Grammar Keepers Wall Cards

Well, hello there!  How are you?  How is school going?  I know, I know…many of you are on Thanksgiving break and are enjoying your time off and not looking back at the moment.

BUT…I wanted to share this little tool with you.  I created some cards (really small anchor charts if you prefer that term) that can be easily put onto a cabinet door  or in a small space in your classroom.

If you are like me, by now you have basically no more room on your walls for ANOTHER anchor chart.  So….I made these little guys that will be easy to put up.

These cards go right along with the lessons we use in 4th grade out of Gretchen Bernabei’s newest book, Grammar Keepers.  If you don’t have a copy yet…I HIGHLY suggest you get one.  It has been a HUGE game changer in my classroom!!  You can click here to get your copy.

Here’s a peek at what they look like:

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I made cards for all of the common errors on the Keepers 101 4th grade chart that I posted awhile back, along with parts of speech cards.

You can snag a copy of it here.

Do YOU use Grammar Keepers?  If so, what do you think?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Expository Flipbooks

Several of you have asked about the flipbooks we use for expository writing, so I pulled some out from my presentation box to share with you.

We are finishing up our first “real” expository pieces tomorrow, so I’ll have some to share with you soon!  These flipbooks I’m showing you tonight are from previous classes and have been through numerous trainings…so excuse their condition.  😉

These below are some that we used with a prompt about someone we admire.  We wrote our kernel essay sentences along the bottom, and then underneath the flaps we wrote more information to flesh out the paragraph.  The sticky notes were answers to questions that our peers had, and we incorporated that into each paragraph, too.

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That bottom one, of course, is mine that I wrote along with my kiddos.  It’s always good for them to have an example.

These next flipbooks are more recent.  I used this style with my students THIS year for this same text structure.  You will still notice the kernel essay sentences along the bottom, but then we thought through the piece and put down icons on the flaps that we could then turn into sentences on the inside of the flaps.  Just a little FYI…I’ve decided it works better without cutting the flaps…just leave one long one…it’s more durable and doesn’t fall apart when they rip them out of their folders… *sigh*

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Again, notice that the icons on the front of the flaps turned into sentences underneath.  This helps them to write longer.  :)

I’ve created some expository revision stations, but they aren’t quite finished yet.  Right now they are all on one piece of paper without clipart…and just plain BORING!  I’ll hopefully have those up in my store by tomorrow night.

I’ll update this post soon with examples from this year…along with the FINAL piece!  Eek!  :)

Hope this helps!

Happy Sunday, y’all!!

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Our FIRST Expository Essays-In 12 Minutes

Just like in years past, I begin our expository unit with explaining the difference between narrative and expository with my “Grandma” page.  You can read more about that here.

After we grasp what an expository piece should be, I ask students to write a 12-minute essay (Gretchen does it in 11 minutes) based on a picture and a truism.  We use the same truism each year to begin because it deals with pets…and most students have SOME sort of experience with pets.

Truism: Pets can be a big part of a family.

I give students about a minute to think about that statement.  Then we begin: 2 minutes to describe what that statement means to us, 3 minutes to tell how it is true in a tv show or movie they have watched, 3 minutes to tell how it is true in a book they have read, 3 minutes to tell how it is true in their own lives or someone they know, and then 1 minute to tell what it makes them think or wonder.

And just like that…in 12 minutes…they wrote their very first expository essay.  I explain that due to the things they wrote, they have explained something…they didn’t tell a story.

Students are always so proud after finishing.  They count their words and the room begins to buzz with excitement.  It’s pretty awesome.

If you want to try this with your kids, you can find the truisms here.  You can use any of them that you like. I use several throughout the year.  The one about pets isn’t too far down.

Curious what they wrote?  Click here to read a sampling from my kiddos.

I couldn’t be more proud.  :)

If you have time…leave them a little note to let them know what you think.  Yeah…they read this.  :)

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I See HUGE Improvement!!

Whew!  We finally finished our first “real” piece of writing this week and celebrated today!  Woo hoo!!

While these aren’t even close to perfect, they are a HUGE improvement from the writing sample I took the first week of school.  My heart is full!

We started with three kernel essays.  I didn’t give a prompt…and won’t for awhile…so it was their choice.  From there, we chose one to take into drafting.  We filled out our flipbooks (which you have seen if you’ve been following) and added as many details as we could.  Then it was time for revision stations.  Although it didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, they DID add some details while rotating around the room to each station.  We’ll get there. 😉

To my surprise, my kiddos were able to complete their published piece in one day.  That made up for some lost time!!  Today we celebrated by walking around the room and reading papers that were laid out on our desks and made positive comments about them.  Tomorrow we will go over some common trends and talk about how to make this next one EVEN BETTER!  I can’t wait!

But…I needed to show off their hard work.  I’m so stinkin’ proud of how far they have come with just ONE lesson from Gretchen Bernabei’s book.  Have I told you that her strategies are EASY and FUN for everyone involved?  Just take a look for yourself….

Oh, and if you click on the pictures, you can see them much larger and actually read them.  :)

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I don’t have room to show off EVERYONE, but I thought you might enjoy seeing a small sampling of awesomeness.  Y’all…this is HUGE!  Can you even believe this transformation?  This is going to be an AH-MAZING year!  I can’t wait to see what our future holds!

How are your kiddos doing?  Are you using Gretchen’s strategies?  You should be… 😉

Ta ta for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keepers 101 for 4th Graders

***UPDATED***

Last night when I posted this, I didn’t realize that I had two boxes with “there” on this sheet.  I had meant to put “me/I” in that box.  Oops!  This post is now updated with the version that you see below in the picture.  I also updated that terrible pic since it was…well…terrible!  Be sure to grab the CORRECT version from the link below!!

Quick post tonight.  I recreated a document that Gretchen Bernabei used with her 7th graders.  It’s called Keepers 101.  It is a chart that has all of the grammar rules that we teach during the year except for parts of speech.  I’ll be making one of those, too.

It looks like this:

If you would like to grab a PDF copy, click here–>Keepers 101 4th

Enjoy!!

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Flipbooks!

So many of you have been asking about my kids’ flipbooks, so I thought it would be best to go ahead and post some pictures of them.  Since I have finally gotten back my permission slips, it’s time to start blogging again!

Y’all…my kids are rocking it!  They didn’t even realize how much they had written until we took their flipbooks apart and glued them down to manila paper today.  They were stunned!

Ok…so here are a few examples of the finished products.

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We put our kernel essay sentences on the bottom of each flap and left the top flap for the title…which hasn’t been filled in yet…because good writers think about the title as they are writing and take something from the story to create a GREAT one!

I also took some pictures of the inside of one student’s flipbook.  You will notice her kernel essay sentence along the bottom, but we only use that to remind us of what to write about…not to actually include in our narratives.

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I kinda chopped off the kernel essay sentence from paragraph 5, but it says, “I was relieved.”

Last, I wanted to show you how my students took their flipbooks apart and glued them down to manila paper.  We are going to do our revision stations tomorrow, so before doing that, we needed to color up our own writing.  We are a day behind right now due to science lab and the counselor coming in today.  : /

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And there you have it!  Our first drafts of the year!  I’m so excited about all of the hard work these kiddos have done so far!  It’s going to be great!!  :)

Have your students finished their first drafts?  Are you loving what you are seeing?  Please let me know!!

If you still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

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