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.

Category: featured blogs

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.

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.
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

This:

I

Am

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.

Featured Curators Make Cycle 6: Janette, Dana, Rebecca, Veronica, Karen, Raenni, & Nancy

Featured Curators Make Cycle 6: Janette, Dana, Rebecca, Veronica, Karen, Raenni, & Nancy

Janette Herrera

Assessments, assessments, assessments, we hear so much about assessments! Before reading chapter 7 in Ray and Cleveland’s About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers, all I thought of when I thought about assessments were tests, more specifically state tests. After reading this chapter I think of so much more. My biggest take away from this chapter was the purpose of assessments. There are three main purposes shared throughout this chapter including: to direct our teaching, to help us work with parents who may not be familiar with the king of writing instruction their children are experiencing, and to help maintain a celebratory attitude about our teaching.  Looking at assessments for these reasons was mind-blowing to me; it makes perfect sense that these should be the focus of doing assessments in our classrooms, not to give grades, or to see how our students measure up on the state tests against other students. With focusing on these three goals for assessments the other things will naturally fall into place.

The next take away I got from this chapter was the way they did their assessments. There was no mention of writing tests, spelling tests, or grammar tests. There are three ways to assess students writing through a variety of observations. The first type discussed is to look at a piece of finished writing. Based on what you know about the student and what has been taught you can gauge what the students knows about writing and if they are using the different writing techniques that you would expect them to be using. The next form of assessment discussed, referred to as, “catching them in the act” is my favorite form of assessment. This really consists of being in the classroom as the kids work and paying attention to what they are working on, how they are working on it, and why. This is where you see things that you have taught clicking and happening. This is my favorite part of being in a classroom with the kids. The third form of assessment that this chapter touches on is looking at a child’s work throughout the course of a period of time. This is an important assessment because you can see the growth and development that has happened in the students writing.

Throughout this make-cycle we focused on creating a writing assignment using a mentor text of our choice for a partner to assess and complete for us. Although I had a difficult time getting started with this make-cycle it ended up being my favorite one from this semester. I enjoyed seeing what my partner came up with using my prompts along with getting her feedback on how she felt the delivery of my assignment went for her. Thanks Sandra Nyland, you did a great job! This make-cycle was also one of my favorites because I really had a good time looking at what all of my class-mates came up with.

One of my favorite makes from this cycle was done by Lisa Valdez and Chad Lafenhagen. Lisa used the mentor text, Tadpole’s Promise by Jeanne Willis, and asked Chad to create a story of two unlikely characters with a surprise ending as shown in the mentor text. She was clear about the instructions and gave a clear expectation of what she was looking for out of the assignment. He did a great job with his feedback and created an amazing book using storyjumper, which Lisa is actually planning to buy and use with this assignment in her future classroom. How cool is that!

The next make that really caught my eye during this make cycle was by Hannah Hughes. Originally it caught my eye because she gave a choice of focusing on the text or illustration to be the focus of the assignment for the student. I love this idea because it enforces the idea that books and writing is about more than just words and gives students who maybe thing they are not the best writers or maybe do not enjoy it as much as others an opportunity to approach writing in a way that hey may find more enjoyable. They may even find that by creating illustrations first it helps guide their writing. Hannah was partnered with Ruben Mendoza who did an awesome job creating an assignment to match what Hannah was looking for. He hit all the points that Hannah had asked for and made it personal and relative to life by incorporating his Instagram which I thought was brilliant!

Another writing assignment that I found interesting this week was created by Chelsea Paterson. I was first intrigued by her assignment because it taught me a new word, onomatopoeia, but then as I continued to watch her presentation could see this being used as a mini-lesson as described in our mentor text by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleveland. Chelsea did a great job of outlining what to look for when reading the mentor text offered and gave guidelines for the assignment she wanted created. I thought the post reading discussion was great to include and could see this being very beneficial in the classroom when doing this lesson. Chelsea’s partner Rebecca Spears did a great job of creating a fun book using the guidelines within the assignment. I can see this assignment being used in a kinder or 1st grade classroom and it being a huge success.

All of this week’s makes were fun to assess. I was exposed to several authors that I was unfamiliar with and got to enjoy many books that I had never heard of before as well (one of my favorite parts about this class, is sharing these new books with my daughters). Everyone did a great job and I can see anyone of these being used in a classroom. It is great to see that everyone was supportive of one another and receptive to the feedback given by their partners. All of these assignments could be done in so many ways it will be fun to see what my future students come up with using some of these prompts and mentor texts down the road.

Author Bio: Janette Herrera is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 5 years old to 18 years old. She is currently a Director at a ski resort but has always dreamed of being an educator. A few years ago, she did not like some of the things she saw happening in her sons’ school system and with the support of her loving husband decided to start school with a goal of becoming educated in order make a change. She is currently a senior at CSU Chico. The next steps for her will be to enter a credential program as well as obtain a master’s degree. Janette plans to teach for several years before moving on to an administration role to try to make those needed changes that motivated her to follow her dream of pursuing a career in education.


Dana Curiel

The readings for this week were very interesting and many classmates made insightful posts about them. During this Make Cycle we learned about assessment and this may have very well been one of the most important chapters in the book. Chapter 7 made sure we, as future educators, gained knowledge and learned different ways we could help our students out. While I was reading this chapter I realized that there is a lot of observing that is involved. There is so much more than just to read something and move on. We have to assess the students’ writing abilities by checking their spelling, illustrations, the kinds of writing they use, and many other aspects as well. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and learn from our students. Jillian Pearson mentioned, “I honestly want to try out and borrow all the advice given and use it on my future students. I want to take the time and closely observe their writings, watch and listen to them throughout the process, ask them to articulate what exactly they’re doing, and look over each students’ work over time.” I really enjoyed how excited and motivated she was to try all of the ideas given with her future students. I relate to her because I feel just as excited to learn and grow from the readings and use these tips and tricks in the future. Rebecca Barragan pointed out, “As teachers we need to understand that not everyone is going to understand or get something right away sometimes it takes other students more time to process the information. We need to be patient and realize that if we seeing a child slowly improving then we are doing something right.” Patience is definitely key when it comes to our students succeeding. There were many good observations throughout our discussion!

The second part of our Make Cycle had to do with looking at common core standards. I have never been familiarized with these, so it was all pretty new to me. Looking at the standards and incorporating them into parts of Chapter 7 was interesting as well. Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin had a good example of how to incorporate her common core standard in the classroom, “Have your students use their animal, with their list of things they know about the animals and construct what they think a day in the life of that animal would entail.” This gets the students thinking and writing informational texts, but having fun with the assignment.

In the end, we had to create our “makes.” That meant we had to create our own writing activity for a partner and then they had to actually do the writing activity then reflect on the make. Although Sean was my partner for this I am choosing his as an example because I really enjoyed it and had fun with it. Sean made a really neat presentation for his activity and everything was well instructed. If you would like to check it out, here is the linkSean had me think about a few things before actually going through with the activity. I liked that he did that because it was almost as if he was intending to get me thinking right off the bat. A way to start getting ideas of what I could do for my writing activity. He also used an example which was very helpful and could be helpful for his future students as well.

Another make that sparked my interest was Karen Fawns. She started off with a few discussion questions as well, but her activity included writing a narrative with illustrations. Her partner could either write this in paragraph form or as a short story. I thought it was a really fun idea to include illustrations. Often times students get bored of just constantly writing, so letting them express their work in illustrations is always a great idea. Here is her activity

Lastly, Josue Java had a captivating make as well. I liked the fact that he was intending to use this activity to get his students prepared for standardized testing. His fourth grade students were to write a narrative and explain what they would do if they were president.  This gets their minds going and coming up with several ideas to use in their writing. Children have great little minds, so it would be a great experience to learn about everything they would do as president.

Overall, I enjoyed this make cycle. Learning about assessing our students and knowing when to take some time to step back and just observe is something I hope to use in the future. One thing I found extremely interesting was learning about common core standards. There are several standards and each grade level differentiates between standards. My favorite part was the make itself. Creating our own writing activity and looking over everyone else’s activities was so much fun. I won’t lie, it was kind of difficult to get started and think about a writing activity for my partner. I do wish I could have come up with something better, but for a first time, I feel confident about it and definitely learned from this experience.

Author Bio: I graduated from Yuba College in 2016 and pursued my dream to attend ASU. Moved back from Arizona and now attending Chico State and majoring in Liberal Studies. I would love to teach first grade or the elementary grade level in general. I also hope/plan to get my Master’s at ASU after completing my Bachelor’s here at Chico. I am excited to be completing my first semester here at Chico and hope to catch many Giants games this summer!


Rebecca Spears

Make Cycle 6 was definitely a fun one! We were able to explore the processes of creating effective writing assignments. In this make cycle, we were partnered up with our classmates and assigned to make a writing activity/lesson for our partner to try out while we tried our partner’s activity out. Going into this assignment, I didn’t think that I was going to have as much fun as I did and learn as much from the work of others than I did. One of the makes that really stood out to me was the writing activity and reflection written by Kellie Cabico. She based her writing activity for her partner on the mentor text called, How this Book was Made by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex. I enjoyed the book that Kellie chose because of the creativity and purpose behind it and how much we can relate it to our own writing. I also really like how Kellie’s activity turned out, “Write something that explains how you go about making your books.  You can use expository, narrative, or opinion types of writing.  It be a poem, comic, song, or a story like we just listened to by Mac Barnett.  Show us how you do what you do the way you like to do it. Have fun!” Kellie’s reflection opened my eyes to the many possibilities of ways our students can surprise us teachers. In her reflection, I also really liked how Kellie pointed out that actually being the teacher is much different than being in the shoes of the student always. I really like how personal Kellie makes this assignment because I know that children love to create their own personal stories about themselves. Nicely done Kellie! Link to Kellie’s Writing Activity

Another writing activity and reflection that stood out to me was one by our classmate, Hannah Hughes! She chose to create her writing assignment on the mentor text by Brendan Wenzel titled, They All Saw A Cat. This text was a great example of how the use of illustrations can influence the storyline. This writing activity stood out to me because it focused so much on rhythm and perspective. In life, everyone does not see the same thing all of the time because we all are unique with our own perspectives. I think this is an important ideal for children to learn because many children thing there is only one way of doing things whether it be in art or writing, when really, there are many ways of doing things because each of us is an individual who can choose to write or even draw let’s say a cat however they want. Hannah describes her activity when she states, “Focus on ways you can show perspective as your creature ventures along in it’s story. You may use illustrations to convey perspective (like the author), or use a dialogued descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events, or show  responses of characters to meeting your creature.” I really like how Hannah brings in the illustrations as part of her activity and how she provides a good example for her students to branch off of as they so please. In Hannah’s reflection, I like how she first thanks her student Ruben and how she gives him good feedback. Stepping into the teacher shoes isn’t always easy, but Hannah proves that she knows what she is doing! Overall, Hannah’s writing activity and her reflection express the true meaning of teaching and how perspectives can alter the way that someone might view something in writing like shown in her mentor text. Great job Hannah! Link to Hannah’s Writing Activity

Finally, the writing activity and reflection that Samone Burge shared with our class definitely stood out to me! First of all, Samone chose to create her writing activity off of the text There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback, which is actually the mentor text that I chose, so I can relate more to this assignment than any other. Samone starts off by explaining what a cumulative tale is, which is important for the reader so that they can understand the activity more clearly. In Samone’s actual assignment, she tells her students to “create your own cumulative tale using There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly as your mentor text.” I like this method of a writing assignment because after reading the book, students can’t help but already create a story with themselves in the actual story with the old lady. Therefore, this is a great way to get the creative juices of students flowing! Samone did a great job interpreting the common core standards of second grade into her writing activity because one of her standards is to have the students write in relation to a mentor text. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading Samone’s reflection. I like how she pointed out the struggles of actually starting this activity since we are so used to being in the student’s shoes at this point in the semester. Also, I noticed that she even included her process as she described, “Once I got the bones of the lesson plan in place, the biggest challenge for me was deciding how to assess the lesson after it was taught. In fact I was so troubled by creating the assessment, I saved it for last and almost forgot to complete the assessment portion of the lesson altogether.” In the end, I really learned a lot from Samone’s writing assignment and all of the details that go into writing an assignment like this one. Awesome job Samone! Link to Samone’s Writing Activity

This make cycle 6 has definitely been interesting these past two weeks. As a class, we put on our teaching helmets and we practiced creating writing assignments for our peers. It has been interesting since most of us are so used to being comfortable in the student perspective, so it was a little bit more difficult to step into the shoes of the teacher. However, as you can tell from the work of my classmates, we are no joke when it comes to creating our writing assignments, so I believe that we have nothing to worry about when it comes to teaching and creating writing assignments. There are so many lessons that we learned from this make cycle, and some of them include: we need to be able to be ready to come up with good writing assignments/plans for our students, we need to be open to diverse learners in our classroom, and we need to make sure that our students see the positive attributes of writing. Overall, this make cycle and rather this class has improved my knowledge completely on the topics of creating effective writing assignments and in general, teaching students.

Author Bio: I am currently studying at Chico State and hope to be a teacher. Some of my interests include: sports, cleaning (lol), eating, spending time with my family, going to the snow, and working out. I am very curious about astronomy. I love star gazing and thinking about what is out there in the mysterious sky. Also, I am very curious about the past. I love finding out what happen many years ago or even just what happened in the fifties.


Veronica Oregel

As we are nearing our the last month of the Spring 2018 semester, I realized how this course has helped me overcome my fear of teaching writing. I wasn’t sure of myself at first because I am not the best writer, but I quickly learned how to subside my fear and to not be afraid to write. Learning to write, and write well, is a crucial life skill. Not only does it help one succeed in school, its vital to success in the “real” world too. I also believe that writing helps student achieve more in education.

I think chapter 7 was a fun chapter to learn. By the end of the chapter, I now believe that teaching should be assessed by observing the success of the learners. This means seeing how much students participate in projects and how much above and beyond the scope of assignments do students go in order to learn on their own. This is where the educator can ignite the students passion for the subject. This was an “aha” moment for me as a future teacher.

Chapter seven reminded us to look and see how much students participate. The authors recommend assessment techniques versus standardize tests: looking closely at individual pieces of writing, watching and listening as children are engaged in the process, asking children to be articulate, and looking across the work of a single child over time.

“In addition to this, catching children in the act of trying things on their own is our only true way of knowing whether they are getting it – the it being all the writing curriculum we are offering up as possibilities in our teaching” (120).

I love the idea of using activities during learning as a form of quality check. The teacher uses the activities and processes in class to make a determination on a students growth and progress. I prefer to use About The Authors assessment techniques versus a standard test which would be given after the lesson to judge a students progress and then assign a grade. Honestly, I never knew teachers could do this.

Last week we were partnered up with a classmate and had to create a writing assignment for our partner based on a book our choice. The assignment had to reflect on one or more of the Common Core Standards. I am not going to lie, I was nervous. I believe we are our own worst critiques because we worry too much about what other people will think about us and our work. Overall I think the class did an amazing job with the project.

Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin said: “I really enjoyed doing this make cycle. I think its my most favorite one by far. It made me feel like I was a teacher already where I was putting together lesson plans for my students to be doing.”

Sandra Nyland mentioned, “this activity was so enjoyable and confidence building! Also, one idea that was reinforced for me was that it is important to continue to build a resource library of texts.”

The majority of the class enjoyed the assignment and had fun with it. Some of us had different results than they expected but I believe overall this was good practice.

At the end of Make 6, the readings, creating the activity based on a children’s book, doing the partners activity and reflecting on it, I realized that having the students doing the work is more effective than having them listening. But not doing rote things or busy work. Actual doing. Let them know what they are doing and why it matters. How does it effect their learning and their goals to do this thing you have. Writing can be difficult for some because it is not as active as Math or Science, but we use writing as a tool to organize our thoughts.

My classmates Kellie Cabico and Julie Lafreniere definitely had the most fun with this assignment and were the team that interacted the most. Kellie designed her assignment from How This Book Was Made by Marc Barnett and gave Julie very good directions and explanations of the book and the purpose of her assignment. Julie on the other hand did not give Kellie as much instructions and she was worried that she did not give enough direction on the assignment. However in the end, both of them were able to get creative and deliver. I chose them because while one person decided to go above and beyond on her lesson plan, the other person did not give as good directions as the other. No it wasn’t perfect, but it worked! Julie made an awesome video where she shared her wisdom and explained how important it is to reassess our lessons plans.

Kellie Cabico mentioned, “I was initially a little apprehensive about this assignment.  It’s one thing to be completely enamored of how another teacher, our authors and our teacher, plans, formats and teaches a curriculum that your also completely besotted with.  It’s completely another thing to try it yourself and put it out there for one of your peers to do. But I have to say, that once I started rolling on it, it felt good. I loved the choices for mentor authors, I loved who I was partnered with and I am really proud of what we accomplished together.”

Julie Lafreniere said, “my focus on explaining what I wanted from her, was a video that did NOT HAVE MUCH DIRECTION.  The words I used should have been purposeful. I will say videotaping an assignment can be a good way of evaluating the lesson delivered and see what you are missing.”  “My biggest hurdle is separating the love of teaching students to learn, with the idea of my own hate towards personal learning (when I just don’t “get it”). I mean why would anyone teach and watch others constantly cope with the same struggles.  People don’t usually do that. Right?”

Author Bio: My name is Veronica Oregel. I am the first generation in my family to go to college and I am the oldest of three. I have been married for three years and have a one year old German Sheppard. I knew I wanted to be teacher when I was nine years old and used to teach my little brother how to read. On my free time I enjoy hiking, running with the dog, or getting pedicures.


Karen Fawns

Chapter 7 is a great chapter to round out the reasoning on why and how the Writing Workshop Works.  In this chapter, it discusses how the assessment process works in the Writing Workshop. Now this assessment, to me, is like no other, it is a continuous walk around, assessing and conferring with individuals students while they are working.  According to Wood Ray and Cleaveland:

“to assess the writing work of young children, we’ve got to be right out there in the messy, real, wonderful middle of all their work” (119).

They discuss that there is no checklist that should be used because each child is different and touches upon different techniques.  I do think this is where I would need to walk around with a clipboard that has reminders of techniques to look, and blank paper to jot down specific notes.  Notes could be things to talk about in the one on one conferences, like mechanics, notes to remind me fabulous things for share time, and new techniques that I see students trying out. There are four main forms of assessment: looking closely at individual pieces of writing, watching and listening to children working on pieces, asking children to be articulate, and looking at the history of a students writing.

When assessing it is a great reminder to remember what is developmentally appropriate for the student, what growth have you seen from the student, and what techniques have they used that you have reviewed or not.  When having little conferences it is always good to start them off with a question of what they are doing and why they are doing it. This can help them to articulate what it is that they are trying and give you some insight into what they are thinking. It is going to remind students of little inconsistencies that you have noticed from them so they can correct it.  It is also good to show praise for the great things you have seen the students try or touched upon. It is good when assessing while walking around and seeing the process first hand because it helps you understand some techniques you need to remind them of our work on. The history of a student’s writing is key to understand the growth of that child and all of the strategies or techniques that they have worked on.

When assessing it is key to try and keep track of all the little notes taken on the students.  This will help to show to the parents, other teachers, and for report card purposes the evidence of what they have learned and the individual student’s growth base and knowledge.  This will also help you as a teacher know what you need to teach in depth more or what you nailed because of the evidence is shown in their work. “Assessment can make the teaching that happens during share time each day much richer as well” (137).  I would hope to plan out a Writing Workshop right before a recess so I can let the kids out and then get down all of my assessment thoughts down on paper before switching to a new subject.

We also read Appendix G that talks about creating peer conferences with the students to help benefit each other is and should be seen as a positive thing.  This could be one of the mini-lessons within a unit to help the students understand it. Show the students examples of what this might look like and then ask what they learned from it.  This will create for a chatty writing workshop, but those are where the ideas begin and never end.

We were asked to pick a grade level from the list of Common Core Standards and review that grades standards. As I went through looking at all of our Common Core Standards I seemed to notice a theme so I did the math and here’s the facts.  Out of 30 students who did the C.C.S. activity 20 students picked reviewing first or second grade standards, while only 6 students picked fourth thru sixth grade.

For our Make Cycle 6 we were put into pairs and asked to create a writing activity based on specific grade level of our choice and how it targets the Common Core Standards for that grade level. We were provided a list of mentor texts to base our writing activity on, so there would be no problem finding one.  

Rayn Buford’s 3rd grade writing activity for her partner Salina is a creative concept that involves creating an invention and persuading everyone to buy it.

Lisa Valdez’s writing activity for 2nd graders is to choose two different characters (living or non-living)  and use the natural course of their “life” to make a story in which they meet and make friends with each other. Her partner Chad Lafenhagen created a surprising and California relevant book.

Shelby Baccala has a very creative writing assignment that I did not expect: you are to think of your least favorite fairy tale and then write a different ending that adds elements to the story that you like. Her partner Samone Burge had a great spin on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that any mother can relate to.

Author Bio: Hello all, my name is Karen Fawns and I am a Senior at Chico State.  I took about a decade off from college, created a family of four, and now I am back to the grind.  I am a concurrent major in Multiple Subject and Education Specialist Level 1. I have been working at a local high school as a Special Education Paraprofessional for twelve years and an Elementary After School Program for fifteen. I am excited to be back in college and cannot wait to work with students in a little different capacity than now.  


Raenni Pilgrim

I feel this Make went well and really let the creators express how they believe standards should be taught. In this make we needed to create an activity tied to a book that will fulfill the core standards for elementary.

In previous makes we were required to flex our creative idea muscles and follow the standards laid out by the teacher, examples being writing stories or creating poems. This make was different because we were not just creating a make, someone else had to actually do the activity that was created. This intensified the necessity to write clearly and have a well thought out process.

One example of our work is Salina’s assignment: “For your Writing assignment I want you to try and create a short story, like Mo Willems.  Try to make fun cartoons, and bubble style writing to make the book relatable for a young students.  Have fun with this writing, it does not need to be hard, rather enjoyable!”

 Her assignment was coupled with a book about a pigeon wanting a puppy. The book was enjoyable and had a fun twist because it was read by a child. The standard 1.1 that is referenced is meant for a first grade class and in my experience they tend to need a lot of direction when given writing assignments. The book is great for the grade level and the activity has a strong basis.

Another example is Ryan’s assignment: “Related Activity: Buy Me! Think of an invention. It could be a pencil with wheels? Or a hat that squirts water? When you have a final idea, begin to draw your invention. On a blank sheet of paper color your invention. Then, on a blank piece of binder paper write down why we should buy it. Make sure to introduce your invention, describe the invention with as much detail as you can, explain exactly how it works, a problem it could potentially solve, and a conclusion. This is your chance to persuade everyone to buy your invention!”

In this make the directions are very clear and several standards are used and learned in the process of this piece. The format is creative and easy to follow. The book is fun and age appropriate for the third grade classroom.  The goal of the assignment is to create a persuasive writing piece and the book chosen is about a child trying to get a new pet. Ryan underlines the main ideas in the topic and what is expected of the students.

The most important takeaway from this week was learning what the standards are and seeing what creative ways you could teach them. The creators got to take their assignments for a test run and allow other students to attempt the activity. The majority of people received positive feedback, but some found constructive criticism and let themselves grow from it. Salina says in her reflection: “If I were to change something I would take Rayn’s advice on narrowing down the subject being that this project would be done early on in the year and a sense of direction might be more comforting for a younger group.” Even though her activity was not perfect she allowed herself to learn from what she had done. That is the purpose of this make, to learn from what we do and receive feedback from our fellow teachers in training. We are in this class to expand our knowledge of teaching and to better understand the common mistakes that can be made and how to avoid them. We now have to think about why we are assigning writing projects and what do we really want students to learn. We also need to think about what are different ways to get students to learn each standard, and how to modify lessons to fit each individual students learning abilities and styles.

Author Bio: I am currently enrolled in the online bachelor program at CSU Chico because I wanted to get my Bachelor degree while still working with children. My mother is a preschool teacher so I have been around children my whole life and this is what sparked my passion to teach. I want to inspire students to love learning by using new and creative teaching techniques that they can connect to.


Nancy Diezmo

Make 6 had several great projects, and in my opinion, one of the makes that most reflected our experience as teachers since we came up with a large picture idea for a lesson plan including all the necessary details. This make exposed us to researching our state standards for our preferred grade level, which will be important to become accustomed to doing and this make also held us accountable towards our partner for peer reviewing/opinions just as our students will and even our colleagues!

Kellie Cabico’s use of How Do You Make Books? was superb! The presentation of how to execute the activity as well as the mentor text she connected to the assignment was a great presentation of the literal process of writing. My take away from Kellie would be the organized format, read aloud book, and great assessment tools (even an ‘just for fun’ extra video!)

Erin Russo’s make about The Red Book touched me because I work in special education and see how sometimes a book with illustrations is just as powerful for many students! I really appreciated that Erin highlighted ways for writers to emerge in communication without words so this activity appeals in many inclusive ways. Additionally, I loved that this activity encourages the creative aspect students have, by promoting illustrations. I liked the options of adding words to retell or making a parallel concept story.

Rayn Buford’s Make was amazing! I have a small bias because I truly enjoyed Karen Kaufman Orloff’s book I Wanna Iguana 😊 the idea of writing various avenues for that book plus having students make their own arguments to convince an audience to “buy” the idea was really fun! This Make embodied grasping the mentor text, great writing prompts as well as creative activity for our future students!

Author Bio: I graduate this spring as part of Liberal Studies (online) program, have worked in both special and general education for several years and hope to continue to do so! Looking forward to hikes with my rescue doggie, leisure reading and cooking this summer.

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 5: Lisa, Maritza, Yorleidi, Caitlin, Josue, Jamie, & Salina

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 5: Lisa, Maritza, Yorleidi, Caitlin, Josue, Jamie, & Salina

Lisa Valdez

This week was packed with so much information, yet most of it was extremely valuable for us, as future teachers. In Chapter 6 of About the Authors, many of us expressed how overwhelming the concept of lesson planning seems, as we haven’t had much experience with it. I appreciated the idea of breaking down the lessons into “mini-lessons” where we fine-tune student’s work in depth. One idea for successful lesson planning was shared by Adriana Cea, who described the method used by a teacher she knew who did not mind lesson planning as much as the other teachers. The reason for her lack of stress? She stayed organized, and stored her most successful lesson plans each year in a filing cabinet where they were easily accessed for modification to fit new standards. This is a great tip for future teachers to keep in mind, right from the start. I also think that notes kept on how to improve the not so successful plans would help avoid similar pitfalls, especially since they could be made while the “lessons learned” for the teachers were still fresh in their minds. Taking a model from this chapter, working on improving our lesson planning in “mini-lessons” throughout the year could help teachers with the overall process planning as well.

In Chapter 6, I noticed that many of us, myself included, were impressed by the way Forrest was able to change his skepticism about his ability to write poetry into a new passion – a way for him, as a “lover of facts and information” to share his amazing observations and vivid descriptions of the birds it was obvious that he had spent some time watching in nature. What a change from his NBA poem the year before! This perfectly illustrated one of the major points of this chapter – that students incorporate and build upon the units of study for long afterwards. Brianna Carlucci’s meme perfectly captured this point from the chapter, specifically, a unit of study is never really over; we need to push through with projects sometimes, even when we think we aren’t capable of them. Her meme also captured Forrest’s reluctance to write poetry, even though he apparently learned to enjoy it, and turned out to be very good at it.

From Appendix F, I liked the concept of helping students to find ways to illustrate and capture something — an image, a feeling — from their writing, and let the reader feel that through their work. I really like the idea of small-group study of illustration techniques in the mentor texts, as others often view things differently than we do, and can point out things we might have missed. Many of us were inspired by the idea of reading a picture book without showing students the illustrations, and many different approaches took root from this suggestion. Veronica Oregel’s idea to “apply this in a mini lesson to get children to understand the meaning of words. We can show them how crucial specific words can change a meaning of a story” was somewhat different than the one that came to mind for me, but is just so true. I could see her approach prompting discussions about different results and how the illustrations might change along with the words. Rayn Buford had another good point: “I would want my activities throughout the week to be revolved around how there can be a story happening in pictures that isn’t necessarily happening in the words.” This is another great way to study a picture book that had not occurred to me – studying the pictures to “guess” the story without the words.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jane Gilrain’s article, “From Home to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing Through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” I especially love how the progress of the children, and the effect of the artwork and expression on their work was illustrated through side-by-side comparisons, allowing us to see for ourselves the impact the teaching method has had on the children. They were free to express themselves, including making their monsters female in order to empower girls, if they chose, or to let hidden feelings out. Especially touching to me were the stories of Miguel, separated from and longing for his father in Puerto Rico, and the little girl from the Emotional Support Unit whose father had died a year prior and who had never spoken about it, even to her mother. Her poem “Journey” and the results of her pre-and post-program evaluations speak volumes. She has found a safe and therapeutic outlet in which to express her pent-up grief. Kelly Cabico perfectly describes my feelings in reading this article: “This article hit me right in my ooey gooey heart. Seriously, I was teary eyed from about the halfway point through to the very end. I love that these children were learning about writing in a unique and dynamic way, but I loved most that they were connecting with their work in a way that was therapeutic; that it gave them characters to identify with and helped them outwardly process things they hadn’t been able to prior. That’s some powerful stuff!” Very powerful stuff, indeed.

I was also especially impressed with the “Allegory of the Troubled Kingdom,” as the children’s reactions to the visiting artist reminded me of the reactions of the students to writing workshop in Lisa’s classroom in our professional book. When they are encouraged to get out of their plastic seats and move around the classroom, their learning truly begins, and like the students in this article, they also begin writing. Sean Gamer had a very good take on why we should get these kids out of their desks: “A teacher can have outdoor classes for part of the day and let students do painting and reading outside. The significance behind the way I think this way is that every time a student walks by the spot they painted a picture of a flower or some outdoor project they will remember why they were outside instead of being cooped up in the classroom.” Along these lines as well, Caitlin M’s Yoda Meme made me laugh, as I found myself reading it in his voice! It also accurately captured the feeling of what happens in writing workshop, as well as when using multi-modal methods as described in Gilrain’s article.

