Class Mascot

20160129_145809From this day forward, this 13” figurine shall be my class mascot! This Mandalorian clone is a beacon of light, epitomizing enduring American principles such as altruism, loyalty, integrity, and the art of negotiation! He represents all that is honorable and magnanimous in the universe and is a stalwart reminder to my current and future students that perseverance, grit, and determination are paramount to success! Plus, he has a cool looking helmet…

And after Aaaallll…it’s my Wonder Waaaaaal!


So if you haven’t read Wonder by R.J. Palacio yet, you need to get up on it! Appropriate for grades 4 and up, this touching story is about a boy with a facial deformity who struggles at his new school, after being home schooled for most of his life. It deals with themes such as friendship, loyalty, bullying, and kindness. I got this idea for my bulletin board from a blog called “Teaching in Room 6” Instead of a postcard to the teacher, I had the kids write a letter to the author. Click here to download my instructions:  Wonder – Letter to the Author. Here’s a rubric:  Wonder – Letter to the Author Assessment.

First, I had the kids pick a precept (rules to live by) that really spoke to them. I had them interview 3 adults and ask them what they thought the precept meant. Then they drew a self-portrait in the style of the cover art, along with their precept below it.

After that, they wrote a 5-paragraph letter to the author, where they shared their precept and what it meant. In addition, they told the author what they thought the theme of the book was and justified it with examples from the book.

wonder board

I kept the kids’ rough drafts on a whim, and I’m glad I did! I knew the kids needed some practice on the computer, so I had them type up the letter, insert a picture of themselves, and print it out. In the new era of computerized testing, these skills are absolutely essential! I plan on sending the typed letters to the author later this month.

The kids absolutely loved this book and they enjoyed the project, too!

Here’s one of my favorites! We’d been working on idioms, and I think this young lady got “blow my top” and “knock my socks off” mixed up!  🙂

wonder board example


Mentor Text – The Day the Crayons Quit

crayons quit

Ever wondered what would happen if items we used everyday suddenly quit on us?  Drew Daywalt envisions such an affair, with his imaginative children’s book called The Day the Crayons Quit.  Humorously illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, this book is appropriate for any early elementary grade level.  I used it this year for the first time in my 4th grade class as a mentor text for writing, and I could see it being used in such a way on up through jr. high.

I asked the children to imagine an item they used on a regular basis, and what it would say to them if it could talk?  We first brainstormed some ideas on the overhead, then began writing.  After writing, they were to draw a picture to go along with the writing.  Click here: The Day the Crayons Quit for the instructions for this activity.  Kids are given practice in the art of a personal letter, as well as perspective.  Below are three of the more creative responses I got.  Really cute and fun!  Kids were totally into it!