel like this is a safe place and a no judgement zone.” What an important idea that I did not even realize while reading the text! Children realizing progress is a part of learning and that everyone starts somewhere is incredibly important in building confidence. They have to feel like they are a part of a judgment free community that is open for them to learn and grow.

As a future teacher, it can feel very daunting and stressful to consider the fact you must try to incorporate every subject throughout the entire day in a way that reaches every student. Katie Wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleaveland make it seem like an irrational stressor in chapter 3 of About the Authors. They explain how simple it can be to find everyday situations where writing can be incorporated. In center time, there may be centers where children work with letters and words. Reading aloud is something I love to do and never occurred to me as teaching writing even though it should have. Classroom environments that are rich in text help with writing and songs and games can even be incorporated to help teach writing. I remember a lot of the writing I did as a young child was my “Weekend Journal” and the packets where I had to copy the same words over and over again into different spaces. I thought I was bad at writing because I simply did not like it. I loved books though. I was always buried in a book and in my free time, I often attempted to create my own novels. If I had a classroom similar to the one Ray and Cleaveland describe in chapter 3, I may have loved writing. I would have known what to do with my ideas and how to channel them into a story. I love the example word study provided in figure 3.7 because children are given the option to practice their words in a way they enjoy. I also appreciate the fact that Ray and Cleaveland explain how to explain a writing workshop to parents. Many parents are very involved in their children’s lives and want to know exactly what you are doing for them and why. Being able to explain your teaching style in a simple and easy way makes this confrontation a lot more bearable. Christina said, “Encouraging kids to be aware that there is language all around them is a great way for them to think about language.  Students can incorporate new words into future stories and projects which can add more personal elements in their stories.” Incorporating language constantly throughout the day can be an intimidating task but just making them aware of it does not seem so bad. Having them writing explanations in math when they are older is a great way to incorporate language and a very important skill for them to have. For young children, asking for a verbal explanation of things is another way to bring language into mathematics. Including different stations that incorporate language and using cross curricular lesson planning makes this much easier as well. Doing a quick touch base after every lesson to make sure children are understanding the objectives is another way to make them aware of the language incorporated into their lesson.

I listened to several of Mem Fox’s books on Youtube but I am going to focus on I’m Australian Too. This text would make an interesting mentor text for children because there is an interesting rhyming pattern, a continuous structure and a repetitive question throughout the story. It is a relatable story and something children could easily mimic in their own writings. The entire story goes through different people in Australia saying where they and their families are from and how they are Australian. The continuous question throughout the story is “How about you?” Mem Fox brings in people from every background during the story and the final person is a refugee who has not gained citizenship yet. The story ends with

                                         “We open doors to strangers.

                                          Yes, everyone’s a friend.

                                          Australia Fair is ours to share,

                                          where broken hearts can mend.

                                         What journeys we have travelled,

                                         from countries near and far!

                                         Together, now, we live in peace,

                                         beneath the Southern Star!”

I love that the story begins with two children whose parents were born and raised in Australia and shifts to children from all backgrounds. I suggest listening to some of Mem Fox’s books whenever you get the chance. Possum Magic is a fun story about a grandmother who makes her granddaughter invisible and the adventure they take to reverse it. Where is the Green Sheep? is story that relies heavily on the images and the use of blank space which would be fun to show children. Her website is www.memfox.com if you want to check out her books.

For our makes, Hannah Hughes’ ABC’s of the Special Needs Classroom caught my attention right away. After reading it, it has my attention even more. I expected this story to be directed towards children in a special needs classroom and to show them around. This story was not like that at all! This is an ABC book for teachers to learn about disabilities they may experience, guide them through teaching special needs students and encourage them along the way. I think this story is incredible because special needs can be very daunting for teachers. I know I am very intimidated by the idea of it but a book like this is a perfect reminder that we, as teachers, have all the skills necessary to teach every child. “J is for Just Learn About It” is a line in her story. She goes further to explain that we should take the time to just learn about any disability we are unfamiliar with that we come across. I wanted to highlight this make because I love the spin on it. An ABC book can be a great way to break down something so complex for adults too. Book titled 'ABC's of Special Needs in the Classroom'

I also want to highlight Kellie Cabico’s Easy as 123 because of the fun narrative along to accompany the expository writing. This story is about how to clean up your room; it’s as easy as 123. You follow a young girl as she conquers the task of cleaning up her room. Her mother continues to remind her that it is as easy as 123 but it definitely does not seem that way as she looks at it. The girl breaks down her room into three steps and then shows it off to her mom. The tone makes a story about cleaning rooms actually very fun and energetic. The story has a smooth rhyming pattern making it memorable as well, “‘I’ll do it!’ Abby shouted. ‘But it won’t be much fun. I better get started with step number one.’” Kellie uses pictures of her daughter Abby (I’m assuming) which makes the story even more fun and relatable. Reminding children to start in one place before moving on to the next is important and this story does a great job of that.

