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.

Author: kjaxon

Make Cycle 7: Revise & Reflect is posted

Make Cycle 7: Revise & Reflect is posted

Hi all,

Love seeing the response to your writing assignments coming in from your partners. Great job on this assignment everyone!  Reflection due tonight (Sunday) on this assignment sequence.

Our LAST MAKE CYCLE is posted! 😉 You’ll respond to the last chapters of About the Authors and revise one of your previous Makes, ending with a Reflection & Manifesto assignment. I look forward to reading them.

And I am grateful that you are going into the teaching profession; we are lucky to have you.

You might appreciate seeing the news report on the work we did yesterday with teachers who are impacted by the fire. Yesterday was very emotional, but also incredibly rewarding as we start the long process of rebuilding…

Just do the next right thing

Just do the next right thing

Hi everyone,

I hardly know where to start really. I made a video just to make the reconnecting a bit easier perhaps.

I’ll start by saying I hope everyone is safe and your families are safe. For those of you who live in the area, we know that everything has changed. I am overwhelmed by both the seemingly endless need but also the incredible generosity we are experiencing. So many of my friends have lost everything, but they are the same people showing up to volunteer everywhere. Please please feel free to reach out with anything you might need moving forward. I can always connect people to resources.

We are going to just jump back in to the ideas in our class and I hope that will actually be comforting. I continue to play with due dates, so here’s where we stand. *NOTE: all of this information is on our website on the Make Cycle 6 page:

  • By tomorrow night (Nov 26), you should have the two assessment prompts (one on Chapter 7/Appendix G and one on Common Core) completed. I’m also fine with accepting these two prompts (you can even combine the prompts into one, longer response) anytime this week if needed.
  • AND, your writing assignment for your partner is due tomorrow night too (Nov 26). Please make sure to check share settings if sharing a Google Slide or Docs. Set to “anyone with link can view” to be sure we can see your assignment.
  • The response to your partner’s assignment is due Friday, Nov 30. I moved this back a bit to give you more time. See assignment description about posting.
  • Reflection on these series of assignments due Sunday, Dec 2 (this is the same).

Here are some links you might find comforting, interesting, helpful:

  • Link to my dear friend and colleague, Sarah Pape’s, Op-Ed in the New York Times about the Paradise fire. Link HERE
  • Link to another friend’s blog about the fire and our work as teachers. LINK HERE
  • Link to Chico State’s FAQ’s for students regarding the fire and resources. LINK here
  • Link to Facebook group supporting teachers impacted by the fire. Link HERE

Look forward to our continuing work. Take good care


Updates: Week 11

Updates: Week 11

Hi everyone!

Lots of information below…please read carefully. 😉

–I just sent grade updates up through last night’s Make. Thank you for the creative approaches to the multimodal make! I really enjoyed looking through all the games, memes, and websites this morning! I know making a website can be challenging: I appreciate giving it an attempt. Also, I shared this link with a couple of students, but you might like these StoryCubes for your classes (or your family): LINK HERE. I have a few of them and they make creating stories really playful.

–Make Cycle 6 is now live: LINK HERE. In this next cycle, you’ll be taking what you’ve learned and creating a writing activity for a partner in our class. This is a THREE week cycle, so we’ll start it before Thanksgiving break and then finish when we return. As I mention in the assignment, you should address your activity to your partner and keep in touch with them for any issues. AND, I actually made a new video to check in with this assignment (see below and other places on the site too).

Find your partner below for Make Cycle 6:

  • Susana and Estafani
  • Sophia and Mackenzie H
  • Krystal B and Krystle D
  • Marc and Laurence
  • Rebecca and Krystina H
  • Ruthann and Kathryn
  • Alyssa and Bailey
  • Megan and Kaylin
  • Natalie and Amanda
  • Julia and Leslie
  • Donovan and Keith
  • Bertha and Tessa
  • Miriam and Giselle
  • Kendall and McKenzie Z
  • Madison and Catherine
  • Olivia and Daniela

–For fun, and in the fall spirit, I came across this great set of resources for teaching about Halloween and Day of the Dead: Link HERE And this weekend, I was part of a featured conversation about feedback on student writing. You can listen to the short radio broadcast HERE if you’re interested. 😉

PLEASE VOTE tomorrow! Public education needs you to be involved and vote!
Happy Monday!

Featured Curators Make Cycle 3: Kendall, Laurence, Alyssa, Bertha, & Estefani

Featured Curators Make Cycle 3: Kendall, Laurence, Alyssa, Bertha, & Estefani

Kendall Eagleton

“We have to work to maintain a balance between having expectations the children feel they can successfully meet and having expectations that challenge children to do better and better work as writers, and we have to do this while thinking about children at many different developmental levels.” –Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland, About the Authors

I found that this sentence alone is so powerful within this chapter from About the Authors. I think that it is so important that children feel like they are challenged in whatever they do, in this case writing, but also that they feel they can reach these goals. From experience with myself, kids who I have worked with, but also my own children, if they feel like they can’t succeed then they tend to give up because the challenge is too much.

I also like the idea of holding onto each piece the children complete. This is a great way for them to reflect or even to just go back and read some of the stuff they have written. Allowing these children to write about whatever interest them instead of using a single topic a day keeps them interested in creating. This chapter was useful for describing work, space, and time within writing workshops.

How to read like writers was interesting. I can see how reading like writers may be important later, although I am just confused on why young children need to know this. I feel like they are learning so much everyday that needing to know the word choice and approach of someone else’s approach. I guess I am just also looking from the perspective on a young child, like kindergarten to 2nd grade. Is this really something that they need to know at this young age, or is this something geared more toward the older kids?

Chapter 3 was also very insightful for me this week. Some things that stuck with me was that fact that language is learned all day long. It isn’t something that a child is learning when they are in school or in the writing workshop: it is happening everywhere. Wood Ray and Cleaveland discuss how when we are reading aloud to children, we are also teaching writing. I guess that this might be a reason why it is beneficial for infants to hear writing, so they are ready when it’s time to learn all of this stuff. “We know that learning to hear how a text sounds will grow to be one of the most important revision tools they will use as more experienced writers.” But the one thing I mentioned earlier is that language just doesn’t stop. No matter what a child is doing, they are being exposed to writing and language.

As part of our assignments this week, I chose to work with Eric Carle. I am extremely familiar with his books, my kids love them, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about this author. I know that a lot of his books are about animals, which I think that is something that children really enjoy learning about. For example, there are animals that see each other, there is a book about what different animals can do, and to see if we could do it to, etc. One of his most popular books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and although his story is about the progression of how a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, the food he eats is inaccurate. But this is what Mac Barnett discussed during his TED talk video we watched previously. This gives the children a sense of WONDER. It allows them to know that a caterpillar wouldn’t be eating such foods, but at the same time they believe it’s true. I want the kids in my class to be able to get lost in that WONDER. So, using books like that one can allow children to do just that. Another great thing that Eric Carle does in his books is provides a tremendous amount of color. Color brings adventure out in children and gives them something to look at. I want my students to enjoy books just like the ones similar to Eric Carle.

During week 6 we also read some fun, different and even educational stories: Are You a Dragonfly? and The Gashlycrumb Tinies along with two infographics. These are all different ways to pass along information. The two infographic pages were filled with information but was creatively places to pull a reader in. The dragonfly book was perfect for children to read, it showed wonderful pictures that really would interest children, but it also was filled with factual information about the life of a dragonfly. Stories like this one has the ability to interest a range of readers; from children to adults.

With that being said, the make for this cycle was to create our own expository writings. Here are some of my favorites:

Amanda Sanders created a scary ABC expository book with a theme of Halloween. For each letter Amanda used words that began with the same letter. I thought this was a really creative touch to the book. I can tell she spent the time to really think about it and created something that is an eye catcher. Not only that, but Amanda also used creative pictures to illustrate her writings.

Krystal Bandith created an infographic page about Halloween. I thought that the way the information was sectioned and had different fonts and colors really made this page so aesthetically pleasing. Krystal had so many pieces of factual information that even I had no idea about. It was nice to see that someone created an infographic page is share.

Estefani Galarza created a book called Did You Know?  I thought that this story was really creative and informative about the sunflower. The first page in the book asks a question, “did you ever know that sunflower is the only flower that has flower in the name?” I thought that was the perfect way to start her book. I also thought that the illustrations that Estefani chose were also really beautiful.

