Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Very Busy Spider, American Symbols and Matchbook Sentences

We just finished our third week of our Eric Carle unit with The Very Busy Spider
Such a simple little story but they love it!
Of course, if Gail Gibbons has written a book on a subject, I want it!! 
 Her books are simple and full of facts just right for this age level.
We charted our spider facts and tried to be as specific as possible!
I completely forgot to make copies of a real graphic organizer so I improvised! 
I really wanted to follow the same process I've used for the past few weeks because I
have been so happy with how well they are progressing in their writing following these steps.

Day One:  Read a fictional story on the subject-whole group.
Day Two:  Read a non-fictional book on the same subject-whole group.
Day Three: Chart facts-whole groups.
Day Four:  Use a graphic organizer to write three or four facts on the subject-small group. 
(This step involves the most time-editing, sounding out words, check for spacing
and proper use of upper and lower case letters.)
Day Five: Write final copy-small group.

We added our art work to the writing for our Eric Carle book. 
Next week we will add our final page to the book as we study The Tiny Seed.
I wanted to show you all how our American Symbols books turned out.  Remember, I bought this unit from Deanna Jump and started it in February.  This is a great unit that you can buy on tPt.  It also includes lessons on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington but I am adding those pages to our Famous Americans books!
I used an Alabama die cut for them to label where EXACTLY they live!

I got these pages from Musings of Me and her wonderful unit that she is making for each state!

I LOVED the directed drawings in this unit and will definitely use this unit again next year!
I also wanted to show you a cute little activity we picked up at a workshop a few years ago. 
I am making sentences from our Scott Foresman readers that the children have read the week before.  (This was from some random page that I had on hand as I was improvising at my table one day this week!)  
Cut a sheet of copy paper into thirds.  Fold almost in half but leave a small strip at the bottom to fold UP.

Students are given a baggie with the matchbook sheet and a cut
up sentence that they have to piece together.
They glue the sentence inside the book and then write it themselves.

They write their name on the small flap and illustrate the cover.
You could also use this with any story and have them write their favorite part on the inside or they could write about the characters, setting, beginning, middle, end-whatever you choose. If it is a non-fiction book, they can write facts on each flap inside.
I think I will use this as a go to activity during our fairytales unit.  Stay tuned!


  1. This is a wonderful idea to spice up the writing center! It's hard for me to keep my writing center "interesting". You just fixed that!
    I also love your daily format for completing the graphic organizer. That helped me get my mind straight!
    Love it!

  2. Thank you, Suzan! I just love how the graphic organizers are simplifying their writing-amazing! The matchbook activity is fun and easy and the group I have tried it with did like it.

    Thank you!

  3. I LOVE the AMERICAN symbols!

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