Book titled 'Easy As'

 

 

Author Bio: My name is Shelby Baccala and I am a junior Liberal Studies student. I started my college career at Cal Poly three years ago as a biomedical engineering student. After a year and a half, I realized engineering was not for me and made the transition to liberal studies. I was first placed in a first grade classroom, which was very overwhelming to me. I ended up really enjoying my time there and am currently a preschool teacher. I love working with the younger children but I think I still would like to teach 3rd or 4th grade.


Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin

I have really enjoyed this class so far, so of course, Make cycle 3 would be no different. Let’s start with Chapter 2 and appendix C from About the Authors. I really thought it was a good idea setting the students up with mini lessons at the beginning of the writing workshops, laying the framework for what is expected as well as providing young minds with ideas to work off.  The idea of the teacher going over past students projects and showing those to the current students can ignite creativity among them and show them something that was accepted as a complete project at the same time. I also feel it is very important to explain and show your students that not everyone has the same writing style, and by providing multiple examples of student work as well as the teachers work, the chances of a student being insecure or feeling that their work is insufficient could be minimized.

In Chapter 3, I found the statements regarding how the environment around the student can facilitate their imagination and also provide them cues and information if needed helpful. For example, the alphabet strips on the desks is a great idea: if they are thinking of a letter but can’t exactly remember what it looks like, there it is just waiting for them on their desk.  Teaching the students what a text is supposed to sound like sounds difficult but through being read to and reading themselves they will build an understanding for flow. When my middle son is writing sentences and brings them to me for corrections, I have him read the sentences out loud to start, that way he can see if he is making mistakes. He can pick them up fairly quickly and say “that doesn’t make sense.”

I enjoyed the post from Chad Lafenhagen, “visit to a japanese bathhouse” instructions.  My immediate reaction was….”How Gross!” I was intrigued to read the instructions just to satisfy my own personal reaction. After reading through his instructions, prior to getting into the community bath water, you must wash yourself completely, although there are still germs from the community members. Also as a fan of The Wizard of Oz I enjoyed the reference in regards to removing all of your clothes: “That’s right Toto; we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  

Book titled 'Visit to a Japanese Bathhouse'

My kids would really enjoy the post from Josue Nava and “ABC’s of getting eaten by unusual animals” (see above). It definitely turned into a good alphabet book: for each letter there was a child’s’ name chosen, an adjective, and then an animal all with the same first letter.  It definitely took some time and is giving the reader additional repetition with the letters in an attempt to make them stick. Sometimes thinking outside the box and getting the students more into the story helps them retain the information.  

I was most drawn towards the post “How to make the best pozole” by Azucena Cuevas.  I wanted to read into this post and take notes step by step just to see how pozole is made.  I love pozole and so do my children. I have tried to make other authentic dishes, such as tamales, and failed even after repeated attempts.  She does a great job of giving step by step instructions, yet I can see this plan going south in my kitchen. I have, however, just recently found an idea that could make the shredded chicken much easier.  We have began cooking with a digital pressure cooker, and about 15 minutes on high cooks roughly 3 lbs of chicken breasts. Remove the breasts from the pressure cooker and put them in a stand mixer bowl with a paddle wheel on low and perfectly shredded chicken awaits.  I was skeptical at first but it works great and is easy.

Author Bio: Hello My name is Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin and I am a Senior at Chico State. I am a Liberal Studies major with a minor in Special Education and Child Development. My education has been a long journey and I am so excited to be nearing the end. I am a wife to an amazing husband and a mom of four wonderful kids. We are a very busy and active family. My favorite things are my family, vacations, outdoors, my animals and just making amazing memories. I can’t wait to finish school and the credential program. My ultimate goal is to work in a TK or Kindergarten classroom.


Jillian Pearson

Make Cycle 3 was full of new discoveries! We focused on chapters 2 and 3 from About the Authors, written by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland, as well as Mentor Texts: Are You a Dragonfly? and Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. We then dove right into creating our own versions of expository texts and/or videos.

Chapters 2 and 3 focused on how and when to start a writing workshop and how to incorporate more language-learning opportunities. I absolutely loved the idea of talking into our routines; it’s such an easy way to add more thinking for our students. “When we embed talk about language into our routines of the day, we really help our young students become people who just love to talk about language and are fascinated by how it all works.” Page 42 has great examples of what kind of talking can be added to your routines with students. I definitely questioned how students are supposed to write when they’ve never done so, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the authors describe writing as both a noun and a verb. The teachers give them writing tools and paper and call whatever they do with them, writing. I think that gives each student independence and creativity. I really liked how the authors noted that writing is generating text and that it takes a lot for a child to overcome that challenge:

“It’s deeply intellectual work we ask them to do when we ask them to write on their own. To put it simply, children need time to write so they can use all the separate bits and pieces of information about written language we are giving them to actually generate text” (53).

