Saturday, April 6, 2013

Writer's Workshop: How to make slime, and other tales

Writer's Workshop is one of my favorite times of the week. Each month we work on a new style of writing, and last month's was how-to books. To begin the unit, we needed to understand what "how-to" books do. Grown-up readers use many how-to books on a daily basis, including recipes, manuals, and self-help books, so it's good for kids to get comfortable with them as another type of text. To start, we made a list of all the things we know how to do. Suggestions included "how to make your friend feel happy," "how to make a fairy," and "how to walk a dog." As a class, we wrote a story called "How to Get Ready for Recess," since this is something that we all know how to do. I also sent home a list for families to fill out with their kindergartener, as they walked around their home thinking of things they know how to do, including picking up toys and feeding the cat.

Finally, we read lots of how-to books from the library, including this one, How to Make Slime.

So of course we had to follow the directions in the book and try it out! The kids were so excited for "Slime Day." Our recipe can be found here if you'd like to try it at home. It's a bit messy, but worth it!

After that slimy adventure, we began writing our own how-to books using the ideas we had brainstormed.

They turned out wonderfully! Here are a few of my favorite ones:

"How to Write My Name" 
"How to Throw a Football"

"How to Drive a Skidloader"

"How to Peel the Tail off the Shrimp"

"How to Wash the Dishes"

"How to Dance with a Dog" :)
To celebrate all our hard work, we invited our third grade reading buddies to our room to listen to us read our how-to books. We practiced reading them out loud them over and over again since the third graders might not be able to read our handwriting if we got stuck on a word. (This also served as a sneaky way to get kindergarteners to practice reading aloud fluently!)

Our next Writer's Workshop unit is on non-fiction writing (also known as informational writing). I can't wait to see how their books turn out!

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