Author Bio: My name is Kendall Eagleton I currently live in Rohnert Park. I have two little boys whom I adore. I am a senior here at Chico State, next semester will be my very last. I was actually born and raised in Chico and lived there all my life until I was about 21. I received my AA right out of high school and then I took a break from school when I had my boys (5 and 3). I enrolled back into school when I was pregnant for my child develop courses and then decided that wasn’t it for me so I am pursuing my credential. I enjoy getting outside and hanging out with my family, going to parks, being busy. Don’t get me wrong though, weekends are my favorite times to sleep in although it’s not like it was before kids. I enjoy getting out and trying new restaurants because I hate to cook, and I am not very good at it. I enjoy bike rides, park visits, and anything sports.

Laurence Gammell

In make cycle 3, we viewed and discussed some readings from About the Authors, watched a couple of videos and responded to a question of our choice. In the chapter 2 and 3 we discussed how we viewed the readings, if we were confused, something interested us or if we just liked something specific about what we read. I myself choose to pick something I liked from the chapters and responded to that. I’ve always been a person who enjoys learning something new, whether it be a new fact, word, concept or any other useful information. For the videos responses we watched two completely different videos: one was Are You a Dragonfly and the other was The Gashlycrumb Tinies. The dragonfly video gave specific facts about the life of a dragonfly and then compared the dragonfly to something more relatable, so young children could have a better understanding. I thought this was an excellent book to inform children on the topic and having books like this in the classroom will be a good secondary teaching tool. The Gashlycrumb Tinies was something I didn’t expect. It was a neat story with an initiative take on the ABC’s., with a dark context to it. 

In a response to chapter 3 reading, Olivia Najera picked to write about environmental support, which I thought was a important topic from that chapter:

 “Something I really liked in chapter 3 was the environmental support portion. I thought it was cool to see what a room with rich environmental print looks like and took me back to my elementary school days. I chose this because I remember having alphabet strips and pieces of writing on the wall of my classrooms and how helpful it was.”

 I liked this concept from chapter 3 as well and feel it’s important to set your classroom up in away where your maximizing student learning. This means labeling everything from the floor to the ceiling so your exposing students to words. Students will see these words and make connections by associating the words to the labeled item or picture. This is a good way to reinforce learning of the classroom environment and to build on prior knowledge.

Krystina Hockman had the perfect response to The Gashlycrumb Tinies video reading of the book. I don’t know if I would have to the same thought approach on the topic, but after reading her response I agree with her. It’s an informative book on the many ways of death and would be a good classroom read around Halloween. Although talking about death with young students can be a touchy subject but this book is a good way to enlighten them. I would, however, send letters home to the parents letting them know that the class is going to be covering this book. The last thing a teacher wants to deal with is an irate parent who is unhappy because they didn’t want their student to learn about death at such a young age.

The next text, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, was the perfect macabre story to read to children who are already aware of death but who might benefit from knowing all the ways humans could pass. The book is entertaining and perfect for Halloween, but the vital part of this book is that it was informational. This story would open the discussion of death and students would then have the opportunity to learn about new words such as “ennui” or “awl.” The “ABC” format is engaging and easy for children to follow. I could see another book follow this style, but perhaps the “ABCs” could be based on the names of diseases or ways to die rather than names to provide even more information. I think this book would have to be carefully timed and presented to the right age of students. I loved the book and wished I had come across it sooner!

Krystina covered all my worries and made me understand that it’s ok to teach students about death if you do it at the right time, and that it can be a positive learning tool that can spark conversations in the classroom. (*Dr Jaxon’s note: I love this Edward Gorey book as it reminds me a lot of Tim Burton’s work, who was to follow later. However, I don’t necessarily intend this book to be used with kids; some of the books we read in class are for grown-ups. And I love the dark humor for October especially.) 

Rebecca Carney’s ABC book is a good response to add to the curator project. Rebecca choose to use the ABC book to teach the students about rough situations at school. This is a good teaching moment because it can spark conversations about how to handle such situations in a positive way. I feel the students could relate to a book like this and it flows smoothly from letter to letter. Rebecca did a great job and I want to highlight her book:

Author Bio:  My name is Laurence Gammell, and I am in the last semester of my senior year at Chico State. I plan on going into the credential program in the spring of 2019, to gain my academic credentials to become a teacher. I currently run an after-school program for a local Chico charter school and have been doing so for a quite a few years. The students have been a joy to work with and my staff has been very supportive. I look forward to taking my next steps in working with students and taking on a new role.

Alyssa Dettloff

With Make Cycle 3, we continued with our discussions using About the Authors for inspiration. A section that I found interesting in chapter 3 was on environmental support for reading and writing. Classrooms are always filled with all types of print for students, but I didn’t realize how useful this can be for students. The walls, desk, tables, sides of bookcases, even the floors can be filled with print for the students to interact with. These prints can include alphabet charts, number charts, calendars, signs, lists of students names, and word walls for students to look at, wonder and talk about, and use as a reference when they need help writing on their own. A good idea in kindergarten is to have alphabet strips on the tables where children are working so they can use them as reference on how the letters are formed. Rather than just hanging up print around the classroom and never using it, teachers can talk about the prints to make sure students are using them as they work on their reading and writing skills.

Chapter 2 highlighted ways to help guide children into being successful writers! Lisa, a teacher, shared what works in her classroom. At the beginning of the year, she establishes that to be finished with a book, you must meet all of these guidelines:

  • All of my pages are full of writing and illustrations and are about the same big idea
  • All of my illustrations go along with my words
  • I have a date stamp and my name on my book
  • I have shared my writing with someone who would be interested in it

I feel that this is a great checklist to have on a poster in the classroom. This would 1) help guide students to what the teacher expects of their writing and 2) help stop questions like “Am i done yet?” because students will know they are done writing when they have completed the checklist. As the year progresses, Lisa notes that as students get more writing experience, she adds more steps to the guidelines, such as:

  • I can read all of the words I’ve written
  • I can tell you the genre of the piece
  • I have edited my writing for high-frequency spellings I should know

This idea of a guideline for writing in a checklist type of way is great to build upon as students gain more writing skills and the teacher starts expecting more from the students.

During this make, we also read two mentor texts: Are You a Dragonfly and The Gashlycrumb Tinies. These are both well crafted to convey the author’s intended theme to the reader. In Are You a Dragonfly, the author presents a ton of information about dragonflies in a way that is interesting to children. If a child had read that information in a science textbook, they would be much less likely to retain the information than reading it in this fun story book form! Some of the facts that the author introduced seemed slightly complex for young children to understand, such as shedding off skin and having many more layers underneath, but the illustrations helped to convey these ideas in a visual way. For the author to write this book, they must have done a ton of research on dragonflies to ensure that all of the information presented in the book is scientifically correct. The Gashlycrumb Tinies was very creepy to me, but this is the tone that the author intended. The content and pictures of the book are creepy, but what made it the scariest for me was the tone the reader read the book in and the music being played in the background. This shows us that the reading of a book has a huge impact on the themes and tones that are felt by the reader or listener, so it is important to put a focus on how we are reading aloud to our students. A message I received from both of these model texts to use in my expository work is that theme has a huge impact on how the work is received. Choosing a central theme or tone and sticking with it throughout the work makes a story much more capturing to a reader or listener.

I absolutely loved Natalie Gomes’ make “The ABCs of Traveling.” The idea is engaging and relatable to kids. I also loved all of the different colors and pictures in her book to keep it interesting! She defined each of the terms in the book, such as “D-Destination: The place to which someone or something is going or being sent.” Having definitions in a fun book like this is a great way to have students expand their vocabulary without even realizing it.

I also really enjoyed Krystina Hockman’s make. She created a fun list of how to write effective instructions. This isn’t something we often think to teach children but it is so important! Krystina took her own experience in elementary school of a lesson on how to write effective instructions and build upon that to make her own graphic organizer that she could use in the classroom to teach students.

Author Bio: My name is Alyssa Dettloff and I am a senior at Chico State. I transferred to Chico after earning my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies at a community college. After attending my community college, I had several CSUs I was looking into transferring to and I choose Chico because of its adorable town and quality teacher’s education program! My major is liberal studies but I plan to work towards a single subject English credential because after volunteering with many different age groups, I found that I will be the most effective as a middle school teacher. I work at Dutch Bros in Chico and absolutely LOVE my job and all of the awesome people I get to interact with. I spend all of my free time hanging out with my friends, taking my dog on hikes, and going to music festivals!