It’s very apparent that we allow our students enough time to write so they can continue to gain experience. I also found it very important to learn that writing really isn’t just about conventions, but a whole body of knowledge that students need to be exposed to.

Rebecca Spears generated great thoughts from chapters 2 and 3: “Another idea that lit a spark in my mind dealt with why making sure that children are writing as much as possible is so important even when they may not know much about it. With this in mind, we want children to write as much as they possibly can so that they know what writing is actually for and what writing can do in this world. In my future classroom, I can definitely see myself using many of these ideas whether it be the songs and games that I can have my children participate in or even if it is just sitting down and writing in the classroom. I am definitely excited to have a classroom of my own some day and spread knowledge and inspiration into the world.”

Chelsea Peterson pointed out some key features from our assigned chapters: “There was so much information in Chapter 3, it’s exciting to just read it. I find that there is so much I want to incorporate in the future that it tends to get a little overwhelming. I love that they immerse the students in language learning all day, not just during formal teaching times. On page 39, it tells us that it is important to not just be identifying writing themes during writing workshop but we must address it in all activities we do in order to ‘wrap strong arms of teaching about how written language works’ (Ray, 39). I also love the idea of making the classroom full of printed words, giving the children plenty of exposure to written works, and all sorts of actual published writing like books, magazines, and songs. This fully coats the room in a learning rich environment.”

Yorleidi Langarica did a wonderful job at summarizing our Mentor Texts: Are You a Dragonfly? And The Gashlycrumb Tinies: “Are You a Dragonfly is a very interesting book because it is written in the 2nd person. It used a lot of ‘you’ and ‘you’re’ which is very uncommon to find. Another feature that I liked was at the end where it basically asked us questions about who we are. I can easily use this text as a model for my writing because it gives me the idea to write in 2nd person, which isn’t something I’m comfortable writing but would be fun to explore. The authors had to do a lot of research for this book because they had to state the facts right. I feel like my writing would need a lot of editing because of the different type of view and quick facts about what I’m writing about. The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey was creepy to me. He used the alphabet to write his book, everything seemed to rhyme with the letter he was using. The only idea I got from this type of writing is that I don’t want to do it if its meant to be read by small children. This book would’ve given me nightmares if I read it when I was little. I feel like the author had to play a lot with words to create a sentence that rhymed and sounded creepy, which I believe is what he wanted. The article gives an insight to the time of work Edward Gorey was going for. This book is very old, so I believe that at that time, the children were into this sort of genre. I can see a similarity between Edgar Allan Poe because they both used dark genres to a new level, but Edwards was meant for kids who wanted to learn the alphabet.”

Our Mentor Texts gave us detailed examples of what expository writing is and tips on how to format the information in a captivating way for students to learn. Are You a Dragonfly and The Gashlycrumb Tinies inspired many of us for our Makes this week!

It’s clear that Josue Nava is a pro at using Story Jumper! His take on learning the abc’s, “ABC’s of Getting Eaten by Unusual Animals” was both comical and creative! Josue definitely put a lot of time and effort into this make, and that shines throughout. I loved that each person was being eaten by an animal; children can have lots of fun with this, especially if a student shares a name with one that is listed.

Erin Russo’s “Are You an Elephant” was adorable! She did a great job of providing facts about elephants and the illustrations she got from Storyjumper were perfect. Erin depicts the perfect example of what a factual, yet entertaining expository writing should look like.Book titled 'Are You an Elephant?'

I can confidently say I can now build a scarecrow or snowman out of pallets! Allison House took a different route and used instructables.com to demonstrate her “Scarecrows and Snowman Pallets.” Her instructions were clear and easy to follow, and not to mention how cute the outcome is!

Final Thoughts: Everyone in this course has such great ideas, creativity, and insights into their future teaching goals. I am sure that all of us will become wonderful teachers. I look forward to the rest of the semester learning and growing alongside of all of you!

Author Bio: My name is Jillian Pearson. I am a junior at Chico State and am hopefully finishing in the fall of 2018! Unfortunately, it took me awhile to realize that I belong in the classroom, but am thrilled that I took the plunge to go back to school and now that goal is not far away! I live in a small farming community, so my love for agriculture and livestock runs deep. You can find me outside with my cows, laughing with my husband, friends and family!


Chelsea Peterson

Make Cycle 3 is complete and I feel that our class is getting into the swing of things. We are pushing what we thought were our limits in writing and discovering new ways to convey our thoughts to our audiences. In this make cycle, we focused on expository writing with mentor texts from Are You a Dragonfly? and The Gashlycrumb Tinies as well as some informative charts on education and writing cycles. We also read chapters 2 & 3 and Appendix C & D from About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland.

