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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Noticing Poem: A Classroom

A Classroom is a Noticing Poem utilizing the refrain, I Know, that focuses on sounds, smells, and words. As I shared with my students this week in our writing elective class, a Noticing Poem can be an excellent prelude to descriptive essay writing. The purpose of descriptive essay writing, a form of expository writing, is to use imagery so that the reader can picture something in his or her mind. Descriptive writing incorporates many types of literary elements, such as similes, metaphors, and personification. Descriptive writing is meant to "paint a picture" for the reader. It relates information in a manner that creates sensory impressions using the five senses. Therefore, a Noticing Poem can become an excellent outline for the writing of a descriptive essay.

I Know a Classroom... (sounds)
+ The quiet chatter of students conferring on a team project
+ The clicking of computer keys as students compose individual essays on their keyboards
+ The startling, piercing ring of the school bell announcing the end of class

I Know a Classroom... (smells)
+ The allergy-afflicting suffocation of airborne chalk dust
+ The gagging perspiration odors following afternoon recess
+ The heady intoxicating smell of permanent markers

I Know a Classroom... (words)
+ "Students, please take your seats."
+ "I forgot my homework."
+ "Great job, class."

I Know a Classroom...

A Noticing Poem: "I Know" a PSIA District Meet

Last week, in the writing elective class I teach,I encouraged my students to write a Noticing Poem utilizing the refrain, I Know, to create a sandwich structure. The Noticing Poem was to focus on sounds, smells, sights, and words and was to be about something they had done or experienced.

To provide an example for my students, I wrote a Noticing Poem based on my experience as an Assistant Contest Director and judge in the ready writing portion of the Private Schools Invitational Association (PSIA) District Meet held on March 24, 2012, in Klein, Texas.


I know a PSIA District Meet... (sounds)
+ The nervous, focused quiet within the ready writing testing site
+ Squeals of delight as event rankings are posted
+ The rushing clap as classmates' hands smack each other in "high five's"

I know a PSIA District Meet... (smells)
+ The nutty aroma of freshly-brewed coffee wafting from the grading station
+ The scent of freshly-mown grass from a campus that has been manicured to prepare for guests
+ The piney smell of cleaning supplies from a recently spruced-up classroom

I know a PSIA District Meet... (sights)
+ Parents and students crowding to see the test results as they are being posted
+ Students, parents, and teachers sharing hugs with each other after contest results have been viewed
+ Signs on the classroom doors, "Quiet...Testing in Progress"

I know a PSIA District Meet... (words)
+ "How much time do we have to complete this test?"
+ "Have you seen the results, Mrs. Graumann? Four of your ready writing students are going to state!"
+ "Whether you come in first or sixth, it's an honor for you to have been chosen to represent your school."

I know a PSIA District Meet...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pleasure, a Cinquain Poem

As I witness the publication of my students' writing through various media, my heart is filled with joy at their success. This inspires my writing of the following cinquain poem, entitled "Pleasure."

Pleasure (Noun)
Delighted, blissful (Two adjectives)
Revel, relish, titillate (Three verbs)
Student success=Teacher's joy (Four words)
Happiness (Synonym of line 1)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


My students have Salem Lutheran School have been engaged in writing that honors their grandparents. Students have written about their grandparents using various styles of writing. I hope you will enjoy the creations of these students.

Nicole Grant honored her grandparents by writing a cinquain poem, which follows this pattern:
First line: Grandparent (example)
Second line: Two adjectives describing their grandparent
Third line: Three verbs depicting activities of their grandparent
Fourth line: A four word sentence about their grandparent
Fifth line: A synonym of line one, such as Papa, Pawpaw, Poppy, Grandpa

This is Nicole's cinquain poem:

Sweet, Fun
Entertaining, Sharing, Giving
My grandparents are lovely.
Special Friends

Katherine Pinson chose to write an acrostic poem to honor her grandparents. This is her tribute:

Is always cooking
Never rude
So friendly
Of a great family
No hatred

Great friends
Rreally sweet
And always nice
Never mean
Part of my heart
Always generous
Reading books
Everlasting Christians
No jealousy
Tending to injuries

Students were also given an opportunity to write an essay in honor of their grandparents that included these points: memory, life lesson, feelings, and details. Topic choices may include:
• The best day they have had with their grandparent
• A memorable adventure with their grandparents
• How their grandparent has made a difference in their life
• A favorite memory of their grandparent
• A time they received encouragement from their grandparent
• A special gift from their grandparent that made a difference in their life
• A character trait or value of their grandparent that they want to emulate in their own life
• A memory they want to keep forever about their grandparent if everything else were erased from their memory

Shelby Sanderson wrote the following essay about her grandparents:

I have many, many wonderful memories of my grandparents and me together. Simply just spending the night at my grandparents' house creates many happy memories. I have so much fun. We play games, watch movies, read stories, and bake cakes and cookies. We even have this dessert that we made up. It's called "popcorn surprise," and we have it every time we go over to spend the night. My grandma puts in the "surprise" candy or chocolate, and my grandpa pops the popcorn. Then, we put candy at the bottom of the popcorn bowl, and there you have it..."popcorn surprise."