Bertha Gallardo

I wanted to talk about chapter 2 of About the Authors, which I found interesting in that this is the second time I have read about writing workshops. When you have young children, it’s hard to imagine that they will be able to sit down and be able to write for an hour. I think that it was interesting that the first few days the authors set kids up to write for only 15 minutes so that the students can feel like they have been working the whole time and feel successful. This is very smart because they give the students confidence to thrive with their writing. From appendix C, we learned that teaching writing by teaching how to read helps students understand different types of literature and helps with their writing development. This idea matters for us as future teachers because it helps us develop new ways of teaching students how to write than the other basic form of worksheets and fill in the blanks.

For the mentor texts my favorite was The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey: I like creepy things and stories. This is not a kid’s book, but it is something I would read to an older group of students. I like the way the alphabet is used for the name of the kids in the story. I feel like this was very challenging for the writer to come up with a name for each letter that related to the theme of the book. For my expository text I feel like I need to be more creative in the story telling and what themes to write. One of my classmates commented on my posting about The Gashlycrumb Tinies: “I thought it was interesting that I like this book” because of how creepy and strange it was. I saw that same discussion in other post and comments within our classroom. I think you either like scary or creepy stories or you don’t. 😉

The first make I would like to highlight is Miriam Rodriguez and her book “ABC’s of Halloween Night.” I think this writing piece highlights the creativity in trying to find phrases or words that go with the alphabet like the author Edward Gorey. I really enjoyed reading this story and all different words that relate to Halloween night. One of my favorite lines was “H is for Hocus Pocus. A classic movie we all need to see.” I think that this style of writing can be difficult when you focus on one specific subject but when it is done it can be very entertaining.

The second make is Bailey Hunn, her version of “ABC’s of Halloween” is kid friendly. Unlike Edward Gorey who I would not read to my daughter, this book I would. I think the use of the art clips with the writings in the book make it easy for younger kids to read. I would used these books and type of writing in my classrooms, especially during holidays because it is easier to write about things you enjoy like Halloween.

The third one I would like to highlight is “If I Were a Butterfly” by Ruthann Ford. This make has the same writing style as Are You a Dragonfly? For this book, the writer needed to find out facts about butterflies and translate them into words that could be understood by a younger crowd. This type of writing style is good because you are teaching students something in a fun way. I would like to use this writing style in my future classrooms so my students can learn about different things in a first person perspective.

Author Bio: Hello my name is Bertha Gallardo. I live in Riverside, CA. I want to teach elementary, hopefully 4th or 5th grade. My favorite subject in school has always been history. I love reading holiday children’s books, for example, Halloween books or Christmas books.

Estefani Galarza

For make cycle 3 we read Are You a Dragonfly?, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and an article about The Gashlycrumb Tinies. We also went ahead and looked at the two infographics that were provided for us. My favorite text was Are You A Dragonfly? because it helped me realize that there are many ways you can write an expository text that a young child will understand. Also, I learned that if we want to write an expository text, then we have to be well informed about anything we are writing about. One of my peers made a great point on her discussion post: “Some features that I noticed from the first book Are You a Dragonfly? was that it was very informative. It went on and talked about the stages of the dragonfly’s life. This would be a good book for students to read when learning about dragonflies maybe in a science class.” (Natalie Gomes) She pointed out something that I did not realize until after: This book teaches students how expository writing should look and also teaches them about the different stages of a dragonfly. We can incorporate so many things by just doing one. For example, Are You a Dragonfly? teaches them an English lesson and a science lesson! Cool right?!

In all honesty, The Gashlycrumb Tinies was the one I did not enjoy as much. At first I didn’t really get it but after reading my peer’s discussions it helped me get a better explanation about the story. My peers also pointed out different important things about the book. For example: “it still gave a creative outlook and the big letters at the beginning of the word helps the word to stand out. This helps the alphabet to be learned for young children.” My peer Krystle Duggins pointed this out in her discussion post and I totally agree with her. Any little thing can help students learn something new. Another interpretation that there was on the book was, “ This novel also had to be researched on the deaths that has happened to children. I am also not sure if I do or do not like this last novel, since it was spooky” (Miriam Rodriguez). It was totally spooky and maybe that is why I did not enjoy it as much. 😉

Author BioMy name is Estefani Galarza! I am a transfer student from Victor Valley College where I got my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts/ Arts & Humanities. I transferred to Chico State to continue my education in Liberal Studies. My goal is to graduate from Chico State with my Bachelors in Liberal Studies and a minor in Spanish.

Week 7 update

Week 7 update

Hi everyone,

The Makes for Engaging Expositions are looking great (due tonight, Oct 7)! You have some adorable ABC books on the G+ community…great fall themes too. I continue to appreciate the work you are all doing in thinking about the teaching of writing and taking some risks with your own writing.

finally have the blogs up from our featured Curators for Make Cycle 2. So many of you are featured in their blogsso be sure to check it out on our site: LINK HERE. Thank you McKenzie, Suzy, Miriam, Giselle, Daniela, and Keith for highlighting all the great work with storytelling from your peers.  Up next week for Make Cycle 3 featured curators are Alyssa Dettloff, Kendall Eagleton, Estefani Galarza, Bertha Gallardo, and Laurence Gammell. I sent you all an email earlier, so be sure to look that over and let me know if you have questions. (Remember everyone: you can find your assigned Make Cycle for the featured curator assignment on the Assignments page. One time only assignment.)

I sent a grade update a few days ago to your Wildcat mail; I’ll send another in about a week. Thank you for continuing to give feedback to your peers; building a writing community is really important to the work we’re doing as future educators. Remember to respond to someone each time when you post your own response. 😉

Make Cycle 4 (Compelling Arguments) is now live: Link HERE. You’ll probably be happy to see that I slowed the pace down just a bit this week so everyone can take a breath (you’ve been working so hard in this class; thank you!): your next response is due in a week (Oct 14), so no Wednesday response this week. Slightly more reading, but one less response. I do expect you’ll write a meaty response by next Sunday since you’re working with a couple of chapters–4 & 5 plus Appendix E–from About the Authors.

Happy Sunday!


Featured Curators Make Cycle 2: McKenzie, Suzy, Miriam, Giselle, Daniela, & Keith

Featured Curators Make Cycle 2: McKenzie, Suzy, Miriam, Giselle, Daniela, & Keith

McKenzie Zwetsloot

I felt that this second Make Cycle went very well! In Make Cycle Two, we started off with responding to a text we had to read. In week one, we read About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland, and watched a TED talk by Mac Barnett. After reading Chapter One of About the Authors and looking into students’ writing and how they come up with answers, I feel like I understand more how children think about writing. One of the things that I learned while reading this chapter is, to get kids to write more, is to tell them that they are writing a book. When children are required to make a book, they know that there is writing on every page and sometimes a picture on every page. I liked reading the story about Maggie and Larke. You can tell that these girls set out to create big work because their book is going to be a series. They created pages and pages of what Maggie and Larke like to do together such as dinner and dance, what kind of things they like such as the sun and the moon, and how much they like each other.

Next, we watched the TED talk by Mac Barnett. I really enjoyed watching this TED talk, even my fiancé loved it! The talk was about how to get kids to enjoy reading and to take their reading to the next level. I loved listening about how little kids like Nico read Barnett’s book about having a whale as a pet and were able to actually get engaged with the book and have a “pet” whale of their own. It was so cute to listen to Nico’s voice messages to his pet whale and how often he would call to check up on him. I think that it is important for teachers to encourage their students to read in order to keep their imaginations flowing and allowing them to be excited about the world. Mac Barnett’s message was to find a balance between fiction and reality and always allow their students to find an escape to a magical world with reading.

We were also required to glance at a slide deck that consisted of many different ideas that we could use for writing. There were questions like, “Things that annoy me, Thing I want to learn more about, Things I like to do, Things I fear” etc. We were supposed to write for 2 minutes on each topic and then we would have 14 starter ideas!

