Thursday, August 7, 2014

Creating an Author's Chair Students Will Want to Sit On

Author's Chair is such an important part of Writing Workshop, and it is a part that I always find myself skipping for time purposes. Well, I am vowing to turn over a new leaf this year! And to help me stick to my guns, I created a new Author's Chair for my classroom.

It was so much fun to research and make... and I think it will be just as fun to use... for both me and my students.

First, I started with an old stool that my children had stained from their artistic endeavors. But any stool will do. This one is wooden, but I am sure with a different type of paint, you could probably even use a metal one. I also gathered my supplies. I used craft paint from Michael's because it was so much cheaper, and it didn't take much (there is still some left in the bottle), but you could also use paint from a home improvement store. I needed Mod Podge, some ribbon, paint pens, and a fine-grade sandpaper.

I lightly sanded the stool, wiped it down, and then started the coats of paint. I put on three coats to get it the color I wanted with no streaks.

Once all that was dry, I could Mod Podge the top. I created the Author's Chair sign on the computer, printed it out, and carefully cut it out. The words on the stool, I wrote in paint pen. Then I just followed the directions on the Mod Podge bottle for application. I ended up putting 10 coats of Mod Podge on the top and around the rim of the stool. 

All the words are quotes about writing from authors. I chose to do them in different colors and write them around the top, down the legs, and on the rungs. These are the quotes I used:

"Make the words yours. If your eyes could speak, what would they say?" ~The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

"Writing is seeing. It is paying attention." ~Kate DiCamillo

"Write it so that people can hear it, and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." ~Maya Angelou

"I can shake off everything. As I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." ~Anne Frank

"Look in your heart and write." ~Unknown

"We all have a story to tell." ~Unknown

"Writing is the painting of the voice." ~Voltaire

"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." ~Mark Twain

"It doesn't really matter what you write, but you must keep up practice." ~Rick Riordan

"There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place." ~J.K. Rowling

"I like to think of myself as a storyteller." ~Kate DiCamillo

"READ! READ! READ! and WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!" ~Jack Prelutsky

"The storyteller in me asks: what if? And when I try to answer that, a story begins." ~Jane Yolen

And the final Author's Chair looks like this. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Moving on to what the Author's Chair will be used for, I created a freebie with some Response Stems.  I find that students never know quite how to respond to what is shared from the Author's Chair, so I created these that will become an anchor chart in my classroom and be glued in their writer's notebooks as a guide to help scaffold their learning. You can find the link to my Author's Chair Response Stems here.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back to School Sale Time!

My wish list has been loaded for a while. And now I am ready to stock up on the Teachers Pay Teachers Products I need for the school year (or at least the beginning of the school year). The TpT Annual Back to School Sale is always one of the biggest of the year. Most sellers, including nearly all of the top sellers, participate by putting their whole stores on sale 20% off. And then on top of that, TpT allows you to enter the code BTS14 at checkout to get an additional 10% off... which adds up to 28% off on so many fantastic teaching products.

Some of you may already know that I got my start in blogging with Sub Hub. I had an extremely hard time finding a full-time teaching position, and so subbed in K-5 classrooms for four years. In those years, I learned a lot about what teachers and subs need, so I launched several lines of sub plans. And even though I don't really post on Sub Hub anymore since getting my full-time fourth grade position, those sub plans continue to be by far my most popular products.

First, there is the line I have of emergency sub plans aligned with CCSS. All these plans are based on a picture book and have lessons for warm-up, reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies. They are available for grades K-4.

Then, there is the Just Add Paper line. These are for those true emergencies. Then also have lessons for warm-up, reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies. They are also based on picture books. And they are available for grade K-5 and as a bundle for subs to have in case no plans are provided. The difference with these is that they are much more generic. You get to pick the picture book you use, so it can be anything you have available in your classroom. And there are no copies to make at all. You just need to add paper. There are lessons to write, draw graphic organizers, make foldables, and make other manipulatives. They are not meant to be comprehensive or in-depth lessons. They are meant to make the most out of a bad situation... when you are not physically able to write any sort of a lesson plan. These plans will let you salvage something out of the day, and at least do some educational activities.

Both these lines, along with everything else in my store will be on sale Monday and Tuesday (August 4-5). You can see lots of other stores and products on sale by visiting this Pinterest board I am hosting specifically for the sale.

Or visit these linky parties to find other amazing resources. What did teachers ever do before Teachers Pay Teachers? Ha! I know I have been a tremendously better teacher because of the products available on TpT.

So, happy shopping, and make this the best school year yet!