First Friday Freebie: A World of Pure Imagination

I love using visual prompts with my writing students. Pictures help to spark their imagination and get the creative juices flowing.

This month’s freebie is a visual prompt I was inspired to create as I saw a rainbow while driving home one day.

rainbow prompt

In addition to creating my own, I have also found the Write About site to be a wonderful resource for visual writing prompts, especially for free-writing and journaling purposes. There are so many categories to choose from (such as Adventure & Fantasy, Culture, Hobbies & Fun, Places, Seasonal, and Technology) that I can almost always find something that fits my purpose. Prompts can easily be sorted by category and grade, and many offer an added auditory option as well.

I would love to hear about other sources for visual writing prompts. Do you ever have your students create these or take/find their own pictures to write about? That could be a fun part of the creative process too!

First Friday Freebie: Lending a Helping Hand

Each year as September 11 nears, I begin thinking about the best ways to honor this day, to help people’s sacrifices never be forgotten. For young students who did not live through this day in 2001, it can have little, if any, meaning, but all children can understand the importance of lending others a helping hand. So that has become my focus for this year.

One creative way to help students begin to see the positive effects even seemingly small acts of kindness can have on others is through a study of the life of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Born September 26, 1774, his legacy lives on centuries later and can be explored through texts and resources like these:

Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg

 

Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh

 

Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd

Johnny Appleseed Enchanted Learning activities

Johnny Appleseed biography

 

Seeing Johnny Appleseed’s impact on the world can help inspire your students to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Even small deeds can make a difference… just like planting one apple seed at a time.

Using this month’s freebie, the Helping Hands activity, students can share ways they plan to use their hands to help others.

helping hands

 

Need more inspiration? Here are ten other stories that show the power of a helping hand:

Always Copycub by Richard Edwards

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord

The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern and Marni Backer

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

New York’s Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Jones

The Three Questions by Jon Muth

Lift Off to Literacy: to the ISS and Beyond

Happy International Literacy Day! 🙂

How do you plan on adding an extra minute of literacy today?

What about tweeting an astronaut?  You can connect with them here (astronauts in space now) and here (NASA astronauts).

Your students just might…

twitterpic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • or get one of their own questions answered!

Plus learning to communicate in 140 characters or less could lead to some lessons in creativity and clarity.

The sky really isn’t the limit with this as students read and send messages to the ISS and beyond. 😉

 

Prepare for Launch: International Literacy Day is coming!

“Lift Off to Literacy” is the International Reading Association‘s theme for this year’s International Literacy Day, September 8, 2014.

Chosen to help inspire students to reach for the stars, this theme is also a challenge for teachers to help launch students’ literacy habits “by devoting an additional 60 seconds of literacy activities each day for 60 days. Celebrate ILD and share the message that developing a habit of reading, writing, listening, and speaking leads to lifelong literacy success.”

The IRA is offering free printables, an activity kit, and more. Check out the resources here and prepare for “Lift Off!”

How will you include an additional 60 seconds of literacy activities in your class each day?

Here are a few of my ideas:

  • See how fast your students can alphabetize the class list – on paper or by physically standing/sitting in alphabetical order.
  • Collect food labels and have students do a quick sort by brand, certain ingredients, or number of servings.
  • Share a poem.
  • Make lists of rhyming words.
  • Post a picture and have a “Caption this!” contest.
  • Try out some tongue twisters.

February Daily Visual Challenges – updated

I recently updated my February set of Daily Visual Challenges to include 28 days’ worth of problem-solving, thought-provoking, creative fun. The added variety allows you more flexibility to pick and choose the challenges that work best for your class and makes them usable year after year.

DVC_F

Feb15DVC

Find out more about my Daily Visual Challenges here.

Daily Visual Challenge sets for February, March, and April are available in my TpT store.

 

First Friday Freebie #9: Flower Seeds and Lifelong Dreams

Each time I read the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, I am inspired by Alice’s dedication to her dreams and her quest to make the world more beautiful.

Over the years, these themes have quite naturally become a part of the way my classes commemorate Patriot Day, September 11th. Although young students today have no personal memories of that event, they can still join others in service and work to promote beauty, happiness, and good in the world.

This month’s freebie is an activity based on the story of Miss Rumphius to help students identify practical ways they can change the world for the better.

Click here or on the picture below for a pdf of the activity: includes directions, worksheet, templates, and examples of completed display.

change

whome

See previous September 11th posts for other books, activities, and resources.

First Friday Freebie #8: Whether Far or Near, Friends are Dear

Building friendships and community is a big focus at the beginning of the school year as classes are formed and begin the year-long journey of learning together. A story that shares a unique perspective of friendship is Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams. This book, based upon a true story, tells about two girls in a refugee camp who decide to share a pair of sandals even after their lives take them in very different directions. Bonding over shared experiences as well as footwear provides a foundation for a deep and lasting friendship.

How do your students define the word “friends”? This month’s First Friday Freebie provides an opportunity for them to brainstorm how friends should act towards each other.

Get the free graphic organizer here.

friends

 

For more ideas, check out Williams Writes, author Karen Lynn Williams’ website, where you can find a teacher’s guide for this story, see a picture of the sandals that inspired the book, and learn more about the author.