Monday, 8 September 2014

Silly Sentences and Monday Made It

Thanks to Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It.  I always look forward to seeing the great projects from the talented bloggers who link up, and I have found so many good ideas to Pin, and some that I've even completed myself.

I haven't been too creative this week, but I have been at work in the kitchen.  My husband got into the Farmer's Market on his own on Wednesday and brought me back 20 pounds of peaches. I gave half of them away, then my mum and my daughter pitched in and helped me make peach pies.  I'm gluten intolerant so I used this pie crust mix from Glutino for the crust.  It was delicious!  More like shortbread than traditional pie crust, but everyone loved it.  They loved it so much that it was gone before I remembered to get a picture!
If you need (because pie is a necessity for life as we know it) to make a gluten free pie I recommend this mix (it's actually just the flour mix - you have to add everything else yourself).  The only glitch was that it was EXTREMELY difficult to get from the counter into the pie plate because it wanted to fall apart.  I eventually just pressed the bottom crust into the plate in chunks, and froze the top on well floured waxed paper and quickly flipped it onto the bottom.

A friend gave me a good tip for some delicious soup she'd found on Pinterest. It's called Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp and Rice Noodles.  I just happen to have a multitude of butternut squash growing in the back yard...... This soup was really great.  I'm going to try it with halibut next time.

You can find the post with the recipe here at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
For years the kids in my class have loved doing an activity that I call "Silly Sentences" when they have choices during Language Arts time.  I made it up after I attended a seminar about LA centers about 15 years ago.  That session completely changed my approach to my LA block.  Last year when I introduced The Daily Five in my classroom I was happy to find that it also worked well for Work on Writing.
Originally I made a sheet for the kids to fill out that was in this format:

The (adjective) (noun-person or character or animal) (verb) (connecting word) the (colour word) (noun - thing).

The sheet was hand printed and looked like this:

I had a list of words for each blank on colour coded cards.  The kids could pick the words they liked
from the cards and fill them in until they had a complete sentence.
Then they drew a cartoon picture to illustrate their sentence.  The picture had to have speech balloons with AT LEAST 3 words in them (or else they just put things like, "YAY!" or "AAAAA").
I made the student form on a half piece of paper because the idea was to do writing and I didn't want them to spend ages on their pictures.  In fact I encouraged them to make stick figures and think about what their characters might be saying in the funny situation.  Some of them were seriously hilarious! It really brought out their sense of humour.
An added bonus was that they loved reading their silly sentences to others and showing their cartoons.  It became so popular that I told them if they read it to 5 different people (and at least 2 had to be outside the classroom) and got their listeners to sign the back I would give them a shiny sticker that I got from Really Good Stuff. Were they ever motivated to get that sticker!

This has been a great activity for emergent and reluctant writers.  They feel confident doing it because everything they need to complete their sentence is at their fingertips.  It got even the most intransigent of students writing.
When I switched to grade two a few years ago I wondered if Silly Sentences was challenging enough for most of them.  I had it out at the beginning of the year, but when I put it away after Christmas they BEGGED me to bring it out again.
So I challenged them to fill out their sheet using words that they found in the dictionary instead of on my cards if they were capable writers.  I still left out the cards and told them they could use them "if they needed them".  Most of them were quite happy to accept this new twist, and so they got practice using dictionaries as well!  Score!!
I was thinking about this center the other day and decided I would make up a new version to use and others could use too.  Here's are of some of the pages in the new version, now available on TpT.

(I made the student page with US and Canadian spelling of color/colour)
I'm so excited about this product.  Click here to see it.

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