There were so many great makes this week, I wish that I could highlight each and every one of them. It was so hard to only choose a few, but I will definitely be taking some notes from the great ideas this week for use in my future classroom. Some of the more memorable makes this week for me included Shelby Baccala’s professional website, which was very well done. I love that she highlighted not only her experiences in English 333, but also her volunteer work, and her teaching philosophy, which I absolutely agree with: “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”

Some of the makes this week revisited mentor texts or projects that we had done before, and I loved Christina Barbaccia’s Storyjumper book, “The Bronson Collection.” In this amazing little book, she has captured not only sweet images of her gorgeous furbaby that capture just how much he is loved, but I can also see the inspiration from some of our other makes in there, especially the pages in which Bronson is advertising his “Yellow Lab Security Co.” and the comparison between his thoughts on dinnertime, and the human perspective, which reflect Make 4’s compelling arguments. I can also see the influence from Make Cycle 2 in the recipe for “Bronson Blondies.”  Great job!

This week had so many new skills to practice, and stretched my tech brain, but I really enjoyed learning to make memes, and I was inspired to start a personal webpage for my make, something that I have long planned on doing but never got around to doing. While the page I have managed to create so far is far from what I have envisioned, it can only improve as my sorely-lacking web publishing skills improve. It is a start, and for that I am grateful!

Author Bio: My name is Lisa Valdez, and I am a junior at CSU Chico, having transferred from Santa Rosa Junior College with an AA Transfer degree in History. I am an RN, but am no longer able to work due to an injury, and now have the opportunity to work toward the teaching career that I discovered I loved doing while developing school health programs through the hospital’s wellness center. I am pursuing a double major in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and plan on obtaining a teaching credential with the goal of being able to teach in whichever school needs me in my small rural area. I live with my husband Joe in McArthur, California, and have a farm where we raise Scottish Highland Cattle, dairy goats, pigs, and poultry, who are guarded by our very large Spanish Mastiffs. I do volunteer work for local veteran’s organizations, as well as working with several animal rescue groups, as well as cat rescue and livestock rescue during the local wildfires. My hobbies include knitting and yarn-crafts, dying fabric and yarn, and making homemade cheese and preserves from our farm products. I am a grandmother of four, three boys and a girl, ages 4 months to 9 years, and enjoy spending time with them and taking trips to Tahoe and Disneyland with them as often as I can. They are remarkably tech-savvy and we face-time frequently. We also send snapchat videos to each other — the babies really love the cute filters on snapchat! The profile picture above is my husband and I on my 50th birthday, cutting up for the camera and having fun at the Dungeons of San Francisco, such a fun outing!


Maritza Caceres

Welcome to Make Cycle 5.

Rebecca Spears’ Meme

On week one of this make cycle, the class read Chapter Six from About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland. We had to write our take from the chapter. My take in Chapter Six was that behind the mini lessons there are big concepts, which are units of study. Those concepts are based on the process and product studies of writing a story. The process studies are the way the author creates the book such as revision and editing. While product studies are the traits found in the book such as the genre of the book. In the unit study, the teacher is able to go into detail to explain the concepts. There are various ways to determine the concepts to teach kids about writing. For example, the teacher can use the state and local curriculum. They can focus on the basic punctuation, capitalization, spelling and complete sentences. It can be part of the process studies. Also, teachers can envision the kind of writer they want their student to become in the future. The second part of the assignment was to create memes based on ideas from the textbook. We used imgflip site to create the memes. Memes are a widely used in today’s society. It is a modern style to use writing. The class did an amazing job coming up with unique and funny memes.

On week two of this cycle, the class read the article “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry”; we had to write our take on the article as well. My take on the article, by Jane Gilrain, used multimodal composing to tell her class’s writing experience with art. She begins with a letter that lets reader know what to expect of the article. She explains that she would be giving examples of her student’s work with art, poetry, and drama. Then she writes a poem for the reader to join her in the journey she experienced with her students through art. Gilrain mentions that she obtains the idea of the letter format from Billy Collins and the poem from Robert Frost. Afterwards, Gilrain created a fairy tale story about the situation that made the project possible to occur in her classroom. When I finished reading the three multimodal approaches of Gilrain, I thought about the information I learned in About the Authors. Gilrain is reading like a writer. She found writing mentors to create her article. She uses different writing formats to intrigue readers. After Gilrain introduces the topic in three different ways, she moves on by giving examples of her student’s work. For example, there is photography of Miguel acting as the son of Odysseus. He is performing the vocabulary word yearn. Overall the class did well in conveying their thoughts about the article and having discussions with classmates. Students uplift each other through our chats.

Below are Salina Rodriguez and Jillian’s comments on Jamie Xayachack article reflection:

Salina Rodriguez commented, “Jamie, I really enjoyed your reflection of the article. By realizing that as teachers we can refrain from the stuff structure that has been implemented for so long is a hopeful way to look into our future. I have always had a sense of worry in knowing that my classroom will be one that makes positive impacts on students not realizing how many ways I can make learning more hands on. I love that you mention that art is what shapes the world around us, even a student who does not thing they are good at drawing can find relaxation in painting or expressing their thoughts in a way other than writing. I have always heard that teachers learn from their students and I think this is where I will be learning from my students, for ways to present curriculum that students will enjoy. Great post!”

Jillian Pearson stated, “Hi Jamie, great reflection! I truly think that by implementing art, performance and poetry it really does open students up to the opportunity to make connections with the material being taught as well as with their peers. Students can have a better chance of expressing themselves or showing their knowledge if they’re given a more of a variety to do so.”

On Sunday, students posted their creations. We used multimodal texts for our projects and showed the skills we’ve learned in class. There were many awesome creations.

Let’s start with the first book “Guide to Picking the Right One” by Grace Pablos. The book was about selecting the right family member for certain activities. She would ask a question about a certain situation that only one of her family members could help her. Under the question, she had a picture of the family member that was perfect for that job. On the following page, she gave the name of the person and reason they were right for that job and she had a list of their qualities. I could tell that she took a lot of time creating her book. She wrote the book pages with black pen. While for the title, she used markers. The title page is colorful with different colors of flowers with a yellow sun and blue clouds. Also, she used sky blue and pink construction paper and envelopes for the pages. Grace did a great job incorporating multimodal composing in her book.  

The second book is “Marathon Motivation Book” by Emily Sall. The book inspires pace runners to run a marathon. In the book there are six note cards with stages of running a marathon: the stages are start, mile 6, mile 13, mile 19, mile 23, and mile 26.2. When the runner completes the mile listed in the book, they read the note card to encourage them to keep running. Also, the notecard includes tips to remember during the race. At the end of the book, it includes pages with topics that the runner can write about their experiences. The pages of the book are note cards and they are glued to purple, blue, or orange construction paper. The reader can take out the note cards from the book because they are inside envelopes. The notes cards writing and title are written on with a black pen. It is a neat way to read a book with note cards.

Lastly, I found interesting the book “Having A Little Sister” by Cyrill Somera. In her book, she describes some flaws of having a younger sister. At the end of the day those problems don’t matter: she will forever have a friend. She uses moving memes that go along with the topic she is writing about in her book. The title page has a green stripe going through her name and it seems she used the same font for all the pages. 

Great makes all around.

Author Bio: My name is Maritza Caceres. I am the sixth out eight children. When I had graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in school. My family encouraged me to continue my education. Therefore, I attended a community college. While I was attending community college, I got a job as a tutor. After I graduated college, I knew I wanted to become a teacher. Now I am attending CSUChico and my goal is to become a teacher.


Yorleidi Langarica 

Make Cycle 5 has certainly been a very interesting one and a hard one in my opinion. Over the past 2 weeks we have focused on trying to understand multimodal texts because we have to start getting ready as future teachers. We have to be able to know how to do them and in what type of environment we can use them. I think that it is a great tool to use in the classroom especially for students who are visual learners. The first discussion was about chapter 6 and appendix F; the best part about this assignment was creating my own meme about study units. This chapter really made me think and appreciate the work teachers must put in for their students. I think that the smaller the grade level the more time it takes to learn something new, which means more mini lessons to be planned! Yay. One thing that really caught my attention was when the author wrote: “If they are not organized over time under an umbrella of a bigger topic of interest to people who write, the our whole-class teaching can have a very hit and miss- feel to it.”  This, without question, is something every teacher must have in mind because we can teach, but will the students learn? Will they remember it later? We need to teach with a purpose, which is getting our students excited over learning new material that they’ll remember late on in life.

By Tuesday April 3, we read an article from Language Arts called “ From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing Through Painting, Performance and poetry.” This article was all about multimodal composing; it used different types and explained them although some were confusing. It didn’t focus on one thing at a time. I had to read it a couple of times to understand what was going on especially in the beginning. I think that the part that got to me the most was about the little girl and how much she missed her father. It was as if I could feel her pain through her words. This was and will be a hard moment in her life but art did save her. She found a way to express her emotions without speaking a word of it. She expressed it with art. This is what art is all about, seeing and believing what nobody else does. Being creative and expressing what we feel in another way.

We then turned in our final make for this cycle. We had to use examples of multimodal texts to discuss or show our progress and understanding. This make was about showing our skills and how well we understand what multimodal is and how useful they can be. Here are some of my peers best work:

Book titled 'The Bronson Collection'
By Christina Barbaccia

I really liked this make because she used her dog as an example of multimodal text. Her text were very well represented and funny. She used last weeks reading of Language Arts as inspiration as you can see by the variety of text like art and poetry. My favorite part was the Bronson Blondies recipe because she had to use “only 1 teaspoon of ferociousness.”

I also really liked Emily Sall’s make (see above) because you could tell she had fun making it and it was a form of inspiration towards others. I feel like this make was more based of the article we read because the text in this case the book which made her feel better, it motivated her. My favorite thing about this make is that she actually created it by herself and showed us the creativity and passion she possess.

What caught my attention in Madison Honegger’s make was the fact that it was based of the mentor texts “always a bridesmaid” and “ The Story of Every Mom’s Typical Day.” What I really liked about it was that it could relate to anyone living in a dorm. It is the funny things in life that you remember the most. The best meme was when the fire alarm went off because it is hilarious that this situation could happen just because someone forgot to add water to their noodles.

Author Bio: I am 20 years old and it is my second year at Chico State. I was born in Jalisco, Mexico but moved to California when I was 7. I currently live in Corning, CA with my family. I have 3 brothers and am the only girl. I want to become a 2nd grade teacher.


 

Caitlin Micko

When reflecting on Make Cycle 5, the creation of those memes to go along with our textbook reading assignments were daunting to me. I am not going to lie, the thought of a meme puzzled me to no end! However, when I thought about what a meme can tell as a way of expression, it made the process a bit easier. By the conclusion of the assignment, I ended up loving the meme I made! I think memes are something I want to even incorporate in my future classroom.

I thought the overall theme of my meme ended up making much more sense than I thought I would have the ability to make. I am also pleased with my meme because it expresses an idea from About the Authors that has really stuck with me throughout this course. In About the Authors, Wood Ray and Cleaveland discuss how students learn by “making stuff” (Ray and Cleaveland, 6). I couldn’t express how much I agree with Ray and Cleaveland! I teach by the philosophy that students learn by creating and getting their hands dirty. So, the ideas in About the Authors resonates with me.

Throughout this course, About the Authors has inspired and challenged me about teaching. I love that it is about writing workshops and related topics, but many of the lessons and tips can be applied to teaching in general. I am so pleased that I bought this book (I usually rent textbooks) because I want to keep it as a reference guide and as inspiration for my entire teaching career. For this Cycle, the idea on page 108, where Ray and Cleaveland write, “We find the guidance to make this decision each year in a number of different places: Our vision for how we want students to be as writers at the end of the year….” I think this is an extremely important idea and an inspirational quote. I think it is logical, smart, and brilliant to think about where you want your students to be at the end of the year when lesson planning. I often think, ‘Is this lesson fulfilling a development need for my students and is it preparing them for x, y, and z in Kindergarten?” However, when getting lost in preparing a whole unit, I think the idea of asking oneself if it is setting up the students to be good writers, artists, mathematicians, and so on is important. I think it is important, also, to make sure they are prepared for the next grade level. However, I think what is also lost often is reminding oneself about how the lesson(s) is/are preparing the student for their general future.  

In connection with the readings for About the Authors, I enjoyed the exercise of thinking about lesson plans. I was intrigued to read more about different types of lessons from Cleaveland and Ray: When I read about units of study, I instantly thought of my preschoolers and one of their favorite books If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. I have read this book to them a handful of times and one day we did an extension project that stemmed from the book. We took a poll to see who liked chocolate chip cookies, who liked sugar cookies, and who liked peanut butter cookies. Lastly, we counted up our categories and formed totals. The kids and I entitled it, “If You Give a Preschooler a Cookie.” After reading chapter six of About the Authors, I realized that I could take this small step that I took with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and extend that into a unit.

I feel that Numeroff’s story really focuses on the action of the story moving forward and pacing the story in a fast-pace sequencing sort of manner. I feel that the book really carries the reader through a beginning, middle, and an end that comes full circle. In younger grades, the idea of a story having a beginning, middle, and end is essential to beginning reading and writing. So, I think this would be a good focus for a writing unit for students with applying this as a mentor text. On page 105, Ray and Cleaveland, write that “an overview of the process of writing” is a “process studies”and I think it fits well with the pace and focus of Numeroff’s book. The “process of writing” could include making sure the students’ stories have beginnings, middles, and endings. Perhaps students could pick their own animals to star with a human character in their own stories. The students could employ Numeroff’s book as inspiration for a beginning, middle, and end to their stories as well as pacing and playing with sequencing like coming full circle.

By extending out this idea into a full week, I think it would be fun and impactful to read stories of a similar style. Luckily for us educators and for kids everywhere, Numeroff has written several different stories in the style of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. For example, the mini lesson on parts of a story could include studying If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Mouse a Muffin, If You Give a Dog a Donut, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, and so on. There are a series of wonderful books that perfectly, in my opinion, show the flow and parts of a story clearly for younger readers. I think these books would be fantastic mentor texts for students to write their own stories focusing on and playing with sequencing and having a beginning, middle, and end in the story. I also think these books could work well for a “product studies” focus on “how to make illustrations work with text.” These stories all have fun illustrations that marry well with the stories they are paired with. I feel that the more I learn about these topics, the better I do at my current job and the more I will be prepared for my future job as a primary school teacher. In addition, I can better understand how students learn.

In terms of the Makes for this Cycle, I want to start off by talking about Cori Hale’s wedding website. I think that this is a wonderful way to do this assignment because she is including both words and photos, which makes it multimodal. In addition, she also chose an assignment that lets the reader learn more about her on a personal level. By getting to see Cori’s website, I felt like I got to know her a bit more. Lastly, I felt that Cori’s work was well written and clear, which, when it comes to teaching, are always essential to effective lessons and classroom time.

