I Have a Guest Author!

Hi! It’s Beth Ann from Taming My Flock of Firsties.

Barb and I are swapping today.

So, today I am going to talk a little bit about where I am in Writing Workshop and share some of my photos for creative writing.

We just started Authors as Mentors, one of Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study.

We have begun to look at Ms. Angela Johnson as one of our Mentors. You can read about that here.

We are in the middle of our next mentor author.

The next author we study is Vera B. Williams. She wrote A Chair for My Mother.

After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save and save until they can afford to buy one big, comfortable chair that all three of them can enjoy. After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.

“A superbly conceived picture book expressing the joyful spirit of a loving family.”–Horn Book.

This book is a perfect example of “ZOOMING” in on a small moment and taking that small moment to extend the story.

Ms. Williams takes the moment of buying the chair for her mother and extends it with all the relevant details that led up to that moment. There is much detail to be talked about in this book.

We also focus in on the illustrations. Details, Details, Details!!! From the flowers, to the smoke, to the color of the coins in the jar. There was nothing left out in these illustrations.

After we read the book, we really dissect it. I have them think about the small moment.

They “turn and talk” with their partner about what the small moment was.

Some students have different ideas about what the small moment was.

This is a great opportunity to discuss differences in everyone’s stories. You don’t all write about the same thing. Everyone has different experiences. We can all take one of these moments of the story and make a connection with it.

They “turn and talk” to their partner about their connection with the story.

Before I sent them off to write, I asked them about one small moment we had shared. They thought and thought and then one of my firsties raised her hand and asked, “What about the time we were walking down the hallway and we stopped at a corner and were quiet and you didn’t even ask us? Then we all caught the wave.”

By the way, catching the wave is a big deal at our school. It is a sign that we are showing one of our Character Ed. Traits.

“Oh! Perfect!”, I said.

We talked about telling the story across our fingers.
1. We were walking down the hallway and we stopped at the corner.
2. Mrs. Kempf didn’t even remind us to be quiet.
3. We all caught the wave.
4. We were so proud! Our faces were beaming!

I had to prompt them for a little more information and “Showing and not Telling”.

Then I sent them off as “Writers”.

They are really GETTING it. We had some writing that focused in on one small moment and adding details!!! YIPPPPEEEE!!!!

We will be focusing on FABULOUS beginnings and endings (how our mentor authors begin and end their books) for the next couple days.

Here are a couple Friday Freebie Photos.

I put these up on the SmartBoard or print them off and laminate them. I put them in the Writing Center.

Some of my daughter’s Ello pieces. So much color!

Rosie and I put BOTH tennis balls in the dishwasher. She was just waiting for them.


Thank you, Beth Ann!  We’ve just finished our Small Moments unit, so I’m excited to get going on “Writing For Readers”.

Be sure to visit Beth Ann’s blog and check out my Perfect Picture Book Friday post. I’m featuring the sweetest book:


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