Cat Catching 101

Anybody else out there realize the different from first grade writers and motivated first grade writers?

Our Writers' Workshop time is 20-25 minutes of independent writing time while I meet with a small group.  I expect that in that time frame, my firsties {at this point in the year} can write 4-5 sentences and work on their illustrations.  Most days that can be accomplished in just the nick of time.  And sometimes that's like pulling teeth...{Amen???}  I mean, a girl can only think of so many "fun" things to write about in 178 days of school, right?

So, when an opportunity comes along for some engaging and fun writing, I'm in!

Let's back up for a sec...

My husband and I are building a new house.  They are currently trimming out our beautiful house.  Last Monday night, after parent teacher conferences, we went out to the house because my kitchen cabinets had been installed and I was DYING to see them!

...and we heard a cat.  In our attic.  We walked up in the attic and saw her with our flashlight right before she dashed to the far corner.  I texted our builder, who is a close family friend of ours, and he said he already knew about the cat.  I jokingly asked if that was part of his job description, or if he would subcontract that out! :)

Long story short...over a week and a half later and we still have a cat stuck in our attic.  This saga has included grown men chasing a cat up and down stairs, ropes to pull the door shut behind her, multiple cans of tuna, and our trim guy trying to "speak cat" and befriend this stray cat of ours!

Oh...and have I mentioned that I hate cats???

Last Tuesday, I casually mentioned the saga to my firsties.  They were hooked.  I knew immediately this was gonna be a story they'd want to hear each day.  So I saved it for our end of the day class meeting time--a form of bribery for good behavior during the day--but, hey! Whatever works!!

And YA'LL.

They have asked every.single.day about that silly cat.  Multiple times a day.  They have shared their suggestions for "Mr. Wendall" and our trim guy, "Scoop," on how they can free this cat.  They have worried about her...and I even had a tear or two shed for a stupid cat. #sorrycatloverfriends

It really has blown my mind how concerned they are for our cat "friend!"  So, today, since we are in between snow days and starting informative writing about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I decided we'd review our How-To Writing from January and write about "How To Catch A Cat."  I even made promises to take pictures of several of the best writings to send to my builder.  They were thrilled, they clapped, and they ran giddily back to their desks.

And in less than 15 minutes of writing time, they had written more than they do on days when we have 25 minutes of writing time.  And most of them were completely finished with their paragraphs in 10 minutes and already working on their pictures.  More kids than normal wrote over 5 sentences.

I was floored.

It's amazing what a little "hook" will do for improving how much a first grader can write.

This was a once-in-a-while kind of writing day.  One that I can't recreate.  One that I can only hope comes around again this year!  So fun to watch my babies write today!

Check out their creative ideas!
This is how you catch a cat.  First, if the cat don't see you, then you can catch the cat.  Do not kill the cat.  Take care of it.  Now you know how to catch a cat!
This guy was envisioning my attic above our school ceiling tiles.  Those are the tiles he's referring too!
This is how you catch a cat.  You need to cover the vent.  Take one tile out.  Then put a cage under the one tile that you took.  Now you know how to catch a cat. and a blanket. And install a light. {on the back} 
This is how you catch a cat.  You need tuna and a rope and a cat cave.  Then you cut the bottom off the cave.  Now you know how to catch a cat.
This is how you catch a cat.  First, you get a toy mouse.  Next, you attach a string to the mouse.  Last, you lead the cat into a box and close it before the cat gets out.  Now you know how to catch a cat. 
Love the labels on this one!  He wanted to make sure the builder understood his drawing! :)
This is how you catch a cat.  First, get a ball of yarn.  Next, get a string from the ball of yarn.  Then, when the cat comes to it, pull the string out of the attic.  Then one of you can hide.  Then come up behind him and cath him.  Now you know how to catch a cat.
 ...and this!  So creative and hilarious!
This is how you catch a cat.  First, you probably put some cameras first.  Next you probably then have to  put a trap.  That's what you should do.  Next and last, probably when the camera sees the cat then let the trap go.  Now you know how to catch a cat.
I was so proud of all of their writing!  And there were so many, many more great ones that I didn't get to picture here!  Sometimes, spontaneous writing prompts are the best!


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