Next, I want to discuss Rayn Buford’s Make for Cycle 5. I thought her memes presented ideas in such an informative way, but with such humor! I love when individuals take learning and make it humorous. I feel by making it humorous, one is much more likely to take it in and reflect on it because they are enjoying it. I think Rayn’s memes do just this! In addition, I love how Rayn included some personal reflection on how she viewed writing as a child and how she can teach differently than how she was taught as a child. For example, I particularly liked her discussion on how “….it is OK to focus on the depth our students are embracing instead of deadlines or the chapters that still remain….” I couldn’t agree more with Rayn and I think this is such a wonderful way to approach writing and education!

Lastly, I want to speak about Samone Burge’s write-up and meme. 

I was interested in Samone’s Make because she related it directly to the About the Author reading from Cycle 5. Since I found the ideas about lessons interesting in this Cycle, I was drawn to Samone’s work. I think Samone’s work perfectly represents the ideas presented in Cleaveland and Ray’s discussion on lessons and how to incorporate, as Samone puts it, “reading the writing of others.” I think her meme perfectly reflects the concepts written by both herself and Cleaveland and Ray. In addition, her meme, like Rayn’s memes, employ humor to be engaging and to drive the point home. 

I also think that Samone’s write-up that is paired with her meme is clearly written and concise. I think both attributes, as a teacher, are important to have. In addition, like Rayn, humor is always a good asset to have the classroom as well.

Author Bio: Hello to all! I want to start my biography off with some information about me: My name is Caitlin and I live in Anderson, California. I am currently a preschool teacher. I live for those moments where I see a concept click with a student or they talk through a process or question. I adore seeing their wheels turn and watching them grow in their academics and as little people! When I am not teaching preschoolers, I love spending time with my loved ones. My Monday night softball watching with my fiance, Kody, and our black lab, Beau, is the highlight of my week. I enjoy reading, writing, being outdoors, photography, watching baseball, traveling, cooking, and baking. I am also a student at Chico State University and am working towards my degree in Elementary Education.


Josue Nava 

I had a lot of fun working on projects during the 5th Make Cycle.  It’s not everyday you get to turn in a meme as part of an assignment.  The multimodal composing was definitely something new. It was so much information all at once.  I have to admit I was a bit lost when I began reading the article from Language Arts: I don’t know if I was expecting something other than what I was reading. After a short break I can back and read the article again and it made sense sort-of. I could tell apart all the sections, but I felt it was all thrown together; it felt like chaos on paper so to speak.  Apart from the way it was organized, the content was awesome. I feel like this may be a little too much for me to do my first year, but maybe the third year I’ll be ready for a multimodal form of teaching. The way it was organized was the most challenging thing for me because I like structure and organization and this article was far from it.  I don’t think I would want to teach this way.  I promise I will give it a chance –it may be the best thing I ever do– but for now, I’m going to stick to what I know.  I for sure don’t think I will be able to use this type of system for students in special education (SPED). I feel it may be a little too hard for them, but I would sure love to make a poster or flyer similar to this article in which I can show parents/guardian the student’s progress.  This multimodal approach taught me a new method, one in which it could help students think outside the box.

Now to the nitty gritty of this cycle.  The best part: making my personal calling card.  My own website. I was so excited I emailed my sister and told her about it.  She was confused at first but then I explained why I had made it. She told me everything that needed to be fixed. Making a website is something I thought I would never do.  It was challenging since I thought to myself that this is something I will be using to communicate with parents and students in the future so why not start now.  As time goes, I will improve it and add better features so everyone can check it out. I will send you (Dr. Jaxon) a link to my website a few years from now so you can critique me and maybe give me a few pointers on what I can do to make my website user friendly and cool over all.  

Here are my favorite makes from my peers in make cycle 5:

The first one is by Rebecca Lee; I thought her design was so beautiful.  The website was well made and it had everything a teacher in training should have.  The second one I chose was by Salina Rodriguez; her website was really cool.  I like how simple it was but at the same time sophisticated. Well planned and designed. And last, I really liked Jamie Xayachack’s website too.  She was really clever and it was funny and the layout I thought was really cool.

Here is a screenshot and link to mine.

Author Bio: Josue is from Hamilton City, a small town 10 miles west of Chico. Before attending Chico State, he was at Butte College as a mechanical engineering transfer. While living with a family whose young boy wasn’t speaking yet, he went out of my way to work with him much like he had with his own son. A few weeks later the young boy spoke for the first time. Josue had discovered how much he loves working with kids. 


Jamie Xayachack

Top 3 Cycle 5 Makes

The makes that I gravitated towards most were the teacher portfolios of Jillian Pearson, Janette Herrera, and Sarah Roberts because I also chose to make one for this cycle. Sarah’s Make was enjoyable to look through as she had multiple blog posts that explain the reasons why she’s pursuing the career that she’s chosen. The layout that she chose for this multimodal make was simple and easy to navigate around.Jillian’s portfolio was filled with a variety of pages which were very interesting to scroll through. I like how she suggested a few websites that both students and educators could utilize. Janette’s portfolio also has a simple layout: her whole blog about Creating Writers was most compelling to read as her views of creating writers are like mine.

“Offer mini lessons each day before writing workshop and then let them go to work. To ensure that each student’s progress is being monitored you can have conferences during the workshop time and offer any assistance that is needed. Remember the most important thing here is create a classroom full of students who think of themselves as writers and this should be encouraged as much as possible.” – Janette Herrera

This whole paragraph resonates with me because I’m experimenting with this approach with my students this semester in having them be the curators of their own stories and handmade books. It’s so important for us future educators to assist students into thinking of themselves as writers because they are imaginative and fantasize about situations through made-up stories. That’s already a huge part of story-writing and the only part we really need to help them with is figuring out how to spell words and structure sentences.

Reflections

Ultimately, Cycle 5’s article from Language Arts (see link in Lisa’s post above) made me realize how explorative one can be through teaching. It is possible to refrain from traditional and stiff structure in the classroom and Jane Gilrain made that point clear in the allegory, which was presented at the beginning of the article. Gilrain made me realize that it is quite difficult to break away from norms because society tends to adhere to what works or what has worked in the past and most fear change because it is usually accompanied by an onslaught of intuitive and complex ideas to be dealt with. Art is what shapes the world around us. Everything from the design of a car to ceramic mug has been through a creative process engineered by team of people. This article brought light to how students can learn through collaborative work with others so that they can articulate what they would like to say through various multimodal approaches. Through a multimodal approach to teaching, students can utilize their seemingly never-ending free-flow of energy by projecting it towards projects that require movement and drama. I would love to explore this approach through some theatrical work with the students that I have currently. They are all very invested in creating interesting and unique art projects with me and it would be such an awesome experience to have them hone into their skills in the arts by having them do some theater activities with a theater artist.

Cycle 4 Reflection

Karen Kaufman Orloff expertly conveyed her point of views to her young audience by incorporating didactic, yet simple messages as well as other elements through her books I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room. It’s apparent that Orloff chose to write in first person to let the audience have a better understanding of the personalities within the main character as well as other characters in the book. These books are informative, but the dialogues between characters are persuasive as the main character, Alex, attempts to persuade his parents through letters stating how grown up he is or how great his grades are in school. When children read these books, they are given ideas of persuasion to reciprocate their style of writing from when writing letters to whomever they may concern. These texts aim to convey two major points for children to begin understanding, which are compromising and problem-solving. Both stories lead to happy endings and children can see that through the arguments and information being relayed between Alex and his parents. The instances of bias constantly occur as viewpoints of a young boy and older perspectives (Alex’s parents) write letters to each other as they stay strong in their position of arguments.

Both books are vivid and illustrative with humorous drawing and scenes that easily captivate young eyes. The element of putting the texts in graphic paper was an excellent idea as it gives children an example of what a letter should look like and what a letter should contain. From a more mature perspective, the issues presented in the books may come off as trivial, however, children between the three to eight are dealing with these issues and these issues are so important for educators, parents, or guardians to acknowledge and guide children so that they can develop from them. Utilizing this book would help us in educating children of the importance in confronting personal conflicts and to understand the value in gaining new perspectives of things in life.

This make cycle was interesting to do and it was even more fun to look through other classmates work to see the variety of interpretations of this assignment. With that being said, this assignment also brought light into the fact that students all learn and interpret things differently. There must be a variety of ways for students to approach an assignment to create something to the best of their potential. I really liked how everyone used different sources to create what they made. Having a variety of choices also broadened everyone’s perspective on approaching the assignment.

Author Bio: Jamie Xayachack is a third-year Liberal Studies student at CSU Chico. She is currently working in the Enterprise Elementary School District as an ACE Aide, as well as a Classroom Aide. Having the opportunity to be surrounded by students and other educators at work all day has made her excitement and motivation to become an elementary school teacher grow more with each coming day. Jamie’s overseas volunteer experience as a McConnell SAILS Scholar in classrooms in Asia is what made her choose teaching as a career path she would like to venture on. A few hobbies of hers include hiking and playing Super Smash Bros with friends.


Salina Rodriguez

Erin Russo made a website for herself that I found exceptional.  She found not only different fonts and colors to write about herself in, but she also found pictures that made the reader of her website be able to picture her as a soon to be teacher.  There was just the right amount of color and font without making the website too busy or childish. While it is difficult to present yourself on paper, Erin made it seem flawless with her straight to the point examples of her road to being an educator.  Adding on a video by Carol Dweck to help back her teaching philosophy I found creative and powerful for her overall website.

Taylor Roberts Make 5 I found to be done exceptionally well because she challenged herself.  Taylor challenged herself to create a lesson plan and fulfill it herself. I found this to be extra special because it is not even something I am yet to challenge myself with, yet what better way to practice?  She took pictures of her actual work that included information about the sun and the moon along with drawings. I thought this was a really great way to practice mini lessons with students. This allows students to first be able to learn about the subject and then be able to present what was learned in the way they find most comfortable.  I like she started with basic topics because as teachers we can learn to grow as the topics and age of the student grows; however this was a really great way to practice a lesson plan along with mini lessons and have a physical example that can even be used in her future classroom.

Shelby Baccala’s Make 5 was the most impressive Make I could find.  The reason I found hers so impressive was because I felt that her website could be up and looking for hiring districts right now and she would certainly beat me out at any job.  Her way of presenting not just herself and her philosophies, but her way of presenting her experience with pictures to support her past made her website outstanding. Shelby used different colors, fonts, and pictures to keep whomever is reading about her interested and wanting to read on.  This website I see being done so well that she could use it tomorrow to apply for a job. Great job Shelby!

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 4: Hannah, Cheyenne, Samone, Adriana, Alma, Erin, and Sean

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 4: Hannah, Cheyenne, Samone, Adriana, Alma, Erin, and Sean

Hannah Hughes

Hello everyone! I truly hope you all had a lovely spring break! Now that we have sprung forward with the time change, and in this class, we are that much closer to becoming teachers in our own classroom! Being part of this google community and sharing with all of you the last couple months has been extremely inspiring! Each new discussion and make cycle has added a new layer to our writing repertoire that will help us as we learn how to teach our students how to write. We started the week off by discussing the 4th and 5th chapters of our book, About the Authors: Writing Workshop With Our Youngest Writers. Then we looked at some great mentor texts to help develop our idea of what compelling argumentative writing looks like. And finally, we created our own persuasive works to share with the community.

Chapter 4 really begins to take an overall look into the steps it takes for students to write books. One of the big ideas expressed in this chapter is that writing must be an enjoyable process that helps students find their own writing strengths as they learn to create. Students need to feel they are already adequate with their skills they arrive with so they can learn to build off of where they are at. I really appreciate the book allowing us as future teachers to see this viewpoint because often students who feel they can’t meet the expectations of being a “good” writer won’t even try. Dana C touched on this matter in her response and said, “A six-year-old’s writing differentiates from an experienced writer. We cannot expect so much from them at such a young age when they are still learning and growing. We must be there to support them. This was a lot of help when I began to think about myself as a future teacher. I want to teach first grade, so I know now that I have to start slow and let my students show me what they can do when it comes to their writing then slowly bring in tips and tricks in order for them to gain knowledge upon their writing.” I love how she acknowledges and summarizes in her own words how she now has a better understanding of how to teach her future students to write because of this chapter.

Chapter 5 takes a look at what connections are being made when we look at texts and then imagine them into our own ideas. I love how Lisa focuses on teaching her students strategies for writing instead of giving the ideas to write about. On page 84, a quote that really stood out to me was

“We keep coming back to this point of identity again and again because we just can’t get away from how significant it is to the learning we see.”

When children have an identity about their work, they feel like they can take on and expand their own ideas, as well as others. A technique I know many of us found really neat in chapter 5 was the fishbowl strategy. Lisa Valdez points out that “The ‘fishbowl’ conferences are also a great way to have the children learn what to expect in their own conferences, as well as minimize any anxiety they may feel. It also can help them to see what is expected of them, so that they can make their own adjustments prior to their own conferences. It reinforces the idea that the conferences are not punitive, but constructive.” We all know peers are one of the biggest influences children have in their lives. That reaches to all areas including school work. Of course, I think that making sure that as teachers we make the effort to process these “conferences” with our students will make a huge difference to how effective the fishbowl strategy will actually be.

After learning a bit about the writing process, we took a look at some mentor texts to help inspire us with our makes. A text I really enjoyed was I Wanna Iguana, by Karen Kaufman Orloff. This is a story about Alex who wants to adopt his friend’s iguana. I found it interesting how the book is told from both his and his Mom’s perspectives as they write notes to each other. Alex doesn’t just whine and beg to get the iguana, but carefully constructs persuasive arguments why he and this iguana belong together. Veronica Oregel shares her thoughts on this mentor text saying: “The authors expressed their opinions through the characters in their stories and did it very well. For example, Alex was not faced by his parents telling him no he could not have something. Instead he got creative and found different ways of asking until a compromise was met between parents and child.” I think this is great way to help students understand why creating such thoughtful argumentative writings within the context of their own life can be useful. All of the mentor text assignments we have done thus far have been really easy to imagine how they might translate into assignments I can use with my future students. However, the use of these argumentative texts seems like such a fun way to get creative and help students learn how to develop and organize their own ideas about what they want in life.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin was a very funny and cute picture book that uses the argumentative writing style to tell the story. It was really neat to be able to see it from the side of the cows and I loved how the animals were coming up with their arguments of what they needed in order for the farmer to comply. Brittany Walker touches on the personification used in this text. She says, “The author gave human characteristics to the animals. Obviously, cows can’t talk or type on a type writer, however the author really made the reader see the side of the cows and their wants and needs. For instance, the cows told the farmer that the barn was very cold at night and they wanted some blankets. I also liked how the animals were coming up with their arguments of what they needed in order for the farmer to get what he wants. This would be a great writing assignment for students to take to role of someone or something else. They could write an argumentative piece in character that has wants or needs that they need to convey to someone else.” One of my favorite things to read about in our discussions is when others comment on ideas of how they might implement some of these strategies into their own classrooms. I am always taking note of these amazing ideas you all have shared!

