Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - Happy New Year!




Some favorite highlights from 2012 - a trip to Japan, tent camping in Livermore, exploring Yosemite with my parents, weekend trips to Lake Tahoe with friends, countless visitors, the Jackson County Fair, a few trips to Indiana, a couple of summer days in Michigan, making fabulous new friends, starting my 5th year of teaching in San Francisco, running the California International Marathon. I could go on and on.

It's been three months since I've written a blog post. The beginning of 2013 (and perhaps watching Julie & Julia tonight) has inspired me to blog more frequently. Here we go...

Your screen isn't messed up. I purposely wrote "Happy New Year" vertically. One of my favorite ways to assess what my students have learned is through acrostic poems. Although our large poetry unit usually doesn't make its way to my classroom until early spring, I teach my students how to write acrostic poems early in the school year. When I announce we'll be writing acrostic poems, cheers of joy and excitement can be heard all the way down the hall. My apologies to the first grade teachers -acrostic poems really are that exciting. These poems require students to think critically about specific topics and units of study. It's not merely circling A, B, C or D on a multiple choice test or worksheet - students are required to use new vocabulary words and construct creative sentences and phrases.

To write an acrostic poem simply follow these steps:

1) Choose a topic.

2) Write the topic vertically, on the left hand side of the paper.

3) Write sentences or phrases for each letter of the topic that's been chosen. 
*Be sure each sentence or phrase begins with the letter it corresponds to on the left and that each sentence or phrase gives more information about the main topic.*

4) I usually have my students publish the poems on special pieces of publishing paper, illustrate pictures and then glue their masterpieces to colored construction paper. 

Tech savvy students can create, save and print their original poems hereReadWriteThink is a wonderful resource for both teachers and parents alike.

Even when my students are not required to write an acrostic poem for an assignment, I see them frequently filling up the pages in their writing notebooks with poems about all kinds of topics. Every poem that is written is original and reflects each student's unique writing style.


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