Friday, December 26, 2014


Hi, Friends! How are ya? Did you enjoy your Christmas? It was a loud, crazy, fun-filled day here. Of our family Christmas traditions…I think relaxing in our pjs all of Christmas day is probably my favorite! My daughter, Deja, is a total movie buff…..she loves all things Marvel, action and Avengers….BUT when it was my sister’s and my turn to pick the movie we’d watch….{two women both in their 30’s}…we picked……FROZEN!

Ha! Yep….you read that right, FROZEN! It’s fun to be a kid at heart and we hadn’t watched it in a while. In fact, my kids have kinda all out refused to watch it anymore at all. Sooooo, having belted out Let it Go at the top of our lungs and laughing alongside our favorite little summer-lovin’ snowman, I thought I’d share a little writer’s workshop inspiration with you that we used before the break.


I’m a visual learner…SUPER-DUPER visual & kinesthetic. Gotta wiggle. So when we began a Lucy Calkins lesson on unfreezing our characters, my wheels got to turning! Often times, students will write and illustrate their work in the same old, stiff, forward facing way….welll, insert pictures pulled up from google image search to illustrate how characters have expressions and move and communicate and talk…and, and….to help drive home the point to kids that when we write our characters shouldn’t be frozen.

On Day 1, we completed a quick image search for expressive pictures. We had previously discussed using speech or thought bubbles to help bring our characters to life through thought and conversation. By looking at the images online, it helped us to see that when we’re illustrating our work, characters should move and talk to express themselves too….they should be UNFROZEN. =)

On Day 2 & beyond, we added typed labels to spell characters names correctly and added a word bank of student requested words. The characters were used as inspiration for writing a story, but were not required to be used in the story.


We absolutely couldn’t get started without a little mood music. Illustrating. Writing. Singing. Focused. Focused. Focused. Most students began with illustrations and even my moncho little men were engaged….(though they may not want to openly admit it).


Notice how Elsa is leaning back to unleash her powers? Olaf is “dancing” as he comes to life…


This friend chose to write across 3 pages to create a story about gingerbread ornaments that came to life! Not only is the gingerbread man riding into the story on a skateboard, but by the time the writer got to the third page, he added himself into the story too!

We’re growing as writers and are developing a real love of writing. My kiddos know what days we’re going to hold writer’s workshop and if I go over by a minute without getting started, I get a swift talking to! By incorporating characters they know and love, music that’s dramatic….{who doesn’t need a little dramatic inspiration}, calm lighting, and visual representations of what I want them to be able to do…writer’s workshop has easily become one of the most enjoyable parts of our day.


Our ‘unfrozen’ characters even inspired our holiday door décor! Frosty met a new friend and the two quickly introduced themselves. Can you imagine how funny it would be if Frosty actually did meet Olaf? I bet he’d be able to explain to him what REALLY happens to snowmen in summer! Ha!

Every year, our campus holds a door decorating contest as part of our Christmas festivities. Guess who’s class won for Most Festive?!!! Yay!!! My girlies decided that it was their awesome snowflakes that tipped the scales in our favor, lol!


Feeling like you’ve hit a slump in writer’s workshop? Just want a fun way to jazz it up a bit in the new year? Bring those characters to life by providing visual examples for your students and using their favorite characters as inspiration. They’ll love it!

What do you like to do to keep the ideas flowing during writing time?

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