My favorite part of the weekly cycles are the makes of course! There are always so many makes that surprise and inspire me! These personalized projects really allow us the opportunity to practice what we want our students to do, which is to create works that are meaningful, compelling, and well thought out. For the assignment this week, we had many options to choose from: an advice column, a series of posters, a flyer, an advertisement, a book etc. Many of these projects were compelling because of the message they were conveying, while others were interesting because of their visual appeal.

Quite a few of our makes this week touched on some topics that were not quite as light hearted as wanting an iguana, but conveyed extremely important messages about mental health that are so relevant and necessary in our world today! It meant a lot to me that so many of our future teachers shared this message. One I took notice to immediately was a series of posters that was created by Raenni Pilgrim. Her posters used a pineapple as a message of positivity to help students with self esteem. The second poster, in her series of 3, she used an alphabet poem with the word pineapple, which is visually appealing and helps to get across the message in a fun way. I really love what she had to say about why she wanted it to be so bright and colorful even though the topic can be dark. “I created an anti bullying campaign that is geared toward positivity and encouraging students instead of telling them don’t bully. When you google anti bullying you usually see a big red circle with the word bully crossed out in the center. I wanted my posters to motivate higher self esteem in students or to at least start the ball rolling on helping others.”

Another make that caught my eye right away was Grace Pablo’s posters on homelessness. The images combined with message on the posters were extremely moving. I loved how she was able to have such a strong message with so few words. Grace was able to touch on the stereotypes these people face regularly: “When thinking of homelessness many automatically think of people who end up on the streets because of drug or alcohol abuse. It is easy to judge and criticize them based on what they look like.” Immediately a thought that comes to my mind, is that one day, we may have a child in our classroom who is homeless, or have family who are homeless. Our attitude in the classroom towards others will create the atmosphere they thrive, (or don’t thrive) in. Lexi Mitchell commented on Grace’s make saying “..it’s so easy to pass judgement on anyone, but especially the homeless. I really like how your make gave them a voice.” The notion that our writing can be a way to give someone a voice, who otherwise might not have one, whether it be a cow on a farm, or a judged homeless man, is a powerful thing.

A really fun make to read this cycle was the story jumper book “Happy, Healthy, Super Teeth” written by Beatriz Salazar. She used a style of writing to make a topic that is actually important and serious feel accessible to students. She used really adorable images along with great information to express the importance of taking care of your teeth. Just like our mentor text Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, Beatriz did a great job using personification to tell her story. The different teeth all take turns explaining who they are and why they are important to take care of! It was very cute.

The last make I want to touch on that I connected with was Alma Rose Lopez’ Autism Awareness flyer.

This is a subject I am extremely passionate about myself. I work in the field of early intervention for children under the age of 3 who are having social and communication delays and are possibly at risk for Autism. I also have a child of my own who is 4 and has special needs. As awareness is spreading, in both the school setting and in society in general, there are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to have Autism. On her flyer she puts “Awareness is a step closer to breaking stereotypes that get drawn to everyone but mostly get drawn to those that are considered “disabled” on not being able to make a living or contribute to society.” Alma did a wonderful job of highlighting important information about people with Autism, as well as including in large print when World Autism Awareness Day. This gives us a way to act on what we have read, or even just learn more about it. I love how she says this about her make, “I also included pictures to get a visual perspective on the don’ts and the overall meaning of Autism in people. Honestly, I think I was influenced by all the mentor’s texts on trying to prove a point. I guess I kind of combined all the mentor’s meanings and created a new type towards my work.” We want our students to be able to use ideas from many different resources and use what works for them and I think Alma did a great job showing us how that can be done.

Honestly, there were a lot of powerful and amazing makes that I did not mention. I know with Spring Break it may have been easy for us to put reading through them all on the back burner, but you will not regret taking the time to read not only the ones mentioned on the blog, but everyone’s! We had Professor Kittle’s class join us for this make, so we have even more inspiration and knowledge to add into our teaching buckets than usual! I know mine is overflowing with ideas right now!

Author Bio: My name is Hannah, I am 30 years old. I am from the Bay area but have lived in the Chico and surrounding area for the last 12 years. I am a very busy lady! I work full time, am a mom to four-year-old with special needs, a wife to a disabled vet, and I am finally in my last year of college! I love to hike and just take random (day) road trips as a little family. I also like reading, cooking, or watching Netflix, as well as watching/listening to podcasts and Ted talks. I have worked in the community for the past 10 years directing local after school programs, but about two years ago I switched from after school life to early intervention, where I found my love of working with special needs kiddos. That inspired me to get back in school to finally reach my goal of being a teacher. I can’t wait!


Cheyenne Boles

I am so happy to have a chance to write about make cycle four because it has so far been my most favorite. I love anything that’s trying to persuade me just because it feels like a test.

We started out these last couple weeks with Chapter 4 and 5 from About the Authors. Both of these chapters honestly made me a little nervous about becoming teacher just because how truly difficult it can be to really teach children the essence of preplanning and brainstorming before creating a story or even a simple homework sheet. In Chapter 4, there was an example that hit home 100% with me: a young boy was writing a short story on snakes; he changed the word mistake to “missnake.” When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade I did this exact thing (different word of course) and the teacher turned it down just like the boy in Chapter 4. I think things like this is so important to allow children to do even though it may not be the most grammatically correct. Chapter 4 really pushed this because taking the imagination away from our students also allows them to lose their motivation when creating these future stories.

Chapter 4 also talked about letting children feed off of each other’s work and to not see it as copying. Allowing them to choose their topic and take an idea that their friend did the week before and make their own is the foundation of an amazing short story! This really provides some self help not to mention the inspiration from their peers instead of the teacher.

Chapter 5 had just as amazing viewpoints as Chapter 4; in fact, some that I can’t wait to use in my future classroom. The first one being, bringing in books that inspire your students to make one just like it, or a book that has a format that you would love to see some of your students try. When reading these books, it would be really good to point out “look at this, look at what this writer is doing, this is so cool, maybe one of you could try this next time”: just some boosts of knowledge without fully telling them what you’re wanting them to do. The thing I loved most about Chapter 5 was that it provided the insider knowledge of a “walk through,” this being, take a book and read it aloud while having the students point out the things they noticed or might like to use next time with their own story line.

The next section we were asked to tackle was Appendix E. This section really focused on text structures and how creating them can make six year old work that much better as simple as it may be. On pages 180 and 181 it gives actual examples of text structures of a book about sea creatures, and although it may not flow like a college level essay, it has the basic idea of things that live in the ocean such as Octopi, Sharks, Dolphins and Whales. Something as simple as different text boxes helps the students really learn and understand what they’re writing about as well as preparing themselves for a flowing essay just by adding the transition sentences.

Then for my favorite part of this make cycle, the mentor texts! These children’s books were funny, cute, and had a lot of great ideas for future adult and children writers. The first one was I Wanna Iguana and it was so fun and totally relatable. I really liked how many of these texts used the illustrations to make the letters come to life. The arguments between the characters (mother and son) were so much like the conversations I used to have with my mom at that age. The young boy’s points to his arguments made me wonder why I never thought of that when I was trying to win over a puppy in the 3rd grade.

The second book we read was Click Clack Moo; this book was one I have read before and I think it’s a really fun one for the kids because what isn’t fun about animals coming to life let alone knowing how to argue and type! The repetition in this book was strong and really helpful to follow along even when the animals changed from cows to ducks, etc. My favorite out of all the books we read was The Day The Crayons Quit. I have never seen something so cute and original in my entire life! The illustrations were amazing and I love all the little details! The letters were the color of the crayon writing the message and some of the illustrations drifted over into the other page to make it more realistic and fun hearted. The author did an amazing job on this book and I really look forward to using it in my future classroom.

The last story we read was I Want a New Room. This book was written by the same author of I Wanna Iguana; he put such hard work and creativity into his stories I would definitely recommend them to anyone.

Our final step to Make Cycle 4 was our “makes.” We had the option of many different things such as campaign posters, argument passages, Advice columns and many more. I personally chose to make three campaign posters on empowering women, but I chose a few of my favorites to share with you created by my fellow classmates.

Raenni Pilgrim did the first one I want to share with you. She decided to make some hand drawn posters, which I loved! Her focus was anti bullying and her posters promoted positivity and encouragement to not bully. The thing that made me notice her posters was the fact that they are much different then the typical anti bullying poster (red circle with a line through it). Also she targeted the victim rather than the bully; her focus was to build them up and not allow harsh actions tear them down.

Erin Spranger did the second one I chose to highlight. Erin chose to do a rant, which I found quite funny. She rants about slow walkers and how they are so distracted by their phones. This couldn’t be more true! People get so caught up in social media, a text message or an email, and although it may be important it is so annoying for those around them! I really enjoyed Erin’s post and I thought you might also.

Dear slow walker,
I understand that you might not want to go where ever it is that you are going, but at least try to walk in a straight line. By not walking in a straight line, it is preventing me from passing you. It is also causing me to be later to my destination than I was originally planning. When you choose to not walk in a straight line and I try to pass you, it causes you to almost run into me because you start drifting over to the side I’m trying to pass you on.
I also understand that whatever it is, maybe a text message, that is making you to stare at your phone, causing you to progressively slow down, may be important. But if you are going to slow down because you are trying to not run into anything while you stare down at your phone, step off to the side. Don’t cause everyone else who is in a hurry to get to where they are going to walk slower because you aren’t being considerate. Or just wait to look at your phone until you get to where you are going. Nothing is that important to cause you to hold up people trying to walk because you are trying to read the message that was sent you.
So please, I’m begging you slow walker, either walk in a straight line to allow people to go around you or step off to the side to read that, “It’s too important to wait” message on your phone.

From,
The annoyed person behind you

The last “make” I wanted to share with you was done by Baylee Galloway. Baylee wrote an advice column from a girl wanting advice about moving in with her boyfriend. I love how personal she made it by really seeming like “Confused Caty” needed some serious advice. The response given to Caty was very professional and helpful! I really do think that if anyone in our class was going through a similar problem, they could totally take her advice.

Baylee’s Post:

Ask Amy, I am in desperate need of your help!
My boyfriend I have been with for about a year now asked me to move in with him!! I don’t know if me moving in with him will be too fast or if I should just do it. But moving in with someone is a big deal. I mean I like him love him maybe but this is a big commitment. What if he just absolutely drives me crazy if I move in??? Sometimes I just want to be alone and have my own space you know? I’ve lived by myself a long time what if I can’t live with anyone else?
Please help I have no idea what to do!
Sincerely, Confused Caty

Dear Confused Caty,
You’re right moving in with your significant other is a big step in any type of relationship. But him asking you shows where he wants your relationship to go. It seems like he is in it for the long haul. Write out a pros and cons list of living with your partner, write down all of the potential problems and issues that you two might encounter. Ultimately you have to ask yourself if you are ready to take that next step in your relationship with him. If you are talk to him about all of the things that you are weary about. Talking and letting your partner know where you stand and how you are feeling is always important. It shows that you care and want to talk through your feelings.
I hope this helped!!
Sincerely, Ask Amy

All of these stories and texts for this makes cycle were so interesting and super enjoyable so I was very excited to get to be a featured blogger this week. I hope you enjoyed!

Author Bio: This is my first semester at Chico State to get closer to my ultimate goal of being an elementary teacher. I am 20 years old and am a momma to the cutest fur baby, Pongo. He is a pit-bull that just turned one year old and is totally named after 101 Dalmatians. I love all things Disney and, of course, shopping!


Samone Burge

For Make Cycle 4 we read chapters 4 and 5, along with Appendix E. We observed the argumentative letters from our mentor texts, and even had the opportunity of creating our own form of persuasive writing.

For the first the About the Authors portion of Make Cycle 4, the response that stood out to me the most was done by Dana C. think that I was so intrigued by her response style because it sort of reminded me my own. Often times I want to write something short and sweet but can never seem to complete an assignment without sharing all that I have learned and observed from the book. In reading Dana’s response, I felt like she must be the same way as she had so much insightful content to share and I am so glad that she did. While both of our responses had a lot of information, Dana gave me a new perspective on the same topics and delve deeper into topics of the chapter that I barely scratched the surface of.

Chapter 4 took us deeper into teaching even the youngest students the process of writing.This chapter of About the Authors showed us how students can use the writing process to write books. They begin with prewriting. Prewriting includes finding ideas for writing projects, so based on the instruction of the teachers, students will choose what topic to cover within that introduction. It also includes growing ideas for a writing project, for a young author this means learning to take the time to think and talk about the idea they want to write about, before they actually begin to write it down. The final step of the prewriting is planning and drafting. The chapter then goes into the details of revision, editing, and publishing.

The most interesting part the author shared was how they don’t wait for students to learn the rules of writing before allowing them to write. They have students write first and uncover the rules of writing along the way. I was drawn to Dana C.’s response because she seemed to notice the same thing. Dana C really underlined the importance of allowing the children to learn to write through writing:

I learned quite a bit. Many of those things were eye opening and made me realize I cannot rush students into the writing process. Each student may have their own process, but the main thing is to get them writing first then later focus on the rest. As teachers, we have to learn from our students and see what works best for them” (Dana C).

I was really intrigued by her interpretation of the chapter because in her response she pointed out how as teachers we must start slow and have realistic expectations for young writers. Through Dana’s response I learned that we can teach children through their own knowledge of writing (allowing them to build upon prior knowledge of writing and simply get started first) and still expect their best efforts without pressuring them to produce the work of professional writers at this point: “A six-year-old’s writing differentiates from an experienced writer. We cannot expect so much from them at such a young age when they are still learning and growing. We must be there to support them” (Dana C).

Chapter 5 was all about the whole class lessons the author gives young students to help them explore the possibilities of writing. They expose the students to different styles of writing and allow the children to uncover differences and similarities and to begin to realize that they can try and incorporate these different forms of writing into their own work. I thought this was brilliant because it helps children to naturally build up a knowledge of writing skills through learning first hand from experienced authors. Dana couldn’t have put the ideas behind the mini lessons better when she said, “…it shows us different ideas on how to teach students to write rather than what to write. The students already have their own ideas on what it is they want to write about, but we must just help them find ways to write about those certain ideas” (Dana C).  

Appendix E was about teaching children to structure texts in interesting ways.  The author teaches the children to recognize the structure of texts by helping them see the same structures used by different authors in different books so that they understand that the particular structure is not limited to one particular author or one particular text.  Dana helped me understand this lesson in a new way: “Appendix E taught me that structured texts are very important. As teachers, we should make sure our students know that each and every one of their ideas or thoughts can combine in order to make one big idea” (Dana C). Her perspective really opened my eyes to how important helping children to understand and compare and contrast structure of others’ writing is in developing their own writing. These are the types of responses needed to really learn from others!

