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Friday, February 26, 2016

Write Like Dr. Seuss!

We are back from our February break and celebrating Dr. Seuss in first grade!  We ended our American Contributors unit before our break, so I thought this was the perfect time to take a mini-break from our Common Core units and do a little author study on Dr. Seuss!

Of course, I have my favorite Seuss activities that I do every year, so I will not rehash those again.  You can read up on my old favorites HERE.

This year, I added a few new activities to my Seusstastic Rhymes Packet.  We focused a little more on characteristics of Dr. Seuss' writing.  Here are our top 3 ways to write like Dr. Seuss!

1. Creative Writing

Dr. Seuss is famous for his creative, imaginative writing!  We introduced this idea by reading and studying his imagination in books like To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, and The Cat in the Hat.  Because let's face it: You have to be a creative writer to come up with some ideas like that!  We then did our own creative writing in our journals by writing about what it might be like if WE ran the zoo or what would happen if the Cat in the Hat visited OUR house!  It wasn't fancy....just plain ole journal writing...but they turned out so so cute!  In fact, I wish I would've had them write it on the "cute" writing prompt paper from my Seuss Packet because I would've loved hanging these in the hallway!

2. Wacky Words

One of my favorite things about reading Dr. Seuss stories is his love for wacky words!  You just can't help but giggle when he writes them!  This year, we read a few of his books like Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to listen for wacky, nonsense words.  Then, during Readers' Workshop, my first graders worked with a buddy to read a Dr. Seuss book together and look for wacky words.  We shared our wacky words during share time!

Then, we worked on reading real and wacky words from One Fish, Two Fish... and sorting them into real or wacky.  There was even a "blank" card for the firsties to make up their own wacky word--which they LOVED doing!

And on a more serious note....I really put a lot of stock into this activity this year because of my school's focus on the DIBELS assessment.  I am finding that a lot of my readers struggle decoding nonsense words.  And while I used to believe that it didn't matter because real readers need to **make sense** of words as they read anyways...I'm beginning to think that reading nonsense words DOES matter.  As we've studied our newest phonics program through the help of our district literacy coach, we have found that as readers begin reading multi-syllabic words, the syllables they have to break words into to read are often nonsense words.  For example...

basketball --> bas * ket * ball 

In order to decode this word, the reader HAS to be able to decode nonsense words!

Since this revelation, we've been working more on nonsense words and I'll be adding a brand new packet I've been using to help us with this in my store soon!

3. Rhyming

Rhyming books are just so fun to read!  And Dr. Seuss is one of the BEST at this!  During our author study, we read and listened for rhyming words in Green Eggs and Ham and highlighted the rhyming words in our close reading (read about last year's adventure with this for more details and pictures).  Then, we brushed up on our own rhyming skills in readers' workshop...

And next week, we will be tackling writing some poetry like Dr. Seuss!

Catch all of these activities and much much more in my Dr. Seuss Packet!