During week 2, we started with watching/ reading two books. The first one was The Dot by Peter H Reynolds. The beginning started out with a little girl who thought that she was no good at drawing. The teacher told her to draw a dot and sign her name at the bottom. The next day, her painting was hung up on the wall above her teacher’s desk. I really liked this part of the book because what the teacher did was really inspire the little girl that her drawing could be whatever she wanted it to be and she knew that her teacher supported and loved her drawing even though it was just a dot. Next, the little girl decides that she can draw better dots than that and proves to herself and others that you can do whatever your heart pleases. The teacher was a major motivator for this child. The teacher inspired the little girl to believing that she could paint. The ending was really sweet because the little girl’s paintings were everywhere for an art show. A little boy came up to the little girl and said “I wish I were as good of a painter as you, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler!” The little girl gives the boy a paper and pencil and tells him to draw a line. The outcome is a very squiggly line and the little girl says sign it! The boy is very excited and proud.

The next story was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. This book was about a little boy who woke up in the worst mood and continued to have unfortunate events that made his day even worse. I thought that at the end something good would finally come of his day but the story ended with him sleeping with no pillow and his pet cat sleeping with his brother instead of him. Both of these stories were so cute and I was happy to read and respond to both of them.

Finally, at the end of the week, we all created our Make 2. We used StoryJumper as a way to share our story inspired by this week’s work. I really enjoyed reading Megan Gatzka’s story called “The Not so Good Very Bad Day.” This story book was very relatable because like Alexander’s Not so Good Very Bad Day, Megan left this playful note explaining what had happened during her day: “I recently had a terrible day, which thankfully doesn’t happen often. I did not include the driver who was in front of me on my way back to work who sprayed his windshield wiper fluid all over my nice clean car. I am so lucky to have friends I work with to brighten my day or I probably would have gone to jail. Enjoy!” Megan’s story was great because it was something that we can all relate to. Sometimes we just have terrible days and have to just remember that tomorrow is a new day! 

I also loved reading Miriam Rodriguez’s story called “Not Enough Time.” This clever story was so well done! It was about a little girl who was on summer vacation and couldn’t decide what she would do with her time. She decided to make a list  and it ended up taking a lot of her time. At the end she just decided to sleep, sleep, and sleep. I love this story because it is also so relatable. I feel like we always have such high expectations of summer vacation and always just end up sleeping for the majority of it. I loved this make! 

Overall, these last past 2 weeks have been great and I feel as though I am learning new tricks everyday that I could use in the classroom. I love reading what other people post and getting ideas from my peers. We all work so hard in this class and I am happy to see what is to come in the upcoming weeks!

Author Bio: My name is McKenzie Zwetsloot and I am a senior at Chico. I love to travel and adventure to new places. I am originally from the Bay Area but moved to Chico 2 years ago. I am graduating in a year and hopefully joining the credential program at CSU East Bay summer 2019. I am passionate about helping others and working hard. I can’t wait to become a teacher!

Susana Arredondo

Make Cycle 2 was all about purposeful storytelling, the power of a story, how we can create ideas for our own storytelling, and we are still getting to know one each other through the stories and ideas we bring to our google + community.

At the start of this make cycle we were introduced to our book About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray; we focused on chapter one, which gave us some tips and tricks to do in our own future classrooms. We learned about the importance of writing workshops and how excited some students get when teachers hand them a stack of blank paper and we ask them to “staple the paper together, now make a book.” Children love the idea of projects and building things so let’s allow them to explore and come up with their own story.  

In our book, we were asked as future teachers if we noticed anything about the examples written by prior students. Catherine Navarro wrote,

After reading About the Authors and studying Josh, Maggie, and Lurke’s writing I noticed that they understand what a book is. They also know what a book cover should look like and who the book cover should give credit to (writer and illustrator). It was also interesting how they created a story that made sense and had a story plot. Some words were missed spelled, but one could still understand what they were trying to say. Also, John’s punctuation was obviously there, and he was capitalizing his words in the beginning of the sentence and the title. What surprised me the most about young writers was their ability to create a story that are well organized.”

Most of us seemed very surprised at how much the students knew when it came to create a book; we also agreed that students really enjoy and should get the opportunity to explore the art of making stuff.

Later that week we watched Mac Barnett’s TED talk video. This video had us questioning if fiction or reality should be taught to students. In Amanda Sanders response I really like that she said, “It was inspiring to hear him talk about the necessity to dance on the line of fiction and reality.” I also really liked what Laurence Gammell said in his response,

“What I took away from the Mac Barnett Ted Talk was, how to be creative with students are young children. If we can intrigue their minds then we can have a creative effect on the way they think, perceive things or imagine a storyline of a book. This transfers to the classroom because as teachers we have the ability to make our own rooms as fun and playful possible.”

Followed by this video we made our own list of topics and ideas for future writing prompts. I like how we had time to come up with our own list of ideas. Reading some of the list made me add to my very own list. These lists are important because they help us brainstorm and these topics mean something special to each and every one of us.

Week two of Make Cycle 2 we got to read several stories and reflect on what we took from those readings. We read The Dot, Alexander Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and Mysteries of Harris Burdick. I noticed a majority of the class really enjoyed The Dot. I liked what Bertha Gallardo said, “The Dot by Peter Reynolds you see that by the teacher framing the first little dot, it created a story and many other great paintings. This shows that as teachers we can inspire our students to create something out of something that they might not think is as significant.” My personal favorite part about The Dot was when the teacher had Vashti sign the piece of artwork she had just completed. The teacher did a great job at making her student believe even a single dot was something to celebrate.

For the final part of Make Cycle 2 we created our own make. For this make I saw many more classmates using StoryJumper, which I find very easy to use but personally I am not a huge fan of the illustration; next time I will try to add more photos I have or find different pictures online rather than the clip art or photos provided by StoryJumper. I really enjoyed all the stories I read: good job everyone! I’m sharing Giselle Serna’s who created a book called “Dear Wiggly Tooth” because everyone can easily relate. I think students would enjoy this book and I think she did a really good job!

Keep up the good work English 333!

Author Bio: My name is Susana Alexis Arredondo but I like to be called Suzy. I am from Live Oak, CA and this is my second semester at Chico State. I am furthering my studies in Liberal Arts. I ended up going to Chico State because it is very close, but far enough from home. I graduated from Live Oak High School and Yuba College. I have associates in Social and Behavioral Sciences. My interests include painting, listening to music, traveling, hiking, watching movies and playing with my nieces and nephews.

Miriam Rodriguez Delgadillo

Make Cycle 2 went very well. In the beginning, we were able to start reading our book called About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleveland. In the first chapter we saw examples of a student’s work. One of the students used as an example, Josh, showed us how much in detailed he set up his pictures and how well he organized his story. A lot of my classmates were in shock that his work was seen as proficient work, since he had a lot of misspelled words. The author then explained to us that even if some of the words were misspelled that his sight words were written correctly and that is what matters. Natalie Gomes says,

One point that really stood out to me was ‘The key to believing in out students’ ability to do really big work in our writing workshops is to remember they will do it like five- and six- and seven year olds. It will look and sound like five- and six- and seven year olds wrote it. If we can accept this, then they can do it, whatever it may be.’ I really liked this part because I think it is true, teachers need to realize the appropriate level these students should be at and accept that their work isn’t going to be the same as a 10 or 11-year-old. I think that the student needs the teachers support all the way or they won’t succeed.”

I believe this is important to remember that kids are kids and focus on their strengths instead of weaknesses.

In this chapter it also mentioned the importance of having children write books. When they write the books they get to write about a topic they like, and they even get to draw pictures with their writing. This encourages writing; it helps them realize and see that writing is actually fun.

By Sunday we watched Mac Barnett’s Ted Talk. In his Ted talks he mentioned why it was so important for him to be an author because he gets to share his ideas with children. He then shared a great story on how a child named Niko  kept calling for about four years in regards to the whale book that Barnett had written. Barnett includes a telephone number in his book Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem so children can request and contact their own whale. He mentioned how important it is for children to be able to imagine. Then, we also went through a powerpoint where we made lists of things that came up in our minds when we saw the question in about two minutes. This was very fun since many created a list of things we enjoy, things that make us upset, dreams, etc. Marc Blair shared about who is important to him, after making the list.

Things I think every person should do before they die:

Find a real love. Find someone who you can enjoy things with. I never cared about being alone but I realized later the enjoyment of being with someone who cares for you unconditionally. It’s double the fun. I also think everyone should travel even though I have yet to do it. I one day hope to. I would love to travel and see various countries and experience their culture and history.

I think many, after writing the lists, were able to reflect about ourselves and our lives. We had stories to share after making their lists. I liked how after knowing who Marc loved he was then able to share his story with us, and explain why he cares so much about them, and what he does to show them how important they are to him. I think he shows a lot of emotions and honesty throughout his writing.

