One of my favorite authentic literacy activities is providing time and materials for my kids to make cards for others. There are so many reasons to make cards... birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, new babies, loss of pet, loss of family member, serious illness, surgeries, goodbye to classmates who move away, and welcome cards to classmates who join us! We also make "thank you" cards to those who help us and "sorry" cards to those we have wronged! Showing others we are thinking of them by making cards is also a perfect way to encourage creativity, neatness, correct spelling and most importantly, empathy!
This card really made me smile! You see, I often share examples and stories with my kids by saying "so and so" instead of using someone's actual name. One day one of the kids asked me why I always say "so and so" and WHO is "so and so". I explained that I say "so and so" as an example, instead of making up a name when I share examples about things... such as "if so and so needs help, what could we do?".
I guess this little guy picked up that habit as shown by his adorable card for our health para on her birthday!
The connection between reading and writing has become so much more powerful in my classroom since I started promoting the "Author's Coat". Motivating kids to see themselves as writers is so much fun! I purchased several doctor's lab coats and had them embroidered with a "Prescription to Read" logo. I explain to my students at the start of the year that the author's coat is worn by anyone who writes a book and would like to share it with the class! Over the past 8 years I have been able to collect autographs from many of my favorite authors... Patricia Polacco, Kevin Henkes, Jane O'Conner, Jerry Spinelli, and lots more! The kids are impressed by the coat and are eager to earn the privilege of wearing it. When kids bring in their stapled pages and rough draft stories, I applaud their effort and celebrate their success as an aspiring author. The kids then get to wear the "Author's Coat", sit in our special chair and read their story to the class. I also ask a classmate to videotape their peer which helps me track writing and reading progress over the year. Kids love using our iPad to record their peers and they also love knowing they are being recorded. This simple idea takes very little class time since kids are writing many of their "books" at home. Every student in my class publishes a hard cover book of their own (we love www.barebooks.com!) and by the end of the year EVERY student will have had a chance to wear the author's coat. If you don't have the opportunity to collect autographs from professional authors, another idea is to have student authors sign the coat when they share their very first book. By the end of the year, the Author's Coat will become a lovely keepsake! Interested in ordering your own Author's Coat? Just click on any of the Author's Coat photos to visit my TpT store!