The Mentor texts this week were from the books: I Wanna Iguana, The Day the Crayons Quit, Click Clack Moo, and I Wanna New Room. Each of these stories gives a riveting demonstration of argumentative writing. When I began observing the responses to the mentor texts, the one that stood out to me the most was from Karen Fawn. Where I think my brain mostly focused on simply the arguments and bright illustrations of each persuasive story, Karen noticed so much more:

“I did notice that all four of the books used quite a bit of figurative language like personification, hyperboles, alliteration, and sarcasm” (Karen Fawn).

Karen taught me that I Wanna Iguana used a lot of hyperboles like when the mom said nobody would marry him with a six foot reptile. I also noticed that Karen and I were both drawn to the fact that each story was shared in a way that appeared like real handwritten or typed letters on each page. She pointed out to me that Click Clack Moo was full of personification because the cows are doing so many human things like typing. She also taught me about pathos and logos by informing me about how these are used in The Day the Crayons Quit, as the crayons play on the reader’s emotions and facts and demonstrations in order to persuade them to their point. What I loved most about Karen’s response was that it was educational but in a very entertaining and humorous way. With each sentence I could feel myself smiling from what she said and found myself wanting to read on and learn more. This is what is needed in a teacher!  

The final part of Make 4 was the most exciting. It was where we students got the chance to create persuasive work of our own. I chose to do a letter inspired by The Day the Crayons Quit to myself written from my over worn black boots, but my favorite make was also inspired by this story from Chelsea Peterson. In her make, “The Great Toy Rebellion, the toy cars write a letter to Nicholas about how they don’t like to be smashed by big trucks or rolled through mud. The dragon is tired of having to play the bad guy and the firetruck is depressed about being replaced by Batman. The favorite toy, Batman, has no complaints and no sense of modesty. He loves being the top toy and believes everyone else is just jealous. This was such an awesome read and a beautiful demonstration of argumentative writing. This is what is needed in an author!  

Each of these Make 4 curators taught me so much about our learning process this week. I learned to observe our readings, mentor texts, and make assignments in a new way that will force me to think harder and dig deeper for future assignments.

Author Bio: I am Samone and I just turned 29 years old. I have been happily married for 9 years, and I have four children ages 10, 7, 5, and two. I have been working as a preschool teacher at my former community college for about 3 years and I love it. I lie awake at night because I am woken up with new ideas about fun ways to teach children. I have a hard time focusing because I have so many things I want to do in arts and crafts and teaching but they all revolve around children. I have always known I wanted to be a wife and mother and have always had the feeling I was meant to teach. I love preschool but am excited about exploring the kindergarten age. My goal is to spread the joy of learning like wild fire, so no one and nothing will ever be able to put it out.  


Adriana Cea

Hi everyone. I just wanted to say that the quality of work that everyone has produced is amazing. When we started this class I truly was intimidated by writing and having such “broad” guidelines. I think that our text does a good job of making writing simple and enjoyable. When taking these methods into our writings, it really does make our work so much better and it is clear with all the work that everyone is producing, so good job!

When taking a step back and looking at all the Makes it was really difficult to pick just a couple. I think one thing that all the Makes have that made them stand out to me is the fact that people wrote about something personal or issues that are currently in the spotlight. Chapter 4 and 5 really breaks down making writing simple and creating a routine in which students always know what to expect. Chapter 4 talks about each and every break down of writing like brainstorming, closing, and editing for punctuation and spelling. Chapter 5 also gives use more examples of how to combine writing into everyday activities. I think the most important aspects that we take away from both chapters has to be routine of writing and embedding writing into every day. To create quality work we must change the way we go about writing.

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

Ashley Evans and her argument about banishing Child Leashes: Ashley immediately grabbed my attention with her interesting argument and catchy title. I personally hate leashes but I wanted to see what kind of arguments can be used so that we can get rid of those things.  I have always thought that the leashes make the children look like pets, which they clearly aren’t, but I never really thought much about any more arguments. Ashley states, “Parents exerting excessive control: Young kids need direction and in most cases that comes from their parents setting guidelines. It’s not overboard to make a child with a bad temperament do some things they don’t want, but strapping a leash on them is not one of those things. There are cases, and most people may have witnesses a situation similar, when the child is showing strong disdain towards wearing the “child harness.” I think that the about of information Ashley gave is important because it gives us logic. She accurately defended her reasons and gives us more logical explanations, such as the fact that a child harness can create certain feelings with the children. She also did it in a way that was easy to understand and it wasn’t filled with confusing science.

Yorleidi Langarcia’s arguments on DACA really hit close to home. Over the weeks of our course, our work has proved that if it comes from a personal places, it makes out writing so much better. I was drawn to Yorleidi’s arguments because of the tension there is regarding DACA and immigration reform. I think Yorleidi did an amazing job about giving us all of the information over DACA and giving us helpful tips. I believe that it doesn’t matter what side of the argument you are on, but we have to find a way to fix the current situation. Your Tapatio salsa is also pretty funny and brings a little bit of laughter into an intense situation. I also think that adding links with important information made her posters stand out. She is not only giving her argument but adding supplement information about DACA. I could definitely see her posters being distributed to people. I know many people who are documented and are still afraid of police and ICE. I think a chunk of this comes from misinformation and lack of information about their rights. I think having this information is important. Good job getting all this information together.

Janette Herrera’s argument on the Nation’s Walk Out Protest and gun violence in schools was refreshing. I really enjoyed reading information by someone who actually experienced the protest. I think right now we have a lot of misinformation going around that will stun the solution. I think the simple slogan of “Thoughts and prayers aren’t bulletproof” is powerful. I live a few minutes away from where a man went on a rampage killing his wife, making his way to a school while killing people on his way and then opening fire on campus while children were going to class. The shooting at Rancho Tehama really changed everything for us. Schools now are doing lock down drills every week and the police presence at schools have increased.  While I don’t think that banning guns will fix the issue, giving our youth a chance to give their opinions in situations that are impacting them will be the change that we needed. I have students that start freaking out over the sound of a book dropping on the floor. Having people start the conversation is the beginning of all the change.

Good job everyone! It was hard to pick out work so keep up all the good work!

Author Bio: My name is Adriana Cea and I just transferred over from Butte College. I hope to finish completing my bachelors at Chico State in the next couple semesters. I love working on my art and expanding my knowledge in the arts. I love spending time with my many siblings and just getting out of my regular routines. I am constantly curious about education and new information and techniques.


Alma Rosa Lopez

After reading chapter four, I liked that there are ways to discover a variety of processes students use on their writing. I like how the writing processes are based on the students needs and how their mindsets may process writing overall and how they can use their own writing. I like the idea one of the  the authors had on allowing the students to write first that way they can write however they are used to writing before a process is established on them. This is a way to kind of observe and see where a student stands before creating a process that doesn’t suit them at all on their development of writing. Giving students a step by step process can be difficult for them to focus on or even remember! So I believe it’s best to just focus on one thing at a time until they have improved that skill, at least when students are beginning to learn about writing. Also, before students start to learn about errors, I think they need to focus on their thoughtful writing and why it’s important to create a piece of writing that has some thoughts before learning about revisions among minor edits and errors. Once they have achieved that they then will receive guidance in increasing their development and adding a couple more steps at a time. The authors make a great point on how important it is to help students develop their skills and increase their ability. Also, when students are set on one step they will feel confident to move on and won’t forget the step due to them fully understanding it.

After reading chapter five, I got to learn a lot on what’s appropriate on operating mini lessons with students. I liked how the lessons are based on “sharing control” and allowing students to lead, discuss, or even operate a certain part of the lesson. It can be stressful and discomforting at times for a teacher or students based on reactions and quality given. Giving the students the ability to run a lesson or lead a certain part of the lesson is giving them an opportunity to express their knowledge and look forward to it. It also is giving students an opportunity to learn from each other, such as how Kayla taught and expressed her book idea to the whole class. Students can learn a lot from each other and get lots of practice on how to help one another and express their knowledge to the whole class. Before connecting students works with other mentor texts it’s important as a teacher to learn and teach about the author’s texts beforehand in order to help students make connections of those texts with their own. Overall, the ideal goal is to give and guide students towards some techniques they can use on their writing, instead of teaching them what to write. The overall concept of the lessons is to get students to thinking about how they got their ideas and illustrations from. This gets them to thinking like future authors and understanding and connecting with how the authors are inspired.

In the Unity Study E,  I was able to learn the importance of text structure and how important it is to include it and teach it. By teaching students text structure you are allowing and guiding students to think in a “tangible way” on how they write. This helps the students get to focus on how they write in a thoughtful process, while creating less errors and revisions. I like that the authors included text structure as being important and something that teachers should observe and connect them to examples on which can be very helpful for students. This also will help students on learning different types of text structures and how to examine them among others works. For example, Kayla had a structure of repetition among her informative text  on showing us what animals are capable of doing. Overall, text structure is important to establish and observe the structures there are out there Once someone is able to find text structures in other texts they then will know how they might establish their own structure.

The interesting discussions we had about the ideas this week in our G+ Community was on how powerful mini lessons can be for students on being able to “share control” on the lesson being taught or discussed. This allows students to look forward to leading the lesson and getting to  share and express their way of thinking and feeling that they are having throughout the lesson. Another interesting discussion we had was on how important it is to help students get on the right direction with guidance but without discouraging their thoughtful process they have on writing the way they do.

After looking at all the makes in make cycle four, three stood out to me. One of them being Raeni Pilgrims’ make. She created a great make on a way to help students reflect on themselves and on others. Her idea on creating an anti bullying poster is needed for students and in a classroom setting to create awareness. I like her different take on her posters: instead of telling students right away what they shouldn’t do, she creates a motivational message on helping students see how they can build up their self-esteem and towards others. Students look at these posters and learn to understand and think about the actions needed to take place to create a safe environment. Overall, I like her intent on focusing on another issue that occurs in bullying besides it being a physical aspect, instead it also is an emotional abuse. This make Raeni made reflects on chapter four what the process is offered instead of including a set of steps. This allows students to know what direction to choose from by looking at the poster and get to choose from one of those actions provided. This also leads to chapter five on creating a formal approach to help students understand the main message on how to prevent bullying by reflecting on themselves and get guided in the right direction.

The second make that caught my attention was Taylor Roberts make on the awareness and prevention of suicide. I loved how powerful her posters are on connecting with her audience on giving a sense of understanding their struggle and letting them know that they are not alone.  I also love how informative her posters are on providing statistics and the types of signs to look out for on those who are struggling with their emotions. These posters are designed for people to not be afraid or feel alone to reach out for help from anyone. I believe this kind of topic should be incorporated into some type of mini lesson for a group of students that are age appropriate to understand and reflect upon. This also would be a great way to connect and be able to express feelings with one another while receiving a sense of support and resources on reaching out for help.

The third make I chose is Rebecca Barragan’s classroom rules. She focuses on an awareness of how important it is to create a safe caring environment with the spread of kindness. I like her take on these posters on providing a visual and informative piece with the quotes provided, which allow students to see and decide upon how they should address their actions in the classroom and around people in general. This kind of make reminds me of the readings where students decide their path. However, as future educators we have the ability to redirect students to the right path and help them make wise choices on the type of action(s). As well, as helping students understand the different types of settings and situations and how that shouldn’t reflect on having a negative environment and actions.

Author Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Alma Rosa Lopez, but everyone calls me Alma for short. I’m 20 years old and I live in Orland, CA. This is my first year at Chico State as a transfer student. I transferred from Butte College and ended up in Chico State due to the great Liberal Studies program they offer.  I plan to receive my BA in spring 19 and then plan to enter the credential program in the fall. After all that, I plan to continue my education by finishing it with a Master’s in education. The interests I have are that I love all music, the outdoors, traveling, and animals. I also love to hike beautiful places and get crafty. I’m also a huge fan of all things Disney. I want to teach general education and special education, however, I’m more interested in teaching for special education. I want to teach children in K-12 for special education and those in general education I would like to teach those in 2-12 grades. I want to be a teacher because I love children and their amazing outspokenness and curiosity. I also want to make a positive difference in children’s lives and in their education. Most importantly, I want to break the stereotypes that get labeled and defined as individuals with disabilities. I want to inspire our society that children with disabilities can have the same abilities as others and can create new abilities. Overall, I want society to stop defining individuals with labels and instead of noticing their abilities instead of their disabilities and get treated the same as an individual without a disability.


Erin Russo

For make cycle 4, we had the opportunity to explore compelling arguments. What I like most about this genre of writing is that it provides a platform for opinion.

We began this make by reading About the Authors: Chapter 4 & 5 and Appendix E and posting about what in these chapters spoke to us, was interesting, or perhaps even confusing or unclear. Chapter 4 in About the Authors reiterates the importance of getting little ones writing before we instruct and fine tune the writing process. Karen Fawns says, “In chapter 4 I find it intriguing that to begin a writing workshop you don’t teach students a process or give them steps to follow at first, for you just give them some paper and a pencil and ask them to make something with writing.  At first, I was thinking that is crazy chaos in the making, but as I read on it says that through observation you can see what the children already know or don’t know, so you build upon those foundations it made sense.” It can seem counterintuitive to begin anything in the classroom without explicit instruction and Karen does a great job explaining the importance of using this tactic when getting our students writing.

As Rebecca Lee sums up, “In chapter 5, (we) learned about all the things I can teach in a writing workshop. These include techniques, strategies, understandings, conventions, and questions.” In our mini-lessons, we will use a variety of texts to help give students ideas for “how” they can write their books. I love that students will be able to absorb and apply this information more effectively because we will have instilled a writing identity upon them. One idea that educators can use with their students that resonated with many of us was described by Christina Barbaccia as “having a class study published writing.  Having the class involved in the study of a particular author can benefit students in their writing.” Christina also provided a great example of how this would look in a classroom, saying “when reading a particular text, you can ask the students what they notice in the book’s structure, and then the teacher can write the student’s comments on a chart. Once the students are finished with their analysis, the teacher then can go over these features and encourage students to replicate any of these ideas in their own books.” Learning from mentor texts in this course to create our own work is a great way for us to practice studying and applying the tactics used in other authors’ writings.

For this weeks mentor texts, we first looked at I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff; these adorable children’s books were written as a series of convincing letters back and forth between parent and child. Cheyenne Boles captured many of our feeling this week when she said “I LOVED the mentor texts this week. They were cute, funny and had a lot of great ideas for future adult and children writers. I Wanna Iguana was so fun and totally relatable. I really liked how many of these texts used the illustrations to make the letters come to life.” We also read The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, which also used the letter writing format, which can be very useful in argumentative writing to persuade an audience. Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type by Moreen Cronin was the other mentor text this week. This was a book about animals that used a typewriter to convey demands to the farmer. I like how Brittany Walker was able to see how this story could be used in her classroom one day. She said, “this would be a great writing assignment for students to take to role of someone or something else. They could write an argumentative piece in character that has wants or needs that they need to convey to someone else. I think this would be a fun way to write and bring out creativity in students.” I agree with her, and I think that this is evidence that Brittany is already beginning to think like a teacher.

