Monday, April 16, 2012

Jump Into Writing

Last month I guest posted over at Teaching in High Heels about some writing magic tricks.  Just in case you missed it here's a recap!  

Let me introduce you to my little writing friends...frogs!  Not the kind you have to kiss but the kind that will make you want to kiss your students when you read their amazing word choices!

These guys are perfect for helping your kiddos jump right into using a thesaurus!  Others will be GREEN with envy over your students' great splendiferous, magnificent, adept writing skills.  After making the Frogs on a Log class book, your kiddos will know how to fill their writing with juicy words that will jump right out and grab the reader!

To get started, we review our INSTEAD OF SAID chart that we have been adding to all year.  When we read we are always looking for words authors use in place of said.  Then we talk about how important it is to use exact words to relay our meaning when we write.  Words that give us all the juicy details!  After reminding them that "said is dead" I read this great story:
We brainstorm ways we can find new words to use when our words seem tired and overused and boring.  Enter the magical thesaurus!  We have one in the back of our english book that we use, but any thesaurus will do. Here's a great printable pocket thesaurus from Mrs. Winston!  

After going over the parts of the thesaurus, I let the class work in groups to complete pages that we put together to make a class book called Frogs on a Log. 
The first frog on each page has a speech bubble with a word inside.  To complete their page, the group has to look the first frog's word up in the thesaurus and fill out the rest of the text by using the synonyms they find for that word.  They also have to replace the "dead said" in each sentence.  After they have filled in the text, they have to illustrate the faces on the frogs to match what the frogs are saying.  We make funny frog faces (it's not my best look but whatever makes it stick right?) and I draw some examples to show them how different facial features can express what the frogs are saying.  When they finish I put all the pages together and read our collaborative story!  

It's always a favorite in the class library. They beg to check it out so they can take it home and read it to their family.  I love it when that happens!  Just click on the picture above to download a copy and let the magical frogs go to work!

I'd love to give you a happy ending right here.  
The kind of ending where I put on my glass slippers and run off to a place where my students immediately apply the skills I diligently teach motivated by an intrinsic desire to strengthen their writing ability, but...
this is not Cinderella's world.  

Nope, this is the real world where my great innovative, thrilling, awe-inspiring lesson might not be applied right away {GASP} and It might need a little help from something sugar coated.  If clicking my heels three times doesn't do the trick I might or might not reach into my bag of treats and pull out a little something extra to make it stick...
That's right.  I follow up my by introducing this little guy.  He's small but don't underestimate his power.  
Cinderella has her fairy godmother...I have Mr. Bubblegum.  For those of you who don't know, that's the hubs, and he draws for a living.  And for me (when I bribe him). He came up with this little character that I just love!  After talking about juicy words I introduce SUPER JUICY.  My kids know he's always on the lookout for JUICY words in their writing and when he finds them he leaves a treat behind.  
You can make your very own Super Juicy labels by grabbing a clipart pack at Mr. Bubblegum's Teacher's Notebook store.  Print out a sheet of labels and slap these on your kids rough drafts for your very own motivational magic!  I have tons of them ready to go in my teacher drawer, right next to my Editing Ed.

Happy writing!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome Frog on a Log activity!
    Also, I have to tell you...i am the QUEEN of saying "JUICY WORDS" at my school! LOL A few years ago my class even made me a big class picture in a frame COVERED in Juicy Fruit papers as my "end of the year" gift! :) So, needless to say, I LOVE THE idea of the gum!

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your Juicy words! I am so going to borrow that idea. I am your newest follower.
    Classroom Companion

  3. I am so glad you found me because now I found you! LOVE your blog and creative ideas. Michele

  4. I just stumbled upon your adorable blog and am your newest follower! :)

    The "Frogs on a Log" idea is FANTASTIC! Just downloaded it for next year!

    Mrs. Heeren's Happenings


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...