Using author studies to teach primary writing is such an effective and motivating tool. My students are just taking in everything and running with it! What a keen group of kids. When I introduce author studies this week, I have no doubt that they will be motivated and engaged in the learning.
This week was a bit busy to do everything I really wanted to accomplish because I moved on Tuesday so I had a sub in for me and then Thursday we had our Terry Fox run. It was nice to talk to my students about Terry and how he set goals and never gave up. I told them we would be setting individual writing goals. Last week we got organized with our writing binders.
This week, I started my author studies. Like many of you, I started with Kevin Henkes and the book Chrysanthemum. Kevin Henkes is known for his cute little stories that are so relatable to kids. I was once told Mr. Henkes told an audience of teachers that he couldn’t draw people which is why he drew mice. My kiddos LOVE when I tell them that. We spent the interactive lesson pointing out things that are unique to Kevin Henkes. We always notice that he creates a bunch of little illustrations to represent all of the minor events that occur and doesn’t just draw one. We also noticed that his WORD CHOICE is great! I love how he uses the word “wilted” to describe how Chrysanthemum is feeling when her classmates tease her. I always ask a student to stand up and demonstrate what that looks like. They get the body sinking action but I always have to mention that facial expressions also add to how a person is feeling.
The poster of Kevin Henkes on my awesome author study stand is from That’s So Second Grade.
I created an author activities set for Kevin Henkes and it is perfect for back to school. Check it out here.
Don’t you just love it?
We began to get our Writer’s Notebooks ready by gluing our cover of choice onto our new awesome notebooks that each child picked out at the dollar store with their parents.
This week, we will be completing activities on “ideas” using Kevin Henkes and other supporting authors. (I usually have one main author on the go at all times and then use other books to support the writing trait. Not only does this give students variety but it helps them when they start picking out main ideas in books and supporting ideas!)
These Kevin Henkes author study activities are done in their Language Arts duotangs. I like to front load the children with lots of in depth looking at authors and then some practice with that author or trait in their actual notebooks. As it is the beginning of the year, I am also starting routines and monitoring the students’ abilities to self regulate as that has ALOT to do with literacy success. I have started my Mindful Brains unit and we are practicing our Mindup practice of taking regular brain breaks. This is very much an individual (self) practice. In order to extend this outward I use the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? which I know MANY of you are familiar with.
The conversation we had actually went right to the heart of the matter. When we finished reading the book the students were able to understand the symbolism of the bucket and how it represents your heart.
Some of the students really took off writing in their Mindful Journals. Others have more difficulty expressing themselves in writing. When I asked, “What do you think bucket filling is?” they were able to respond verbally and then, with guidance, write down their thought.
If you’d like to get started with helping your students to be more mindful, you can grab your FREE poster set by clicking on the image below.
I’m very excited for next week! We will be starting our interactive notebooks with more lessons with Kevin Henkes as our author and we will continue to focus on generating ideas for writing. Once you have ideas ~ you can really soar. We will also continue with learning about ourselves and becoming more mindful of ourselves and others.