We play games, like Sorry, Candy Land, or Would You Rather. We also play card games, like Go Fish, Old Maid, or Uno. We watch movies, like "Alice in Wonderland" or "Despicable Me." We read stories, too, like the "Narnia" series and even little books. Dr. Seuss books are still funny! We even bake cakes and cookies! One time we made a chocolate, gluten-free cake with icing and sprinkles. It was so yummy.

I am so thankful for my grandparents. They make me laugh all the time. I enjoy spending time with them, either playing games or baking sweets.

Persuasive Writing: The Lutheran Malaria Initiative

Student persuasive writing about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative has inspired support for the Kids Caring for Kids Project. The Kids Caring for Kids humanitarian effort was conceived at Salem Lutheran Ministries in Tomball, Texas, and is spreading to Lutheran schools throughout the nation.

Conner Andrus, a seventh grade student at Salem Lutheran School, wrote the following persuasive essay, "Buy a Mosquito Net!" on this topic:

I would like for you to consider buying a mosquito net for kids in Kenya. Many children in Kenya are dying from malaria. If you buy a mosquito net, you are able to save a child's life by keeping them from being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.

You have been blessed with your wealth. Why not, for just ten dollars, buy a net so a child may live? This may allow a child to live a full, happy life.

You may want to buy a net so that some of these children can grow up to adulthood. One of these children could grow up and teach people about God.

My final reason for supporting the Lutheran Malaria Initiative is that, by spending the small amount of ten dollars for a net, you can make a difference for eternity in the life of a child. When these children die before they hear about Jesus, they will not go to heaven. Would you like to provide the opportunity to let a child hear about Jesus and bring that child to heaven? I know I would.

These are just three reasons why I hope you will buy mosquito nets for Kenya. I hope that you have learned something today and decide to save a child's life through your gift of ten dollars to the Kids Caring for Kenya project.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Malaria Initiative through Persuasive Writing

This past week I introduced my students to persuasive writing. Persuasive writing is powerful writing intended to convince the reader that a certain point of view is the best one or that action needs to be taken. Its purpose is to influence the reader to change the way he or she thinks or acts. In persuasive writing, the writer states and supports an opinion, then attempts to convince the reader, through argument or persuasion, to believe or do as the writer desires. The writer takes a stand, using compelling evidence why the reader should agree. The writer must have at least three well-elaborated reasons for his position.

The topic on which I asked the students to write is Salem's Kids Caring for Kenya Project, which is part of the malaria initiative of Lutheran World Relief. Below is an example of persuasive writing, provided by Alex Francis, a sixth grade student at Salem Lutheran School in Tomball, Texas:

How much money do you normally spend in a day? Now take a second to think about what you spend it, toys, decorations, jewelry. Many of these things cost about ten dollars or even more, and they are normally way overpriced and don't have lasting importance. For just ten dollars, we can save a child's life! Isn't that amazing knowing that you can do something so life-changing for another person for only ten dollars?!

We have been blessed to have so much, such as medicine and doctors, but children in Kenya are not as fortunate, and they need our help. Hundreds of kids in Kenya suffer and die from a disease called malaria. You get malaria by getting bit by a mosquito, and a simple net can prevent being bitten.

Some children are only infants when they are bit, and all at once, all of the hopes, dreams, and things they and their parents wanted to accomplish in life cannot happen anymore. They have friends and family just like we do, and it is very sad for everyone when a loved one is lost.

Every time we buy a mosquito net we can save a life. Some of the kids have not had the chance to hear God's Word or even read the Bible. They do not know how much God loves them or about heaven. Many missionaries go to Kenya, but some kids are very little and do not understand. I hope and pray every day that each one of these kids will live a long and great life and, when Jesus calls them home, for them to have had wonderful experiences in life and to be with Jesus in eternity.

So, next time you want something you really don't need or you have spare change, buy a mosquito net, and save someone's life.