By Wednesday we watched three different texts: The Dot, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. I really enjoyed the book The Dot. It was about a girl who did not want to draw because she thought she was not good enough to draw. Her teacher then told her to try, and she then did a dot. The teacher then asked her to put her signature on it, and after that she wanted to improve and keep drawing. This showed how one teacher can help the confidence of a child to believe they can do it. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was about a boy who had an awful day. He kept getting in trouble for things that he did and not cause, for accidents, and so much more. This resonates to many children since they often see days as a “horrible day” because of small incidents. In the last book we read it was written by a student after seeing a picture, the student tried to create a story for the picture. This would be fun as a classroom essay because children can use their imagination to write their own stories, since everyone sees drawings/pictures differently.

Lastly, on Sunday we created our own story. We were to create a story that was like the books we had read, or from the list we had made. Many of my classmates used Storyjumper, slideshows, and others created their own books and loading it up by taking pictures. Kaylin Renfro wrote a story called “Sunshine & Rainbows” and she used Storyjumper.

In her story she talks about how you can have different perspectives everyday, whether it is positive or negative. I really liked her story because it had very great illustrations but it mentioned to try to be happy, and even if some days are not “good days” to try to make them as happy as any other day: it is your choice to change the perspective of it.

Overall, everyone had very great discussions for Make 2!

Author Bio: Miriam Rodriguez Delgadillo is a first generation student. This is her second year at Chico State; she is a transfer student from Yuba College. After being able to work with children at her job Mini Corps, she was able to realize she wants to be an elementary school teacher.

Giselle Serna

Leslie Phillips’ take on The Dot and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in Make 2 was everything and more than I possibly could have ever wanted to know about how these two stories can help readers. I believe that she did a good job because she was able to denote what the differences were but also how they were similar. Leslie mentions that these stories both show students that you musn’t give up and that you have to keep going even when things don’t look so good. Leslie believes that motivation is key for students and these stories both help support that view.

I also enjoyed reading Kaylin Renfro’s point of view on Mac Barnetts’ Ted Talk because she brought to light a different point of view. She doesn’t believe that knowing the difference between truth and fiction is very important when you’re young. At first I had a completely opposite perspective on the subject but after hearing what she had to say I completely changed my mind. Kaylin states that “We all grow up too fast…” I completely agree with this because children today mature very quickly. Sometimes we wish they would stay smaller for more time. Kaylin thinks that the children who use their minds and imagination will be the ones who will change the world. I loved her point of view on this.

For my last entry, I decided to read Keith Oakes’ book “Luke Goes Fishing.” I chose this book because the cover caught my eye. It was super cute and looked like it took time and effort. I really enjoyed reading this book because it was very relatable. I think this book could teach children a lesson about throwing away their food. This story was also very fun to read and I wasn’t bored at all as I flipped through the pages. I would definitely incorporate this room into my classroom because it teaches children to be grateful for what they have.

These last weeks have taught me how to be more open minded and also less hard on myself. Although we were learning about children and how they face some negative moments, I found that I resonate with much of what was being said. This class has shows me how difficult children probably have it when they’re trying to write. There was moments when I am struggling for things to write and I can only imagine what a child would be feeling. These last two weeks have taught me much about how stories come to be,  the importance they carry sometimes, and the lessons they teach. I find it reassuring that subconsciously I was taught many of these lessons through books I encountered at a young age.

Author Bio: Hi, my name is Giselle and I’m 19 years old. I live in Corning, CA with my mom, dad, and little sister. I have three 2 lb chihuahuas named Martiano, Joey, and Dolly. I can play 5 instruments now as of last week. I am also participating in CAVE as a classroom aid. My dream to be a teacher began my senior year of high school and I’ve been on my journey through college for a year now.

Daniela Quintana

For Make Cycle 2, we worked on purposeful storytelling. For the first week of the make cycle we read chapter 1 in About the Authors. After reading Chapter 1, and the A & B Units of Study, I noticed several different things about the children’s writing. One of the things I noticed was that the children’s writing is big in the examples provide, but that it will change with time. Another thing I noticed was that the words are written out by how they are sounded out. Children can’t spell a lot but what is good is that they try their best by sounding it out. The children in the book’s examples were also using different punctuations like periods, exclamation marks, and question marks, which is sophisticated for 1st grade. One of the things that surprised me was how much a child can remember about an animal and how they can  write a book about it and even do illustrations. Or how they mention that they want to write a series about them being friends.

I’m excited and nervous to teach children writing because I want to see where their imagination takes them and see what they write about. I’m excited to see the children progress throughout the year. Making books like mentioned in the textbook will help a lot because we can keep track of how they are progressing throughout the year.

During the second week of make 2 we read The Dot, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The Dot was a great story and a story we should all read to our future students. It shows that we should always believe in ourselves. It showed us you do not have to be talented to draw or paint. Anything is art. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day can relate to students because there are days that aren’t too good. Students have bad days. A bad day can be just not being able to play with a toy they want. It shows students that it is fine to have bad days and you can use this idea in conversations with students.

To end the make we had to create own book about an event in our lives. I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories, but one that I really enjoyed was Krystina Hockman’s story “Kitty’s Big Move.”

I enjoyed Kitty’s Big Move because it talked about Krystina’s move to Seattle, but it was from her kitty’s perspective. Another story I really enjoyed reading was “Not Enough Time” (see above) by Miriam Rodriguez Delgadillo. I really enjoyed this story because I was able to relate to it. She wants to do all these things, but couldn’t decide what decide what to do so she just decided to sleep. I liked how it was about Miriam’s life, but she decided it to do it from a little girl’s perspective. The other one I enjoyed was “Beenie the Green Worm” by Julia Kaplan. This was a very interesting book that teaches us that being different is alright. There is nothing wrong with being different than everyone else.

Author BioMy name is Daniela Quintana and I am 22 years old. I was born in Mexico, but have lived in Napa for 16 years. I graduated from the Napa Valley College in May 2017 and received my Associates in Psychology. After I graduated NVC, I transferred to Chico State and started in the Fall 2017. I enjoy working with children and have been working with them since 2014. I plan on receiving my bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and then receiving my teaching credential. I want to teach any grade from Kindergarten to second grade.

Keith Oakes

The first make that I really liked was Krystina Hockman’sKitty’s Big Move” (see above) and the reason I found this make so great was because of the illustrations. The story was lacking on the storytelling aspect of the book, but what the book excelled at was the illustrations that were added into every page. Each page really told the story of what was happening in the story and even if you were to take out all the words, I believe you could still follow along with the plot of the story. Krystina did a fantastic job conveying Kitty’s story arc of her move to Seattle.

I also appreciated Miriam Rodriguez Delgadillo’s “Not Enough Time.” Miriam created a very solid story with her make for week 2. She was able to balance a compelling story with that of illustrations that followed along with the story. Miriam uses repeating words to create a flow and continuity amongst the different sections of the book. Kids love repetitiveness and it helps them remember stories easier and I think this would be a good thing to remember once you become a teacher because stories that follow this formula tend to be successful. I was very impressed with Miriam’s make and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Finally, Julia Kaplan’sBennie the Green Worm” was perhaps my favorite storyjumper make from this week and that’s partly due to it being similar to The Ugly Duckling which is one of my favorite childhood books. Julia does a great job separating Bennie from the other worms by making his appearance different than the other worms as well as having his name start with a letter other than “W.” Julia has all the categories checked for a children’s book: moral lesson, rhyming, and a problem that the main character has that the reader can connect to. This is a story that I think teachers could use in their elementary school classrooms. 

Author Bio: I am in my final year here at Chico State. I currently live in the Central Valley and having the ability to take all my courses online is a tremendous advantage. When I’m not doing homework and reading, I’m spending my time working at an elementary school, golfing, and fishing any chance I get. Hopefully after finishing this year and getting my Bachelors in Liberal Studies, I will be able to start my teaching career as an intern while I work on my credential.
Week 5 Updates

Week 5 Updates

Hello nice people of English 333,

Makes are looking great! Remember if you’re using Storyjumper to share from the “Share” button; we should see a thumbnail (book cover typically) if the link shares correctly. Also, a few were flagged as spam and I needed to approve those, which I just did, so we should be all set. I’ll keep watching for others. Storytelling makes are due tonight (9/23). Please remember to tell us about your process AND comment on a peer’s story once you share. Love your comments to each other; thank you!

