Category Archives: writing

Writing and Art – a perfect pairing

A talented class of art students are collaborating with Mrs. Wojtera’s Wonderful Ones on a regular basis this year.

Each month, Mrs. Reese brings one of her art classes from Radford High School to visit and mentor these young writers. Our main focus has been personal narrative – or as Lucy Calkins calls it –  a “small moment” story. As our writing fluency improves, the pairs are now able to spend some time collaborating on the artwork, as well.

We work toward telling a small moment story, by taking inspiration from reading and studying stories that model this ‘little slice of time’.  Some of our favorites have been A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The relationships that my students are building are priceless. They feel a connection and work to write their best. I hope that the high school students are getting as much out of this as we are!

There are people on couches, floors, sitting at small tables, at desks, on pillows, – all over the classroom! The energy fills the room! Check out these photos from their last visit on Friday.

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First graders and flags

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Our class was the recipient of a collection of flags from the travels of Dr. J. Norstedt. He very generously donated the flags and these first graders put them to use!

First they used atlases to identify their chosen flags, then used the index to locate the country’s information in the atlas.


They studied the maps to identify the region of the world and the capital.

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They read for interesting facts and developed a greater sense of place value as they worked to understand the population and the area of their countries.


Then they prepared to give their presentation to their classmates – and to be published on the blog. We hope you’ll leave a comment about their accomplishments.

Thank you Dr. Norstedt!

Small Group Work

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We worked in small groups today to construct a graphic organizer that summarized the literary elements of a story we read earlier.

Students chose a writer and a reporter, other participants worked collaboratively on supplying ideas and correct spelling.

It is fun to see what we can do together.


School is cool!

We have been working hard in first grade this week. We have come up with a list of cool school tools that we love to use around the classroom.

We worked in pairs with our bucket of notebooks and colored pencils to come up with a list of school nouns. Then the words were typed into an application called Tagul that makes word clouds. Here is a screen shot of our word cloud.

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Blue Jays by Sam

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permission by flickr creative commons

I like blue jays because they sing beautiful. They are birds. They are blue. Their chest is white and a black beak and black spots on their back. Blue jays have cool feathers. Girl blue jays have eggs. The blue jays are one of the medium birds. I like birds. I like every part of every bird.


A Fly in my Eye by Sofia and her friends

sofia gnat

Today at recess a gnat got in Sofia’s eye. She went to the nurse and the nurse said to keep rubbing it. It worked! The gnat came out later.



compound eye

We decided to look through the microscope to see Sofia’s gnat. We could see the compound eyes, the wings, the back and the whole body.


We liked looking through the microscope. Sofia did not like getting a gnat in her eye.