Wednesday, January 8, 2014

No Longer Snowed In

Well, today was the first official day back to school after the longest winter break ever (seriously, 19 days!) with a snow day at the very beginning and then two in a row tacked on at the end. If you are a mid-westerner like myself, you were definitely in the same boat with these frigid wind-chills and mounds of snow. In fact, I had to give my little Honda a pep talk this morning to get through some of those side streets that were still in desperate need of some plowing. "C'mon Hondie, you can do it!" with a loving tap to the dashboard. I know you all have a nickname and talk to your car too--hey, we know what works.

Once I got to school safe and sound, it was so wonderful to see all of my sweetie-pies this morning--I missed them! Their little smiles are just the best.

To start 2014 right, I began one of my absolute favorite writing units--"What is the best pet?" opinion writing. The engagement is always high for this unit as students support their opinion with strong reasons and evidence. They really get into it! Click here or on the picture below to access The Best Pet Opinion Writing Unit at my TPT store.

Since this was only day 1 of the unit, we brainstormed. What exactly makes a pet a great pet? Is a great pet cuddly, easy to take care of, playful, quiet,...? I expressed my opinion that a great pet must be cute. Picture that furry face of a golden retriever puppy. However, some of my students did not agree. Some were adamant that a great pet does NOT have to be cute. Snakes are cool (obviously). What's not to love about a slimy, slithery creature that eats dead mice? (Ick! Need I go on?) We had to agree to disagree on this one. However, gotta love the friendly debate that stirs up--it really gets students eager to support their opinion right from the get-go.

Tomorrow, I will bring in some Oreo cookies as a hook to introduce our opinion writing graphic organizer when we start pre-writing. Always a huge hit!

I must say, putting on my black dress pants, sweater, and Sperry shoes this morning was a bit of a shock, as well as the alarm clock. But it sure feels good to get back to teaching! And let's be honest, my yoga pants and sweatshirt that I've been sporting for the past 2 plus weeks needed a break. :)

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