Make Cycle 3 is now posted. Link on our site and HERE. We are moving to informational/expository texts and reading more in About the Authors. You all did such great work with chapter 1 and noticing kids’ writing! I have one pretty creepy mentor text this make cycle too (during week 6) because it’s October. 😉 Edward Gorey’s The Gashleycrumb Tinies should remind you a lot of Tim Burton and hopefully you can get through the dark humor…not intended for little kids! But no fear, I paired that mentor text with a sweet book about Dragonflies so not everything is creepy.

I’ll get grade updates for Make Cycle 2 done in the next day or so. Really appreciate your work!

Our featured curators for this cycle are Giselle, Daniela, Suzy, Mckenzie, Keith, and Miriam. They will be highlighting the ideas and your makes for Make Cycle 2. Friendly reminder to the 6 of you that you’ll share your featured curator assignment with me by Tuesday. Thanks again to the Make Cycle 1 team!

Appreciate all of you and the work you are doing.

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Krystina, Krystle, Marc, Megan, and Rebecca

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Krystina, Krystle, Marc, Megan, and Rebecca

Krystina Hockman

Make Cycle 1 has been all about introductions. We first met one another and found a lot of similarities amongst ourselves. Next, we discovered that a lot of us shared many similar opinions about literacy and discovered that we all write every single day, whether through text, emails, or for school. This provided us with a great introduction to the importance of writing and is necessary as we transition from college student to future educators as we must be able to emphasize this importance to our students as well. Krystal Bandith’s introduction post summed up the importance of writing beautifully with the following excerpt:

When you practice writing, you practice the ability to organize and articulate the endless stream of thoughts and emotions you experience every day. When you do that, you open the door to learning incredibly useful things like self-awareness, communication, emotional intelligence/empathy, critical thinking.

In Weeks 1 and 2, we had the opportunity to read some powerful works meant to provoke critical thinking about how we write and not just what we write. Up until this point in most of our academic and professional lives, we wrote with purpose and with an audience in mind; however, we now must pay attention to exactly how we accomplish these writing goals so that we can teach our students to do the same.

The children’s book What Do You Do With an Idea? introduced readers to a child who had an idea that was unique and their own but sometimes burdensome, as most ideas can sometimes be. Children have these “ideas” and sometimes lack the ability to express them fully so that others, especially adults, may understand. Bailey Hunn took a great analytical stance on the purpose of this story and discussed whether books like this are too complex for children and posed the question, “At what age do they start to have those deeper conceptual thoughts and before that age what do they think of this book?” I think her insight is an important one to consider as we, as educators, must make thoughtful decisions in the books we introduce to our students as we want to make sure that they are age-appropriate and thematically relevant to their lives.

Youth literacy is a topic that many of us who aspire to teach will put many efforts into understanding. In Andrea Lunsford’s “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast,” the author quickly introduces us to the term “life writing.” A lot of older people would say that our “life writings” (i.e. texting, emailing, Tweeting) are harming our literacies but Lunsford’s study proves otherwise. Daniela Quintana Munoz expresses the importance of our social media use to our literacy mastery by stating, “The internet is not frying our brains, but it’s helping us develop a range of different writing styles, tones, and formats.” As we move into teaching, we must remember that “life writing” will be a great way to break down the barriers of writing that many of our students will face. The linguist John McWhorter offers his insights into texting and its effects on literacy in “Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!!” by suggesting that texting is closer to speaking than it is to writing but that the utilization of text has transformed into a new “language” thus making youth “bi-lingual.” By offering as many avenues as possible for students to explore their own literary preferences, we are only encouraging their growth as readers and writers.

Chrysanthemum, a children’s book about a girl who found herself bullied for her long and unique name, used repetition throughout to capture the attention of the reader as they embraced a word that was hard to pronounce and followed the child through her evolution from being embarrassed by her name to loving the uniqueness of her name. The repetition forced the reader to pay attention and memorize the rhythm of the book; in fact, most of us mentioned that they remembered reading this book when they were children, which further enforces the importance of repetition as a literary device. Again, Krystal offered an eloquent analysis of the book’s repetition and the way it “highlight[s] the change which is usually the positive outcome or resolution. This way, children are able to follow the emotional transformation of the plot intuitively, and thereby understand the message/moral of the story.

Both “A Girl Named Jack” and “Second Daughter’s Second Day” by Jacqueline Woodson used repetition as their literary device; however, the repetition was in the formatting rather than the words themselves. Each stanza was carefully formatted and then repeated again to help drive home the poem’s theme. The conversational format of “A Girl Named Jack” allowed the reader to follow the parents as they discussed the newborn’s name but the repetition allowed the reader to feel caught in the middle, just as the baby might have felt. In “Second Daughter’s Second Day,” repetition was used to go back and forth from what was happening within the hospital and out in the world, forcing the reader to feel the constant pull between the safety of a newborn in a hospital and the uncertainty faced by African-Americans who must live outside of those safe walls. Laurence Gammell was inspired by these pieces too and offered a great lesson plan idea of asking his students to write a story behind their names to give him a “better understanding [of] each one of my students” and to create lesson plans based upon “student cultures in the classroom.

We wrapped up Make Cycle 1 with our very first makes! The class created many wonderful poems and stories that offered the rest of us insight into each other’s personal lives. The excitement was evident as most (if not all!) of the shared pieces were well-crafted and took an immense amount of time and effort to complete. From books about our pets to stories about our families, this Make Cycle proved that many of us have a flair for creative writing and should we choose to teach, will have no problem imparting this passion on our future students. The ‘ABCs’ style of writing would be a great project for our future students. My favorite example of this style of storytelling was the piece by Sophia Bambino and like some of our readings, it was incredibly personal and made us feel like we could relate to her without ever having met her in person.

After discussing names and the importance behind them, the majority of us took to writing a piece that shared a bit of reflection on our own names and what they meant to us. A great piece with the theme of “name” was crafted by Olivia Najera. She incorporated repetition into her poem and could be a great inspiration to future students as we teach them how to write a poem:

Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
That is my name
Although I have more and go by
Oli, Olive and Liv
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
A name I wanted to change
Until I learn to love it
And love it to this day
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
the name that defines who I am
the one that makes me me
and forever I will be
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
The girl who didn’t like her name
Now loves it after all
And spreads joy everyday.
It was very clear that Olivia was inspired by Chrysanthemum as well as the two poems we read. Like Chrysanthemum, she repeated her name in a way that ensured the reader did not forget it!

I am absolutely blown away by the commitment our class made to this first Make Cycle! From start to finish, the contributions were plentiful and well thought out. I am very excited to see how we grow as writers and future educators throughout the rest of the semester.

Author Bio: Krystina is a recent transfer from Solano Community College and a former Dean’s Assistant at the same college. She is moving to Seattle, WA to live with her fiance, who is a member of the Coast Guard. She is working toward a Multi-Subject credential and then hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Outside of school, her hobbies include gaming, reading, writing, and cooking.

Krystle Duggins

When it came down to our first day of classes, most of us were nervous about how our online class with Professor Jaxon would go. Fortunately, these past three weeks have shown how much we are capable of. Our hard work shows we are no longer nervous anymore, but ready and looking forward to the next assignment. I will reflect what we have accomplished so far in Make Cycle 1 during these past 2 weeks, as well as choose some examples from my peers that I thought were very interesting and eye opening.

On the first day, we were asked to sign up with Google +, a discussion board where we can communicate with one another and post our responses from our readings and then introduce ourselves to the rest of the class. This helped us get to know each other and establish a community among the discussion board. This made responding to others’ work much easier: rather than responding to name and a face that we have information about as a person. Many of us included some information about our past, present, and finally what we hope to accomplish as teachers. Along with this information we expressed our thoughts on writing and what counted as writing in today’s world.

Within week one of school, we were required to respond to three separate texts. The first text, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada, told a story about a little boy who got neglected because others thought his idea was not practical. However, little by little the idea began to grow and the little boy began accepting his idea once more. His idea, at the end of the story, should how much his idea could positively change his environment and the people around him. The second text, “Our Semi- Literate Youth?” Not So Fast?” by Andrea Lunsford, is an article that showed the positive side of today’s technology and how it does not affect the writing that students do. While the third and final text, “Txing is Killing Language. JK!!!” by John McWhorter, shows that our modern society uses texting to communicate. It has developed its own form of language that does not limit the skills that students possess when writing essays or emails. McWhorter explains that we were never able to write the way we talked with the limited technology we had before smartphones. After reading everyone’s responses to these three texts, I found Kaylin Renfo’s work interesting. She talked about how much she loved the authors, Lunsford and McWhorter, defending the younger generation and their way of communication. She describes that even though texting is seen as a nuisance, it can lead to many advancements, like a new language that allows us to write the way we talk. Overall, I think she did amazing work on this discussion.

