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Hooked on Writing January: Teaching Voice

Hooked on Writing January takes students through an exploration of VOICE.  Voice is one of the most difficult traits to teach but this systematic approach will help you as a teacher and your students to learn how voice is developed.




First, students are introduced to genre in writing so that they can see that there are different types of writing that an author can do.  Students learn about these genres and then decide on their top 3 that they like.  

Then students learn about author studies. It would be difficult to recognize voice if students haven't been exposed to different authors and different writing styles. If you haven't taught author studies before - have no fear. It's all here for you including an author planning sheet for you and an author tracking sheet for students with blanks so that you can choose your own authors later if you want.

The four mentor texts that will be used for this unit are Robert Munsch, Melanie Watt, Kevin Henkes and Cynthia Rylant. These are all popular authors so you should have the books in your library. If not I have included (affiliate) links at the end of this post for your convenience.


Students will recall vocabulary and word choice work they have done since the beginning of the year and will be able to use effective words to add mood, feeling and energy to their writing.  They will also learn that characters, when developed in such a way, add voice to an author's writing.

January is an introduction to VOICE where students will learn and practice writing in the style of the authors presented.  In February and March, students will practice their own form of voice in their writing.

If you'd like to pin this blog post for later, I've included this image for you.




Thanks for reading!


Right Now! k-2 Read-Alouds

You know how you just love certain picture books and you read them year after year? I recently asked teachers on my Instagram and Facebook page what their #1 favorite K-2 read aloud was and some found it very hard to choose just one.

I've compiled a list of teachers' favorite books for you. You may just discover one or more that you've  never read before. (I've included affiliate links for your convenience.)


































If you'd like to pin this post, I have included this image for you. 





Penguins GALORE!


                                 {This post contain affiliate links for your convenience.}

I just love penguins. They are truly an amazing and very interesting animal.   Teaching about penguins is always a fun experience for my students (and for me!) because there are so many things that you can do.  I love the integration into many subject areas.

I like to start with finding out what kids already know about penguins. Or, in my experience, what they THINK they know.  I want to be able to teach students to VERIFY their "facts" by teaching them to research and think critically.  (I first learned this extra step in a workshop put on by Tony Stead.)  First, students are given 3 sticky notes to write what they think they know, what they wonder and what they want to learn.





After we finish with our sticky notes, we have a class discussion on the "facts".  Some we know for sure and they can be placed on verified.  Many go to the Wait section and need further investigation.


Then, we research!

I review text features with students that I taught them in my Literacy block (see Hooked on Writing)  and with my Just Chillin' set.



As students are reading and researching and learning more about penguins, they learn to think critically and recognize some of the facts from our anchor chart.  If they find the fact and it has been verified, the sticky notes from the We Will Find Out section  go to the Verified section.  Sometimes, we can't find a fact and verify it so it stays on the we are not sure section. As students research, they put together a mini penguin book that showcases their learning thus far. It's a great formative assessment tool to use as students are engaged in the learning process. You can quickly see where they are in their learning and where to go next in your teaching.



During our integrated social studies and literacy block, students participate in two kinds of learning:  they make a penguin lap book and they work on penguin writing centers.

The Penguin Lap Book is full of penguin facts.  Students read and complete activities that help them to learn more about penguins.




There are a variety of different options depending on your focus.






 Students love putting this together!  It's a great summative assessment for the end of your unit and the perfect thing to share with parents and for students to take home and keep.

The second thing we work on is "writing in role", or point of view.   I use my Penguin Perspectives set in the writing center.  Here, students use these colorful non-fiction type journal prompts to write fiction.  Students write in the role of the penguin and answer fact based questions like they are a penguin writing in their journal. My students loved this!  It was also another great way for me to see how much my students had learned in the unit.










Here are a few penguin books you might like for your penguin unit.



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