The options for creating a compelling argument make this week were many. The choices included writing an advice column, making convincing posters, creating an advertisement or funding pitch, letter writing, an educational blog, or writing a children’s book. I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share.

Erminia Gonzalez:The Day Money Quit”Book titled 'The day money quit'

The first make that really spoke to me was The Day Money Quit by Erminia Gonzalez. This story was so much fun to read. Erminia chose to write about a topic that everyone in our class can relate to… money. I like how this story was modeled after the mentor texts and used letter writing. She appeals to the readers logos by demonstrating the flaws of digital money. Because of the relatabillity and use of tactics that grab the reader’s attention, I fully enjoyed reading this short story and was totally convinced that cash money is the superior currency.   

Allison House

This was super cute. Through letter writing Allison does a great job convincing the reader that Summer is best! I thought it was very smart how she began by addressing the shortcomings of Fall, Winter, and Spring and ended with the many reasons why Summer is the best season.

 I also like how she borrowed the use of a creative sign-off (The Amazing, Fun, and Best Season of ALL) to further her argument. Creative, convincing, and delightful to read.

Beatriz Salazar

Happy, Healthy, Super Teeth!

Book titled 'Happy, healthy, super teeth!'

This children’s book was great because it used information about the four different types of teeth to convince you of the importance of keeping them clean. Knowing the significance of each of the teeth we have provides the strongest argument for why it is ever important to have adequate oral hygiene. I love that Beatriz was able to incorporate expository writing into her argumentative piece this week, because it adds to the story and as we’ve learned, rarely is a text only one genre. The pictures are also very cute and help the reader understand the content. Well done Beatriz.    

Author Bio: My name is Erin Russo. I’m a returning student with hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. I’m passionate about education, and hope to have the opportunity to give all children in my classroom an opportunity to find joy in learning. My husband and I are raising our two young daughters in Lincoln, CA where we enjoy walking to our neighborhood park, home improvement projects, and hosting our family and friends.  


Sean Gamer

“While they are in this living-with-an-idea part of the process, they grow their thinking about the idea by collecting all sorts of related, random thoughts and sometimes by writing reflectively and extensively about the idea” (About The Authors 64).

Our make cycles this week were inspired by argumentative writing. It was our challenge as students to explore the ways to persuade an audience to think a certain way. As future educators, it is important to understand the art of argumentative writing because it is apart of California’s standards as well as Common Core.

The students in our class were asked to examine Andrea Lunsford’s article “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast” (something our class has used in the past), I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff, Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.

As future teachers, it is important to keep on the lookout for new writing ideas for our students. I think these books create a sense of activism for students. Teaching students skills to negotiate and see other points of views can build argument and encourage research for students’ personal ideas and beliefs. There so many wonderful makes in this make cycle. At first, I did not understand what argumentative writing was. Then after reading the mentor text and the chapters from the textbook, I began to understand. Seeing my classmate’s makes also helped me understand as well.

It is an honor to be apart of this online class. Our Google+ community is creative and informative. Sometimes I learn more from looking through classmates’ makes. Learning independently and later collaborating with others makes digesting information easier. Raenni Pilgrim’s Pineapple ads caught my eye. Her idea behind the pineapple of being aesthetically appealing to viewers and having a positive message of anti-bullying is revolutionary because we are a society of saying no and keeping all the sad things in our world under the rug and never talking about them. Thank you for creating this Raenni!

I also enjoyed Hannah Hugh’s Smore campaign on giving less homework. She explained to our classmate that she was happy to use Smore instead of defaulting to StoryJumper. I loved the reasons she used to justify her reasoning behind giving less homework and she created an outstanding compelling argument. The pictures she used also added emotion to readers when they read the reason behind why teachers should give less homework. Good job Hannah! 

Author Bio: My name is Sean Gamer. When I am not in the classroom, I love to be outside playing tennis with friends, hiking the trails of Upper Park in Chico, and reading books. I am a senior at Chico State and plan on entering the credential program and becoming an elementary school teacher. I love animals and someday want to go to Australia.

 

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.

 

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 2: Julie, Brittany, Sandra, and Rebecca

Featured Bloggers Make Cycle 2: Julie, Brittany, Sandra, and Rebecca

Julie Lafreniere: 

Last week’s bloggers are this week’s joggers; I’m in the hot seat now! So get in the car, I can’t wait to start our writing adventure together and we can’t go until all our ideas are packed in the 442, and someone screams road trip! It’s clear by our “Makes,” English 333 is on the freeway to learning success! Make Cycle 2 was filled with fuel to get our thoughts moving and writing reved, not to mention the reason we are all here: to encourage our students to drive themselves forward as well. If we are excited for their endless possibilities and capabilities, I know they will want to come. Who’s up for the experience?

Within our Make Cycle we made lists to generate ideas, talked about getting students interested in creating books and enjoyed some mentor texts to get our minds busy.  We read some wonderful mentor examples of purposeful storytelling. My two favorite readings this week were Alexander and The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and The Ted Talk with Mac Barnett about Randolph the Whale. Mac Barnett explained the wonder of fiction. His talk demonstrated purposeful storytelling to perfection. He explained how truth and fiction meld together and even if a person (or child) knows something is not true, the belief can be powerful and add meaning to their lives. Randolph the Whale was born for my imagination. I reflect that Preschool and Kindergarten teachers use the art of imagination technique often, but somehow many teachers lose the ability to see the benefits within the older crowd. The speaker in our Ted Talk used it as he addressed his audience as well. This Ted Talk could easily be used at a high school level. It was a jump start for creative writing. I know my fifteen year old would’ve enjoyed it.  When he said, “Children have completely different views than adults do. Their imaginations go places that ours may not and by creating this sense of belief, they venture out into a whole new world.” It again made me consider: Wouldn’t a teen enjoy watching this Ted Talk and then write a letter to Randolph (the whale) about oh, I don’t know, whatever? One would have a quick student discussion after the video. The 2 min list would be generated. The scholars have formed ideas, been given mediums to create with (tech or colorful pens and poster board), they formulate ideas, 90 mins fly by for everyone and wham you are a success. Students leave your class feeling smart. If you have this fun, exciting and moving classroom who needs “behavior management”; students are learning and liking the behavior.

Alexander was a personal favorite of mine growing up. Anyone notice the 60’s Beetle that he was smashed into the center of? That was a primo vehicle at the time. I identified with Alexander so because I had undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD. I was in fact reading that book on a kindergarten, everyday, horrible, school day when I was pulled out for my first of 100’s of doctor visits. I remember being very invested in Alexander. I felt sorry for him and hoped his day got better. Sean Gamer can understand what I felt in identifying with Alexander’s character: he wrote, “We have all had an experience or something in our lives that has had an impact on us. Things that have an impact on us usually have a lesson or something to learn from and that is something to write about.” These experiences that you talk about can be positive or extremely negative.

I felt full of ideas and overwhelmed in the beginning of our Make. Some fellow students had some encouraging feedback to my frustrations. Sandra Nyland said to me, “I certainly can relate to you regarding a ‘whirling brain.'”  As an imaginative person, it is hard to focus on one particular concept or thought…especially when you are given so much cool stuff to contemplate!  The possibilities are endless. Chad Lafenhagen said something that was so relatable for me, “My daughter just the other day expressed her dislike of a pair of pants she termed the ‘pants of doom.’ I almost used that as my Make this week, but ended up going a slightly different path.” Thanks Chad. I stole the idea to describe the  administration in my son’s school, whom we did not know and who were saying profoundly upsetting things to him during his ordeal. I used them to make the correlation that my son was meaningless to them.

So here I am thinking about endless possibilities for my make when tragedy happens.  The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Community have had an experience of tragedy like no other.  My heart goes out to everyone and how  these experiences will shape each of these children’s future learning experiences and how we should use this situation as educators to promote change.  I felt I had to write about my son’s attempted suicide in high school to shed light to people’s experiences. It is my firm belief that all our children and families are victims within our public schools, full of blame and wasted spending.  I felt I HAD to write something real and raw and I chose two writings to share that exemplified other people’s tragedy. I reflect on Kellie Cabico who reminded me: “I think others are always going to be affected by your writing.  That’s not a bad thing.  We all have stories that are hard to tell or hard to hear.  That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be told. Follow your heart, Julie. You got this!”

Baylee Galloway wrote, “My little eight year old self had no care in the world, except what we were going to have for dinner that night. I remember playing in the freshly cut green grass and seeing my Dad drive off and wave, wondering where he was going but didn’t put too much thought into it.” Baylee’s writing directs the reader to right before and right after learning of the tragedy of her brother’s death. With a set in stone outlook she helps the reader understand how the sudden death of a loved one profoundly changes outlook. “We all pull up outside of the funeral home with a sense of anxiety. To me it felt like as soon as we get out of the car and walk in then it becomes real. It is set in stone that my brother isn’t going to come back and this will have to be the time to make peace with that fact whether you are ready for it or not.” Baylee’s loss is as real to the reader today as it was for her years ago. Thanks Baylee for sharing.

Ruben Mendoza spun a very different tale, but one no less tragic. Ruben identifies with the struggles of his mother and many other undocumented immigrants and shares his current concerns through his mother’s perseverance. He uses what I believe to be propaganda statements by political parties (our president) that incite anger instead of speaking of facts concern to demonstrate true facts of what’s really going on throughout his piece about his mother. Awesome idea Ruben!  Here’s an example:  

While there are many illegal immigrants in our country who are good people, many, many, this doesn’t change the fact that most illegal immigrants are lower skilled workers with less education, who compete directly against vulnerable American workers, and that these illegal worker draw much more out from the system than they can ever possibly pay back.

*

Tax revenue received from California’s 3 million undocumented immigrants: 3 billion.

Tax revenue received from the entire US undocumented immigrants: 12 billion.

Her infant brother started to lose consciousness and seemed he had a little time before his time on earth ran out. She broke through the boarded window, and instinctively knew to walk down the hill to search for her mother for help. With torn clothes and bug bites all over her skin, her barefooted self walked tirelessly towards the small town, hoping that there would be life to help her and her hungry siblings.

I reflect on Jillian’s point to Barnett’s comment, “The best readers have an emotional tie to what they’ve read.”  Ruben demonstrates this perfectly. With thoughts in mind for our future students’ success, we teachers will have to speed up with the times. We must be a voice for collaboration, innovation, and creativity. We must help create learners who want to take writing risks and enjoy it!  Thanks to all the support of fellow classmates for Make Cycle 2. I’m ready for my journey through our education system: who’s up for the adventure? If you are coming with me and are from English 333, DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR DOG!

Hi all, my name is Julie Lafreniere. I am returning to Chico State to finish a degree in liberal studies (online because I live in Campbell) that I started back in 1994. My goal is to graduate from Chico State the same year my youngest graduates from high school. 2020 here we come! After graduation I plan to enter the credential program and then on to a K-8 charter school. I can work with any and all ages and am excited to be learning alongside my fellow scholars. I love the outdoors and animals. I am especially fond of my dogs Mickey (Husky/yellow lab) and Milton (Scottish Terrier/Griffon); they seem to appreciate me more than any other two people on earth and tell me every time I leave and come home!


Brittany Walker

Over the last two weeks we have read from About the Authors, watched Mac Barnett’s TED talk, listened to The Dot by Peter H Reynolds and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. We also listened to and read The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg and “Moving Vines” by a 4th grader named Ashley. Lastly, we told a story about ourselves for our second Make. I really liked this Make Cycle and felt that there were many things that I could personally relate to.

During the first week of Make 2, chapter one really stood out to me. One example was “will all the teaching show up in the work [students] are able to do?” I am very excited to make a difference in young children’s lives; however, this is one of my fears of becoming a teacher. Since teachers are the future of their students, I hope to do everything right and make sure I am the reason they are succeeding and not holding anyone back.

Growing up I always looked up to my teachers and always wanted to do my best and was always proud of my work. I hope that I will be a teacher that students look up to and really help them succeed in school. We also watched Mac Barnett’s TED talk. I enjoyed everything about his talk especially when he said, “I want a book to be a secret door that opens and lets the stories out into reality.” Imagination is such a wonderful thing for children to have. It allows you to take your mind off things and go somewhere else. As a kid I loved to read and would imagine myself in the book or as one of the characters. Creativity can take you many places and allowing your mind to open can put you right into a book. Being creative can also allow a person to write stories just like the ones Mac Barnett writes.

Moving on to week two, the two books I found myself relating to were The Dot and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In The Dot, I loved how the teacher handled the drawing situation with Vashti. Instead of getting mad or disciplining her for not doing the assignment, she gave Vashti advice:

“just make a mark and see where it takes you.”

This made Vashti use her creativity and then when the teacher hung her work on the wall, she really liked it and it allowed her to create her own masterpiece. I also liked that Vashti even helped other students who thought they couldn’t draw. Since her teacher was kind to her and helped her discover what she could do with art, it allowed her to pass on her knowledge on to others and I think that is very important in the classroom. After listening to the story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, I thought this would be a great book to share with a younger group of kids. Sometimes people just have bad days, and no matter how hard you try, it seems like it won’t ever get better. I think it’s important to for kids to know that it will get better, but sometimes it takes patience. Also, if kids notice that someone is having a bad day, suggest they are extra helpful or nice to that person. Another thing I would also want to relay to my class is that even though they might be having a bad day, there is always something to be grateful for. Teachers help bring positivity to students’ lives and can help their bad days get better.

Now it was time for our Make 2. For our second make, we were assigned to try writing our own story inspired from an event in school like Vashti in The Dot, or inspired by our troubles and fears like Alexander, or inspired by an image, photo, or drawing. I love how what we have done during the previous week or two relates back to the Make. I think this is a great way to apply what you have already learned and turn it into something even greater. I thought that everyone did such a great job making their own stories and it was difficult only picking a few to share.

Dana C shared:

“Reality hit me and I realized the picture that was once painted for me was not exactly how things were going to happen. I had already taken out a loan for the college I was attending and becoming a resident seemed highly unlikely. I had two and a half years left at ASU which would cost me one hundred thousand dollars. CRAZY! Although it was my dream, I knew I could get that same education back home. I applied to Chico State and took two online classes at Yuba college Fall 2017. I spent months being sad once I moved home and I felt like a failure. It took me a while, but I realized I was not a failure. I had people from high school tell me I was one of the few to take that leap and venture out. I had family telling they were proud of me because that was something I always wanted to do. I was not a failure just because I could not afford that kind of tuition. I was not a failure because I had to move back home. I promised myself that I would join one of their Master’s programs in the future and possibly settle in Arizona. I fell in love with Arizona even more after living there those six months. It does upset me from time to time, but I smile looking back at all of the things I experienced and learned on my short journey.”

I loved the detail of this story and I think many people can relate to it; I know I can. What really stood out to me was when she said, “but I realized I was not a failure.” Sometimes in life things don’t go as planned, but we can learn from everything we do whether it went how we wanted or was different. I also think it is great to pursue your dreams and to set goals for yourself. Things that happen in our lives shape who we are and it is up to us to make the most of it.