Week two of classes, we looked at another three forms of writing. The first, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, is a childbook story about a little mouse going to her first day of school. As the teacher does roll call of everyone names, the children began to make fun and laugh at Chrysanthemum’s name. They said it was too long and not having a special meaning other than a flower. They told her to change it into a more normal name. However, after a teacher and her parents told her that her name fit perfectly and nice as a flower can be. She then began to love her name and everyone soon accepted who she was. The second text, “A Girl Named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson, is a poem that tells a story about a father wanting to name his daughter “Jack.” This name was supposedly to toughen her up without even knowing what her personality will be later in life. The mother, on the other hand, did not believe a boy’s name would make a difference. Eventually they ended with a compromise with the name Jacqueline. The third text, “second daughter’s second day” also by Jacqueline Woodson, is a poem about the African America community facing injustices. The character describes the leaders who spoke up about the injustices and now does not know what to feel about her future. Will she be as great as them or will time tell? In all texts, the authors were able to make words stand out with italics. This promoted the importance of the word in each story/ poem. I found Marc Blair’s discussion quite interesting when he read “A Girl Name Jack.” He describes not using, “…the name as a reason for her to toughen up.” This helps a person to indicate what was the real moral of the story and the importance that a name does not define the person. It is the personality that the child has developed.

For our last assignment of Make Cycle 1, we were asked to write a story or poem about how we got our name, the story of our birth, or a personal story in general. We were also given two options on how we were going to submit this assignment. One option was to type our story/ poem with a program called StoryJumper. This program allows you to create a power point like story that includes adding our own voice to the assignment. The second option was writing a standard poem in Google +. When reading everyone’s posts on this assignment, I was amazed how well everyone did. Most of them were so beautifully articulated. I especially enjoyed reading Krystal Bandith’s poem. Here is an excerpt of her poem:

“Krystal, with a K”

If my name started with a C

Would I be more like me?

C-R-Y my parents standing by

Why does she cry, cry, cry?


If my name started with a C

Would I be more brilliant?

Shiny, pretty, perfect

Tough, diamond-like resilience?


My name doesn’t start with C

But I have a T-A-L

To be talented at walking tall

To talk the tales I tell


My name is Krystal with a K

As in kind, keen, and kooky

Krystal with a K

Like in case you thought you knew me


K because I kuestion everything

K because I kan


K as in Krys, like




She wrote about how she got her name. My name is one of the same, but quite different. I understood her story from a personal level. She included a line repeatedly as part of the first line of almost each stanza. I felt like this was a perfect example that a name doesn’t define who we are, but we can still resonant some good aspects from it. Krystal describes her poem being about, “…a journey to becoming me, as defined only by me.” This poem puts a lot of thought on different aspects and parts of her name that leaves the reader questioning about his or her name. Am I defined by my name or do I defy who I am? It also produces a nice connection between the poem “A Girl Name Jack.” This is another reason why I choose Krystal’s poem it related to another assignment showing we can use what we learned.

Overall, I am very happy to look over each of my classmate’s discussion for Make Cycle 1. I have found this experience quite enjoyable and educational. I have learned from many own viewpoints. Each assignment was done so beautifully. I am looking forward to learn more from this class. I hope you guys enjoyed this response/ reflection on Make Cycle 1. We did so great! Let’s keep it up! I am ready for the next assignment. Are you?

Author Bio: I am from Yuba City, CA and I have recently moved up to Chico to further my studies in Liberal Arts. I ended up going to Chico State because my great elementary school teachers I once had graduated from Chico State. I learned so much and they inspired me to become a teacher to inspire others. I graduated from River Valley High School and Yuba College. I have associates in Social and Behavioral Sciences. My interests include video games, anime, drawing, and music. I love playing RPG video games because they tell a story: a story we can learn from and take away into reality. 

Marc Blair

The first cycle allowed the classmates to not only complete our assignments and be creative by creating a storybook or poem, but it also allowed the class to introduce ourselves. We introduced ourselves  through different ways and in some cases gave a bit of information about our family. When writing, influences and inspiration can come from anywhere and those influences show in writing. As one student, Madison La Ray, explained in her writing, her name is connected to her parents showing her own personal man, woman, and child triangle of life. A connected family not just by blood but by name.

“La” for La Ray

The start and the end of my name is very easy to explain.

Madison from my mother, Lozada from the other.

Now, the other of course being my father, has an extra name of his own to give.

It’s a part of his first name, the one to identify who he is.

Cristopher Raymond.

To sum the story up, and to make it go by faster.

To make this poem easy to understand. To keep it from being a disaster.

The part of his name, that I call mine, is the second part Ray.

It’s the middle part of my own, he named me Madison La Ray.

I’m a girl and he is not, so he had to make a small change.

So, to honor our Mexican heritage, and to make this make more sense.

He made it very simple, by adding “La” to begin.

Other students told simpler stories but yet just as personal. Bailey Hunn created her own storybook to tell her story of finding her first best friend. Her best friend in this case was her cat.

Even with the few pages and words used for younger audiences, Bailey in those few pages told what type of person she is. Her big heart is shown as she tells of her adopting a cat from a shelter. Less is certainly more and you can understand the cat found love in Bailey just as Bailey found love in her cat Roku.

Behind keyboards, today’s world tends to be a bit more open than usual. We share a lot, some say too much, some get some relief in finding others relatable to their own lives. Students like Rebecca Carney shared her story of her journey to Cal State Chico as a mother with a family. I myself shared similar information thinking maybe one day our stories can provide some assistance, confidence or just something cool so that others can maybe relate and stay focused on their goals. Any goal is possible, I think sometimes we tend to feel alone, defeated, or organized. But I think the coolest thing is the internet and communities like this class that allows everyone to find or stumble onto that one thing that may make a difference to keep them going.

Author Bio: My name is Marc Blair and I am a senior (online) here at Cal State Chico. I live in Riverside, CA (southern California). It’s been a long road since I am a non traditional student having came back to college at 32 after being a “corporate guy” for 10 years. I got tired of having a “job” and wanted my own “career” in teaching. I transferred from Coastline Community College into Chico which has been great (all online). I love sports, video games and graphic novels. My wife of 13 years and I juggle our time between work and spending as much time as we can with our kids Jack (1 year old), Zoey (13) and Chase (11). Their sports take up a great portion of that but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Megan Gatzka

I enjoyed listening to the mentor videos and gained insight by truly listening to the details as the reader spoke. The story about Chrysanthemum had several features that resonated with me. Throughout the book, the author compares Chrysanthemum herself as a person with an actual flower and describes aspects that correlate both. Words such as ‘wilted’ and ‘let’s pick her’ use descriptive words that work for both subjects. My favorite line in the story is “and she was…absolutely perfect.” This reminds me of the stories my parents told of my adoption. At three days old, my parents adopted me and brought me home. My dad’s song for me has always been “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder and I love this line from the book. If I were to write my own book, I would use the model of making an example as with Chrysanthemum’s teacher. The admiration the students felt for her made them rethink the way they made fun of Chrysanthemum. Borrowed elements I would consider using would be the constant repetition and compare and contrast to an object.

Within the story “A Girl Named Jack” the father is precluded to believe that his name, “Jack,” is a strong name and will make his daughter strong as well. My favorite line was when he states, “Raise her right, my father said, and she’ll make that name her own.” He doesn’t believe that a name makes the person and I believe that. In my own writing I would model this by breaking down the name as the story did from Jacqueline to Jack and show both sides of the story.

The features that resonate with me in the “Second Daughter” was that the author went back and forth between current events and how they relate to the girl in the story. My favorite lines in the story were “…ready to change the world” and “You can become anything.” These were wonderful lines to use to describe what world leaders were showing these children what they could become. Modeling this poem in my own writing would be fairly easy as it doesn’t rhythm. Comparing the second daughter to great leaders and historical people of color was able to show what she is capable of.

