February 2009

As our writing improved, we looked for a way to broaden our horizons. Studying the work of a real author gave us insight into the writing process. We are very thankful for Kari-Lynn Winter's help with our Authors as Mentors project. She sent us her unpublished manuscript for "Oh Ducky Day". We projected this on the board and analyzed a different text feature each day.

Introduction: Kayla's Mom, Kristi Owens, was our guest speaker. She talked about how she is an author who would like to be published, and how she goes about learning how to be better at her work. She made a great hand-out for us to share with our parents. The best part was reminding us that when we use our imaginations, we are constantly making up stories!

 Monday: We read the text for the first time and responded. Everybody said they liked it, but few could explain why. We realized we needed to study what made it a good book.

Tuesday: We studied how the text was organized. We used our organizer, and were excited to see that the author followed the same order we did in our writing.

Wednesday: We read Fancy Nancy's Words and went to an online thesaurus to think about how authors choose the very best word. We reread "Oh, Ducky Day" and decided our favorite words were toddled/waddled, squabbled, squawked, a ducky idea, and "We've been goosed!" We didn't understand why the ducks were named  Mallard and Pintail until out teacher explained that part.

Thursday: We talked about how all the words had to work together to create a picture in the reader's mind. At first we had been worried that the text wasn't illustrated yet, but we realized that every day that we read the story again, the pictures we created in our brain became more and more detailed. No wonder our teacher keeps asking us to reread! We drew our favorite parts of the story. You can see what an impression the words made on us!

Friday:We read Jeffery and Sloth, another of Ms. Winter's books, to see if we could notice any similarities. We wrote Ms. Winters an email, thanking her and asking her some questions about writing.

Follow-up: This time when we were asked why we liked it, our answers were very clear.

  • The humor made us laugh. We imagined ducks trying to play rock, paper, scissors. We pictured the ducks racing around forever, never realizing the finish line had been smudged away. Our favorite part was the worm kiss!
  • The language sounded like us, especially "I'll be your best friend", "Pleeeeeaaaaase" and "Not for long..."
  • We liked the idea of good friends doing things together and trying to solve a problem.
  • We were happy there was a satisfying ending.

Diego visualized the worm kiss.


Kayla: The duck said, "Not for long!"

Cassie visualized when they went "KA-BLAM". "I like that part; it makes me laugh."

Angela visualized when they were fighting.

Nick visualized when it was raining.

Phoenix visualized when they were eating the worm until they kissed.

Addam visualized when they went up the hill.