Kayla Blaylock:

You’re packing up your last few boxes of pictures and memories ready to start a new beginning for yourself

You look around your now empty childhood bedroom wondering where the past 18 years went

You think about how different it will be living on your own without your parents attached to your hip

You realize now that you can’t just yell their name from across the room when you need something anymore

Ten steps away turns into a hundred miles away

You wonder what it will be like to share a box sized bedroom with someone you’ve never met before

You look at your dad’s silver Toyota truck full of flashbacks from day trips to week long vacations, now filled with more Tupperware bins than you can count on your fingers

You take one last look around your house like it’s the last time you’ll ever see it again

You hug your dog for thirty minutes wishing you could somehow sneak her into your dorm without anyone finding out about it

You go from living in a small town where you know everyone to a town full of fresh new faces

You say bye to your parents and your little sister as they drive away

You can see your mom crying from the front seat of that silver Toyota truck

You look down at your phone, it’s a text from mom saying “Miss you already honey”

It’s a month later now and you find yourself adjusting to this new life style

You’ve met a solid group of friends. You’ve gotten used to the community showers and walking through the hallway with just a towel on. You eventually got used to the dining hall food even though it will never compare to a home cooked meal. You’ve managed to find all of your classes, and this new town is finally starting to feel like your new home.

I really enjoyed Kayla’s “Freshman Year” story. I liked how the descriptions really painted a picture of what was going on. I think stories that people can relate to are great and I’m sure most people in this class can relate to this one. For younger students when they can relate to a story I think it helps them understand it better. Becoming a future teacher, I hope to find books that students can picture themselves in or books that they are excited about because a similar thing happened to them.

Alma Rosa Lopez:

Summer of junior year is when I went out to the tennis courts and gave tennis a try. However, I had no clue how tennis is played or what I needed to play tennis. After this vibe of not having a clue, I felt like I would just embarrass myself. At first, I struggled, but with four hours of practice five days a week I was feeling like the next Serena Williams. This year made me realize that tennis is my new sport and the sport that suites me. Who knew I would be ranked four in my first year playing tennis. At the end of the season, a tournament took place and that’s when I won league in my singles match and almost took league in my doubles match with my partner. However, most importantly our whole team won sections. This was a good year! Best of all, senior year was the same thing as junior year, instead, I moved up a rank. I didn’t win league again but our team did win sections and were pretty close to going to state. I’m bummed that I wasted my time trying to get on the soccer team, but I’m happy that I got to find my sport. Despite all the rejections and disappointments, in the end, I found my sport and proved others that I could not know a thing about a sport and still be able to succeed.”

I also liked this story and think it would be a good one to share with students because it shows them that trying a new sport that they may be skeptical of or never thought of trying can be a great thing. Hearing a positive story like Alma’s could help other students feel comfortable trying a new sport or club at school. I thought her story was really great, showing that sometimes things are meant to be but they can lead you to something else.

Overall, I enjoyed this Make Cycle and reading everyone’s stories. Many of them had great detail and I had a vivid image of what was going on. It’s great when you can feel the emotions from a story someone has written. After reading these stories it also gave me insight on how to incorporate feeling and strong detail into my own writings. I also found that adding dialog really brings the story to life. I thought it was inspiring that reading a few children’s books allowed others to either relate to a story or make their own similar one. As a future teacher, I can’t wait to take some of these ideas such as having the students reflect on readings and creating their own stories.

My name is Brittany and this is my second semester at Chico State. I hope to become an elementary school teacher and improve the minds of our future generations. I go to school fully online and love the atmosphere that teachers have created to allow myself to be involved with other students. I spend my free time with my family, going on hikes, and going on trips.

 


Sandra Nyland

Wow!  We have such a wealth of creative literary talent in our group.  It’s amazing and wonderful how we can get such a sense of connectedness through our stories and writing. 

The first week of this cycle we focused on “purposeful storytelling” and ventured in to our professional book About the Authors, “Writing Workshop: A Happy Place Where We Make Stuff” and also read literary works created by children in these workshops.  Children were learning to use language to craft literature and making something.  We saw the depth of knowledge, emotion and creativity of these works. There is always so much going on in young minds and we could sense how exciting and fulfilling it will be as an instructor to elicit these ideas from our students.  A quote from About the Authors states, “The curious exploration children do when they are trying to make something, the trial and error, the joyful messiness of it all…” really sums up this segment and how learning to write shouldn’t be exclusive of this. 

We also made lists this first week to generate ideas for writing. We were given a slide deck to use to start the process, which was helpful for those of us that need a bit of structure to get the neurons firing for effective brainstorming.  A suggestion was given to set a timer for two minutes and that proved to be effective and a good way to allow ideas and words to flow more easily.  We learned so much about each other through this fun list-making exercise!

Finally, this week we watched Mac Barnett’s TED talk…simply awesome! His talk about creativity and wonder showed us how we as adults can be more like children where imaginations are set free to explore and create.  We could imagine being in that place in the middle of the Venn diagram, the place that is wonder and where it is so much harder for adults to get to than children.  That place where we could cast aside rigidity of thought aside where imagination, creativity and wonder can thrive.  A place where we can set up “secret doors” in a classroom where children can go to visit a pirate ship, circus or sit around a make-believe campfire and share stories.  We need not place limits on our creative selves.  

The second week in this cycle, we explored The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. These stories gave us wonderful examples of grumpy children that are dealing with real childhood problems and real childhood feelings and exemplify how a bit of encouragement can go a very long way in finding resolution to a particular challenge or struggle.  Vashti in The Dot, learned so much about herself and her capabilities just by the supportive gestures of her teacher.  The beauty of this story is the full circle effect of positive encouragement as Vashti then in turn, encourages a little boy to have confidence in his abilities. One simple gesture can have such a ripple effect. As educators and storytellers, we are reminded to keep the positive ripples going. Alexander, in the Judith Viorst story, receives encouragement in a subtler way. In his mind, he truly is having a horrible, terrible day, but he can express these feelings without anyone else in the story invalidating them. The repeating of the desired land of “Australia” throughout the book was effective as it is likely each one of us has that idealistic place in our mind where we would run-away to and life would be so much better. Also, it was a humorous way to break up the story line while we wait for more musings by Alexander. We find at the end of the story, in the encouraging words of his mom, that even in our idealistic place we are going still going to have bad days sometimes.

The final text we read this week was The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg and the related “Moving Vines” by 4th grader, Ashley.  This story nicely related to the concepts we discussed last week. The drawings were so intriguing and gave rise to much imaginative thought – just a wealth of writing material.  Ashley’s vine story is compelling in that one can surmise she used the one line “He warned her about the book, now it was too late,” as impetus to tell a story where there is not a happy ending.  We can just imagine all the ideas that were floating around in her author’s head and appreciate her ability to pull everything together so effectively.  Children in a supportive environment can be so creative and insightful.

The culminating Makes this week were incredible in both depth and breadth.  Impressive.  Literary creations ranging from the poignant, heartfelt true stories to the imaginative children’s short stories, I am grateful to be able to be able to learn, share and connect in this community. 

It was a real challenge to narrow my focus down to a few to comment on here.  Truly. 

Salina’s writing that was inspired by The Dot, very much resonated with me.  I have a sentimental heart so her story about the drawing made when she was 5 years old really impacted me on several levels.  First, that her detailed and vibrantly colored picture still hangs in her dining room is awesome. Secondly, that Salina writes her story in such a way eloquent, yet simple, manner to convey the meaning behind the painting starting from her initial happiness with her painting then spiraling down to discouragement, embarrassment and self-doubt about the work of art.  Then some encouragement comes to the rescue from her Mom. Great use of this make’s cycle material.  

I know personally, that it can be challenging, if not impossible, to share personal stories.  The ones that are so deeply personal to us that letting them out is like a delicate bubble being let go and we need to have trust that they will go where they are most needed.  Although difficult, we need to tell these stories…especially as educators.   Julie’s, A Smart Owl Life’s Research, does just this.  She took an incredible leap of faith to share a very profoundly personal story on a subject that is not easy to convey.  Her prose was very effectively broken up with specific quotes to transition the written thoughts and give emphasis to the reader.  The use of capital letters for emphasis and the creative descriptions of people such as “medic pants” and “bubbling sports pants” added additional character to an intense story.   

Me, My Best Friend by Jamie was told a huge life story in a graphically simple, eye-pleasing way.  I love the graphic of “the best friend” and how it is shown with her as an infant and as she grows up and gains confidence with herself and the world around her, her best friend gets smaller and smaller until Jamie realizes her best friend is inside her. Powerful in it simplicity. 

I truly could on and on about the stories we shared this week.  I’m in awe as we are in our fifth week of class…looking forward to more learning, growing and sharing!

Mom of three and “G” of two

Senior at Chico State University majoring in Liberal Studies in hopes of making a career change from banker to teacher – has accumulated approximately 190 college credits over the past 40 years on this extended and adventurous journey toward a bachelor’s degree

Longtime resident of Salinas, CA

Resilient, empowered by learning, believes in laughter and a positive attitude, loyal friend, and appreciates the beauty of sunrises that give hope for a new day


Rebecca Lee

As a class, we began our second make cycle exploring About the Author by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleaveland, watching Mac Barnett’s Ted Talk, and creating lists to gather ideas for writing. Chapter one of About the Authors had us analyzing Josh’s story about Mammoths. At first reading, several of us noticed his varied spelling of the word “mammoth,” his love of mammoths shown through detail, and his dedication to writing through his research of mammoths and his varying fonts. Upon further reading and analysis we discovered that Josh’s writing had many hidden examples that we had overlooked. This was due to our lack of understanding all that Josh had learned in his writing class. As the chapter continued we learned that students get many of their ideas from other books they have read. For example, Josh took an idea from some books he read where they had two title pages, Maggie and Larke created a series books based on their friendship like the Frog and Toad book, and another boy took an idea from Fred Asch where he drew a picture in a circle on the back of his book. After chapter one we read studies A and B where we learned how effective it is to just tell the kids we are going to make stuff and show them their supplies. This gets the students excited, it gets them thinking, and eventually it makes them see themselves as writers. We also learned techniques to help keep ideas flowing and to encourage the students even if their stories are a little different or their writing isn’t the best. As Dr. Jaxon said, “If the first thing a child sees on her writing is lots of corrections and red pen marks, she’ll stop writing so much. It’s all about picking the things to correct and knowing that over time you’ll see growth.” Keeping this in mind I believe we will take all that we learned in our readings this week and let it guide us as we begin our careers teaching writing to children. As our week continued we watched Mac Barnett’s Ted Talk and learned to inspire children’s sense of wonder through made up stories, humor, and even a sneak store bought melon. As we inspire children and help them embrace their imagination and creativity, they begin to see themselves grow and develop as writers and dreamers and they have fun during the process. Lastly, to wrap up our first week of our 2nd Make Cycle, we created many lists based on topics from the “Finding Ideas to Write About” slide deck. Some of our lists were things we think everyone should do before they die, things about our family and friends, and most commonly, things we like to do. With these lists we thought of ways to use them in writing and discovered how creating lists can inspire and lead to new ideas and scenarios to write about.

As we began our second week of the Make cycle we got to listen/read mentor texts starting with The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, then Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, and concluding with The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg and Moving Vines by Ashley, a 4th grader. One of our biggest realizations with The Dot was how much the teacher helped Vashti by just being positive and not getting angry with her. The teachers actions taught us that when we are teachers in the future we need to decipher different situation and realize which ones require a positive helping hand and which ones need a corrective behavior discussion. Next, as we listened to Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, many of us came to the realization that if you keep reminding yourself that you are having a bad day your going to continue to have a bad day. Instead you need to have positive thoughts and turn your day around. The connection was made that both Vashti and Alexander needed a change of thought and perspective. Vashti accomplished this and eventually even changed someone else’s perspective whereas Alexander continued to be miserable all day long. As we continued the stories seemed to take a dramatic turn but perspective really was still the main focus. With The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, the class was fascinated and intrigued about Harris’ disappearance. We scrolled through drawings with titles and captions created by Harris Burdick and learned that these pictures have inspired many many people to write their own stories based on them. One of these stories was Moving Vines by a 4th grader named Ashley: in this story Ashley uses her incredible imagination and creative details to write a compelling mystery that gave me chills. After reading and listening to all these interesting stories, many members of the class were inspired and anxious to see what the use of encouragement and providing pictures to write stories about could do for their future students. Many of us are so excited to see the potential in out writing students.

To conclude our second Make Cycle we created stories. Everyone’s stories were so wonderful and unique and I chose a few of my favorites to share in excerpts and links below.

“Joy of laughing and smiling to the point that your cheeks feel sore. Joy of finally sneezing after you’ve felt the urge to do it ALL day. Joy of compliments. Joy of seeing the blue sky after a stormy week because the sun somehow makes you happier and energetic, whereas cloudy days make you want to curl up in bed and listen to Adele on repeat. Joy of getting a decent grade on an exam that you were almost one hundred percent sure you failed. Joy of flipping your pillow over after one side gets too hot. Joy of listening to music.” –by Adia Munoz

Adia was inspired to write her story by “The Fears of Your Life” by Michael Bernard Loggins. The reason I chose Adia’s story to feature is because I can truly relate to all that she says and many parts of the story made me laugh out loud. I also love that she took her inspiration and flipped it around to be the joys instead of fears in life.

The next story I chose was “On an Island” by Chelsea Peterson.

I chose Chelsea’s story because it made me laugh out loud and reminded me of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I also liked that she wrote this story based on her own family experiences and used the writing idea lists from last week to create it.

 

Last but not least, I chose Kellie Cabico’s story about her grandpa’s last day because it was so very personal and filled me with so many emotions. Her story was very well written with breaks throughout filled with memories of her grandpa. I also liked that she was inspired to write the story after seeing the picture of her grandpa, which is similar to what Harris Burdick wanted from his drawings.

“I knew he was sick when he came to live with us last year.  Dad had said that the doctors had only given him a couple of months to live.  But he’d felt so much better when he came home with us.  His spirits had immediately improved and he’d regained some of his old vim and vigor.  He resumed his daily walks, joking that he walked all the way to Barcelona (which was actually just the name of the street two blocks over).  He taught Chris and me how to make all of his favorite dishes, and told us stories about coming from France with his siblings near the turn of the century with bags of French bread because they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to get it in America.  He’d taken to watching wrestling and roller derby and he’d shake his cane at the TV whenever he didn’t like the ref’s calls.  He was just so damn feisty and cute.”

Throughout our second Make Cycle I believe we learned so much about ourselves and each other. We shared our excitement and worries about teaching writing to children and shared personal stories inspired by all the great things we learned these last two weeks. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the semester had in store for our incredible class.

I am a junior at Chico State; this is my second semester as a distance learner. Before I started at Chico, I graduated from Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA with my AA in social science. I am attending Chico State in hopes of getting my BA in Liberal Studies then going on to get my multi-subject credential and hopefully begin teaching by fall of 2019 at just 22 years old. Currently, I am a paraeducator at a middle school in Susanville where I work specifically with special education students. When I’m not working, I can usually be found spending time with my family and two amazing dogs, or reading.