Writing About Our Reading

So we've been working on responding to literature using Lucy's Calkins' Units of Study. I was absolutely in love with what my children were learning, and then it happened again.

I hit a WALL.

I feel like I've smacked into that wall several times this year in my Writer's Workshop. Which, let me tell you people, is not an easy thing to admit. I've been teaching for 10 years. I am not used to hitting THE WALL.

When I was finally tired of pulling my hair out, I went to my sweet friend Marnia. She also happens to be our literacy coach. (People, she is f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s.) Do you want to know what happened next?

We hit the wall together. :)

It gave me so much comfort. I was starting to feel like something was wrong with me, like I couldn't see what my kids needed. So we sat and talked it out together. Again. And we came up with an even better lesson.

Some background...

We've been reading short stories from Cynthia Rylant's Every Living Thing. 

Some of our favorites are:
  • Spaghetti
  • Slower Than the Rest
  • Boar Out There
We also used Donald Crews' Shortcut and Pat Hutchins' Happy Birthday, Sam. All of these were "mentor texts" in our room. Each child chose a story they wanted to write about. Marnia and I typed up the text of each story. (Can't share those, peeps. Copyrights. Bummer.)

Earlier in the week, we talked about visualizing. One of my kiddos started to call it "movie-lizing." So we went with that. :)

Back to the present...

We went through this chart and I modeled the journal page below:

Visualizing Journal

One of the things that helped them to be successful was pasting the moment they found to be the "most important" on the journal. I also reminded them that everyone's moment could be different - just like the stories they chose to write about. But, by pasting their moment on the page, we could easily check to see if their writing was connected to the moment they chose.  

I was truly amazed at what they came up with! I'm not saying that this lesson will be just as successful in your room, but I wanted to share it with you. If you liked this, I'll be happy to share what we work through in the weeks ahead!


  1. I would love to hear about what more is coming . . . please share!!!

  2. I would love to know as well! I am about to start response to literature for my class.