I recently read the book What Do You Do With An Idea? because I had just received a new copy in our school library. There is such a deep meaning in the text about not giving up on your dreams. It helps students to see how ideas form and why they have ideas at all. If it is a really good idea and something the student believes in, it will begin to nag them just like it did in the story. The emotions the little boy goes through are vast. First he is afraid to talk about his idea and bottles up his emotions which is never good. However, as the story goes on, students learn that pursuing your dreams makes you feel better. It gives you confidence to face the negative people tell you you’re different. I believe the moral of the story is that if we word hard to accomplish our goals and think outside of the box, anyone can change the world.

John McWhorter made me think about texting in this day and age. As a non-phone person, texting for me is a miracle drug. I like the messages short and sweet and absolutely despise group texts. Mr. McWhorter called this era a balancing act of emergent complexity. What this means is that writing a text is equal to our speech. Nobody talks the way they write an essay or a report About halfway into the video I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to what Mr. McWhorter was saying because he literally wasn’t coming up for air. I’m not sure if anyone else felt anxious over the way he rambled. There were no periods in his speech and no pauses to digest the information he was giving. Tell me I wasn’t the only one?

I believe all of the discussions were interesting, but the one the stuck with me the most is “What Do You Do With an Idea?” The lesson really broke down how to view the story from different perspectives and through students eyes. In the classroom, this would be an excellent exercise to break down the story and pull from it the underlying meaning.

In addition to the readings this week, we created our own artifacts using the mentor texts as models. Here are some standouts I chose among our Makes this week:

Krystine Hockman: The format in which Krystine used to create her poem was pleasing to the eye. The contrasting colors of the red, white and blue made it stand out. It was easy to follow and read. She incorporates the ‘name theme’ into the poem by combing a few valuable letters to short poems. The repetition helps it to flow. Krystine’s goal was to help the reader to spell her name correctly.

Krystle Duggins: Krystle chose to create an “All About Me” book. In the reflection summary, she states that the book told about how she got her name. It was in biography format and had an easy flow. I enjoyed the different backgrounds and text templates used to keep the story interesting.

Bailey Hunn: I believe this is one of my favorite peer makes because Bailey wrote about her cat. I myself love cats and always adopt from a shelter. I have had several blacks cats like Roku (Bailey’s cat) because I know they are harder to adopt. The book had an easy storyline to follow and gives information about what a shelter might be like.

Amanda Sanders: Amanda wrote “A Book About Me” as a biography. She used the repetition phrases which helped the book to flow and connect. The front cover was eye catching, making you want to read the book.

Author Bio: Megan Gatzka is currently an elementary school Librarian in Fresno, California where she resides with her husband of 17 years and two sons.  She is currently working on a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies at CSU Chico and a Librarian certification at Fresno City College.  Her main focus is  to obtain a teaching credential as a Teacher Librarian.  

Rebecca Carney

The last two weeks have been filled with readings and a TED talk by John McWhorter. Speaking as one who has never used any of the programs/applications such as our Google + community and Storyjumper, I can honestly say I think we all deserve a pat on the back! There have been so many great posts that it makes me truly look forward to reading them all. We started our first week off by introducing ourselves and I know I cannot be the only one who saw a familiar face; it was great to read about everyone and their lives–so many relate to one another in various ways.

As for the assignments for week one, we were to discuss our own literacies and writings as well as read an article “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast” that in a nutshell compared how we speak to how we write in a professional manner, a book “What Do You Do With An Idea?” which was about a little boy who was fighting the thought of having an idea and tried to keep it contained but when it came out he realized just how great it truly was, and finally, we watched a TED Talk from John McWhorter making his statement that texting is not killing language, rather it is making language grow and less complicated to get what we want to say out to whomever it may be.

My fellow peers had great responses for each article, book, and video: the first one to stick out to me was by Olivia Najera when she responded to the book reading, “I think once we get older the less willing we are to share our ideas. We may be afraid and think we will be made fun of, while children at times could care less what others think and share it all”- how true is this statement?! Most children, like mine, have no filters and just say whatever idea first pops in their head versus an adult who weighs many factors before blurting out your idea.

Week two, was hands down my favorite readings thus far. We read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes that was about a female mouse and her uncommon and very long name going to school and quickly realizing the struggles that came with her name. Growing up, all she knew and heard was how great and beautiful her name was until some other female mice started teasing her at a constant rate. And, even though after each day of school she would go home and be reassured by her parents of just how beautiful her name was, it didn’t stick with her while being at school until a teacher complimented her name in front of her peers and disclosed her unusual name as well as saying how she was thinking of naming her unborn daughter “Chrysanthemum.” The second text we read was the poem “A girl named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson. In this poem it discusses the process of just how she got her name at birth. My favorite line from this poem is “”Name a girl Jack, my father said, and she can’t help but grow up strong”- her father was already trying to make his daughter become a strong individual knowing the potential of bullying it may bring, she would only come out stronger in the end. Her mother disagreed so they compromised and went with Jacqueline. The third text was, “Second daughter’s second day” again, by Jacqueline Woodson: quite a powerful and moving poem. Jacqueline describes all of the injustice going on throughout the country against people of color and throwing in names and movements of power, as well as slipping in the unsurety of just how she might fit into the culture and whether or not she will be as strong as those she named. As I stated previously, these reading from week two have been my favorite! A peer of mine named Estefani Galarza wrote her response to “A girl named Jack” and the part in her response that caught my attention the most was when she stated, “He mentioned that she will grow strong because of her name. I feel like he makes it seem like she’ll be strong only because Jack is a male name, and they believe that men are stronger than women”- I guess I never looked at it that way, so interesting to see it in a different perspective!

Finally, our last assignment- OUR FIRST MAKE! Not going to lie, I was super overwhelmed with the thought of using Storyjumper for the first time; I felt as though it was going to be the most impossible thing ever! In all honesty, I had a great time using it and will definitely use it again. We were given an open option to create a poem or story on almost anything related to us. I chose to do a little story of a glimpse of a typical day for me with my family and their craziness.

There were so many great and creative stories and poems!

Sophia Bambino used Storyjumper to write out ABC’s of her life, how cool is this?! She had a great example for every letter. I loved reading through her book and seeing how much thought and effort she put into each one.

Another great Make that I truly enjoyed reading was from Kaylin Renfro– the way she wrote her poem from the words she chose to the format, it was all great and so intriguing.

There once was a little girl… 

There once was a little girl.
She was the apple of her father’s eye,
with tight blonde curls and bright blue eyes.
She came as a miracle,
the light at the end of a long dark road.

There once was a little girl.
She was the apple of her father’s eye,
with tight blonde curls and bright blue eyes.
She came as a bit of surprise,
full of spunk and fully in disguise.

You see this little girl,
she was not like her family.
Her tight blonde curls,
stood out among the red sea.

You see this little girl,
she was quite on her own time.
The youngest cousin by far
would be the only one in pink
asking for a ballerina bar.

She was the sunshine,
a bright blonde light.
The one who kept her mother up
late at night.

She was the sunshine,
a bright blonde light.
The one who became the little sister
who often started a fight.

She loved her family,
she loved them so.
She would give anything,
to watch them grow.

She loved her family,
she loved them so.
Her faith in God,
she would always know.

The poem that Marc Blair wrote on how he got his name was another great make. I loved how it was personal and that he wrote what his father thought and that his mother did not disagree. 

There once was a running back at USC,

He scored touchdowns, ran like the wind, and wore number 33.

The LA Coliseum would be in awe when he had the football

My dad would guarantee that year he would be the best player overall.

It was summer, of the year 1981

My parents would welcome the birth of their second son.

Thinking of names, my mothers early plan of having two boys named chad and brad had already faltered.

Their first boy was named Michael, her plan was quickly disordered.

My father demanded, “his name will be Marc and that is it”

“Why?” my mother asked, “I know its football season, and your feeling the USC Trojan Spirt…”

So there it was, I am named after running back Marcus Allen.

1981 was the year, the year he won the Heisman.

Really well written, Marc. Nice job everyone!

Author Bio: I am currently a stay at home mom, resigned from the Glenn County Office of Education after five years to pursue my schooling. I transferred from Butte College into my junior year at Chico State. I am currently working on my teaching credential and looking to pursue my special education credential in moderate/severe. I have two children, a boy and girl, as well as two dogs and a husband. In my spare time I love watching Dr. Phil, crafting, and doing DIY home projects inspired from Pinterest.