Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Love for Mo Willems

My third graders are all about writing this year. They are making great comics, using story starter ideas, writing and publishing with friends and on their own. I am loving how many kids ask daily to write. They genuinely are bummed out when we do not have time due to scheduling conflicts (NECAP testing takes a wee bit of time...SARCASM...). My partner teacher/genius friend/other half of my brain stumbled upon the fabulous Mo Willems this fall and it has been pure magic for our classrooms.

It started with a lesson on character in which the fourth graders were looking at characters in a chapter book. To warm them up my genius friend chose an easier text and character with a big personality. Enter Pigeon.  Pigeon was a pretty big hit so she kept digging to see what other gems Mr. Willems had. Enter Elephant and Piggy. The funny thing is that Elephant and Piggy are so us. She is Elephant and needs a plan and worries and I am Piggy and am not so careful and I sure do smile a lot. :)  See!

Anyway, we practiced our hearts out preparing for the epic buddy reading presentation what we would perform for the students. During this time our school's librarian found a pig hat and elephant trunk we could wear for the production. Let me tell you, we read that Elephant and Piggy book We Are in a Book! with so much expression we gained Oscar buzz. That may be an exaggeration. We read with so much expression that teachers in our area shut their doors to keep the kids from being distracted by our awesomeness. True story! We left the books where students could easily access them and encouraged them to buddy read during our daily 5 read to someone time.

What happened next was awesome, amazing, wonderful, perfect. Students started buddy reading. All. Day. LONG!  The books are flying off the shelf. I have to draw names to chose who can have the them. They are reading with the most expression I have ever heard this early into the third grade year. They practice before school starts, during snack, during literacy and after school is over. And they are SO GOOD!

We have also had them look at Mo Willems from a writer's standpoint. We have some great comic creators who are finding inspiration from these texts. We have also looked at his illustrations and how he communicates through his words and pictures. Students are drawing from these books as they create their own writing.

The new book I'm a Frog was released today. Partner teacher/genius/other half has it and is bringing it to school tomorrow. I. Can't. Wait!!  The kids are pumped to hear the new book tomorrow.

Yay for Mo Willems! Yay for amazing teaching friends. Yay for a job I love!

1 comment:

  1. I sure would like to meet this genius friend. She sounds awesome :)