In our reading from About the Authors, we were introduced to getting started with our writing workshops. We learned how to set up our classroom so our students can focus on their writing, helping themselves to supplies and really being able to “make” their work in their own fashion. We also learned how to give our students the guidance they need in our ten minute introduction to be able to become writers in both the physical and mental realms. The authors immerse the students in language learning all day, not just during formal teaching times and it is important to not just be identifying writing themes during writing workshop but to address it in all activities we do in order to “wrap strong arms of teaching about how written language works” (Ray, 39). I also love the idea of making the classroom full of printed words, giving the children plenty of exposure to written works like books, magazines, and songs. This fully coats the room in a rich learning environment. For our posts we were to also choose a mentor author from a list and look up that author to become more familiar with their style of writing. I chose Cynthia Rylant for my mentor author. One thing I have noticed about her books is that she does lots of lists using ‘and’, ‘or’, and ‘but’ with very long sentences as in Snow:

“And while the snow is here this brief moment, let us take a walk and see how beautiful the world is and then come back to our white, quiet homes and make something warm to drink and maybe read or play a game or tell each other all that we’ve been thinking” (Rylant, Snow).

This use of ‘and’ reminds me of how children naturally talk and I think it would be an easy thing for the children to incorporate into their own writing.

Our mentor texts this week helped us to use informative or expository writing in a fun and unique manner. Are You a Dragonfly? speaks directly to the reader, helping you to be drawn into the text. The book is almost like an instructional “How-to” guide, leading you through the steps like when the authors tell you to “Creep upon your prey, then shoot out your mask and grab it” (Allen and Humphries, 7). We are learning how to be dragonflies when we read this book. I also liked the drawback to reality at the end: if you look like this then you are a child and “you can’t fly,” which helps the children come back out of their imagination (Allen & Humphries).

I believe that The Gashlycrumb Tinies was either a hit or a miss for most of our class. I felt that it is a humorous adult book, but I am not sure that it would be something I would be reading to my class.  However, I do like the story approach to the ABC’s, like The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg, which is a favorite of my five year old son. I also like the two line rhyme, which helps the kids to anticipate what the next page might say. However, like an article about the book stated, The Gashlycrumb Tinies is a bit too “antithetical to the very premise of the genre” and make the children think more about the bad things happening than the learning one would hope the children might get from an alphabet book. But that is just my opinion. Many of my fellow classmates really enjoyed the book, as Lisa Valdez stated in her post:

“I LOVED “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” so much that I shared it on my Facebook for my friends to enjoy. It made me laugh out loud, and I think that kids would really be thrilled to read this”

And she wasn’t alone, so I will agree to disagree on this book and appreciate it for its dry sense of humor and excellent illustrations.

It was extremely difficult to choose only a few examples of the wonderful work being made and posted on our G+ community. Everyone has put so much time and effort into each make, as well as a piece of themselves; it really is incredible and an exciting experience for us all.

The first work I chose was Lisa Valdez’s storyjumper book, ABC’s of Farm Life. The mixture of fun sentences focusing on a letter and the more in depth informational box make this book an excellent choice for both younger and older children. For younger children who tend to lose focus and, like my two year old, want to flip the pages before you are done reading, you can stick with the basic alphabet sentence. And if you have an older child that wants to learn more about the farm animals, you can go into more depth. I also like the highlighting of words that begin with the letter being focused on, something that I did in my book as well. This helps the children to search the page for the letter being addressed on that page.Book titled 'ABC's of Farm Life'

The second “make” that I chose was by Kellie Cabico who made a book to teach her daughter how to clean her room called Easy As 123 (see above). This is an excellent ‘how-to’ book on cleaning your room for kids. I wish I had this for my kids! I really enjoyed the incorporation of both repetition and rhyme, it makes the book fun and gives it a cadence on which you can rely helping you to focus on the information presented in the book. It is a very fun way to help kids get through the enormous task of cleaning their room, which is every child’s nightmare!

The third piece that I enjoyed was Rayn Bufford’s abc poem called “Younger Years of Fears.” It was an excellent expository on popular fears for children. I like the rhyming and the use of color to emphasize the letter and the correlating word in each line. It makes it pop! I also liked the repetition of “is for the” at the beginning of each sentence; it helps to focus on the exciting part of the line, and also helps me imagine the droll tone that a narrator would use to make the reading a bit creepy and humorous at the same time.

The final piece I chose to highlight was Erin Russo’s Are You An Elephant? (also see above) I loved the images used in this book; they gave it a very authentic quality. The information on elephants was perfect for children and the use of talking to the reader really draws you into the text. I also like how we were drawn back to the fact that we are humans, not elephants!

Author Bio: I am a returning student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with the hope of becoming an elementary school teacher. I live in West Point, California with my husband and four children and I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking and coaching soccer.

 

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