Thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org for the Mother's Day freebie posted on Teachers Pay Teachers. Our student teacher had recently worked on a series of writing lessons about adjectives and similes to add "juicy details" to our writing. This Mother's Day poem was perfect! We created a large-group chart first to get the ideas flowing--many of our students came up with more personalized similes, but for our more concrete thinkers, the chart helped.
May brings one of our favorite units: American Symbols. We like to do this unit at the end of the year, around Memorial Day, and hopefully many of the concepts stay fresh in the kiddos' minds until the 4th of July. This year, our students are really strong at writing non-fiction, but I've noticed that we are a little weaker at creative writing. Students usually write non-fiction books about our state and symbols of the US, but this year we decided to switch things up. For the first time, we are doing an American Tall Tales writing unit. We have been reading a lot of different tall tales and making text-to-text comparisons. We identified the elements of a Tall Tale and created a chart to keep track of the different characters we read about. We have enjoyed reading about Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and John Henry. We still have Mike Fink and Pecos Bill to read about. Steven Kellogg has some wonderfully written and illustrated Tall Tales. Students are now working on their last "big" writing of the year. They are writing their own tall tale. They are turning out so great! The kiddos are making text-to-text connections left and right and it has opened up discussion about the time of westward expansion, pioneers and American Symbols. On our last day of school, we invite parents to come for breakfast and students will have an opportunity to share their "fancied-up", published stories.
In addition to visual American Symbols, we take this opportunity to teach students some songs that symbolize the United States. Some of the songs that we include in this unit are: This Land is Your Land, The Star Spangled Banner, What a Wonderful World and On Wisconsin. We also enjoy singing Dr. Jean's song about the 50 States and the President Song. We will sing these songs for the families on our last day of school.