Make Cycles

infographic of make cyclesYou can find our current Make Cycles in the drop down menu and on the Make Cycles page. New Make Cycle released every two weeks.


October 2020
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 28, 2020 September 29, 2020 September 30, 2020

All day: Mentor Texts

October 1, 2020 October 2, 2020 October 3, 2020 October 4, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 3: Make

October 5, 2020 October 6, 2020 October 7, 2020 October 8, 2020 October 9, 2020 October 10, 2020 October 11, 2020

All day: Read About the Authors

October 12, 2020 October 13, 2020 October 14, 2020

All day: Mentor Texts

October 15, 2020 October 16, 2020 October 17, 2020 October 18, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 4: Make

October 19, 2020 October 20, 2020 October 21, 2020

10:00 am: Gif-O-Rama

October 22, 2020 October 23, 2020 October 24, 2020 October 25, 2020

All day: Read About the Authors

October 26, 2020 October 27, 2020 October 28, 2020

All day: Read Language Arts

October 29, 2020 October 30, 2020 October 31, 2020 November 1, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 5: Make

Winter Session: Make 2

Winter Session: Make 2

Make Cycle 2: Engaging Expositions

Jan 6-8

Expository writing is a type of writing that is used to explain, describe, give information, or inform.”

For our second make cycle, we’ll be playing with expository writing. Too often in school, we give kids really boring (and quite frankly, not very useful) templates for writing “how-tos” or scripted essays. But expository writing can be informational and playful as I hope our mentor texts demonstrate in this make cycle. We will try out writing our own expository texts with options for creating video, infographics, books, or working with other ideas you may have.

If you look at the Common Core standards for ELA, you’ll notice that writing informative texts is a genre that crosses all grade levels, moving from simple texts to more complex texts. Here are the Common Core standards from grade 2 and grade 4 below:


Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section. (Josh’s Mammoth story from Chapter 1 comes to mind…)


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

Make Cycle 2 in a nutshell:

  • Make sure you’re checking email.  😉 
  • Jan 6: Reading and responding to Chapters 2 & Unit C from About the Authors. (two part prompt)
  • Jan 7: Reading and responding chapter 3 & Unit D from About the Authors (two part prompt)
  • Jan 8: Working with expository mentor texts–Example Infographics, a selection from a new non-fiction picture book, and Are You a Dragonflyand creating Make 2: Engaging expository writing
  • Remember: you’ll always post and then respond to a peer on G+

Full Description Make Cycle 2: Jan 6-8

Day 4: Jan 6

Today’s tasks: read Chapter 2 & Unit C from About the Authors and respond to a two part prompt

About the Authors: Chapter 2 (p. 23-37) and Unit C (165-171)

Then, respond:

Part I: Similar to last week’s work with chapter 1, point to a couple of places in chapter 2 and the appendix C that you found interesting or puzzling or both? You don’t need to quote the whole passage or passages, but give us enough info so we know what you’re talking about. Why did that section or sentence interest you? Why does the idea matter as future teachers? What are your take aways from this chapter?

Part II: On pages 169-171, the authors share 10 books and authors that they like to use with students so they can “read like writers.” Look up one of the books and authors from their list (a simple google search should do the trick: you should be able to find a video of the book being read and/or the author’s website). What do you notice about the text and its features? How might you work with this book or author in your future classroom? How could you use it as a mentor text?

Post in Make Cycle 2: About the Authors 2 (and respond to a peer’s post)

Day 5: Jan 7

Today’s tasks: read Chapter 3 & Unit D from About the Authors and respond to a two part prompt

About the Authors: Chapter 3 (p. 38-57) and Appendix D (172-176)

Then, respond:

Part I: What are some ideas you find interesting, confusing, or that you like from chapter 3? Point us to a couple of places in the chapter (either give us a page number or a quote or explain the idea you’re referencing from the chapter) and explain why you chose that idea. Use this prompt to explore ideas you might try out in your classroom or ideas that seem daunting that you would want to know more about.

Part II: On page 176, the authors give us a list of mentor writers. Choose one of the writers from the list and do a little research: find the author’s books online (once you know their books, you can almost always find a youtube video of someone reading the book), look for their websites, and/or find interviews with the authors. What do you notice about this author’s writing that could make for interesting mentor writing for your future students? What might you highlight in the writing or use as a model? What features do you like from their work?

Post in Make Cycle 2: About the Authors 3  (and respond to a peer’s post)

Day 6: Jan 8

Today’s tasks: 1) reading and responding to mentor texts and 2) Make 2: Expository Writing

Read the Mentor Texts:

  • Are You a Dragonfly?  (video below)
  • Look up one of the award winning books on this recently announced non-fiction picture book list Link here (And btw: The Nerdy Book Club site is a fabulous resource for finding new children’s and YA books.)
  • Check out the two infographics below


Then, respond:

Prompt: What are some features of these texts that you notice? How might we use these texts as models for our own writing? What work did the authors have to do to create these texts? What work might you need to do to write your expository text?

Post in Make Cycle 2: Ideas for Writing (Dragonflies, etc)  (and respond to a peer’s post)

Time for MAKE 2!

For this make, you have three options (but really, I am open if you have other ideas; just email me):

  1. Perhaps the story you wrote last week for Make 1 lends itself to being revised as an expository text? For example, you could use the Dragonfly book as a model and write a new book that has more information and facts about your story. You might remember Josh’s “Mammoth” story from chapter 1, which is also a great model for an expository book. You could work off a story you wrote from last week OR write a new book about an idea or an animal or baking or whatever that uses the Dragonfly book as a model to work from. You most likely will have to do a bit of research to get your facts right.
  2. Create an Infographic about Chapters 2 or 3 of About the Authors using Piktochart. You can consider which quotes you would use, what images, etc? How might you create a visual summary of one or both of those chapters?
  3. Finally, you could create an “instructables” video, walking us through how to do something. For example, I can bake a really good pie, so I could create a video that shows how. You would want to look through some examples from the Instructables website: Then, you can create your own, upload to YouTube or Vimeo and share the link with us. Or video game walkthrough anyone?
  4. Have another idea for an expository text? Email me.

Remember, per usual, to tell us about your process: what worked, what was challenging, how did you go about creating your expository text?

Post in Make Cycle 2: Engaging Exposition MAKES  (and respond to a peer’s Make)